Last updated on November 23rd, 2020 at 10:36 pm
Starting with model year 2019, a backup camera system will be mandatory for all vehicles leased or sold in the United States. This decision was fueled by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) and part of the 2008 Driving Safety Act, signed by President George W. Bush. The new safety regulations were triggered by the growing number of accidents, injuries and even deaths from reversing vehicles in the past years. In 2008, NHTSA reported 271 deaths and more than 18,000 injuries resulting from reversing drivers.
There are many variations of rear view backup cameras on the market today. Some brands use a Bluetooth connection to send video to the driver while others used a wired connection. Some have mounting or mirror mounting, warranty differences, price, lenses used and etc. There’s even a rear view camera that flips open when the car is put into reverse gear.
For those who have cars without a backup camera and have no plans of buying a new car, there are a number of moderately priced products that add the safety and convenience of a backup camera. Many aftermarket backup camera systems are sold with a display screen and can be installed easily with basic hand tools.
Best Rear View Backup Cameras
AUTO-VOX T1400 Quick Review
AUTO-VOX's T1400 wireless backup camera kit is our choice for this year's best rear view camera. Simplicity sells and that's the key feature that puts the T1400 in our top spot. The AUTO-VOX T1400 is a wireless system that streams a video feed from a license plate camera directly to a universal rear view mirror with a 4.3″ screen built into it.
The kit includes everything you need to install a manufacturer-quality backup camera in little time and with little tools. It comes with a rear view mirror monitor, backup camera and a wireless transmitter. An IP68 waterproof camera with 6 LED lights provides clear views in both daylight and at night, while the 2.4G wireless clip-on rear view mirror monitor provides high quality video while you're reversing without turning your head.
Installation of this kit is simple for the DIYer. The license plate camera mounts directly behind your license plate and just needs power from your reverse light. It hooks directly into a wireless transmitter which transmits the streaming video directly to the universal rear view mirror and monitor. Simply strap the rear view mirror over your existing mirror and plug it into your accessory or cigarette lighter for power.
- Easy to install and use compared to traditional backup cameras
- Utilizes 2.4G WiFi signal to transmit video
- Night vision camera with LEDs and IP 67 waterproof rating
- Discreet license plate mounting (mounts behind the plate)
- Bright daylight use & glare can sometimes affect the reverse image
LeeKooLuu F03 Quick Review
Our choice for the ultimate wireless backup camera with a monitor is the LeeKooLuu F03. It features a 4.3” monitor with 720p resolution that wirelessly connects to a license plate-mounted camera. Installation is super simple: just connect the camera to the power wire running to the reverse lights and connect the ground wire to a metal part of the body. The monitor can get power from the accessory port (cigarette lighter), or it can be hard wired into the fuse panel, radio, or to the battery with a 12v on-off switch.
The resolution is excellent on distances less than 30 feet, like most cars and trucks on the road today. In fact, you can use the camera to monitor behind you. A set-up like this is particularly helpful when towing a trailer, or in a truck with a big load in the back. The further from the receiver the monitor is mounted, the worse the reception becomes. This wifi backup camera system is rated for 45 feet distances.
The license plate-mounted camera uses six LED lights to provide images in low and no-light situations, ensuring you can see well even on the darkest nights. The camera features on/off grid lines and adjustments for width, up, and down indicators. It’s an extra-wide angle design capable of catching up to 150 degrees of view.
- Wide 150 degree viewing angle
- Easy to install
- IP69-rated for weather resistance
- Transmitter range is short
- Can’t change guidelines without getting out of the car
eRapta Backup Camera 2.0 Quick Review
Eliminating blindspots makes any vehicle safer. Whether it’s a large SUV with tinted windows or a panel van, difficulty seeing in your mirrors doesn’t have to be a worry anymore. The eRapta system includes four cameras and a 7” monitor. The driver can operate the monitor on a four-way screen, or choose to see individual or split screens.
The cameras feature LED lights to improve camera resolution at night. Wiring is somewhat more difficult than a single camera system, but users report customer service to be very helpful.
- Multiple camera systems can provide extra safety
- Excellent camera resolution
- More complicated to hook up
- Colors appear somewhat flat
- Mirror-mount front and rear camera
- 4k HD front/ 1080p rear resolution, switchable to 1440p for both cameras
- Touchscreen mirror
- Full-time recording with playback
- Includes a GPS antennae for location tracking
|Buy on Amazon.com $299.00|
VanTop H612T Backup Camera & Mirror Quick Review
Many cars and trucks out there do not have the dash space for a monitor or a stereo with camera capabilities. The solution is a backup camera monitor that mounts to the rearview mirror. The VanTop H612T is a slick-looking backup camera that also incorporates a front -facing dash cam. It’s on the expensive side, but you get what you pay for sometimes, and this camera packs a ton of features.
The rear facing camera is a high-resolution 160 degree-angle camera with the ability to set the resolution higher. The front camera is a 170 degree lens with sensors built by Sony. The touchscreen mirror provides full 4k HD recording for the front, or 1440p resolution for both cameras. It also features voice command, accident camera, and superior front camera night vision. Recordings can even be viewed on the massive 12” mirror.
