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10 best dash cams that provide peace of mind on every journey

With collision alerts, built-in wifi, night vision and more, these will help you feel safe on the road

Alistair Charlton
Wednesday 12 April 2023 14:15 BST
Rear, front and sometimes even interior cameras can automatically save footage when you need it
Rear, front and sometimes even interior cameras can automatically save footage when you need it (The Independent )

The dash cam market has grown significantly in recent years, and there’s now a broad range of devices on the market from several manufacturers – and yes, they’re all at various price points.

Fundamentally, they all do the same thing: automatically save footage when a collision is detected. But when you start investigating beyond the surface, some offer features like Alexa voice control, driver assistance technology, warnings about potential danger, and even navigation.

As for those varying price points we mentioned, some dash cams start at well under £100. But naturally, when you start looking at systems that combine a dash cam and satellite navigation system in one device, that figure gradually begins to climb, with some cams coming in at over £400.

Key differentiators include the video resolution of the dash cam, how wide the lens is, whether GPS is integrated (for adding location and speed data to recordings), and how many cameras are included.

Some systems include a rear-facing camera for recording behind your car, and others even have a camera pointing into the interior. The latter can be useful for taxi drivers with a need to keep tabs on unruly late-night passengers.

How we tested

We’ve used all of the dash cams featured in this guide. They have all spent time attached to our car and have been used for journeys both long and short. We have used them during the day and at night, and we’ve installed all of their smartphone applications to test out every feature.

What we haven’t done, thankfully, is had a crash with one. While it is possible to tap a dash cam onto a desk to see how quickly it starts recording after a collision, our budget didn’t quite stretch to intentionally crashing our car.

We used the dash cams both day and night (Alistair Charlton)

The best dashcams in 2023 are:

  • Best overall – Garmin 67W: £199.99, Halfords.com
  • Best value – Nextbase 222: £79.99, Argos.co.uk
  • Best for driver assistance – Thinkware Q800 pro: £174.15, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best for navigation – Garmin DriveCam 76: £419.99, Garmin.com

Garmin 67W

best dashcam
  • Best: Overall
  • Resolution: 1440p
  • Field of view: 180 degrees
  • GPS: Yes
  • Voice Control: Yes
  • Screen: 2in

For us, this is the ultimate dash cam. It is small, easy to use, records great footage and doesn’t distract the driver with the beeps and bongs of various assistance systems. It just gets on with the job of keeping a watchful eye out of the windscreen, recording in a resolution that is slightly above Full HD and through a very wide, 180-degree lens.

There’s also HDR technology for picking extra detail out of the highlights and shadows, the 2in screen is all you really need, and Garmin’s voice control works really well. The windscreen mount is also the best of any dash cam sold today, in our opinion. It is tiny and uses a coin-sized magnet that sticks to the screen with an adhesive pad, then snaps securely to the dash cam itself.

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Garmin mini 2

best dashcam
  • Best: For compact design
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Field of view: 149 degrees
  • GPS: No
  • Voice control: Yes
  • Screen: No

If you’re looking for a compact dash cam, then this is without doubt the one to buy. Now in its second generation, the Garmin dash cam mini is probably smaller than your car key fob, yet records at Full HD through a fairly wide lens, has voice control for when you want to turn the microphone on/off, or manually save a portion of footage, and takes up very little space.

This is a great option for smaller cars that don’t have much windscreen real estate, and in some vehicles can even be completely hidden behind the rear-view mirror. There’s no display, so you’ll need to set everything up using the Garmin smartphone app, but this is a fairly minor inconvenience.

We also like how up to four Garmin dash cams can be wirelessly synchronised via the app, then set up to record at the same time.

  1. £119 from Garmin.com
Prices may vary
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Nexar beam

best dashcam
  • Best: App design
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Field of view: 135 degrees
  • GPS: Yes
  • Voice control: Only via Siri
  • Screen: No

Nexra is a relative newcomer to the dash cam market, but the beam is also one of our favourites. As well as having a good-looking and fairly compact design, the beam shuns a microSD card slot in favour of integrated storage. It also has one of the best dash cam apps we have ever used, sending footage to your smartphone that includes a map to show precisely where your vehicle was when the collision occurred.

