Backup cameras give drivers a wide, unobstructed view of what’s behind the vehicle, making parking and reversing easier and safer. Some even come with guidelines to assist drivers in gauging distances accurately.
As of May 2018, new vehicles sold in the United States are required by law to come equipped with backup cameras. While older models are exempt from this law, drivers can still enhance their safety by installing aftermarket camera systems.
To help you find the best aftermarket backup camera that suits your needs, we’ve reviewed dozens of products and tested their ease of installation, image clarity, night vision compatibility, and additional features.
Among these products, 11 stood out from the rest. Read on as we break down their features, performance, and overall value for the money.
- The Best Aftermarket Backup Cameras (Overview)
- Why Consider an Aftermarket Backup Camera?
- Budget-Friendly Aftermarket Backup Cameras
- Mid-Range Aftermarket Backup Cameras
- High-End Aftermarket Backup Cameras
- Wireless Backup Cameras
- Backup Cameras for Trucks and Large Vehicles
- Ease of Installation and Compatibility
- Additional Features to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Conclusion: Making Your Selection
The Best Aftermarket Backup Cameras (Overview)
We’ve included an overview of our top picks below. For detailed information on each pick, scroll down.
Why Consider an Aftermarket Backup Camera?
If your vehicle doesn’t have a backup camera, installing an aftermarket backup camera is the next best thing. Here’s why you should install a backup camera on your vehicle:
Backover accidents kill more than 200 people and injure more than 12,000 a year, according to research conducted by the Texas Department of Insurance.
To remedy this issue, the United States implemented a law that requires new vehicles (manufactured in 2018 and up) to have a built-in backup camera installed.
Backup cameras aim to increase the safety of the driver and the pedestrian by eliminating the risk of blind spots.
Older vehicles that don’t come equipped with backup cameras can still be fitted with aftermarket options, allowing drivers to enhance safety in their existing vehicles without spending thousands of dollars.
Backup cameras cover a larger and more comprehensive field of vision compared to conventional rearview mirrors.
The expanded perspective helps drivers see potential obstacles, pedestrians, and other vehicles in their path that may not be visible through mirrors alone.
Ease of Parking
Since backup cameras offer a clear and real-time view of the area behind the vehicle, drivers can more easily navigate tight parking spaces with precision.
This is especially helpful in crowded parking areas, as it significantly reduces the likelihood of accidentally damaging the vehicle or surrounding objects.
Budget-Friendly Aftermarket Backup Cameras
Aftermarket backup cameras don’t have to be expensive. There are a handful of budget-friendly options that still provide reliable performance without breaking the bank. These include:
The LeeKooLuu Backup Camera has everything you need in a budget-friendly backup camera: a decent 4.3-inch colored screen, an HD 1080P rear-view camera that performs decently in both day and night conditions, and a fairly straightforward installation.
The image quality is admittedly not the best, but it’s more than clear enough to see obstacles with relative ease. Considering the price, it offers a reasonable balance between affordability and functionality.
If your vehicle comes with a screen display, the eRapta ERT01 is an excellent pick.
This camera attaches to your car’s license plate and connects seamlessly to the existing display through a 26-foot cable attachment.
It’s only slightly more difficult to install than a wired system, with only a single RCA cable required to connect the camera to the screen.
If LeeKooLuu’s 4.3-inch display is a bit too small for your liking, you may find Zeroxclub’s 7-inch display a more suitable alternative.
It’s big enough to provide a more detailed view of your vehicle’s rear surroundings but small enough that it doesn’t take up much space on your dashboard.
Installation is relatively straightforward; plug the wire into the accessory circuit, cigarette lighter, or ignition switch for manual on/off use, or hardwire it into the reverse lights for automatic activation.
The camera quality is about what you’d expect for a budget-friendly backup camera; great but not excellent. The good news is that it displays zero lag and provides a real-time, responsive feed.
Mid-Range Aftermarket Backup Cameras
These cameras balance price and functionality, making them solid options for those seeking a reliable backup camera without breaking the bank.
With functionalities going beyond the traditional backup camera, the Wolfbox Dash Cam is a solid mid-range option with excellent value.
This backup camera attaches to your rearview mirror, which turns on when you put your car in reverse. When it isn’t active, it serves as a regular rearview mirror.
The 4K mirror display is powered by a 12-volt cigarette lighter plug, while the 2160P rearview camera works via a hard-wired connection.
The Wolfbox Dash Cam is equipped with 32GB internal storage, allowing you to record from one or both cameras at the same time.
Other features include GPS tracking, loop recording that automatically overwrites old video files, and time-lapse parking mode for extra security.
Of all the cameras we’ve tested, the V35 was the easiest to install.
Thanks to its magnetic base, you can attach it to any metallic part of the vehicle with ease. And since it uses wireless technology to transmit video signals, it removes the need to run cables from the vehicle’s rear to the dashboard.
The V35’s camera quality is nothing to write home about, but the Night Vision deserves some praise.
Equipped with 16 infrared LED lights and an auto light sensor, the V35 gives you a clear view of the darkest night even without ambient light. A great option for people who drive a lot at night.
High-End Aftermarket Backup Cameras
If you’re willing to splurge on a premium aftermarket backup camera, these options are worth considering:
The Furrion Vision S is arguably the best wireless backup camera we’ve tested. It has it all and then some: a crisp, high-resolution display, an IP65 waterproof camera with infrared night vision, a built-in microphone, a stable digital signal, and more.
