The Ultimate Dash Cam Buying Guide – Learn How to Buy Right!

Have you ever faced the incident of car dents while parking? Or have you simply felt the need for continuous monitoring on your car in the garage?

If you have, then a dash camera can be the perfect solution for you. A dashcam aids in both self-protection and the protection of the vehicle while documenting accidents, especially in hectic cities like New York.

However, it’s a bit hard to pick the right dashcam for your vehicle. For this reason, I will be providing you the knowledge about the features which you should look in a dash cam before buying it.

Let’s start!

What to Look for in a Dash Cam

Here are the features you should look for before buying a dashcam.

a Dash Cam

Video Resolution

We all know that it’s more difficult to watch and detect things in the videos which are of low quality. On the other hand, with good quality videos, you can easily notice things or incidents and note them down with ease.

In the modern world, camera devices have developed profoundly over time, and it has rendered high-quality camera products to be easily available. For this reason, most of the dash cameras provide high-quality videos, and the good news is you can easily avail one at an affordable price.

High-resolution videos also depend on certain factors. So, try to get to know about those particular features like framework, lens, sensors, processors, etc. that helps in producing high-resolution videos.

I would highly recommend you to look for a dashcam that can support good quality and high-resolution videos ranging up to 1440 pixels if you want clear footage.

Parking Mode

Have you ever parked your car in the garage only to find it after a few hours, wrecked, or most of the parts stolen from it?

If yes, then you will understand the importance of this particular feature. This mode will come in handy when you want to record events surrounding any act of sabotage while your beloved car is parked in the garage. All thanks go to the motion sensors that are present in most of the dash cameras.

Although not every dash camera has this feature, this mode can be activated by hardwiring in the old dash cams, but I do not suggest this as it can be a source of mayhem. So, you should look for the dash cams with the parking mode along with other necessary features that will protect all your files and thus your valuable car.

File Size

It is not a good thing to own a dash cam that doesn’t come with a decent storage size but only with the feature of the highest possible quality videos! As a result, all your files will get overwritten by the new ones, and you will keep losing your important data and recordings.

Sadly, most of the dashboard camera provides good quality footage but with low storage capacity. So, if you are planning to record for a longer period of time, you definitely need to look for the dash cams, which includes larger storage file sizes.

Buying a dash camera with a bigger storage size becomes essential when you plan to enable the parking mode in your camera.

Otherwise, your important data will be overwritten by the new ones, and thus, you will lose your videos. You can no longer get access to the files showing car damage if something horrible has truly happened to your car.

Multiple Cameras

A dash camera is like a personal closed-circuit television for your car. The need for multiple channeled cameras depends on the users who want more than one view of the vehicle. Fortunately, dash cams that are available in the market can provide up to four views that cover all the sides and angles of a vehicle.

You can find the dashboard camera of your choice, depending on what kind of view you desire. If you want coverage just on your front side, go for the single channeled cameras. On the other hand, if you want to cover both the front and the rear side, you should choose the dash camera having 2 cameras or dual lenses.

However, before planning to a multi-channeled camera, keep the model number of your vehicle in your mind as well because there is a high chance of the camera being incompatible with your car. Sadly, in some of the cars, you cannot install the dual-channel cameras.

Screen

A screen is the most vital part of any modern camera in this digital age. Basically, in the case of dash cameras, there are two types of screens available in the market. One is an LCD screen, whereas the other one is a non-LCD screen.

In recent times, the benefits of an LCD screen are incomparable. With this fact in mind, the LCD screen is obviously the best one out there, which will help the users to operate the camera without the help of a cell phone or a PC. The users can simply watch videos and change different settings on the camera with ease.

Larger LCD screens are easier to operate, whereas the smaller ones are comfortable to use for their size. Unfortunately, despite having many advantages and benefits, LCD screens are not readily present in most of the dash cams which are available in the market.

Mounts

Mounts are one of the most important features in a dash camera. They are the means by which the dash cameras are placed in a vehicle.

Moreover, the better the mount, the better the video quality. Although choosing a particular type of mount depends on the vehicle you are driving and whether you are a permanent driver or a rental driver. The two basic types of mounts available are the suction cup and the adhesive tape.

