What Are The Best Rear View Mirror Options? (2020 Reviews)
Even though they’re one of the most widely-used parts of a car, rear view mirrors are often overlooked. Many people stick with the mirror installed by the manufacturer and never consider a replacement. But upgrading your rear view mirror is simple, easy and can increase your safety when driving.
Here’s a complete look (get it?) at the best rear view mirror options for 2020 plus a full guide explaining the benefits of upgrading:
Quick Picks: Our Top 3 Favorite Rear View Mirrors in 2020
- Best Overall – Yoolight Car View Mirror
- Best Cheap Option – Universal Rear View Mirror by Heart Horse
- Best Value for the Money – Toguard Mirror Dash Cam
- Honorable Mention – Chicom Mirror Dash Cam
- Honorable Mention 2 – Broadway BW847 Rear View Mirror
- Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Rear View Mirror
- Total Viewing Area
- Mirror Type
- Shatterproof Glass
- Video and Recording Capabilities
- Ease of Installation
- What are the Benefits of Upgrading Your Rear View Mirror?
- Improves the View
- Reduces Blind Spots
- Reduces Glare
- Adds Driver Information
- What are the Different Types of Rear View Mirrors?
- How Do I Install a New Rear View Mirror?
- Park Your Car on a Flat, Even Surface
- Disconnect the Battery
- Remove the Mirror’s Mounting Screw
- Remove the Mirror from the Mounting Plate
- Unscrew the Mounting Screws
- Remove the Harness Plug (If Applicable)
- Heat the Mounting Plate
- Mark the Mirror’s Location
- Remove the Remaining Adhesive
- Install the New Mirror
- Final Thoughts
Best Overall – Yoolight Car View Mirror
Yoolight’s convex rear view mirror easily clips onto your existing mirror to instantly increase overall visibility while decreasing blind spots.
- Large convex mirror
- Clips onto almost any existing mirror
- Easy to install
- It has difficulty fitting mirrors with accessories
- Clip-on mirrors aren’t as stable as mounted ones
This 12-inch wide angle mirror instantly enhances your panoramic view to minimize blind spots. The adjustable buckle clips right on to your existing mirror. It fits just about any car, truck, or SUV.
At 12 by 3.3 inches, this convex mirror is much larger than a standard mirror. The lens also has an anti-glare tint to eliminate headlight reflections, especially during night driving.
While it has no advanced electronic features, Yoolight’s mirror is still the best overall choice because it’s well-made and easy to install on practically any vehicle.
Best Cheap Option – Universal Rear View Mirror by Heart Horse
This universal mirror is simple, well-made, and suitable for any budget.
- Strong suction for easy, secure installation
- Provides a clear, wide view, reducing blind spots
- Universal design fits practically all vehicles
- Doesn’t have any special features or electronics
Heart Horse’s Universal mirror provide a wide, clear view with no distortion. A simple design allows it to fit into just about any car, truck, or SUV. Strong, 10Kg suction power ensures a firm grip onto the windshield.
With 360-degree angle adjustability, you’ll always have a clear understanding of what’s on the road behind you. It’s 24.5cm wide and 9.6 inches high.
Affordably priced, it’s a great option if you’re looking for a no-frills replacement for a damaged or missing mirror.
Best Value for the Money – Toguard Mirror Dash Cam
A touchscreen display in the mirror provides a real-time, unobstructed view from a wide angle.
- Display is connected to a rear view camera
- Easy touchscreen operation
- Automatically records when a collision is detected
- Auto-recording only records for 10 seconds
- Installation can be complicated
Although it’s a bit more expensive than the traditional rear view, this mirror cam from Toguard is packed with interesting features. The traditional mirror is replaced by a mirror-shaped monitor.
A seven-inch IPS screen provides 480P rear view footage in real-time. Plus, it also displays (and records) the front view in 1080P.
Additionally, the kit includes parking monitors and other helpful warnings. It will automatically record in the event of a collision. Similar backup cams and recording systems often cost much more than this all-in-one model from Toguard, making it a great overall value.
Honorable Mention – Chicom Mirror Dash Cam
Feature-packed and powerful, Chicom’s streaming media mirror helps protect against dangers from any direction.
- Displays video from the front and rear cameras
- Includes object collision detection
- The backup camera includes a night vision lens
- Operating the system can be complicated
Far more than a reflective surface, Chicom’s mirror dash cam features a full HD touchscreen which displays video from both the front and rear of the vehicle. Additionally, the display alerts you to potential obstacles from any direction, eliminating blind spots.
If a collision is detected, the system automatically records. There’s even a parking lot mode to protect your car when the engine is off.
