As of May, every new car sold in the United States must come standard with a rear-view camera. It’s no longer just a luxury; it’s an important safety feature proven to save lives. It’s also a good way to ensure you don’t have to leave a “sorry, I hit your car!” note every time you park downtown.
Rear-view cameras became common across the automotive industry about a decade ago. If your car is older, or if it didn’t come with a backup camera to begin with, don’t worry. There are plenty of aftermarket options to choose from that will put eyes in the back of your head. From the budget-friendly to the versatile, here are the best aftermarket backup cameras you can currently buy.
At a glance
|Yada Digital Wireless Backup Camera||The best||4 out of 5|
|Auto-Vox X2||The best versatile backup camera||Not yet rated|
|Auto-Vox T1400||The best backup camera for your rear-view mirror||Not yet rated|
|eRapta ERT01||The best budget backup camera||Not yet rated|
Yada Digital Wireless Backup Camera
Why should you buy this: You want a versatile mid-range backup camera.
Who’s it for: Motorists who need front and back imagery.
How much will it cost: $120
Why we picked the Yada digital wireless backup camera:
Yada explains it designed its wireless backup camera specifically to eliminate blind spots. It delivers great picture quality, wide viewing angles, and clear visibility in low-light situations. When we tested it, we noted the screen included in the kit is clearer than many OEM systems on the market today.
It’s not as straight-forward to install as Pearl’s RearVision. You’ll need to spend about 25 minutes from start to finish. Experience in wiring automotive electrical items is a plus but don’t worry if you’re a rookie. There are tutorial videos on the company’s site to walk you through the process step by step.
Yada’s coolest feature is the possibility to display footage from two cameras. You can order an external add-on camera that you can use as a baby monitor, as a backup camera for your trailer, or even as a front camera if you want to see what’s in front of you.
The best versatile backup camera
Why should you buy this: You want a camera that does it all.
Who’s it for: Motorists seeking an all-in-one unit.
How much will it cost: $260
Why we picked the Auto-Vox X2:
The Auto-Vox X2 is a 9.8-inch, touch-sensitive screen that straps directly over the car’s stock rear-view mirror. At its core, it displays images transferred from a camera mounted over the top part of the rear license plate to help the driver back up. So far, so good. There’s more, though. The device also doubles as a dash cam thanks to a front-facing camera that records high-resolution videos. It automatically saves the video if the built-in G-force meter detects a collision, though, the X2 doesn’t include a bundled SD card.
The same sensor detects impacts when your car is parked and automatically starts recording. You’ll know exactly who broke into your car, backed into it, or egged it, though it’s a feature that requires a separate hardware kit. The front-facing camera also doubles as a lane departure warning system. It scans the road ahead and emits both audible and visual warnings if it detects that your car is veering out of its lane.
The X2 is your best choice if you value versatility above all else. It’s not exactly cheap given pricing starts at $260, but you’ll spend markedly more if you buy an alarm, a dash cam, and a rear-view camera independently.
The best backup camera for your rear-view mirror
Why should you buy this: You don’t want a bulky screen on your dashboard.
Who’s it for: Those who want stock-looking dashboard without distractions.
How much will it cost: $129
Why we picked the Auto-Vox T1400:
Most aftermarket backup cameras send footage either to an external screen or to your smartphone. That means you need to have something either sitting on top of your dashboard, secured to your car’s air vents, or attached to your windshield. If that’s not ideal, Auto-Vox’s T1400 is the solution for you.
It transmits footage from a camera (sold separately) positioned above the rear license plate to a small screen integrated into a rear-view mirror. The 4.3-inch unit is auto-dimming so you don’t need to worry about glare, and it shows parking guidelines for extra peace of mind.
Auto-Vox explains the T1400 was designed to look stock in any car it’s installed in. It’s compatible with a long list of models including cars made by Toyota, Volkswagen, and Chevrolet, but we recommend double-checking before ordering.
The best budget backup camera
Why should you buy this: You want to see what’s behind you without breaking the bank.
Who’s it for: Motorists who want a simple, straightforward camera that shows what’s behind them.
How much will it cost: $22
Why we picked the eRapta ERT01:
The eRapta ERT01 offers just the basics you need in a rear-view camera: It shows what’s behind your car when you’re backing up. Nothing more, nothing less. The device takes the form of a small camera in a plastic casing that’s bolted over the top part of your rear license plate. It can transfer footage to a car’s touchscreen display or to a separate screen, though, note that this package only includes the aforementioned camera. You’ll need to purchase the screen separately.
Though eRapta’s waterproof offering is not as feature-rich as other cameras on the market, it still manages to deliver high-resolution images using a glass lens that’s built to withstand a range of temperatures. It captures a 149-degree view of the area behind your car, a figure the company describes as the best possible viewing angle. Anything bigger will distort the picture; anything smaller won’t show a wide enough image.
Every ERT01 comes with a two-year warranty and 24-hour customer service. The company also pledges to send a replacement unit in the mail within 24 hours, if needed. At $22, motorists don’t have a lot to lose.
How we test
The Digital Trends automotive team tests vehicles through a comprehensive scrutinizing process. We examine the qualities of the exterior and interior and judge them based on our expertise and experience in the context of the vehicle’s category and price range. Entertainment technology is thoroughly tested as well as most safety features that can be tested in controlled environments.
Test drivers spend extensive time behind the wheel of the vehicles, conducting real-world testing, driving them on highways, back roads, as well as off-road and race tracks when applicable.