By 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 2007 Driving Safety Act, and was triggered by the growing number of accidents, injuries and even deaths from reversing vehicles in the past years.
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, the good news is that there are a number of products that are moderately priced. You don't have to buy one from the car dealer to find the best rear view backup camera. There are many aftermarket cameras that are sold with display and transmitters that can easily be installed using a simple screwdriver or drill.
Here's a list of the top rated rear view backup cameras 2018 to help you find the best products for your car. Click a camera to go to the full review, or just scroll down to view all of the reviews:
|Our Rank||Rear View Camera||Angle View (Degrees)||Night Vision/Infrared||Screen Size (in)|
|1||Pearl RearVision||140||Night Vision||None|
|2||Rear View Safety Wireless RVS 091406||130||Night Vision||4.3"|
|3||Yada Digital BT53328M-1||110||Night Vision||4.3"|
|4||QuickVu Digital Wireless||150||LED Night Vision||4.3"|
|6||Falcon Zero F360||120||Night Vision||3.5"|
|7||HDE E336||170||Night Vision||None|
|8||Chuangazhuo Rear View Mirror & Backup Cam||130||Infrared||4.3"|
|9||Buyee T475||170||Night Vision||4.3"|
|11||Pyle PLCM7200||120||Night Vision||7"|
|12||Pyle PLCM38FRV||170||Night Vision||None|
How We Chose
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.
Best Rear View Backup Camera List
Pearl RearVision Quick Review
This is an expensive system but its big advantage is that there's no need to run any wires or drill any holes. That means you can get it up and running in just a few minutes and with minimal tools or technical knowledge. All that's needed is the ability to mount a license plate and download an app to your phone.
The kit consists of a license plate frame with two cameras built in and a wireless adapter that you plug into the car's OBDII port. (You'll find that under the steering column.) The frame incorporates solar cells and a rechargeable battery for powering the cameras and transmitter. Images are streamed from the cameras via the adapter to an app on your phone.
The reason for having two cameras is that one works during daytime and the other is IR-sensitive for use at night. The camera field of view is adjustable to be as wide or narrow as you like. If obstacles enter your path the system sounds an alert in case you're not watching the screen. A phone mount is included so you can put it where it's easy to see.
- Easy to install and use
- No batteries are needed for the camera
- Wide viewing angles
- Great image quality
- Obstruction sensor
- Well-designed and easy to operate app
- Really expensive
2. Best Wireless With Monitor: Rear View Safety Wireless RVS 091406
Rear View Safety Wireless RVS 091406 Quick Review
This 0.8 lb digital wireless waterproof camera is capable of sending images from a distance of up to 70 feet and has a viewing angle of 130 degrees. It comes with a 4.3 inch colored MT9V136 monitor (not HD) with 250 pixels and plugs easily into the cigarette lighter. The camera has 9 infrared lights for night vision and has a suction cup mount and has on/off grid lines. The camera is powered on only when the rear gear is engaged which makes it energy efficient but not always convenient. However, it is possible to wire it to your running lights if you want the image to available all the time. Unfortunately, you will have to buy a longer camera cable to hard wire the camera if you want to make it permanent. It has shock resistance of up to 10G and the camera has the IP68 rating. The unit comes with a 1 year full warranty.
- Wide viewing angles
- Easy to install
- Water and dust resistant
- Comes with monitor
- Limited night vision ability – up to 30 feet
3. Runner Up, Best Wireless With Monitor: Yada Digital BT53328M-1
Yada Digital BT53328M-1 Quick Review
The black and white Yada Digital Wireless Backup Camera has a digital transmission with a 110-degree wide lens range. It is waterproof, has an operating distance of 50 feet and transmits on a 2.4 GHz – the same as using Bluetooth. The result is a low level interference when compared to an analog signal. It also offers night vision and distance grid which means fewer depth perception problems.
The BT53328M-1 is an easy add-on. It’s IP67 rating camera attaches to the rear license plate and the 4.3 TFT monitor is hooked to your windshield via suction cup and powered by a plug into the cigarette lighter. 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)
4. Best Installation: QuickVu Digital Wireless Backup Camera
- Wireless License Plate Backup Camera
- 4.3″ Wireless Monitor included
- Automatic LED-enhanced night vision
- 150 Degree View
1 new from $203.49
QuickVu Wireless Backup Camera Quick Review
This wireless system consists of a camera unit and a separate color monitor. As there are no wires installation is quick and easy. The camera unit mounts to the rear of the vehicle using the license plate screws and is powered by two AA batteries in the housing.
The monitor comes on an adhesive pedestal mount and plugs into a 12V outlet in the cabin. The camera and screen come on as soon as they receive power, (when the engine is started.) The length of time they stay on is adjustable through an on-screen menu. To get an image from the camera at other times just press the button on the monitor.
The camera has a wide angle lens and the system includes “Night vision” LEDs for use at night. Grid lines are shown on the monitor to indicate scale and distance.
