Watch Your Six with the Best Rearview Mirrors

Watch Your Six with the Best Rearview Mirrors

Many people take their car’s mirrors for granted. Most drivers stick with their stock mirrors and they are usually pretty low on the list of aftermarket modifications. In fact, unless they break, you probably weren’t thinking of replacing them anytime soon. That’s a shame because upgrading your rearview mirror can open up a whole new world of safety and convenience.

That’s why we made this guide. We want you to have an easy time picking a great upgrade or replacement mirror by providing a list of the best ones on the market. We also want to set you up with some great information about getting the most out of your new purchase. At the bottom, you’ll find some tips and tricks as well as answers for some frequent questions.

First up, though, let’s talk about what you should be looking for when buying a rearview mirror.

A Quick Look at Buying a Rearview Mirror

Your car probably has three mirrors. A left side, or wing, mirror for seeing objects behind you on the left. There’s also a right side mirror for seeing objects on the right. Finally, there is a center mirror attached to your windshield for seeing directly behind you. Technically these are all mirrors for viewing things behind you, but the center windshield mirror is commonly called the rearview mirror.

They are pretty straightforward, so when you buy one, you don’t need to know very much. Really there are just four types to be familiar with that will help you choose the perfect mirror for your car.

Type

There are three main types of rearview mirror you will find.

  • Standard Mirror: Most factory mirrors are just your everyday standard mirrors. They reflect light, and you can use them to see behind you.
  • Camera and Screen: Some modern systems don’t use a standard mirror. Instead, there is a camera facing backward connected to a screen that displays whatever the camera sees. That can be especially handy if you have a truck or SUV that is difficult to see out of.
  • Combination: Many modern mirrors are both traditional mirrors and small LCD screens. Some have a smaller screen, so you can use them as both a rearview camera and a traditional mirror. Other mirrors either function as one or the other.

Size and Shape

The size of a rearview mirror is often one of the most significant reasons to upgrade. A standard mirror is between eight and ten inches wide. Panoramic mirrors can be up to three times as wide, allowing you to see a lot more of the world around you. If you are only interested in wide-angle mirrors, we have a separate article here for you.

The shape of the mirror itself can also be a consideration. A flat mirror will have a shallower viewing angle vs. a shaped mirror. The wider the viewing angle, the more stuff you will be able to see. However, shaped mirrors distort things, so while you will see more, it’s less accurate information.

Mounting

We’ll go over them in more detail here, but these are the main ways to install a new mirror.

  • Clip-On: Attach to your old mirror.
  • Glue-On: A mounting point is glued to your windshield.
  • Suction Cup: A simple suction cup is sufficient to hold a mirror in place.
  • Roll Bar Clamps: ATVs and similar vehicles have bars that can hold a mirror in place.
  • Bolt-On: Mirrors can clip into bolt or screw in brackets that attach to your car.

Price

Most mirrors cost less than $100. The ones that do tend to be exceptional and you can expect amazing quality or space-age features at this price.

Very basic mirrors will cost less than $20, and the price goes up with each feature you add. Since rearview mirrors are fairly simple, even inexpensive mirrors can have a decent build quality.

With the basics out of the way, let’s get into the reviews. We tried to ensure a good cross-section of mounts, styles, and sizes represented. Keep in mind that if you find one that looks perfect, but you wish it mounted a different way, browse around on the product page, and there will probably be an adapter.

Top 10 Best Rearview Mirrors 2021

1. Best Overall Pick: Toguard Rearview Mirror and Backup Camera

Toguard Rearview Mirror and Backup Camera

Why we like it: This Toguard mirror has just about everything you could ever want. It’s a dashcam, a backup cam, a screen, and it even works as a mirror.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Type: Camera and traditional mirror
  • Mount: Clip-on
  • Size: About 12” x 3”

Features

This mirror does it all. It has one of the largest touch screens on our list. It’s a dashcam that can record onto an SD card, and it’s a decent backup camera.  You can use it as a rearview camera or turn the camera off and use it as a standard mirror. It’s even got motion detection and backup sensors that warn you when people or objects get too close.

