The best front and rear dash cams will record what happens behind you as well as what's on the road ahead. Dash cams are a common sense precaution for any driver today, but while the best dash cams will record a super-clear driver's-eye view of the road ahead, these models cover both the front and rear, giving you that extra bit of peace of mind.
No-one likes to think about traffic accidents, but if you are ever involved in a collision or simply witness one, a dash cam can make a huge difference to any subsequent investigations.
A regular dash cam will record anything that happens on the road ahead, but as many of us will know, it's also possible to get rear-ended by another vehicle – sometimes accidents start behind you, not ahead. Being able to capture forward and backward-looking footage simultaneously covers both directions.
Rear dash cams can also function as a useful back-up camera, helping you reverse for that tricky parking situation when your vehicle does not have a parking camera. Once you've used a rear facing camera, you'll never look back! (Not literally, we hope – you are supposed to turn and look when you reverse.)
There are a few things to look for in the best front and rear dash cams.
• Resolution is important for a start, because the higher the resolution, the more detail the camera can capture, which is especially important if key moments happen when you are still some distance away.
• Wireless connectivity is an option for some models and can be handy if you want to quickly review or back up your footage.
• LCD screens can be useful for instant footage review, though be aware that this does add to the bulk of the unit. If you want something small and unobtrusive, it's best stick with the simpler models.
• microSD cards are the usual storage format, and front and rear dash cameras will often save both sets of footage to the same microSD card, which means you need to get one with decent capacity. This goes double if you're shooting at higher resolutions like 4K UHD. Which some dash cams can do!
• Professional installation is worth considering, because the two cameras often interface via a physical cable that will run through your car; you will probably want to get this installation done professionally, to make sure it's all secure and safe and does not spoil the appearance of your interior.
Some front and rear dash cams are sold as kits, while some regular dash cams have an optional rear camera add on you can get separately. Generally, the rear camera has a lower spec than the front camera. Garmin, however, takes an interesting approach with its Auto Sync feature – you can connect up to four of its cameras, for example the new Garmin 67W dash cam, to face to the front, rear and both sides if you want to.
We've scoured the internet for the best front and rear dash cams you can buy right now. We've also picked out models at a broad range of price points, so there should be something for everyone.
Best front and rear dash cams in 2021
Thinkware’s current flagship dash cam, the U1000, can be set to record in Ultra HD 4K at 30fps, or 2K 1440p at 60fps. While 4K sounds great, we would recommend the higher frame rate and lower resolution, as this will help you identify details like number plates when the footage is paused. Ultra HD 4K video files are also huge, so can be a pain to store and transfer.
The optional rear camera shoots 2K 1440p video at 30fps through a 156-degree lens, and is compact enough so not to be distracting when stuck to the inside of your rear windscreen.
As with the Q800 Pro, the U1000 has GPS and a suite of driver assistance and safety systems, including red light, speed camera and average speed warnings.
There is no display, but the U1000 is still quite large. This should be fine in most cases, but some modern vehicles now have large forward-facing camera and sensor rigs of their own, located close to the rear view mirror. This could make it tricky to place the U1000 in the optimal position on your windscreen.
While it's not one of the better-known names in dash cams, we're really impressed with the Viofo A129 Pro Duo. In terms of quality of footage, its front camera is one of the best around, capable of capturing 4K UHD, utilising its 8.29MP Sony Exmor R sensor. You also get multiple bit-rate options and H.265 high-efficiency video coding. If you're looking for dashcam footage that's a cut above, this is a great pick.
The rear camera isn't quite as high quality as that of the Thinkware U1000, being only Full HD rather than the U1000's slightly higher 2560x1440 resolution. This may well be more than enough for your needs however, and it still looks pretty darn good. You also get some useful extra modes such as Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) and Super Night Vision, meaning you're always prepared no matter the weather and lighting conditions.
The camera units themselves are rather bulky, and can't be removed from their mounts. The front unit especially is sizeable, which is partly due to the LCD screen. If you're not bothered about an LCD screen and want a smaller dash cam, it may be worth considering one of the others on this list. Otherwise, this is a really solid buy.
Kenwood is a brand you’re most likely to associate with in-car speakers, but the company does dash cams too. And this front and rear dash cam bundle is pretty impressive, with high picture quality indeed.
This dual cam bundle offers 4K resolution at the front and QHD (1440p) from the rear. The use of HDR (high dynamic range) tech helps alleviate the problem of harsh shadows obscuring details like license plates. A detachable polarizing filter helps guard against glare and reflections. And the viewing angle of 161 is wide indeed.
Set up is nice and easy. Built in GPS receiver helps you to pinpoint the exact location of incidents when making an insurance claim. A LCD display screen lets you use video playback to review your footage. And it comes with a 64SD card too. There’s nothing particularly special or unique about this front and rear dash cam bundle, and it lacks some high-end features like Alexa or speed camera recognition. But overall it does a solid and reliable job, time after time.
The Garmin Dash Cam 67W replaces the 66W, which was already one of our favorite dash cams. It can be used as regular front facing dash came, but it can be used as a dual dashcam, too. That's thanks to Garmin’s smart Dash Cam Auto Sync feature, where up to four compatible cameras can be set to record at the same time. That way, you could fit dash cams to the front and rear of your car, but also facing out of the sides, which could be particularly useful for larger vehicles like vans and motorhomes. Obviously, this means you do need to buy two or more cameras (as these are not sold in kits) – so factor that into your comparisons
This Auto Sync feature is not exclusive to the 67W; it also works with Garmin’s 46, 56, Mini and Tandem dash cams. The latter has two lenses of its own, to record the interior of the car as well as the exterior.
