Best Dash Cams in Canada (2020 Reviews)


Dan Conte

Last Updated:

Tech
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Quick overview

Dash cams have exploded in popularity over the past couple years, and rightfully so. The ability to record your surroundings as you drive can provide you with a vital level of security — especially if you find yourself in every driver’s nightmare situation — a car accident.

Footage can be used as evidence by insurance companies, and even police, in the event of an accident.

These compact, nifty devices also have many other useful features such as monitoring your parked car, speed and location tracking, and even Alexa voice commands.

We’ve dug into hours of research to find out which dash cams are the best in Canada. Let’s get into it.

Best dash cams of 2020

Our research

12

Research Sources

17

Products Evaluated

8,627

Reviews Considered

8

Hours of Research

Best dash cams comparison

Blackvue DR900S-2CHVIOFO A119 V3Chortau B-T19VIOFO A129 DuoGarmin MiniINNOVV K2Vantrue N2 Pro
Best forOverallSingle camUnder $100Budget dual camDiscreet camMotorcyclesUber/Lyft drivers
Camera Quality3840x2160p @ 30fps front, 1920x1080p @ 30fps rear2560x1600p @ 30fps1920x1080p @ 30fps1920x1080p @ 30fps (both)1920x1080p @ 30fps1920x1080p @ 30fps (both)2560x1440p @ 30fps front, 1920x1080p @ 30fps interior
Built-in DisplayNo2″ LCD3.2″ LCD2″ LCDNoNo1.5″ LCD
Wifi / Cloud CapableYesNoNoYesYesYesNo
GPS Data ModuleYesYesNoYesNoYesYes
Viewing Angle (Degrees)162 front, 139 rear140170140140120170 front, 140 interior
Total Reviews2731522,9653941773344,332
Aggregate Rating4.74.54.54.344.84.4

Best overall – Blackvue DR900S-2CH 4K Dash Cam

  • Camera Quality: 3840x2160p @ 30fps front camera, 1920x1080p @ 30fps rear camera
  • Built-in Display: No
  • WiFi / Cloud Capable: Yes
  • GPS Data Module: Yes
  • Viewing Angle: 162 degrees front camera, 139 degrees rear camera
  • Parking Mode: Yes

Pros

  • Exceptional 4K video quality
  • Very reliable hardware and software
  • WiFi and cloud capabilities means you can watch real-time on your mobile device
  • Parking mode is excellent

Cons

  • Initial setup can be a little difficult
  • Expensive

Reliability

Blackvue has a reputation for manufacturing quality, reliable cameras and the DR900S-2CH only reinforces that. You won’t get any missed footage or faulty hardware when using this device.

Picture quality

With 4k resolution and an advanced 8-megapixel sensor, the front camera is arguably the highest quality on the market today. Reading license plates from the footage — a necessary expectation of every dash cam — is very easy with the DR900s-2CH. The rear camera is no slouch either, featuring 1080p resolution with a 2.1-megapixel sensor, you’ll be able to see everything going on around your vehicle.

Ease of setup

This setup must be hardwired into the battery of your vehicle (this is what powers the 24/7 parking mode protection). Although the installation is not labour-intensive, if you’re not mechanically inclined, it could be difficult for you. You can read more about the installation process on Blackvue’s website.

Useful features

This 2-channel camera kit is packed full of useful features, which is why it’s considered one of the best available in Canada. 24/7 parking mode enables the cameras to start recording when the camera senses a bump or vibration, even when the vehicle is turned off.

The GPS module records precisely where the vehicle is located at any given time during recording. And if you want to view the footage on your personal device, the WiFi and cloud capabilities make it all possible without removing the memory card.

Best single cam – VIOFO A119 V3 Dash Camera

  • Camera Quality: 2560x1600p @ 30fps
  • Built-in Display: 2” LCD
  • WiFi / Cloud Capable: No
  • GPS Data Module: Yes
  • Viewing Angle: 140 degrees
  • Parking Mode: Yes

Pros

  • Known for its solid reliability
  • Quad HD video is a step up from the typical 1080p
  • Good balance of quality and features for an affordable price

Cons

  • Lacks WiFi and cloud capabilities

Reliability

VIOFO has become a big name in the industry — specifically with budget and mid-range devices. The A119 V3 is an updated version of their most popular dash cam and there are many rave reviews about how reliable it is. The high-level capacitor inside the camera makes it so that it functions normally, even in extreme cold or hot temperatures.

