12 Best Backup Cameras in 2017
Having a car wreck is one of the worst things that can happen to you. It can leave a lasting impact on your psyche and send your vehicle to the old junkyard. Even when you keep the rules of the road in mind at all times, accidents can still happen and the backend of our vehicles tend to take more hits than most.
They don’t make a backup camera to ensure people will not rear-end us yet, but there are thousands of them built for vehicles of all types. Many modern cars already have them preinstalled with heads-up displays in the dash, but there is no need for your 86 Maxima to be left out in the cold. Granny’s Grand Am can have a backup cam just like a luxury vehicle… just don’t let her install it.
Like many products from the tech world, picking the best backup camera can be like finding a needle in a haystack as they all have a similar feature set. Our focus lies on cameras that can be used with a pre-existing monitor in your vehicle although a few of our picks come with a little something extra.
Table of Contents
- Top 12 Backup Cameras Comparison Chart
- Bumper Saving Guide
- Top 5 Best Backup Camera Reviews
Top 12 Backup Cameras Comparison Chart
Bumper Saving Guide
Your bumper won’t be nearly as likely to crumple if you follow these helpful tips.
The majority of our picks for the best backup camera are universal in a sense. That means you should be able to install it on any car, truck or wheeled creation that uses a standard license plate bracket. Some forgo the usual two-screw bracket for something a little more unique, however.
If you plan on putting your backup cam on a trailer or any other type of vehicle, you will want to look for one with a mounting bracket on a plate instead of one that goes above yours. There are plenty of options as well including full and split plates.
That said, a camera that rotates may be a simpler solution depending on your needs. These are a bit rarer, but can usually rotate up to 90-degrees and lock into position with a few turns of a screw. Unless you have skill with a saw, do not opt for any “flush mount” backup cameras. If you have to cut metal, let a professional do it as you don’t want a leak in the trunk.
This is going to depend on your current in-dash system, vehicle and which path you want to go down. If you already have an in-dash navigation system, everything is going to be extremely easy for the most part, and you can usually do it yourself, or it will be a quick job for the pros. If it is the former, you just need to mount the camera and run or connect a few wires. Some vehicles may even have jacks in the back to keep those wires to a minimum.
Alternatively, if you have an older model car, you will need to install a monitor in your dash or attach one to it. We are not going to delve into cutting up your dash, and if you don’t want to do that, you will want a unit that comes with a monitor. There are currently two popular options at the moment with clip-on rearview mirror monitors and ones that can be attached on top of your dash.
If you prefer a monitor that mounts, prepare to make room on your dash as these are generally large and not as easy to deal with for some. On the other hand, clip-on mirrors look like they belong in your ride, take up no additional space and will work with any vehicle on the road.
- Parking or Scale Lines – While it may sound like that line you would roll back on your bathroom scales, Scale Lines are arguably the most important feature of a backup camera aside from the actual lens. These allow the camera to measure the distance between your bumper and objects in your way and may or may not be able to be turned off. It varies by brand and camera, and something to take into account.
- Night Vision – This one should be a standard option on 99% of backup cameras on the market although some will tout it an amazing feature you can’t live without. They are right on the account, but it should be standard. Needless to say, unless you only plan on driving during daylight hours, you will want a backup camera with Night Vision. Usually, the more LED’s the better although there is something to be said for the quality of the components used as well.
Top 5 Best Backup Camera Reviews
AIDOUT took the simple approach for their waterproof backup camera which consists of a sensor set in the middle of a mounting bracket. You will quickly become familiar with this particular style if you look at many backup cams. It’s popular for a reason: it works and is simple for anyone to install.
These types of backup cams are made to install over your license plate and have a set of wires you’ll hook up to a monitor in your vehicle. If you already have the connection, installation is usually simple. As for the camera itself, the company claims a field of view between 120-170° with 420 TV lines and the effective (active) pixels listed at 628 x 582.
Like the rest of the cameras on our list, this one is waterproof and will work well during nighttime or daylight. You can thank 7 LED Night Vision for that although it is a fixed unit, so there’s no wiggle room once you have it mounted.
Want a rear view camera that can move a little more than the rest? The best backup camera from GOGO ROADLESS can be rotated 90° after being mounted, and you don’t have to stick this one above the license plate either. It has a mounting plate that allows you to install the camera in a different position which means it is a great fit for trailers and other types of motorized vehicles.
GOGO’s camera has all the bells & whistles you could want like Night Vision, a 170° field of view and 420 TV lines of resolution. These are all standard for any good backup camera, but the IP68 tag is the icing on the cake. You can purchase the camera by itself or opt for their matching monitor which attaches with suction cups.
The Esky EC170-08 is another simple, but effective backup camera that will not break the bank. It is a bit more stylish than most with a polished surface but still sports the same field of view as the rest of the pack. In fact, from a tech standpoint, it’s essentially the same camera found in GOGO’s kit but with a prettier wrapper.
The stylish Esky backup cam can rotate 90° and has IP67 certification, which means it can withstand more than a casual dunk or drizzle. It is also simple to setup with only a few cables to connect but doesn’t come with any real extras to speak of.
TOPTIERPRO’s entry onto our list of the top backup cameras is a bit of an oddball. It doesn’t have the over-the-top mounting bracket like many cams. It also doesn’t have a full 4-screw plate. Instead, you’ll get a smaller 2-screw bracket that is optional as you can also mount this little sucker flush. That’s only if you are feeling brave however as we wouldn’t suggest taking a hole saw to your vehicle unless you are experienced in body work or familiar with Bondo.
On that note, this set actually comes with an 18.5mm hole saw a 20-foot video cable and power cable. It has everything you will need to get started, but the devil is in the details. This particular camera doesn’t distance scale lines unless you snip a couple of wires on its underside. While not the top camera around, it is one of the most universal and well worth a look if you want something simple.
If you do not have an in-dash display in your ride, you will be thrilled to know that the AUTO-VOX M3 comes with one. Not just any monitor mind you, but one built into your rear view mirror, so you don’t have to deal with your dash or cut it. The rear camera mounts over the license plate as well, so installation should be a breeze on the back end.
The mirror monitor is far more interesting than the rear camera and just as easy to deal with. It actually clips on to the front of your existing rear view mirror. Rubber straps ensure there is no damage to your stock mirror and allows for easy removal if you prefer to go another route later on. It also sports a camera on its rear, so you’re getting a front cam and rear camera with this particular backup camera system.
We won’t bore you with the full tech specs of the Sony sensor, but the wide-angle lens can capture sharp video regardless of the weather and works well in low light conditions. It also carries the IP68 tag and sports four different Picture-in-Picture modes.