There are dozens of reasons to purchase and install a dashcam in your car, but we’ll go ahead and assume you know them already. What you want to know is what to look for in a dashcam so that you get the best value for your buck.
Luckily, there aren’t too many factors that go into determining the best dashcam on the market, but each of the factors are extremely important. As long as you know what to look for, you really can’t go wrong when buying a dashcam.
Dash cam Buying Guide
To help you get a better handle and understanding on what you need in a dashcam, we’ve put together this dashcam buying guide. Use this when looking through dashcam reviews to select the right one for your automobile.
This is the most important feature in a dashcam as a grainy video is no help to anyone if no one knows what is going on. The sharper the image, the more likelihood you will capture exact license plates, numbers, makes, models, cars and even faces. The bare minimum for a good dashcam is 720p to 1080p.
If it is marked lower than this, don’t even consider it. That means staying far away from VGA resolution (640×480). We recommend going with 1280×720 pixels, also known as HD—this is a 1080p dashcam. Keep in mind you can go all the way up to 2304×1296 pixels, at a 30fps frame rate. This is the top of the line dashcam resolution right now.
Closely related to video resolution is night video quality. Since there is no given when your accident will happen or when you need your dashcam, you want it to be able to record in a high quality in the night. This separates the good dashcams from the great dashcams.
Don’t think that your headlights will always be on—parking lot accidents require a fairly legit night vision function to be recordable.
Size of the Dashcam.
While most modern dashcams are pretty tiny, you certainly want to check the size so it doesn’t obstruct your view in any way. While this might not seem like an important feature at first, considering the fact that obstructions and distractions can cause deadly accidents on the road, we think it’s pretty darn important.
If you are concerned with others being able to see the dashcam, go with one that is very small.
Most every dashcam will come with a built-in SD card slot. Go for a dashcam that holds at least 64 GB of data so that it won’t start recording over previously recorded footage when you run out. If you plan on checking and dumping the data more frequently, you can go lower, but try not to dip down into single digits. Remember, once the data is gone, it’s gone for good.
GPS is critical in court cases because it can be used to check fraudulent claims and dispute speeding tickets. Generally speaking, there is no point in avoiding a GPS feature on your dashcam and every reason to get one, especially if you can disable it should you want to fly “under the radar.”
As mentioned above in the Memory feature, loop recording will start recording over your older data once the memory is full. This means indefinite recording, but also that you’ll need to dump your data if you want to preserve it.
That’s why higher memory cards are better since they give you more time, but loop memory is essential since without it, your dashcam runs the risk of not recording when your memory is full.
A great feature to have is the motion detector feature called the G-sensor. This sensor detects any impact and automatically “saves” the footage, even if you have loop recording. This means your accidents won’t be accidentally erased, even if you forget to dump the data.
Automatic On and Off.
This is an amazing feature that is great for those who are forgetful. This simply turns the dashcam on when you start the car and turn it off when you turn the car off.
Parking mode is great because it automatically turns your dashcam on when an accident occurs in your absence. If someone hits you in the parking lot, dashcam will jump to life and record the aftermath of the incident, even if you have the auto off feature enabled.
It’s essential to court evidence that your footage be stamped with the correct date and time on your dashcam. This feature allows you to do just that.
There are a number of optional features that can come in handy on your dashcam. Things like a screen will help you see what your camera recorded. A multi-channel dashcam records both in front and in back of you.
Avoid LED Lights and Gaps.
LED lights do not help night recording and will even cause a glare, despite what vendors tell you. You also don’t want to see any gaps between your video files since that is wasted space.
To find some of these features on the best dashcam brands and models currently on the market, click Dashcam right now.