The best consumer dash cams tend to sit within the $60 to $150 range, though some can cost as little as $30. A professional-grade dash cam for truckers starts at around $80, and might cost as much as $500.
The primary difference between car and truck dash cams is that truck dash cams tend to have a wide-angle fish-eye lens, covering around 160 to 170 degrees, while a car dash cam is more likely to cover around 120 degrees. Truck dash cams also include a wider range of features and abilities.
Read on for a full breakdown of every factor to consider when buying a dash cam, examples of the best prices available today, and how a good dash cam might save you money in the long haul.
Or, if you're ready to start comparing quotes to find the best deal, just take a minute to fill out Tech.co's personalized quotes form and get the process started.
Dash Cam Price Factors
When it comes to weighing up the costs of buying a dash cam, it pays to look at each price factor in turn. Once you know where you stand on each of the topics below, you'll have all the info you need to compare each selected dash cam's specs and price against your personal needs and budget.
Consumer vs Business Dash Cam Price
Consumer dash cams are designed to function best in a car, and often come with fewer features than dash cams designed for business use, such as truck dash cams installed in entire fleets of delivery trucks or long-haul semi trucks. The cheapest consumer dash cams might fall between $40 and $70, while the cheapest commercial dash cams are around $60 to $80. However, if you're looking for a high-quality option for either type of camera, the price ranges start to look more similar: a good consumer dash cam will likely cost between $100 and $200, while a good business dash cam will likely also start at $100, though higher-end multi-lens business cams may cost as much as $400 or $500.
High definition video footage comes in four different varieties – 720p, 1080p, 2K, and 4K – each of which offers a higher resolution and more pixels than the last. Realistically, any truck or car should be fine with a resolution of 1080p. A normal 1080p HD dash cam will be able to capture the necessary detail to identify a license plate or street sign, and won't come at the higher cost of a 2K or 4K dash cam.
However, the higher quality detail of a 2K or 4K camera could make the difference you need when it comes to insurance claims. That higher quality is more common for commercial cams, while a consumer camera is unlikely to reach 2K or 4K unless it is a particularly high-end model.
Front-facing vs. dual facing
A front-facing dash cam is the most common type of dash cam. It has a single lens, and is designed to record the road in front of a vehicle. The term “front-facing” can be a little misleading, however, as some front-facing cams are designed to swivel in order to film inside the vehicle itself. Either way, a front facing dash cam will only ever have one lens, and might cost between $80 and $250.
A dual-facing dash cam has two lenses, and will film both the road ahead and the inside of a vehicle at the same time. This style can cost a little more, and is far popular among fleets than consumer vehicles, since footage of a driver with their eyes on the road can keep liability to a minimum. Dual-facing models can cost as little as $100, but often cost between $200 and $400.
Finally, a “front and rear” dash cam covers both the road in front of and the road behind a vehicle (though not the interior). These cameras come in two units with one lens each, which sync up when filming, so one can be placed at the front and one at the rear. It's also more common for commercial fleets, though it's not uncommon for consumer vehicles. Front and rear dash cams cost between $100 and $400.
The best coverage possible, of course, is 360 degrees. While there are some products on the market which offer a complete 360 degree view, this is a rare and exceptional feature. Prices for 360-view dash cams are usually calculated on a case by case basis, depending on the fleet's size and other needs.
The process of mounting a dash cam might not cost anything extra. Many dash cams can be installed by hand, coming with mounts that are either adhesive pads or suction-cup style attachments. Others can also be plugged into a vehicle's ODB-II port or cigarette lighter.
If you're getting a camera designed for a personal vehicle, it will likely be easy to install. The more complicated fleet dash cams require slightly more complex installation – they'll need to be manually wired behind a panel in the vehicle. These cameras will come with a hardwire kit: If the device comes with two power wires, one should be connected to constant 12V, while the other goes to ignition 12V. Labels and color-coding will vary by camera model, so you'll have to rely on the instructions.
If you're not self-installing, don't expect the installation costs to be any more than $50 per install. Many commercial dash cams or fleet tracking software companies will include the installation free with a purchase.
Once installed on a truck, a commercial dash cam will be located in a descrete location, typically on the windshield behind the rearview mirror. The dash cam should never be more than five inches or less from the top of the windshield, so the drivers' view isn't obstructed. One potential problem area is the adhesive used to attach the camera, as some types of adhesive may be too permanent and can damage windows when removed.
