Backup cameras are an easy to use device that makes reversing easier and lessens the risk of accidents while parking. The best backup camera offer a driver a way to see their blind spot in crystal clear clarity, no matter how dark it is or what the weather is like. If you are buying an aftermarket backup camera, it can be hard to know what features are important for increasing safety. This buying guide will talk you through all the common features of rear-view cameras, while comparing and reviewing the best backup cameras to pick out the features that provide a quality experience.
The Yada Digital Wireless is the best backup camera in our review because it is easy to install, turns on automatically when you shift into reverse and uses a digital wireless signal to prevent interference. It’s reasonably priced, but you can save a few more dollars if you go with our best value pick, the Peak PKC0BU4, which also performs well. Both of those options require splicing into the wires in your rear lights to power the camera, which isn’t as difficult as it may sound, but if you want to avoid that altogether, we recommend the QuickVu backup cam for its super easy installation.
The Yada Digital wireless backup camera uses a 2.4G digital wireless signal, so you can view your rear blind spot without interference.
The Peak back-up camera offers a less expensive alternative to pricier options while still being easy and effective.
QuickVu Digital Wireless
The QuickVu backup camera doesn’t require drilling holes or messing with the wires in your tail lights but still lets you check your rear blind spot.
|Product||Price||Overall Rating||Price||Performance||Camera||Monitor||Ease of Installation||Ease of Use||Wireless||Field of View||Distance Guides||Night Vision||Weatherproof||Screen Size||Cigarette Lighter Power Option|
|Yada Digital 4.3" Monitor||View Deal||4.5/5||4.7||5||4||3.9||A||A||✓||110°||✓||✓||✓||4.3||✓|
|Peak Back-Up Camera PKC0BU4||View Deal||4.5/5||5||4.7||4||3.9||A||A||✓||110°||✓||✓||✓||4.3||✓|
|Auto-Vox M1W||View Deal||4.5/5||4.9||3.5||5||3.9||B+||B+||✓||170°||✓||✓||✓||4.3||✓|
|Pyle Dash Cam Car Recorder||View Deal||4.5/5||4.2||3.7||5||5||D||B+||✖||170°||✓||✓||✓||7||✖|
|QuickVu Digital Wireless||4.5/5||4||4.4||4.5||3.9||A+||B||✓||142°||✓||✓||✓||4.3||✓|
|Yuwei Wireless Backup Camera System||View Deal||4/5||4.5||3.3||4.5||3.9||B||B-||✓||140°||✓||✓||✓||4.3||✓|
|Rear View Safety RVS-770613-HD||View Deal||3.5/5||2.5||3.9||4.3||5||D||B||✖||130°||✖||✓||✓||7||✖|
|iBall 5.8GHz Wireless||View Deal||3.5/5||4.3||3.7||3.2||6.8||A+||C+||✓||120°||✖||✓||✓||3.5||✓|
The Yada Digital is a wireless backup camera that offers a great blend of affordability, simplicity and usefulness.
The Yada backup camera is easy to install and use, and lets you see a 110-degree display of your rear blind spot.
The backup camera system comes with a camera attached to a small adhesive plate to attach between your car and the license plate. You can adjust the angle of the camera to suit your vehicle. The backup camera is equipped with infrared LEDs that illuminate the area behind you when it’s dark. The camera attaches to your reverse lights for power and turns on whenever you put your car into reverse. You may need to drill a small hole in your car to run the camera’s wires into your trunk.
The camera connects to the 4.3-inch monitor using a 2.4G digital wireless signal. Digital signals are better than analogue signals because they have fewer problems with interference. This is a backup camera system to use in vehicles with built-in Bluetooth, as the digital wireless system connects to bluetooth devices. The wireless range is wide enough to make the Yada camera work with a range of everyday vehicles. If you need a backup camera for an RV or a trail you will need to choose one with a greater wireless range.
The 4.3-inch monitor features an LCD display. You can turn parking guidelines on and off, adjust color, brightness and contrast. The camera also comes with a function to invert the display image, so it acts more like a mirror than a direct video feed. This can make it easier to adjust between mirrors and the display. It can either be wired in or plugged into your vehicle’s DC connector for power. The camera switches on when you turn your car on and receives wireless signals whenever your car is in reverse. This means using the backup camera is automatic and super easy to use. You can also manually turn it off and on, but the display will flash when it isn’t receiving a video signal to remind the driver the backup camera is switched off.