Picture quality

Dash cams have come a long way in recent years — from the grainy 720p cameras, all the way up to pristine 4k images. The A119 V3 uses a 2560x1600p@30fps camera with a Sony STARVIS IMX335 5-megapixel sensor which gives enough oomph to take a very fine, clear video. There is a noticeable improvement in picture quality with this camera compared to common 1920x1080p devices.

Ease of setup

Using the quick release mount provided, installation and setup is a breeze. The camera plugs into your vehicle’s 12V outlet via the connector and wire given by VIOFO. From there, you can toggle settings and modes on the 2” touchscreen.

Useful features

It not only captures quality video, but it also has features such as parking mode and a GPS logger. The parking mode works well, by saving the 15 seconds of footage leading up to the event and 30 seconds afterwards. Unfortunately, there is no WiFi or cloud uploading, but removing the camera from the mount and plugging it in via the USB port is extremely easy to do.

Best under $100 – Chortau B-T19 Dash Camera

  • Camera Quality: 1920x1080p @ 30fps
  • Built-in Display: 3.2” LCD
  • WiFi / Cloud Capable: No
  • GPS Data Module: No
  • Viewing Angle: 170 degrees
  • Parking Mode: Yes

Pros

  • Large LCD display screen
  • Decent video quality for the price
  • Motion detection stops and starts recording based on status of the vehicle

Cons

  • Lacks WiFi and cloud capabilities
  • No GPS logger is inconvenient
  • Video quality can get a little grainy at times

Reliability

This is the newest version from Chortau, so reliability could be a bit unpredictable at this point. However, based on the reviews of other customers and our own research, there seems to be little-to-no problems with the functioning of this camera.

Picture quality

Being only a 1080p resolution, this is certainly not the one you’d want to buy if you’re looking for the highest quality video recording possible. However, considering its ridiculously low price point, the quality of the video is actually quite nice. Images seem to look sharp, especially when moving at lower speeds.

Ease of setup

Setting up the Chortau B-T19 is quick and easy, involving a simple mounting process and intuitively toggling settings from the main menu.

Useful features

You get what you pay for — or in the case of the Chortau B-T19, you get more. The parking mode is a nice feature to have, especially when some more expensive options don’t carry this mode. The motion detection is another feature that works well and saves memory card space, as it only records based on the status of your vehicle.

Best budget dual cam – VIOFO A129 Duo Dash Cam

  • Camera Quality: 1920x1080p @ 30fps
  • Built-in Display: 2” LCD
  • WiFi / Cloud Capable: Yes
  • GPS Data Module: Yes
  • Viewing Angle: 140 degrees
  • Parking Mode: Yes

Pros

  • Has useful features of higher-end options
  • Very reliable — works well in hot and cold temperatures
  • Both front and rear camera footage can be synched and viewed simultaneously

Cons

  • 1080p video resolution is underwhelming compared to 2k or 4k devices

Reliability

Similar to VIOFO’s single cam model (the A119), the A129 Duo uses a super capacitor to power itself — even in extreme cold or hot conditions. When you add in VIOFO’s dedication to releasing consistent firmware updates, it’s no wonder why the A129 is considered one of the most reliable options available in Canada.

Picture quality

Both the front and rear cameras record at a common video resolution of 1920x1080p at a frame rate of 30 frames per second. This resolution and FPS is generally considered the industry standard for budget or mid-range devices. We would’ve loved to see a sharper resolution image in this dual cam package but the 1080p is acceptable.

Ease of setup

Like most VIOFO cameras, the A129 Duo is relatively simple to get started with. Mount the front and rear cameras, then plug it into your vehicle’s 12V outlet. Insert the micro SD card, choose the settings you’d like to use, and then you’re all set.

Useful features

Parking mode, GPS logger, WiFi uploading — these are all features that are associated with options in the $300-500 range. Being able to get all of these features in a reliable device such as the VIOFO A129 Duo is what makes this one of the best for your money.

Best discreet – Garmin Dash Cam Mini

  • Camera Quality: 1920x1080p @ 30fps
  • Built-in Display: No
  • WiFi / Cloud Capable: Yes
  • GPS Data Module: No
  • Viewing Angle: 140 degrees
  • Parking Mode: Yes

Pros

  • Very compact and discreet
  • Built in Bluetooth and WiFi uploads footage to mobile devices
  • Garmin Drive app works well to view, edit and share footage

Cons

  • No GPS to record location of incidents
  • Some iOS users reported issues with the Garmin Drive app

Reliability

It should come as no surprise that this Garmin is a stable, reliable camera that can provide drivers with a sense of security. Garmin is a world-renowned brand that has earned the reputation of building reliable electronic devices.

