10 Best Backup Cameras | April 2017

We spent 33 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. When technology solves a potentially lethal problem, why not take advantage of it? These backup cameras can prevent a pesky ding or a major accident. All models in our selection give you a great rear view, with some packages offering everything from wireless convenience to front-facing cameras, too. Skip to the best backup camera on Amazon.
10 Best Backup Cameras | April 2017
Overall Rank: 7
Best Mid-Range
★★★
Overall Rank: 1
Best High-End
★★★★★
Overall Rank: 2
Best Inexpensive
★★★★★
10
The Cosmic Optix CO-JY-N33 is protected inside a sturdy, weatherproof polished zinc-alloy casing. It has an extra wide 170-degree viewing angle so you won't miss anything in your path and it works with most factory and aftermarket dash monitors.
  • downloadable instruction videos
  • budget-friendly price
  • picture clarity isn't the best
Brand Cosmic Optix
Model LYSB00SI9E330-ELECTRNCS
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0
9
The Boss Audio BV430RVM boasts a 4.3-inch swivel and tilt monitor with a 480 x 234 screen resolution and two video inputs for your connection needs. This system is also backed by a 3-year warranty. But the mounting bracket is finicky.
  • low power consumption at 7 watts
  • sleek and lightweight design
  • screen is hard to see in sunlight
Brand BOSS Audio
Model BV430RVM
Weight 2.1 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0
8
The Pyle PLCM7500 includes a low-light-vision equipped rear view camera, as well as a large, suction-cup-mounted screen for the inside of your vehicle. However, using the cigarette lighter to power the monitor is quite inconvenient.
  • intuitive distance-line mode
  • true color reproduction
  • the plastic components are cheap
Brand Pyle
Model PLCM7500
Weight 2.1 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
7
The Esky 7-Inch dual rear view camera system is a good value for RV owners experiencing trouble with large blind spots. Its rear-view camera powers on automatically when shifting into reverse gear. The company's customer service, unfortunately, is quite poor.
  • comes with a remote
  • aerospace-type cinch connectors
  • installation takes a long time
Brand Esky
Model LYSB007OOU77G-ELECTRNCS
Weight 4.8 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0
6
The Rear View Safety RVS-770812N features a backup camera with a built-in heater for withstanding the coldest temperatures. Its 50-foot viewing range delivers superior and dependable visibility regardless of where you travel.
  • 28 infrared lights
  • aircraft cable is included
  • it's rather expensive
Brand Rear View Safety
Model RVS-770812N
Weight 5.6 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0
5
The Tadibrothers 5-Inch Monitor is compatible with almost any car. Its silver CCD license plate backup camera is adjustable and easy to install by simply working your license plate screws directly through its mounting brackets.
  • high-quality camera lens
  • multiple video inputs
  • only 120 degrees of visibility
Brand TadiBrothers
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
4
The 7-inch digital mirror monitor built into the Rear View Safety RVS-770619P provides distance grid lines, and attaches to the rearview mirror inside your vehicle. Its 3-channel multiplexer also allows you to connect a DVD player.
  • camera is weatherproof
  • shock resistant to a 20 g impact
  • mounting hardware is included
Brand Rear View Safety
Model RVS-FSeries
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0
3
The Condor Curve combines the functionality of a digital video recorder and camera into a uniform design. Its front-facing and rear backup cameras deliver a nearly 360-degree view of your surroundings in full 1080p resolution.
  • simultaneous recording
  • built-in lcd preview screen
  • 16-gigabyte sd card is included
Brand Condor
Model LYSB014VFNTSY-ELECTRNCS
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0
2
Boasting a 4.3" LCD monitor, the Chuanganzhuo CAZBCMKT001 provides an easy-to-use rear viewing experience for a significantly reduced price compared to the rest of the market. Its brand name betrays its country of origin, and its long-term durability may suffer from this.
  • 420 lines of resolution
  • ip67 waterproof grade
  • 648 x 488 effective pixels
Brand Chuanganzhuo
Model CAZBCMKT001
Weight 15.2 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0
1
Perfect for farm tractors, buses, or trailers, the Xiqi Backup Monitor System offers a 9-inch wireless, full-color LCD monitor that provides a clear, sharp display day and night. Its waterproof IR camera also has 18 infrared LEDs.
  • radio-wave digital receiver
  • 100-meter range for wireless signal
  • monitor has a removable sun visor
Brand XIQI
Model LYSB00MKVXUWW-ELECTRNCS
Weight 5.5 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

The First Backup Cameras

Most of us didn't see our first backup camera until the mid to late 2000's, so it might surprise you to learn that the first backup camera was actually installed in the 1956 Buick Centurion concept car. It was debuted at the General Motors Motorama and it used the backup camera to replace the rear-view mirror entirely. Of course nowadays, we know that even the best backup cams shouldn't be a total replacement for a rear-view mirror, but rather something that can be used in conjunction with one for safer vehicle operation.

The first production car that had a backup camera factory installed was the 1991 Toyota Soarer Limited. The backup cam option was only available in Japan and not offered on the U.S. model, which was known as the Lexus SC. A CCD camera was installed on the rear spoiler and the video image was displayed on an electro multi-vision (EMV) screen, which was also used to control the vehicle's audio components, a hands-free phone, and, if installed, a GPS navigation system.

In April of 2000, Nissan introduced the first car with an integrated backup camera intended for sale in North American markets at the New York International Auto Show. It was in their flagship sedan, the Q45, and featured a license plate-mounted camera and an in-dash 7" monitor to view the image. It was the first unit that had colored onscreen guidelines to give you parking distance parameters and was officially launched for mass market sale in March of 2001. In 2002, the Nissan Primera introduced backup cam systems to markets outside of North America and Japan.

Types Of Backup Cameras

When it comes time to pick a backup camera for your vehicle, you'll be presented with three different kinds. You can choose a flush-mounted option, a license plate-mounted model, or a surface-mounted one. Each of these options has its own benefits and drawbacks, and each is best suited for a certain type of application.

For the standard passenger vehicle, a flush-mounted camera is a suitable option and the kind that often comes factory installed. These are mounted through a hole in the vehicle's body and are practically imperceptible at a casual glance. It provides a view that is most often directly level with the road, which can be a slight drawback as it doesn't offer a high degree of depth perception. The great thing about this type of camera is the clean and professional look, which doesn't detract from the vehicle's style. Unfortunately it can be a bit intimidating to install yourself, as you'll have to drill a hole in your car's body.

A license plate-mounted option can be a good choice for the average person looking to do the installation themselves. It attaches to existing license plate mounting screws, so you don't have to drill any holes. The drawback is that this style is a bit bulky and anyone can easily see that it was an aftermarket installation.

Surface-mounted cameras, while still noticeable as aftermarket installations, are considerably smaller than the license plate-mounted models and offer a cleaner look. They do require you to drill some holes, but this can often be done on the bumper of your car as opposed to the body, so installation isn't too intimidating. This type is also a good choice for larger recreational vehicles as they can be aimed downwards to aid in parking, as they provide a good amount of depth perception.

In each of these types, you'll be able to find all-in-one systems that include a camera and a display, and camera-only systems that can connect to your car's current in-dash screen.

Backup Cameras And The Law

There is no arguing that having a backup camera system installed in your car can save lives and prevent injuries. Roughly 200 people die each year from light vehicle backup-related accidents, with another 15,000 injured in some way. Over 30% of these deaths and injuries are children under the age of 5, presumably because they are short enough that they cannot be seen in the rear-view mirror. Despite the shockingly high number of incidents that happen when vehicles are backing up, it took a lawsuit to get the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to act.

The NHTSA has finally passed a ruling that requires all new light vehicles manufactured that are under 10,000 pounds to have some kind of rear visibility by May of 2018. This means that every car from the most expensive luxury models all the way down to the most affordable budget models will soon have a backup camera and some kind of dash or rear-view mirror monitor.



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Last updated on April 27 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.