Installation

The hardest part about this mirror and any mirror that has a backup camera is running the camera’s wires. It’s not particularly difficult unless you want to make sure the wires are well hidden, but it is more complicated than installing any mirror that doesn’t use a backup camera.

Other than the wires, though, this is one of the easiest to install mirrors on our list. You simply slip the straps over your existing mirror, cinch them down, and you are done.

Review

There’s just one thing that needs to be said. It does all these amazing things, but it isn’t the best at anything. The Auto-Vox mirror has a much better camera, and the Master Tailgater mirror is much more straightforward to use.

What really sets it apart is that it’s very budget-friendly. In fact, for the price, it’s one of the coolest gadgets you can get for your car. Other mirrors are better at certain things, but nothing comes close in terms of price.

Pros

  • It’s easy to install
  • It does it all on a budget
  • It has sensors to help with blind spots and security

Cons

  • The rear-facing camera could be better
  • There are easier to use mirrors

2. Best Budget Pick: Eluto Universal Rearview Mirror

Eluto Universal Rearview Mirror

Why we like it: If all you need is a simple rearview camera that is ridiculously easy to install, then this is perfect.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Type: Traditional mirror
  • Mount: Suction cup
  • Size: About 10” x 4”

Features

This mirror has no extra features. It doesn’t even have a night mode. The best part about it is that it’s very cheap, and it takes almost no effort to install. That’s all it needs to be.

Installation

All you do is press the suction cup against your windshield and push the lever. It works best if you clean the window before installing it.

Review

It’s a very simple, sturdy device, but there are some bad things. First, the quality isn’t as good as some of its competitors. Second, the quality of the English in the documentation is terrible, making it hard to understand.

Confusing instruction manuals are pretty par for the course for inexpensive gadgets, but the manual for the Eluto mirror is just outstandingly bad. For example, it has a “Uniwersal Applicatioon,” and it is “acting as a guardian for a safe daily driving.”

Horrible product description aside, this mirror works great for anyone that, for whatever reason, doesn’t have a factory mirror anymore and doesn’t want to fiddle with gluing one in. If you want the security of a glue-in, grab the Pilot mirror on our list instead.

Pros

  • It’s very easy to install
  • The suction cup mounting can fit on any windshield
  • It’s inexpensive

Cons

  • It has no extra features
  • The quality could be better

3. Best Panoramic: ICBeamer 15.8” Clip-on Rearview Mirror

ICBeamer 15.8” Clip-on Rearview Mirror

Why we like it: A panoramic mirror greatly increases the amount of stuff you can see out of your rearview, and this one is incredibly easy to install.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Type: Traditional mirror
  • Mount: Clip-on
  • Size: 15.8” x 3”

Features

The biggest reason to buy this mirror is that it’s nearly 16 inches wide. The width, coupled with the shape of the mirror itself, virtually eliminates standard blindspots. It has a fantastic anti-glare coating too. All that combined makes this a really nice safety upgrade for anyone.

Installation

The ICBeamer mirror uses four plastic tabs to grip your existing mirror. It can be a little bit picky about how it sits on the old mirror. Just make sure to give it a good tap and wiggle before setting off. The good news is that even if it does fall off, you’ll still have your old mirror.

Review

If you have never driven with a panoramic rearview mirror, you are missing out. It virtually eliminates blind spots—no more cars hiding over your shoulder.

They aren’t without fault, though. It takes up a lot of windshield real estate, so if you have a smaller car, it can make front visibility harder. If you want a ton of mirror width and have a tiny windshield, get a rally mirror instead. They are harder to install but leave more of your window available for seeing out of.