Picture quality

Video quality is similar to other 1080p cameras. It’s a clear video, but you may, at times, have trouble reading license plates. The wide viewing angle makes it so that you can see the entire field of vision in front of you.

Ease of setup

A very easy setup, you just have to mount it and run the wire to your 12V outlet. From there, you can download the Garmin Drive app — unless you’d prefer removing the memory card every time you want to view the footage.

Useful features

There is a working parking mode, however you must buy the parking module wire separately to use it. Other than that, there’s not many features that will wow the user. But I guess that should be expected, as the camera is about the size of a car key.

Best for motorcycles – INNOVV K2 Dual Channel Motorcyle Motocam

  • Camera Quality: 1920x1080p @ 30fps
  • Built-in Display: No
  • WiFi / Cloud Capable: Yes
  • GPS Data Module: Yes
  • Viewing Angle: 120 degrees
  • Parking Mode: Yes

Pros

  • Dual cameras provide front and rear security for motorcyclists
  • Ruggedly designed with CNC aluminum to withstand harsh riding
  • Waterproof to withstand adverse weather conditions
  • Packed full of convenient features

Cons

  • Only a 1920x1080p resolution
  • Expensive

Reliability

INNOVV is one of the only companies in the world who’s sole focus is designing premium cameras for motorcycles. Because of this narrowed focus, INNOVV makes extremely robust and reliable camera kits. Issues arising with the K2 camera kits are few and far between.

Picture quality

The picture quality is clear and not grainy — about what you would expect from a 1080p camera. If you’re interested in a camera that records in a higher resolution, perhaps you should check out the INNOVV C5.

Ease of setup

Setting up the INNOVV K2 isn’t as easy or quick as most car-mounted dash cams. The installation process involves screwing down two brackets — one for each camera.

From there, you have to attach the cameras, run the wiring, install the GPS module and central DVR hub (via double-sided tape) and finally, attach all the wiring to the proper connectors. The entire installation process may take 30-60 minutes.

Useful features

While the INNOVV K2 carries a pretty hefty price tag, the amount of useful features makes it seem worth the price. The GPS logger is very useful, as it automatically tracks the location and speed of every video file.

The INNOVV mobile app works well, with the ability to view live footage, or edit and share it later. It also comes with a parking security mode that automatically detects and records incidents when you’re away from your bike. All of this is wrapped up in a sleek, rugged, waterproof package.

Best for Uber/Lyft drivers – Vantrue N2 Pro Dual Dash Cam

  • Camera Quality: 2560x1440p @ 30fps front camera, 1920x1080p @ 30fps interior camera
  • Built-in Display: 1.5” LCD
  • WiFi / Cloud Capable: No
  • GPS Data Module: Yes
  • Viewing Angle: 170 degrees front camera, 140 degrees interior camera
  • Parking Mode: Yes

Pros

  • Front camera has the ability to record at high resolution or high frame-rate
  • Front camera has a very wide viewing angle
  • Interior camera is infrared for excellent night vision

Cons

  • Cannot record a high resolution or high frame rate with the front camera when also using the interior camera
  • No WiFi or cloud uploading means you must remove the micro SD card to view the footage

Reliability

The Vantrue N2 Pro is one of the only kits available in Canada that’s specifically designed for Uber, Lyft, Taxi, or other rideshare businesses. The reliability seems to be of these two channel kits seems to be fantastic, with hardly any problems that arise.

Picture quality

You can set up your N2 Pro to record at a crystal clear 2560x1440p resolution OR at 1920x1080p with a lightning quick frame rate of 60fps. However, these super-settings can only be used when the interior camera is turned off completely.

Ease of setup

The setup of the N2 Pro is very similar to the way you would set up any other dual camera kit. Mount both cameras, run the wiring and plug it in. Insert your memory card and voila!

Useful features

Uber, Lyft, and taxi drivers will find the Vantrue N2 Pro to be very useful for security purposes. The interior camera contains an infrared sensor, as well as a microphone.

So you can keep an eye, and an ear on the interior cabin of the vehicle, even during the nighttime. Parking mode provides 24 hour protection to your vehicle, while the GPS tracks your location as you drive. The N2 Pro even has a time lapse feature that speeds up the video as it’s recorded.

