When you've got a dash cam in your car, there's no disputing what happened in an incident: the video is usually all the evidence you need to prove you weren't at fault.

Not all incidents happen in front of you, though, which is why we advise buying a dash cam that also comes with a rear camera. The two are joined with a wire and video from both is recorded to a microSD card.

You can install a dash cam yourself, as they take power from your car's 12V socket - the one used for the cigarette lighter. However, if you want your dash cam to continue recording when your car is parked, you'll probably need to have it 'hard wired', although some dash cams can wake up and record using a built-in battery.

Hard wiring involves connecting the power wires to your car's fuse box. It's not a difficult job for an enthusiastic DIYer, but for many people it's best to pay someone qualified to do this. Expect to pay around £80/US$100 for this, and note that hard-wire kits are often sold separately as optional extras for around £15/$20.

The only other cost you need to factor in is a microSD card, as most dash cams don't come with one: this is the storage onto which the video is recorded.

Most dash cams have Wi-Fi and a companion app for your phone that lets you view and download video clips, which you could then share with your insurance company and the police.

In many cases the excess that you have to pay for an insurance claim is more than most dash cams cost, so they can pay for themselves very quickly.

The big question is which dash cam to buy. And that’s why you’re here. Below you’ll find our top recommendations for dash cams at all budgets.

Best Dash Cams 2022: Reviewed & Ranked

1

Viofo A129 Duo – Best-value Front + Rear Dash Cam

Viofo A129 Duo
  • Pros
    • Good quality video
    • Compact, unobtrisuve design
  • Cons
    • Parking mode requires hard-wiring
    • Thick cable to rear camera

This front and rear dash cam dispenses with the frills and concentrates on what's important: recording good-quality video. This means it's cheaper than most rival 'dual-channel' dash cams, but do watch out as some bundles don't include the GPS mount and the polarising filter.

Both are worth having so you can prove where the video is recorded and to remove reflections from the windscreen in the video.

The front camera is well designed if you're after something that will hide out of the way behind your rear-view mirror, but the rear camera, although small, has a very thick cable which can be hard to hide away neatly.

Read our full Viofo A129 Duo review

2

Viofo T130 – Best triple-lens dash cam

Viofo T130
  • Pros
    • Great parking mode
    • Front, interior & rear cameras
  • Cons
    • Parking mode requires hard-wire kit
    • So-so app

At a similar price to a lot of dual-channel dash cams, the T130 is good value. It delivers good video quality that - as long as it's not night time - can usually be relied upon to show clearly what happened in an incident. Resolution is enough in most cases to read registration plates.

The interior camera uses infrared LEDs for decent night vision, but quality is still better during daylight.

The app could do with some interface improvements, but generally works reliably and makes it easy to adjust the dash cam's settings.

One of the highlights is the versatile parking mode which can record time-lapse video, as well as full-motion video if it detection motion. But you'll need the hardwire kit to use this mode, and may have to have that professionally installed.

Read our full Viofo T130 review

3

Nextbase 422GW – Best-value dash cam with Alexa

Nextbase 422GW
  • Pros
    • Alexa built-in
    • Good safety features
  • Cons
    • Average video quality
    • Rear cameras are expensive

The lowest-priced model in Nextbase’s new Series 2 range to have Alexa and Emergency Response, the 422GW also supports the range of rear cameras, records at 1440p and cost the same as the older 412GW did.

If you don’t need all the new features, then you can save money by opting for the 322GW.

Read our full Nextbase 422GW review

4

Viofo A119 v3 – Best-value single-lens dash cam

Viofo A119 v3 with GPS
  • Pros
    • Good-quality video
    • No unnecessary frills
  • Cons
    • Requires hard-wiring kit for parking mode
    • GPS mount costs extra

Viofo understands what people want from a dash cam: good quality video recording, plus recording options when your car is parked. 

There are no extra features such as lane-departure, speed camera: even GPS is optional, so you can pay less if you don't want it. This keeps the price down while still offering great quality. 

There are three parking modes to choose between, but you will need to buy and fit the hardwire kit to use them.

Read our full Viofo A119 v3 with GPS review

5

Vantrue M2 - Best rear-view mirror dash cam

Vantrue M2
  • Pros
    • Rear camera can be a reverse camera
    • Good video quality
  • Cons
    • Very involved installation process
    • No companion app

The M2 fits over your existing rear-view mirror and provides an ultra-wide display which can show the rear camera's view - or you can turn off the display and it's a mirror, albeit a little dimmer than a standard one.

If you're a competent with car electrics, you can hook up the rear camera to your car's reverse light and mount it externally so it doubles as a reversing camera: you'll see the parking guidelines appear on the screen when reversing.

Video quality is good from both cameras and our only real complaints are the clunky menu system which is awkward to use, the lack of Wi-Fi and a companion app to download videos without a PC, and the fact recordings are in the incompatible .ts format rather than the much more common MP4.

Read our full Vantrue M2 review

6

Viofo A129 Pro Duo - Best-value 4K dash cam

Viofo A129 Pro Duo
  • Pros
    • Good 4K video + 1080p rear
    • Compact design
  • Cons
    • Parking mode requires hard-wiring
    • App could be better

The A129 Pro Duo is easy to confuse with the non-Pro version. We rate is highly because it is manages to strike a great balance between price and quality. 

Put simply, if you want the extra detail that comes with 4K recording, the A129 Pro Duo is a good choice. It's a shame the rear camera is still 1080p, but as a package it's impressive overall.

