Best Dash Cams With Parking Mode 2024: A Complete Guide

A dash cam with parking mode can record video 24 hours per day, even when the car is parked and the engine is off. This feature is invaluable in the case of vandalism and hit-and-runs, helping you to identify and catch the perpetrator.

In this article we will explain:

  • How exactly parking mode works
  • What’s the difference between the various parking modes like buffered, radar, etc
  • How to power a dash cam when the car is off (without draining the car’s battery!)
  • What are the best dash cams with parking mode
  • What level of parking protection to expect, and at which prices

Overview: Best Dash Cams With Parking Mode 2024

Viofo A129 Pro 4K dash camGarmin Mini 2 dash camViofo A119 v3 car cameraBlackVue DR970X-2CH Plus dual dash cam
ModelThinkware U3000Viofo A229 ProViofo A129 ProGarmin Mini 2Viofo A119 v3BlackVue DR970X Plus
DescriptionRadar Powered Parking ModeBest Video QualityBest Value For MoneyMost DiscreetBest Budget (1CH)Best Cloud
Cloud ViewYes--Yes-Yes
Radar ModuleYes-----
Buffered ModeYesYesYes-YesYes
Simple ModeYesYesYesYesYes-

Scroll right to see all cameras. Links to vendors are sponsored links, and help to support this site.


Overview Table
What Is Parking Mode?

The Best Dash Cams With Parking Mode 2024

What Is Parking Mode?

As the name implies, parking mode allows you to keep your dash cam running while your car is parked and the engine is off. That way, you’ll have 24/7 video footage that you can consult 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, most parking modes will only save files when an event happens that’s worth recording. An event can either be an impact that triggers the camera’s G-sensor, or some motion detected visually or by radar.

All dash cameras have G-sensors that can detect an impact to your car. Some also support optical motion detection.

Keep in mind that using motion detection makes sense when you’re parking in a quiet spot. On a busy street however with lots of traffic, 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 (impact or event activated) 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 consumes less energy than buffered or time-lapse modes. Therefore, it is often also called “Energy Saving Parking Mode”.

The problem with simple parking mode is that it takes most cameras several seconds to wake up and start recording. In the meantime, whoever damaged your car might already be gone.

2. Buffered parking mode (recommended): The camera records continuously, and saves the video footage to its memory (RAM). Only when an impact or motion is detected will a video clip be saved to the SD card. This clip typically starts 5-10 seconds or so before the event, and ends 10-20 seconds after.

That way, you have a much better chance to see who or what damaged your vehicle.

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.

4. Low bit rate mode: The camera will run around the clock, but record at a lower video quality or lower resolution than usual. Not recommended, as your chances to identify license plates in case of a hit-and-run are significantly lower than with the other modes.

5. Radar parking mode: The newest and most advanced parking mode. It’s comparable to buffered parking mode, but needs a lot less energy.

As of today, only Thinkware dash cams support radar parking mode.

So Which Parking Mode Is Best?

Usually, we prefer buffered parking mode, as you’ll get a video of everything that happened before and after the event that triggered recording. Radar parking mode is even better, as it can run for up to 40 days if you power the dash cam through a battery pack (see below).

However, when you’re parked on a busy street or in a parking lot with lots of movement, motion detection might kick in all the time and fill your memory card with scores of useless videos. In that case, time-lapse parking mode is better.

When parking for long periods of time (several days), we recommend using either simple or radar parking modes. Those are the ones that consume the least amount of energy.

We generally don’t recommend running a dash can in low bit rate mode, because most of the time, video quality isn’t good enough in this mode to read other cars’ license plates.

Choosing The Best Dash 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, get one that records at least 1080p resolution both ways. High-end dash cams record at 4K resolution today.
  • 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, Dual, Or Triple Channel?

Good single channel (1CH) dash cams are available for $100 or less. In some cases, like if you usually park backed up against a wall, a single channel dash cam can be sufficient.