Pros

  • It’s very wide and offers great visibility
  • It’s easy to install
  • The shape helps eliminate blind spots

Cons

  • The clips can be fiddly
  • It’s not good for small windshields

4. Best Premium Pick: Auto-Vox V5Pro Anti-Glare Rear View Mirror

Auto-Vox V5Pro Anti-Glare Rear View Mirror

Why we like it: This is a very easy to use, do everything mirror that has some of the best image quality you can get.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Type: Camera and traditional mirror
  • Mount: Glue-on
  • Size: About 11” x 4”

Features

This mirror is the Rolls Royce of mirrors. It has a backup camera, dash camera, recording function, but the screen and cameras are better looking.

It also has some features that are unique to this mirror. It has GPS tracking with backup and an advanced night vision mode. It’s basically a tiny computer that you glue to your windshield; it’s fantastic.

Installation

Hands down, this is the most difficult option to install on this list. In fact, you may be better off hiring a professional to install it for you since installing it can be a real headache.

You need to be comfortable gluing things to your window and removing body panels to run wires. You also need to be fairly computer savvy, both to find software updates and use the GPS recording feature.

Review

If you can afford it, the Auto-Vox mirror is a premium experience that’s hard to be unhappy with. It has more features than we want to list, the screen is crisp and clear, and the cameras are the best on our list. If you want to feel like you are in the future, this is your answer.

You just have to be prepared for the amount of work it takes to install and use.

Pros

  • The cameras are fantastic
  • It has a lot of extra features
  • The screen is very clear and easy to see

Cons

  • It’s very expensive
  • It’s complicated to install

5. Best Roll-Bar Mount Mirror: BETOOLL 16.5” Wide Rear View Mirror

BETOOLL 16.5” Wide Rear View Mirror

Why we like it: It’s wide, cheap, durable, and can be installed on anything with a rollbar. If you have side-by-sides or other off-roaders, it’s fantastic.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Type: Traditional mirror
  • Mount: Rollbar clamp
  • Size: 16.5” x 3.2”

Features

This mirrior is nice and wide, which is good, and it’s shatterproof, which is great for off-roading. The best feature, though, is that it installs easily onto a rollbar. Anyone with weekend track cars, safari jeeps, buses, ATVs, or anything else with a cage can’t go wrong with this mirror.

Installation

Installing this mirror is a little more complicated than a suction cup mount, but not much. It has two clamps that wrap around any round bar. You tighten those clamps down, then adjust the mirror and tighten the adjustment screws down.

The only issue you might have is with the size of the bar clamps. They adjust between 1.75” and 2”, so if you have a small or oversized bar, you might have to rig up some kind of DIY solution.

Review

This mirror isn’t for everyone, but it’s a really nicely designed product for the people who can use it. The wide, convex shape means you have great rear visibility. It’s also tough; when you roll your side-by-side over while running Baja, you don’t have to worry about glass shattering.

You don’t get any extra features, but the simplicity helps keep it rugged. The biggest problem is that you have to have a cage to install it. If you have a roof instead, a rally mirror like this one is a better bet.

Pros

  • It’s very durable
  • It’s easy to install
  • The visibility is fantastic

Cons

  • It only fits on vehicles with roll bars
  • The clamps are not as adjustable as they should be

6. Best Factory Replacement: Pilot Automotive MI-004

Pilot Automotive MI-004

Why we like it: Sometimes, all you need is a replacement for the mirror that came with your car. This is an inexpensive universal option, and it does its job beautifully.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Type: Traditional mirror
  • Mount: Glue-on
  • Size: 10” x 3.25”

Features

This mirror has the little switch that you use to change the angle at night so that you don’t get blinded by people who forget to turn their high-beams off.

Unfortunately, aside from that, it’s a standard factory replacement mirror.

Installation

The big difference between this mirror and the Eluto mirror is that you must have a glue-on anchor in place for this mirror. If you are just replacing a cracked mirror, that’s not much of an issue.

The problem is that the biggest failure point on a factory mirror is the anchor, meaning you’ll need to glue the new one on. It’s not a difficult process, but it can be intimidating to glue something permanent to your windshield.

