The 7 Best Dash Cams With Parking Mode 2018

If you want to keep your car safe from vandalism or hit-and-runs while it’s parked, you may be wondering which dash cams are best fit for this purpose. We’ve compiled an overview of the best dash cams for parking surveillance this year that should make it a lot easier for you to decide which one to buy.

Below, we’ll explain in detail how parking mode works, and how to set it up. Here’s a quick overview of our favorite parking mode dash cams for 2018:

  1. Thinkware F800 Pro — Best front & rear video, most versatile parking mode
  2. BlackVue DR750S-2CH — Best cloud connectivity to watch footage remotely
  3. Thinkware X500D — Decent and reliable mid-price front and rear cam
  4. Mini 0906 — Cheapest dual-lens cam
  5. BlackVue DR750S-1CH — Like DR750S-2CH, but without the rear camera
  6. Vicovation Vico-Opia2 — Best video quality (single lens only)
  7. Anker Roav C1 — Cheap and easy to set up, but has limitations

Click the links to scroll down to the individual descriptions. For your convenience, we’ve also put a comparison table near the end of this article that lists the most important features of each camera.

What Is Parking Mode?

Parking mode allows you to keep your dash cam running while your car is parked. That way, you’ll have video footage in the case of a hit-and-run or vandalism incident.

In order to not fill up its memory card with useless files in which nothing is going on, the dash camera should only save files when it detects an event. An event can either be an impact that is detected by the camera’s G-sensor, or a motion that is detected visually in the camera’s field of view.

Note that while virtually all modern dash cameras have a G-sensor that can detect impacts to your car, only some of them additionally support visual motion detection. Keep in mind that using motion detection makes sense when you’re parking in a quiet spot. On a busy street however where people are walking by all the time, it may lead to your camera recording all of the time, wasting precious battery power as well as storage space.

Different Kinds Of Parking Mode

1. Simple parking mode: If an impact or motion is detected by the camera, it will come alive and start recording, hopefully catching the perpetrator. This type of parking mode is by far the most energy efficient of the three. The problem with simple parking mode is that in the time it takes the camera to wake up and start recording, whoever damaged your car might already be gone.

2. Buffered parking mode (recommended): The camera records continuously, and saves the video footage to internal memory. When an impact or motion is detected, a couple of seconds (typically 10 or 20) before and after the event will be saved to the camera’s SD card, in a special write protected folder so it doesn’t get overwritten. An alert will also be shown when you get back to your car, so you will be aware something happened.

3. Time-lapse mode: An alternative to the above modes is time-lapse mode, in which the camera shoots a still picture every second or so (1fps). This allows you to watch a time-lapse version of what was going on around your car while you were gone. Some cameras will additionally switch to normal recording for a certain period of time after they detect an event.

So which of the three modes is best?

Usually, we prefer buffered parking mode, as you get a video of everything that happens around your car. However, when your car is parked in a busy street or in a parking lot with lots of movement, then with buffered parking mode, the motion detection would kick in all the time and fill your memory card with useless video. In that case, time-lapse parking mode is better.

On the other hand, when parking for long periods of time, simple parking mode may be best as it consumes the least amount of energy.

Power Supply For Parking Mode Dash Cams

A dashboard camera’s internal battery typically has a very low capacity, mainly intended to allow the device to shut down gracefully and not lose any footage in case of a power cutoff. For the camera to keep recording even when ignition is off, the dash cam needs to be hard wired to your car’s internal electrical circuitry (with a Hard Wiring Kit) instead of simply plugged into the cigarette lighter.

Note that a simple hard wiring kit will NOT prevent you car’s battery from being drained if you keep your dash cam running continuously. To keep your battery healthy, there are a couple of options available:

1. Battery Discharge Prevention (BDP):  A device that is installed between your dash cam and the car’s fuse box. It continuously monitors your car battery’s voltage, and when voltage drops below a preset (often configurable) level, power to the dash cam will be cut off in order to prevent further draining of the battery.