As for the Dash Cam 67W itself, it records in 1440p (so a little higher than Full HD) at 60 frames per second and with HDR. It also has a 180-degree wide angle lens. Unusually for a dash cam, the 67W has a battery. But it only lasts for 30 minutes, so you’ll really want to plug in for most journeys, or permanently hardwire the camera to your car.
Like the idea of talking to your front and rear dash cam? Then check out the Nextbase 522GW Dash Cam Front and Rear Camera, which comes in-built with Amazon Alexa assistance. This means you can tell the dash cams to start recording, as well as asking Alexa on other devices for directions, to play music, to give you news and weather updates, to make a call and so on. And given that you don’t want to be doing anything distracting with your hands or eyes while driving, this is one situation when voice control really is handy.
Picture quality is decent too, allowing you to record at either 1440p at 30fps or 1080p at 60fps through the F1.6 lens, with clever software that optimising the colour and lighting of your footage whatever the conditions. It also records audio if you want, although this can be switched off if you don’t.
Also note that there’s a very decent 3-inch HD screen; you can connect to your phone using Bluetooth 4.2 and Quick-Link Wi-Fi via the free app; and you can set the device to automatically alert emergency services of your GPS location in the case of an accident.
Blackview’s DR750S is a compact dash cam which lacks a display, but is small enough to be all but hidden behind your rear view mirror, preventing driver distraction. Both cameras of the two-channel version shoot at Full HD, although the rear has to make do with 30fps, compared to the front camera’s superior 60fps.
Both cameras have a 139-degree lens, which is a little narrower than others, but there is an argument that a wider lens can distort images to the extent that the details (like exactly where another vehicle is in relation to your own) can be tricky to determine accurately. We think 139 degrees is fine, but we wouldn’t want to use a dashcam with a lens narrower than that.
As there is no display, videos are managed on the Blackvue app, which is available for iOS, Android, Windows and Mac. Videos are saved to an SD card, but can be transferred from the camera to the app over a direct Wi-Fi connection. As well as Wi-Fi, there’s also integrated GPS to add speed and locational data to your videos.
A step-up model from the Blackvue DR750S-2CH (above), the Blackvue DR750-2CH LTE adds its own 4G LTE cellular connection. That means you can use backup and cloud services even without your smartphone, giving you another level of reassurance when you and your loved ones are out on the road.
This front and rear dash cam goes one better by offering a third camera that monitors the inside of the vehicle as well as the outside. This is great bonus for those who carry paid passengers (see our separate guide to the best Uber dash cams), but could also help settle family arguments! The interior camera benefits from infrared too, so can help keep an eye on things when your car or truck is parked up overnight. With a 1440p 5-megapixel camera up front, and 10802 2 megapixel cameras middle and rear, the Zenfox offers a great set of features for the price. What's more, this is one of the few multi-camera models that has a built-in screen, albeit a small 2-inch LCD.
Q800 Pro is a high-end dash cam from Thinkware, which features high-quality 2K video (with a slightly higher resolution of 1440p rather than the standard 1080p), lane departure warning, and a speed camera alert system. The camera also offers advanced night vision capabilities, shoots through a 140-degree lens, and has integrated GPS.
By understanding the movements and distance of the vehicle ahead, the camera can also warn you if it thinks you are going to crash into the car in front. It can also be set to sound an alert when the car ahead moves away and you haven’t noticed.
Thinkware’s dash cams are shaped differently to most others, and despite being expensive the Q800 Pro does not have a display. This is a deliberate move to limit driver distraction, so instead there are a few buttons to adjust settings, and you can take more control via the Thinkware smartphone app.
The rear camera is much smaller and shoots at Full HD at 30fps through a 140-degree lens. It plugs into the front camera using a long cable and both record to the same SD card held in the front camera.
A cheaper option from Blackview is the DR590-2CH, which has the same slim and subtle design as numbers 6 and 6a on our list, but lacks features like Wi-Fi and GPS. The former means you’ll have to transfer videos via the included microSD card, and the latter means your videos will lack location and speed data, unless you buy Blackview’s optional GPS module.
Those drawbacks aside, this is a good option for drivers on a more limited budget, but still want good quality video from the front and rear of their car, and from cameras which can be tucked almost completely out of sight. As well as preventing driver distraction, this makes the camera less visible to potential thieves.
Both cameras record at Full HD at 30fps, and both have a 139-degree lens.
If you are looking for a dual dash cam system for a motorcycle, then this Thinkware system is what you need. A hard-wired system, this a serious step up from a helmet camera, giving you two-way coverage of the road in ahead, and what is coming up behind.
There are four components to the system. The two cameras are identical, with 1080p full HD capability and a wide 140° view. There's also a remote control console, and the central hub that includes a microSD card slot. There is no screen, but this Wi-Fi and GPS enabled system connects to your smartphone to check, download or delete recorded imagery.
The M1 Sportscam is not just for bikers. This weatherproof dash cam is also a great fit for snowmobiles, dune buggies, tractors and other all-terrain utility vehicles.
Read more guides:
Best camera phones
The best dashcam in 2021
Best backup camera
Best wifi camera: for home security and surveillance
The 10 best action cameras
The best helmet cameras
The best baby camera monitors