The best budget dashcams you can buy in the UK in 2023
Discreet coverage to avoid insurance rip-offs and catch out them bloody middle-laners
Dashboard cameras, or dash cams as they’re more commonly known, offer a double-edged sword of convenience for drivers. Quickly install a little device that will monitor each journey and make recordings for playback if your car is involved in a collision or incident gives insurance companies more peace-of-mind. Yet, feel the treachery of being perpetually watched like Big Brother by other drivers.
Still, insurance companies offer discounts to sweeten the deal and from an array of surveys sent into TG’s email inboxes every week, British car drivers in the main regard dash cams in a positive light.
The UK’s best budget dash cams available in 2023
1. Orskey S680
For a wallet-friendly £39.99, the Orskey S680 dash cam offers a brilliant 170-degree wide Field of Vision and records footage at 1080p in full high-def. Despite being relatively compact, this dash cam has a three-inch LCD display on which to view playback and adjust the settings.
There’s infrared night vision, which helps bring the footage to life in low light conditions, loop recording and motion detection. While the SD card needed for storing the footage is not included in the very low price, there is a 12-month guarantee. The Orskey installs easily using a suction mount and 12V port adapter.
2. Apeman C420
The Apeman C420 beyond its incredible price of £59.99 has both front and rear high-definition cameras, recording in 1080p at 30 frames per second (fps). The Apeman claims to operate in temperatures as low as -20 degrees Celsius and up to 60-degrees Celsius - which given Blighty saw external temps as high as 40.3 degrees, it’s a surprise more in-cabin devices didn’t melt onto the dashboard.
Nonetheless, a field-of-vision of 170 degrees helps to reduce blind spots. Power is provided from the 12V port, which is useful for the Apeman’s 24 hour Parking Monitor, keeping an (albeit artificial) eye out even when you’re not driving the vehicle.
3. Iiwey S3-4K wifi dash cam
The Iiwey may not carry the brand recognition of others on this list, but it sure packs a punch for those on a budget. For a mere £69.99, three cameras - front, rear and inside rear - record at 1080p at 30fps.
This makes it a popular choice for taxi drivers and other professionals carting folks about. Somewhat impressively, the field-of-vision is 170-degrees, there’s infrared night vision, motion detection and a G-sensor. There’s also Wifi connectivity built in, so you can access the playback from your phone.
4. Nextbase 222
Nextbase is a brand name synonymous with award-winning dash cam design. It's one of the longest standing UK brands, but with that rep often comes a weighty price tag. However, the Nextbase 222 retails at a reasonable £78.99.
In line with the competition, it records at 1080p, has a Click'n'Go magnetic mount - rather than a suction mount - and cool features like Intelligent Parking Mode. Like its rivals, the Nextbase 222 has a low profile meaning it discreetly tucks away behind the rear-view mirror and so doesn’t cause any distraction on the 2.5-inch high-def touchscreen.
5. Ring RSDC4000
This Ring dashcam bundle isn’t the cheapest option on this list, but may offer drivers more value. There’s a front and rear camera and an SD card for storage included for the package price of £120. The front camera records at a very sharp 1440p high-definition, where the rear camera records at a standard 1080p.
While the cameras only have a 140-degree field-of-vision, the Ring RSDC4000 has GPS in-built. That means if an incident happens, the device automatically logs the location, timestamped, to make insurance claims easier. Unlike the Nextbase 222 which can be hardwired into the car, the Ring dashcam uses the 12V port for power.
Other dashcams worth a mention…
There's a plethora of dashcam names to pick from, including Road Angel, Vantrue, Kenwood and Nexar just some of the manufacturers with award-winning or nominated designs. Plenty of dash cam makers integrate smartphone companion apps to be able to download, store and share the recordings.
FIVE OF THE INTERNET’S MOST PERTINENT QUESTIONS ABOUT BUDGET DASH CAMS
What is the best dash cam on a budget?
Picking the right dash cam is all about deciding what you want it for. If you want to record each journey, you’re more likely to prioritise picture quality. If you want to protect yourself in the event of an incident, you might be keen to opt for front- and rear-facing cameras with great recording quality and respectable night vision. After all, you want to be able to make out the registration plates of the cars captured.
If you ferry people about in your motor, you might want an internal rear-facing camera. There are dash cams for all kinds of drivers.
Is a dash cam an MOT failure?
It’s not so much that the presence of a dash cam will fail the MOT, but the placement of the dash cam might. Nothing should obscure a driver’s view out of the windscreen, which is why many dash cams are compact enough to discretely place behind the rear-view mirror. Make sure any obstruction from the driver’s seat is no more than four centimetres and you’ll be good to go.
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Is it worth having a dash cam in the UK?
Many dash cam owners would argue that having a dash cam is absolutely worth it. If for nothing else, the discount from your insurer. Each insurer has a list of ‘approved’ dash cams, which is key to making your selection, if this discount is what you’re after.
How long will a 32GB SD card last in a dashcam?
Memory cards are one of the biggest challenges to selecting a dash cam. Some dash cams include an SD card, many don’t, SD cards don’t run cheap and can add a good £10-£15 to the cost of your camera. As to the size of the SD card you should go for, many cameras offer loop recording and so will overwrite over the oldest recordings. The amount of memory you need depends on how long your regular journeys are. A 32Gb card will take three to four hours of recording at 1080p.