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The best helmet camera for motorcycles, cycling and adrenaline junkies

best helmet camera
(Image credit: GoPro)

Having one of the best helmet cameras lets you bring your rides to life. Whether you're on a bike, a motorbike, a snowboard or even a horse, with one of the best helmet cameras, you can capture everything that happens, completely hands-free. This isn't just for fun; it can also have practical applications too, giving you extra insurance in the event of an incident on the road. A good helmet camera can be relatively inexpensive, and provide you with many hours of fantastic, high-quality footage. 

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There are a few things to think about when picking a good helmet camera, which is why we've put together this guide to help you. First off, video quality – the higher resolution your video, the better it will look. Next, video stabilization – this can be a key way to smooth out choppy, bike-borne footage and make it into something shareable.

There's also the issue of battery life, as you're unlikely to be changing batteries while a camera is stuck to your bike helmet. On that subject, different cameras come with different mounting options, and some require the purchase of an extra kit to be mounted to a helmet. Do you want integrated lights to make it easier to see at night, or GPS to record your route (good if you tend to leave your camera phone (opens in new tab) at home).

So there's a lot to consider. Fortunately, we've done that considering for you, and come up with a range of cameras that offer feature-sets optimal for helmet mounting, at a range of prices to suit every budget. Read on to discover the best helmet cameras you can buy!

The best helmet camera

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli/Digital Camera World)
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Best all-rounder with a huge range of optional accessories

Specifications

Resolution: 5.3K at 60fps
Display: Yes, two-inch touch screen
Lights: Available with Light Mod (costs extra)
GPS: Yes
Extras: Waterproof to 10 metres, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, wide range of accessories, voice control

Reasons to buy

+
Range of useful mods
+
Best-in-class stabilization

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Middling low-light performance

The GoPro Hero 10 might be a little more than you need if you just want a helmet cam for safety purposes, but if you're looking for a camera that's going to record super-smooth high-quality video this can't be beaten. It might look a lot like the GoPro Hero 9 but it is a pretty significant upgrade. It features the new G2 processor, and we found in our review that this new tech makes the interface super responsive, doubles the frame rates and fuels the best image stabilization system available in action cameras. 

The stand-out feature is its ability to record 5.3K 60p using GoPro's new HyperSmooth 4.0 video stabilization. It also has the ability to shoot 23-megapixel photos and is has the best low-light performance of any GoPro yet. You can buy a wealth of accessories separately so as well as mounting it on your helmet, you could attach it to your chest, your head or even onto one of the best selfie sticks

GoPro Hero 9 vs 10 Black (opens in new tab)

Insta360 ONE RS

(Image credit: Jamie Carter)
This 6K camera boasts a clever, modular design

Specifications

Resolution: 6K at 25p
Display: 24mm square LCD
Lights: No
GPS: No
Extras: Waterproof with mounting bracket

Reasons to buy

+
4K and 360º lens options
+
Excellent stabilisation system

Reasons to avoid

-
Price has gone up
-
Helmet mounts cost extra

The Insta360 ONE RS Twin Edition is the updated version of one of the most interesting action camera concepts we've seen in recent years. It's essentially two cameras in one (hence the name), with lens modules for 4K video and 360º video. Among the features new to this version, compared to the original Insta360 ONE R (which you'll meet further down this list) is the 6K widescreen mode, which puts out video at an aspect ratio 2.35:1 at a frame rate of 24 or 25p, for a truly cinematic look.

It all sounds a bit complicated, but all you really need to know is that this action camera gives you a tonne of video options, and thanks to the 1-inch sensor, it'll capture them in quality that's a step above most action cameras. Just bear in mind that it doesn't come with a helmet mount – you'll need to grab the kit (opens in new tab) separately. Once you've done that though, you've got a veritable playground of a camera at your disposal, perfect for capturing all sorts of different views of your rides. 

(Image credit: DJI)
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A unique, tiny reimagining of the action camera

Specifications

Resolution: 4K at 60p
Display: 1.76-inch LCD
Lights: No
GPS: No
Extras: Waterproof to 10m (60m with housing)

Reasons to buy

+
Extremely tiny and lightweight
+
Excellent video quality

Reasons to avoid

-
4K not 5.3K
-
Fairly costly

Given GoPro's market dominance, rival action camera manufacturers have been getting seriously creative in an attempt to establish their own niche. DJI's first foray, the Osmo Action, was a fairly conventional action camera, albeit with a few nifty features like the front-facing screen, which GoPro promptly stole. The Action 2, however, is a different beats entirely. This tiny cuboid weighs just 56g on its own, but has a magnetic system with which you can add optional modules, such as the Front Touchscreen Module, or the Power Module, which adds an extra battery, and will probably be of more interest to bike riders.