  1. Suction Cup

Usually, all the suction cup mounts are manufactured in China. As the name implies, the suction cup mounts use a suction cup, which creates a vacuum or negative pressure and thus helps your dash cam to attach to the window surfaces easily.

This type of dash cam is best if you do not have any permanent vehicle. The best part of this type of dash cam is its easy portability, which makes it ideal for the users to rent-based cars. They can be easily mounted and removed anytime you want but only on the uneven flat surfaces.

On the other hand, if you don’t want your dashboard camera to be seen from the outside, this dash cam is a big no for you. They are easily visible to the outside of the vehicles and sometimes interfere with the driver’s vision, as well.

These dash cams are not durable enough in extreme weather, and they also easily fall off on a bumpy ride, as they are not shockproof.

  1. Adhesive Tape

These types of dash cams use tapes that are adhesive on both sides in order to attach to the desired surface of a vehicle. Unlike suction cups, they are durable and permanent. Moreover, they can also be applied on any kind of surfaces, which is not possible in case of the suction cup dash camera’s mounts.

They are shockproof, so you don’t have to worry about it during a jerky ride. It also enables the camera to shoot high-quality videos by making the distance less between the lens and the window. Moreover, these dash cams can be easily hidden in the vehicles by placing it in the indistinguishable places.

However, the only drawback it has is, it cannot be used to be used more than once. As the camera is permanent, so you have to put much energy into it if you want to remove it from the attached place. So, before placing the dash camera in your car, you should be careful about the area in which you’re going to use it.

I personally prefer the adhesive ones as they are pretty safe to use on any personal vehicles and the suction cups one for the drivers of variable vehicles.

GPS

If your car already has the GPS feature, then you might not need a dash camera having this feature. But owning a dashboard camera that has inbuilt GPS is always helpful for assessing the location and the speed of your vehicle, which will keep you safe from any unexpected accidents.

I would definitely recommend buying a GPS enables dash cam if you are planning to use it in a rented car or in other cars if you’re working with any company. You can also document your driver’s location and his driving behavior through this feature, which is necessary if you are leaving your kids alone with the driver.

Along with GPS, some dashboard cameras have features like detection of a stop sign or lane departure warning, etc., which might come as a great assistant for the drivers.

WiFi

There is nothing new to discuss the benefits of having a dash camera with the WiFi feature. You don’t have to spend an extra amount of money on buying cellular data connection to access the applications you need to operate the camera.

One of the best things about this feature is that you can easily review your recorded videos and even download them in your device for future reference. Moreover, you can also customize your own settings through it.

Buying a dash cam having WiFi is useful for criminal cases when you need to share the data with authorities over a long distance.

Night Camera

Imagine driving your car in the middle of the night, having a constant spooky feeling around you! This feeling can be a bit scary and might result in unexpected road mishaps.

If you are a nocturnal driver, I would suggest you buy a dash camera having a night vision option. Night vision helps you to capture enhanced videos at night, which will help you drive safely and reach your destination.

However, your dash camera should have an excellent low light sensor for being able to record in low light.

Cameras having a wide dynamic range are the best ones for night time recording as it can enhance the quality of videos significantly.

Loop Recording

‘Loop Recording’ feature is useful when you have a small storage space in your dash camera. This feature enables the dashboard camera to record and overwrite the old videos from the beginning.

Although this is not a must-have feature, but can improve your recording quality significantly.

Field of View

While buying a dash cam, you must look for a camera that has a wide field of vision. Because, wider the field of vision of your camera, the more incidents you capture in your videos from your surroundings.

On the other hand, the narrow field of vision interferes with the video action, and it can be very annoying for the drivers. It also restricts the side views to get recorded on the camera.

Auto-Start

This is one of the features that allow you to work with ease. The auto start lets you relax without stressing over to start another video recording till you don’t need the footage. You can simply install it, and it will be ready for the action.

Seamless Recording

This is another feature you can look for in a dash camera, which will increase your video quality and ease your working experience.

Seamless recording means you can record and store videos without creating small gaps among them.

Battery

The most vital part of a dash camera is its battery. Using a battery to operate a camera is easier than any other means. I recommend you to use the batteries, which will last longer and durable. A long-lasting battery will help the das camera to run for longer, especially in case of long journeys.

