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How Much Is a Dash Cam? – Dash Cam Price Guide 2019

October 7, 2019

7:12 am

How much does a dash cam cost? There are plenty of factors to consider, but we'll cut to the chase. A non-commercial dash cam for cars and SUVs can cost as little as $30, but the best dash cams are more likely to sit within the $60 to $150 range. 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.


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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.

truck icon 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.

video camera icon Video quality

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.

dual arrows icon 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, but is popular among fleets, 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. 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.

install cog icon Installation

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.

Even the more complicated dash cams don't require very complex installation – they'll just need to be manually wired behind a panel in the vehicle. Don't expect the installation costs to be any more than $50 per install.

star icon Functionality

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
  • In-cab coaching — some dash cams have built-in speakers to alert drivers of relevant information and keep them focused

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.

gps arrow icon GPS tracking

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…

laptop and phone icon 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.

Find the best value dash cams for your fleet today

Total Dash Cam Price Breakdown

Assuming a fleet manager picks a standard 1080p HD cam with a 170 degree wide-angle lens and a dual-facing unit, they could pay as little as $100 per dash cam, but may find themselves paying closer to $250 per cam.

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).

Examples of Products and Their Prices

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 $60 to $399.

ModelProsConsPrices
Old Shark dash cam for truckersOldShark Dash Cam– Wide angle lens
– Accident auto-detection
– Brittle windshield mount, breaks easily$60
Anker Roav dash cam for truckersRoav DashCam C1 Pro– Easy to navigate menu and interface
– Shock sensors
– Might not record license plates if lighting is poor$73
Z Edge dash cam for truckersZ-Edge T3 Dash Cam– Night vision and HDR
– Easy to mount and remove from vehicle
– View isn't as wide as most pro-grade dash cams$100
WheelWitness HD Pro Plus dash cam for truckersWheelWitness HD PRO Plus– Wide Dynamic Range
– GPS tracking embedded
– Missing some features, like motion detection$160
Samsara dash cam for truckersCM32 Dual-facing Dash Cam– Impressive advanced features, including
night vision, AI alerts, and coaching
– Built-in operability with Samsara FMS
– Priced on the high end for a dash cam$399

 


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 ($60) and the Roav DashCam C1 Pro ($73) – 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.

Despite its smaller price tag, the OldShark cam actually offers more features than the Roav C1, 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 ($45) 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 Crosstour CR300 ($38). It also offers a 1080p HD, 170-degree view, with a 3-inch LCD Screen. Features include motion detection, collision detection, and Wide Dynamic Range, and again, it's designed with cars in mind rather than trucks. While many buyers are satisfied with it, a number of complaints center on the battery life, which may begin draining rapidly after a month, rendering the camera unresponsive. Another problem area is the mounting dock, which might come loose and fail to hold the camera.

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.


Find the best dash cam price for your fleet


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.


Dash Cam Price FAQs

Is a dash cam warranty worth the cost?

If a dash cam comes with a warranty, it's usually a 12-month or 18-month warranty that's included with the purchase of the dash cam itself. It's up you to whether you'd prefer to buy an additional one (or buy one outright if it isn't included), but any trusted pro-grade dash cam should last at least 3-5 years, depending on wear and tear and extreme temperatures.

How much does it cost to get a dash cam fitted?

Dash cam installation should cost between $35 and $50. However, many models are “plug-and-play,” meaning they can be plugged into a vehicle port – such as a cigarette lighter, or a truck's OBD-II port – and shouldn't cost anything to have installed.

Will a dash cam reduce my insurance?

Dash cam footage can be used in an insurance or legal appeal, potentially saving you thousands if it proves you're not at fault. If you use it to win a case, you can avoid an expensive insurance hike.

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.

Do I leave my dash cam in my car?

Some vehicle owners will prefer to bring their dash cam with them when they exit their vehicle for the day. However, this means re-installing it every time you get back in your vehicle to drive – and the one day you don't bother to do so, could be the day you need that footage. If a dash cam is located in a discreet location, it's unlikely to encourage theft. For truckers, it may actively discourage theft, as devices with auto-recording will catch anyone attempting to take what's yours. Plus, you can use it to monitor your vehicle while it's parked. Ultimately, it's up to you if you want to leave a dash cam in your own personal car – but for truckers' dash cams, we'd recommend leaving them in your vehicle.

Will a dash cam drain my car battery?

Dash cams can drain a battery, but won't necessarily. Some dash cams will draw on a vehicle's battery when plugged in, even when the vehicle is off – this is how a few special features, like time-lapse videos or motion-sensing, are able to work when a vehicle is turned off.

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.

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.

Find the best dash cams at the best price

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Adam is a writer at Tech.co and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for the last decade. He's also a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry (and Digital Book World 2018 award finalist) and has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect. When not glued to TechMeme, he loves obsessing over 1970s sci-fi art.