Any dash cam will be able to record video footage. Many include the “Wide Dynamic Range” software feature, which can tone down bright lighting and improve dark lighting for a better video image. Some also come with additional perks, which could include the following features:
- Night vision — this lets the cam record clear video during the night
- Motion sensors — if anything interferes with a microwave beam sent out by the cam, including when parked, it will be triggered to begin recording
- Collision detection auto-recording (also called shock sensors) — this automatically saves a video clip when the cam's sensors are shaken by a vehicle collision
- Internal accelerometer — this senses a vehicle's rate of acceleration
- Time lapse auto-recording — this takes periodic snapshots when turned on, and compiles them into a time-lapse video
- Artificial Intelligence — cameras with built-in AI can identify and record a range of events, from unworn seatbelts to specific driving violations, so you can track and encourage safe driving. This features is designed for fleet-specific dash cams, as it is most useful to a manager handles a group of vehicles.
- In-cab coaching — some dash cams have built-in speakers to alert drivers of relevant information and keep them focused. This features is also exclusive to fleet dash cams rather than consumer cameras.
You're unlikely to find a dash cam with all these features, however, and certainly not an inexpensive one. Try picking one or two of your favorite abilities from this list, and look for a camera that offers them. Our roundup of the top ten best dash cams for truckers includes cameras that offer one or more of all these features.
Some dash cams offer GPS data logging, which embeds GPS data into the video footage being recorded. This lets viewers match locations to timestamps, and helps them verify a vehicle's location during any given incident.
Dash cams with GPS often cost $50 or $100 more than cams that don't, but for most truckers, location tracking is too useful a perk to give up for a cheaper price – particularly when paired with the added features a fleet management service (FMS) offers. Which brings us to our final point…
Fleet Management Software
No personal-use car dash cam will need a Fleet Management System, but it brings a broad range of abilities to a business fleet of trucks. Fuel management, routing and dispatching functionality, ELD compliance, and two-way messaging ability are all big perks that can streamline operations.
Many major fleet management software companies, including Samsara, Verizon Connect, and GPS Insights, offer a hardware selection that includes a dash cam. If a fleet already uses that specific FMS, it will likely want to buy that FMS' dash cam, or at least ensure their third-party dash cam is compatible.
Whether or not you already have an FMS, your search for the best priced dash cam (with the features to meet your needs) should start with collecting and comparing quotes. By using Tech.co's 1-minute form, you'll receive competing personalized quotes from the best business dash cam vendors out there.
Total Dash Cam Price Breakdown
Trucker dash cams cost between $80 and $500. A standard one is likely to cost as little as $100 per dash cam or as much as $250 per cam. For this range, a fleet manager should expect the essential features: a 1080p HD cam with a 170 degree wide-angle lens and a dual-facing unit.
At these price points, a small fleet of five vehicles will cost $500 to $1,250 to equip with dash cams, and may cost $750 to $1,500 to equip with advanced features and installation.
A fleet of 50 vehicles will cost from $5,000 to $12,500 to equip, or between $7,500 and $15,000 to equip higher-end devices (including installation).
Best-Priced Dash Cams
When searching for the best dash cam price, it's helpful to look at a broad range of dash cam products and their prices. This table demonstrates all the extremes, showcasing dash cams from $399 to as low as $40.
Byakov Dash Cam 1080
Old Sharp Dash Cam 1080p
TOGUARD Dual Dash Cam FHD
Rexing V1 – 4K Ultra HD Car Dash Cam
TOGUARD 4K Dual Dash Cam
Nexar Beam GPS Full HD Dash Cam
Vantrue T2 1080P 24/7 Recording Dash Cam
Best Cheap Dash Cam Deals
So, you want an inexpensive dash cam that's still sturdy, easy to use, and records in 1080p HD? You came to the right place.
Pickings are a little slim, though – as with any product range, you tend to get what you pay for. The cheapest options are more likely to be made with cheaper materials, and there's a danger that you'll wind up paying more in the long run, as you'll need to replace them more often.
With that said, these options are some of the best dash cams around.
Best Dash Cam Under $100
We'd recommend the OldShark Dash Cam ($55) and the TOGUARD Dual Dash Cam FHD ($69) – both are well under $100, and offer all the basics needed for a dash cam worth buying. They are both easy to use, offer wide angles and HD video, and include essential features, like an accident-detecting shock sensor that will record and save a video file when triggered by a collision.
The TOGUARD cam stands out for its dual camera setup, filming both the road and the cab, making it a great inexpensive option for fleets.
Despite its smaller price tag, the OldShark cam offers an impressive amount of features, including a night vision functionality. However, some reviewers have noted that the windshield mount can be fragile, and is difficult to replace. If you're looking for long-term durability, you may need to raise your dash cam budget beyond $100.
