Best Dash Cams With Parking Mode 2023

If you want to keep your car safe from vandalism or hit-and-runs while it’s parked, you may be wondering which dash cam is best fit for this purpose. A dash cam with parking mode can record video 24 hours per day, even when the car’s engine is off.

Modern dash cams provide various levels of parking protection: The more expensive models support connecting remotely to your camera over the cloud, so you can see video and receive an alert on your phone when something happens. The more affordable cameras support buffered and other parking modes, but don’t have cloud connectivity.

Let’s start with an overview which level of protection you can expect for what price.

Overview: Top Dash Cams With Parking Protection

BlackVue DR970X-2CH dual dash camViofo A129 Pro 4K dash camGarmin Mini 2 dash camViofo A119 v3 car camera
ModelThinkware U3000BlackVue DR970X-2CHViofo A139Viofo A129 ProGarmin Mini 2Viofo A119 v3
DescriptionHigh-End 4K Cam w/ RadarBest Cloud Features3 ChannelsBest Value 4K CamMost DiscreetBest Budget
Cloud ViewYesYes--Yes-
Buffered ModeYesYesYesYes-Yes
Simple ModeYes-YesYesYesYes

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


What Is Parking Mode?

Dash Cams Ordered By Levels Of Parking Protection

What Is Parking Mode?

You’d like to learn just how exactly parking mode works? What the difference is between buffered and time-lapse parking mode? And how to power a dash cam when the car is off without draining the car’s battery? Then make sure to read the following sections before you buy.

Put simply, 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, some parking modes will only save files when there is an actual event detected by the camera. 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.

All dash cameras have G-sensors that can detect an impact to your car, but only some of them 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 is by far the most energy efficient of the three, which why it is often also called “Energy Saving Parking Mode”.

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 video clip typically starting 10 seconds or so before the event (and ending 10-20 seconds after) will be saved to the camera’s SD card. Those video clips will be placed in a special write protected folder, so they can’t accidentally get overwritten. You will also receive an alert 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 may also switch to normal recording for a certain period of time if they detect an event.

4. Low bit rate mode: The camera will run around the clock, but record at a lower video quality or lower resolution than usual.

So which of the four modes 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.

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), simple parking mode is preferable, as it consumes the least amount of energy.

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. 4K resolution is better at day, but can perform worse during the night.
  • 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?

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.

A 3-channel dash cam (triple channel) also records the inside of the car, so it adds an additional camera angle for extra security. Unfortunately, at the time of this writing (December 2022), 3-channel dash cams still have notably reduced video quality compared to dual channel cameras.

Single channel dash cams cost less, often record at higher resolutions, and have better video quality than dual channel devices. In some cases, such as if you usually park backed up against a wall, a single channel dash cam can be sufficient.

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

Most dashboard cameras’ internal batteries have 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 connected to your car’s fuse box with a hard-wiring kit instead of simply plugged into the cigarette lighter.

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 the car is off. 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. It will recharge while your car is running, typically charging in less than an hour.

A modern battery pack holds enough charge to keep your dash cam running for anywhere between 20 and 48 hours, depending on which model you choose, and how much power your camera consumes.

If you need even more than that, expansion batteries are also available (B-124E). You can connect as many of these as you need.

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 2023. Capacity: 7500mAh, charges in 50 minutes. Order from: Amazon US / CA / UK (affiliate links)


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

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 completely optional. A simple hard-wiring kit is sufficient for parking mode to work.

Dash Cams Ordered By Levels Of Parking Protection

Now let’s have a look at the best dash cams with parking mode, ordered by the level of protection they provide. We’ll start with the highest level of protection, 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 usually not included with the camera.

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

Thinkware U3000 dual dash cam

Price: Amazon US / CAeBay US / AUmore countries & vendors (affiliate links)

Resolution: 4K front, 1440p rear

Forward Video Quality: Very Good (3.5/5)

Rear Video Quality: Fair (2.0/5)

Overall Video: 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

Thinkware’s brand new U3000 is the only dash cam that supports radar-assisted parking mode out of the box. Unlike the older Thinkware U1000, the U3000 comes with a radar module built right into the camera.