The 1080P rear camera has an F2.0 six-glass lens which allows for enhanced visibility in low-light conditions.
Overall, the mirror cam has a ton of useful and exciting features, although it can feel a bit overwhelming if you want a simpler, more traditional option.
Honorable Mention 2 – Broadway BW847 Rear View Mirror
A large, sturdy convex mirror which clips onto your existing mirror.
- Clip-on installation is simple and easy
- The convex mirror creates clear, large images
- Simple, stylish black trim design
- Includes no special features
- Clip-on mirrors aren’t as stable as mounted mirrors
Keep a wide eye on the road with this 300-millimeter convex mirror from Broadway. It helps reduce blind spots and glare. Plus, the rounded, black trim adds a subtle touch of style to your windshield.
Attaching the new mirror is easy. Simple clip it onto your existing mirror for an instant increase in visibility. The mirror height is adjustable between 55 and 80 millimeters.
Overall, Broadway’s BW847 is a reliable convex mirror which is easy to install.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Rear View Mirror
Rear view mirrors don’t have many complicated parts. However, there are a few features which make a big difference in the quality of the mirror. When choosing a rear view mirror, here’s what you’ll want to consider:
- Total Viewing Area
- Anti-Glare Technology
- Shatterproof Glass Quality
- Ease of Installation
Total Viewing Area
The total viewing area of the mirror is equivalent to the size of the reflective surface. Rear view mirrors have three standard sizes:
- Eight inches
- 10 inches
- 12 inches
Generally, you can choose the size of the mirror based on the width of the car. The 12 and 10-inch models typically work best inside SUVs and large trucks. Eight and (sometimes) 10-inch mirrors usually fit better inside smaller model cars.
A larger mirror does reflect a larger field of view behind the vehicle. However, if the mirror is too large, it can obstruct the front windshield.
In most cases, your replacement rear view mirror should be the same size as the standard mirror included with your car. If you do want a bigger mirror, choose just one size larger.
Rear view mirrors have three types:
Traditional mirrors provide the most accurate images in terms of size and distance. Overhead mirrors provide a panoramic view but do take up a fair amount of front windshield space. Finally, convex mirrors provide a wide viewing angle, but images won’t be completely accurate in terms of distance. (We’ll dive into more details below.)
An anti-glare coating on the mirror helps dull the glare of bright headlights behind you. While blocking glare is always important, an anti-glare coating is especially useful if you do a lot of night driving.
Make sure the mirror is made from shatterproof glass. It’s a special safety glass which doesn’t break into sharp pieces when shattered. Otherwise, the broken glass from a mirror can cause serious damage in an auto accident.
Along those same lines, make sure the mirror’s housing has no sharp edges. It could potentially become loose during an accident. Rounded edges help prevent injury if the mirror housing ends up bouncing around the vehicle.
Video and Recording Capabilities
Rear view mirror technology has expanded by leaps and bounds in just a few years. High-end rear view mirrors can display real-time video from mounted cameras. When you look into the mirror, you’re looking at a video instead of a reflection.
Many of these systems include automatic recording if a collision occurs. Parking lot mode even records a collision if your car isn’t moving. Video of any collision can help identify the responsible party in an accident.
Ease of Installation
We’ll dive into installation details further on, but for now just know there are two types of installation. Standard installation involves completely replacing your existing mirror with something new. While not terribly complicated, it does require a few steps.
Other mirrors simply slide on top of your existing mirror. They’re more of an upgrade or an extension. While your extended mirror won’t have any new features (like anti-glare or a temperature reader), installation takes just a few minutes.
What are the Benefits of Upgrading Your Rear View Mirror?
After all, unless your current mirror is broken, it probably reflects the traffic behind you just fine. Is there a point to buying a new mirror?
Actually, yes. Upgrading your mirror is often a simple way to upgrade the safety of your entire vehicle. Here’s how:
Improves the View
A larger mirror allows you to see more of what’s going on behind your car. Plus, a larger mirror provides greater detail. Improving the view improves your ability to spot potential dangers and keeps you safer, especially in fast-moving freeway traffic.
Reduces Blind Spots
A vehicle’s blind spots are the areas which can’t be seen by the driver during vehicle operation. They’re usually off to the side and rear of the vehicle in a vaguely triangle-shaped pattern. Reducing blind spots increases visibility when changing lanes and reversing.
Night driving isn’t just dangerous because of the lack of visibility. It’s also dangerous because other driver’s headlights can potentially blind you.
Many mirrors have a special coating which reduces the brightness of the headlights behind you. While even the cheapest mirrors have a section which manually flips up to dull bright lights, an anti-glare coating is often the superior option. A coating reduces brightness without otherwise reducing visibility in the mirror.