Best Dash Cam Under $50
Once you drop below $50, finding a quality dash cam becomes a fairly tough chore. That said, the APEMAN Dash Cam ($46) stands out from the crowd. It films in 1080p HD with a 170-degree wide angle view and a 3-inch LCD Screen, and includes collision detection and a Wide Dynamic Range to better film in bright or dim lighting. While this cam is purpose-built for cars, light duty trucks could also use it. Saying that, the interface may be a little counter-intuitive, so the learning curve will be a little steeper than for similar cams.
Another sub-$50 option is the Byakov Dash Cam ($40). It also offers a 1080p HD 170-degree view, although the screen is just an inch and a half. Features include Wide Dynamic Range, collision detection, and a parking mode. It uses continuous loop recording, which makes sure the user won't have to manually delete any files. Instead, the oldest files will be seamlessly overwritten by new ones (unless the device has detected a collision, in which case it saves the incident automatically). Plus, it comes with a two-year warranty, so you'll be able to return it if something goes wrong.
True penny pinchers might also consider a dash cam app, a type of mobile app that records video to serve as a makeshift dash cam for $3.99 or less. Granted, you won't be able to use your phone and you'll run out of storage quickly, so an app is likely not a long-term solution worth considering.
Fleet operators likely won't want to stop at an off-the-shelf solution. If you want to expand your search beyond these cameras and beyond the quality limitations of a $50 or $100 budget, just remember you can always compare the best business dash cam deals with our handy comparison form.
Dash Cam Cost Savings
When figuring out a business dash cam budget, it can be easy to forget the long-term benefits of adopting a high-quality dash cam. The soft savings can be tough to quantify, but they're still worth noting. Here are a few hidden benefits of a good dash cam, which a fleet will continue to enjoy for years (or even decades).
- Insurance — If a truck gets in an accident but isn't at fault, it'll be easy to prove with video footage, saving your company from a higher insurance premium.
- Theft recovery — A motion-sensing dash cam can begin recording when disturbed during the night, and can automatically upload the footage online. The result? Stolen vehicles or equipment can be recovered rapidly and safely. Also, the culprits behind freight theft – which costs the US trucking industry up to $2 billion annually – will be more visible.
- Theft deterrence — When theft recovery is easy, it has the side effect of making the thefts themselves less common. Simply having a camera in place can have a deterring effect.
- Driver safety — Reviewing dash cam video can help drivers gain a new perspective on their driving habits. For trucking fleets, a manager can review footage to determine how well their drivers are performing, or can review previous collisions in order to gather information that might prevent future ones. Higher-end models may even be able to deliver audible driving alerts in real time.
- Fleet efficiency — When a fleet manager has access to dash cam footage throughout the working day, that manager can know their vehicles' locations without needing to rely on their drivers to respond. This speeds up and better informs decision making, leading to a more effective fleet. Of course, combining a dash cam with fleet management software takes this benefit to the next level.
While these long-term benefits are easy to forget about and difficult to fully factor into a budget, they'll combine to easily save vehicle owners hundreds – and fleet managers thousands – on an annual basis.
These hidden savings can help you rest easy when you buy a dash cam, secure in the knowledge that the camera's cost will ultimately help you avoid even more unexpected charges years down the line.
Next Steps for Dash Cams
Which dash cam do you want? It all depends on a few variables: Your budget, features needed, and if you want a camera for personal use or for commercial use.
Users who need a personal camera will likely want the OldShark Dash Cam, which offers plenty of features and a high-quality resolution at a low price. Fleets on a budget might prefer the TOGUARD Dual Dash Cam FHD, which offers a handy dual camera at just under $70.
But the best way to ensure you save money on your dash cam is to compare the various prices offered by the top dash cam vendors available. Once you know your budget and your needs, the next step is to take one minute to fill out our free form, which can pair you with personalized quotes from the best dash cam providers available.
But will your insurance company lower your premium if you show you've installed a dash cam? That depends on the insurance company's specific policies. Sadly, it's currently uncommon for an insurance provider to offer a discount for those with dash cams, and many do not even have set policies regarding using dash cam footage in an insurance claim. As dash cams gain popularity, these standards may change.
As a rule of thumb, if the cam is plugged into a vehicle's OBD-II port, it can operate 24/7 with a minimum of battery-draining, thanks to the port's low voltage protection. If wired to the vehicle's ignition circuit, the dash cam won't draw power at all.
In addition, most dash cams can be set to turn off when the vehicle is off, and automatically turn back on when the vehicle turns on. Check your dash cam's manual to determine how it draws its power.
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