Security is something many people don’t like having to think about, but being prepared for the worst can allow you to handle unpleasant incidents in a much better way. Remember, accidents or mishaps often come when we expect them the least.
People are starting to realize the need to be ready for the worst, which is why dash cams with motion detection have become trendy.
This has been especially noticeable over the last few years, as we’ve seen the inclusion of additional features, such as live-streaming footage to a mobile phone if the camera detects suspicious activity, as well as GPS tracking. For many, they’ve become more of a necessity than a fad.
When protecting something as expensive and important as your car, you need to ensure you pick the right camera with the best sensors to avoid getting spammed with false positives or not getting any alerts at all.
That’s where we come in with this post — so follow along as we explore the five best dash cams with motion detection available this year.
- Overview of the Top Dash Cams With Motion Detection
- The 5 Best Dash Cams With Motion Detection in 2024
- How to Find the Best Dash Cam With Motion Detection for Your Needs
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Wrapping Up
Overview of the Top Dash Cams With Motion Detection
|Field of View
|Nextbase 622GW Dash Cam
|4K HD (3840 x 2160)
|Super slow motion, emergency responses, Alexa, enhanced night vision
|Garmin Dash Cam Live
|Yes, with notification
|Works well with the Garmin Drive smartphone app (live view, video sharing, GPS tracking)
|Vantrue N2 Pro Dual 1080p Dash Cam
|2.5K (2560 x 1440P)
|Yes, including inside the car
|170 degrees on the front140 degrees on the rear
|Dual camera system, records with audio
|Vantrue N4 3 Channel Dash Cam
|4K HD at 25 FPS
|Yes, 24/7 full-view
|155 degrees on the front165 degrees inside160 degrees on the rear
|Triple-camera system for 24/7 360-degree coverage, super night vision, GPS tracking
|Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2
|No, but can be enabled with an external cable
The 5 Best Dash Cams With Motion Detection in 2024
Now, let’s take a deeper look at the five models we’ve reviewed to see which one stands out as the best option and for whom.
1. Nextbase 622GW Dash Cam — Best Overall Pick
Our favorite dash cam this year is Nextbase 622GW, a successor to the 522GW. Not only does it have reliable motion and gravity sensors, but it’s also a superb camera with great performance and additional features that can produce some of the best video evidence in times of need.
Its recording features are marvelous, as it can record video in up to 4K HD quality at 30 FPS. And if you want smoother footage, you can “downgrade” it to 1440p and enjoy it at 60 FPS, or even 1080p at a staggering 120 FPS.
In addition, the camera has a night mode that performs well in dark conditions. And in case you need them, there are slow motion and image stabilization features to help you catch the most elusive incidents.
Apart from the camera features, you can also enjoy its built-in smart tech, such as Alexa voice control and an emergency SOS feature that can call services on your behalf and direct them to your car’s GPS location.
It’s hard to pick flaws with the bulky 622GW, but be aware that if you choose this option, you’re certainly getting your money’s worth. Our biggest nitpick is that it leaves the car’s rear uncovered, but there are plenty of rear cameras you can buy at an additional cost and install them along with this one.
- High video quality at 4K HD
- Enhanced night mode
- Has a reliable G-sensor for crash detection
- Can record in slow motion
- Built-in Alexa support
- Can call emergency services
- Optional rear camera accessories
- Free cloud storage
- Can be pricey
- Rear camera accessories can also be pricey
The Nextbase 622GW may be a costly option, but it’ll keep an eye on your car while capturing video in the highest possible quality.
2. Garmin Dash Cam Live — Runner-Up
Next up, we have the Garmin Dash Cam Live, which also comes at a somewhat hefty price but justifies it with its numerous features and video capabilities.
Although you’ll find many other cameras in this price range offering higher resolutions than 1440p, it’s the only dash cam we found that also saves the recording to the cloud automatically (which helps you in case the camera gets damaged).
The Dash Cam Live is a large piece, but it has a beautiful display with button controls that quickly become able to understand intuitively. You can also set it up to connect to the internet and cloud storage for a monthly fee.