The footage it captures looks excellent – it tops out at 4K,rather than the 5.3K of the GoPro HERO 10 Black, but let's be real, this is probably enough for most purposes. Having the RockSteady 2.0 also helps smooth out your footage (though it's worth being aware that it wont work at all resolutions and frame rates). In our review, we were very impressed by the DJI Action 2, praising in particular the value for money in the package that DJI has put together here. It's an excellent choice of helmet camera. 

(Image credit: Jon Stapley/Future)
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A great option for those looking for a budget helmet camera

Specifications

Resolution: 4K at 30p
Display: 2-inch rear touchscreen LCD, 1.5-inch front LCD
Lights: No
GPS: No
Extras: Waterproof to 10m (60m with housing)

Reasons to buy

+
Incredibly value
+
Decent stabilisation

Reasons to avoid

-
Cheaply built
-
Zoom modes are digital

If you're on an ultra-strict budget, then Akaso action cameras are well worth considering, as the Chinese manufacturer makes a range of options that come around and under the $100 mark. The Akaso Brave 4 Pro is a few years old now, but represents really good value, and comes with a stack of accessories including helmet mounts. It's pretty amazing to get a 4K camera with stabilisation for a price as low as this, but Akaso makes it so, and the footage generally looks decent. We found in our review that the processor can sometimes stutter at higher resolutions if there are sudden light changes, but it's fine if you dial it down to the Full HD, which gives you higher frame rates to work with anyway.

Best helmet cameras: Garmin Virb Ultra 30

(Image credit: Garmin)

5. Garmin Virb Ultra 30

An all-singing, all-dancing action camera with 4K video and optical image stabilisation

Specifications

Resolution: Ultra HD at 30fps / 1080p at 120fps
Display: 1.75-inch LCD touch screen
Lights: No
GPS: Yes
Extras: Voice control, three-axis stabilisation, waterproof case included

Reasons to buy

+
Ultra HD video recording
+
Three-axis image stabilisation

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Stabilisation doesn’t work at 4K

The Virb Ultra 30 by Garmin will appeal particularly to those people who like to track their fitness. You can link the Virb Ultra to a Garmin fitness wearable and record data such as heart rate, elevation, speed and G force which can be combined with video from the camera. 

It comes with a waterproof case for use in bad weather or snowy conditions and it has a universal mounting system so that you can mount it from anything to your helmet to your handlebars. 

It doesn't have quite the same super-smooth stabilization as the GoPro Hero 10, but three-axis still isn't bad. Even if the road is really bumpy you'll be able to get usable footage out of it. In Ultra HD it can shoot at 30fps which can be adjusted to Full HD at 120fps or set it to slow motion at 240fps.

(Image credit: Jon Devo)
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Comes with the larger 1-inch sensor without the huge price tag of the Sony RX0

Specifications

Resolution: 5.3K 30p
Display: 1-inch
Lights: No
GPS: No
Extras: Waterproof (with case)

Reasons to buy

+
H.265 and H.264 codecs
+
Larger 1-inch sensor
+
Raw .dng photos

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricey compared to other helmet cams
-
Small display

This is the original version of the upgraded Insta360 RS Twin Edition listed above, and it's available for a significantly lower price. The 1-inch wide angle lens is included with this addition but you could buy a 360 degree lens separately. The bigger 1-inch sensor is capable of recording 5.3K video at 30p and it's capable of recording in H.264 and H.265 codecs which mean you can reduce the files sizes but keep the image quality. The larger sensor also means it's low light performance is excellent which is good considering it doesn't have a built in light. 

Insta360 uses their FlowState Stabilization algorithm that supports both in-camera stabilization and post stabilization so you can shoot smooth video that can be refined when editing. There are lots of accessories to choose from with the Insta360 so you can either mount it to your helmet or handlebars. It doesn't have the waterproof capabilities of other action cameras and despite needing the case to be fully waterproof to 5 meters it doesn't add any rubber seals. 

The Insta360 One R 1-inch can be voice-controlled, via Bluetooth or via the purpose-designed app for your smartphone. The camera itself is pretty durable so would survive a knock or two. 

