A mini camera, or dash cam for your car is just a smart choice these days.
Between bad and/or angry drivers, thieves, abusive cops and so much more, it’s a very good idea to protect yourself by having a video recording of any potential incident.
It is such a good idea, that manufacturers are now offering this as a standard option in their cars, like BMW’s Advanced Car Eye.
There are a ton of benefits to having a mini cam for your car. It can provide evidence in case you get into an accident and it can combat road rage, since the presence of a camera will encourage people to be on their best behavior.
A dash cam is also a good idea if others will be driving your car or cars. Perhaps you own a taxi company or you have teenage children. The camera allows you to be sure your car is being driven safely.
Police offers use them all the time as well to back up their reports. They can be useful for preventing insurance fraud. Did you really hit that person in the crosswalk, or did they run into your car when you were completely stopped? A dash cam can provide irrefutable evidence in these kinds of cases.
But you want to make sure you get a good one. That;s why we’ve narrowed down all the options to only the best. Let’s compare all of our top picks, then we’ll have brief reviews of each below.
Best Cameras For Cars Compared
Best Spy Cam
Best Dual Cam
Before we get to the reviews of each of those models, let’s briefly cover what exactly we are talking about when we say “dash cam” or “spy cam for your car.” What is the difference?
What Is A Mini Car Camera?
So, what is a dash cam? Basically, it’s a small camera that is put on your car’s dashboard or windshield. From there it records everything happening ahead of you. You may want a camera that records what’s happening behind you as well and the two are often sold as dual car cameras.
What About A Spy Camera For Cars?
Most dash cams are obvious to any observer and can be plainly seen. However, there are also spy cameras for cars that are less obvious. These button cameras, or mini cameras are so small that they blend into the background and may not be noticed unless someone is doing active counter-surveillance.
Best Small Car Cameras
Which ones do we recommend? We’ve done the hard work and put all these cameras through their paces. The result? Recommendations for the top car cameras and spy dash cams for your money.
Apeman Dash Cam
APEMAN Dash Cam 1080P FHD DVR Car Driving Recorder 3 Inch LCD Screen 170° Wide Angle, G-Sensor,...
- 1080P FULL HD DASH CAM - Simultaneous recording with Super High Resolution 1080P FHD Lens supporting...
- 170° SUPER WIDE ANGLE - This car driving recorder employs 170° super wide angle lens. Ultra-wide...
- BUILT IN G-SENSOR - With built-in G-sensor, apeman dashboard camera can automatically detect a...
- SUPER NIGHT VISION - The combination of F1.8 large aperture, WDR, HDR ensures the clarity of images...
- EASY TO SET UP & USE - Motion Detection, Seamless Loop Recording, Parking Monitor satisfy your need...
Our overall winner for the best dash cam is this one from Apeman. It’s a top-quality car camera with a ton of features that you’ll love. The best part? It’s super easy to set up and get running, perfect for your first one.
It you don’t need a spy camera, but just want something that does the job, this may be your best bet. It has a large, 3 inch screen that allows you to easily set the menu options.
It’s robust, and capable of doing a lot of things for such a small, affordable package. Keep reading to learn more about why we like it so much.
- 1080P full HD recording
- 3 inch LCD screen
- 170 degree wide angle viewing
- Loop recording once the memory card is full
- Night vision
- Motion detector
- G-Sensor that can detect a sudden shake or accident and lock the footage to prevent losing valuable information when in an accident
- Parking monitor for up to 24 hours when the engine is not running
- Supports up to a 32 GB memory card (not included)
- External power is required (small back-up battery only for emergency use)
- Comes with suction and adhesive mounts
“Took me just a few minutes to set up and it came all neatly packaged up into a small box. Works well in low light conditions and basically just does the job it says it will do—recording what’s happening while you’re driving. Also like the parking monitor thing for up to 24 hours. It’s ideal for parking it in high crime areas.”
