The best dash cams of 2018

Protect yourself with our favorite dash cams

best dash cams cam 5 720x720

Best Dash CamsDash cams have become ubiquitous among daily driver tools. Increasing distractions and decreasing attention spans have made for dangerous, traffic-laden commutes. Thankfully, dash cams help provide irrefutable proof of fault in the event of an accident, and, while we don’t have quite as many insurance fraud cases here in the United States as abroad, rest assured that a proper dash cam can shut those cons down, too.

Then there’s the ancillary benefit of potentially recording the next outrageous, viral vehicular drama. Car drives into nearby pond? You’ll want that on camera. An airplane crashes in Seattle? Your footage might be priceless to investigators.

At this stage, there are numerous options (and price points) for those who are ready to rig up a dash cam. It’s not easy to pick a clear winner, but our tests have elevated a few cams above the rest.

At a glance

Product Category
Garmin Dash Cam 55 The best dash cam overall
Thinkware X500D Dashcam The best dual-lens dash cam
Mobius ActionCam The best budget dash cam
Lukas LK-7950 WD The best feature-rich dash cam
Rexing V1 The best all-around dash cam
Garmin Speak Plus The best voice-enabled dash cam

Garmin Dash Cam 55

The best

garmin-dash-cam-55
Why should you buy this? It boasts a robust set of features that actually work as intended

The best

Our Score

Garmin Dash Cam 55

With its unique features and sensible price, Garmin's Dash Cam 55 offers a great bang for your buck.

Who’s it for? Anyone who wants the absolute best in dash cam tech

How much will it cost? $199

Why we picked the Garmin Dash Cam 55:

At $200, the Garmin Dash Cam 55 offers a ton of features and quality for a reasonable price. In a crowded market, it takes more than just being good — and the unique attributes of the Dash Cam 55 give it an edge.

At 1440p HD resolution and 30 frames per second, the Dash Cam 55 shoots in stunning quality during the day and respectable quality at night. Like some other dash cams on the market, the Dash Cam 55 offers innovative driver aids, but unlike other cameras, its alerts are often relevant (instead of driving you nuts with false alarms). And thanks to a slew of voice-activated functions, it lets drivers focus on the road ahead. Also, the nifty Travelapse feature makes cool time-lapse videos that can easily be shared via the app.

The Garmin Dash Cam 55 looks great, feels sturdy, and has better features than competitors costing far more. What’s not to love?

Read our full Garmin Dash Cam 55 review

Owl Car Cam

The best dual-lens dash cam

owl car cam snowy landscape

Why should you buy this? You want front and rear video surveillance

The best dual-lens dash cam

Our Score

Owl Car Cam

The Owl Car Cam's top-notch lenses and safety alerts allow you to modernize any car.

Who’s it for? Extra cautious drivers

How much will it cost? $349

Why we picked the Owl Car Cam:

The latest innovation among dash cams is the addition of a second, rear-facing camera lens to monitor activity in and around the cabin of your vehicle. There are plenty of choices within this new segment of cams, however, the Owl Car Cam stands out for its safety add-ons.

Once on the road, the Owl Car Cam display shows a view of both the 1440p front and 720p rear camera feed, so you can ensure you they’re properly aligned. The Owl has room for up to 24 hours of video in internal storage. Older clips are erased after the storage is full, but a driver can save specific moments with a vocal command. That’s just the dash cam part; there’s more.

It keeps your car safe, too. When you park, the Owl will watch for motion and send an alert to your phone when someone approaches or tries to enter your car. Even as an intruder approaches, they will see the flashing green LED on the top of the camera begin to flash brighter and let them know they are being tracked. Once you receive an alert of a break-in or motion from your car camera, you can open the app to see a live view of the interior and exterior. While watching the video, you can turn on a bright, white LED on the display screen and even enable a two-way speaker to talk to the intruder

The Owl Car Cam’s trend-setting safety tech may be a little on the sensitive side, but it’s a great pick for those who want to freshen their older cars with new features while benefiting from a dual-camera setup.

Read our full Owl Car Cam review

Mobius ActionCam

The best budget dash cam

Mobius-ActionCam

Why should you buy this? Protect yourself for cheap

The best budget dash cam

Mobius ActionCam

All most drivers need is high-quality video that doesn't break the bank, and that's what you get with the Mobius ActionCam.

Who’s it for? Cost-conscious consumers

How much will it cost? $70

Why we picked the Mobius ActionCam:

If you’ve done your research, it’s probably clear that adding a dash cam to your car is a smart move, but that doesn’t mean it’s an affordable one. Fortunately, the Mobius ActionCam allows drivers to protect themselves without going broke.

