A dash cam is well worth having these days, but you needn’t spend a fortune to get a good one. Here’s our pick of the best budget dash cams under $150.
You might be the best driver in the world, but even so, what about the road users around you? This is why you won’t catch us driving without a dash cam. Whether it’s protecting you from crash scams or assisting with insurance disputes, they’re essential motoring equipment. You can pick dash cams up for peanuts these days, but there’s almost too much choice. Don’t worry though, we’ve done the hard work for you and picked five of the best budget dash cams that’ll do the job without breaking the bank.
How we chose these products
We’ve been able to test some of these products first-hand, in which case they’ll have been scrutinized during the installation phase as well as the performance phase. So, as a result, we’ll be able to give you a well-rounded insight into what it’s like to own them. However, those listed here which we haven’t tested ourselves are here based on how their spec sheets compare to their price tags – a good benchmark for deciding whether they’re value for money, at least on the surface.
Our contributors who put this piece together, Elizabeth and James, are well-placed to offer you advice on dash cams. James has conducted numerous dash cam reviews for Fast Car, ensuring he’s clued up about what you should look out for, and how the different brands compare to each other. Elizabeth, meanwhile, is a real-life dash cam user, so understands exactly what you need from these devices. She’s also currently Editor of Total BMW magazine, so it’s fair to say she knows her way around the automotive scene.
Best Budget Dash Cam In 2024
At a glance:
- Nextbase 222 – RRP: $99.99, buy now / £79.99, buy now.
- Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 – RRP: $129.99, buy now. / £119.99, buy now.
- Z-Edge Z3Pro – RRP: $109.99, buy now / £145.00, buy now.
- SPADE Dual Dash Cam – RRP: $49.99, buy now / £39.99, buy now.
- Kingslim D5 4K – RRP: $42.77, buy now. £89.99, buy now.
If you’re looking for a great entry-level dash cam from a big brand, the Nextbase 222 is an excellent choice. The camera records in 1080P at 30fps and has a 140° viewing angle. The 6G lens, meanwhile, provides you with high-quality images. The wide, 2.5” high-resolution IPS screen allows you to clearly view your recordings. For convenience, the Nextbase 222 uses a Click&Go powered windscreen mount, which I can confirm makes it so much easier to install and remove from the car. There’s also an intelligent parking mode, a high-precision G-sensor, and night vision. It’s a strong performer with a good selection of features, which is exactly what you’d expect from a brand of Nextbase’s stature. To find out more, read our full review here.
Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2
The Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 is the most expensive item on this list, but in the grand scheme of dash cams, its retail price is still pretty reasonable. This tiny little device is great if you’re after something that’s discreet, compact, and just focuses on doing the basics really well.
In regards to image resolution, the Garmin matches the Nextbase above it, recording in 1080p at 30fps, with a 140-degree view. Voice control allows you to pose various functionality requests without having to take your hands or eyes of the wheel, and it’s also compatible with the Garmin Drive app. That means you can access the dash cam’s footage remotely. To learn more about this camera’s ups and downs, take a look at my full review of it.
Z-Edge’s Z3Pro dash cam offers plenty of features at a very good price. First of all, it’s a double camera, which is always a nice bonus. The front-facing camera records in 1440P, which is 2K, at 30FPS. The rear-facing camera is a 1080P one, but it’s only designed to capture what’s happening in the cabin. Both cameras do have a good 155° wide-angle lens, though, which is a decent amount. The interior camera also features four infrared lights and Super Night Vision for enhanced night vision and recording in darkness. The Z3Pro also features a parking monitor to keep your car safe while you’re away. There’s also built-in Wi-Fi, allowing you to preview, download and share recordings easily on your Apple or Android phone. This is a good-value dash cam packed with great features.
SPADE Dual Dash Cam
Amazon is filled with ridiculously cheap dash cams, but the SPADE gets our vote. For an incredibly low price, you get a 1296P dash cam, a 1080P rear camera, and a 32GB memory card. 1296P is a slightly random resolution, but every pixel counts when it comes to detail. The main camera has a 170° recording angle, along with WDR and six infrared LEDs for enhanced night vision. It also has a 3” screen for clear viewing of recorded footage. The SPADE dash cam also comes with a parking monitor and G-sensor. The rear camera is a small, exterior-mounted waterproof unit with a 130° recording angle that doubles as a reversing camera. In terms of features and value, the SPADE dash cam is hard to beat, and it’s an absolute bargain.
Kingslim D5 4K Dash Cam
In terms of features, the Kingslim D5 4K is a beast, and it offers exceptional value for money. As its name implies, you get 4K recording at 30fps, which means crystal-clear video footage. The camera also features a 170° recording angle, which means it captures a very wide area in front of your car. The Kingslim D5-4K boasts a Sony image sensor, six-layer glass lenses and HDR high-dynamic range, which gives it superb night vision. On top of all that, it features built-in GPS, allowing it to record your driving route and speed, as well as pinpoint the exact location of any incidents. Finally, it also has built-in Wi-Fi, allowing you to adjust settings, playback video and download recordings to your phone. If you’re looking for a budget dash cam with serious spec, the Kingslim D5-4K is a fantastic choice.
How to buy the best budget dash cam
When all things are considered, you have to ask yourself what you want in a dash cam. If it’s simply to protect you in situations such as accidents, then what you need is a dash cam that can record in good quality, with sound, and a good amount of memory to save the footage. You also want a dash cam that can record footage at the press of a button or by voice command. Other features such as parking mode, or dual camera setups will cost more. If those are features you’d like, then you’ll likely have to spend more than $100. That being said, Amazon’s Spade Dash Cam features a 1080p rear camera, although this does need to be mounted externally.
Night vision is a great touch in a budget dash cam, as it doesn’t restrict when your dash cam can be used. In 2024, this is often a standard feature. Another thing to consider is a wide angle lens to record things at over 130°. For most, the budget dash cams above feature everything you would want in a dash cam, and sometimes more. We’ve selected examples that pack a surprising amount of tech into a small, affordable product. So, whichever one of this selection you opt for, we’re confident you won’t be left disappointed.
Words by Elizabeth de Latour & James Bowers.