The 7 Best Dash Cams to Buy in 2017

These must-have cameras will be your second set of eyes

A dash cam is a small digital video camera that mounts to the dashboard and records the driver’s journey whenever the car is turned on and moving. And it can be a crucial tool for ensuring safety on the road and expediting proceedings with the courts and insurance companies in case of an accident. A good dash cam can guard against illegal activity, show who was at fault during an accident, show speed, direction, driver behavior and more. For anyone who spends a fair amount of time traveling on the road, it's a must-own product. To this end, we’ve compiled a list of the top seven dash cams available, so read on to see which best suits your needs.

Best Overall: Garmin Dash Cam 35

Garmin Dash Cam 35
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The Garmin Dash Cam 35 is Garmin’s flagship model, and it’s about as good as it gets. It includes a built-in GPS system, full high-definition camera and a 3” wide screen.

The camera records in 1080p resolution at 30 frames per second, giving it an excellent, clear picture for recording your journey. Its 180-degree viewing angle is class-leading; you’ll get the most accurate representation of the road ahead in your recordings. A potential downside of the U.S. version of the Dash Cam 35 is that it doesn’t have the facility to record audio.

This dash cam will record roughly an hour of footage at a time, and this can can be increased, thanks to an available 64-gigabyte MicroSD card (sold separately), which is an entirely worthwhile investment for those who regularly make longer trips.

The Garmin Dash Cam 35 goes above and beyond the usual features of a dash cam. For extra safety behind the wheel, the Garmin 35 includes a forward collision warning that sounds if one’s car is too close to the car ahead. The Dash Cam 35 has incident detection technology that will automatically record in the case of a collision. Red light and speed camera warnings can warn you ahead of time of potential pitfalls on the road. Note that the speed camera warning function requires a subscription and may be illegal to use in some jurisdictions. For those in applicable jurisdictions, it may be a truly handy feature that will help you to avoid legal trouble.

Finally, as an extra added bonus, this dash cam can be used to take still pictures from inside or outside of the car in order to assess accident damage. Overall, it is one of the best dash cams on the market, and the clear high-end choice for 2017. 

Best Budget: ZeroEdge

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The ZeroEdge 2.4” dash cam is both compact and a fantastic value. It offers the choice of recording at 480p, 720p, or 1080p HD formats. It features a secure, lockable suction-cup mount, is quite compact at 2.8” x 2.5” x 1.3”, and gives a clear, bright picture on the HD display screen. Still pictures can be taken at a resolution of up to 4 megapixels. And unlike some much more expensive offerings, audio recording is available.

The ZeroEdge has a particularly handy feature - low light compensation. This ensures that the footage will be of high quality even when driving in the evening or at night. This can’t quite compete with a dash cam with true night vision, but its works reasonably well on the ZeroEdge. The ZeroEdge has a reasonable view angle of 130 degrees, so it will capture a lot of what’s happening in front of your car at all times.

Despite the low price, safety features have not been ignored on this model, with automatic crash, ignition, motion and vibration detection through a G-sensor. The display automatically shuts down during parking to help save energy.

There’s only 32 MB of internal storage (good for 15 minutes of recording), but an included 16-gigabyte TF card expands the recording space capability to nearly four hours of time at 1080p resolution. You can extend this even further if you’re willing to reduce the resolution to 720p or lower.

If you’re looking for a fully functional dash cam on a budget, the ZeroEdge is the best choice currently available. Perhaps the screen is a little small and the camera’s viewing angle isn’t as good as more expensive models’ viewing angles, but at less than $50, the ZeroEdge is punching way above its weight.

Best Front and Rear Camera: Blackvue DR650GW-2CH

Blackvue DR650GW-2CH
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The Blackvue DR650GW-2CH is a premium product for those who really want the best security possible from a dash cam. The product features both front and rear HD cameras that record what’s happening both in front of and behind the car. This makes the Blackvue the clear choice for those highly concerned about accidents and insurance fraud. This complete peace of mind does come at a price premium – the 16 GB model starts at around $350, and you can choose anything up to a 128 GB model that’ll set you back around $430.

The front camera records a clear 1080p HD picture at 30 frames per second. The rear camera also records at 30 fps, but records at a slightly lower picture quality at 720p. A G-sensor allows the dash cam to detect a crash automatically, and creates a timestamp which can be used later for evidence in court.