Bottom line

Blackvue DR900S-2CHVIOFO A119 V3Chortau B-T19VIOFO A129 DuoGarmin MiniINNOVV K2Vantrue N2 Pro
Reliability4.84.84.44.74.54.84.6
Picture Quality4.84.64.14.34.34.34.6
Ease of Setup4.44.64.64.54.644.4
Useful Features4.84.544.74.24.84.5
Cansumer Rating4.74.64.34.64.44.54.5

What to consider when looking for a dash cam

Reliability

Arguably the number one criteria to look out for is reliability. A camera can only be considered “worth it” if it functions all the time. You might only need to review your footage once per year, but if it wasn’t functioning properly during that parking lot fender bender, or during a more severe incident, what good is it really?

Picture quality

How useful is it if the footage is grainy, choppy, or too dark? If your vehicle gets into an incident such as a car accident, you’re going to want to be able to see certain details such as license plate numbers, makes and models of the vehicles involved, or even the faces of the witnesses.

Video resolution is one factor to pay attention to when it comes to picture quality. The higher the resolution, the more sharp and vivid the footage will appear. 1920x1080p resolution has become the industry standard.

If the resolution is any lower than that, the details of the recorded images become difficult to distinguish. Some high-end options now shoot at a resolution of 2560x1440p or even 3840x2160p. 

Frame rate is another factor that plays a part in the quality of the recorded video. Frame rate is the rate in which consecutives frames in a video is recorded. The higher the frame rate, the smoother the video will appear. 30fps (frames per second) is the industry standard, but there are 60fps options available as well.

Ease of setup

Setting one up shouldn’t require an in-depth knowledge of electronic or automotive devices. Most have a pretty straight forward setup. Insert a memory card, mount the camera to the dashboard or windshield, and connect the wire to the vehicle’s 12 volt outlet. Tucking the wires in behind the trim of your vehicle, and/or downloading a mobile app to watch the footage is usually the final steps of installation. 

Where installing one can get a bit tricky, is when the power source needs to come directly from the vehicle’s fuse box. This is usually the case with options that have a “parking mode” — providing 24 hour surveillance when you’re away from your vehicle.

Wiring your camera to your fuse box can sound a bit complex, but it’s not impossible. BlackBoxMyCar has a great guide on how to do this safely.

Useful features

They simply record everything in front of the vehicle (or in some cases, the rear or interior). So what additional features should be considered? 

If you want security for your car, van, or truck, even when it’s parked, turned off, and you’re away from it, you should consider getting one with a parking mode. Parking modes differ, but usually they function by sensing a vibration, bump, or impact and then immediately begin recording. They even record the 10-30 seconds leading up to the incident.

If you want the date, time, driving speed, and location of your recordings to be tracked, you should opt for a dash cam that has a GPS logger/tracker. This can be super convenient if you need to recount the details of when and where an incident took place.

They are a relatively new tool for drivers in Canada and the United States, so the technology is always evolving.

What memory card should I get for my dash cam?

Almost every one requires a microSD card to store the recorded footage. However, not just any microSD card will work for any camera. Most manufacturers recommend an SD card that’s a class 10 card. Class 10 refers to the writing speed of the card. Anything below a class 10 won’t be able to store the data quick enough, and will fail. This is especially true for those that record at a high resolution and frame rate.

High-endurance microSD cards are the ideal choice for Canadians who want to keep their cameras working for a long time. High-endurance refers to the card’s ability to record over, and over, and over again — many thousands of times, in fact. This works well for dashboard cameras because most of them feature loop recording, meaning they erase unsaved footage and re-write over it.

As far as the storage capacity of a microSD card, you should refer to the manufacturer’s website or instruction manual to see what the best option is for you.

Two cards that we can confidently recommend for almost all makes and models are the Samsung Pro Endurance and the SanDisk High Endurance.

Should I hardwire my dash cam?

Hardwiring involves connecting the wires into the vehicle’s fuse box. If your dash cam has a parking mode, this will allow it to record any incidents while your vehicle is turned off. 

The alternative to hardwiring is either plugging it into your vehicle’s 12V outlet (cigarette lighter), or using a battery pack to power it. These are adequate options but they can also be a bit of a nuisance if you want to use your 12V outlet for something else, or if you need to constantly charge your battery pack.

If you want to go ahead with hardwiring, you can find a good guide on BlackBoxMyCar.

Can a dash cam really help me if I get into an accident? Will it lower my insurance rates?

Having one can absolutely help you out if you find yourself in an unfortunate situation with your automobile. Insurance companies, and even police, will take any evidence given to help sort out who is at fault during a traffic accident. There is no law or guarantee that insurance companies or police will use the footage, but most probably would.

This can work in your favour, but remember, it can also work against you if you’re at fault. Those with GPS location and speed tracking can also work against you if you were driving over the speed limit.

As far as lowering insurance rates, this is not the case anywhere in Canada (yet).

What to read next

References

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