“I kind of thought you get what you pay for and worried about choosing a lower price dash cam (some of them are a few hundred dollars). I’m happy to report I was very wrong! This thing has a ton of features and I actually couldn’t be happier with it. It does everything I need it to do, and even more.”
Apeman Dash Cam Video Review
Where Can I Get It?
This top-of-the-line dash camera can be easily found on Amazon.com. Check now for the current price and more info.
DZF Tech Cop Spy Camera For Car
[Upgrade Version] Mini Spy Camera Cop Spy Cam 1080P Spy Camera Wireless Hidden Support 128 gb Card...
- ✔The Newest Version Computer video camera: Support up to 128gb sd card.Long working time(90-120...
- ✔Loop Recording: The computer camera also supports loop recording, ensuring that it won’t stop...
- ✔High Definition: The web camera brings with a 1080p senor, which captures over 12 million...
- ✔Night Vision and Motion Detection: The webcam 1080P also approves night vision. TR lights inside...
- ✔Easy to use: The operation is so easy to play. Mini cameras can record or pause by just pressing...
If you’re looking for something that’s small, and will likely be unnoticeable to most people, then consider this car spy camera. It’s discrete, works well and also sells for a very reasonable price.
Because it doesn’t run on Wi-Fi (records to an SD card), it’s ideal for the car. It just does its thing, and if you have a problem, you can go back through the footage to see what happened. You should be able to get it set up in just a few minutes. Basically, just set and forget.
- High quality HD recording
- Records audio as well
- Magnetic bracket mount included
- Night vision (20 foot distance)
- Motion detection that activates recording
- Automated memory management (the oldest pictures are deleted to make room for new ones automatically)
What Do People Think About It?
“Works as stated and does the job. The night vision doesn’t work that well in total darkness, but does do the job in lower light conditions. Simple to use and I like the fact that it records to a card instead of relying on Wi-Fi. This makes it ideal to use in my car as kind of cheaper dash cam.”
“Not a Go-Pro or something like that, but it does take decent enough videos to see clearly what’s going on. I bought this to use in my car and it works really well for that. Love having some footage in case I get into an accident or have an encounter with the police.”
Does it sound like the right mini car camera for you? You can easily find it online—check now for the current price.
Rexing V1P Dual Front And Rear Car Camera
Rexing V1P 2.4" LCD FHD 1080p 170 Degree Wide Angle Dual Channel Wi-Fi Dashboard Camera Recorder Car...
- DUAL CHANNEL RECORDING & DISCREET DESIGN DASH CAM: Signature low-profile design allows the V1P to be...
- 170 DEGREE ULTRA WIDE ANGLE LENS & WIDE DYNAMIC RANGE: The 7 layer glass lens opens up to capture a...
- SUPERCAPACITOR & PARKING MONITOR: The dash cam uses a supercapacitor which can withstand extreme...
- WIFI CONNECT: View, save, and share dash cam recordings wirelessly on your mobile device with the...
- LOOP RECORDING AND G-SENSOR: Video can be recorded in 1, 2, or 3 minute intervals. When the storage...
Next up on our list is one of the most expensive options. But, in addition to a camera that you place on your dash, you also get one for the rear of your car.
This can be very useful in case you get rear-ended, or it can also catch vandalism or theft happening around the trunk of your car. Although it’s not a spy camera for your car, it is quite small and discrete. The average person walking by your car won’t really notice it unless they look very closely.
Keep reading to find out more about this top-quality car camera.
- High quality 1080P recording at 30 FPS
- 170 degree viewing angle
- Front and rear cameras
- Dual channel dashboard
- Loop recording
- G-sensor (accident auto-detection)
- Performs well in low-light conditions
- Supports SD cards up to 256 GB
- Parking monitor that runs on battery for up to 24 hours
- Auto on/off
- High temperature resistance
What Are People Saying About It?
“One accident more than payed for it already. We had proof that I wasn’t at fault and the result? My insurance premiums won’t be raised.”
“Love having the front, as well as rear camera. This takes a bit of time to get set up, but definitely worth it and I appreciate having this feature that many other cameras don’t have. Be sure to get the firmware updates with this device…you’ll find that it doesn’t work that well unless you do it.”