For maximum protection when parked, we recommend using at least a dual channel (2CH) dash cam. Having two channels is very much preferable, as it doubles your field of view and therefore increases your chances of seeing who damaged your car.

A three-channel dash cam (3CH) additionally records the inside of the car. This gives you an additional camera angle for extra security. You will also gain an (albeit limited) view through the side windows.

Power Supply: How To Avoid Draining Your Car’s Battery

Dashboard cameras usually don’t have internal batteries, or if so, they are very low capacity. For the camera to keep recording even when ignition is off, the dash cam needs to be connected to your car’s fuse box with a hard-wiring kit instead of simply plugged into the cigarette lighter or a USB port.

Modern hard-wiring kits will protect your car’s battery from depletion.

A fancier, but also more expensive, solution is to install an external battery pack that powers your dash cam.

A battery pack eliminates the risk of depleting your car’s main battery. Also, there won’t be a load on the car battery while you are parking. Some cars will interpret this as a parasitic load, which may cause them to cut the circuit.

This setup basically serves as an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for your dash cam. The battery pack recharges when the engine is running. A full charge typically takes less than an hour.

Modern battery packs hold enough energy to keep the dash cam running for between 20 and 48 hours in buffered parking mode, and up to 40 days in radar parking mode (Thinkware only).

Here’s our favorite dash cam battery packs:

BlackVue B-130X Battery Pack for dash cams


→ Editor’s Choice: The BlackVue B-130X is the most reliable battery pack in 2024. Capacity: 7500mAh, charges in 50 minutes. Order from: Amazon US / CA / UK (sponsored)


→ Best Value: The Thinkware iVolt Mini. Small in size, holds 4500mAh, and charges in 45 minutes. Order from: Amazon US / CA (sponsored)

For a complete overview of all the battery packs available right now, check out our article Battery Packs For Dash Cams.

Reminder: External batteries make for a more professional setup, but they are not required. A simple hard-wiring kit is sufficient for parking mode to work.

The Best Dash Cams With Parking Mode 2024

Now let’s have a look at the best parking mode dash cams, ordered by the level of protection they provide. We’ll start with the highest level, and work our way downwards to the simpler setups.

Best Protection: Live View & Alerts Over Cloud

Dash cams that support live view over the cloud offer by far the best level of protection. These cameras will send you an alert when they detect an incident. You can check the video feed from your parked car at any time on your phone, and take action if necessary as in move your car out of harm’s way, contact law enforcement, call up your biker buddies… (just kidding!).

Of course, dash cams with remote live view are also the most expensive. Dual dash cams with this feature start around $400. If you only need a forward-facing camera, you can get it for about $100 less.

For cloud connectivity to work, you need an independent wireless access point in your car so the camera can be connected to the internet at all times. Access points are not typically included with the camera.

Thinkware U3000: High-End Cloud Cam With Radar Assisted Parking Mode

Thinkware U3000 dual dash cam

Price: Amazon US / CAmore countries & vendors (sponsored)

Channels: 2

Resolution: 4K front, 1440p rear

Overall Video Quality: Good (2.75/5)

Reliability: Good (3.0/5)

Supported Parking Modes: Simple, Time-Lapse, Buffered, Radar

Power Supply: OBD-II power cable (included) or External Battery Pack

Full Review: Thinkware U3000 Review

The Thinkware U3000 is the only dash cam that comes with a radar module built right into the camera.

Thinkware’s Radar Mode Explained

Radar parking mode works like this: When the camera detects an impact, a buffered video from 10 seconds before to 10 seconds after the event will be saved to the memory card.

When it senses a person walking close to the car, it will record a normal video (starting the moment the person is detected).

In the camera’s settings, you can configure the “awareness radius” of the radar module, between 1 and 5 meters.

Other Features

Apart from radar parking mode, the U3000 also supports simple, time-lapse, and buffered parking modes.

The “regular” buffered parking mode is called “Motion Detection” mode by Thinkware. The difference to Radar parking mode is that it is compatible with cloud connectivity and live video streaming. Radar parking mode is not, in order to conserve energy.

