What Are the Best Backup Cameras? (2018 Edition)
The world is increasingly enabled by advanced technology, and automobiles are no exception. With the help of a backup camera for your car, you can drive safely and know that you aren’t about to hit anything while you’re parking.
In this article, we’ll review five of the best backup cameras for your car so that you’ll know what to look for when you make a decision.
Our Backup Camera Reviews
1. Auto-Vox M1 4.3” TFT LCD Backup Camera Kit
A serviceable backup camera which is super easy to mount and super easy to use.
- Good screen mount
- Easy setup
- Easy to use
- Weak night vision
- Not very durable
With the help of this backup camera, you won’t ever bump your car into anything for lack of proprioception. The backup camera’s image quality, while grainy, is more than enough to guide your driving intelligently.
The only real downfall of the camera is that its night vision setting is weak. You may not be able to see much at night as a result.
2. LeeKooLuu Backup Camera and Monitor Kit
Plugs directly into your license plate as the name suggests. With this camera, you’ll get a limited field of view but superior navigation capability.
- Displays location of the car relative to the image
- Glare-proof screen
- Good image quality
- Weak mounting system
- Difficult to switch between multiple video inputs
Unlike many other backup cameras, the LeeKooLuu camera has markings which are overlaid onto the image. These markings describe to you how much clearance you have before you bump into the object shown by the camera.
This feature is more than a nice touch. The backup cameras which lack the markers indicating your car’s dimensions are not nearly as effective at helping you adapt to situations which might make your car bigger, like if you are transporting bicycles.
The mounting system of the camera’s display leaves something to be desired, but the image quality and night vision are both effective.
3. Esky License Plate Backup Camera
A durable and highly configurable backup camera system that will find itself at home on vehicles like pickup trucks which need a sense of vertical positioning while backing up.
- Easy to pan camera up or down
- Heavy-duty mounting
- Highly water resistant
- Low image quality
- May not work with international size license plates
The Esky backup camera excels in SUVs and trucks because it can be panned to the correct angle. This prevents situations in which the car might be overextending its parking spot and risking damage or a ticket.
Furthermore, this backup camera is suitable for trucks and SUVs because it is built to a higher standard than other backup cameras. This backup camera will last as long as your car is drivable thanks to its superior waterproofing and heavy duty construction.
The image quality of this camera isn’t perfect, but it will get the job done. Likewise, the display unit is a bit more complicated than it needs to be, but you will appreciate the extra features.
You can combine your GPS and radio systems into one unit with the help of this backup camera. Like other effective backup cameras, this camera shows you where your car is on the image.
4. Car Backup Camera from Coolwoo
The Car Backup Camera from Coolwoo is a lightweight solution that’s perfect for adding on to older cars.
- Easy to mount
- Works great with other cameras
- Wiring can be confusing
The Coolwoo backup camera isn’t particularly high quality in any single dimension. Nonetheless, it’s easy to mount. Likewise, the display and the software package on the Coolwoo make it easy to manage multiple video streams.
This means that you could potentially buy a handful of these backup cameras to massively increase your situational awareness while driving. You could have a backup camera and another camera for each side to make for total awareness.
You can also link up the Coolwoo cameras to other manufacturers’ displays. This means that you can always add on one of these little cameras to your existing setup without having to worry about using a different system.
5. Emmabin Car Dash Cam
The Emmabin Car Dash Cam is a luxury backup camera which records in very high quality.
- Can record videos
- Great mounting system
- No schematic of where your car is on the image
- Requires an SD card
The Emmabin is marketed as a dash cam, but it functions effectively as a backup cam too. The only real difference is that it will be mounted on the rear window.
The Emmabin uses wireless communication to relay the signal, which means that setup is a breeze. Furthermore, the mounting system for the camera and the display is very high quality.
Because the camera sits inside the car, the durability of this system is also hard to beat. Given that it’s a dashcam too, the Emmabin can record a lot of footage in addition to being used for backing up.
The only real downside is that it lacks the schematic of where your car is while backing up like dedicated backup cameras. The high image quality and sensible dimensions of the image make this only a minor drawback, however.
