Reversing car cameras are no longer a luxury for vehicles in the United States. Since May 2018, drivers of passenger vehicles were asked to install a backup camera for safety and security reasons. Buying a backup camera is not a very cumbersome process. Think of it like buying a travel camera, but for your car.
Since the compulsory law came into effect, the market has been flooded with various options for rear-view cameras. It’s easy to get confused due to the sheer volume of options.
Consider this article a helpful guide for choosing the best backup camera for your vehicle. Below you will find detailed reviews of top backup cameras along with tips for purchasing a good product.
- Features to Consider in Good Backup Cameras
- Top 10 Best Backup Cameras in 2018
- 1. Chuanganzhuo Backup Camera and Monitor Kit For Car
- 2. Esky License Plate Backup Camera
- 3. eRapta ERT01 2nd Generation Car Rear View Reversing Backup Camera
- 4. LeeKooLuu Backup Camera and Monitor Kit for Car/Vehicle/Truck
- 5. AUTO-VOX M1W Wireless Backup Camera Kit
- 6. NOAUKA Waterproof IP68 Night Vision 170 Degree Car Rear view
- 7. LeeKooLuu Reverse/Rear View Camera and Mirror Monitor Kit
- 8. Coolwoo Car Backup Camera
- 9. iStrong Backup Camera and Monitor Kit
- 10. TOPTIERPRO Upgraded Mini Backup Camera
- Guide to Buying the Best Backup Camera
Features to Consider in Good Backup Cameras
New vehicle owners may already have a camera installed in their cars. But those with older car models may want to buy something new. Even if you already have an in-built backup camera in your car, a new reverse camera may improve upon the factory settings.
You don’t have to worry about ISO, optical zoom, and similar features when buying a vehicle backup camera. But you do need to think about the following:
- Vehicle Model – Most backup cameras are compatible with many types of vehicles. However, just to be on the safe side, make sure your vehicle model can support the camera you plan on buying.
- Price – Car backup camera prices can vary from $30 to $500. You should decide how much you are willing to spend. Set a budget and then shop for a product. But keep in mind that just because a backup camera comes with a three-digit price tag, that doesn’t necessarily make it good.
- Placement – Most rearview cameras are installed on the license plate frame. The camera or its mounting bracket should not obscure your license plate.
- Viewing Angle – The viewing angle of the backup camera determines the field of view. The viewing angle is a very important factor to consider if you drive a large vehicle.
- Night Vision – Low-light visibility is one of the primary concern for drivers at night. The backup camera should have either infrared light bulbs or LED lights to illuminate images when daylight is low.
When you make your final decision, take all of the above factors into consideration. If you want more pointers for making a great purchase, we have compiled a buyer’s guide under the reviews.
Top 10 Best Backup Cameras in 2018
This camera comes in a kit with power cables and a monitor. The TFT LCF monitor is 4.3 inches in size. It can manage a native resolution of 480 x 272.
The monitor supports a display ratio of 16:9 or 4:3. This is a 12V rated camera.
The camera kit comes with two video signal input options. You can switch between AV1 and AV2 depending on reversing priority. The signal format for the camera is NTSC.
The camera attaches to the license plate. It has a CMOS PC7070 image sensor. There are 7 infrared lights to support night vision.
Video output is 1.0vp-p,750hm via an RCA connector. This camera is IP67 waterproof.
This camera kit is designed to eliminate blind spots when reversing. The kit attaches to the license plate for optimal reversing view. If your vehicle has a hitch, you will be able to see it using this camera.
Performance can vary depending on different types of vehicles. But in general, this camera delivers acceptably clear images. The LCD screen isn’t Full HD, but the picture quality is decent enough given the price.
The camera has infrared light to support night vision, but it doesn’t really work as advertised. Don’t expect superior night vision. The reversing camera is light sensitive and it may work during dusk, but the footage will be quite dark in the night.
It’s IP67 waterproof, which means the camera will be protected from powerful jets of water issued from all directions. It can withstand rain and the car wash, but it won’t survive if the camera is somehow immersed in water.
The camera connects to the light bulb in the rear end of the vehicle. The kit comes with a power cable about 5 ft long to connect the backup camera.
You need to have a 12V wire running from the battery to the bulb to turn this backup camera on. In some vehicles, this might be a bit tricky to install.
The camera is easy to adjust up or down to capture reversing images the best. The two video inputs are very helpful too because one is dedicated to video and the other is the AUX input.
One feature to gripe about is the display, which only shows the cam feed when the vehicle is in the reversing mode with the rearview lights turned on. You will have to draw another wire to perpetually power the camera to see the feed anytime.
This camera has a bunch of necessary features—some waterproofing and night vision—that drivers can rely on. It offers an excellent cost to benefit ratio and top-notch performance.
It may not be perfect as some features can definitely be better. But the performance isn’t so bad considering some higher-priced camera work the same too.
The backup camera is attached to a heavy-duty license plate. The plates are chrome plated to look stylish and be corrosion-free.
The camera is equipped with a macro lens with a 170-degree viewing angle. Inside is a CMOS PC1030 image sensor with high color sensitivity.
The camera is IP67 waterproof. It has 8 infrared LED lights for night vision. There are built-in scale lines for the camera with a trapezoid electronic ruler to measure actual distance.
The camera receives NTSC signals and has a resolution of 510 x 496 pixels. It consumes 60mA power but the power output is 12V.
It’s impressive how thoughtfully this backup camera has been designed. It’s possible one of the best backup camera license plate frame combos you can buy.
The license plate should fit any vehicle that can accommodate a standard U.S. license plate. The plate is highly durable thanks to the chrome exterior.
This camera is physically adjustable to suit your driving needs. It displays color really well, even at night.
Keep in mind that this is an NTSC camera, so the video screen will have to be NTSC as well. The camera feed you get is highly informative, thanks to the built-in scale lines, so you can get a pretty good idea about distance when reversing.
Installation may take some time though. The power cable of the camera has to be connected to the wires of the tail lights. Then the RCA output has to be connected to the monitor.
The reverse gear shift controls the camera. So it only turns on when the vehicle is in reverse mode.
This camera is waterproof to a certain extent. The sealing has to be intact to prevent water from seeping into the camera.
The overall image quality of the camera can be a bit grainy. If you want clearer images, remove the blue protective film on the lens. For safety reasons, you might want to consider replacing it with a clear protective film.
The downsides of this camera are really negligible given the super affordable price range. It has a really good angle and is highly color accurate.
This is one of the cheapest cameras that work well in low-light conditions. Image quality is so-so, but that’s expected for this price range.
It’s a great buy that relatively easy to install. It’s hard to find a better bargain for this price range.
This car backup camera comes with an adjustable lens. The lens delivers a 149-degree viewing angle for perfect vision when parking the car.
The camera is compatible with 12 to 24V DC power outlets. The camera wire is 8m long and is made with high purity copper.
The camera is IP69 waterproof. The sensor has a rubber ring made from resin to increase the waterproof-ness of the gadget.
a has an LED lighting system that automatically activates at night. It has an automatic backup too.
It’s hard to believe the cheap price tag on this reversing camera because the images it produces are so clear. The angle is adjustable, so any vehicle of any height can perfectly set up the camera to capture the best footage.
A word of caution though: this is not a plug and play camera. It will have to be carefully installed and some drivers would require assistance from a car mechanic.
It attaches to the top of the license plate frame. Be careful when installing because it may cover parts of the license plate.
It’s IP69 waterproof. The standard means that the camera is dust tight and can withstand high-pressure water jets.
Another big advantage is that the camera comes with assist guidelines. It’s super-convenient when driving in low light conditions.
Plus, it comes with a 2-year factory warranty. The brand offers lifetime support so it’s really easy to get replacement parts if needed.
This camera may not be packed with fancy features, but it’s got all the essentials covered. The viewing angle is really golden for reversing under any circumstance.
It has decent picture quality, certainly more than you can ask for given the price. Assist guidelines and high waterproof mark makes this really worth every penny.
The LeeKooLuu backup camera kit includes a rearview camera and a video monitor for the dash. The rear-view camera has an HD 7080 image sensor.
The monitor has a 4.3-inch LCD display. The monitor resolution is 480 x 272. The rearview camera can support resolutions up to 600 pixels.
The monitor is compatible with all signal formats, PAL and NTSC included. The monitor is 9V to 35V. The camera is 9V to 14V.
Both the monitor and the rearview camera meet FCC, CE, UL, and RoHS standards. Both also have waterproof grading.
The package includes 2 power cables. A video cable is additionally included.
The biggest advantage of this backup camera kit is that the monitor support two video formats. That means you can connect two rearview cameras to the monitor.
If your vehicle already has a factory backup camera, this kit would be ideal to add an extra one. It’s ideal for large vehicles like trailer and trucks that need a massive rear viewing angle.
The camera is IP68 waterproof, which is a decent grade. The waterproof grading for the monitor isn’t specified, but it is dust tight.
Other perks include low power consumptions of the monitor. It’s energy efficient, mainly to prevent overheating, especially when connected to two cameras.
The camera has 7 LED lights to enhance low-light viewing conditions. There are no infrared viewing capabilities, however.
The monitor can be a bit of a hassle to mount on the dash. It comes with an adhesive to stick to the dash, but you can also alternatively use a suction cup.
The compact size of the screen is a major advantage too. It won’t obstruct the front driving view.
Downsides are really minimal. Installation can be a bit complicated because of the two video inputs. The backup camera could be more adjustable too.
This is really a bargain product that you can use to install two backup cameras in your vehicle. Cost-wise it offers amazing perks with minimal downsides.
The backup camera kit includes a wireless transmitter, a 4.3-inch LCD screen, and a reversing camera attached to a mount.
The camera connects to the monitor via the transmitter. Therefore, no power cables are necessary.
The transmitter is IP67 waterproof so it can be installed anywhere. The transmitter has to be installed near the reversing light.
The camera can deliver s high-res image within a 100m distance. It has 6 LED lights with 26 lumens each.
The camera has a high-def image processor inside. It’s IP68 waterproof on the outside.
The car monitor comes with an adhesive silicone bracket mount. The suction pad is reusable.
Most backup cameras are quite complicated to install, largely because of the wire connecting the camera to the monitor. But this camera kit has its own waterproof wireless transmitter, so video cabling drawing is not necessary at all.
The rear view camera delivers an excellent, high-res image most of the time. The LED lights turn on automatically and can adjust the lights depending on the light condition. The night vision is really superior thanks to these lights.
The monitor can be installed on to the windshield or the dashboard. The silicone mount is adhesive. But if it gathers dust over time, you can wash it and reuse it as a suction cup.
Expect the overall installation to take about 30 minutes to an hour. There’s no need to drill holes to install brackets.
The bracket for the backup camera will be partially hidden within the license plate frame. So it won’t obscure any part of the license plate.
The camera kit has parking guide lights on the monitor. A little green light will appear when parking as a guide.
Another big advantage is the fish eye lens of the camera. It really shows a large swath of the area behind the vehicle.
The kit has an extra USB port for charging a DVR and a mobile device at the same time. The camera is flexible and can be hidden using a 3M sticker.
If there’s a downside, it’s the lack of a 12V DC power adapter filter. The mounts can be a bit generic too, though very useful.
The unit also has a tiny buffer time. Some drivers may find that it takes a fraction of a second longer to turn on in reverse mode.
Another issue is that, because of the wireless transmission, the picture quality may not always be steady. But it does look great when steady.
This reverse camera kit may be on the expensive side, but it’s really worth checking out. The kit is easy to install and has a large field of view.
The wireless transmission eliminates video cables. It has its perks and downsides. The transmission can sometimes be disrupted and make the image wobbly. But that’s a minor concern really.
The backup camera is made with an HD color image sensor. It can deliver up to 720×540 resolution. The camera requires an NTSC signal.
The rearview camera comes with a 170-degree viewing angle. It also has a built-in night sensor.
The camera is weather resistant and also shockproof. It’s recommended for all types of weather conditions.
The camera has a mirror on/off switcher. Users can adjust the distance scale as they like.
This backup camera comes in a solid metal housing—a big surprise given its price range. It’s surprisingly well-built given that it can withstand most types of weather conditions.
The image quality is superbly clear. If you are looking for a high-quality color camera, this is it. It supports a very high pixel range, which you can pair with a high-end monitor.
The camera is also very small in size. It’s easy to disguise as a spy camera even.
What’s more, the small size means it can be installed anywhere on the car. You can use it as a backup camera or even a side view camera.
The night vision is a major plus. Don’t expect top-end visibility, but low-light viewing conditions are superior to what the cost may indicate.
The only downside is the mounting angle. The cam can capture a large field of view, but only if it’s adjusted properly. Users should take care to capture the right mounting angle to benefit the most from this product.
This backup camera is hard to beat given the cost. It works wonderfully as a solo camera unit that you can hook up to a factory camera in your vehicle.
The kit includes a license plate backup camera, a 4.3-inch mirror monitor, two 8-inch power cables, a 20 feet video cable, and a user manual. This camera kit meets FCC, CE, UL, and RoHS standards.
The monitor supports a resolution of 480 x 272 pixels. The camera supports a resolution of 420 x 420 pixels.
The monitor supports both PAK and NTSC signal formats. The camera requires an RCA connector.
The camera has a PC7070 image sensor, which has a distance reference marking display. It’s IP68 waterproof.
What this camera kit ultimately does is add a front, side or rear-view camera to the existing system. If you already have a mounted monitoring system, this can add extra angles you can see through the rear-view mirror.
Installing this kit is not that complicated compared to other systems. You can hook everything up to a single power supply.
The image quality is quite amazing, given the low under $50 price tag. The resolution is great.
Among the many perks include super low power consumption. You won’t have to worry about the monitor overheating.
As for downsides, this camera, unfortunately, doesn’t have many LED lights to support night vision. Also, it’s hard to adjust so there might be alignment problems.
This backup camera kit amazingly improves your vehicle’s monitoring system. It’s affordable, relatively easy to install, and works as described. You won’t find a better kit within this price range.
The product package comes with a backup camera and power cables to install. The backup camera supports a massive 175-degree angle view.
The camera has built-in distance scales. It’s IP68 waterproof, which means you can use this camera in rain or snowstorms without worrying about waterlogging.
The camera has four layers of nano-filter glass to support night vision. Overall, the camera can support up to 648 x 488 of resolution.
The camera has a CCD sensor inside. There are up to 12 LED flashlights to support vision in low-light conditions.
The camera is compatible with all monitors with an RCA connector and a DVD navigator.
This camera supports a truly wonderful resolution. Images are colorful and quite vivid, as long as you hook this up to a high-end monitor.
The night vision is really amazing thanks to the nano filter lenses and a dozen LED flashlights. The lights turn on automatically in the evenings.
The brand boasts “one-step installation.” While it takes more than one step for most people to install this camera, the overall installation process is indeed easy.
The kit includes high-end power cables to make the installation process even easier. Included in the package is a 30ft pure copper cable and screws that won’t interfere with the signal.
The image is quite stable once installed. There are no issues with flashing or black screens with this setup.
The prime selling point of this camera is the 170-degree wide angle. It’s massive but it does have its upsides and downsides. The wide angle is very useful for larger vehicles, like trucks, undoubtedly.
But if you drive a small vehicle like a car, the wide angle may distort your sense of distance. You may just see too many things as if they appear far away.
Another issue is the mounting brackets for the camera. It attaches to the license plate frame and the size may obscure the license plate.
Other than some minor issues, this backup camera works superbly well. The wide angle is great for larger vehicles and the setup is super easy as well.
The camera kit includes a license plate backup camera and a monitor. The LCD monitor has a 4.3-inch screen and is dashboard mounted.
The monitor supports a resolution of 480 x 272. It’s compatible with all signal formats, including PAL and NTSC.
The backup cameras support a 648 x 488 resolution. It has a PC7070 image sensor inside with distance line markings.
The camera is IP67 waterproof. It requires an NTSC signal to operate.
This backup camera kit is great to add an extra camera to your vehicle’s existing system. The cost is low but the 420 TV line resolution can’t be matched.
This backup camera is only IP67 waterproof. It is perfectly rain resistant, but you may experience waterlogging in thunderstorms.
You can expect a decent 135-degree viewing angle. It’s great for smaller vehicles, even though larger vehicles might require something bigger.
The monitor is compact and delivers as promised. One huge perk is the fact that is can support two video inputs.
The monitor is also energy efficient and operates on low power. Overheating is well managed.
This camera has 7 LED lights to support night vision. Low-light visibility is decent, but not great.
As for downsides, installation can take quite long. That’s partly because the package comes with a wiring diagram that doesn’t include standard U.S. symbols.
Also, though the image resolution is great, image size could be distorted. The object on the camera may seem further away than they really are.
This backup camera kit is well worth the tiny price tag. The image quality is really great, even if objects may be closer than they appear. Downsides are minimal, while the value to cost ratio is high.
The camera can be bracket mounted or flush mounted. It’s multifunctional and can be installed on the side or the front.
The camera is equipped with a lens that can withstand high temperatures. The product is IP67 waterproof.
This camera comes with a 2-year warranty. The brand offers 24-hour customer support for defective reports.
This camera is best for multifunctional purposes. If it doesn’t work for your car, you can use it as a surveillance camera at home.
The brand doesn’t specify the image resolution, but you can expect clear images, even under low-light conditions.
The resolution is by no means HD, but it’s clear enough to make out all the important factors.
Installation is the most disadvantageous part. You will have to drill holes to install this product. A hole drill is provided with the package.
It has a green and white wire to attach to reorient the viewing angle. The distance scales won’t be turned on unless you remove one of these wires as instructed.
Installation instructions can be hard to follow at times, but once you get over that, you can put the camera to good use. It’s weather resistant and has durable metal housing.
Night vision is decent and meets minimal requirements. It’s cheap, so don’t expect anything advanced.
If you just want a small backup camera with decent picture quality and acceptable night vision, then this camera is worth the price. The biggest downside is the poorly-explained installation method. But don’t let that put you off this affordable product.
Guide to Buying the Best Backup Camera
Buying a backup camera can be a troublesome process if you don’t understand all the tech details. Therefore, here are some buying tips to ease the overall purchasing process:
Decide between a Backup Camera and a Camera Kit
You can buy back up cameras in two ways: as individual cameras or as part of a camera kit.
Camera kits include monitors, power cables, and in some cases, license plate frames. If you already have a monitor in your car, a camera kit may be overkill.
On the other hand, if you need everything, buying a camera kit is the most affordable solution. Decide for yourself if you need a kit or just an individual camera.
Check Vehicle Model Compatibility
Some reversing cameras may not be compatible with your vehicle. This could be due to voltage issues or because your vehicle already has a backup camera installed.
It’s highly recommended to always specify with a manufacturer whether a backup camera is compatible with your vehicle model. You can alternatively ask the vehicle maker about compatible third-party reversing cameras.
Don’t Buy Based on Installation
Some backup cameras are advertised as easy to install. However, don’t make your purchase decision based on how easy it would be to install the camera.
The installation of any camera would require wiring and following a diagram. It’s not easy for everyone to do.
If a camera is difficult to install, you can always take it to the mechanic or ask a knowledgeable friend. Therefore, don’t worry too much about difficult installation when purchasing.
Mind Those Wide Angles
A wide angle for a backup camera is great, right? It actually depends on the type of vehicle you drive.
Most reversing camera brands boast massive wide angles going up to 170 degrees or more. In reality, most of these products rarely meet exact specifications.
It’s normal for an angle view to be off by some degrees. But if a camera is advertised as wide angle, then you should expect a wide angle view.
The problem here is that large wide angles can also create visual distortions. Some objects may appear further away than they are.
Wide angles can be problematic for smaller vehicles. Larger vehicles with wide hitches may benefit from wide angles better.
Buyers should take care, therefore, regarding the size of the angle of the camera. Don’t buy a wide angle camera just because you want to. Only do so if it’s really necessary for your car.
Do You Need Distance Guidelines?
Some backup cameras come with distance markers to give you a better sense of how far objects are. These parking guidelines can help eliminate visual distortions.
These guidelines can be advantageous, but not all drivers may find them equally helpful. You may want to check cameras for these distance markers before you make a purchase.
Pay Attention to Mounting the Camera
Backup cameras are commonly mounted on the license plate frame. Although in some cases, you can drill a hole in the car to place a camera.
When you mount the camera on the license plate frame, it should not obscure the license plate. This can happen if the mounting brackets are too large.
It’s worthwhile to always check the size of the mounting brackets before buying a backup camera. If the size is more than one inch, you may want to double-check whether it would suit your license plate frame.
Resolution Must be Supported by the Monitor
Most modern backup cameras support significantly high resolutions, so you can see images more clearly. While the camera may come with a certain high resolution, the monitor must have a high-res screen as well for you to actually see the images.
When buying backup camera kits, always make sure you check supported resolutions for both the camera and the monitor.
IR Vs. LED Lights for Night Vision
Night focus is a must for backup cameras. Modern cameras have two methods for low-light visibility, either using infrared lights or with LED bulbs.
IR lights offer clear night focus but the images will only be visible in black and white. With LEDs, the camera will capture night images in color.
Regular LED lights are great, but only if the camera is mounted in the back. If the backup camera is installed on a side mirror, for example, these LED lights might reflect and mess up the image quality.