Dash cams make for hilarious YouTube videos, but there's a more serious, practical use, mainly by recording traffic incidents so you don’t get blamed (if it isn’t your fault). We think the best dash cam of 2016 is the ProofCam RAC 05, but there are plenty of alternatives to suit you needs.
A 2.7-inch screen on the back of the ProofCam RAC 05 enables you to play video through the camera. You can mute the microphone at any time with the touch of a button. The box also includes an 8 GB memory card so you can get going right away, plus there's lifetime safety camera and speed alerts as well as GPS. All-in-all, a pretty compelling dashcam package!
How to choose the best dash cam for you
These are a selection of the best dash cams available in the UK, they all automatically record footage when they sense a collision, but some of them have a few extra abilities. They’re certainly a worthwhile investment, and could end up saving you a lot of money in insurance premiums (for example, Adrian Flux will give you a 15-percent discount car insurance with most of these cameras).
There are two main types of dash cam - ones with screens, and models without. Dash cams with screens are easier to set up and view footage on, but ones without screens are a lot less intrusive. Both are useful, but we'd choose one with a screen for occasional recording (track days and scenic drives), but one without a screen setup and forget about for everyday driving.
The key feature to look out for are wi-fi, so you can connect your smartphone and view the footage on that, but there's also gimmicks such as lane departure warning and forward collision warning - these don't work very well.
It's also important to note, that while these are battery powered, we've found they all have sub-one hour battery lives. That means they're going to require a power cable, similar to a sat nav.
The 9 best dash cams you can buy today
Here are the 9 best dash cams available right now.
1. ProofCam RAC 05
Simply the best, one of the most fully-featured cams around
Camera: 150° FOV, Super HD 1296p | Screen: 2.7-inch LCD TFT | GPS: Yes
Proofcam RAC 05
The RAC 05 is a pretty straight forward dash cam, but it’s also one of the most fully featured we’ve seen.
The 05 comes with GPS tracking, lifetime safety camera and speed alerts (in over 80 countries), as well as forward collision and lane departure warning.
We were super impressed with the image quality of the RAC 05, and for £149.99, it’s reasonably well priced considering the number of features it packs in.
RAC Insurance customers can also save £30 on the annual cover.
2. Thinkware F770
Video quality good, night mode very impressive
Camera: 1080p Full HD | Screen: No Screen | GPS: Yes
The Thinkware F770 is probably the dash cam that we've used for the longest amount of time - mainly because it's so low profile you just forget about it (which is kind of what you want with these devices).
The F770 is fixed to your car windscreen with 3M tape, and as there's no screen, it means you can essentially hide it behind the rear view mirror. We think that's the best place for them.
The F770 comes with GPS tracking, lifetime safety camera and speed alerts, as well as Safety Warnings such as forward collision and lane departure awareness.
The HD video quality is good, and the night mode is very impressive. There's built-in Wi-Fi so you can connect to your smartphone, and a Time Lapse Mode which records your parked for 48-hours. That's great if you're worried about the vehicle being vandalised while left at night.
3. NextBase Duo TwinCam
12.5-percent discount on car insurance
Camera: 14MP, 720p x2 | Screen: 2.7-inch LED | GPS: Yes
NextBase Duo TwinCam
The NextBase Duo TwinCam, as the name suggests (twice), has not one, but two cameras. One facing forward, and one facing rearwards, each recording at 720p.
The rear facing camera isn’t wide angle, it looks through the rear window (no diving selfies for you!) It does synchronise footage and play it back simultaneously.
The major selling point with NextBase dash cams is that Swiftcover will give you a 12.5-percent discount on car insurance, which could be massive, as long as you qualify and meet all of the terms and conditions etc.
4. Garmin Dash Cam 30
No-nonsense camera which gives you peace of mind
Camera: Full HD 1080p | Screen: 1.4-inch LCD | GPS: No
Garmin Dash Cam 30
The Garmin 30 is one of the more basic cams on this list, but it’s also one of the cheapest, which is a bonus.
The 30 doesn’t feature GPS, but it does record HD content, and it’s small and unintrusive.
If you want GPS you can plump out a little more for the Garmin 35, but if you want a no-nonsense camera which gives you peace of mind, we’d suggest the 30.
5. ProofCam RAC 03
Matches RAC 05 in terms or image quality
Camera: 16MP, 150º FOV, Super HD 1296p | Screen: 4.3” TFT LCD | GPS: Yes
ProofCam RAC 03
Another device from the ProofCam / RAC alliance, and it’s a really nice idea. Instead of taking up precious windscreen-real-estate, it simply clips over your wing mirror.
It matches our favourite RAC 05 in terms or image quality as well, with 150º lens and Super HD recording.
RAC Insurance customers can also save £30 on the annual cover.
6. Mio MiVue 688
Includes Wi-Fi to connect directly to your phone
Camera: 140º, Full HD | Screen: 2.7-inch touchscreen | GPS: Yes
Mio MiVue 688
The Mio MiVue is a really neat little device, but despite the dinky body, it manages to squeeze in a reasonably sized 2.7-inch screen on it.
The Mio MiVue is one for tech fans amongst us, featuring GPS tracking, lifetime speed limit notifications, but NO Wi-Fi so it can't connect directly to your phone.
Footage is captured in Full HD at 30fps, and Mio uses Sony's optic sensor so it looks really impressive, especially in low light. The one button/touch screen combination is intuitive, but it features a 3-axis G-sensor to automatically record in the event of a collision.
7. NextBase RIDE
Weatherproof bike camera
Camera: Full HD 1080p | Screen: 1.5-screen LED | GPS: Yes
Of course, dash cams aren’t just for cars, NextBase also sells a weatherproof bike camera.
This is actually the first dash cam developed specifically for motorbike riders, it has a waterproof IPx6 housing, records in full HD with WiFi and GPS included.
It has a built-in battery which lasts around an hour, and it’s RAM mount and handlebar mount compatible.
8. Cobra CDR 900E
All-bells-and-whistles dash cam
Camera: 160º, Super HD 1296p | Screen: 2.0-inch LCD | GPS: Optional
Cobra CDR 900E
The Cobra is an all-bells-and-whistles dash cam, with live streaming - meaning your mum can watch at home while you knock a cyclist off their bike (not fatally). Such larks.
Of course, it still manages to do everything else, including recording Super HD footage.
It's compact, and links via Wi-Fi directly to an iOS or Android device, meaning you can instantly view and share footage, as well as control settings in the menu.
9. Garmin NuviCam
The NuviCam is both sat nav and dash cam
Camera: Full HD 1080p | Screen: 6.0-inch touchscreen | GPS: Yes
We really like this multi-tasking device. The NuviCam is both sat nav and dash cam, which is a really clever idea, as it makes both devices relevant, rather than having two separate gadgets suckered onto your windscreen.
The large 6-inch display is great for viewing footage, but it can be a bit distracting (as it’s so large). As well as navigation, it’ll also provide forward collision and lane departure warning.
It’s the most expensive device on this list, but it’s also the most talented. Certainly worth consideration if you’re not fully sold on a standalone dash cam yet.