The best dash cams will record what's happening on the road ahead as you drive, but many will do so much more than that. Some offer driver aids to alert you to lane drift or when you get too close to a vehicle in front, and some can even contact emergency services with your location in the event of an accident.
Dash cams are evolving rapidly. A simple front-facing dashboard camera will provide a basic level of security, and is way better than no protection at all. But while basic dash cams just cover the front of a vehicle, showing the view through the windscreen, some come in pairs, either as an alternative kit or as an upgrade, with a second rear-facing camera to record what's going on behind as well.
If you want to know more about the different options before you choose, you can jump to our explainer on what to look for in a dash cam at the end of this article. For now, though, let's get to our list of the best dash cams you can buy right now…
Best dash cam: Our top picks
Best dash cam overall
This Garmin Dash Cam 67W is a refresh of the 66W, our previous favorite model, now including new features like Live View monitoring to check your car remotely and a Parking Guard feature to alert you to parking lot prangs. It is not the cheapest dashcam, but one we think is the best overall choice for a single-camera dash cam.
Best mini dash cam
The Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 might just be the smallest dash cam on the market today. Roughly the size of a car key fob, the camera records in 1080p Full HD resolution with HDR, is easy to set up, has an equally compact windscreen mount, and even features a voice control system.
Best luxury dash cam
We’re big fans of the Thinkware Q1000. It’s a well-designed dashcam with a premium feel, great video, and a broad set of features. Those wanting a simple dash cam should look elsewhere and save money. But we think drivers who value the Q1000’s safety and assistance systems will benefit from the extra spend.
The best dash cam in 2023
This Garmin Dash Cam 67W is a refresh of the 66W, our previous favorite model, now including new features like Live View monitoring to check your car remotely and a Parking Guard feature to alert you to parking lot prangs.
We think that the Garmin Dash Cam 67W is a truly excellent dash cam that is compact and easy to use, with a good set of useful features, and records top-quality video. When we tested this dash cam, we loved the super-simple installation and the intuitive voice control features.
It wasn’t the cheapest dash cam we found, but it is a top-notch one that does everything without being needlessly complicated. We even found the mounting system super simple. We think this dash cam is a must-buy and deserves the number 1 spot.
Read our full Garmin Dash Cam 67W review for more details
The Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 might just be the smallest dash cam on the market today. Roughly the size of a car key fob, the camera records in 1080p Full HD resolution with HDR, is easy to set up, has an equally compact windscreen mount, and even features a voice control system – it's the perfect compact dash cam. Due to its size there is no battery, but is powered by microUSB cable and a 12V lighter socket adapter with a pair of USB sockets, so we could charge our phone while powering the dash cam.
If you want high-quality Full HD video with HDR from an incredibly compact design, you really should look no further. We found that the voice controls are also very good, the mount is small and simple to use, and you can even pair up to four of these cameras together for synchronized recording right around your vehicle.
Read our full Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 review for more details
We’re big fans of the Thinkware Q series of dashcams, and the recent Q1000. It’s a well-designed dashcam with a premium feel, great video, and a broad set of features. Those who just want a simple dash cam should look elsewhere and save some money.
But we think drivers who see value in the Q1000’s safety and assistance systems will benefit from spending the extra cash; these include speed-camera, red- light, and lane-departure warnings. The software isn’t great, but that is broadly par for the dash cam course, and the Q1000 makes up for this shortfall with a neat design and top-notch video quality. It's not 4K, but the video quality is very good anyway, so that doesn't really matter in our book. A bonus is that this can be hardwired into your car for a more permanent, neater-looking installation (but you may want to get your car mechanic to do this for you).
Read our full Thinkware Q1000 review for more details
This is the big brother of the Nextbase 522GW and is the best choice if you want a 4K dashcam without the need to have the dashboard device hardwired into your vehicle.