An OBD-II cable is included to power the dash cam when the engine is off (so no hard-wiring kit is necessary). Alternatively, you can use an external battery pack such as Thinkware’s iVolt Xtra or iVolt Mini.

When used with Thinkware’s iVolt Xtra, the U3000 can run in simple or radar-assisted parking mode for up to 40 days according to the manufacturer.

This camera also supports cloud connectivity. Thinkware’s cloud accoun is free.


  • Cloud view
  • Cloud alerts
  • Radar-assisted parking mode (up to 40 days with battery pack)
  • OBD-II power cable and CPL lens included


  • High price
  • No screen

BlackVue DR970X-2CH Plus: Best Cloud Features

BlackVue DR970X-2CH Plus 2 channel dash cam

Price: Amazon US / CAmore countries & vendors (sponsored)

Channels: 2

Resolution: 4K front, 1080p rear

Overall Video Quality: Good (3.25/5)

Reliability: Very Good (4.0/5)

Supported Parking Modes: Time-Lapse, Buffered

Power Supply: Hard-wiring kit (included) or External Battery Pack

Full Review: BlackVue DR970X-2CH Plus Review

The BlackVue DR970X-2CH Plus records at 4K resolution to the front, and 1080p to the rear. Video quality is very good for the front camera, and good for the rear camera.

BlackVue were the first dash cam manufacturer to support cloud connectivity, so their cloud features are the most advanced you will find. You can use their free cloud account to get started, but if you are a “heavy user” (i.e. you’d like to manage several cars at once, or even a fleet of vehicles) you’ll want to consider one of BlackVue’s paid cloud accounts.

The DR970X-2CH Plus comes with a hard-wiring kit to power the dash cam in parking mode. A low-voltage cutoff function is included so you don’t accidentally deplete your car battery.

A great 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


  • Cloud view
  • Cloud alerts
  • Elegant and stealthy form factor
  • Free hard-wiring kit included


  • High price
  • No screen
  • No CPL filter available

Good Protection: Buffered Parking Mode

If cloud connectivity sounds like overkill to you, the next best level of protection is a dash cam that supports buffered parking mode. Buffered mode gives you the best chance of finding out whoever damaged your car in your absence, without having to have a permanent internet connection in your car (and the corresponding fees).

Viofo A229 Pro – Best Video Quality, 2 or 3 Channels

Viofo A229 Pro 3-channel dash cam

Price (3CH Version): Amazon US / CA / UKAliExpressmore countries & vendors (sponsored)

Channels: 2 or 3

Resolution: 4K front, 2K rear, 1080p interior (optional)

Overall Video Quality: Very Good (3.7/5)

Reliability: Very Good (4.0/5)

Supported Parking Modes: Low bit-rate, Time-lapse, Buffered

Power Supply: Hard-Wiring Kit ($20) or External Battery Pack

Full Review: Viofo A229 Review

Released in late 2023, the Viofo A229 Pro is by far the best triple channel dash cam on the market today. (The ones featured above only have 2 channels.)

It records not only the front and rear, but also the inside of your car. And most importantly, its video quality is very good for both the front and interior channels, and good for the rear channel.

The interior camera has infrared LEDs that illuminate the car’s interior at night, so you can see exactly what your passengers are up to even when the cabin lights are off. This is extremely useful for taxi and uber drivers.

Also, having a third camera angle for parking mode gives you an extra chance of catching the perpetrator in the event of a hit-and-run.

There’s also a 2-channel version of the A229, and it costs about $30 less than the 3-channel setup. When used without the interior channel, the freed up processing power is used to increase the bit rate of the front channel. As a result, video quality of the forward channel is increased even further.

The Viofo A229 Pro supports buffered, time-lapse, and low bit rate parking modes.

This dash cam supports 512GB memory cards. Be aware though that you can’t just use any old SD card: The manufacturer recommends you use either their own, Viofo branded  cars, or SanDisk Max Endurance. With other cards, there can be stability issues.