The Actioncam benefits from more than just a low price tag. Its compact size fits perfectly just in front of your car’s rear view mirror. This option doesn’t sacrifice any windshield visibility and maintains the clean look of your interior. This little guy also packs 1080p video recording at 30fps and can overwrite previous footage when the memory card reaches capacity. Rounding out the cam’s highlights is downloadable software for camera settings tweaks and a painless setup process.

Our gripes with the Actioncam are few, but it’s worth mentioning that you’ll have to do without a built-in display to monitor your recordings – for that you’ll need a computer or TV. Finally, the lack of accelerometer and G-sensor means accident footage may appear chaotic compared to other, stabilized cameras.

Lukas LK-7950 WD

The best feature-rich dash cam

lukas-lk-7950-wd-5

Why should you buy this? If you live in extreme temperature climates or drive a lot at night, this is your best bet.

The best feature-rich dash cam

Lukas LK-7950 WD dash cam

It’s the most capable dash cam on the market, period.

Who’s it for? The bells-and-whistles guy or gal

How much will it cost? $350

Why we picked the Lukas LK-7950 WD:

If you want the most advanced dash cam on the market, look no further than the Lukas LK-7950 WD. Sure, it’s a mouthful, but it’s also full of some innovative features to record video in high-resolution day or night.

With two cameras (front and rear) recording video at 1080p, Sony Exmor IMX322 sensors in each lens, and support for two SD cards with up to 256GB capacity apiece, the LK-7950 churns out crystal clear footage for hours on end without needing to overlap old video. This cam is also well regarded for its resistance to high heat or extreme cold, so you won’t have to worry about frying your expensive new device on the windshield.

Durability and great quality video is important, but the LK-7950 goes beyond the competition with Wi-Fi for viewing on a smartphone, GPS, OBD-II, parking mode, High Dynamic Range (HDR) for optimal night vision recording, UV and CPL filters, a G-sensor, and built-in battery discharge prevention. There really isn’t a dash cam feature on the market that the LK-7950 doesn’t include. Our only complaints come down to its high price point and bulky size.

Rexing V1

The best all-around dash cam

Rexing V1 dash cam

Why you should buy this? You want a basic dash cam that does it all without breaking the bank

The best all-around dash cam

Rexing V1

The Rexing V1 is a jack-of-all-trades that will make your insurance company and wallet happy.

Who’s it for? Commuters

How much will it cost? $99

Why we picked the Rexing V1: 

The Rexing V1 is ideal for commuters who want a dash cam that does it all but doesn’t come with an expensive price tag. Its discreet design blends in with the interior of many cars, too, so it won’t draw unnecessary attention. It offers a 1080p resolution at 30 fps thanks in part to a Sony Exmor IMX323 video sensor, ensuring it records high-quality video, and wide dynamic range technology allows it to perform well in low-light situations.

The device’s loop recording function also means it’s not necessary to delete video files when the SD card is full. The newest video files automatically overwrite the oldest ones on the card, allowing you to record for hours on end. Users can choose whether to create a new file every three, five, or 10 minutes. Rexing recommends using a 128GB SD card, but keep in mind that said card isn’t included with the V1.

Video files are automatically locked when the built-in G sensor detects an accident, meaning the files are available even if the device fails to shut off and continues recording. Locked files aren’t deleted unless the user manually removes them from the SD card. Rexing’s V1 currently retails for $100, a reasonable price which makes it difficult to beat as a basic all-arounder. Basically, it’s the Toyota Corolla of the dash cam world.

Garmin Speak Plus

The best voice-enabled dash cam

Garmin Speak review lifestyle

Why you should buy this? You want the convenience of voice control technology

The best all-around dash cam

Garmin Speak Plus

The Garmin Speak Plus isn't perfect, but it's your best option if you want a voice-enabled dash cam.

Who’s it for? Motorists who want to take Alexa along for the ride

How much will it cost? $200

Why we picked the Garmin Speak Plus: 

The Alexa-enabled Garmin Speak Plus is the Swiss army knife of the dash cam world. It exists at the intersection of dash cams, GPS units, and voice assistants. The part facing the road records the drive and automatically saves footage if it detects an accident has occurred, and users can download a purpose-designed application to view and share footage at any time. The camera also doubles as a lane-departure-warning system and a forward collision system. And, if you like to check your phone at a stop light, rest assured it can send “go” alerts when traffic starts moving again.

The part facing the cabin is a GPS without the bulky screen, which can be good or bad depending on your perspective. We tested it and concluded the lack of a screen reduces confidence and ease of use. It works as advertised, though, and it delivers turn-by-turn directions with arrows that indicate the lane you should be in. It also supports a wide range of Alexa features, allowing you to access news reports, stream audio, control aspects of your home, and carry out a host of other actions on the fly.