Battery discharge prevention devices typically cost between $30-$60 and are available from various manufacturers. You don’t need to worry about getting them from the same manufacturer that made your dash cam, they should be completely interchangeable.

Popular devices include BlackVue’s Power Magic Pro and VicoVation’s Vico Power-Plus. The Power Magic Pro costs less and is a bit simpler. The Vico Power-Plus on the other hand is more sophisticated, allowing you to configure voltage, temperature, and timer-based power cutoffs.

2. External Battery Pack: Alternatively (and more expensively), you can install a battery pack to power your dash cam. The battery pack holds enough charge to keep your dash cam running for anywhere between 12 and 25 hours, depending on which model you have and how much power your camera consumes.

The battery pack serves as an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for your dash cam. It will recharge while your car is running, eliminating the risk of depleting the car’s main battery. Good quality battery packs are available from Cellink (Battery B), and BlackVue’s B-124E.

How To Choose The Best Cam For Parking Mode

A dash cam that will be used for parking surveillance should fulfill the following criteria:

  • Should be dual channel ideally (but see below).
  • Discreetness: You probably don’t want your dash cam to be too visible, especially if you will be using it for parking surveillance. In a sketchy neighborhood, a large shiny camera might attract the attention of thieves.
  • Video quality: Should obviously be as good as you can get. If going for a dual channel dash cam, it’s recommended to get one that records at 1080p resolution both ways. Some dual cams record only 720p, which causes a notable downgrade in video quality.
  • Reliability: This one is huge. You don’t want a dash cam that you can’t rely on, especially if you’re going to have it running for long periods of time.
  • SD card: Last not but least, make sure to get a memory card that’s made for heavy use. For further details, refer to our article about Which SD Cards Last Longest In Dash Cams.

Single Channel Or Dual Channel?

For maximum protection when parked, a dual channel (front and rear) dash cam is very much preferable as it doubles your field of view and therefore increases your chances of seeing who damaged your car.

That being said, single channel dash cams cost less, often record at higher resolutions, and have better video quality than dual channel devices. Also, if you usually park backed up against a wall, a single channel dash cam would be enough.

If you’re really going for optimum protection, you could even get two single channel cameras to have the best of both worlds. However, this also doubles the installation and maintenance work that will have to be done.

So here’s the best parking mode dash cams of 2018:

Front And Rear Cams

1. Thinkware F800 Pro — Most Energy Efficient, 3 Different Parking Modes

Thinkware F800 Pro front and rear car cameraPrice: Amazon US / CA / UKeBay US / CA / UK / AU (for more countries & vendors, check below)

Resolution: 1920×1080 (front and rear)

Overall video quality: Very good

Reliability: Good

Memory capacity: 128GB (over 14 hours)

Parking modes: Simple (1s wake-up time), buffered, and time-lapse

Power supply: Hard-wiring kit (included) with low voltage cutoff, or battery pack

Other features: Wi-Fi, integrated GPS, overheat protection, capacitor, lock file button

Apart from recording very good video quality, the Thinkware F800 Pro (full review) also is the only dash cam that supports all three parking modes. Choose between buffered, time-lapse, or simple modes. Thinkware cleverly brand their simple parking mode as “energy-saving”. In energy-saving mode, the camera wakes up one second after an impact is detected, which should be fast enough to catch any potential perpetrator.

When you get back to your parked car, an audio alert will let you know if any events were recorded, and if so, how many of them.

The F800 Pro comes with built-in low-voltage cutoff as well as overheat protection. When the camera is connected to a Wi-Fi hot spot in the car (not included), Thinkware’s new cloud feature allows you to locate your vehicle and can notify you when an impact is detected, or when your car leaves a pre-defined geographic area. Thinkware’s cloud options do not work in parking mode though.