Best helmet cameras: Sony RX0 II

(Image credit: Sony)

7. Sony RX0 II

The premium option: high-quality and a high price tag

Specifications

Resolution: 4K 40p
Display: Yes, 1.5 inch touchscreen
Lights: No
GPS: No (can import smartphone GPS data)
Extras: Waterproof, dustproof, shockproof, crushproof

Reasons to buy

+
1-inch sensor
+
1000fps super slow motion

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Mount

The Sony RX10 II is considerably more expensive than any other helmet/action cam on the list but it does have a 1-inch sensor that will make it noticeably better in low light conditions. This is almost definitely aimed at the adventurers rather than the safety seekers who don't necessarily need such a large sensor. 

The RX10 can shoot great-looking 4K video at 30p as well as high-speed video at an incredible 1000fps. This feature will allow you to create some unforgettably slow-motion scenes which look very cool in a video for social media. It's designed to withstand the elements and thanks to its extensive shockproofing and crushproofing, it should survive a tumble on your bike. It will probably even fair better than you do...

All this does come at a premium price, and if you don't need the ultimate in sensor quality from a helmet camera, it's probably worth checking out one of the cheaper options on this list. Still, if you need the best, get the best.

(Image credit: DJI)
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A quality GoPro alternative, though it's getting rarer

Specifications

Resolution: Ultra HD at 60 fps with HDR
Display: Yes, 2.25-inch rear and 1.4-inch front
Lights: No
GPS: No
Extras: Second front display, waterproof to 11 metres, shockproof to 1.5 metres

Reasons to buy

+
Shoots 4K Ultra HD at 60 fps
+
‘RockSteady’ image stabilisation

Reasons to avoid

-
Getting hard to find
-
Lacks bike-specific features, like GPS

On release, the original DJI Osmo Action certainly stirred up the action camera market. While it's getting harder to find these days thanks to the spotlight refocusing on the DJI Action 2, it's still a great buy if you can get it. We gave it major plaudits in our full review, and still rate it as a helmet camera now. 

Its RockSteady image stabilization is almost on par with GoPro's own stabilization but the Osmo has a HDR mode that will help pick out details from the shadows on bright days. The camera can be voice-controlled which is a super-handy feature if you want to operate the camera while riding - especially if you have gloves on and it's water-resistant to 11 meters so there's no worry about getting caught in torrential rain. 

It can record in 4K 60p and 100Mbps which ensures you can always shoot high-quality sharp footage. It also has a timelapse mode and a self timer for those times when you're not using it on your bike. 

Rather sensibly, DJI opted to use the same mount as the GoPro so there are loads of different accessories you can use with it so whether you want to mount it to the handlebars or your helmet there's an option for both.  

The only downside here is a lack of GPS, which could be a problem if you need to know the exact location a piece of video was recorded.

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli/Digital Camera World)
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Best for shooting high-resolution, 360-degree video

Specifications

Resolution: 6K at 30 fps
Display: Yes
Lights: No
GPS: Yes
Extras: Spherical capture, 360-degree capture, waterproof

Reasons to buy

+
360-degree video
+
5.2K resolution

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricey
-
Overkill for some uses

The GoPro Max is a different beast entirely from other GoPro cameras (hence the lack of the "Hero" moniker). It's capable of shooting 360-degree video and spherical video with matching audio, as well as shooting in a whopping 6K 30p resolution. Might this be slight overkill for a camera mounted to a helmet? Perhaps, but if you do want to capture 360-degree views of your rides or surfs, this is certainly the way to do it. We gave it the highest possible score in our review, in part because this camera simply gives you so many options to play with. 

The GoPro Max also captures its audio in 360 degrees, so your viewers will be able to immerse themselves in the action. it's got plenty of features from the Hero 8, like the HyperSmooth stabilisation, and also has a number of different digital lens settings that allow you to capture different perspectives on the action. Then there's also voice control, not to mention the huge range of GoPro accessories. It's expensive, but we reckon you get a lot for your money.

How we test cameras

When it comes to the best helmet cameras, our team of reviewers tests them out in real-world conditions to get an idea of how well they perform. We test out all the different photo and video settings to get a feel for the kind of imagery the camera is capable of capturing, and also assess the user experience, as well as the usefulness of any connectivity features like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or GPS. We look at helmet and handlebar mounting options too, to get a sense of how easy the camera is to use in this capacity. Read more about how we test and review at Digital Camera World (opens in new tab)

Read more:

Best action cameras (opens in new tab)
Best body cameras (opens in new tab)
Best dash cams (opens in new tab)
Best GoPro accessories (opens in new tab)
Best indoor security cameras (opens in new tab)
Best outdoor security cameras (opens in new tab)
Best spy cameras (opens in new tab)
Best baby camera monitors (opens in new tab)

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