Review

This is a good quality factory replacement. It’s not bigger or better than your standard mirror, but it’s inexpensive and unobtrusive.

If you are replacing a cracked mirror, it’s a no brainer. Just grab this and get on with it.

If the glue failed and your mirror fell off, though, you have a choice to make. The Eluto mirror is easier to install, but his Pilot is of better quality. You won’t be disappointed with either.

Pros

  • It’s durable
  • It can mount on a factory mount
  • It’s inexpensive

Cons

  • Gluing things to your window can be intimidating
  • It’s not really an upgrade, just a standard mirror

7. Easiest to Use: Master Tailgaters OEM Rearview Mirror

Master Tailgaters OEM Rearview Mirror

Why we like it: This all-in-one mirror uses a traditional glue-on mount instead of clips or suction cups, making it a perfect factory looking upgrade.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Type: Camera and traditional mirror
  • Mount: Glue-on
  • Size: 13” x 3”

Features

Unlike the Toguard mirror, the Master Tailgaters mirror isn’t a do-everything mirror. It doesn’t have a forward-facing camera. It doesn’t include a backup camera either; you’ll need to buy one. It does have two inputs, though, so you can hook up two cameras to it, and you aren’t limited to just a dash or backup camera.

Where it shines, though, is in how easy it is to use. Most of the features are automated, so you don’t have to do a whole lot to get the most out of it.

Installation

Most people will be replacing their factory mirror with this one to take advantage of the screen, which means that installation is very simple. Unclip the factory mirror, then clip in the new mirror.

Two things can make it complicated, though. The first is that if you don’t already have a backup camera installed, you’ll need to do that. The second is that if your existing anchor is the wrong shape or missing outright, you’ll need to purchase a new mount. This mirror does not come with on

Review

The best thing about this mirror is that you can install it, and it will look like it was always meant to be there. You’ll get a small but nice screen to use for any camera, and the entire thing is effortless to operate.

It’s also a pretty good value. Even after you buy a couple of cameras, you’ll be getting a high-quality setup that costs less than other complete kits.

Pros

  • It looks good
  • It’s very simple to use
  • It has extra inputs

Cons

  • The kit doesn’t include very much
  • It can be complicated to install

8. Best Ultra-Wide: Rally Panoramic 5-Panel Rearview Mirror

Rally Panoramic 5-Panel Rearview Mirror

Why we like it: If you need to spend a lot of time on tracks or trails, you want as much rear visibility as you can get. A rally mirror is one of the best options to accomplish that.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Type: Traditional mirror
  • Mount: Bolt-in
  • Size: 27.75” x 2.375”

Features

Traditionally, a rally mirror is a tool to help with racing. When you are on a track or trail, you need to be very aware of your surroundings, and you may not be able to move your head very much due to helmets and other safety features. The solution is to have a very wide, thin mirror. The width eliminates blind spots and being thin means it doesn’t obstruct your forward visibility.

Installation

There are a few methods to install this mirror, but the most common is to bolt the two brackets directly to the ceiling of your cabin. It’s a good option if you know you aren’t going to poke through the top of the roof.

If you aren’t comfortable bolting brackets to your car, you can use two other traditional mirror mounts. Two suction-cup mounts can hold the weight of the mirror as long as they are installed correctly.

Review

On the track, it’s a great tool. On the street, it’s a bit overkill. It’s a big mirror that doesn’t provide many advantages when paired with normal side mirrors. A good panoramic mirror, like the ICBeamer one we recommend, offers very similar visibility.

If you don’t have much room in your interior or plan on hitting the track, give it a look.