The Furrion Vision S is specifically designed for RVs, but it’s also suitable for other large vehicles such as SUVs, trailers, buses, and trucks.
The field of view extends three feet to both sides of the vehicle, giving you more than enough visibility for maneuvering and navigating large vehicles.
The color image is bright and clear and displays no issues when handling dynamic range. The night vision is equally as good. With six infrared lights along the sides of the camera, it performs exceptionally well in low-light conditions.
The Garmin BC 50 is one of Garmin’s flagship backup cameras, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that it boasts top-notch performance. At least, for the most part.
To use the Garmin BC 50, we had to shell out another ~$100 for a compatible Garmin display. We used the Garmin DriveSmart 65, but it also works with the Drive 52 and 53, as well as the DriveSmart 66 and 76.
If you already have a Garmin display on hand, this backup camera is a fantastic option to consider. It offers excellent image quality, especially in daylight conditions. The Night Vision is decent, illuminating up to 20 feet behind your vehicle. It also has a wide 180° field of view.
Wireless Backup Cameras
These cameras offer the convenience of wireless connectivity, making installation and setup a lot more straightforward.
Wireless backup cameras generally have a poorer connection quality than wired variants, but the Auto-Vox CS-2 is an exception. It uses a digital wireless transmission, so the connection is free from interference or distortion.
The only downside to this option is its narrow field of view of 110°. It works well for close-quarters and parallel parking, but it has notable limitations in open spaces or when monitoring traffic from various angles.
Though more commonly known for its kitchen and household appliances, the Kenwood Excelon CMOS-740HD is surprisingly on par with other established brands of the same range.
Unfortunately, it has the same issue with Garmin in that the camera is only compatible with select Kenwood HD display receivers.
Other than that, we have no complaints. The camera quality is great, with a high dynamic range and an impressive horizontal field of view of 180° and a vertical angle of 103°.
Backup Cameras for Trucks and Large Vehicles
Looking for backup cameras for your truck or RV? Consider these models:
The ATPTK Backup Camera is an industrial-grade wired camera specifically made for large vehicles, like pickup trucks, box trucks, buses, dump trucks, bulldozers, and the like. It’s compatible with most vehicles with an input range of 12 to 24 volts.
The ATPTK’s heavy-duty camera has a 1080P resolution and a 120° viewing angle, capturing super clear and true-color images. When parking, the monitor displays guide marks to help you park faster and safer.
The Night Vision is great, too; the camera has 850nm infrared lights, which delivers a robust night vision performance.
Available in 7 and 9-inch screen options, the Fookoo II Backup Camera comes with two cameras which you can view at the same time through a split screen.
We also like that it has a circular video recording functionality. It doesn’t come with internal storage though, so you’ll need to insert an SD card for this option to work. It supports 32GB to 128GB SD storage.
The picture quality is above average. Even without infrared lights, the cameras display colored images at night. Installation is straightforward and we didn’t encounter problems when routing the cables. The components were well-made, durable, and waterproof to boot.
Ease of Installation and Compatibility
There are two types of backup cameras: wired and wireless.
Wired backup cameras require you to connect the cable to the display unit by threading the cable through the vehicle’s interior or along its exterior.
Wired backup cameras are compatible with most vehicle models, but it’s especially viable with large vehicles like trucks and RVs.
Conversely, wireless backup cameras are easier to install than their wired counterparts. They consist of a camera and a transmitter, with the video signal sent wirelessly to a receiver connected to the display unit.
Some wireless units allow you to connect the camera to an existing display, but others require a dedicated monitor.
Like wired backup cameras, wireless systems are compatible with most vehicles, big or small. But it’s more common in regular-sized vehicles, as the wireless transmission may not be as stable in larger vehicles due to potential signal interference.
Check out our rear view camera installation guide for more comprehensive instructions on the installation process, as well as tips to ensure a successful setup.
Additional Features to Consider
Before you buy an aftermarket backup camera, consider these additional features:
As much as possible, opt for a backup camera with a minimum IP67 rating. This ensures the camera can withstand various weather conditions, be it rain or snow. If you live in an area with high temperatures, make sure it can withstand extreme heat as well.
Advanced models come with parking sensors that work in conjunction with the camera.
These sensors provide visual alerts and/or audible alerts, helping you gauge the distance between your vehicle and the obstacles surrounding it.
Backup cameras with smartphone connectivity allow you to view the camera feed directly on your smartphone. This can be useful when setting up the camera or checking the surroundings while outside the vehicle.
If you drive at night a lot, consider a backup camera with advanced night vision capabilities. These cameras have a built-in infrared sensor that enhances visibility in darker conditions.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Best Brand of Aftermarket Backup Camera?
There’s no single best brand of aftermarket backup cameras, but some of the more well-known include Furrion, Garmin, and Wolfbox. These brands are recognized for manufacturing reliable and high-quality aftermarket backup cameras.
Are Aftermarket Reverse Cameras Any Good?
Yes, aftermarket reverse cameras are just as good as backup cameras. The only difference between the two is that backup cameras can be used for parking and maneuvering tight spaces, while reverse cameras specifically assist drivers in backing up the vehicle.
Conclusion: Making Your Selection
When choosing an aftermarket backup camera, identify the features that matter most to you.
If you drive frequently at night, for example, prioritize a camera with advanced vision capabilities. If you live in areas with unstable weather conditions, search for a camera with a high IP rating and temperature resistance.
You should also make sure that the backup camera is compatible with your specific vehicle type.