Capacitors

A capacitor is a device that stores electrical energy and contains electrodes with an insulator. Dashboard cameras commonly use capacitors as another way from which a dash cam can be powered. Although they are a bit difficult to use but are more reliable than batteries.

SD Card

The inbuilt storage size of dashboard cameras might not be sufficient for your videos. For this reason, you should also buy a separate SD memory card to prevent data loss.

While buying SD cards for a dash camera, you should check your camera to see which type of SD card is compatible with yours. There are basically two types of SD cards, OEM and non-OEM. Sometimes, different manufacturing companies also offer their own SD cards, along with their dash cameras.

Another classification of the SD cards of a dash cam is based on the speed of their writing. They are classified into the numbers 1,2,4,6 and 10. I would highly suggest you use a memory card of class 10 although most of the companies suggest around class 6.

Usually, a dash camera having a class 10 and more than 32 GB memory card is considered ideal.

Motion Sensor

As the name implies, this feature is able to detect the motion of objects and is very useful when the car is parked. As soon as it detects any motion, it starts recording the footage.

However, when combined with the parking mode and WiFi, this feature can be beneficial as it can send alerts to the users if something happens.

Size

Size matters in case of dash cameras. The size of a dash camera is an important feature to look for before buying one.

For smaller cars, you can use small dash cameras that are discrete and can be easily hidden from the outsider’s views. This size is the preferable one among all the users though it has some limitations. The smaller dashboard cameras lack advanced features like WiFi, playback screen, motion detectors, GPS, etc.

However, modern dash cameras have all advanced features but have a smaller size than most of the dash cams.

Reliability

There are many counterfeit products available in the market. So, you have to be extra careful while purchasing a dashboard camera because these counterfeit products do not survive long, which makes them unreliable. The unreliable dash cameras are unable to record your desirable footage when needed.

Some of the dash cams have an auto-start on and off feature at which you can remain unaware of what is being recorded on the camera. This may lead you to lose many important and useful data while having an issue of some unnecessary stuff being recorded.

So, make sure you always do some research before investing in a dash cam so that you can have a reliable one.

Gravity Sensor

A G-sensor or a gravity sensor is also known as an accelerometer. Its only function in a dash cam is to monitor the acceleration of the vehicle.

This is also one of the most advanced features in a dashboard camera. Have you ever given a thought about what would happen to the footage when your car is involved in an accident?

Well, if your dash cam has this advanced feature, then you are in luck! This feature gets activated as soon as your car is involved in an accident or crashes into something, as it can detect even the slightest changes in your acceleration. As a result, your files receive immediate protection from being overwritten or deleted.

Heat Tolerance

As you know, the dashboard is always under the constant glare of the sun during the daytime. Since your dash camera is placed over the dashboard, it will also come underexposure of the sun’s heat.

Continuous exposure to heat may lead to malfunctioning of the electronic device, and nobody wants this consequence. So, you have to look for a dash camera that can tolerate this continuous exposure of the sun.

Although the heat-tolerant dash cams may not be budget-friendly, they sure do have longevity compared to the other cheap models.

Moreover, the cheap models are made up of fake parts, and thus, they are not heat-tolerant.

Notifying Alerts

It is imperative that the status of your camera should be known to you. This is because, if you are ignorant of the processes of your camera, you will not know when it will fail you. That’s how the notifying alerts help you to pay attention to your dashboard camera.

Many manufacturers have added this feature in many ways, such as audio, LCD, LED, etc. notifications.

Audio notifications are the best among the options as it allows the driver not to look at the camera while driving. This notification can be set either by voice command or by beep tones, which alert you if there is a problem that needs to be fixed.

If your dash cam is provided with an LCD notification, you will notice the color changes of the screen. For example, a red screen alerts you that your dashcam needs your attention.

In some dash cams, it is required to press some buttons in order to switch off the notifications, whereas, in other dash cams, the alert disappears within a few seconds. The LED status light is commonly located at the bottom of the dashboard cameras.

As a result, it is easy to notice if there is any notification or any ongoing action like recordings. Generally, the red LED light stands for recording and green LED light indicates that the camera is on standby mode, in almost all the dash cams.

However, it can be sometimes inconvenient for drivers if the LED status light is blocked by the rearview mirror.

Conclusion

I think I have mentioned almost all of the features above, which will help you to buy a good dashboard cam. If you have any further queries, let me know through your comments.

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