Most of all, you want your dash cam to be reliable, so you can just set it up and forget about it until the day you need the footage.
For this reason, we aren’t going to focus on the latest releases here. The cameras featured below are best sellers that have all been available for at least a couple of years, are known to record quality video, and can be expected to work reliably for long periods of time.
Let’s start with the cheapest one:
A Cheap Dash Cam Below $50 That Works Reliably
Yi Dash Cam
Video quality: Good at day, Fair at night
Reliability: Very Good
Memory capacity: 64 GB
Extras: 2.7″ screen, Wi-Fi, lock file button
The Yi Dash Cam (full review) is a basic and simple to use car camera from China. It may not be the greatest looking, but it does its job, and does it very reliably.
It actually records better video than some of the more expensive cameras. Its icon-based menu is simple and intuitive. It also has Wi-Fi so you can connect to it with your smart phone (free app).
Note: If you check on eBay, you may be able to find a matte black version of this camera which looks much better. At the time of this writing, the black Yi is only available in Chinese, but the menu is straightorward enough to use even without knowing the language.
Best Video Quality Below $100
Viofo A119 v2
Video quality: Very good at day, very good at night
Memory capacity: 128 GB
Extras: 2″ screen, capacitor, lock file button. Optional GPS in mount, optional CPL filter available separately.
The Viofo A119 v2 (full review) is a long-time bestseller. It can record up to 1440p resolution at 30 frames per second, or 1080p at up to 60fps.
Having a capacitor instead of an internal battery makes it more resistant to high temperatures in the car. Stealthy wedge shape.
A Cheap Dual Dash Cam Below $150 With Many Extras
Resolution: 1920×1080, front and rear
Overall video quality: Good
Memory capacity: 128 GB
Extras: 1.5″ screen, lock file button, CPL filter, capacitor, GPS, time-lapse parking mode.
If you want to record the road behind you as well, the Mini 0906 (full review) is the cheapest dual-lens dash cam available at this time. Video quality is good both at day and at night, except for the rear video at night, which is only average due to the lack of illumination.
This camera comes with a CPL filter to reduce reflections in bright sunlight, and has a GPS antenna integrated into its mount. Powered by a capacitor, it is more heat resistant than a camera with a battery.
In parking mode, the Mini 0906 records at a lower frame rate (time-lapes). When an impact is detected, it switches to normal recording for 15 seconds, before going back to time-lapse mode. Needs hard-wiring for the parking mode to work.