So, you’re thinking about buying a dash cam? Maybe you’ve just bought a new car. Or maybe you’re worried about leaving your vehicle parked overnight. Whatever concerns you have over your cherished mode of transport, there is a simple solution… a car security camera.
A car security camera is a smart investment for any vehicle owner. It will act as your eyes and ears when your vehicle is unattended.
This must-have safety feature is cheaper than you might think too. Not only this, but it could save you money in the long run, should you need to make an insurance claim.
In this post, we’ll be considering all of the features, benefits, and variables you should look for when considering your purchase.
Reasons why you need a Car Security System
Suspicious Behavior & Loitering
Some areas are worse for this than others. It might be a problem, particularly if you need to leave your car parked on a busy street. Although loitering isn’t a crime by itself, it can be a sign of an imminent attempt to steal or vandalize your vehicle.
Fortunately, car security cameras are an effective solution if you live in a higher-risk area. A camera system that is comprised of two cameras—front-facing, and rear-facing—can offer video recordings of any suspicious activity around your car. It’s important to look for car cameras with a wide-angle lens and a good field of view.
A lot of cameras are of good enough quality that they can capture details from afar. If your neighbor’s car is parked on the other side of the street and gets vandalized, there’s a chance your video recording could catch it. This is great if you’re part of a neighborhood watch scheme.
As well as wide-angle lenses and high resolutions, you’ll also need to consider some other features too. Some cameras will only record when they detect an impact, others use motion sensors. You’ll need to consider what aspects will be most useful to you.
Although they’re not very common, car break-ins can be both distressing and costly. A car security camera that has a good field of view can help by capturing footage of the perpetrators.
A great feature to have in the event of a break-in is an internal night vision camera. A lot of car security cameras offer these as an additional unit that plugs into the main unit. They use infrared light and a wide-angle lens to capture what’s going on inside your car.
However, a good preventative security measure you can take is to select a dash cam that doesn’t attract attention. A large, shiny front camera with a big screen in the front of your car will probably look expensive and it may attract thieves. Save yourself the cost of replacing it and consider how something looks, not just how well it performs.
Destruction of Property (Vandalism)
Car vandalism is a meaningless crime that can be costly to repair. This doesn’t mean it never happens though. Most cameras are able to record footage when it’s unattended. There are many ways it can do this.
Some car security cameras offer a time-lapse feature, this means they constantly record at a few frames per second. This is useful for real-time, around-the-clock surveillance.
A different method is G-sensor activated recording. This sensor is able to detect shocks, bumps, and impacts. When it’s triggered, the camera records.
The downside to these types of features is that the camera will need to be permanently connected to a power supply via a permanently-installed hard wire. This can cost you time, money, or effort to get sorted. A handful of dash cams offer an alternative solution (such as a battery) but this isn’t particularly common.
If your car is involved in a collision, a dash cam can provide evidence of fault. Insurance claims are long, drawn-out procedures that a dash cam can help shorten.
If your car is struck whilst it’s unattended, a dash cam will still record the incident. Using the above-mentioned sensor, a dash cam will start filming the second it detects a problem. This is where a properly configured parking surveillance mode comes into play. Once it’s set up, you don’t need to worry about leaving your vehicle unattended again.
However, there is a common pitfall when using impact-sensing surveillance modes. Like all technology, cameras may need time to boot up when first turning on. If an incident occurs quickly, the ten seconds your camera takes to turn on could mean you miss what happens in your recording.
The best car dash cam will offer multiple surveillance modes so you can pick which one is right for you, based on your circumstances. For instance, if you park on your driveway, you won’t need to worry as much about being struck. You will need to worry about theft and break-ins. In this instance, a proximity-sensing camera would be best for you.
Top Choices for Anti-Theft Dash Cams
We’ve picked what we think are three of the best dash cams available for protecting your vehicle. We’ll cover some of their differences and hopefully, it will help you figure out which features are the most important to you.
VAVA Dual Dash Cam
- Internal Battery (Overnight Protection)
- Discrete Design
- Clear Footage
- Limited Positioning Options (Due To Cable Ports)
- No Audio Notifications
The VAVA Dual dash cam is a 1080p full HD car security camera that’s definitely worth considering. It provides clear footage (both front and rear) along with several other notable features, all for a reasonable price.
The biggest selling point is the 320mAh internal battery. The battery will charge from the 12v outlet whilst you’re driving. Most car security cameras need hard-wiring to your vehicle’s battery in order to work with the engine off. Not the VAVA Dual. You don’t have to worry about spending time or money on the hard-wiring process because the battery will power the camera while your car is parked overnight.
The discrete design is also beneficial. A car security camera in the front of your car can occasionally attract the wrong sort of attention. Because of their cost, they can be targeted for theft. However, the VAVA Dual is very low profile and doesn’t really look like a security camera.
The VAVA dual is definitely worth considering as a first dash cam or if you’re not willing to spend a lot of money on one just yet.
- Buffered Parking Mode
- Crystal-Clear Footage
- Good Night Vision
- More Expensive
- Requires Hardwiring For Parking Mode
The VIOFO A129 Pro is a very high-quality dash cam. Although it’s a little more expensive, it has a lot of fantastic features. The front camera provides near-perfect 4k footage and excellent low light capabilities, whilst the rear camera is 1080p. It also has built-in Wi Fi and a wide-angle lens for a broad field of view.
However, its strongest selling point as a car security camera is its buffered parking mode. In the event of your unattended vehicle being involved in an incident, the VIOFO A129 will start recording before the event takes place. It does this by recording constantly and only saving the relevant videos. Alternatively, you’re able to record low-frame rate time-lapse videos so you don’t miss anything.
The higher price-tag feels justified with this camera. The robust build quality and small considerations make using it much easier than other, cheaper models. However, unlike the VAVA Dual, the front unit is very visible in the front of your car. It’s removable, but then that defeats the point of having a car security camera.
- Motion Detection
- Interior Night Vision Camera
- Easy-to-Follow Manual
- No Wi Fi or GPS
- Requires Hard-Wiring for Parking Mode
The Vantrue N4 3 Channel car security camera is a good option for taxis and delivery drivers, thanks to the internal night vision surveillance camera. With some manufacturers, this is an add-on feature, but Vantrue has incorporated it into their standard package. Another positive is that you can capture and view all three feeds simultaneously without compromising the resolution, unlike some cheaper models.
The feature that makes this an effective surveillance camera is that it has motion detection. Unlike the VIOFO A129 which is recording constantly, the Vantrue N4 uses a motion detector to trigger its recording when parked. This means if someone is loitering near your vehicle, potentially looking to damage or steal it, they will be captured before anything happens.
However, it feels as though, with this dash cam, you’re paying for the addition of the internal camera. Although it massively extends your field of view, a lot of other features that you would expect with this price tag are missing. There is no Wi Fi, which means no live view, and no easy way to get your videos off the camera without removing the SD card. There is also the poor low light performance to contend with. It’s good enough, but at this price point, you’d expect it to be great.
A Clear Winner
From the three dash cams we’ve looked at, the best overall car security camera is the VIOFO A129 Pro Duo 4K Dual. Despite some minor drawbacks, we think this is the best car security solution and the best compromise between quality, cost, and features.
However, these aren’t the only dash cams to consider. And they certainly don’t represent the full spectrum of features available. You could also consider a Garmin dash cam, a Blackvue, a Thinkware, or many, many others. We hope this post has helped you understand what features are important to you. Happy Shopping!