Between $50 and $100 might not sound like much money to spend on the best budget dash cam, especially when many of these compact devices shoot in Full HD and have advanced features like wide-angle lenses and a parking mode.
But the truth is, there’s a wide range of dash cams available in this price range, and even a handful from big-name brands like Nextbase, Thinkware, and, if you increase your budget ever-so-slightly, Garmin too.
You can even find a dash cam that records two or even three views at once, shooting to the front and rear of your vehicle, as well as the interior – a feature that is ideal for rideshare drivers. It’s also possible to pick up a dash cam with GPS or even 4K video recording for less than $100.
This guide includes 11 dash cams priced at $100 or below. They come from a wide range of brands and, while their core functions are universal, they differ considerably when it comes to their design and extra features.
Which one you choose will depend on your exact circumstances, but we hope the selection here demonstrates just what’s available in this section of the dash cam market.
Budget dash cams - our top 3 picks
Best budget dash cam overall
A great value dash cam from a well-respected manufacturer. the F70 is small and compact, and offers Full HD video capture at 30fps. It is simple to use, taking power from your lighter socket, and recording onto a microSD card.
Best budget dual dash cam
Why have one camera, when you can have two for the same price? This dual dashcam not only records footage of the road ahead (at 2K resolution, but also what is going on in the vehicle. It can also download footage to your phone via an app, without taking the memory card out.
Best with screen
Best budget dash cam with screen
Many budget dashcams do not have a built-in display, but this model from respected manufacturer Nextbase has a 2.5in screen, so you can review footage and change settings without the need for another device.
The best budget dash cams in 2023
Thinkware is a top brand in the dash cam sector, and the F70 is one of its most compact, and affordable, options to date. This forwards-facing camera features a 2.1MP CMOS sensor that records Full HD (1920 x 1080) footage at 30 frames per second.
The lens is 140 degrees, which isn’t the widest we’ve seen but is still roughly par for the course in the sub-$100 end of the market. Like most dash cams, there is no battery. Instead, a supercapacitor holds enough charge to ensure footage is saved and the camera switches off correctly when it is unplugged or the car is switched off.
Additional features include a parking mode (which requires the optional hardwiring kit, sold separately) and there’s a port for adding Thinkware’s GPS antenna.
Proof that $100 can go surprisingly far with today’s dash cams, this model has two cameras in a single unit. One faces out of the windscreen and records at 2K resolution, while the second faces into the interior and records at Full HD.
Dash cams with interior cameras are best suited to taxi and rideshare drivers who might want to record their passengers (with a notice explaining as much, of course). Both cameras have fairly wide, 155-degree lenses, and there’s infrared night vision to ensure nighttime recordings can be relied on in the event of an accident.
Parking mode is also available, where the dash cam fires into life if a parking prang is detected, but a hardwiring kit or external battery is required for this to function.
We admit we’ve gone slightly over budget here, but we think this is the very best compact dash cam available anywhere today. The Mini 2 uses Garmin’s wonderfully simple and compact windscreen mounting system, which takes up just a coin’s worth of space, and is incredibly compact.
Despite the size, the Mini 2 still packs a punch, with a Full HD resolution at 30 frames per second, a 140-degree lens, and HDR to help balance exposure in especially bright and dark environments.
This is key, given how the primary function of a dash cam is to clearly show details like vehicle registration plates and road signs. A Wi-Fi connection means videos are automatically uploaded to Garmin’s cloud storage service when an internet connection is detected.
Read our full Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 review for more details
Another big-hitting brand in the dash cam market, Nextbase’s 222 pairs a Full HD imaging sensor with a six-layer glass lens for impressive video quality for the price. We especially like the quick-release magnetic mounting system, as used by all Nextbase products.
This makes it easy to remove the dash cam and switch it between vehicles, while the 2.5-inch display is handy for getting the dash cam’s position just right, and viewing recorded footage.
There’s also infrared night vision and a parking mode, although as with all dash cams in this article, a hardwiring kit (sold separately) is required.
The Toguard CE41 gives you two cameras for the price of one - recording views of both the road in front and inside of the car, at a very reasonable price. It's also nicely unobtrusive, slim and compact.
The interior-facing camera, with its 140° lens, four infrared LED lights, and an F/1.8 aperture, can still provide valuable footage when your passengers are in darkness. The front camera, meanwhile, offers a 170° wide angle view.
A loop recording feature means you can set your cam to overwrite recordings, which means you won’t have to worry about running out of memory cards. Recordings are locked and stored automatically on sudden impact.
And in parking mode, the camera switches on automatically when it detects movement. Recordings are in crisp 1080p HD quality. Storage is impressive too, accepting up to a 256GB SD card).