Just note that the parking modes are only truly usable when using the optional hardwire kit, which you may feel you can't install yourself.

Read our full Viofo A129 Pro Duo review

7

Nextbase 622GW – Best 4K Dash Cam

Nextbase 622GW
  • Pros
    • Great 4K video
    • Built-in Alexa
  • Cons
    • Expensive
    • Price doesn't include optional rear camera

The 622GW is the all-singing, all-dancing flagship from Nextbase. It may be expensive, but it has all the features you can think of, and even more than you can’t.

Core video quality is very good, partly thanks to the stabilisation which helps to sharpen details. At night, it’s still impressive, but don’t expect to be able to read registration plates.

Alexa could be handy if you stream music while driving, and the Emergency SOS and what3words integration is a nice extra (though it is a subscription service).

If you don’t want a rear camera, you might be able to justify spending this much on a front-facing camera, but there isn’t a huge trade-off in quality if you step down to the 522GW.

Read our full Nextbase 622GW review

8

iOttie Aivo View – Fit & Forget

iOttie Aivo View
  • Pros
    • Simple to install and use
    • Good-quality video
  • Cons
    • Sold only in the US
    • Alexa functions aren't particularly useful

The Aivo View is the first dash cam from iOttie, a company better known for its phone accessories.

Though it isn't the cheapest single-lens dash cam you can buy, it ticks the important boxes. It's about as easy to install as dash cams get, delivers good quality video day and night at the default settings and comes with a remote control button for taking photos (or videos) on demand. 

There's no screen, so you have to use the app to change settings, see the live view and review saved videos. They can be downloaded to your phone, but it's a very slow process.

It can record while you're parked, but you'll have to provide your own power supply for this, such as a USB power bank, as iOttie doesn't offer a hardwire kit. This is far from convenient, and you have to enable parking mode as well: it won't automatically switch when you connect a different power source. 

Read our full iOttie Aivo View review

9

Thinkware F200 – Best screen-less dash cam

Thinkware F200 2Ch
  • Pros
    • Hides away behind rear-view mirror
    • Compact
  • Cons
    • Mediocre video quality
    • GPS not included as standard

The F200 is a cut-down version of the F800. If you want the rear camera, you'll need to pay more – and more again if you also want GPS.

We're fans of screen-less dash cams which stick unobtrusively behind your rear-view mirror, but with power, GPS and rear camera attached, wires get a bit messy with the F200.

Also, the included power cable has to be connected to the car's fuse box, but this is necessary to use the parking mode which records when motion is detected (such as another car hitting yours while parked). Via the app you can choose a minimum voltage level to prevent your battery draining.

If you opt for the GPS module, you can download and install new firmware which includes a database of speed cameras, and you'll get audible warning when approaching one. This wasn't documented (at the time of review) so it's not obvious how to get the warnings.

Image quality is mediocre. Although the F200 records at 1080p, the bit-rate is quite low and details are lacking. This makes it tricky to make out registration plates even in daylight. And the 720p rear camera is markedly worse, so is good only for showing generally what happened in an incident.

If you can afford more, you'll get better quality from the F800 Pro, but the Viofo A129 Duo is a better-value option.

10

Nextbase 112 – Best budget dash cam

Nextbase 112
  • Pros
    • Very affordable
    • Magnetic quick-release
  • Cons
    • Low-quality video
    • No GPS

The 112 is a very low-cost dash cam which uses the same handy magnetic quick-release mount as the 312GW, so it's really convenient to remove from the car to transfer video files or even take a few photos on battery power if you're in a collision.

It's the only dash cam here which records at a lowly 1280x720 pixels, and there is certainly less detail. However, the 120-degree lens means it is much easier to read number plates of oncoming cars as they're physically larger in the resulting video. Quality is acceptable during the day, with most registrations visible when you pause the video.

Like most dash cams, even those costing five times as much, it can't often capture registrations at night as detail levels really drop off. However, you should still be able to prove what happened if an incident happens in front of you.

There are no frills, such as Wi-Fi or GPS, nor can you review any footage or photos on the 2in screen. But the 112 is nice and compact and has easy-to-use buttons and menus.

We'd recommend paying more for a 1080p dash cam, but if you have a very limited budget, this is a good choice.

What to look for in a dash cam

Ultimately, high-quality video is what you need from a dash cam. But specifications alone can't tell you if one is better than another, and quality varies a lot. That's why you should read our reviews and see examples of the quality you can expect at day and night.

Don’t be swayed by a wider-angle lens: the higher the number, the smaller everything is in the centre of the image. We prefer a lens with a 140° field of view, or less.

Similarly, a higher resolution doesn’t automatically mean better quality.

Manufacturers often talk of ‘night modes’ but this can be just as misleading as resolution. Again, refer to our reviews to find out whether a dash cam is any good at recording at night.

Extras features such as GPS are worth it as this will record your precise location and speed, so you can prove where you were, which direction you were driving and that you weren’t speeding.

Wi-Fi, on the other hand, may not be as useful as it’s typically quicker to removing the microSD card and copy the video files you need straight to your PC or laptop. But for dash cams without screens, you'll get Wi-Fi as a matter of course so you can adjust settings via the companion app.

We’ve found safety features such as lane-departure warning or forward-movement alerts aren't always useful as they don't always work reliably. However, any dash cam that can warn you of safety camera locations is useful.