2. BlackVue DR750S-2CH — View Live Video Over The Cloud

BlackVue DR750S front and rear car cameraPrice: Amazon US / CA / UKeBay US / CA / UK / AU (for more countries & vendors, check below)

Resolution: 1920×1080 (front and rear)

Overall video quality: Good

Reliability: Very good

Memory capacity: 128GB (over 12 hours)

Parking modes: Buffered and time-lapse

Power supply: Power Magic Pro or battery pack BlackVue B124-E, both available separately

Other features: Integrated GPS, Wi-Fi, cloud connectivity, capacitor, lock file button

BlackVue’s most remarkable feature is their cloud-view system, which allows you to watch live video from your (driving or stationary) car from anywhere over the internet. For this to work, you’ll need an extra Wi-Fi hot spot in your car which is not included with the camera.

The BlackVue DR750S (full review) will automatically switch to parking mode whenever it detects that your car is stationary for more than five seconds.

This camera supports buffered and time-lapse parking mode. In time-lapse mode, if any impact is detected by the camera’s H-sensor, the camera will create a buffered 30 second video of the event.

When you return to your car, the DR750S-2CH will give you an audio alert if any incidents were detected that triggered parking mode recording. The alert will let you know how many incidents have been recorded.

Another interesting feature of the BlackVue dash cams is that you can select which areas of the field of view should trigger an event when motion is detected. This is to reduce unnecessary recordings that might be triggered by trees moving in the wind, etc. Check out this graphic that explains the concept:

BlackVue's region-based motion detection

BlackVue’s region-based motion detection feature

There’s also a single channel version of this camera (without the rear camera). The single channel version is called DR750S-1Ch.

UPDATE (July 2018): BlackVue have recently released their DR900S-2CH model, which records at 4K resolution forward, and at 1080p to the rear. However, after comparing video quality, we have decided not to included it on this list, because the DR750S actually records better video in most situations.

3. Thinkware X500D — Good Mid-Price Cam With Parking Mode

Price: eBay US / CA / UK / AU (for more countries & vendors, check below)

Resolution: 1920×1080 (front and rear)

Overall video quality: Good

Reliability: Good

Memory capacity: 64GB (up to 4 hours)

Parking mode: Buffered

Power supply: Hard-wiring kit or battery pack

Other features: Integrated GPS, capacitor, lock file button, 2.7″ screen

The Thinkware X500D (full review) is a time-tested, fairly popular front and rear camera with video quality roughly comparable to the DR750S-2CH, however the X500D costs about $150 less. Its design is a bit old-fashioned and fairly noticeable, however the makes the camera easier to set up and use than a camera without a screen.

The X500D supports buffered parking mode, but it won’t alert you whether an impact was detected. You’ll have to check for incidents manually if you suspect something happened in your absence.

4. Mini 0906 — Best Budget Dual Cannel Dash Cam

Product photo of the Mini 0906 front and rear dash cams, with CPL filterPrice: Amazon US / CA / UKeBay US / CA / UK / AUAliExpress (for more countries & vendors, check below)

Resolution: 1920×1080 (front and rear)

Overall video quality: Fair

Reliability: Good

Memory capacity: 128GB (over 11 hours)

Parking mode: Time-lapse, switches to normal recording for 15s when impact detected

Power supply: Hard-wiring kit (not included) or battery pack

Other features: 1.5″ screen, integrated GPS, CPL filter, capacitor, lock file button

The Mini 0906 (full review) is a tiny Chinese camera is relatively new, but has turned out to be quite reliable so far. Being the cheapest dual-lens cam of the lot, it only supports time-lapse parking mode.

This camera comes with a CPL filter for the forward-facing lens, reducing reflections on the windshield when recording in bright sunlight.

In parking mode, the Mini 0906 records at a reduced frame rate. When an event is detected, the camera will temporarily switch to normal recording (at 30fps) for 15 seconds, then revert to the reduced frame rate.

