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The best helmet camera for motorcycles, cycling and adrenaline junkies

(Image credit: GoPro)

The best helmet cameras serve two main purposes: fun and safety. They're great for fun because who doesn't like the idea of recording a hair-raising adventure spent skiing or mountain biking? Capturing your exploits in glorious Full HD or 4k and sharing them with your friends sounds great! And they're great for safety if you typically cycle a lot in a big city or any area with a lot of traffic, and might need a little extra insurance when it comes to the behaviour of other road users.

So when it comes to buying a camera to mount on a helmet, you have a number of primary concerns to think about, but if we had to pick two principle ones, we'd go for video quality and battery life, both of which are pretty much no-brainers. But there's other stuff to think about too, such as built-in video stabilisation, which can make your choppy footage a whole lot more pleasant to watch.

It's also worth thinking about how you're going to mount your camera, as some will come with mounts bundled in but many won't, so it can worth plumping for a brand that makes its own helmet mounts, such as GoPro. But then there's also the fact that some cameras come with integrated lights and some don't, which may be the clinching factor if you plan to spend a lot of time riding bikes at night. Some cameras will also include GPS, making to that much easier to record the details of your exploits, which is especially useful if you don't habitually take your smartphone out on bike rides.

We've factored in all this and come up with our current picks for the best helmet-mounted cameras available right now. We've taken all aspects of the cameras into consideration, including price, so you can be confident you're getting the best deal. So let's get to the best helmet cameras around!

Best helmet cameras: Garmin Virb Ultra 30

(Image credit: Garmin)

1. Garmin Virb Ultra 30

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

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

Ultra HD video recording
Three-axis image stabilisation
Expensive
Stabilisation doesn’t work at 4K

The Virb Ultra 30 by Garmin is an action camera similar to the GoPro range. But the difference is how the camera can work in partnership with a range of other Garmin devices, such as heart rate monitors. That way, you can combine video, GPS location, elevation, speed and G-force captured by the camera with data like your heart rate tracked by a Garmin fitness wearable.

A waterproof case is included for use in bad weather, and a universal mounting system means you can attach the Garmin to almost anything, from your helmet to handlebars.

A three-axis image stabilisation system will ensure your video footage is super-smooth, no matter how bumpy the road is, and Ultra HD video at 30 frames per second provides detail and sharpness. This can be adjusted to 1080p Full HD at 120 fps, or 720p at slow-motion 240 fps.

Best helmet cameras: GoPro Hero 8 Black

(Image credit: GoPro)

2. GoPro Hero 8 Black

Best all-rounder with a huge range of optional accessories

Resolution: 4K 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

Range of useful mods
Best-in-class stabilisation
Expensive
Middling low-light performance

The standard by which action cameras are measured right now, the GoPro Hero 8 Black is an exceptional piece of kit for helmet-mounted shooting. It takes all the best features of the cameras that came before and builds on them; so you get the HyperSmooth stabilisation of the Hero 7 (which is undoubtedly the best stabilisation available on any action camera currently) and adds in improved video quality, with the ability to record 4K video at 60p.

The Hero 8 also introduced the concept of Media Mods, optional extras that can be added to the camera to bring it more in line with your shooting preferences. The one most relevant to helmet-mounted shooting is the Light Mod, an LED that can be attached to the camera and provide a light output of up to 200 lumens.

This comes with its own rechargeable battery, which is good because battery life on the Hero 8 Black is only okay, lasting for about 50 minutes of continuous shooting. A spare power pack is definitely in order if you have plans for a long ride.

Best helmet cameras: Sony RX0 II

(Image credit: Sony)

3. Sony RX0 II

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

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

1-inch sensor
1000fps super slow motion
Expensive
Mount

Sitting at the more expensive end of the scale, the Sony RX0 II is certainly not the cheapest camera to affix to your bike helmet, but with a 1-inch sensor that's larger than the types of sensor found in other action cameras, it will produce noticeably better results, especially in difficult lighting conditions.

The RX0 is highly rated across the board; it can also shoot great-looking 4K video at 30p as well as high-speed video at a whopping 1,000fps. This will allow you to create some truly unforgettable slow-motion scenes! While there's no built-in light, the RX0 II is tested to withstand the elements, and thanks to its extensive shockproofing and crushproofing, it'll definitely hold up well if you take a tumble on a bike (indeed, it'll probably come out less battered than you will!).

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.

Best helmet cameras: Apeman A77 Action Cam

(Image credit: Apeman)

4. Apeman A77 Action Cam

This helmet camera offers the biggest bang for your buck

Resolution: Ultra HD at 25 fps or 2.7K at 30 fps | Lights: No | GPS: No | Extras: Comes with two batteries, waterproof case, bike and helmet mounts

Very low price 
Two batteries included
Accessories included
4K video only at 25 fps
Lacks GPS

At several hundred dollars (or pounds) cheaper than the GoPro Hero7 Black, the Apeman Action Cam 4K seems too good to be true. But look at the spec sheet and you’ll realise this is a fully capable camera for your bike or helmet – it even comes with a mount for both in the box, as part of a 20-piece accessory bundle.

The camera also comes with two batteries, each claimed to last around 90 minutes, and a waterproof case which can be submerged to 30 metres. Ultra HD 4K video recording is limited to 25 frames per second, but 2.7K is a more respectable 30 fps and 1080p Full HD is up to 60 fps. The camera can also take 16-megapixel still images, and there’s a two-inch display on the back for reviewing footage.

The lens is impressively wide at 170 degrees, and there’s an HDMI out port for connecting directly to a TV or monitor.