- Easy installation because there's no wiring
- Battery replacement is needed every once and a while
5. Best Rear View Mirror Backup Camera: Falcon Zero F360 HD
Falcon Zero F360 Quick Review
The Falcon Zero F360 is one of the best backup cameras in the market because it comes with a DVR accident video recorder, 2 cameras, and a 32GB SD card. In addition, the F360 features two 1080p HD cameras can rotate 180 degrees with 120 viewing angle, night vision, an internal battery, and wide lens. The 3.5 inch display monitor has a preview feature, built-in microphone and speaker, and TV, HDMI HD output. Looping allows old recordings to be replaced automatically. It has a 1 year warranty and is easy to install and operate.
- Great picture quality
- Memory of up to 32 GB
- Easy to set up
- Loop recording
- Difficult to control menu buttons
- Whitewashed photos when exposed to excess light
6. Best Budget: HDE E336 Waterproof Backup Camera
HDE 336 Quick Review
HD and wide angles are among the many reasons why the waterproof HDE E336 is counted in the list of top rated rear view cameras. It can be used on all types of vehicles and features color display and IR PC7070K Sensor vision with nigh vision. The resolution can be adjusted from 628 x 586 to 828 x 686 and it has 420 TV lines with an electronic shutter of 1/50, 1/80, and 1/100 seconds. This backup camera is IP67 and IP68 and can be operated in temperatures ranging from negative 20 degrees to negative 60 degrees Centigrade. While it does not have numerical indicators, it is equipped with guide lines. However, the driver will have to adjust because the depth perception can be misleading at first.
- Best budget camera on the list
- HD picture quality and wide viewing angles
- Easy to mount
- Backup guide lines require driver to adjust to them
7. Runner Up, Best Rear View Mirror Camera: Chuanganzhuo Rear View Mirror Monitor & Backup Cam
Chuanganzhuo 4.3″ Rear View Monitor & Backup Camera Quick Review
This kit offers an interesting alternative for anyone who doesn't want to set up a separate monitor for their backup camera system. In this case the monitor is designed to fit over the interior mirror. When powered up it displays what the camera sees, but with the power off it acts just like a regular mirror.
The kit comprises the mirror monitor, camera and two cables, one for power and one for the video signal. The camera mounts to the back of the vehicle with the license plate screws. It's powered from the reversing light circuit, so some trim removal is needed to patch into the wiring. More trim has to come off to run the video cable up to the mirror in the front. (This cable also supplies power to the monitor.)
The 4.3″ monitor is smaller than what you might get with a separate standalone display, but still perfectly adequate. Plus, if you're already in the habit of looking up at the mirror when reversing it doesn't require you to do anything different.
Other features include:
- Camera and display come on when reverse is selected
- IR lEDs surround the camera for nightime visibility
- Lines on the monitor display indicate distance
- No need to have a separate monitor or use your phone every time when reversing
- Great performance at the price
- Requires a bit of wiring and therefore may need you to consult a professional for installation
8. Best Wired Rear View Camera: Buyee T475
- Rear View Mirror & Backup Camera
- 170 Degree View Angle
- 4.3″ LCD Screen
- Night Vision
1 new from $29.99
Buyee T475 Quick Review
The waterproof Buyee T475 Wide Angle Rear View Car Camera has a 1.8mm/170 degree angle, day and night vision, and colored display. It can be installed on all types of vehicles and works under just about all types of outdoor conditions. It is equipped with a CMD sensor, display resolution of 628×586 pixels, 420 TV lines, and is IP67 and IP68. IT has automatic white balancing and comes as a complete unit with its own 6 meter video cable, power cable, camera, and monitor.
- Great picture quality throughout because of automatic white balancing
- Reliable features and functionality at the price
- Installation requires wiring
9. Runner Up, Best Budget Rear View Camera: Esky EC170-11
Esky EC170-11 Quick Review
The Esky EC170-11 is the world’s smallest high definition color CCD rearview camera. It’s waterproof, has a 170 degree angle and it’s also very affordable, easy to install and use. It features an NTSC TV system with 420 TV resolution and 628×586 to 510×496 pixels. It is powered by 12 volt DC and has very good depth perception adjustment with a difference of about 12 inches off. There is a newer model that has 10% wider viewablility, but it costs almost double the price of the EC170. Since it is a non-IR camera, the image is not as clear as other camera’s and the angle will need periodic adjustments. Still, it is a fraction of the price of the other models which makes it an economical choice.
- Small, sleek and highly functional
- Easy to mount
- Good picture resolution
- Non-IR camera (lower quality at night)
10. Runner Up, Best License Plate Camera: Pyle PLCM7200
Pyle PLCM 7200 Quick Review
The waterproof Pyle PLCM 7200 backup and rearview camera features night vision, swivel angle, an adjustable camera, grid lines and 7 inch 800x 480 LCD display monitor. You can clip the monitor to your rear view mirror and the mirror becomes a monitor when in reverse. The resolution is 360 TV lines and the camera has an IP68 rating. Although there tends to be a bluish tint at night, the replacement camera can be adjusted with lenses that can tilt. Other features include a Visual Assist Program for parking.
