The best budget dash cams worth buying in the UK 2020

Published: 05 February 2020

► Getting a dash cam could save you money
► The cheapest ones you can get in 2020
► This article is constantly updated with the latest deals

This month our team looked at over 40 cameras to narrow down the cheapest dash cams for the highest quality. We know that finding a reliable model on a budget is not easy, and like we’ve found time and time again, paying the extra dollar doesn’t always mean you’re getting a better product. After interrogating the most reasonable dashcam options available today, we’ve found the below list to be our current top favourites. 

The dash cam trend

Depending on your insurance provider, getting a dash cam can reduce your monthly premiums  – and in the event of an accident, a dashboard camera can also be an invaluable piece of kit. As well as proving an accident wasn’t your fault, dash cams will often increase the speed of settlements and help you hang on to your no-claims bonus, too. That’s the dash cam essentially paying for itself right there.

What’s more, they're a great safeguard against a more unsettling trend; those increasingly popular 'crash-for-cash' crimes.

So why do you need a dash cam?

Depending on your insurance provider, getting a dash cam can reduce your monthly premiums  – and in the event of an accident, a dashboard camera can also be an invaluable piece of kit. As well as proving an accident wasn’t your fault, dash cams will often increase the speed of settlements and help you hang on to your no-claims bonus, too. That’s the dash cam essentially paying for itself right there.

What’s more, they're a great safeguard against a more unsettling trend; those increasingly popular 'crash-for-cash' crimes.


The best cheap dash cams in 2020

Below our team have narrowed down the UK’s best value devices, ensuring the footage is accurate and useable to make it a worthwhile investment. This involves looking at the reliability of the recorded footage, the features included and the quality of the product overall.

For those looking to purchase a dash cam, but not sure of what they’re after exactly, we’ve also put together a handy buying guide at the end of this article. 

With so many dash cams on the market right now, we’ve decided to help you cut through all the noise. Below our team have narrowed down the UK’s best devices according to two of the pain points that matter most:

  1. Quality

  2. Price

We start with quality, since the footage must be accurate and useable to make it a worthwhile investment. This involves looking at the reliability of the recorded footage, the features included and the quality of the product overall.

For those looking to purchase a dash cam, but not sure of what they’re exactly after, we’ve also put together a handy buying guide at the end of this article.

Our team have spent days reviewing the specs of these top rated dash cams to find the ones that suit a smaller budget and deliver what you need.

1.     Lavuky DR02 


At a seriously low price this boasts some of the key features of the top models, such as a wide angle lens (170 degrees), but as you’d imagine, you get what you pay for. That means the night time viewing is adequate – though that might be fine if you mostly drive in the day – and the quality of the footage is good enough to prove fault but, likely not to capture number plates.

A good cheap option for those on a budget, the Lavuky can suit your needs depending on your driving habits.

 

2.     Crosstour CR100 

This Crosstour is on the cheaper end of the spectrum, but covers all the important bases, including low light WDR technology, a decent angle lens (150°), gravity sensors and motion detection for parking monitoring. The low price means you’ll have to suffer through some suboptimal English-Chinese instructions, and some users have also reported defective units – though you can just return on the 12 month guarantee if your camera doesn’t work. Alternatively upgrade to the C300 for better quality and peace of mind.

 

3.     Vetomile E1 Mini Dash Cam


The E1 Mini Cam is great value for money, with a wide 170 degree lens and impressive low-light footage. It comes with two suction mounts which were found to be pretty hard to move, although this can work well if moving the camera between two cars. Alongside the main features we’ve checked for to ensure good footage, this dash cam also has an Energy Saving LCD Screen Saver, which is a nice touch.

 

4.     AccFly Mini Dash Cam

Cheap, small and discrete, the AccFly is a decent quality camera for the price. Like many of these cheaper cameras, the footage isn’t always top spec and there are no night mode features – so it’s best for a day driver. The lens also isn’t as wide as it one would ideally like at just 120 degrees, and some users found it a little fiddly to set up, but it does the job. Not our favourite of the bunch but still a fair contender.

 

5.     Bnoia 1080 Dash Cam

The Bnoia was simple to set up, use and had good customer support – a useful bonus when it comes to all cheaper tech products as they are bound to have hiccups. This small, practical product has good night vision but a limiting 120 degree lens, which is the main area where you make the main compromise on quality versus price. Some users also had issues with fitting the charger into the lighter socket, but if so, you can contact the seller or simply buy a new lead as they are usually a reasonable price.