Garmin put extra effort into making the device look good, too. It’s small, meaning it won’t take up your car’s entire windshield, and its design makes it look like an Echo Dot. It’s also well-built, though, you will need to find a way to hide the device’s power cables if you want to store them out of the way.

How we test

Our dash cams log many hours recording real-world tests, both on and off-road. We judge them by their ease of installation, storage capacity, video quality, and stability. We also note any additional features as well as how well the dash cam controls, either by attachments or through an app.

First-time dash cam buyer

Dash Cam technology has advanced pretty quickly, so if this is your first device purchase, it’s best to choose one that has features you’ll use consistently rather than one with new tech that you might use down the road. New cameras with improved usability and more robust functionality will continue to lower prices and will force manufacturers to load products with cutting-edge features. That means when you’re ready to upgrade, chances are you’ll find a great option, with more goodies, for less than today’s leading models.

While you’re upgrading your in-car gadgets …

Look into head-up displays (HUDs). Dash cams will help you with insurance claims in the case of an accident, but a proper head-up display can help you avoid an accident in the first place (assuming it isn’t someone else smashing into you). These devices cut down on distraction by displaying key information, such as the vehicle speed and navigation directions, directly in the driver’s line of sight.

Most premium vehicle manufacturers offer an HUD as an optional extra, but for every other type of car (or for older models), aftermarket suppliers now offer advanced HUD devices at reasonable prices. Safety is cool, ladies and gentlemen.

Mobile

Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.
Photography

The best mirrorless cameras pack all the power of a DSLR, minus the bulk

Mirrorless cameras offer a lot of photography firepower, inside a compact body. Explore the best mirrorless cameras, from the pro-level to the beginner-friendly shooters, in this guide.
Outdoors

The best sleeping bags to help you conquer the cold, no matter what season it is

A proper sleeping bag has the ability to make or break a camping or backpacking trip. Here are our picks for the best sleeping bags on the market to help you choose the correct bag for any type of outdoor adventure.
Cars

Nissan and Italdesign’s GT-R50 concept will become a $1.1 million reality

The Nissan GT-R50 is a customized sports car built to celebrate the 50th anniversaries of both the GT-R and design firm Italdesign. Underneath the sleek bodywork sits a 710-horsepower engine fortified with race car components.
Cars

Ford’s new Shelby GT500 Mustang will have 3D-printed brake parts

Ford's new $45 million Advanced Manufacturing Center will focus on emerging technologies, including 3D printing. One of the staff's first jobs is to print parts for the 700-horsepower Shelby GT500 Mustang.
Product Review

Audi built an electric SUV for buyers who want gasoline-free to mean stress-free

We finally got to spend time behind the wheel of the electric 2019 Audi E-Tron bustling cities and arid desert of the United Arab Emirates to see how it compares with Jaguar and Tesla's competitors.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
News

World’s fastest electric race car to display at Petersen Museum

The Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak race car smashed the all-time record at the hill climb for which it was named. The all-electric VW record-holder will be on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles until February 1, 2019.
Cars

This freewheeling Army truck-turned-tiny home is a labor of love

Most tiny homes are models of efficiency but one British metal worker has redefined the idea, converting an old Army truck into a mobile tiny home that comes with a bed, a sofa, a shower, and a beer garden.
Cars

Take a friend stargazing at 202 mph in the 2019 McLaren 720S Spider

McLaren has introduced the 2019 720S Spider. As its name implies, it's a convertible variant of the 720S coupe. The company promises the Spider retains the coupe's dynamism and agility thanks in part to the widespread use of carbon fiber.
Cars

Gateway’s born-again Ford Bronco boasts classic style, 2018 muscle car power

Illinois-based Gateway Bronco has received a license from Ford to make brand-new examples of the first-generation Bronco. Every build starts with a Ford VIN and a donor vehicle, but Gateway upgrades every part of the car.
Cars

Bloodhound’s plan to build a 1,000-mph car has run out of gas

The Bloodhound supersonic car (SSC) project has officially shut down. The upside is you can now buy a 135,000-horsepower car powered by a jet engine and a cluster of rockets for $319,000.
Product Review

The 2019 Porsche Macan S is a luxurious and quick SUV, but it's no road tripper

The roster of models challenging the Porsche Macan grows annually. The German firm updated its smallest, most affordable SUV with a new engine, more tech features, and subtle design tweaks to keep it looking fresh.
Cars

2019 Ford Ranger saves fuel without sacrificing towing capacity

The 2019 Ford Ranger marks Ford's long-awaited return to the midsize truck segment, which has seen a resurgence lately. But will being late to the party make Ford's job more difficult?