There’s also an automatic backup feature that saves footage to the cloud, via your smartphone’s web connection, the moment a crash is detected, ensuring the vital evidence is safe and easily accessible.

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Nextbase 222

best dashcam
  • Best: Value
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Field of view: 140 degrees
  • GPS: No
  • Voice control: No
  • Screen: 2.5in

If you’re looking for a dash cam that simply gets on with its job, without distracting you with a huge range of unwanted features, the Nextbase 222 is for you. Considering it comes from one of the best dash cam companies and boasts 1080p Full HD recording, as well as an intelligent parking mode that springs into life and starts recording the moment a car park prang is detected, at around £80 it’s also pretty good value. There’s the addition of a 2.5in touchscreen on the back, night vision for improved low-light video quality, and a relatively wide 140-degree lens, too.

  1. £79 from Argos.co.uk
Prices may vary
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Viofo A139 pr

best dashcam
  • Best: For taxi drivers
  • Resolution : 4K front, 1080p rear and interior
  • Field of view: 140 degrees front, 170 degrees rear and interior
  • GPS: Yes
  • Voice control: No
  • Screen: No

Bit of a niche one, this. But if you’re a taxi driver who needs to keep an eye on unruly passengers, this could be the perfect dash cam for you. It’s not just a two-channel camera that records through the front and rear windscreens, but also includes a third camera for facing the interior. You’ll need to include a sign stating that your passengers are being recorded, but this is otherwise a pretty subtle dash cam system, especially considering how much hardware is included.

The front-facing camera records in 4K resolution through a 140-degree lens, with the other two managing Full HD through wide, 170-degree lenses. Optional extras include a hardwiring kit for powering the dash cam when your car is switched off, and a handy Bluetooth button for manually saving footage with a simple press.

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Nextbase 622GW

best dashcam
  • Best: For video quality
  • Resolution : 4K
  • Field of view: 140 degrees
  • GPS: Yes
  • Voice control: Yes, Alexa
  • Screen: 3in

You want features? Like, a lot of features? Then the Nextbase 622GW is the dash cam for you. Not only does it record in ultra-sharp 4K resolution with HDR, but it also has GPS, integrated Alexa, an SOS system that automatically calls the emergency services if you don’t respond after a collision, a parking mode (when hardwired to the car) and What3words support. Phew!

If you don’t need 4K resolution (at 30 frames per second), the options of 1440p at 60fps or 1080p at a massive 120fps are also available, with the latter producing super-smooth footage. This really is a fully-fledged dashcam. And while the broad range of features won’t appeal to everyone, for those who are willing to make full use of it, the 622GW is hard to beat.

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Thinkware Q800 pro

best dashcam
  • Best: For driver assistance
  • Resolution : QHD, 2560 x 1440 (front), 1920 x 1080 (rear, optional)
  • Field of view: 140 degrees
  • GPS: Yes
  • Voice control: No
  • Screen: No

Unlike those from Garmin and Nextbase, Thinkware dash cams tend not to have a display on the back. This takes some functionality away, but leaves behind a distraction-free device that, when hardwired by a professional, looks like it was fitted to your car when it left the factory.

This is especially true of the Q800 Pro, which records at 2K resolution, has GPS with speed camera database, and has a design that fits neatly against the windscreen. Optional cloud connectivity lets you track the real-time location of your car and receive notifications if it is involved in a collision while someone else is driving it. An optional rear-facing camera is also available, which records at 1080p Full HD.

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Miofive 4K

best dashcam
  • Best: Dashcam from a startup
  • Resolution : 4K, 3840 x 2160
  • Field of view: 160 degrees
  • GPS: Yes
  • Voice control: No
  • Screen: 2.2in

Although Miofive is a lesser-known dash cam brand, its products aren’t to be sniffed at. This model shoots in 4K resolution – as you might have guessed from the name – and has a compact design, but which still manages to house a small display. Headline features include a wide, 160-degree lens, integrated GPS for adding location and speed data to your video recordings, and speedy wifi for transferring footage to your phone.

