Last updated: May 02, 2022
There are many reasons to install a dash cam while driving. Mounted to your windscreen, they make motorists safer by capturing everything that happens while behind the wheel. Besides giving you peace of mind, they can help to lower your insurance premiums also – and clips of unexpected moments on the road can make great content for your youtube channel.
You might assume that even the best dash cams are just there to film ahead and record video if they detect a collision. With cheaper and simpler models, that is all they do, but more advanced dash cams go much further to act as driver assistance and emergency response systems.
There’s a lot to consider when choosing the best dash cam. Many entry-level dash cams can capture footage in Full HD, while the best are able to record in 4K. The added resolution won’t be necessary for everyone, but it could be important if, for example, you need to read the number plate of a passing vehicle.
Dash cam installation can be pretty straightforward, but there may be some wiring work to be done. Some models have internal batteries, but these don’t last for long, so for constant fuss-free security, it’s best to go for a dash cam that can be plugged in for constant power. Some can plug into your car’s USB port or 12V power socket, though this can leave untidy exposed cabling. The alternative is to have your dash cam professionally installed so that the wires will be disguised or hidden and your accessory sockets are left free.
The Best Dash Cams 2022 At A Glance:
- Nextbase 622GW
- Nextbase 522GW
- Garmin Dash Cam 66W
- Viofo A129 Pro Duo
- Garmin Dash Cam Tandem
- Garmin Dash Cam Mini
- Kenwood DRV-830
- Thinkware TW-F770
- BlackVue DR900S-2CH
- Vantrue N2 Pro
1. Nextbase 622GW
The best and most advanced dash cam you can currently buy
The 622GW is simply a new flagship dash cam. It brings much-improved video quality, better stabilization and the inclusion of what3words geolocation services, which make it possible to pinpoint a stricken vehicle within a three-meter radius. Opting for 4K at 30fps sees the resulting footage look almost cinematic in its presentation, with extremely crisp definition and great detail, even in poor lighting situations. This makes it much easier to pinpoint registration numbers or pick out hard-to-see elements of an accident. which makes it best dash cam of 2022.
A built-in polarizing filter on the front of the camera can be rotated to reduce glare from windscreens, while digital image stabilization is another first for the dash cam market and helps smooth out those bumps and shakes caused by potholes and poor road surfaces. Like its 522GW sibling, this model can be controlled via your voice with Alexa Skills, but it requires the accompanying smartphone app to work, which isn’t the best. Despite new dual 2.4GHz + 5GHz Wi-Fi, it still has trouble connecting with phones to transfer images and video clips.
Thankfully, the 3-inch rear touchscreen is crisp, clear and very easy to use, while the inclusion of what3words combines well with the Nextbase Emergency SOS feature, which you get a year’s free subscription for with this dash cam.
2. Nextbase 522GW
The best dash cam for most people
The Nextbase 622GW flagship (above) might be one of the most advanced dash cams you can buy, but the 522GW remains our top choice for all-round value. Thanks to a crisp 1440p resolution and wide-angle lens, it does the basics very well but also throws in plenty of additional features. There is a responsive three-inch touchscreen at the back, as well as the option of using the built-in Alexa functionality.
Currently, users can ask Alexa to play music, place calls and listen to audiobooks through connected devices, but they’ll soon be able to use an upcoming Dash Cam Skill to command it to ‘start recording’, ‘stop recording’, ‘protect a recording’ and ‘send to my phone’.
That all might seem like a bit of a gimmick and, to be honest, we didn’t use it all that much, so it is lucky that the remainder of the UX is extremely simple. Videos can be quickly and easily shared to a smart device via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, while a clever Emergency SOS system will alert the emergency services of your location and other details if you prove unresponsive following an accident.
3. Garmin Dash Cam 66W
Very easy to install, effortless to use
We’ve often rated the Garmin dash cam offerings for their ease of use, and new to the party is its concise line of cute, inconspicuous dash cams, which piggyback on the marque’s action camera user interface but boast plenty of features that make them a valuable assistant on the open road. This more expensive and latest 66W unit is the one to go for in our eyes, simply because the inclusion of the massively wide 180-degree viewing angle lens makes it the master of capturing everything that’s going on ahead – although there is some distortion at the very edge of the frame.
There are very few best dash cams that don’t automatically record and save footage when a built-in G-sensor detects an accident and that’s exactly what Garmin has implemented here too. On top of this, users can operate the 66W using voice commands, such as ‘OK, Garmin, save video’ and ‘take a picture,’ but we found this system a little clunky when out on the noisy motorway.
The footage is largely excellent and performance in low-light situations is very good but arguably its greatest appeal is the neat and tidy package. It is small, inconspicuous and doesn’t cost the earth.