- Voice control
- Mirror is touchscreen
- Excellent front and rear resolution
- Easy installation
- Large size could cause some vibration in some vehicles
- 720p resolution
- 28’ RCA cable
- 170 degree viewing angle
- License plate bracket mounting
- 6 LED lights
- IP69 waterproof rating
|Buy on Amazon.com $21.99|
ZEROXCLUB Backup Camera Quick Review
This camera is tiny for an unobtrusive installation on nearly any vehicle. LED lighting provides a clear image day or night. A straight-forward installation makes this a great choice for . Budget cameras like these do not include monitors, so you will need to have a screen to connect the camera.
What is truly surprising about this camera is the features for the price. It’s waterproof with an IP69 rating. Night vision is better than expected, and rivals the performance of much more expensive cameras. Even the durability seems to hold up according to numerous positive reviews.
- Compact design
- Low price
- Easy to install
- Requires a monitor or head unit with camera compatibility
- Viewing angle could distort backup guidelines if not installed properly
Rosco Vision STSK7465 Backup Camera Quick Review
When you need the ultimate in backup camera stability and range, Rosco Vision Systems has got the setup for you. The Jamaica, NY-based companies heavy duty system is tough enough for truckers, and includes a 65 ft. wiring harness. The system features a 7” monitor and a Sony 120 degree weatherproof camera.
This is a high-dollar system, but it includes some unique features. For instance, the camera uses 18 high-output infrared LED lights to provide a clear view even on the darkest nights. The camera even provides audio from behind the vehicle. This is a heavy duty system ideal for motorhomes, trailers, and other big vehicles.
- Durable solution for oversized vehicles
- Excellent clarity
- Superior night vision
- The most expensive on the list
- Requires a flex coupling for trailer installation
Toguard CE60 Quick Review
Advances in screen technology have given drivers the option to swap out their standard rearview mirror for a screen that displays the rear camera view. This slick 10” rear view mirror installs easily with straps over your existing mirror. When powered on, the mirror provides full-time rear view in 1080p resolution via the included wired camera.
The touch screen wastes no space by integrating buttons to adjust camera angle and other features on-screen that do not block the view. The front-facing camera slides out to clear obstacles and give you a sparkling clear view up ahead. The mirror records both front and back, and can be switched off to use as a regular mirror.
- Excellent picture quality
- Recording both cameras provides security
- Easy installation
- The power cord is short and can’t be extended easily. A longer cable can be requested when ordering.
- Some users reported trouble with glare at night
Esky EC170-11 Quick Review
The Esky EC170-11 is the world’s smallest high definition color CCD rear view camera. It’s waterproof, has a 170 degree angle. The EC170-11 is easy to install and very affordable, making it a great option for DIYers searching for a backup camera solution.. It features an NTSC TV system with 420 TV resolution and 628×586 to 510×496 pixels. This backup camera is intended to be hard-wired into a vehicle. It includes the power and ground leads, plus the video lead that is a generous 16ft long.
The EC170 uses a CCD sensor rather than a CMOS sensor like the old model. While CMOS sensors can produce a better image in ideal conditions, CCD sensors are better in low light and when sudden changes in light amplitude occur, like when bright headlights hit the sensor.
This camera does not use LEDs or an IR camera, so night vision is not going to be as good as models with these features. The high definition resolution and sensitive CCD sensor provide for acceptable night vision in most situations.
- Small, sleek and highly functional
- Easy to mount
- Good picture resolution
- Non-IR camera (lower quality at night)
LFS Mini Backup Camera Quick Review
When you need a high-quality camera at a budget price, the LFS mini backup camera fits the bill nicely. The camera is compact and easy to install on any vehicle via its universal mounting platform, plus the cube and matte black coating make a great looking choice.
The camera does not have LED lighting, but still provides a clear image. It’s also IP69-rated for waterproofing. The camera angle is an ideal 149 degree view perfect for parking assistance. The quarter-sized camera is mounted to a metal bracket that installs with screws. A dash-mount screen or head unit with rear camera capability is needed.
- Discreet camera
- Low price
- Universally mounted
- Resolution and night vision is below average
Yada Digital BT53328M-1 Quick Review
The BT53328M-1 is an easy add-on. It’s IP67 rating camera attaches to the rear license plate and the 4.3 TFT LCD monitor suction cups to your windshield. It is powered by a 12V accessory socket.
The wireless camera mounts to the bottom of the license plate and operates at 2.8gHz for a stable, interference-free image. The transmitter features an advertised range of 50 ft. This system will work on 12v or 24v power systems, a big plus for RVers.
The unit also comes with a 1-year warranty if any issues come up.
- Wide viewing angles
- No interference digital signal
- Clear image quality and parking assistant help
- Price is a bit friendly
- Easily adjustable monitor
- Not 100% waterproof (although IP67 should cover any normal road conditions)
- Short 16” camera-to-transmitter cable
- Some users report lag and choppy image resolution under some conditions
Accele RVCPLMBS Quick Review
This is an affordable camera that needs a little work to install. The camera itself is built into a 10″ long bar that you secure in place by the same screws that hold your license plate. There is no monitor or display screen included so you'll need to buy that separately.