Unfortunately, there’s no parking mode (or parking guard, as Garmin calls it) out of the box, but you can enable it with the help of a Constant Power cable from Garmin, which can be an unpleasant extra cost. But if you do choose it, the motion and gravity sensors will make sure you’re in for a carefree experience.
- Decent video quality with night mode
- Great connection with the mobile app
- Automatically saves footage to the cloud
- Has a ton of features on the app
- Connects to Wi-Fi and cellular
- Supports up to 512 GB storage
- Cloud storage requires a subscription
- Some extras can be costly
Although the camera and its accessories can be expensive, it offers some of the best security available on the market, especially since it automatically uploads footage to the cloud.
Going down the price ladder, we have an affordable dual camera system in the form of the Vantrue N2 Pro, which can capture in 1080p HD through the front and interior cameras, or 1440p if you only need the former.
It’s a small camera setup that still has a decent parking mode that can guard your car inside and out. And in the case you want to use a rear camera instead of an interior one, you can set it up on the back window instead of the rearview mirror.
Its slim design allows it to seamlessly fit inside the car without causing a distraction, and although there’s no cloud storage, you can use the camera’s loop recording or install an SD card with a capacity of up to 256 GB.
Unfortunately, though, the N2 Pro has some drawbacks. Most notably, there are annoyingly few connectivity options and no mobile companion app.
- Dual dash cam system (front and interior)
- Capable of HD video
- Parking mode
- Interior camera is easy to mount and adjust
- No internet or GPS capabilities
- No mobile app
Although it has some flaws, the Vantrue N2 Pro dual camera system is a bargain for its price and offers front and back protection with reliable sensors and a decent video quality. It’s highly recommended when using your car for ridesharing.
4. Vantrue N4 3 Channel Dash Cam — Best for Maximum Coverage
If you’re looking to cover your car from all angles, then the Vantrue N4 should be a strong contender, as it’s a three-camera system that covers the front, interior, and rear of your vehicle.
If you only opt for the front camera, then you can get image quality as high as 4K, but you’d probably want to enable all three cameras, which would enable you to still enjoy HD quality at 1440p (front) and 1080p (cabin and rear), at 30 FPS.
Quality aside, the main reason you’d buy the Vantrue N4 is the 360-degree coverage, which combines the wide angles of each camera to offer all-around security. There’s also a night mode, even if the video recorded in it may not be of the highest quality.
For the price, we applaud the N4 for all it can do, though we would’ve loved to see GPS, internet, and a mobile connection too.
- HD video quality
- Three-cam system allows 360-degree FOV coverage
- Numerous setup possibilities
- Easy to install and use
- No GPS or internet connectivity
- Screen isn’t touch-controlled
- Night mode can be grainy
If you need 360-degree camera coverage without breaking the bank, then the Vantrue N4 is worth considering.
5. Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 — Best Budget Pick
Lastly, we have the Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2, a small and budget-friendly dash cam that can detect motion and protect your car at a cheap cost.
The Mini 2 takes only a tiny footprint on your windshield. Yet it can capture footage at 1080p HD quality and upload it to the cloud or stream through the companion app, which you’ll be using a lot since it’s your only way to control the camera. Despite its budget price, it was one of our favorite mini dash cams.
Another neat feature we found is the useful voice command set, which you can activate by saying “OK Garmin.” This allows you to access features such as starting a record, taking a picture, and more.
Unsurprisingly, such an affordable model has some cons, such as the lack of a display or GPS connectivity.
- Small footprint, easily hidden
- Good video quality for the price
- Works with cloud storage and a companion app
- Has voice commands
- No GPS connection
- Accessories can be pricey
- No display screen
The Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 is a super affordable and helpful dash cam with motion detection and many features that aren’t found in more expensive models, such as a companion app and voice control.
How to Find the Best Dash Cam With Motion Detection for Your Needs
Before we finish, we want to explore the key features that determine a good dash cam with motion detection. Familiarizing yourself with these criteria can help you find the best option for your needs and within your budget more easily by yourself, so let’s take a look.
1. Parking Mode
Parking mode, for a dash cam, is a feature that allows the camera to stay on standby while still looking out for suspicious activity. You can think of it as a smoke detector for your car, but instead of detecting smoke, it looks for movement.
While the camera is on standby mode, it’ll continue to draw power from the car battery, or a dedicated one at a reduced rate. Once the camera senses movement, it’ll start recording and possibly even capturing audio or streaming the footage to your mobile phone (if it’s connected to the internet).
Parking mode can be enabled through motion sensors (as with the dash cams in this post) to look for visually strange sightings, such as thieves, or through the camera’s G-sensor, which can also sense motion. In either case, this is one of the most crucial features that can gather evidence even when the car is unattended.
2. Resolution and FPS
Video resolution indicates the clarity of the footage. The higher it is, the better video quality you’ll get and the stronger your evidence will be. Fortunately, practically all modern dash cams can record in at least 1080p HD quality, while a premium dash cam may be capable of resolutions up to 4K HD.
The drawback to having such a high resolution is that it often sacrifices the frame rate (frames per second, or FPS), which determines the smoothness of the video. However, cameras with high resolutions should allow you to switch to a lower setting to get a higher FPS.
3. Detection Sensitivity
Being able to adjust the sensitivity of your motion sensors is also a key feature, as it allows you to eliminate false alarms, which is a common issue with cheap dash cams with overly high sensitivity that’ll alert you to something as silly as a cat passing by.
Cheap cameras can have the opposite problem too, where they struggle to detect more obvious movements and won’t alert you to them, although that’s rarer to find.
Many dash cams with motion detection sensors also have G-sensors (gravity sensors) that can act as an additional security measure. They work by detecting sudden physical movements or changes in acceleration, such as from a crash, strike, or vandalism.
Once the G-sensor is activated, the camera should start recording and alerting you. Just like with motion sensors, adjusting the sensitivity is a must-have for many car owners who want to minimize false positives.
5. Storage Capacity
Dash cams have an internal storage card where they store video footage, and having more of it is always better. Thankfully, most dash cams also have additional SD or micro SD card slots that allow you to add additional storage if you need to, so while it’s good to have enough memory out of the box, you can upgrade it with a new memory card in the future.
Loop recording is a feature closely linked with storage space. Dash cameras without that feature won’t be able to capture video once they’re out of storage, because there’s no additional space.
Fortunately, many cameras can “loop record” once they’re out of storage space, allowing them to delete the oldest dash cam footage available and replace it with new video clips.
6. Field of View
Field of view (FOV) refers to how much your dash cam can see at once. In other words, how wide are the camera’s eyes?
Here, you’ll want to have the highest possible number. You’ll find that most dash cams offer an FOV of around 140 degrees, while some may offer slightly higher numbers. 140 is already a lot, as it can capture plenty of details.
Some people also have dual dash cams (or even more) that allow them to cover a much wider FOV by connecting the footage. For example, a front camera can cover 140 degrees while the rear camera captures another 140, combining into a total of 280 degrees of view.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do All Dash Cams Have Parking Mode?
No, parking mode is rare to find in lower-middle to low-end dash cams, as it requires the camera to maintain power at all times (at least when the car is off). Typically, only medium-end and high-end cameras will do that.
Can I Adjust My Dash Cam Motion Detection Sensitivity?
This depends on the model, but many dash cams will allow you to adjust detection sensitivity to minimize false positives and maximize accuracy while the camera is in parking mode. But be careful not to decrease it too much.
We’re spoiled with the number of options for dash cams this year, but our favorite is the Nextbase 622GW, which boasts a superb camera and intuitive controls through the display and companion app. Thanks to its video capabilities, it can also produce strong video evidence. Although it can set you back a bit financially, it’s a reliable guardian for your car.
Other options we also liked include the Garmin Dash Cam Live and Venture N2 Pro. But if you’re on a tight budget and looking for something just good enough, you can check out the Garmin Mini 2.