Best helmet cameras: DJI Osmo Action

(Image credit: DJI)

5. DJI Osmo Action

The best helmet camera if you're after a quality GoPro alternative

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

Shoots 4k Ultra HD at 60 fps
‘RockSteady’ image stabilisation
Expensive
Lacks bike-specific features, like GPS

Drone maker DJI is a relative newcomer to the action and bike camera market, but has caused a stir with its first direct rival to GoPro: the Osmo Action. What sets this camera apart is its front display, which is useful for setting up selfies but perhaps less useful when mounted to your helmet or handlebars. But in better news for bikers, the camera’s RockSteady image stabilisation is a match for GoPro’s own software, and HDR will help pick out details from the shadows on bright days.

There’s voice control, which is handy when it’s tricky to operate the camera while riding (and with gloves on), and water resistance to 11 metres, so if you get caught in a downpour it won't cause an issue. DJI has sensibly opted to match the Osmo Action mounting system to those found on GoPro cameras, so any existing mounts and accessories you have should work fine.

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.

Best helmet cameras: YI Action Camera

(Image credit: YI)

6. Yi 4K Action Camera

Best for Ultra HD video on a sensible budget

Resolution: Ultra HD at 30fps | Dislay: 2.19-inch touch screen | Lights: No | GPS: No | Extras: Voice controls, live streaming over Wi-Fi, three-axis stabilisation

Well priced for 4K camera
Electronic image stabilisation
Case and mount not included
Lesser-known brand

For 4K on a budget, the Yi action camera is a good option. It shoots Ultra HD at 30 frames per second and uses a high-quality Sony image sensor with a 155-degree wide-angle lens, ensuring a good view of your surroundings.

The battery is claimed to last two hours when shooting in Ultra HD, which is about the same length of time you can fit on a 64GB memory card (as a side note, most cameras like these do not come with SD cards, so you’ll have to provide your own – take a look at our memory card guide).

The camera has both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for connecting to your smartphone and viewing footage on the companion app, then sharing video on social media. The YI Action App also features some simple video editing tools, filters, and options for adding music to your recordings.

Best helmet cameras: GoPro Max

(Image credit: GoPro)

7. GoPro Max

Best for shooting high-resolution, 360-degree video

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

360-degree video
5.2K resolution
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.

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.

Best helmet cameras: Cycliq Fly12 CE front camera

(Image credit: Cycliq)

8. Cycliq Fly12 CE front camera

Best for cyclists looking for a handlebar camera and light

Resolution: 1080p Full HD at 60 fps or 720p at 120 fps | Display: No | Lights: Yes, 600 lumen front-facing | GPS: No | Extras: Forward-facing light, six-axis image stabilisation, black box incident recording, water resistance

600 lumens light
Automatic incident recording
No display
No GPS

Instead of being a generic action camera like a GoPro, the Cycliq Fly12 CE is purpose-built for mounting on your handlebars and using as a headlight and dash cam. This camera has a bright and dimmable 600 lumens light for improved nighttime road safety, along with a Full HD camera recording through a 135-degree lens.

Like a car dash cam, the Cycliq automatically saves and protects a segment of footage if an accident is detected, and there is a six-axis image stabilisation system. The battery is claimed to last for eight hours on a charge, which should be plenty for even the longest bike ride.

There is no integrated GPS or Wi-Fi, and no display either, although Bluetooth is present, and it's compatible with the Strava cycling app. Also like a dash cam, the camera records video in segments and starts overwriting the oldest once the memory card gets full.

Best helmet cameras: Cycliq Fly6 CE

(Image credit: Cycliq)

9. Cycliq Fly6 CE

The perfect accessory for Cyliq’s front-facing bike camera

Resolution: 1080p Full HD at 60 fps | Display: No | Lights: Yes, 100 lumen rear facing | GPS: No | Extras: Six-axis stabilisation, Bluetooth, water resistance, Strava integration

Acts as camera and rear light
Black box incident recording
Poor smartphone app
Front camera probably required too

If you’re looking at the front-facing Fly12 from Cycliq, then you’ll probably want this rear-facing camera too. Just like the Fly 12, this Fly6 comes with an integrated light, only this time a rear-facing red light limited to a dazzle-preventing 100 lumens.

The camera shoots at 1080p Full HD at up to 60 frames per second, and offers the same six-axis image stabilisation system as on the Fly12. Bluetooth is the only connectivity option, but this does allow for Strava integration.

Cycliq says the Fly6 is water and dust/dirt resistant, and it charges via a high-speed USB-C connection. The battery life is a claimed seven hours, and the camera is designed to attach go your seat post.

Best helmet cameras: Campark X30

(Image credit: Campark)

10. Campark X30

An ultra-budget option with surprisingly good specs

Resolution: 4K 60p | Display: Yes, 2-inch | Lights: No | GPS: No | Extras: Waterproof

Great quality for price
Built-in stabilisation
Stabilisation over-softens video
SD card not included

A few years ago, the idea of getting a 4K 60p camera for less than £100 or $100 would have seemed preposterous. But times and resolutions move on, and the Campark X30 is indeed precisely that. If you're looking for a budget option this can't be beat, as it does everything a GoPro from a few years ago would do, and even throws in extras like Electronic Image Stabilisation (though this will knock your max video resolution down to 4K 40p, and also does soften the general quality in a way that's worth being aware of).

Bundled with a number of accessories, though no SD card, the Campark X30 does loads for its price, and will definitely record great footage of your bike-riding or other helmet-clad adventure. And really, is there a whole lot more you can ask for?

Read more:

The 10 best action cameras in 2019

The best body cameras for personal security

The best dash cams in 2019

The 24 best GoPro accessories