- Good monitor – large display
- Wide viewing angle
- Comes with 1-year warranty
- Easy installation
- Not the highest quality camera
- Bad lens flare in some cases with sunlight
- Blurry images in continuous usage
11. Best Micro Backup Camera: Pyle PLCM38FRV
- Universal Micro Rear View Camera System
- 170 Degree Wide View Angle
- Distance Scale Line Display for Parking
- RCA Cable Connectors
- Easy Mounting & Installation
Pyle PLCM38FRV Quick Review
This is a small and inexpensive cylindrical camera. that comes with a universal mounting bracket. It can be mount to the front or rear of your vehicle above or below the bumper. Alternatively, it could be flush-mounted, for example if you want to put it in the rear bumper.
The kit includes a long video cable and the power cable but no monitor. Installation will involve removing trim to run the RCA cable up to a monitor at the front. The power lead also needs connecting: patch this into the reversing light circuit to have the camera power up only when reverse is selected.
The camera has a wide field of view (170°) and is claimed to have good low light sensitivity, (helped by “night vision low light LEDs” which presumably means infrared.) Grid lines are displayed to help with parking.
- Wide field of view
- Low light sensitivity
- Affordable option
- Requires more work to mount than number-plate designs
12. Runner Up, Best License Plate Backup Camera: Accele RVCPLMBS
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
- Camera very sensitive in low light conditions. (Helped by “night vision low light LEDs” which presumably means infrared.)
- Displays grid lines to help with parking.
- Easy to install
- 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
Best Rear View Backup Cameras: 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.
Believe it or not, a backup camera isn’t all that difficult to install. The process is actually quite simple in most cases. If you’re a do-it-yourself kind of person, installing a rear view camera system is a 2-4 hour, weekend project. If you’re not used to working on cars, you may find it intimidating and a little more time consuming but after our walkthrough you’ll be much more confident about it.
If you’re not up to doing it yourself after reading our how-to, we’d recommend letting a pro like the guys at Best Buy to install it for you. They’ll install the system for around $150 bucks and there’s most likely one near you. If you have it installed elsewhere, we’ve found that the price is a little higher (~$180 – $300), and occasionally they’ll ask you to pay for any additional parts that they may need to install the backup camera system.
Backup cameras normally come with instructions on how to install the camera and to the display. There’s also a ton of great walkthroughs on YouTube that will walk you through the process (we’ve referenced one below). Here’s a quick walkthrough on how to install a typical backup camera in only a few quick steps.
First, let’s start out by defining the tools you will want to have handy to install your backup camera. If you don’t have any tools, it’s around $50 – $80 worth of stuff. But most of the items you may find you already have:
- Wire Strippers
- Basic Socket Wrench Set
- Phillips and Flathead Screwdriver Set
- Butt Splices
- Ring Terminals
- Electrical Tape
Step 1: Disconnect Power
First step to any automotive electrical installation is to disconnect the negative (-) battery wire from car’s battery. This’ll prevent any shorting or fuse popping from happening.
Step 2: Access the Tail Lights
Remove the necessary panels from around the tail lights on the inside of the vehicle. In many cases, there are panels inside the trunk. Or, if you have a truck there are normally access areas to the tail lights from the inside of the truck bed. Unscrew the trim pieces until you have access to the wiring for one tail light (no need to do both).
Step 3: Find the Mounting Location
There are many different areas you can mount your camera, depending on the vehicle and the type of camera. The most common is on the license plate or near the license plate so for this case, we’ll be referencing a license plate installation.
Step 4: Wire the Backup Camera
Remove your license plate cover and license plate and identify any holes behind or above the license plate where you can run the power and signal wire to the camera. If there are no holes, you may need to drill into the bumper to wire the camera behind.
Once you have a clear hole, route the wire from the camera to either the trunk or truck bed. From here, you’ll tuck the wires either the plastic panels straight to the tail light that you accessed earlier. Connect the power wire to the corresponding reverse power wire for your reverse light using the butt connectors you purchased.
Step 5: Connect the Camera to a Dash Display
Now that you have your backup camera wired for power, you’ll need to connect it to a display. There are a few options you have:
In-Dash Display: This is a display that either came with your vehicle, or a display that you may have purchased aftermarket like a double din touchscreen. It’s in your dash. For this type of display you’ll need to wire the camera signal wire from the back of the vehicle where the camera is installed to the back of the display unit in your dash.
For those who are planning on using an OEM dash unit that came with your vehicle, you will need to make sure that it’s compatible and will accept a rear view backup camera. If it does, Crutchfield has a number of adapters that you can find here: https://www.crutchfield.com/g_431950/Vehicle-specific-Backup-Cameras.html
On-Dash/Rearview Mirror display: This is an aftermarket display that you either place on top of your dash, or place over your rearview mirror. For these types of units, you’ll need to wire the signal wire from the back of the vehicle to the unit, similar to In-Dash Displays.
Wireless Displays: If you have purchased a wireless camera and display, there’s no wiring needed between the camera and display. Simply wire the display to a power source and follow the instructions to wirelessly connect it to the camera.
Check out the helpful video below to help get an idea on how to install your new backup camera: