When I wanted to buy my first dash cam for my truck, I remember the jungle it was. A market loaded with everything from cheap semi truck camera systems to premium dash cameras for trucks.
But you may ask yourself, what is a truck dash cam anyway? It is somewhat slang and means:
It is a camera that you mount inside the cockpit of your truck and usually mount it on your windshield (so not really the dashboard). However, the name comes from before, when the camera was in fact mounted and installed on the dashboard of police cars.
That’s correct; dash cams are applicable for cars and other vehicles, too.
Dash Cams for trucks are supposed to capture live videos while you are driving. This will, at times, be an important legal evidence for your protection from an insurance fraud or in a bad accident.
Maybe your cam will be fortunate enough to capture some rare footage, which can become viral on YouTube, and other social media sites.
What Do You Need to Know Before Buying a Dash Cam?
If you are a victim of an accident or road rage, or if you ever had your car dinged while it is parked in a public lot, these are all great reasons to invest in a dash cam for trucks. With the costs for decent units at well under a hundred dollars, the price of admission is very easy for only about any budget.
While the technology may not appeal to everyone, the payoff in the unlucky event of an accident may just make it a necessity. Therefore, if you are in the market for a dashboard camera for your truck or you are just curious what they are for, there are basic things, which you need to know before buying truck camera systems.
A dashboard camera, or dash cam, is exactly what the name has promised it to be. It is a camera mounted in or on the dashboard of your truck. The cam can easily be attached to a direct dash friction mount, a suction cup mount, and even built right into a replacement rear mirror for your truck. As it is hardwired into the 12V system of your truck or through a cigarette lighter, this camera is faithfully recording all it sees as you go about your everyday business.
The cameras have come in each conceivable configuration, from a single lens up to multiple lenses, enabling for a simultaneous rear and front recording. While the 1080p capable dash cam for semi trucks are now becoming standard fare, the VGA versions still exist and may be had for pocket change.
Drivers and truck owners can use the camera’s footage for all types of positive stuff and fun, starting from sharing videos of vanity plates, up to amazing shots of beautiful scenery and cars. The pedestrian shenanigans that you happen to roll past will be able to transform a mundane commute into a Facebook highlight reel. The possibilities for entertainment are never-ending.
However, the more pragmatic use is for video evidence in the case of truck accident insurance or for proof of innocence in an accident. You may consider your choices without any proof aside from your word. Your insurance may need to pay, your rates may climb, and the guilty party may get off scot-free.
The web is stuffed to bursting with videos of individuals who are willing to dive in front of cars in the traffic and accept minor injury for the purpose of an insurance payout.
Most of the truckers dash cam simply plug into power, start automatically when your truck does and start recording video into the removable storage. When you hit your storage limit, the system is going to start overwriting the oldest files in a loop that is never-ending.
There are more sophisticated versions, which exist, saving your files so that you can pinpoint the location of what has been recorded and monitor time, speed, and date for recordings. Shock sensors may even be able to tag recordings up impacts to make sure that they will not be overwritten in the event of a collision.
What are the core features of a dash cam?
Truck dash cam video is really worth it if they are carrying minimum hardware features and quality. Keep in mind that you cannot compare this camera with your smartphone or professional video camera. This camera is dedicated to capturing the video while driving the truck at any speed.
Dash auto start and stop
The auto start and stop is a very important feature for a car dash camera. This feature separates your cash dash cam from your professional video shoot cam or smartphone. Your dash cam comes with a cable to connect into the 12V cigarette lighter power source of your truck. This socket will get the power when you turn on your ignition and it is going to trigger the dash camera connected to the power socket. The dash camera is going to shut down when you turn off your ignition through sensing the power loss in the cigarette lighter.
Dash camera loop recording
This core feature ensures that your camera will record every instant while you are on the road even if it reaches full capacity. The downside of this feature is that you will need to get the videos moved from your memory card to your PC if you want to save it for future before it overwrites.
Memory card for dash cam truck
The dash cameras that are currently in the market support as much as 32GB micro SDHC. In the dash cam specification, you will be able to see TF Card and be aware that both Trans Flash and Micro SD card are the same. It depends on how long you travel every day and about how much money you would want to spend.
Dash Cam Resolution
HD recording is usual in video shooting cameras. Most dash cams come with an ability of recording 1080p and 30 frames every second video. A dash cam with 1080p resolution is more than enough for capturing the street lights, number plate, and symbols accurately.
Camera recording angle for cameras in trucks
The recording angle comes by default 120 degrees for most dash cams in the market. If you have a large angle recording cam, it means this will be able to cover more areas in both sides while driving. The more advanced cams try to improve this angle and several of them offer 140 degrees of recording angle in the existing market.
Time and date stamp
It is another core feature especially if you are presenting your videos as a legal evidence to prove the accident’s history. Most of the dash cameras can record time stamp, but before you begin to record, you should consider setting your local time and date appropriately and be sure that time stamp will add to your video footage. As soon as you activate time stamp, you can see time and date on your trucker dash camera display and video footage.
Impact sensor or motion detection
Many cameras have G-sensor or accelerometer inside, and this is able to detect any sudden acceleration or impact of your truck. Advanced dash cams can record videos when your truck is involved in a sudden impact. These videos are going to store in a specified area, in which it will be protected from being overwritten. The benefit of motion detection is that after you parked the truck, camera for trucks can detect any impact, it is going to turn on and start recording itself. However, in this case, there is a turn on delay for your cam to begin recording and it will not record for a long time due to the low battery backup time.
This performance of dash camera sensor and other electronic circuitry are extremely depending on the operating temperature. When you get your truck parked in an open space, the internal temperature may rise up and affect the recording quality. There have been several cameras record blurred images if it is exposed to heat and sunlight for a long time.
Why You Need a Dash Cam for your Truck (or Car)
You are a driver. You do not run red lights, speed, or use your cell phone. Hit and runs are very common and insurance companies are specialized in denying claims. When you get into a major or minor accident, expect the other party to lie to the police or better yet, flee.
Because your insurance will not pay unless the offender is found and sued, you will always be at fault. Dash cams for truckers are not only capturing accidents but also anything that you see happening on the road. A dashboard camera or vehicle camera is a camera, which is fixed on your dashboard or windshield, will continue to record everything that happens while driving.
Because dash cameras have become a hot sale and more affordable car accessory these days, more and more individuals including bus drivers, police officers, private car owners, taxi drivers, and especially truck drivers, choose to install such a product in the truck.
In the US, truckers are continuously using trucker dash cam to be used for recording evidence at the traffic stops. These days, technology started to catch on among civilians.
If you are planning to purchase a dash cam, there are various kinds available to choose from.
- Record both inside and outside the truck – Dash cams are recording videos in small segments like 5 minutes, 3 minutes and more. The camera itself will split the videos into these lengths while recording. By default, your camera is going to create a folder for everyday recording, saving the 3 or 5 minutes length videos. You are not going to lose any date between this split; rather, you will get the same sample of several milliseconds length video at the end of each segment and the start of the next segments.
- Loop recording – It is another cool feature of dash cameras for trucks, which you need to be aware of. The camera will usually write on the memory card and it will stop to record when the memory card reaches the maximum capacity.
- If your camera has loop recording, the recording will overwrite your memory card on top of the past videos.
- Loop recording means that the cam is continuously recording in an indefinite loop hands-free without a need to stop, consistently overwriting the oldest video file with the latest video file. It is working just like a CCTV system.
- The loop recording function of a dash camera must start or stop automatically, starting when you start the truck and stop when you turn off the ignition.
- Commercial truck camera systems are supposed to be a set and forget device, which you will never need to think about until an accident or another incident that you would want to save has been captured.
This is a high-end feature of truck dash cam which will cost you more if you will need a built-in GPS chip with your camera. With this, you are allowed to record and calculate your location, speed,
Do not waste money if you are not truly worried about getting your own speed recorded and it may bite you back sometime. 😉
Cameras with this feature will record your GPS position together with the video, which you can play back split-screen with a map through a special software supplied.
Display for dash cams
You should not invest in large or high-end cam displays.
You are commonly going to use the display only one time at the start, for setting and configuring the camera features, as well as format the memory card. You may have to adjust the camera angles by seeing on the display, but you will not use the display every day like how you use your smartphone.
- LED Lights – None of the cameras in the market is just perfect for night recording. However, they offer night time recording through infrared LEDs. You cannot expect a good quality video to match daylight recording.
- Screen Saver – As similar to a PC, the screen saver function will turn off the display after a period of inactivity, as predetermined by the user. The device will continuously record turning off the screen. It is a power saving tool and essential for truck drivers who may feel that the screen may distract them while driving.
- Touch – Another great feature of a truck camera system is that you get it on or off in just one touch, giving you ultimate convenience in the event of emergencies. Especially with the latest G-force sensor, it can log your speed and overlay this into the video.
If the dash cam for truck drivers is able to record into compressed formats like MPEG-4, you are given chance to store more videos in the same size of the memory card. Be sure to buy a class 10 SDHC card, as the higher class means it will be able to write and read at a higher rate.
When buying SDHC cards for video recording, choose at least the class 6 and above. Furthermore, there is no need for you to worry much about the battery backup unless you are planning on using your camera regular photo shoot camera.
Keep in mind that your dash cam will take the power from your truck battery. In that case, 5 to 10 minutes of battery backup will be more than enough for your necessities.
The processor will determine the performance of the Central Processing Unit (CPU) of the camera for the truck. While the processor is significant, the quality of the CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) lens and sensor are equally important.
As a result to various dash cams, with a similar processor, it can have an important difference in the image quality.
The cost of every model of truck dashboard camera varies depending on the additional features and brand. You can survive with the basic features and model with less cost, and you can receive greater benefits with latest models and more features.
Image and Video quality
The modern technology that we now have today has contributed much in terms of safer roads in the world. The developments in this particular field have not only made the road safe but have also increased our abilities to measure as well as evaluate our driving behavior.
When you are looking for the best truck dash cam, it is very important that you take into considerations the device’s video or image quality. With a lot of dash cams for trucks that are made available out there in the market, it is quite difficult and tricky to choose the best dash cam for truckers.
One of the things that most truckers look for in a truck dash cam is its night vision quality. There will always be a time that you will have to drive at night and a dash cam with a very good image quality and night vision quality is very beneficial.
It is because when a certain accident on the road happens, your dash cam video recording will provide a real proof of what really happen or what have taken place. If you were involved in that accident and you are not the one to blame then you can heave a sigh of relief and will not worry about the other party changing their own story when the police arrive.
The image, video and night vision quality of a dash cam truck is the # 1 criterion that you must always bear in mind when selecting for this particular device. If you want to be happy with the truck dash cam that you will purchase, you must go for something that is a decent HD camera, maybe for about $60 that shoots in high definition like 720p or 1080p.
If you will be thrifty and would spend less by getting a non-HD truck dash cam, expect that you will not really get what you really want in the first place or you will just be disappointed with the truck dash cam’s quality. There are a lot of vendors out there that are not truthful in claiming that what they are selling are of video quality because some of them are selling fake items.
When reviewing certain truck dash cam’s video and image quality, you can find the best dash cam for truckers by following these tips:
Dash cam for trucks video and image quality varies with every model, which ranges from normal quality or 480p to high quality or 720p and to a higher quality with a 1080p full HD.
Though it may be quite costly if you really want to be satisfied with a truck dash cam that you will possibly purchase, it is much better to settle for something that is a bit expensive than to settle for something that is less than the best.
The best dash cam for trucks with a high video and image quality or high definition offers a number of advantages than the standard one such as the ability to read license/plate numbers, or more visibility in videos that were shot at night.
Loop or cycle recording
This is the function of saving everything and then having it to write over the oldest files for new recording. When the memory card of the truck dash cam is already full, it will then automatically cover the earliest videos or segment with an interval of 1,2,5 or 8 intervals so when it recycles, let’s say, one interval at a time it does not mean that it just delete everything before it starts recording again.
This feature is very useful because rather than replacing your truck dash cam’s memory card, you will just have to recycle it. This kind of camera has the ability to overwrite the oldest videos or footage with the new and latest ones upon filling the card to its capacity.
Loop recording is an absolute must even to the best dash cam for truckers to make sure that your dash cam will not stop recording when it already run out of disk space. If the truck dash cam has a G-sensor, then the files can be automatically marked for safekeeping purposes when a certain impact is detected.
The best dash cam for truckers has a recording angle that comes by default at 120 degrees. A truck dash cam with a wide angle recording can cover more area on each side as you drive. With today’s highly modernized world, there are even some truck dash cams that have 140 degrees of recording angle.
Most of the dash cams available in the market are forward facing and mounted on the car windshield which records only the things that are happening outside the car, particularly on the road right in front of the vehicle. Such truck dash cams are called single-lens dash cams because they only have one lens and such cam is the basic type of truck dash cam. This lens can also rotate to adjust the viewing angle and image to suit the user’s needs.
If you want only the most and the most high-tech one, then the right truck dash cam for you is the dual-lens dash cam. It is a kind of cam that records the happenings in front of the car and behind the vehicle at the same time without any distortion of the images. It is a designed with a channel or video lens that are more than one and it can record both of the channels simultaneously.
This type of dash cam is very beneficial for a fleet or businessmen, concerned parents of teenagers, delivery drivers, and situations wherein another person will be driving your car. With the use of this particular dash cam, you will know who to blame if something bad happens to your car.
The best dash cam for truckers can record the sounds, conversations as well as voice notes of the things that are happening.
Incident detection & G-Sensor
When an emergency or impact emergency brake occurs or when the vehicle is tilted, the G-sensor will automatically protect all the previous, present and the next video files. With this, the important files will not be removed by the loop recording. It will also start recording when there is motion right there in the recording angle or when the truck dash cam senses an incident, a movement or a jolt, without having the need to press any button. Aside from that, a truck dash cam can also capture the image because it has a high megapixel lens and a mode to capture a certain still image.
Storage for your Dash cam
The truck dash cams that are available in the market are supported with up to 32GB Micro SDHC. The storage size of your dash cam must depend on how much you would want to spend and how long you’re traveling each day. Such camera records 1080p videos at about 30 frames per second into an AVI format that needs at least about 400MB of the storage space for a 3-minute video.
- 8GB card -> 2-3 hours
- 16GB card-> 4-6 hours
- 32GB card ->6-12 hours
- 64GB card-> 10-20 hours
- 128GB card-> 20-40 hours
If you want to record name boards, car number plates and road signs, the resolution that you should use must be 720p. An 8GB memory space can hold up to 20 minutes video with an AVI format while you can also get 80 minutes of video footage with a 16GB memory and if you select the 720p resolution. If you want a truck dash cam that has more recording time and high-resolution video then you must go for the 32GB memory card.
Almost all cameras have a battery and generally, they are somehow a useless feature because truck dash cams are so small to effectively hold much of a charge. Without the connection of to the vehicle’s power source, the camera would only last for an hour or two. If an accident happens and the camera’s connection to the power source is severed, the battery will be very useful, as well as when you want to unmount the truck dash camera to get a footage of the accident.
The best truck dash cam has a feature also of auto power off because a majority of the cameras that are available in the market can be plugged directly into the car’s 12-volt cigarette lighter. This cam has a switch power supply that when the car is turned on, the battery power goes right there to the cigarette lighter.
When you turned off the car, the lighter socket will then lose power. The auto power off or auto start and stop dash cam for trucks that are plugged into the car’s 12-volt socket has the ability to sense when the vehicle was turned on, then it will power up and start recording automatically. When the engine is turned off, the camera will shut off as well.
Read license plates
When your dash cam for trucks has a very good night vision quality and as well as image quality (high definition), it is possible for you to read license plates or plate numbers and even the face if the other drivers.
With a lot of reckless drivers, be it at day or night, a truck dash cam is very important to determine the persons to blame for a certain accident that happened, especially in cases of hit and run.
Cords and installation
If you own the car and you can afford the installation, hard wiring is much better. In terms of the installation processes, you will never take up the 12-volt plug with the hard-wiring.
If you are worried about killing your vehicle’s battery and you can afford, you can also pay an extra fee about $40 for a special battery discharge prevention device. This particular device will stop delivering [power right to the truck dash cam when the car battery’s voltage suddenly drops too low.
Whether you have the installation of the truck dash cam hard-wired or you use the internal 12-volt socket or cigarette lighter plug, always look for a long power cable because with a short one, expect that it will hang down from the truck dash cam right to the center console which can really be a nuisance not only to you but as well as to the visibility because it will take away right from the dash cam’s discretion.
This feature is one of the non-essential features of dash cam for trucks. However, this can be very useful in terms of clearly reading license plates. If you want something to be reported to the authorities such as road rage, illegal racing or witness something unexpected, a zooming feature can be very handy. It would be recommended to get dash cameras for trucks that have flawless zooming feature to record everything clear and near.
Another non-essential feature of dash cam truck is its dimensions. Dimensions are the length, width and height of the cam for truck. Depending on your own desire, you can choose whether to install a small camera for trucks or the bigger ones. However, there are still some considerations that you need to be aware of the dash cam for truck drivers’ dimension. For instance, if you want a truck dash camera for your own protection, them installing small one would be much recommended.
- How visible do you want it to be to others? As mentioned above, the size of dash cameras for trucks plays an important role for truckers. For example, having visible truck camera systems can shoo away any bad elements that plan to harm or attack you. On the other hand, a small dash cam for truck drivers can be placed hidden and act as a recording evidence if something unfortunate happens.
- Discreetness. If you want your truck camera recorder to be hidden, discreetness is a key for the camera trucks. In other words a small sized, which can be ideally mounted behind your rear view mirror. If you want a less noticeable cam for the truck, choose black dash cam truck as they’re the least noticeable color and often looks like a part of rear view mirror.
Usually, the smallest cam for truck doesn’t have screens but typically, this isn’t a major issue for most of the truckers. Unfortunately, considering discreetness will sacrifice the video reliability and video quality.
If you already have a truck camera recorder installed or looking to buy a new one, it would be much better to incorporate truck dash camera accessories on it. There are a wide variety of different add-ons and accessories to be added to your current dashboard camera, in order to ensure that it will work at its best. From an upgraded cam truck driver camera mount to extra battery packs for the long trips, best dash cam for trucks accessories are best to be considered.
Some of an essential dashboard accessories include mounts; hardwire kits, and dash cam battery packs. Like other modern technology pieces, the small upgrades to truck dash cameras can already make a huge difference. When parking your truck in a laneway, your truck live cam will turn off with it. Furthermore, an extra battery pack for dash cam will allow it to turn on automatically in the event when the car is damaged or impacted when not running.
If you want your in truck camera to be turned on whenever you start your vehicle, the hardwiring dash cam kits will allow you to connect to your model right to the battery of the car. With the internal timers and programmable cut-off times, you cannot worry about the charging hassles on your dash cam and have it start automatically when your car is turned on.
Upgrading your trucker dash camera mount from its factory version will also help you to ensure the longevity from your trucker cam. The advanced models will allow you to place your dash cam firmly from where you want, and make sure that quick turning or heavy breaking won’t send your truck dash camera flying.
If you are going to buy accessories for you truck camera recorder, make sure that you are investing in the best accessories that are available in the market. There are a wide variety of options you can choose from that will certainly match your dash cam, so better to choose wisely.
Positives about a dash cam for truckers
Most people buy truck dash camera for security reasons. Precisely so, because having camera trucks running when suffered a hit and run or involved in an accident will give you a valuable advantage in case you need a case evidence in court.
But truck dash cameras also have another advantage that’s often overlooked: They’re quite fun! Imagine having your next holiday or weekend trip, that scenic course over the mountain pass, or along the island shore, or rare tornadoes or wildfire along the road being captured, recorded or documented is really fun. The possibilities of capturing anything unexpected are endless.
With dash cam truck, you’ll be able to keep a record of those great moments, edit them to be your great holiday video, and share them with your family and friends. So the primary reasons why installing the best dash cam for truckers are advantageous are the following:
- Monitor Driving – The inexperienced drivers may great benefit from looking over their trip and see what they could possibly do better in terms of some difficult maneuvers such as the parallel parking. Furthermore, this can be used in order to monitor the driver’s action during the trip.
- Case Evidence in Times of Unfortunate Events or Accidents – When accidents happen, a truck cam will provide you a great proof of what really happened. You need not worry about the other party’s changing their story when the interrogation takes place. If you are the victim of the accident, and you don’t have a trucker dash cam, then, you have no way to defend yourself.
- Protection from the Insurance Fraud – There are these unscrupulous people who will start an accident purposely to blame the other party. Their aim is to extort money from victims or claim fake injuries to collect payment from the insurance e-companies. With the help of truck camera systems, you will be able to save hundreds and thousands of dollars from this insurance fraud.
- Protection for your Parked Vehicle – Some of the commercial truck camera systems provides a parking mode system which will record when the truck is parked. If someone smashed your truck or done silly things while it is parked and drove away, you will have an evidence of a hit-and-run case. The truckers’ dash cam must be wired hard into the truck in order for this to work.
- Vehicle Misuse and Abuse – Do you worry about other people driving your truck? When handling your keys over a mechanic or valet, you’ll exactly know how your truck was treated. Furthermore, if someone tried to drive your truck away, you will be able to track them using the GPS, provided the speed and route as well.
- Evidence to Report Bad Drivers – With the roads getting much busier, the number of bad drivers as well as road violence keeps increasing. The video evidence provided by the truck cam can be used in order to lessen these kinds of drivers by reporting them to the authorities. The best dash cam for truckers can provide real proof to what really happened on the road which can be a great advantageous to you.
Negatives about a dash cam for truckers
The exact thing that makes the best dash cam for truckers very attractive can also have disadvantageous or negative effects. Just as the truck cam records things in the truckers’ favor, it can also chronicle their bad behavior. If the driver passed through a stop sign without slowing down, the video will record that action. Furthermore, dash cam can also be a great distraction to the drivers view. If not monitored properly, dash cam can also record over the old footage. Here are some more specific negative effects of having dash cams:
- Many cars, truck or vehicle owners are never involved in the accidents so they won’t get much use of the dash cam truck.
- Camera trucks can only record a video on in its field of view where it is installed. It is usually installed in front, and sometimes at the back of car and side of the car.
- Most of the truck dash cameras available on the market today don’t provide a clear picture of the other car’s plate number unless the other car is very close, bright daylight, or directly ahead your vehicle.
While there are dash cams for the truck driver now available below 20USD, it is not really recommended to buy cameras at that price range as it would not provide you a good quality for video, and would not really last long.
As seen in the consumers’ ratings, the cheapest decent quality of dash cam that you can possible purchase in around $60 to the most expensive cameras at $500. The prices tend to change quite a bit, so ensure to check the entire vendors listed in this buying guide in order to get the best deal.
Summary and concluding note
To find the best dash cam for truckers, the best place for you to start is to do a dash cam comparison. By considering the entire essential features of dash cams, along with your desired additional non-essential features and accessories, you can surely get the truck cam that’s best for you. Perform several types of research about your potential dash cam models and learn how well it performs and seek any known issues. With millions of people nowadays enjoying their dash cams, you can surely find the best suited for you.