The step up in video quality is noticeable – and there is the added feature of support for What3Words – the ingenious global system that you can use to give your precise location to first responders by just giving them three words (this is a proven lifesaver). With an easy-to-use app that connects your smartphone to the 622GW over its own wifi network, you can see all your clips with ease – and download those you want to save or review.
Read our full Nextbase 622GW review for more details
We were pleasantly surprised by the Miofive. This 4K Dash Cam is well-designed with a premium feel, a good smartphone application, and 4K video recorded through a 140-degree lens. We loved that it comes with 64GB of integrated storage and fast, 5GHz Wi-Fi for transferring footage to your phone.
Add in a simple, discrete windscreen mount, plus parking mode with an optional hardwiring kit, and the Miofive is all the dash cam most drivers will ever need. For a new company to launch its first product through a Kickstarter campaign, and for that product to be this good, is no mean feat. Don’t be put off by Miofive’s lack of track record. This is a quality dash cam.
Read our full Miofive 4K Dash Cam review for more details
In this phone-centric world, many dashcams are opting to get rid of the screen entirely. The Thinkware F200 Pro is one such camera, requiring you to hook up your phone via Wi-Fi and the app to monitor what's going on in real time.
If you think you'll miss an integrated display then this isn't one for you, but otherwise, the F200 Pro is decent value, taking nice-looking Full HD video with a wide color gamut.
It also has some driver-assist features, such as lane-drift alerts and slow-speed front-collision warnings. An integrated supercapacitor also holds a little charge in order to keep the cam going for a few seconds in the event of sudden power interruption. It can be purchased solo, or with an optional rear unit.
Read our full Thinkware F200 Pro review for more details
If you’re looking for a quick, easy-to-use, and simple dash cam, then the Nexar Beam GPS is a fantastic option. It’s super easy and intuitive to set up and works extremely well with the connected smartphone app.
The ability to see your full drives, and create clips from them, within the easy-to-use app is also fantastic – and great for quickly finding exactly what you need.
There is no built-in screen on the dash cam itself, but because of this, it is small and discrete on your windshield. For those who use Apple CarPlay / Android Auto wirelessly, however, it’s a shame that you can’t use them both together.
You can still use the camera, but without the added functionality that the phone brings, so for that reason, it’s not recommended for that type of user.
Read our full Nexar Beam review for more details
Kenwood is a popular choice if you buy your dashcam from a dealership – but you can buy its range of dashboard cameras online too. This 4K model is of great value, offering useful features such as built-in GPS, a bright f/1.8 wide-angle lens, and an integrated polarizing filter for cutting through windshield reflections.
The magnetic mount makes this easier, and more between different vehicles than with some rivals. You get a 16GB memory card supplied, but you can use up to a capacity of 256GB if you want to keep footage for longer – or do lots of driving. A dual-camera kit is also available.
Read our full Kenwood DRV-A601W review for more details
If you’re looking for an all-singing, all-dancing dash cam that does everything – but also lacks a screen to distract you while driving – this is it. The Thinkware U1000 shoots in sharp 4K video (albeit with the associated huge file sizes) through a wide, 150-degree lens.
There’s built-in Wi-Fi and GPS, which are used to serve up speed camera alerts and add location and speed data to all of your recordings. An optional rear camera can also be purchased and plugged into the main unit, which shoots in 2K resolution at 30 frames per second for sharp footage of what’s going on behind you. Enhanced night vision and wide dynamic range help to produce high-quality video during the day and night. We admit this is an expensive option, and it has to be hardwired into your vehicle. But if it’s a feature-packed, high-quality dash cam you want, this is it!
Read our full Thinkware U1000 review for more details
This easy-to-use and well-performing dash cam offer three different channels to give a fantastic all-round view of the scene. It produces good footage from all three cameras and setting it up is straightforward.
We would however have liked to have seen built-in GPS or the addition of Wi-Fi connectivity to fully justify the fairly high price tag the N4 commands. Overall, though, the VanTrue N4 is a decent performer which is well-suited to those who want the flexibility of three different angles of view and comes recommended.
