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Dash Cam Shopping Guide
A dash cam may seem like a stretch when it comes to new purchases, but its surveillance can help protect you and your vehicle. In the event of an accident, you can make your life easier with the footage from your dash cam to help file an insurance claim. It can also help keep you safe if you drive for a ride-sharing service, allowing you to record any passengers that get into your car.
But which dash cam is right for your car? There is a range of cameras out there, with different features depending on their main use.
If you already know what kind of dash camera you want, you can skip the reading and jump straight to our top dash camera picks. For those who might need a little more insight, take a look at our shopping guide.
Once you decide what type of dash cam you need, you can easily consult our reviews of the best devices on the market.
What Are Dash Cams?
Dash cams let you record the view in front of and inside your car, protecting you in the event of an accident or car theft.
They run whether you are driving or parked and provide a time stamp on all of the footage. Many also track your exact location and speed at any given time.
Dash cams come with a variety of different features, depending on what you need. Some have just one channel, recording the view from the front of your car. Others are designed with two channels, allowing you to record video from the front, interior, or rear of your car.
Many dash cams have screens that let you change settings and view video. More and more, cameras can connect directly to your phone, allowing you to stream video even when you are away from your car.
How Many Cameras Do You Need?
The first question you should ask yourself when buying a dash cam is how many cameras you need. Dash cams vary in terms of how much they record. If you only want to film out in front of your car, save money and get a cam that has a singles channel. If you’re looking for a wider field of view, you should choose a dash cam with multiple channels. Some have front and rear cameras, whereas others record the front and interior of your car.
In general, more channels means more money, so don’t buy any more than you need.
Field Of View
The field of view is important if you are getting a dash cam for accident purposes. It makes it much easier to see if a car ran a light and hit you, and it’s more likely that you can spot the license plate number.
It’s not always easy to get specifications on the field of view of dash cams, as manufacturers won’t always list them. Although you may not be able to find the exact field of view of a dash cam, you can often find screenshots taken with it. This gives you a rough idea of the field of view of the dash cam. We recommend taking a look at the user reviews and finding image screenshots — this will give you a good idea of just how wide the field of view is.
Not all dash cams will come with an attached screen. If you want to watch video directly from the camera or change settings, you should choose a dash cam that has a built-in screen.
Dash cams have improved immensely in recent years when it comes to video quality. But there’s still significant variation in resolution between cameras.
Consider why you are buying a dash cam. Do you want a camera that can clearly identify faces? Then you’ll need a dash cam with high resolution.
If you are using a dash cam for insurance purposes, you should also opt for a camera with high resolution. This will make it easier for the insurance company to clearly see what occurred during the accident.
In terms of video quality, the best you’ll find with dash cams is 4K. This will give you a resolution that’s equivalent to what you would get with a high end modern LED television.
Infrared Dash Cams
Many dash cams come with infrared (IR) sensors and night cameras that allow you to record video when it’s dark outside. If you plan on using your dash cam to record the interior of your car, it’s a good idea to get one that has IR capabilities. You’ll be able to clearly identify faces in the dark, proving that a specific person was in your car. You can also find dash cams that start recording when an IR sensor is triggered, which means you can record anyone who approaches your car.
In recent years, many companies have started adding GPS features to their dash cams, allowing you to track your speed and location in real time.
Why get a dash cam with GPS features? You can prove exactly how fast you were going at any given time, as well as where you were. It’s a great way of getting out of unfair tickets, and it can also help you defend yourself in court if you get into an accident.
If you run a shipping company, you can track the location of all of your vehicles, as well as see how fast they are going.
Find The Right Dash Cam For Your Car
A dash cam is a great addition to just about any car, helping keep you safe out on the road.
You can protect yourself from unfair tickets, as well as back up your version of events in the case of an accident.
If you drive for a ride-sharing service, you can record any passengers who get into your car, giving you more peace of mind as you drive.
But which dash cam should you choose? Specs vary widely depending on the cam, and many have added features that you don’t need. Compare and review our top dash cam picks and find the one that’s best for your car and for your budget. Once you know the type of dash cam you need, you’ll be driving more safely and securely in no time.
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