The monitor comes with a suction cup-style dash mount, meaning attaching the display is a simple click it in place process. The monitor fell several times during testing, so we’d advise figuring out a better mount style for your monitor, so it doesn’t drop off the dash when you are using it.
Peak’s back-up camera system is a low budget option that costs $200 less than premium models, while still offering an easy to use camera that provides a clear picture of the area behind your car.
The Peak wireless backup camera comes with a 4.3-inch LCD monitor. The monitor is mounted to your dash or windshield via a suction cup which makes it very easy to install. Even though the stand feels and looks flimsy it withstood all our tests, and remained secure on the dash or windshield.
The monitor can draw power from your vehicle’s DC outlet or can be wired into the vehicle’s battery if you want a more permanent installation. This offers great versatility. The back-up camera powers on with your car and displays footage from the camera when your car is placed in reverse.
When buying this back-up camera you want to make sure you get the digital version not the older analogue version. They both share the same product number, which can make purchasing confusing, but the digital version offers greater utility as it can be used in Bluetooth enabled vehicles. The digital model also features six infrared LEDs on the backup camera, which help illuminate the area behind your vehicle for better night vision.
The camera is mounted on a bar, which screws in above or below your license plate. You can adjust the camera angle up or down to fit your vehicle’s needs. You need to wire the back-up camera into your reverse lights for power so it will come on automatically when you put your car into reverse. This may require drilling a small hole for the wires to go through into your trunk.
The back-up camera shows you a 110-degree shot of the area directly behind your car. It automatically senses lighting conditions and switches to night vision when things get too dim, but this narrows your field of view. It does take a moment or two for the display to stabilize the image. This means that you have to wait a little while after shifting into reverse and the monitor switches on before the camera feed is correct. There is also a small delay in the feed, so you still need to rely on peripheral vision when necessary.
Easiest to Install
The QuickVu Digital Wireless backup camera system is supremely easy to install and start using. This battery-powered back-up camera is mounted above your license plate and activated whenever you turn on the monitor.
Unlike most of the other models we tested, the QuickVu camera doesn’t wire into your vehicle’s rear lights for power. Instead, the camera uses AA batteries, which you have to swap out periodically – about once a month if the user manual is correct. This means that the QuickVu needs a higher degree of maintenance than the other backup systems we reviewed, but the system is easier to install as there is no need to drill into your trunk and connect it to your reversing lights for power. .
The rear camera houses the wireless transmitter and batteries, so it is a little bulkier than other back-up cameras, but it is small enough that it won’t obstruct your license plate. The housing is one solid piece, which means the camera angle can’t be adjusted. This means it is trickier to place the camera on your car to get adequate coverage.
The camera has a light sensor and seven LEDs that light up when it’s dark, which makes the camera feed clearer in the dark to provide easier night-time reversing. The monitor features a 4.3-inch LCD display that plugs into your cigarette lighter.
The mount sticks to your dash through adhesive, although other mounts are available. We replaced the standard mount with a suction-cup style mount, and it held the display securely with no slips or falls..
The camera activates whenever you turn the monitor on, and switches on automatically when start your car for a small period of time. You can manually turn the display on an off with buttons on the back of the monitor. We liked the increased functionality that these options gives the driver, allowing us to check our blind spots more thoroughly while we are not in reverse, and pulling out.
Best Expanded System
The Pyle PLCMDVR72 is more expensive than the other backup cameras we tested, but it comes with additional cameras that provide the system with a higher value due to providing a more robust system.
Along with the typical license plate-mounted rear view camera you get two DVR dash cams. Each camera connects to a nice 7-inch monitor. The system is wired, eliminating interference issues, and the rearview camera is designed to be unobtrusive, so it doesn’t stand out or interfere with the aesthetics of your vehicle.
This back-up camera system lacks an LED light to assist with nighttime driving, but the 170-degree viewing angle is superb during the day. As this is a wired system, it needs a higher level of installation than other models in this review. Due to the increased complexity of the installation, we recommend you have a professional install the back-up camera system.
Best for Professionals
The Rear View Safety RVS is designed for large vehicles, like commercial trucks or a business fleet. This is a wired back-up system which means there are no signal interference problems and it comes with 66 feet of cable, to allow you to create a large system.
This backup camera system provides enough ports for four cameras to be connected. All video feeds display on the unit’s 7-inch monitor with easy to use and labeled buttons to switch between cameras. While this system does allow you to connect additional camera, it is only sold with one camera - additional cameras are sold separately. As this camera is used in a more industrial setting, the camera is designed to withstand water and extreme variations in temperature.