Pros

  • It virtually eliminates blind spots
  • It offers very good visibility without obstructing the windshield
  • It’s very durable

Cons

  • It’s a bit impractical for average driving
  • It can be complicated to install

9. Best With Compass/Temperature Readouts: Gentex GENK20A

Gentex GENK20A

Why we like it: Lots of modern vehicles have a compass and thermometer readout on the rearview mirror. If you want that functionality, you’ll need a mirror like this one.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Type: Traditional mirror
  • Mount: Glue-in
  • Size: 10.5” x 3.5”

Features

The Gentex mirror is a lot like the mirrors you would find in most luxury cars in the early 2000s. It’s auto-dimming, so you don’t have to fiddle with a toggle switch when the sun goes down. It has a compass and a thermometer, so you know what direction you are going and how to dress when you pull up to your destination. It has simple, easy to press buttons that look like they came from the factory.

Installation

Like the much cheaper Pilot mirror, this is a mirror meant to be a factory replacement. That means that you can expect to reuse your old anchor point, or you will need to glue a new one on. You will have to surprise your own anchor and glue, though.

Adding to the difficulty is that it has temperature probes that need to be wired in, and it needs 12v to function correctly. Many modern cars have a power wire above the window that you can tap into; just be aware that older cars probably do not.

Review

If we are honest, this mirror is really just for people that don’t want an LCD screen for whatever reason but still want a really high-quality upgrade. It’s a bit expensive, it doesn’t do all that much, but it does look like a factory mirror. Anyone who is trying to keep their interior clean and looking great will love that.

Pros

  • It looks great
  • The auto-dim feature is handy if you drive at night
  • It’s very high-quality

Cons

  • A bit on the expensive side for what it does
  • It can be difficult to install

10. Best Mirror Alternative: eRapta Backup Camera

eRapta Backup Camera

Why we like it: Many trucks and SUVs are difficult to see out of with a traditional mirror. An always-on backup camera like this one is a great alternative.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Type: Camera
  • Mount: Adhesive dash mount
  • Size: 4.75” x 3.25”

Features

The most significant feature of the eRapta system here isn’t so much what it has, but what it doesn’t have. What it doesn’t have is a mirror; it’s just a camera and a screen. You can mount both the camera and the screen anywhere, which can be really convenient.

There are a lot of times a regular rearview mirror can be obstructed. You could have a truck bed filled with stuff or a van with a rear window that is too tiny to see out. Usually, you would just rely on your side mirrors, but you can glance at the LCD and see directly behind you with a simple camera.

Installation

Installing this system presents the same challenge that any system with a backup camera presents. Once you install the camera, you need to run a wire from the camera to the screen. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry much about getting power to the system. The screen can be mounted anywhere, so you are sure to find some power source nearby.

Unfortunately, you will need to DIY the wiring a bit if you want it to look clean. From the manufacturer, they expect you to plug a giant thing into the cigarette lighter.

A few minutes with a pair of wire cutters and some heat shrink, and it’s easy enough to pull power from the radio instead. That way, the camera will come on when you turn the car on, and it will look a lot better.

Review

This camera and monitor are entry-level. They are inexpensive, and they have a few quirks that can be annoying to work out.

That makes it perfect for many people, though. Most people don’t need an ultra-HD video from a backup camera. It’s only a 4.6” screen after all; we’ve just been spoiled by cell phones. If you have been on the fence about buying a backup camera, this is inexpensive enough to buy and test out.

Pros

  • It’s good for vehicles where a rearview mirror doesn’t work very well
  • It’s budget-friendly
  • It’s fairly easy to install

Cons

  • The image quality could be better
  • It has a cheap look to it from the factory

Tips, Tricks, and More Information


There’s more to safety than simply having a fancy mirror. In this section, we thought we’d look at some of the concepts surrounding visibility and safety.

Installing a Mirror

We mentioned above that there are a handful of ways that a mirror can be installed. Here we’ll touch on each method and give you a few tips on how to install them.

Clip-On

Clip-on mirrors clip-onto your existing mirror. It won’t work if you need to replace your old mirror, but it’s a very simple upgrade to your factory interior.

Usually, they use simple plastic retainers or straps that slide over the existing mirror and can be tightened down. When using a clip-on mirror, the important thing to remember is that they are extra susceptible to being bumped and moved out of adjustment.

