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Published Sep 14, 2022 1:00 PM

For years, dash cams for cars have been a great way to catch hit-and-run automobile accidents, staged pedestrian accident scams, and even Russian meteor showers. For a long time, having this ability to monitor what really happens on the exterior of your car, and being able to carefully review the data after the fact, has seemed like a luxury. It was something you might have appreciated but didn’t necessarily seem like something that’d be worth the extra buck to put in your car. But now, the year is 2022 and the best dash cams under $100 that we’ve collected are actually solid, working units ready to help you out in a pinch. 

How we selected the best dash cams under $100

Selecting budget products can always be a bit tricky due to manufacturer shortcuts, inferior hardware, and the possibility of outright fraud. Fortunately, for dash cams, there are still high-quality products in the budget range. To find the best of the best, we scoured dash cam reviews from critics and real-world users, combining these with peer suggestions to select dash cams that boasted good specs but also provided intensive value for the cost. Highlighting cams across the full price spectrum—from the REXING V1 at just under $100 before tax to the Zhrmghg Dash Cam sitting at under $40—was also made a priority. In the end, we were able to compile a list of dash cams that you will be able to select something from.

Things to consider before buying dash cams under $100

Overall, selecting a dash cam under $100 isn’t too far off from buying other dash cams for your car. However, when looking at low-price products, different trends and problems will emerge. So, while things like resolution and screen type are still important, you may run into more important problems or have different concerns altogether as a budget customer. Here’s what we suggest you look at, specifically, when searching for the best dash cams under $100:

Recording time

How much time can a dash cam under $100 record for? It’s actually a pretty complex question, that won’t have the simple numeral answer you’re hoping for. At the most basic, you have to worry about power supply, but also the dash cam’s storage capacity. When you’re working within price limitations, there is a chance that either one of these factors will become the limiting one.

Manufacturers are, of course, aware of the difficulties of giving you something functional while keeping within tight production budgets. While not all companies will be dedicated enough to give you something functional, there are some pretty intelligent design features that make dash cams under $100 workable. Here are just a few of them I’ve seen quite a bit of:

Shake-on recording: You might be aware of systems that make a note of when activity is detected so you can come back and review the relevant footage later. Unfortunately, that mechanism won’t save battery and storage space. Instead, dash cams with shake-on recording come “alive” when the car is shook or jostled, recording what happens in these key moments.

This tech comes by many names, such as “collision detection” or “G-sensor,” but all of them work similarly. While the feature is fairly ubiquitous, more advanced units have settings that will let you determine the threshold for turning on. For example, if you park in a parking tower that vibrates a bit as cars drive by, you might not want just any bump setting off your dash cam. 

Loop recording: First-In-First-Out, or “FIFO,” is one of the first rules of the kitchen. It also appears as “loop recording” for dash cams and can make for a really good file storage system when you’re working on a budget. Instead of stopping future recordings when the system becomes full, dash cams with this style of recording start deleting your oldest files automatically to make room for new stuff.

This system has the advantage of making sure the latest information is taken into account but you do run the risk of losing something important if you don’t regularly backup your data. Many dash cams with shake-on recording will designate files taken around the time of a shaking incident as important and ‘lock’ them for later viewing.

All of the dash cams on our list use loop recording and it isn’t hard to figure out why—the system is a fantastic complement to the way dash cams operate. Still, if you’re planning on searching for your own budget dash cam, this is a keyword to look out for.

SD storage: Dash cams, and especially those under $100, typically store footage to an SD or MicroSD storage card. In many cases, a card will be provided with the purchase, but double-check to be sure.

This supplied card probably won’t have as much storage space as the ones we’ve detailed in our best MicroSD and SD card articles, considering the cost restrictions. If you are concerned about the storage space of the card given, be sure to check those articles out. Also, pay careful attention to which type of memory card your purchased dash cam uses, as MicroSD and SD are not the same!

Lastly, some of the dash cams on the list actually have a storage maximum. In other words, they aren’t designed to work with cards above a certain value. So, getting the best MicroSD or SD card isn’t necessarily going to be the best decision for your dash cam experience.

Viewing angle

Viewing angle becomes very important when you’re trying to get as much information as possible. Having too narrow of a view angle, and subsequently completely missing out on an accident that you should have been able to capture, completely misses the point of having a dash cam in the first place. On the other hand, if your viewing angle is too wide you could encounter other problems, such as barrel distortion, which causes straight lines to appear awkwardly bent. A viewing angle between 150 degrees and 170 degrees will be best in most cases.

Night-vision quality

If you’re wanting to know what goes bump in the night, or at least what bumps into your car at night, then you’ll need some degree of night vision. There is a lot of technical jargon, mixed with some company labeling, so expect to see a lot of different claims out there. Examples include technical explanation, such as using f/2.8 aperture lenses, or more vague gestures that reference the brand name’s “special” night-vision formula.