Why trust us?
We researched all the features you want and need in a backup camera system, and we only tested products that fit those parameters. For our assessment, we specifically looked at rear-view cameras with included monitors.
In addition to extensive online shopping and research, we physically test each rear-view camera system to find out things you can only learn through hands-on experience, such as which monitor mounts were stable and strong enough to stay in place or whether the camera’s night vision mode severely restricts your field of view.
We spent over 40 hours examining these backup cameras, studying their specs and features and testing them in our lab. We picked out 10 of the best and most popular backup camera with monitor sets on the market. We looked at each camera’s strengths and weakness. We further narrowed down our selection to the top eight when two of the backup cameras didn't pass our evaluations.
We tested the functionality of each product by powering them up in our lab. We used a few types of DC converters to power up each camera and monitor set, went through each system’s setup process and examined their performances in both bright and dark lighting conditions. We quantified our hands-on testing by assigning each product a grade based on how easy it was to install, ease-of-use and level of performance.
These grades include product details, such as form factor, desirable features and price. We calculated scores and finally formed our ranked list of the top eight backup cameras. From our ranked list, we recommended top-performing products and products that particularly stood out during testing.
Why buy a backup camera?
Most new vehicles have a built-in backup cam, but all new vehicles will include backup cameras as a standard feature as of May 1, 2018, because of the Rear Visibility Standard. If you have an older car you may be tempted to wait until your next car, but it’s an important safety feature that makes driving easier, quicker and safer.
Amber Andreasen of Kids and Cars, a non-profit organization dedicated to keeping children safe in and around vehicles, told us, “You don’t have to wait. Because they’re standard in all vehicles now, after-market ones are affordable – there’s a backup camera out there for everyone. So it’s a small price to pay for such an important safety feature.” KidsandCars.org reports that backovers are one of the leading causes of non-traffic vehicular child deaths, with 44 reports of children under the age of 14 dying from backovers in 2017. “Not only will a backup camera protect children,” she added, “But backup accidents happen all the time, and no one wants to pay for a crazy expensive new bumper.”
What to look for in a back-up camera:
A backup camera should offer great visibility
The whole point of a backup camera is being able to see what’s behind your car, so you should look for a camera with a wide field of view. All the rear-view cameras we looked at had at least a 110-degree scope, with some expanding up to 170 degrees. For context, a human’s horizontal visual field falls somewhere between 114 and 130 degrees. A larger field of view is better than a narrower one, but it’s also important to take into consideration things like the camera’s angle and how far you can see behind you. Some cameras we tested can be aimed further up or down. These are better than fixed cameras, generally, as the same angle isn’t ideal for both a low-to-the-ground sedan and a taller SUV.
Many backup cameras can also be mounted in different spots to get the ideal placement for your vehicle.
Another important factor to consider is a product’s night vision performance. Nighttime is when you need as much visibility as possible, so be sure to purchase a camera only if it has night vision. Most backup cams we tested use infrared LEDs to help illuminate the area behind you, in addition to the light from your tail lights. You have a smaller field of view at night, as areas the decrease in light means the feed from the camera’s edges are lost in darkness, but this provides a much clearer image than reversing blindly would.
Backup cameras should be weather-proof
Most quality backup camera systems advertise their IP rating and safe operating temperatures. IP ratings are made up of two numbers. The first, you want to be a six. This means the device is protected against dust, which is important since the camera will be hanging out behind your car. The second number is its water rating, which you need to be a three at the very least (rated for heavy rain), though we recommend finding something with a six or higher (rated for high pressure water from any direction). If you live in an area where the temperature regularly drops below freezing, it’s worth checking to make sure your backup camera will work at lower temperatures. Most products we reviewed have advertised operational temperatures of -10 degrees Celsius to 50 degrees Celsius, or 14 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wired Vs Wireless: what is the best back-up camera?
Wireless backup systems are less reliable and more prone to interference, especially systems that transmit data using analogue signals. If you are driving in areas where there are a lot of signals, a wired system might be better.
Wired systems are more permanent fixtures due to them being wired into the car. So if you are looking for a portable system, that you can use between different vehicles or even different drivers, a wireless system might be better.
Wired back-up camera systems also require a professional to install. So, if you are looking for a quick, DIY installation, a battery backup camera system might be the best option.Generally, they are the easiest to install, and require no drilling.
Wired back-up systems also make it easier to add other cameras into the system, that don’t interfere with each other’s signal. This means they are the best kind of camera for bigger vehicles that require wider angles or need greater visibility.