Proving it’s possible to buy a dual camera system for under $100, we present this dash cam by Z-Edge. When used on its own, the front camera records in 2K resolution, or when the rear camera is attached with the included cable they both shoot Full HD at 30 frames per second.
There’s Wi-Fi for quickly transferring files to your smartphone, a wide dynamic range (not quite the industry-standard High Dynamic Range, but still useful), and a large 2.7-inch display for set-up and viewing recordings. The dash cam accepts microSD cards up to 265GB, which provides enough storage for 40 hours of Full HD recordings when both cameras are in use.
Another dual camera system, but this time priced at just $80 (and sometimes even lower in Amazon’s sales), the Kingslim D1 records in 1080p Full HD forwards and 720p HD rearwards.
Crucially, both cameras have wide-angle lenses, with 140 degrees at the rear and an impressive 170 degrees at the front. This is a great addition, as it means your footage will include the areas to the side of your front fenders, as well as dead-ahead.
There’s also a wide dynamic range and, unlike most other dash cams in this price range, integrated GPS. This adds speed and location information to your recordings, which could prove crucial if you need to prove you were driving below the speed limit in the event of an accident.
See our full Kingslim D1 review for more details
If you thought a dual-camera system was impressive for under $100, then how about a three-camera system? That’s what Galphi offers here, by combining a front-facing system with an interior camera and a rear camera.
Perfect for rideshare drivers who want to monitor their passengers as well as traffic ahead and behind, this dash cam has a wide 165-degree lens facing forwards, while the other two are both 160 degrees.
This camera also manages to pack in a display for viewing footage back, and there’s also infrared night vision and optional parking mode (with the hardwiring kit fitted).
This dash cam offers an improved resolution over most others in this segment of the market, with a 1440p sensor that records video at 60 frames per second. The higher resolution makes for most detail, while the increased frame rate means smoother, clearer video – key for spotting details that might prove your innocence, like street signs and road markings.
The Viofo has a 140-degree lens and an integrated 2.0-inch LCD display, while the design means it sits snugly against the windscreen, taking up less space and being less distracting than some other models.
A 4K dash cam for under $100? You’d better believe it. This is the V1 from Rexing, and as well as Ultra HD resolution it has a 2.4in display, a wide 170-degree lens, Wi-Fi for transferring recordings to a smartphone app, and can accept microSD cards up to 256GB in capacity.
There’s also a parking mode, ready to use if the dash cam is hardwired to your car, and Wide Dynamic Range tech helps to improve video clarity in challenging lighting conditions. An optional GPS antenna can be bought separately and added to the camera, bringing speed and location data to your recordings.
You’ll need just $50 to buy this dash cam from 70mai. It has a compact design, records in 1080p Full HD, and has infrared night vision. It lacks the integrated display and GPS of other, pricier models, and doesn’t have a rear or interior camera. But for drivers looking for a simple yet effective dash cam that shoots in HD and takes up very little space, we think this could be a great purchase.
Unlike most others at this price, there are voice controls, so you can ask the dash cam to record footage of an incident that happened ahead but didn’t directly affect your vehicle.
How to choose the best budget dash cam
Here area some the key decisions you need to make when choosing a dash cam…
Is angle of view important?
Angle of view: Dash cams typically have wide-angle lenses. The wider the angle of view, the more likely it is to take in what’s happening in junctions and side roads, but objects up ahead will be smaller.
Is resolution is important?
Resolution: 4K capture is great, and high resolution means clearer, sharper images with more detail – but 4K dash cams are not yet budget-priced. The higher the resolution, the bigger the video file, so you need more storage. Most budget dashcams record in high definition - but 1080P is better than 720P, and 2K is better still.
Do I need to run my dash cam off the car battery?
Battery-powered dash cams: Some dash cams have batteries and can easily be installed without wires, but the batteries won’t last long – typically around 30 minutes. Some dash cams can plug into a USB socket or 12V supply and keep running indefinitely, though the cables may look messy.
Professional installation: The alternative to battery power is to get your dash cam installed professionally with hidden wiring. It will cost more, and you can’t move the camera from one vehicle to another, but it looks better. Some budget dash cams give this option, but the hardwire kit will cost extra (and you may want to pay for installation too)
Protection while parked: The advantage of a wired-in dash cam is that it can keep running while your car is parked, and record suspicious activity, attempted theft or parking bumps.
Do I need more than one camera?
Front and rear dash cams: Sometimes, the hazard is from behind, so a rear-facing dash cam can be very useful. We have a separate buying guide to the best front and rear dash cams. Some front-facing dash cams come with an optional rear camera upgrade.
Interior cameras: Some drivers, and particularly those who make a living carrying passengers, will want a dashcam that also records the vehicle's interior. Our best Uber dashcam guide recommends the best options for this. If you want a front, rear, and interior camera check out our guide to the best three-channel dash cams.
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