The DR650GW-2CH has built-in WiFi and a smartphone app for Android and iOS that allows you to review and control recordings wirelessly from your device. This is a great feature that can be used to easily show police or other drivers on the scene exactly what occurred in the case of an accident.

With its ability to offer recording in the front and at the rear, the Blackvue is one of the best dash cams available.

Best High Quality Video: Z-Edge Z3

Z-Edge Z3
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The Z-Edge Z3 excels at a dash cam’s most important job – accurately capturing the scene with a high quality video. No other dash cam offers a better picture. With its Super HD 2560 x 1080 resolution camera, your recorded videos are so detailed you’ll need a high resolution monitor or TV to view them in all their glory! The camera’s 170-degree angle is also excellent, picking up everything that happens at the front and sides of your car.

The Z-Edge Z3 is also an economical choice, especially when you consider it comes with a 32 GB SD card and an extra-long USB cable bundled in. There’s no GPS or WiFi connectivity, but a G-sensor allows for automatic crash detection and the Z3 can be set up to record continuously while the ignition is on. The three-inch screen is nice and clear, and the LCD can be set to automatically switch off after a set period to save energy.

A worthy contender for best overall dash cam, the Z-Edge Z3 is the choice for you if you want the best possible picture from your dash cam and don’t need GPS or WiFi connectivity.

Best Ease of Use: Falcon F170

Falcon F170
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A 1080p dash cam, the Falcon F170 records at 30 frames per second and covers a wide 170-degree viewing angle. With its 3.0-megapixel CMOS sensor and Wide Dynamic Range, it can record well in low light conditions.

There’s support for SD cards up to 64 GB, and a 32 GB SD card is bundled in at the price. The F170’s four-inch screen is much larger than most screens on the market, and its touchscreen functionality is a joy to use. The menu design is intuitive and finding the feature or configuration you need is a cinch. By default, the F170 is ready to begin 24/7 recording without interaction from the user. It will automatically overwrite the oldest recordings on your SD card, essentially meaning you can “set and forget” it. Installation is simple, too, with the F170’s patented quick mount bracket.

The F170 supports GPS and since all of your travel will be recorded, you can upload your travels to your computer and view them on Google Maps through Falcon’s DashCam Viewer software.

For a high quality dash cam that’s super simple to set up and always works flawlessly, choose the Falcon F170.

Runner-Up, Best Budget: Spy Tec G1W-C

Spy Tec G1W-C
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While a little more expensive than the ZeroEdge, the Spy Tec G1W-C features a similar high-definition 1080p resolution camera, but only captures a 120-degree angle.

With its petite 2.7” screen, the G1W-C has a sleek, space-saving design. The Spy Tec doesn’t have the premium safety features that many more expensive models do, but does feature support for a 64-gigabyte Micro SD card (not included). This model avoids the problem of batteries running out of power by using a capacitor instead for power. This does mean that the G1W-C must be always connected by USB. For a good budget dash cam, the Spy Tec G1W-C is a reasonable choice, but be prepared to buy a Micro SD card alongside its purchase, which of course increases the total expenditure somewhat.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: KDLINKS X1 Dash Cam

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The X1 has nearly as many premium features as the Garmin 35. It’s slightly less expensive, and it is only lacking a few of the more advanced features you get with the Garmin 35. The 2.7” screen is smaller than the Garmin 35, but the camera is excellent, powerful enough to allow the clear reading of a license plate at a reasonable distance. It has an excellent 165-degree viewing angle. The camera records at 1080p high-def resolution at 30 frames per second, much like the Garmin. It has a night-vision feature using f.16 six-glass lenses and comes with a useful 8 GB micro SD card for lengthy recording. Should you need more, this camera supports up to 32 gigabytes of extra recording space with the purchase of a larger Micro SD card.

The KDLINKS X1 features a built-in GPS module that saves the GPS data on video clips to track your travel. This can help prove a lack of culpability in court. An emergency lock button can be engaged in the case of an accident, and your recorded video will be protected from being overwritten. The accident auto detection feature can kick in when a collision is detected.

If you would prefer to save a little money in exchange for fewer features and a somewhat smaller recording space, the KDLINKS is an outstanding choice for the money. In addition, if you plan to do a lot of driving at night, the KDLINKs’ night vision camera is one of the best.


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