We prefer wireless camera systems due to their greater flexibility and easy DIY installations.
The back-up camera image quality
The image quality of the backup camera determines the clarity of the blindspot your backup camera will display. The best backup cameras systems will provide a camera that can capture an image in a variety of conditions such as night, heavy rain, or snow. It should make the obstacles in the road clearer.
The mount for the backup camera
The type of mount you choose for your backup camera is important. The most popular camera mounts includes:
- Flush Mount: This mount is small and discreet. The backup camera is mounted next to a hole in your vehicle - so only the lens can be seen from the outside. But this can restrict the view you obtain from your camera - giving you a very narrow angle.
- Snap in Mount: Another method for inserting a discreet backup camera. The camera is snapped into a hole made by a drill. These frames are light than the flush mount.
- Surface Mount: The backup camera is fitted to the car using brackets and braces. The bracket usually attached to the undercarriage of the car or near the number plate. On the bigger vehicles, like an RV, this backup camera is installed on the roof.
- Butterfly Mount: The backup camera will be attached to the underneath of the car or the bumper. This is a great camera mount for trailer towing or if your car's undercarriage is high off the ground.
- License Plate Mount: This is the only mount where you don’t have to drill into your car, making it great for DIY installations. The camera is fitted your license plates with screws.
The viewing angle of the backup camera
The wider the viewing angle of the back up camera the better - as it will give you a more complete view of your blindspot. This greatly lowers your chance of backing into something.
The monitor of the backup camera
Monitors vary in size greatly, get a monitor that you are going to see easier, as this will allow you to identify obstacles in your rear-view camera easier. The bigger the monitor, the easier it is to use.
Another consideration is the button layout on the monitor. These will often be how you control the backup camera’s feed, so a monitor with easy to access buttons that are clearly laid out will help ease of use.
How much do backup cameras cost?
The cost of a backup camera can vary greatly, depending on what is included in the kit. The lowest budget model camera can start at around $100 wheres as the top of the range back-up cameras can cost upwards of $300.
Some of the more expensive models can include several cameras in the kit, but the majority sell the additional cameras for an extra price. If you need a network of rear-view cameras to provide you with a wide camera angle the additional cameras you need should be counted as an additional cost.
Another hidden cost, could be the price you pay for the installation of a wire system. This installation can cost up to a few hundred dollars depending on the size and type of vehicle.
How much does it cost to install a backup camera?
We contacted local car stereo installation representatives and big-box electronics retailers and obtained quotes using Amazon Home Services to find out how much it costs to install a backup camera in a midsize vehicle. The local installers quoted us $150 for camera and dash module installation. Amazon Home Services provided the lowest quote, $100, and Best Buy’s Geek Squad was right in the middle, at $129. Unfortunately, Amazon Home Services’ certified backup camera installation is currently available only in large metropolitan areas. Nonetheless, it’s worth checking out because, when you enter your ZIP code, the form immediately tells you if the service is available in your area.
You also have the option to install a backup camera yourself. Wired and wireless systems both require you to run cables from the back bumper to the dashboard or, in some cases, the battery. We don’t recommend removing door panels and splicing wires if you don’t have any experience with DIY automotive projects. However, if you have a few sizes of screwdrivers, pliers and wire strippers, try following these good step-by-step instructions on how to wire a backup camera system.
Most of the backup cameras we tested have mounts that attach to a license plate frame or directly to the top of a license plate; these are the easiest to install. If you choose a backup camera designed to flush-mount into a bumper, the process is a bit more involved.
Do backup cameras record?
Backup cameras are not designed to record and store images. The majority of backup cameras only work while the vehicle is in reverse which would limit the video you captured. We don’t recommend using a backup camera in this capacity, but rather a dash cam with the ability to record rear-views.
If you want to record the blindspot, and rearview out of your vehicle, we recommend that you buy a dashboard camera for your rearview window. The best camera for recording rear-views we reviews was the Falcon Zero dash camera.
This rear view camera will record your rearview in HD, and store the video captured for your records, and won’t be dependent on you placing your vehicle in reverse.
Are backup cameras required by law?
Backup cameras are mandatory in new vehicles by law. If you are buying a new vehicle manufactured after the 1st of May 2018, it should come with a built in backup camera. The law does not require a driver to buy an aftermarket backup camera for older used vehicles, however, there are many safety advantages to buying a backup camera. Backup cameras prevent accidents, and make parking a lot easier due to reducing blindspots.