Is it Worth Buying a Cheap Dash Cam?

Is it Worth Buying a Cheap Dash Cam?

Dash cams provide drivers with a way to capture video footage of their travels for a variety of purposes. Whether you’re looking to have evidence in the event of an accident, want to track your driving habits, or simply want an extra layer of security while on the road, a dash cam can be a valuable investment.

With so many different models on the market, it can be tough to decide which one is right for you. In particular, you may be wondering whether it’s worth it to save money by purchasing a cheap dash cam, or if you should splurge for a more expensive model with more features.

To help you make an informed decision, we’ve listed the pros and cons of affordable dash cam, as well as some factors to consider when deciding whether it’s the right choice for you.

Pros of Purchasing a Cheap Dash Cam

These are the benefits that you can expect from cheap dash cams:

Lowest Price

One of the main benefits of purchasing a cheap dash cam is, of course, the cost. These models tend to be significantly less expensive than their higher-end counterparts and can go as little as $20, making them a more affordable option for those on a budget.

Basic Features

If you simply require basic functionality and don’t need high-quality footage or a lot of bells and whistles, an inexpensive dash cam may suffice.

These models frequently include the necessities, such as a camera that records video at lower resolutions of 720 pixels (HD) or 1,080 pixels (Full HD) and audio of moderate quality, as well as a way to playback and view the footage on a screen, and that they can be useful in the event of an accident or other incident for some level of protection and peace of mind.

Cons of Purchasing a Cheap Dash Cam

While there are some benefits to purchasing a cheap dash cam, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider.

Low-Quality Recording

The video quality of inexpensive dash cameras will be poor. Lower resolution cameras often generate 720p or 1080p output, which is usually processed by “image scaling” to increase video resolution, however, this process can frequently result in grainy or distorted images, especially unable to capture motion subject, which means hardly notice the license plate numbers of opponent cars.

This may be a serious issue if you rely on dash cam video as a proof in the case of an accident or dispute. I must say, this is the most significant trade-off with low-cost dash cameras. However, not all affordable dash cams are the same, and not all expensive dash cams have value for money.

Lack of Many Handy Features

Even if cheap dash cams have good camera quality, they must lack important features since lower prices naturally cut corners, and this may not benefit manufacturers to add more features at a bare minimum price. As a result, less-priced dashboard cameras have fewer functions than their more expensive counterparts.

This can be an issue if you want a dash cam with developed capabilities like wireless connectivity (WiFi and Bluetooth), night vision, a wide-angle lens, voice commands, an emergency SOS, motion detection, or automatic incident detection, which can be helpful in certain situations. Aside from the ability to attach an external GPS tracking module to full-proof your footage with speed and position stamps.

Shorter Lifespan and Reliability Problems

Low quality materials built result in a shorter device lifespan. The poor quality of cheap dash cams makes them prone to breaking or malfunctioning over time and may be incapable of withstanding the demands of everyday use.

As a result, you may have to replace your low-cost dash cam more frequently than a higher-quality model, which may be an unpleasant and costly experience.

The low-quality internals and also subpar; circuit board, parts, and software utilised in inexpensive dash cams can lead to poor performance and a lack of reliability, which can be a severe issue if you rely on your dash cam to collect vital footage.

Factors to Consider When Deciding Whether to Buy a Cheap Dash Cam

When deciding whether to purchase a cheap dash cam, there are a few key factors to consider.

Look for Best Budget Dash Cams

First, consider your budget. If you’re on a low budget and can’t afford a more expensive dash cam, the best budget model may be your option. However, if you have some flexibility in your budget and are willing to spend a bit more, it may be worth it to invest in a higher-quality dash cam with more premium quality and features.

Specific Needs and Requirements

Consider your requirements and preferences. Do you require a feature-rich dash cam with a high-quality video and a wide-angle lens, or are you just searching for a reliable-quality model that can capture steady video in high resolution and is dependable for long-term use?

You must decide your needs, if a low-cost dash cam is adequate for your purposes or whether you should spend more money on a more capable device. However, you should be aware that more advanced functions are not free.

Consequences: What Can Go Wrong?

It’s important to consider the potential consequences of not having a high-quality dash cam. If you’re relying on the footage from your dash cam in court as evidence in the event of an accident or dispute, low-quality video from a cheap dash cam may not be sufficient to serve as compelling proof even for an insurance claim.

In this scenario, it may be worth it to invest in a higher-quality dashcam to ensure that you have guaranteed, clear and dependable footage available when you need it for peace of mind.

By taking the time to consider the potential consequences of not having a high-quality dashcam, you can make an informed decision about which device is the best fit for your needs and budget.

Alternatives to Purchasing a Cheap Dash Cam

If you decide that a cheap dash cam isn’t the best choice for your needs, there are a few alternatives to consider.

Cheap Dash Cam Deals (Discounts)

One option is to look for dash cam sales or discounts on more expensive models. Many retailers offer promotions or discounts on dash cams from time to time, which can make it more affordable to purchase a higher-quality model.

Second-Hand Used Model

It is not an ideal option to consider, yet better go for the high-end model for less is still better than a useless dash cam. Surely, purchasing a used dash cam need a lot of research and making sure that the used model is in good working condition, this can be a more affordable way to get a higher-quality dash cam.


In short, purchasing a low-priced dash cam can be a cost-effective solution for adding a camera to your vehicle. However, it is important to keep in mind that cheaper models may have lower video quality, fewer features, and potentially less reliable performance. For higher quality footage and more reliable performance, it may be worth investing in a more expensive model or looking for sales or discounts on higher-end models, or opting for a used or refurbished one.

Ben Wells
Ben Wells is a tech enthusiast and expert in the field of auto accessories and electronic household items. With a background as a PC critic and editor for a tech blogger, Ben has spent the past four years writing objectively about home appliances and leisure technologies for BestB. Known for his unbiased coverage, Ben is passionate about staying up-to-date on the latest technological advancements in the automotive and home electronics industries. When he's not reviewing the latest products, Ben enjoys camping and travelling.