So you’ve decided to purchase a dash camera - you’re on the right track! With such a vast variety of dash cameras on the market, how should you choose which dash camera is the right one for you? Here are several criteria for you to narrow down your choices:
- Budget: How much are you willing to spend?
- Reliability: Does the dash camera you are purchasing have a lot of problems or require a lot of maintenance?
- Recording Capability - 1 Channel vs 2 Channel
- Video Quality & Coverage: How important is the quality of your video to you?
- Memory Card Capabilities
- Discreteness: How visible do you want your dash camera to be?
The prices of dash cameras can vary significantly from as low as $50 to up to more than $500 depending on what you features you are looking for. While you may be looking to spend as little money as possible, this may not always be the optimal choice! Many first time users will spend money on a low-priced model, only to spend more for a high-end model several months down the road due dissatisfaction with the low-priced model. Settling for a quality dash camera and buying right the first time will actually help save you money in the long run. Besides, your dash camera is almost like an insurance on your safety on the road, and for your vehicle. Buying right the first time will actually help save you money, and provide you with a tested, reliable dash cam you can trust to work when you need it most.
Ensure that the dash camera you are purchasing is a reliable model! Check reviews of the dash cameras you are buying and compare them. You should check for features that will allow the dash camera to work optimally in different conditions, such as it being able to withstand high temperatures. You should check on recently known problems for the dash cameras you are looking at. We at DashCam Bros only sell the highest quality cameras. We stand behind all of our products with product warranties. If customers are consistently experiencing problems with certain dash cameras and returning them, that is detrimental to our business. Therefore, we look to avoid that headache by only selling quality, reputable dash cams and brands that our customers have positive experiences with.
Recording Capability - 1 Channel vs 2 Channel:
Do you want to only record what is ahead of your vehicle (1 Channel)? Or do you wish to record both what is ahead of the vehicle, as well as what is behind the vehicle, or even inside the vehicle (2 Channel)? Different drivers will find different needs. Most drivers looking for a dash cam to protect themselves on the road will look for a 1-channel dash cam that is mounted on the windshield and forward facing, meaning it can only record what is happening on the road in front of the car. This is a great way to gain familiarity with dash cams, and these cameras are usually less costly than a 2-channel setup. However, a lot of drivers want full protection in both the front and the rear, and will pay the extra price for the peace of mind and settle for a 2-channel dash cam. This complete coverage leaves nothing up to interpretation should there be an incident. Some drivers such as taxi/Uber/Lyft drivers are interested in recording the internal of the vehicle to record passengers, and would benefit from cameras with infrared capabilities. Again, every driver has a different preference, and if you are unsure which option is best for you, please feel free to contact us via email or the live chat button, and we can help you figure out what's best for your needs.
Video Quality & Coverage:
Video quality & resolution is perhaps one of the most important qualities to look for in a dash camera. When an accident occurs, it is imperative that the details of the accident can be seen from the camera footage. Video quality ranges from 480p up to 1296p. A higher quality camera (1080p and up) will be able to make out license plates, an extremely important aspect of capturing accidents. The higher quality of the video footage, the more storage space the footage will take up on the memory card, which will lead us to the next deciding factor.
Memory Card Capabilities:
The memory card is arguably one of the most important pieces of a dash camera. The best quality camera in the world is no good if the memory card is faulty, and the footage does not properly write or save. The speed in which a memory card can write (also called “write speed”) is important when picking a quality memory card, and is determined by the “class” of the memory card. Classes 2, 4, 6, and 10 denote the minimum write speeds in MB’s, meaning a Class 2 card has minimum write speeds of 2 MB’s, while a Class 10 card has a guaranteed minimum of 10 MB’s. Most dash cam manufacturers recommend using a Class 6 rated card, or higher. An incompatible card can lead to choppy video playback, incomplete files and other problems.
As a general guideline, the following times below are an approximation of how long a dash camera will record in HD before the card loops (begins recording over from the beginning of the card). If you are recording in standard definition, you can expect the recording times to be double the lengths listed below before the camera loops.
- 8GB card - 2-3 hours
- 16GB card - 4-6 hours
- 32GB card - 6-12 hours
- 64GB card - 10-20 hours
- 128GB card - 20-40 hours
Does it matter to you if your dash camera is visible to others? Dash cameras are in a variety of shapes and sizes. Many consumers prefer to have a dash camera that is inconspicuous and not clearly visible from the outside in order to prevent drawing unwanted attention. It is recommended for those who have larger dash cameras to remove them from the vehicle each time they are not in use. Our BlackVue dash cams are a favorite because of how sleek and compact the designs are, as well as their ability to be removed from their mounting bracket in under a second.
We hope this guide helped you have a better understanding how to pick the right dash cam for your needs! Again, please feel free to contact us with any questions!