Radar-assisted parking mode is a form of buffered parking mode that consumes very little power. When the camera detects motion or an impact, a video from 10 seconds before to 10 seconds after the event will be saved to the memory card.

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 supports cloud connectivity and live video streaming. Radar parking mode does not (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 in conjunction with Thinkware’s iVolt Xtra, the battery can run in simple or radar-assisted parking mode for up to 40 days (according to the manufacturer).

This is one of the most sophisticated dash cams currently available, but it is also quite expensive. Fortunately, the OBD-II cable and a CPL filter are included.


  • Cloud view
  • Cloud alerts
  • Radar-assisted low-power parking mode (no cloud)
  • OBD-II power cable and CPL lens included


  • High price
  • No screen

BlackVue DR970X-2CH: Best Cloud Features

product photo o the BlackVue DR970X front and rear dash cam

Price: Amazon US / CA / UKeBay US / AUmore countries & vendors (affiliate links)

Resolution: 4K front, 1080p rear

Forward Video Quality: Very Good (3.5/5)

Rear Video Quality: Good (3.0/5)

Overall Video: 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 Review

The BlackVue DR970X-2CH 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, and their cloud features are the most advanced you will find on the market. You can use their free cloud account to get started, but if you are a “heavy user” (e.g. you will be controlling several cars at once, or are managing a fleet of vehicles) you’ll want to consider one of BlackVue’s paid cloud accounts.

The DR970X-2CH 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.

Front and rear dash cams with buffered parking mode start around $150.

Viofo A139 – Three-Channel Cam With Buffered Parking Mode

Viofo A139 3-way dash cam

Price: Amazon US / CA / UKAliExpresseBay US / AUmore countries & vendors (affiliate links)

Resolution: 1440p front, 1080p interior and rear

Forward Video Quality: Good (2.5/5)

Rear Video Quality: Fair (1.5/5)

Interior Video Quality: Very Good (3.5/5)

Overall Video: Good (2.5/5)

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 A139 Review

The Viofo A139 is one of the best 3-channel dash cams on the market today. It records not only the front and rear, but also the inside of your car.

The interior camera has infrared LEDs that illuminate the passenger cabin at night.

Having a third camera angle gives you an extra chance of catching a potential perpetrator. However, a drawback of current 3-channel dash cams is that they do record worse video quality than 2-channel cams. This is due to the extra processor load of processing another simultaneous video stream, so that’s a trade-off you will want to consider.

The Viofo A139 supports buffered, time-lapse, and low bit rate parking modes.


  • Interior camera adds an extra viewing angle
  • Optional remote lock file button


  • No screen
  • One more camera and cable to install on the wind shield

Viofo A129 Pro Duo – Great 4K Video Quality

VIofo A129 Pro front and rear dash cam

Price: Amazon US / CA / UKAliExpresseBay US / AUmore countries & vendors (affiliate links)

Resolution: 4K front, 1080p rear

Forward Video Quality: Very Good (3.5/5)

Rear Video Quality: Good (2.5/5)

Overall Video: 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

Viofo have become the go-to brand in the mid-price dash cam sector. All of their cameras now support buffered parking mode, so we wholeheartedly recommend them if you don’t need (or don’t want to pay for) cloud connectivity.

The A129 Pro Duo supports a resolution of 4K video to the front, and 1080p to the rear. It records at higher bite rates than other 4K dash cams, resulting in excellent video quality. The drawback is that files are larger and use up more space on the memory card.

We recommend a 256GB high endurance SD card for this camera.

Like the other Viofo dash cams, the A129 Pro supports buffered, time-lapse, and impact-triggered parking modes.


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


  • Large file size due to high bit rate
If you’d like to save some money and don’t necessarily need a 4K camera: The older Viofo A129 Duo records good quality 1080p video, front and rear, for about $100 less.

Viofo A119 v3 – Buffered Parking Mode On a Budget

Viofo A119 v3 dahs cam with GPS and CPL

Price: Amazon US / CAAliExpresseBay US / AUmore countries & vendors (affiliate links)

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

If you don’t need the rear camera, 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 till very good. Extras such as a CPL filter and a GPS mount are available.


  • 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 / UKeBay US / AUmore countries & vendors (affiliate links)

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 2023, 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