4. Viofo A129 Pro Duo
A superb value front and rear cam package
We won’t hold it against you if you’ve never heard of Viofo, because it certainly isn’t the most recognized name in the dash cam business, but its 4K resolution Pro Duo model represents phenomenal value for money. The front camera is quite a bit bulkier than many rivals on this list, but it features a built-in GPS module, something that many other brands offer as an optional extra. Its plastic casing looks and feels basic, but it houses some rather trick technology that belies its overall build quality that makes it one of the best dash cameras.
It runs super capacitors, rather than a traditional rechargeable battery set up, meaning its power source is built to last and can withstand an extreme temperature range without blunting performance. On top of this, you get the option of glorious 4K (3840 x 2160p) video recording upfront, with the resulting footage offering a great number of details and Wide Dynamic Range for rich colors in all weather conditions. Unfortunately, 4K recording is only possible at 30fps, which isn’t the greatest if you want to slow the footage down. However, dual recording (front and rear cameras) is only available at full HD (1080p) anyway and this is pumped out at 60fps for much smoother results.
Set up is very easy and Viofo offers a smartphone app for quickly reviewing and saving clips. Unfortunately, installation of dual cameras requires the removal of interior trim and the clever stashing of long wires. It can be a messy and infuriating process to get it right, but worth it to avoid a dangling tangle of power cables.
The fact that you get night vision, a parking mode, motion detection, automatic emergency recording, GPS tracking and dual-channel 1080p at this price makes this a package well worth considering if you cover a lot of miles and want total camera coverage that doesn’t cost a small fortune.
5. Garmin Dash Cam Tandem
Compact design, excellent picture quality
Garmin’s first dual-lens dash cam allows you to view what’s going on both inside and outside the car while you are driving, which is handy for taxi drivers and others wanting to keep an eye on their passengers. Extremely compact in design, the Dash Cam Tandem features a clip-in magnetic mount and can be easily installed below the rear-view mirror and removed when not in use. Two lengths of USB cable are provided (the longer one enables you to run the cable around the car cabin neatly) as is a cigarette lighter USB socket with two ports for charging your phone at the same time.
However, if you want to use the dash cam for incident recording – such as if your car gets bumped in the car park while you are shopping – you will need to get it professionally installed so it’s constantly recording.
Key for control of the camera is the Garmin Drive app (Android and iOS) where you can review video and audio footage from your drives without having to take the MicroSD card out of the camera. Picture quality is generally excellent, especially from the front camera. And while the rear camera struggles a bit in very low light, you can still make out passengers reasonably clearly in black and white. There’s also a picture-in-picture option so you can view both rear and front-facing camera footage simultaneously Rather usefully, the footage is displayed with a timestamp, the speed of the vehicle and its location.
Voice control is also provided, which enables hands-free control with instructions such as ‘OK Garmin, take a picture’ or ‘OK Garmin, save video’. Safety cam alert updates will also be added to the app soon.
The only slight problem we experienced was that the app wasn’t as intuitive as we would’ve liked and didn’t automatically connect to the Wi-Fi connection when reviewing footage from our drives. Aside from that, this is a pricey but excellent option for those who want to keep an eye on their car, inside and out.
6. Garmin Dash Cam Mini
A simple, affordable dash cam with Wi-Fi connectivity
Garmin’s tiny Dash Cam Mini is designed to be hassle-free and hidden. Attached to the low-profile mount, the compact cam disappears behind the rear-view mirror, letting you focus on the road. Run the longer of the two USB cables behind your cabin’s headlining and you’ll quickly forget it’s there. Built to be simple, there are just two buttons on the Dash Cam Mini: one to mute the microphone, the other to save clips on the go – and there’s no display for framing footage. Instead, download the Garmin Drive App on your smartphone, connect to the Mini’s built-in Wi-Fi and view the live preview feed while adjusting its position.
The app is also where you can review, edit and export clips, making it straightforward to get footage off the camera. You can tweak settings, too, including data overlay and video quality (which can be reduced to 720p), as well as remotely control the dash cam. It’s an easy, reliable setup – and if you don’t want to sit in your car while sorting clips, you can pop the cam off its mount and power it using the spare USB cable. Once installed, the Dash Cam Mini records constantly, looping over the microSD card.
While it doesn’t offer the higher resolutions of some rivals, its Full HD footage is still bright and detailed, while exposure adapts well to different conditions. And the 140-degree viewing angle covers the majority of the view ahead, without fish-eye distortion.
There are some compromises: there’s no GPS or night mode, and you’ll need to buy and install a separate cable for parking surveillance. And while incident detection saves footage automatically, it did miss a couple of heavy braking events. All the same, as a subtle, uncomplicated and affordable solution, the Dash Cam Mini ticks a lot of boxes.
7. Kenwood DRV-830
Massive storage capabilities for full HD recordings
Kenwood might be a brand that’s most associated with sub-woofers and colourful head units favoured by boy racers, but its recent line of dash cams is sleek and packed with cutting-edge technology. Oh, and they’re very good too. This DRV-830 unit might not be compatible with existing Kenwood head units (you’ll need the DRV-520 for that) but it sports its own 3-inch full colour TFT display, making reviewing and saving clips a doddle.