Adds Driver Information
Advanced mirrors can display a variety of relevant information, such as the outside temperature or collision warnings. Displaying info in the mirror improves driver safety. Instead of taking your eyes off the road to look at the center console, you can look at the rear view mirror, which takes much less time.
What are the Different Types of Rear View Mirrors?
Rear view mirrors have three different styles:
A convex mirror has a curved surface. It provides a wider viewing angle than a traditional mirror. However, it does slightly distort images. Specifically, it can misrepresent the size and distance of objects from your vehicle. However, the distortion usually isn’t significant, but it is still not quite as accurate as a traditional mirror.
Traditional mirrors are the type commonly installed in the factory by the manufacturer. They don’t distort the image. However, they also provide a smaller view compared to convex mirrors.
Finally, an overhead mirror runs across the entire top of your windshield. It provides a wide panoramic view without the slight distortion found in a convex lens.
How Do I Install a New Rear View Mirror?
Rear view mirrors have two types of installation. Simple models slip right on top of your existing mirror. Installation takes minutes, but the new mirror likely won’t be incredibly stable. Replacing your old mirror with the new one is the best option.
Here’s how to remove your old mirror and install the new model:
Park Your Car on a Flat, Even Surface
It’s more important than you may think. You’ll need to mount the new rear view mirror. If the car is parked on a hill or other uneven surface, placing the new mirror in the correct position can be difficult.
Disconnect the Battery
Open the hood and disconnect the battery. Removing the ground cable from the battery’s negative posts disable the vehicle’s power.
You only need to disconnect the battery if your rear view mirror (either the old or new one) connects to your car’s electrical system. Typically, a mirror which needs power has anti-fogging, temperature display, and other electronic features.
Remove the Mirror’s Mounting Screw
The mounting screw is usually located at the base of the mirror in the housing. More often than not, it’s a Philips head screw, but any type is possible. Carefully unscrew the screw, then remove it.
Remove the Mirror from the Mounting Plate
Once the screw is removed, the mirror can now be lifted up and away from the mounting plate. It should slide right out of the housing without an issue. (The housing is the angled base attached to the windshield.)
Unscrew the Mounting Screws
Once the mirror is out of the way, you’re ready to remove the mirror housing. There should be a few small screws. Note that removing these screw doesn’t automatically dislodge the mirror housing. It’ll still be attached to the windshield with adhesive.
Remove the Harness Plug (If Applicable)
If your rear view mirror is connected to your vehicle’s electrical system, the back of the mirror will have a plug connected to a band of coated wires. Pull the plug out. You might want to clean the area with electrical cleaner, just because now is an easy time to do so.
Heat the Mounting Plate
A standard blow dryer will work best. Blow hot air back and forth across the plate. The heat will loosen the adhesive.
How long this process takes depends on the strength of the adhesive. Most likely, it should noticeably loosen within just a few minutes. You can wiggle the mirror back and forth to help it loosen faster. Eventually, you’ll be able to pull it off the windshield.
Mark the Mirror’s Location
Mark the mirror’s original location. You can use a grease pencil, crayon or anything else which won’t leave a permanent mark.
Remove the Remaining Adhesive
Use a razor blade or similar tool to remove any remaining glue from the windshield. Once the adhesive is removed completely, use a lint-free cloth to wipe the window with isopropyl alcohol. When the alcohol has evaporated, you’re ready to attach the new mirror.
Install the New Mirror
Removing the mirror is typically far more difficult than installing the new one.
First, you need to attach the mounting plate. In most cases, you’re simply reattaching the same mounting plate from before. However, some high-end, heavier mirrors include their own mounting plates.
Apply the included adhesive to the back of the mounting plate you want to use. Place the plate on the marked area of the glass. Press the plate firmly against the glass. Hold it in place until dry to keep air pockets from forming.
Slide the mirror into the mounting plate. It will snap into place.
Next, locate the mounting screw for the base. Coat it with clear silicone to help it stay in place. Then screw it into the base by hand. (Using a power drill can crack your windshield.)
Reattach the electrical harness if applicable. It will click when locked into place. The mirror is now installed. You can reattach the car battery.
Before you hit the road, test your new rear view mirror. Move the mirror in every direction, either by hand or with the electronic operator. (Don’t move an electric mirror by hand.) The mirror should move easily but stay secure in whatever position its placed.
The factory mirror included with your vehicle certainly helps keep you safe. But it can probably be a lot better, too. If you’re ready to upgrade your rear view mirror, many great options are available.
Installing your new mirror is usually pretty easy. Plus, even feature-filled mirrors don’t have to break your budget. Upgrading your mirror is a quick way to significantly increase your safety when driving.