 

6.     Denicer D710-3inch - £25.99 


Impressive for under £30, the Denicer D710 features a wide 170 degree lens, a competitive number of frames per second (30FPS), but lacks good night mode technology in this model. However, if you live or drive in generally well-lit areas it still does pretty well. They also chuck in an extra USB port car charger though, which is handy as these are the parts that are often prone to breakage.  You can also leave a setup in two cars if you frequently switch the cam between vehicles.

 

7.    Mibao C300

Rated as one’s of Amazon’s Top Choice products and a very popular model overall, the C300 is the cheapest dashcam in the Mibao range – but it’s still very impressive. With only a handful of negative reviews related to odd technical glitches, the rest praise its ease to set up and high quality footage. In short, a pretty good value bit of kit.

 

8. Anmyox Dash Cam


A great all-rounder, this value dash cam generously comes with two brackets along with many of the usual features such as G-sensors and parking monitoring. And as an extra bonus, you’ll also get a ready-to-use SD card, unlike most other dashcams in its price range. That just adds to the already impressive value.


9.  Apeman C420

This lightweight, compact dashcam is at the higher end of the cheaper price spectrum (bear in mind that dashcams can go as high as £100-£200), but the relentless good reviews of this product speak volumes about the worth of the extra investment.

It more than covers all the important features in our comprehensive checklist, with a 170 degree wide lens angle, advanced night vision features including a F1.8 wide aperture, the usual G-sensor and Accident Lock footage locking system, and parking monitoring. The only downside is that it doesn’t include the SD card, but if you don’t mind spending that little bit extra, this certainly looks to be a reliable option.

 


How to buy the right dash cam, and what to look for

When it comes to finding the best dash cam for you, there’s a fair few factors that contribute to making a model the right one for your needs.

The first and most obvious is the quality of the footage. In the event of an incident, if you can’t rely on that footage to prove your case, it’s a waste of an investment so you need to make sure it’s reliable in all conditions. This is the first thing we looked at when rating the above dash cams.

The main specification that you need to look out for here is the video resolution, so for this the recording needs to be 1080p at least - 720p just isn’t good enough. All of the dash cams mentioned here are 1080p or above, but there are other image quality features that come into play to really make it a quality product.

These include the frame rate (how many frames are captured per second), having ‘low light performance’ features (meaning it can see well at any time of day), a high dynamic range (good levels of contrast in the image) and the widest lens possible (minimum 120 degrees).  

Other features that might impact which dash cam is best for you come down to your use of the camera, how it looks & is mounted and accessing the footage. For instance, screens are useful if you are doing more one-off recordings such as a specific journey or track run, but for everyday driving where you are continually recording, you may want something less intrusive. However if you don’t care about aesthetics, this may not be an impact factor.

Mounting can be another important feature, since you may wish to move the cam between vehicles. Most dash cams utilise suction cups that fit to the windscreen, however some models come with 3M double-sided adhesive stickers to offer a more permanent and secure solution.

Accessing the footage can either be done via mobile apps or by plugging the device into your computer; the former of course offers more instant access to footage, but this bonus usually comes with a heftier price tag. If you’re happy to take on the hassle of unmounting, connecting and manually downloading the files, you’re likely to save a good few pennies, but it depends on what’s important to you.  You can spot which cams can connect to your mobile by seeing which ones have WiFi smartphone features.

We’ve outlined all the things that you need to consider when choosing your dash cam in a quick checklist below.

Checklist for choosing a quality dashcam

  • HD Quality video (1080x1920)
  • High frame rate
  • Has ‘low light performance’ features (measured in ISO)
  • Ideally has a wide lens type (120-150 degrees)
  • High/wide dynamic range (good levels of contrast)
  • G-force sensor (most have this) when sensor is triggered it specifically saves that segment

Optional but useful features:

  • Audio
  • Ease of installation
  • Ease of access to footage (eg. phone apps)
  • GPS – tags the video at location

And one more thing... Keep your windscreen clean!

One thing to note, is that we found the cleanliness of the windscreen and back window hugely impacted the quality of the video. It might seem obvious but it’s a key point to bear in mind if you’re going to make the investment, especially if your visits to the car wash are somewhat infrequent; for optimal results, ensuring that your car is well-maintained will be one of the greatest factors in obtaining clear, usable footage. 

By Emily Fedorowycz

CAR contributor, tech fanatic. Obsessor of trends and squirreler of snacks

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