Luckily, you don’t really need to look at numbers or technical stats to understand night-vision quality—you need to look at pictures or at least get a sense of what you’ll be able to see. In reality, when it comes to night vision quality, your best friend is going to be user reviews, image stills, and word of mouth.

The best dash cams under $100: Reviews & Recommendations

The following dash cams provide quality in a variety of different situations for people of all budgets. While none are particularly specialized, it is quite incredible that we were able to find one that can handle many channels well, another one that handles parking mode and night vision well, and yet another one that can handle fairly extreme temperatures, all on one budget list. As a result, it is our firm belief that you’ll be able to find something worthy of both your dash and your wallet from the following selections.

Best overall: HP F660G

Why it made the cut: This is a quick installation product that will get you started and dash cam ready within minutes.

Specs

  • Storage: 32GB MicroSD
  • Viewing angle: 150 degrees
  • Resolution: 1080P front / 720P rear

Pros

  • Warning system
  • Low effort installation
  • Loop recording with event highlights
  • GPS included

Cons

  • 24-hour parking mode requires extra wire

The F660G is a dash cam from your favorite laptop and printer maker, HP. It has a lot of features built-in that you will certainly want, but probably weren’t necessarily expecting to come together in one budget model. The F660G has simple, stick-on installation, GPS integration, reliable night vision, and smart loop recording that locks files around the time of collisions.

You’ll also be interested in the warnings the HP gives, in the form of its forward collision warnings and lane departure warnings. Weirdly, there are some reports of the device being a bit overly cautious and reporting “ghost” cars you’re about to collide into. For these kinds of things, it is always better to rely mostly on your own eyes anyways, using the warnings as a sort of backup only.

If you want a full 24 hours of recording, even when your vehicle is turned off, you’ll need an extra wire and do a tad bit more installation work. The Dash Cam C501 Acc is sold separately and can be purchased at any time if you decide to upgrade later. This modification is relatively cheap, at considerably less than half the price of the HP F660G base unit, but will push the total price up to just barely over $100 if you buy them at the same time.

It goes without saying that the HP F660G tops our list due to its insane value for the cost and its feature-packed nature. Like a lot of HP products, the F660G isn’t the best possible model out there but is instead an affordable product that tries its best to provide value to average customers.

Best 2-channel: Ssontong Dash Cam

Ssontong

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Why it made the cut: The Ssontong Dash Cam comes with a fully featured backup cam, all for under $50.

Specs

  • Storage: 32GB SD
  • Angle of view: 170 degrees front / 140 degrees rear
  • Resolution: 1080P front / 720P rear

Pros

  • Includes backup cam with guidelines
  • Sensitive G-Sensor
  • Full value for price
  • Bundles available for four channels

Cons

  • Low angle of view rear cam

While the HP F660G has a second cam, the Ssontong’s second channel cam acts as a full backup camera with guidelines and everything. While the rear cam isn’t quite up to the standards of a backup cam proper (it has a low 140-degree angle of view), you are also getting it as part of a complete system for under $100. Note, too, that the Ssontong can become a four-channel system and has bundle deals available if you wish to expand the system to be larger.

The Ssontong comes alive when you aren’t driving quickly via the G-Sensor, which rapidly detects vibrations. Even small wiggles, such as from a shut trunk or when you go back into your car to retrieve the bag you left in the back, will trigger it into full recording mode.

Overall, the Ssontong takes the throne for low-budget multi-channel dash cams. Even if you upgrade to include more channels, which might take you over $100, you’re still getting discounts and good deals at every corner. Ultimately, the Ssontong is a solid choice worthy of its dollar value.

Best parking mode: Vantrue N1 Pro

Vantrue

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Why it made the cut: The Vantrue N1 Pro works wonders at night, making its 24-hour parking mode worth every dollar.

Specs

  • Storage: Up to 256GB MicroSD (not included)
  • Angle of view: 160 degrees
  • Resolution: 1080P 

Pros

  • Superior night vision
  • Quality collision AND motion detection
  • Battery protection

Cons

  • Front cam only

The Vantrue N1 is a seemingly standard forward-facing dash cam but—much like vampires, werewolves, and teenagers—doesn’t begin to show its real power until night falls. Again, it’s not bad during the day with the standard 1080P resolution, relatively good 160-degree angle of view, and high storage capacity. You can even get GPS functionality for around $20 more if you buy the N1 Pro add-on, which will put the total purchase right around the $100 mark. However, what you really want to see is how it functions at night.

When engaged in parking mode, you have a couple of modes to explore. First, there is collision-detection mode, which requires no extra steps to use. When your car is hit during parking mode, your Vantrue N1 camera will come alive and take a quick 20-second video for you to review later. The other option is a slightly more complex motion-detection mode, which requires a bit of wiring so the cam has access to your car’s battery. Your battery is protected from draining completely even while this mode is engaged due to battery protection mechanisms.