Glue-On

Traditional and factory mirrors mount to a small metal plate that is glued to your window. It can be difficult to install if you are unfamiliar with gluing things to glass. It also requires special glue that often isn’t included.

If you decide to glue a new mirror on yourself, use a tape measure and a dry erase marker to center the new mirror accurately. A dry-erase marker will easily mark up a window and can be cleaned off with little effort.

Suction Cup

Some mirrors have a big suction cup on the back that makes them very easy to install. The downside is that unless you get a good seal, they can fall off. If you ever had a cellphone mount pop off your window, you already know the danger.

The most important thing is to make sure the window and suction cup are clean. That way, dirt or dust can’t interfere with the seal.

Roll Bar Clamps

Mirrors for off-road vehicles and race vehicles often have roll bar clamps. These are simple clamps that clamp to any round object.

The problem you are most likely to have concerns the clamp size. A standard ATV roll bar is between 1 ¾” and 2” in diameter, so most roll bar clamps are similar. However, aftermarket or specialty roll cages can be bigger, and you’ll have to either DIY a new clamp location or choose a different installation method.

Bolt-On

Bolt-on brackets are meant to be screwed or bolted into a hard surface. It’s common to use thicker parts of the roof or the plastic covers on the A-pillars.

Since most people will use self-tapping metal screws to install these brackets, the most important thing to keep in mind is that there are a lot of areas of a car that are made of very thin metal. You do not want to punch a hole in your roof.

Blind Spots

Unless you are Wonder Woman, your vehicle is not 100% transparent. That means there will be spots that you cannot see while you are operating your vehicle. The most common blind spots occur between what your mirrors can see. Your rearview mirror can only see the back window, and your side mirror often cannot see your car’s rear corner. That leaves a hole in your visibility.

There are solutions. Small, special mirrors, like the ones we talk about in this other guide, can virtually eliminate those corner spots. Backup cameras or other rear-facing cameras eliminate interior obstructions. Finally, panoramic rearview mirrors can often see enough that blind spots are virtually eliminated.

Adjusting the Mirrors

rearview mirror with backup camera

In order to minimize blind spots, it’s important to adjust your mirrors properly. Here is a web page that goes over it in greater detail, but the gist of it is that you should be able to just barely see the side of the car in the side view mirrors. Then adjust the rearview so that it maximizes the view out of your rear window.

FAQ

Do You Need Rearview Mirror Adhesive?

Only if you are replacing the anchor mount as well as the mirror and are buying a mirror that uses that style of mounting. Many mirrors use alternative mounting methods that require no adhesive.

Is It Legal to Drive Without a Rearview Mirror?

In most states, it is not a requirement to have a center rearview mirror. However, you must have at least one driver’s side mirror and at least one other mirror, and for safety reasons, it’s better to have all three if you can. It does vary by state, though, so check your local legislation.

How Much Does It Cost to Have a Shop Install a Rearview Mirror?

It depends on the complexity of the mirror. Removing an old mount and installing a new, simple mirror is an easy procedure and can be done for as little as $100 dollars, or about an hour of shop time.

Replacing a complicated factory or aftermarket mirror that has a lot of wires that need to be run is a lot more costly. Expect to pay between $400 and $600 dollars to have a mirror and backup camera installed and calibrated.

Is Hanging Things from the Mirror Illegal?

It may be. Most states have laws against obstructing the driver’s view. Unfortunately, that’s subjective; it’s up to the officer whether or not your fuzzy dice counts as an obstruction.

Most of the time, you won’t have to worry about it. A tassel or air freshener is unlikely to catch the attention of the police on its own. Even larger objects will probably be ignored unless you are doing something else that catches their eye.

Stay Safe Out There

Whether you are replacing or upgrading, we hope we’ve inspired you to get a great rearview mirror. Visibility is imperative to safe driving, and we want you to stay safe.