For the purposes of a backup camera, 1080P quality might be overkill. Nonetheless, high image quality makes it a very versatile backup camera.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Features Should I Look For In A Car Backup Camera?
Now that you’re acquainted with a few of the best backup cameras on the market, it’s time to distill the features you need to care about into a few major points.
First, your backup camera needs to be durable. Anything other than a weatherized and heavy-duty backup camera will get damaged easily unless you live in an ideal climate at all times.
Nearly all backup cameras are waterproof, but most are still vulnerable to salted roads and flying rocks from the road. Pick a camera which anticipates these hazards.
You will also want a backup camera that has a good software system. This may mean that it can communicate with your smartphone or other car cameras. It may also mean that the interface is simple. If you would prefer to avoid extensive configuration, a good software system is a simple software system.
Next, you’ll need your backup camera to relay an image which is a faithful reproduction of reality. Imagine the issues that could occur if your backup camera was a wide-angle lens or something similar — you’d be bumping into things while thinking you had plenty of room.
Not all backup cameras relay an undistorted image. Be sure to check the field of view of the backup camera before purchasing to ensure that you don’t buy something which will get you into more trouble than it will solve.
Finally, you should find a backup camera with a good night vision system. Many backup cameras boast that they have night vision when really they are simply cranking up the brightness on the image which they show to you.
These systems may appear to make things more visible, but really they are fooling you into thinking that the camera can see in the dark. Effective night vision systems use infrared lights to illuminate the area that the camera is looking at.
This means that they will provide a black and white image when the night vision system is engaged.
Finally, you’ll want a good mounting system for your backup camera. Weak mounting systems might let your camera fall off of your car. Alternatively, if the mounting system for the camera’s display is the problem, it might make relocation difficult.
Good mounting systems are built into your car’s license plate holder. For the display, the suction-pad style mounts are typically acceptable. Make sure that there is a pivot point on the display so that you can adjust it for optimal comfort.
This is especially important if you ever plan on letting someone else borrow your car. Rigid mounting systems will leave drivers craning their head to see the image rather than adjusting the display to their dimensions.
How Long Should My Car Backup Camera Last?
The lifetime of your car backup camera depends mostly on the conditions that it is subjected to. If you are driving around an area with minimal weather and a mild climate, your backup camera will last a long time.
On the other hand, if you drive around in harsh weather near the ocean most of the time, your backup camera might only last a year or two before croaking.
You can extend the life of your car backup camera by cleaning it after it gets dirty. Preventing it from getting scratched by kicked up rocks may be impossible, however.
How Should I Orient My Backup Camera?
The orientation of your backup camera depends on the type of camera. Some cameras are built into your license plate holder, which means that they can only be oriented in one direction. Others are left to the user to install in the back window.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions if the orientation of your backup camera isn’t obvious from the start.
How Effective Are Night Vision Backup Cameras?
The night vision functionality of backup cameras is typically very limited. While they can give you a bit of a view using their IR spotlight, if there are any ambient lights like streetlights the glare can make the night vision all but useless.
You will have the best results with night vision backup cameras in very dark areas. In the city, you may do better without the night vision turned on.
Is My Car Backup Camera The Same As A Dashcam?
No, your car backup camera is different from a dashcam. Dashcams are built for recording over long periods of time, whereas backup cameras typically cannot record what they see. Likewise, backup cameras rarely see anything of importance because of their position.
Why Do Car Backup Cameras Vary In Price So Much?
Not all backup cameras are created equal. Some backup cameras are cheaply made. These will fall apart after a short period of use. Other backup cameras have recording features and durable construction or a programmable interface.
Should My Backup Camera Store Footage?
Your backup camera will probably not need to store footage. Unless you are interested in a lot of videos of your car backing up towards another car in slow motion, the recording function will not be very useful.
If you intend to leave your backup camera on all of the time, you should probably purchase a dashcam instead.
Are Car Backup Cameras Weatherproof?
Most car backup cameras are weatherproof, though the quality of their weatherproofing may vary.
What Screen Should My Backup Camera Project To?
If your backup camera is not sold with a dedicated screen, you will need to find another screen to see what it is capturing. You can often use your smartphone in this capacity. Otherwise, it may connect to your car’s existing screens.