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The best backup cameras for 2021

Every car sold new in the United States comes with a rear-view camera, it’s a feature that became mandatory in 2018, but it’s up to you to avoid hitting your neighbor’s car if you drive something that’s a little older. Luckily, several aftermarket companies make cameras you can add to virtually any car, regardless of whether it has a screen embedded in its center console. We’ve tested a lot, and we’ve found the best unit is made by a company named Yada.

The Yada Digital Wireless Backup Camera stands out with clear graphics, a robust set of features, and an affordable price. Digital Trends 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

Product Category Rating
Yada Digital Wireless Backup Camera The best 4 out of 5
Auto-Vox V5 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

Yada Backup Camera
Jim Donelly

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: $112

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.

Our full Yada digital wireless backup camera review 

The best versatile backup camera: Auto-Vox V5

Auto-Vox V5

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: $176

Why we picked the Auto-Vox V5:

The Auto-Vox V5 is a 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, which can help you dispute a claim in the event of an accident. Note that the SD card is not included.

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 V5 is your best choice if you value versatility above all else. It’s not exactly cheap given that pricing starts at $175, 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.

Hide your camera out of sight.

Who it’s for: Those who want stock-looking dashboard without distractions.

How much it will cost: $95

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: $26

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 offers a 149-degree viewing angle, which the company heavily boasts about. This is a “sweet spot” for backup cameras: anything bigger than that is only going to distort whatever you see, but a smaller angle isn’t going to provide enough coverage. And, at only a little over $20, there’s not a lot to stop you from investing in the camera and at least trying it out. 

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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