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Thinkware U1000

best dashcam
  • Best: For hardwiring
  • Resolution: 4K, 3840 x 2160
  • Field of view: 156 degrees
  • GPS: Yes
  • Voice control: No
  • Screen: No

The U1000 from Thinkware is another 4K dash cam that looks like it was fitted to your car at the factory. As well as the large-resolution sensor, it uses Thinkware’s super night vision 2.0 technology for improved low-light performance, plus there’s integrated GPS with a speed camera database to warn you if you’re driving too quickly, and a parking mode.

This dash cam is available as a one-channel or two-channel system, with the latter including a rear-facing camera that records at 1440p, a resolution slightly above Full HD, and has a wide 156-degree field-of-view. For those who want them, the U1000 has a suite of driver assistance systems, including lane departure warning, forward collision warning, and an alert to grab your attention when the vehicle in front has set off. Although it can be plugged into the 12V lighter socket, this is a dash cam that works best when hardwired into your vehicle for a constant source of power.

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Garmin DriveCam 76

best dashcam
  • Best: For navigation
  • Resolution : 1920 x 1080
  • Field of view: 140 degrees
  • GPS: Yes
  • Voice control: Yes
  • Screen: 6.95in

Do you need a dash cam that also doubles as a navigation system? That’s where the Garmin DriveCam 76 comes in. This is basically the Garmin Dash Cam 67W (£199.99, Halfords.com) featured above, but fitted to a navigation system with a large, 6.95in touchscreen display.

Ideal for vehicles that don’t have a modern infotainment system of their own, the DriveCam also supports hands-free calling via Bluetooth, live fuel prices at local petrol stations, live traffic and weather information, and displays notifications from your smartphone.

The system can even be hooked up to Garmin’s reversing camera (£129, Garmin.com), and the mapping system flags up useful stop points like fuel stations, cafes and other milestones that are on your route. It’s fairly big and certainly not cheap – and we know many drivers will opt to use their smartphone for navigation instead – but for a complete solution that bundles in a Full HD dash cam it’s a compelling option.

  1. £419 from Garmin.com
Prices may vary
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Dashcam FAQs

What is hardwiring?

Almost all dash cams can be plugged into the 12V lighter socket of your car. Some can also work with a USB port, although in some vehicles these don’t deliver enough power for the dash cam’s needs.

Another option offered by most systems is hardwiring. Often requiring an additional cable sold separately, this sees the camera connected to the fuse box of your car, from which it receives a constant source of power from the 12V battery. This means the dash cam can use its parking mode, which draws a very small amount of power from the battery, even while the car is switched off. This setup keeps the system alert and ready to start recording the moment an impact is detected.

Read more: 12 best compact cameras for the perfect shot every time

Most dash cams are smart enough not to drain the 12V battery too much, and will shut down before your car is in danger of not starting. It is also worth remembering that even electric cars with their huge power packs also have a conventional 12V battery, and it is this that powers the dash cam, not the main battery used to drive the car.

Hardwiring your dash cam is best left to a professional, as it involves routing the power cable behind the interior panels of your car. This can be a complex job, but once complete you’ll have a fully integrated dash cam with all of its cables neatly hidden away, and which looks like it was installed the day your car was built.

The verdict: Dashcams

Despite strong competition from a wide range of rival companies, the Garmin 67W is the best dash cam you can buy today. It is compact and easy to use, while recording 1440p video with HDR through one of the widest lenses of any dash cam. It isn’t cheap, but we think it’s an investment worth making.

If you’re on a tighter budget then it’s hard to look past the Nextbase 222. For just £80 you get a dash cam from a reputable brand that records in Full HD and even has a decent-sized touchscreen on the back.

If you want a dash cam with every conceivable feature, the Nextbase 622GW is the one for you. From 4K video and GPS, to Alexa voice control and even an emergency SOS system that calls for help and shares your location if you have a major accident, it could literally be a live-saver.

For peace of mind when you’re online, here’s our roundup of the best VPNs to choose in 2023

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