  • Best video quality overall
  • Interior camera adds an extra viewing angle
  • Optional remote lock file button
  • Supports 512GB memory cards


  • High price
  • Picky with memory cards
  • Large file sizes due to high bit rate

Viofo A129 Pro Duo – Best Value With 4K Video

VIofo A129 Pro front and rear dash cam

Price: Amazon US / CA / UKAliExpressmore countries & vendors (sponsored)

Channels: 2

Resolution: 4K front, 1080p rear

Overall Video Quality: Good (3.0/5)

Reliability: Good (3.0/5)

Supported Parking Modes: Simple, Time-Lapse, Buffered

Power Supply: Hard-Wiring Kit ($15) or External Battery Pack

Full Review: Viofo A129 Pro Duo Review

If you don’t want to spend upwards of $300 for your parking mode dash cam, the Viofo A129 Pro Duo is a great alternative. It is a bit older than the A229 Pro, but also a lot cheaper.

This camera records two video channels, at a resolution of 4K to the front, and 1080p to the rear. Just like the A229 Pro, its main channel records at a high bit rate of 60Mbps. This results in excellent video quality, but also takes up quite a bit of memory space.

Therefore, we recommend using a 256GB high endurance SD card with the A129 Pro. Larger memory cards are not supported.

Like the other Viofo dash cams featured here, the A129 Pro can run in buffered, time-lapse, and impact-triggered parking modes.


  • Great forward video for the price
  • Optional remote lock file button


  • Large file sizes due to high bit rate
If you’d like to save even more money, and don’t necessarily need a 4K camera: The older Viofo A129 Duo records good quality 1080p video both ways, and costs about $100 less.

Viofo A119 v3 – Buffered Parking Mode On a Budget

Viofo A119 v3 dahs cam with GPS and CPL

Price: Amazon US / CAAliExpressmore countries & vendors (sponsored)

Channels: 1

Resolution: 1080p

Video Quality: Very Good (3.5/5)

Reliability: Very Good (4.0/5)

Supported Parking Modes: Simple, Time-Lapse, Buffered

Power Supply: Hard-Wiring Kit ($15) or External Battery Pack


Full Review: Viofo A119 v3 Review

For those of you who are looking for a single-channel dash cam, the Viofo A119 v3 is an excellent choice. It supports buffered, time-lapse, and simple parking modes

Even though it records at 1080p only, its overall video quality is very good. Extras such as a CPL filter and a GPS mount are available, but not included.


  • Good value for money


  • No rear camera
  • 1080p only

Basic Protection: Simple Parking Mode

Some cameras do not support buffered parking mode, but they have simple or time-lapse modes.

The Garmin Mini 2 belongs into this category. It only supports simple parking mode, but stands out in other ways: For one, it supports cloud connectivity for a relatively low price. Also, it is extremely small and stealthy

Garmin Mini 2 – Supports Cloud Alerts, But Only Simple Parking Mode

Front view of the Garmin Mini 2

Price: Amazon US / CA / UKmore countries & vendors (sponsored)

Channels: 1

Resolution: 1080p

Video Quality: Fair (2.0/5)

Reliability: Very Good (4.0/5)

Supported Parking Modes: Simple

Other Features: Live view over cloud, alerts over cloud, Wi-Fi, capacitor, lock file button, voice control, multi-camera networks

Power Supply: Hard-Wiring Kit ($30) or External Battery Pack

Full review: Garmin Mini 2 review

The Mini 2 is the smallest and stealthiest dash cam available in 2024, measuring just 1.1 x 1.2 x 2.1 inches. It supports live view and alerts over the cloud (when an internet access point is present), but it only offers simple parking mode.

A unique feature of the Garmin Mini 2  is that you can connect multiple Garmin dash cams via Wi-Fi to form a multi-camera network. You can then control them like one multi-channel dash cam through the camera’s smart phone app. The maximum number of cameras in the network is four.


  • Small size
  • Cloud view
  • Cloud alerts


  • No screen
  • No GPS