Advancement of technologies has made life easy for drivers since they can now monitor their movements and that of other drivers with the help of a hidden dash cam.
However, with different options in the market and features to look for, it is not easy choosing the best hidden dash cam.
You need to understand how they work, your needs, budget and the features you desire in a discrete dash cam. What level of hidden is acceptable to you? Do you want your camera to be partially or completely disguised? Depending on your level of comfort, you’ll want to research dash cam options that could blend in with your car, or have a small form factor so it doesn’t draw attention to it.
This article compiles together some necessary information about hidden dash cams to help you choose wisely when you want to buy one.
What is a hidden dash cam?
A hidden dash camera is a small camera installed in your vehicle with the purpose of monitoring it when parked and keep watch of it while you’re away.
The camera also acts as a spy to prove your innocence in case you get involved in an accident, and you’re wrongly accused of causing traffic problems. It ensures the insurance company and law enforcement gets proof of what exactly happened on the road.
With the advancement of technology, dash cameras have become smaller and lighter; hence can be installed secretly in your vehicle with the only person knowing about it is yourself. The sleek and compact design makes them easy to hide hence not attract the attention of a third party.
You can choose many different types of hidden dash cams ranging from tiny dash cams, rearview mirror dash cams or dash cams without screens.
Types of Hidden Dash Cams
Rear View Mirror Dash Cams
Nowadays there are all types of dash cams and the rear view mirror dash cam is a device that mounts right on top of your existing mirror. This is a perfect solution for those trying to have a inconspicuous and covert setup that won’t have people be giving your car a double take when they pass by it. A rearview mirror dash cam uses an already existing part of the car and adds onto it. If you feel like having something on your windshield will cause people to act differently than if they didn’t see it, then a mirror dash cam is the way to go.
Tiny Dash Cams
Instead of using the mirror method, you can be focusing on the form factor. There are dash cams that vary in size from as small as a car key to having it take up a good portion of your windshield. Don’t expect a ton of those luxury features like exceptional infrared night vision, but you could count on things like WiFi and a wide angle lens.
No Screen Dash Cams
The third type of hidden dash cam is low profile dash cam with no screen. Screens themselves make the device larger than it needs to be and a screen might attract an unwanted guest towards your vehicle. Dash cams are a bit of a double edged sword in that they are supposed to protect your car, but in some unique cases, it can encourage a break in.
Installing a hidden dash cam
Even though dash cameras are naturally unobtrusive and discrete, you still need to know how to install a hidden dash cam in your car that is concealed and doesn’t draw attention. Generally, having a no screen device reduces risk because screens often times represent valuables. It also reduces the weight and size by not having a screen.
The best place to install the camera is behind the rear-view mirror. This place hides it from any spying eyes and will not be easy to notice from inside the vehicle. Unlike the traditional cameras, the clips of dash cams do not lose their strength with time or due to extreme temperatures.
A rearview mirror dash cam easily conceals itself as a normal one. A person standing outside the vehicle will not easily notice it as it looks like part of a rear-view mirror.
The next part of the installation is to figure out cable management. Nothing is worse than having a dash cam wire hang down in the middle of your dashboard because it needs to access the cigarette lighter. Nothing more screams “look at me!” than a dangling wire. Also, it could get distracting and is potentially a safety concern. Take a few minutes and learn how to hide the wires within your car and contemplate hard wiring the device.
For cable management, all cables should first go along the top of the car’s headliner. This is easily pulled down by your fingertips enough to slide the power wire along the top of the headliner. Depending on where exactly you want to power the device, you’ll make your way to the vehicle’s A-pillar. Most newer cars have weather stripping that is perfect for hiding the wires.
From there you can go through your glove compartment or under the steering wheel to make your way to your power source.
Hardwiring your hidden dash cam
If you are planning on utilizing Parking Mode, which allows you to record incidents when the ignition is off and you are away from the vehicle, then you will need something to consistently power your dash cam. Most dash cams come with Parking Mode, but you will have to add-on a hard wiring kit because you’ll need to connect it to your car’s fuse box.