Rexing VP1 Video Review
Get Yours Today
If you want a premium dash cam option, then this may be the right one for you. Check it out for yourself on Amazon to learn more.
Garmin Dash Cam 55
Garmin Dash Cam 55, 1440p 2.0" LCD Screen, Extremely Small GPS-enabled Dash Camera with Voice...
- Extremely small GPS enabled dash cam, inconspicuous when magnetically mounted on windshield
- High quality 3. 7 megapixel camera with 1440P video capture; works even in low light conditions
- Forward collision and lane departure warnings plus alerts for nearby red light cameras and speed...
- Voice control allows you to start/stop recording, take a still picture or start/stop the travel apse...
- Notice: Some jurisdictions regulate or prohibit use of this device. It is your responsibility to...
One of the highest end options is this one from Garmin. The 2 inch screen allows for instant playback, and it also has high-qualtiy video that records the time and location data.
Along with the smartphone app and a ton of extra features like forward collision and lane departure warnings, it’s an obvious winner. Keep reading to learn more.
- Top-quality 1440P recording capability
- 2 inch screen
- GPS enabled
- Loop recording
- Gravity sensor in case of accident
- Voice control
- Driver alerts (collision and lane departure)
- Red light and speed camera alerts
- Includes a memory card
- Inconspicuous when mounted on the windshield (magnetically)
- Works well in low light conditions
- Wirelessly sync to your smartphone
What Do People Think About It?
“There are lots of negative reviews that mention this thing overheating. However, once you install the latest firmware, you should have no problems whatsoever. Like with any electronic device, it’s important to keep it up to date. I think it’s an amazing tool to keep an eye on things when I’m driving. I love the alerts, especially the one about drifting over into the other lane.”
“Just works well and is easy to get set up in a few minutes. I’m very happy with it would recommend it to anyone. Garmin is one of the most trusted names in the GPS space, and this unit lives up to that reputation.”
Does it sound like the right dash cam for your car? You can easily find it online. Check now for the current price and more info about the Garmin Dash Cam.
Factors To Consider When Buying A Mini Car Camera
There are a number of things you should consider when buying a camera for your car. Here are a few of the most important ones.
This should definitely be your top consideration. Most cameras have HD 1080P recording capabilities. This means that the image will be sharp, clear and will provide adequate footage to the police or insurance company should you get into an accident.
The Garmin Dash Cam that we’ve reviewed here offers 1440P, a cut above their competition.
These days, most spy cameras and dash cams offer top-notch lenses, even at the lower end so there’s no excuse to settle for something less than this.
Front Only, Or Front And Rear Cameras
Some people may only require a front-facing camera, while others may want a rear-facing camera as well. Having both cameras increases the cost, but it may be worth it to you to have this.
Spy Camera, Or Out In Plain Sight
You may want a spy camera for your car that’s small, discrete and unnoticeable. This could be a nice solution if you have frequent incidents of vandalism in your neighborhood for example.
Memory Card Capacity
Most mini car cameras don’t come with an included memory card. You’ll have to provide your own.
However, where they do differ is what capacity they can handle. This ranges from 28 GB to 256 GB or even more. Obviously, the higher the better so that you have more footage at your disposal.
The way it works is that these things record on a loop. Once the memory card is full, it automatically starts to delete old footage to replace it with newer stuff.
Night Vision And Motion Sensor Quality
Most mini cameras have a motion sensor of some kind. This is very useful because you really only need footage when something in going on, not all the time.
However, only some of the higher end cameras have night vision.
For both night vision and motion detection, quality varies widely. The top of the line cameras are excellent in most cases, while the cheaper ones barely work at all in some cases!
There are various ways to install a car camera. They include:
- Permanent (glue or something sticky)
- A clip
What’s best for you really depends on your needs.
Mini Car Cameras: Your Thoughts
What’s your top pick for a dash cam, or a spy cam for cars? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
Last update on 2020-03-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API