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The best car security cameras: Protect your car even when you're not around
Car security cameras can be a major aid if you’re involved in an accident, vandalism, or a break-in. Many of them offer 24-hour recording on a loop, and the same often have a gravity sensor that detects impacts, letting you know exactly when an incident occurred. Either way a camera can protect you and your property, sometimes regardless of whether you’re even present. If it comes down to insurance claims or legal charges, footage can support your case with video and/or audio evidence.
There are a variety of car security cameras to choose from. We’ve broken down the options into mini cameras, front-only cameras, or dual dash cameras that give you multiple angles.
Best car security cameras:
Mini camera options
Larger, front-only camera options
Dual dash camera options
Mini camera options
A mini or compact dash camera is perfect if you want the security of continuous recording, but want it to be a little more discreet. That’s a relative term — if someone is intentionally looking into your car, they’ll probably see a camera behind your rearview mirror. But these cameras are so small and inconspicuous that anyone simply walking by might be oblivious. As a bonus, the cams in this category tend to be cheaper than others.
Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2
The Dash Cam Mini 2 is actually one of the most expensive mini options. If price is your leading concern, it might be better to go with the Apeman below.
You get what you pay for, though. The Mini 2 is about the size of a car key, and captures footage in 1080p with a 140° wide-angle lens and HDR (high dynamic range). It connects with the Garmin Drive app on your phone, which gives you access to a ton of cool features, including of course the ability to view, edit, and share dash cam footage that’s uploaded to your phone over Wi-Fi.
Voice control can be used to start and stop recording, and a Parking Guard feature can be enabled so long as your camera has constant power and a Wi-Fi connection. There’s even a bonus USB port so you can charge other devices on the road.
If you like the idea of dual dash cams but don’t love their typically bulky designs, Garmin has you covered there too. You can use up to four Dash Cam Minis to capture video from all sides of your vehicle, after which Drive can sync recordings.
Apeman C420 Mini Dash Cam
The C420 is larger than Garmin’s offering and includes a screen, but it’s still only 2 inches wide, so it remains extremely small and lightweight. It’s highly user-friendly — it takes a few minutes to unbox and install, and starts recording as soon as you turn a car’s engine on.
When you turn on loop recording and gravity sensor functions, the camera continually overwrites older videos to ensure recording never stops. Until the camera detects a collision that is, at which point related videos are flagged for protection. You’ll have to buy additional accessories if you want to monitor a parked vehicle.
The C420 records at 30 frames per second in 1080p, with a wide-angle 170° view. If you want a screen and don’t need any of Garmin’s bells and whistles, go with this one.
Larger, front-only camera options
If you want a camera that gives you the clearest possible recording, but you only care about what’s happening in front of your car, try one of these two options. Bigger dimensions enable crisper recordings because of the room (and budget) for more advanced sensors.
Aukey Dash Cam
With the Aukey Dash Cam, you’ll get standard features like loop recording, a gravity sensor for collisions, and video shot in 1080p with a 170° view. Aukey’s footage is superior to mini cams, though, thanks to a Sony Exmor sensor.
A few unique recording options include in-car audio and timelapses, the latter more of a luxury for documenting a road trip. The super-capacitor in the Aukey Dash Cam can allegedly withstand extreme heat and cold, giving the camera a longer operational lifespan.
Rove R2-4K Dash Cam
If you have the money to justify it, the Rove R2-4K Dash Cam may be a great front-only option. It records in 4K, so your videos should be especially detailed and sharp. The product also has advanced sensors for night vision, so that crispness extends to low-light conditions.
It’s equipped with a 150° wide-angle lens, and supports microSD cards up to 128GB, ensuring you have plenty of storage. In fact we’d encourage buying the most storage you can afford, since 4K devours gigabytes in a hurry.
A built-in GPS receiver records your driving location and speed. You can even view your route and tracking in Google Maps by way of the Rove app, which also manages recordings. That app has some problems as of this writing, so if you want a smooth software experience, you may want to look elsewhere.
Dual dash camera options
Dual dash cams are just what they sound like — you get two cameras that record simultaneously. The first three options here have one camera that faces the front of your car, and a second that faces the interior. The last option, the Vava Dual Dash Cam, switches out interior coverage for a camera that faces behind your vehicle.
All of these products are going to be the most expensive ones in our list for obvious reasons, but if you ever get into an accident and need proof, you’ll have multiple angles while retaining image quality.
Vantrue N2 Pro Uber Dual Dash Cam
Vantrue’s N2 Pro Uber records footage from the front of your car and inside your cabin. The front-facing camera uses an OV4689 sensor and an HDR system to help automatically balance light and dark areas. The interior camera, meanwhile, sports a Sony Exmor sensor and four LED lights.
Running both cameras simultaneously caps resolution at 1080p, but if you use the front-facing camera alone, you can bump it up to 1440p. We should also note that the front-facing camera offers a 170° lens, while the interior view is a narrower 140°.
Like some of our other recommendations, the camera features loop recording, a gravity sensor, a timelapse function, and audio recording through a built-in microphone. Video is saved on microSD cards sized up to 256GB.
There is a more advanced model called the X4S Duo, with improvements like a 4K front camera, but you can save a little money by sticking with the N2 Pro Uber. The Duo’s secondary camera also covers the rear exterior, so its functionality is inherently different.
Toguard Dual Dash Cam
Toguard’s Dual Dash Cam is equipped with Sony Exmor sensors, and both cameras are capable of shooting in 1080p with 170° views. The product otherwise offers standard amenities like loop recording, audio recording, and a gravity sensor. Crucially though, it’s one of the cheapest dual-camera models on our list.
See also: The best car apps for Android
Toguard does highlight the fact that the camera can be used as a parking monitor, which might catch people dinging your vehicle when it’s stationary. Plus it has a 3-inch screen, so you can watch video footage with ease.
Garmin Dash Cam Tandem
Garmin’s dual-camera entry tries to remain as discreet as possible. It’s pocket-sized, yet still has two 180° lenses, with a 1440p front-facing camera and a 720p interior shooter. The interior camera is equipped with NightGlo technology that promises quality images when it’s dark.
The Tandem does have a hefty price tag, but it might be worth it for features like GPS and voice control. Garmin also bundles a microSD card, unlike a lot of other vendors that make you pay separately.
Check out: The best smart security cameras you can buy
Some features are shared with the Garmin Mini 2, such as the Garmin Drive app and multi-cam recording sync. In fact, you could buy both and have them work together, getting as close as possible to whole-car surveillance.
Vava Dual Dash Cam
As mentioned earlier, the Vava Dual Dash Cam splits its cameras between the front and rear of a car, ignoring the interior. Each one records in 1080p, though like the Vantrue, you can switch to 1440p if you use the front camera alone.
Sony sensor technology is said to enhance low-light sensitivity while providing clean video. There’s loop recording, and video is saved to microSD cards up to 128GB. With built-in Wi-Fi and the Vava Dash app, you can view, download, and even livestream content.
One of the best things about Vava’s camera is something called the One-Touch Snapshot Remote. This is a button you attach to your steering wheel so you can easily capture photos and videos in high-stress situations. You press the button once to take a picture, and hold it down for a short video clip.
Whether you’re wanting to set up a security system to prevent theft or cover yourself if you get into an accident, any of these dash cams could be useful. Choose a mini camera if you want the most subtle approach. If you want video of multiple angles, go with one of the dual dash options. If your preferences fall somewhere in between wanting a small device and crisp recording, choose one of the front-only models.