What you do get in the kit is a 23′ RCA video cable and a much shorter power cable. The RCA cable needs running up to the front of the car where you'll mount the monitor. Making a neat job will involve removing some pieces of trim. You'll also need to hook up the power cable to a 12V feed and ground. The manufacturer suggests using the supply to the reversing lights, because then the camera will only be on when reverse is selected. Despite the low price, this camera has some appealing features:
- Wide field of view (170°)
- Camera angle is adjustable up and down
- Low Light LEDs for night vision (Not IR)
- Displays grid lines to help with parking.
- Extra-long RCA cable
- LEDs to help with night vision
- Price is very friendly to the pocket
- Not easy to install because it needs some wiring
- Requires you to buy a monitor separately
How We Chose
We're continually updating our list and research the market for the best aftermarket backup cameras. The following car backup cameras were assessed based on the following criteria:
Features – Sure, you can buy a generic rear view camera but why settle for something ordinary when you can get extraordinary for a few more dollars?
Value for Money – It is important to many buyers to know that a product is a great deal not just because of its features but also because of its value.
Installation – One of the challenges of buying accessories for vehicles is being able to install it without incurring additional costs.
User-Friendliness – Backup cameras should be easy to install with instructions that come in acceptable English and straightforward instructions, right?
User-Reviews – Everyone has an opinion, we consider other expert and user reviews.
After Service – There is nothing more frustrating about a purchase than indifference from the vendor or manufacturer especially if you encounter problems on the first year.
Common Terms & Features
When you’re looking to purchase a backup camera, there are a few questions that you should first ask yourself:
- How will I be using the camera? – Will you be using it to reverse and park, for backing up trailers, etc?
- What features do I absolutely need? – Will night vision make or break the deal for you? Clarity? Adjustability?
Let us help explain a few of the key differences, features and terms of cameras that you should consider when you’re looking to purchase so that you can make an informed decision. Let’s start out with type.
There are two primary types of rear view cameras for cars: CCD and CMOS.
CCD (Charge Coupled Device): CCD cameras are the more expensive of the two cameras. They provide the higher quality image of the two types and operate the best in low light conditions. They typically aren’t ideal for high-speed imagery and don’t have as fast a frame rate as CMOS.
CMOS (Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor): CMOS cameras were invented in the 1960s. It’s an ‘analog’ technology that’s typically cheaper than CCD, but the image quality is normally not as clear as CCD. They have a higher frame rate, but are not as good in low light applications. CMOS cameras are normally more compact than CCD, and offer a wider variety of applications because of their size.
Camera features are key to your decision making process. Like we mentioned earlier, figuring out what you’ll be using the camera most for will determine the features that you’ll need. Here are a few things to consider when you’re looking:
Camera Angle: The camera angle determines the width of view that you’ll see from the camera. The wider the angle, the wider image the camera will capture. Typically, backup cameras will be 120 degrees and higher. We recommend a 170 degree camera view for parking, and a smaller angle view for mounting trailers.
Night Vision: This is pretty critical for backup cameras. Without night vision, the camera is all but worthless in a low light, night condition. There are two types of night vision: Infrared and Night Vision. Infrared uses an infrared light to light up the area behind your camera as you backup, while the night vision cameras use a traditional night vision looking view.
Image Quality: Backup camera specs are great to read through, but judging the image quality based on what's on paper is tough if you don't know what you're looking at. Don't get distracted by claims of having an HD quality camera. True HD is rare and hard to come by. At the end of the day, the image quality needs to be clear with enough contrast, color accuracy and detail for you to see objects and road conditions. That being said, the best way to judge image quality without having it directly on your screen is to look at resolution. Here's a quick breakdown of typical resolutions to give you an idea of where backup camera resolutions lie in comparison to other video devices:
|Device Type||Quality||Resolution (Pixels)|
|Typical Backup Cameras||SD||720x480|
|Built-in webcameras||HD, 720p||1280x720|
|Stand-alone webcameras||HD, 1080p||1920x1080|
|High end dash cameras & recorders||HD, widescreen||2560x1080|
|High end smartphones||4K||3840x2160|
|High end compact cameras||20 megapixels||5472x3648|
Installation: There are normally two types of mounting for backup cameras: fixed and license plate. Fixed mounting are universal, meaning you can mount them almost wherever – on a bumper, the side of an RV, really any flat surface. Fixed cameras are normally a little more difficult to install. License plate cameras mount on top of your license plate. They’re incredibly simple to install and pretty universal.
Screen: Some cameras come with a screen included. Some are sold separately of the camera. There are two key types of screens for backup cameras: rear view mirror and stand alone. Stand alone cameras can be mounted anywhere – on your dash, console, etc. Rear view mirrors have to replace your current mirror. Typically installation of rear view mirror screens is more difficult. Sometimes, you don’t need a screen though if you have an aftermarket multimedia head unit. In this case we’d recommend a camera that doesn’t include a screen.
Looking for more details to help you install your new backup camera? We put together a detailed walkthrough on how to install a backup camera to assist all of the DIY people out there.