Built-in backup cameras are a legally required safety feature in recently manufactured cars and trucks. However, drivers of older vehicles aren’t left in the dust. If you want to enjoy the additional peace of mind that comes along with having a better look behind you, you can modernize your ride with an aftermarket camera and monitor. While backup camera systems are more affordable than ever before, there are some things to consider before installing one.
Backup camera pros
- Easier parking. Whether you're navigating a tight garage or parallel parking on a busy street, getting a good view of what's behind you can help you avoid bumping into another vehicle or object.
- More confident driving. Some backup cameras can be set up for continuous monitoring. This lets you look at what's directly behind your car even when you aren't in reverse.
- No more blind spots. Backup cameras are usually mounted on the back of your vehicle, but some can be attached to the side, top or bottom of it to give you a peek at areas that would otherwise be hard to see.
- Easier trailer connections. Backing your truck up to a trailer hitch can be a frustrating task. A backup camera can help you line your vehicle up with your trailer.
- Audible warnings. Many backup cameras emit an alarm if you get too close to something behind you. This helps prevent scrapes and bumps, even if you aren't looking at the monitor directly.
- Easy setup. Today's wireless backup cameras are easier to install than wired options, as they reduce the number of connections you have to make.
Backup camera cons
- Low-resolution image quality. While full HD options are available, many low-cost monitor screens have poor contrast.
- Lenses get dirty. Backup camera lenses are subjected to dirt, salt and grime that can limit your visibility when you need it most.
- Wireless interference. Sometimes, a wireless monitor may become distorted or malfunction due to interference from other devices.
- False confidence. Some drivers are lured into a false sense of security, relying entirely on technology when they should also use their side and rearview mirrors to ensure optimum safety.
- Wired installation can be challenging. If you opt for a wired connection, you may be in over your head. Wired cameras are best installed by those confident in their ability to disassemble parts of their vehicle.
- More distractions. While a backup camera's safety benefits are undeniable, sticking another object on your windshield that displays a video feed can be distracting.
- Bright displays. A bright display suddenly turning on during night driving can leave you temporarily blinded and forced to wait for your eyes to recover.
Best backup cameras
This durable camera allows for excellent vision in dark environments. It wirelessly transmits images to the included monitor and can be used in any direction.
This camera and monitor kit can be connected to your reverse lights so that it only turns on when you back up or powered by your car’s power point for constant use. It produces a full HD image with crystal clarity and optional guide lines for easier parking.
Designed specifically for RV drivers, this kit’s large 7-inch monitor is great for added visibility while towing a trailer as well. It transmits wirelessly, so there are no long cables to connect and hide.
With two power options, a full HD display and full-color night vision at a low price, this kit provides amazing value compared to the competition. Its monitor has two video inputs, letting you add a second camera for additional surveillance.
Designed specifically to attach to your license plate easily, this tiny camera is waterproof and captures an HD image. It can be angled up or down to point it where you need it.
This camera features 12 LEDs to brightly illuminate dark environments. It includes a mounting bracket for your license plate as well as one that can be used to attach the camera to the bottom or top of your vehicle as well.
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Derek Walborn writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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