Single-Lens Cams

5. BlackVue DR750S-1CH — Single Channel Version With Cloud-View Option

BlackVue DR750S-1CH single channel dash cam with cloud.view option

Price: Amazon US / CA / UKeBay US / CA / UK / AU (for more countries & vendors, check below)

Resolution: 1920×1080 @ 60fps

Overall video quality: Very good

Reliability: Very good

Memory capacity: 128GB (over 23 hours)

Parking modes: Buffered and time-lapse

Power supply: Power Magic Pro or battery pack BlackVue B124-E, both available separately

Other features: Integrated GPS, Wi-Fi, cloud connectivity, capacitor, lock file button

The DR750S-1CH is the single-channel version of the BlackVue DR750S series, with the same features as the dual-channel version described above.

Note that the forward camera is able to record at 60fps and records better quality video overall than the rear camera (mainly due to lower bit rate and more difficult night vision without headlights). This is why the single channel version is rated for better video quality than the dual channel version.

6. Vicovation Vico-Opia2 — Best Video Quality

Product photo of the Vico-Opia2 1440p dash camPrice: Amazon US / CAeBay US / CA / UK / AU (for more countries & vendors, check below)

Resolution: 2560×1440

Overall video quality: Excellent

Reliability: Excellent

Memory capacity: 128GB

Parking modes: Time-lapse and simple

Power supply: Vico-Power Plus or battery pack (not included)

Other features: 2″ screen, optional external GPS, optional CPL filter, capacitor, lock file button

The only camera in this selection able to record at 1440p resolution, the Vico-Opia2 (full review) produces excellent quality footage, better than any of the other dash cams we’ve reviewed so far.

The Vico-Opia2 supports simple and time-lapse parking modes. In time-lapse, you can set it to take a picture every 1, 10, or 60 seconds. In simple parking mode, it will wake up within a second or so of whenever motion is detected in front of the camera.

7. Anker Roav C1 — Simple, Low-Cost Dash Cam With Parking Mode

product photo of the Anker Roav C1 dash camPrice: Amazon US / CA / UKeBay US / CA / UK / AU (for more countries & vendors, check below)

Resolution: 1920×1080

Overall video quality: Good

Reliability: Very Good

Memory capacity: 128GB (over 11 hours)

Parking mode: Simple (impact triggered, 7s wake-up time)

Power supply: None needed (internal battery)

Other features: Wi-Fi, 2.4″ screen

Unlike most other dash cams, the Anker Roav C1’s (full review) simple impact-triggered parking mode is fully powered by its internal battery. Thus, no hard-wiring or extra battery packs are required, making this camera the easiest on this list to set up.

According to the manufacturer, the cameras internal battery holds enough charge to record up to 30 parking mode videos, each of them 30 seconds in length.

On the down side, batteries make a dash cam more susceptible to heat, so the Roav C1 is not ideal for use in a hot climate. Also, it takes about 7 seconds to start recording after an event is detected, so the Roav C1 offers a lower level of protection than the other devices listed here.

While this camera’s parking mode is obviously a bit limited, its low price and simple setup make it an okay low-cost option to finish our list with.

UPDATE: We just completed a review of the Vava Dash Cam, which also has a parking mode powered by an internal battery. The Vava wakes up much faster, but unfortunately its video quality isn’t as good as the Roav C1’s.

Top Dash Cams With Parking Mode – Comparison

 Appr.
Price
Buffered
Mode
Time-
Lapse
Simple
Mode
Front
Video
Rear
Video
F800 Pro$410YesYesYesVery GoodVery Good
DR750S-2CH$440YesYes-Very GoodGood
X500D$200Yes--Very GoodGood
Mini 0906$130-Yes-GoodGood
DR750S-1CH$300YesYesVery Good-
Vico-Opia2$220-YesYesExcellent-
Roav C1$70--YesGood-

This article was first published in November of 2017, and received its last major update on October 23, 2018.

Summary
Article Name
The Best Parking Mode Dash Cams 2018
Description
How to select and set up a dash cam with parking mode. Compare major brands like BlackVue, Thinkware, etc. From budget to high-end. Simple, buffered, and time-lapse parking modes explained.
Author
Publisher Name
Dashboard Camera Reviews