Be sure to select a fuse that is always running “hot”, or is always on.
Best Hidden Dash Cams
The best hidden dash cams incorporate a mixture of form factor and concealment.
Here is a list of the best three dash cams that we’ve selected for you based on the features listed above.
TOGUARD 12″ 2.5K Mirror Dash Cam
The TOGUARD 12″ 2.5K Mirror Dash Cam is a mid-range rear view mirror camera with a design that easily fits over your existing mirror. This is a perfect solution for a hidden dash cam.
This dual setup is filming in 2.5K + 1080p rear unit. It boasts a 12-inch touchscreen that eliminates blind spots.
It comes with a GPS module which tracks location data and attaches it to the footage. It doesn’t come with WiFi, but with the touchscreen, footage is easily accessible for review. One great thing about this setup is it comes with a G-Sensor which automatically detects crashes and will save footage for future reference.
And if you are in a scenario where you need to be very discrete to an outsider, this dash cam has voice control allowing you to take a photo or video with voice commands. You won’t have to reach towards the device in order to begin recording.
The cam is easy to install as it comes with different parts and attachments to give you different installation options so that you choose only the one suitable for you. You can also swap them as you wish.
Garmin Dash Cam Mini
The most discrete dash cam is the Garmin Dash Cam Mini as it is as big as a car key. Stick this to the back of your mirror, hide the wires and you are good to go. This setup features full HD resolution with a 140 degree wide angle lens.
All footage and settings are able to be changed with the built-in WiFi, accessible through smartphone app. While this camera doesn’t have many bells and whistles, you are paying for the form factor and the discreteness.
Vantrue S1 Dual Dash Cam
The Vantrue S1 is a great dual dash cam for discreteness. It sports a 2160p front camera with a 1080p rear dash cam. What we like about the S1 is the form factor. It really is tidy and small and with a bit of cable management, someone would have to really be looking out for a dash cam to notice this one.
It comes built-in with GPS for speed which is a rare feature for this type of dash cam. It also sports the usual Parking Mode, Loop Recording and Motion Detection. Hardwire this to your car for 24/7 protection.
This is a very solid camera for the daily driver and a great hidden dash cam.
AUKEY Dash Cam FHD 1080P
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The AUKEY Dash Cam FHD 1080P is one of the cheapest dash cams, but its price doesn’t affect the features in any way. It still delivers quality HD videos recorded from the front and rear of the car and comes in a sleek, compact design easy to hide.
It doesn’t matter where you hide the camera; the Sony Exmor Sensor is still able to capture everything happening in the road with its 1080p resolution. Also, it still performs at its peak in low light vision such as during the night.
The built-in gravity sensor activates the emergency recording mode to capture unexpected happenings such as accidents or abusive drivers.
The dash cam is easy to install in your windshield with its double-sided 3M pads. If you need to remove it at night or at the end of your journey, it’s no problem as you only need to unplug the power cable and unclip it from the mount.
Why choose a hidden dash cam?
Every car owner should consider getting a dash cam for safety purposes. This is not only for the safety of your car but also for your loved ones and your own peace of mind.
Imagine being blamed for an accident you didn’t cause; a hidden dash camera will be able to prove your innocence and protect you from such liabilities. You will also get protected from problems like traffic violations.
Another critical reason why you should buy a hidden dash cam and not any other type is their size. These gadgets are small in size; hence you can easily hide it away so that no one can see it from outside the car. This will enable you to record the action of others without them noticing.
If you live in areas prone to crime such as theft or car break-ins, you need to install a hidden dash cam. This is also important if you regularly park your car on the streets.
Hidden dash cameras are unobtrusive. You don’t want a camera that will block your line of vision or attract the attention of others. Various options of dash cameras available in the market are easy to hide, and you can even install them in the windshield and hide them behind your mirror.
It also provides evidence of another driver’s state of mind if they are causing a scene. Make sure you have the best hidden dash cam when it comes down to it.
Once you install the cam, you can forget about it. It will turn on automatically and remain out of sight and mind until the day you’ll need to view the recordings. Of course, you need to make sure the dash cam records when the car is off.