Read our full Vantrue N4 review for more details
How to choose the best dash cam for you
Here's a run-down of the key decisions you need to make when choosing a dash cam…
Is angle of view important?
Angle of view: Dash cams typically have wide-angle lenses. The wider the angle of view, the more likely it is to take in what’s happening in junctions and side roads, but objects up ahead will be smaller.
Do I need 4K resolution?
Resolution: 4K capture is great, and high resolution means clearer, sharper images with more detail, but it also means the files are bigger and you need more storage.
Do I need to run my dash cam off the car battery?
Battery-powered dash cams: Some dash cams have batteries and can easily be installed without wires, but the batteries won’t last long – typically around 30 minutes. Some dash cams can plug into a USB socket or 12V supply and keep running indefinitely, though the cables may look messy. A neater solution is to go for a hard-wired option…
Professional installation: The alternative to battery power is to get your dash cam installed professionally with hidden wiring. It will cost more, and you can’t move the camera from one vehicle to another, but it looks better.
Protection while parked: The advantage of a wired-in dash cam is that it can keep running while your car is parked, and record suspicious activity, attempted theft or parking bumps.
Do I need to pay a subscription to use a dash cam?
Cloud subscription: An optional extra with some dash cams which could be useful for fleet owners keeping track of a number of vehicles or for people who want to see what's happening (or what happened) remotely. The cloud service also gives you a way of backing up your recordings automatically.
Do I need more than one camera?
Front and rear dash cams: Sometimes, the hazard is from behind, so a rear-facing dash cam can be very useful. We have a separate buying guide to the best front and rear dash cams. Some front-facing dash cams come with an optional rear camera upgrade.
Interior cameras: Some drivers, and particularly those who make a living carrying passengers, will want a dashcam that also records the vehicle's interior. Our best Uber dashcam guide recommends the best options for this. If you want a front, rear, and interior camera check out our guide to the best three-channel dash cams.
Do I need a dash cam with GPS?
GPS and emergency services: If you are involved in an accident, you may not be able to ask for help, and some of the best dash cams can detect a collision and automatically notify the emergency services. And if they have GPS, they can send your exact location to the emergency services too.
What other features should I consider?
High dynamic range: It sounds like a feature for a high-end digital camera, but HDR capture can be an advantage in very bright, high-contrast lighting.
Wi-Fi: Dash cams with Wi-Fi can communicate with a smartphone app for controlling settings or checking video.
Night vision: We don’t just drive in the daytime. A dash cam with night vision can offer protection and security at night, too.
Driver assist safety aids: Some dash cams can sound alerts if you cross lane markings or warn you that a vehicle ahead has stopped in traffic.
Voice control: You need to keep your hands on the wheel while you’re driving, so voice control is a safety feature, not just a convenience.
How we test dash cams
There are a huge number of dash cams on the market today, and some of them are very cheap indeed. But the best dash cams go further, with better quality, better connectivity, more driver aids or more safety features.
We have reviewed every dash cam in our list. That means we have installed them and tested them for real-world driving. We pay particular attention to the video quality that you get with each dash cam, comparing to other dash cams we are tested. We also look at just how easy the dashboard camera is to install and use on a daily basis in your vehicle - as in our experience, some are much more straightforward than others.
How we picked our dash cams for this guide
Why you can trust Digital Camera World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out how we test.
In this guide, we have picked a range of dashboard cameras with a range of prices and features to give our top recommendations. We have included some with two cameras, as well as ones that just cover the road ahead - but if you're positive you want front-and-back coverage, then we have a dedicated guide to the best front and rear dash cams that features this kind exclusively. There are also so-called Uber dash cams that offer a view of the interior as well - and if you want a full 360 view with three cameras then check out our guide to the best 3 channel dashcams. The best dash cams can seem expensive, but if you are on a budget you should also look at our recommendations for the best budget dash cams.