The viewing angle of 144-degrees is among some of the widest on the market and the 1440p footage is perfectly good in both day and low light conditions. Granted, it can’t keep up with the Nextbase or hideously expensive BlackVue models for image quality, but it belies its sub-£100 price tag.
Advanced driver-assist systems, such as lane departure and front collision warnings, are built into the system, but many will find them a tad annoying. Thankfully, they can be switched off by rummaging through the numerous settings.
The footage is automatically captured via 3-axis G-Force detection hardware and the camera will manage storage by overwriting any older files that haven’t been saved. That said, if you are the sort of person who likes to regularly save clips, this camera boasts some of the largest memory available thanks to two SDHC micro card slots, capable of a massive 256GB with the appropriate cards.
8. Thinkware TW-F770
On-board Wi-Fi for quick video transfer
Thanks to an excellent 2.19MP Sony Exmor CMOS sensor and Full HD recording, the TW-F770 has cracking video footage as its star attraction – although a handful of extra flourishes provide an added bonus. Designed to be mounted just beneath the rear-view mirror, the TW-F770 features just a few small buttons and no external screen. The reason? It can be linked to a smartphone via its on-board Wi-Fi.
This enables clips to be quickly and easily sent to a smart device, should you need to access them quickly, but it does add an additional step to any settings and menu changes. A Super Night Vision feature boosts low-light settings for improved image quality at night, while a neat Time Lapse feature acts as a CCTV camera when the vehicle is parked. Bear in mind that this mode will require hard-wiring the unit into the vehicle’s power supply, however, as is the case with most cameras featured on this list, rather than simply using a standard 12V lighter adaptor.
An on-board GPS tracker, as well as speed and upcoming red traffic signal warnings, make this a very accomplished piece of kit.
9. BlackVue DR900S-2CH
Best video quality, but it costs a packet
Those doing high mileage on a regular basis, braving all conditions and types of roads, will likely want to part with a little extra for their dash cam. We’re not suggesting the camera needs to boast lots of fancy gizmos and superfluous tech, but spending a bit more means image quality is improved. This is very handy in the case of an accident, especially in a hit-and-run scenario, where reading a number plate from a distance and making out any distinguishing features can be the difference between catching a perpetrator and ending up with a hefty insurance claim.
Sitting very much at the premium end of the dash cam spectrum, this package from BlackVue includes front- and rear-facing cameras, both of which capture the action in HD quality. Its circa-£500 price tag might feel incredibly steep for a dash cam, but this is the only camera to feature an 8MP CMOS sensor up front and a high-performance Sony STARVIS CMOS sensor in the rear camera. As a result, the footage is undeniably the best on the market, day and night.
The 162-degree field of view feels absolutely perfect for the task in hand and rids the resulting footage of that awkward fisheye look that some wider-angle cameras suffer from. Paranoid owners can also make use of BlackVue’s advanced intelligent park mode, which essentially carries on recording when the vehicle is powered down. This is possible thanks to the Power Magic Pro, which is wired into the vehicle’s battery and ensures the dash cam doesn’t deplete reserves when recording overnight.
You can expect all of the obvious features, too, including built-in GPS, incident detection and the ability to send clips to BlackVue’s bespoke smartphone app via the on-board Wi-Fi. Alternatively, users can make the most of BlackVue’s over–cloud storage offering or remotely check in on a parked vehicle (via the app) and view real-time footage from the camera.
10. Vantrue N2 Pro
Premium features with an affordable price tag
Type the words ‘dash cam’ into Amazon and the number of search results that appear can be intimidating. But nestled in amongst the pile of offerings is this Chinese brand that flaunts professional spec dash cams that cost up to half as much as some of the market leaders. The front lens, which is arguably the most important here, is comprised of six individual glass elements and packs a whopping f/1.8 aperture, making it brilliant for capturing crisp imagery in low light situations and one of the best dash cameras.
On top of this, a second f/2 lens faces the cabin and is supported by four IR LED lights to boost what is often tricky, gloomy footage via an excellent Sony IMX323 sensor. Although not for everyone, this sort of functionality is perfect for professional drivers who may or may not want to relive any incidents that occur late on a Friday night. There’s also a built-in microphone to record sound. Continuous loop recording is a given here, as is G-sensor technology that detects an incident and will automatically save the footage to the MicroSD card. However, buyers will have to plump for an optional GPS mount that saves data on speed and location alongside the video file.
Thanks largely to the brilliant Sony sensor, image quality is generally very good and linking the device to a laptop or PC is as simple as it gets. Front and rear footage is handily divided into two separate files too, reducing the time spent browsing the various folders for the desired clip.
Parking Mode is also a good value at this price point, as it can be switched on to auto-record whenever it senses motion. Alas, it requires a power source, so needs to either be hard-wired into the vehicle via a separate accessory or attached to an external power source.
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