All of these great parking features go hand-in-hand with the “SONY Sensor.” This night vision brand is well-received by customers and actually works pretty well in a variety of environments. Combined with the recording modes above, you’re likely to have a good parking-mode experience with Vantrue. If it only had an included rear cam, it’d be just about perfect.

Best heat handling: REXING V1

REXING

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Why it made the cut: If you’ve ever worried about heat (or cold) affecting a dash cam, you can relax with the REXING V1.

Specs

  • Storage: Up to 256GB MicroSD (not included)
  • Temperature range: -20 degrees to 176 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Angle of view: 170 degrees

Pros

  • Best temperature range
  • Sharp, clear image
  • Phone support

Cons

  • Tax could take it over $100
  • Front cam only

As heat does affect cams to some degree, you’ll want some tough heat resistance if you are expecting to blast through yet another summer heat wave and possibly leave the cam in your car. With a 176 degree Fahrenheit max, way above the 117 degrees your car can become after an hour in 95-degree heat, the REXING V1 is a cam you can feel truly secure leaving in any conditions.

Furthermore, the REXING V1 can even function down at an extreme: -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Compare that to the Vantrue N1 Pro’s already ambitious -4 to 158 degrees Fahrenheit range and you’ll see that you’re gaining 28 degrees of flexibility with the REXING V1.

All of this comes with a high-quality cam that produces sharp, clear imagery. In addition to the typical loop recording, the REXING V1 is also capable of connecting with your phone and you can offload clips that way as well. If only it came with a rear camera that was just as capable, it’d be perfect.

The only other downside I can really see for this one is that it is on the higher side of product costs. If you encounter any sales tax, you’ll probably slide over $100. It’s a technicality, but worth mentioning!

Best budget: Zhrmghg Dash Cam

Zhrmghg

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Why it made the cut: The Zhrmghg may not be easily pronounceable, but it is an ultra-low budget, legitimate dash cam with outstandingly good customer reviews.

Specs

  • Storage: Up to 32GB MicroSD (not included)
  • Angle of view: 170 degrees
  • Resolution: 1080P 

Pros

  • Quick installation
  • Fully featured
  • Incredible customer satisfaction

Cons

  • Cheap suction mount
  • Front cam only

For your super-budget needs, the ultra-affordable Zhrmghg is here for you. This cam is under $35 dollars and comes fully featured, making it our cheapest dash cam pick. It has the loop recording (with locks for special events), the parking modes and G-Sensors, and even the night vision you expect from higher models. Its installation is remarkably quick, too, though it does use an admittedly cheap suction-cup mechanism.

It’s worth noting that Zhrmghg has something special, in that it is one of the best-rated dash cams on Amazon. Not just in the best budget dash cams but in all of them, though the outrageously low price certainly is a contributing factor. Customers just love it and that certainly makes it something worth checking out.

Still, there are things to be desired coming from the Zhrmghg. In addition to somewhat more secure mounting, it’d be nice to see a rear cam, too. However, it is hard to expect too many extras when you’re getting sub-$50 quality. The Zhrmghg will serve you well and get you far beyond that bare minimum of peace of mind that you’re after.

FAQs

Q: How much does a dash cam under $100 cost?

A dash cam under $100 will cost you around $30 at the very lowest. On the high end, you might, somewhat paradoxically, expect to go to around $120 if you decide to buy all of the add-ons, attachments, or extras. All of the dash cams presented in this article are under $100 and will stand as relatively decent quality dash cams even without possible extras. Depending on your local laws, some sales taxes may apply and push the price over $100 as well. In any event, there are decent, fully working dash cams available at the $50 price point.

Q: How much should I spend on a dash cam?

You should spend what you can afford on a dash cam. In most cases, a dash cam is a nice extra to avoid any additional “he said, she said” in the event of a car accident. If you’re concerned about this, something is better than nothing and you don’t really have to have top-of-the-line equipment to get an okay picture. For average people looking for peace of mind, or people like Uber drivers that spend a lot of time on the road but don’t want to spend too much money, any of our best dash cams under $100 should reduce your nerves and give you that extra bit of security you’re after.

Q: Do I need a rear-facing dash cam?

You don’t absolutely need a rear-facing dash cam, or any dash cam for that matter. However, if you want to catch detailed footage of any accidents you will need them. Since getting rear-ended by drivers not paying attention is possible, a rear-facing dash cam is quite beneficial. However, some people are not as interested in them as front-facing dash cams due to license plates always being in the. Note that some states, such as Maryland, require front and rear license plates and therefore get the most out of rear-facing dash cams.

Final thoughts on the best dash cams under $100

By now you should have a good idea of what dash cam you want for your car, depending on your needs. Additionally, you’ll have a firm idea of what the best dash cams under $100 have to offer in case you decide to do some further digging. In any event, while your package is on its way, be sure to check out the easiest way to install a dash cam so you’re 100% ready when it arrives!