The automotive aftermarket has come up with a solution for parallel parking-challenged drivers. The list of backup cameras you can retrofit to an older car grows annually, but none are better than the unit made by a company called Yada. It’s not a household name, but the camera it sells stands out with clear graphics, a robust set of features, and an affordable price. Digital Trends tested it, and we liked that it let us stitch video footage from two cameras onto one screen to see what’s behind and in front of the car.
The Digital Trends review team has tested dozens of rearview cameras, and we’ve found several good options. Many are versatile, and some are perfect for buyers on a budget. Here are the best ones available in 2020.
At a glance
|Yada Digital Wireless Backup Camera||The best||4 out of 5|
|Auto-Vox A1||The best versatile backup camera||Not yet rated|
|Master Tailgaters Rear View Mirror||The best backup camera for your rearview mirror||Not yet rated|
|eRapta ERT01||The best budget backup camera||Not yet rated|
The best: Yada Digital Wireless Backup Camera
Why you should buy this: You want a versatile midrange backup camera.
Who it’s for: Motorists who need front and back imagery.
How much it will cost: $113
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 every step of the process.
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: Auto-Vox A1
Why you should buy this: You want a camera that does it all.
Who it’s for: Motorists seeking an all-in-one unit.
How much it will cost: $160
Why we picked the Auto-Vox A1:
The Auto-Vox A1 is a 9.8-inch, touch-sensitive screen that straps directly over the car’s stock rearview 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 much 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 A1 doesn’t ship with an 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 A1 is your best choice if you value versatility above all else. It’s not exactly cheap given pricing starts at $160, but you’ll spend markedly more if you buy an alarm, a dash cam, and a rearview camera independently.
The best backup camera for your mirror: Master Tailgaters Rear View Mirror
Why you should buy this: You don’t want a bulky screen on your dashboard.
Who it’s for: Those who want stock-looking dashboard without distractions.
How much it will cost: $110
Why we picked the Master Tailgaters Rear View Mirror:
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, the oddly-named Master Tailgaters Rear View Mirror 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 rearview 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.
The device’s generic design is intentional; it was developed to look stock in any car it’s installed in. It’s compatible with a long list of models including cars made by Toyota, Honda, and General Motors, among others, but we recommend double-checking before ordering.
The best budget backup camera: eRapta ERT01
Why you should buy this: You want to see what’s behind you without breaking the bank.
Who it’s for: Motorists who want a simple, straightforward camera that shows what’s behind them.
How much it will cost: $22
Why we picked the eRapta ERT01:
The eRapta ERT01 offers just the basics you need in a rearview 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. 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.
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