3 best dashcam alternatives that you need to know

Nov 02, 2019 | Same topic: Let's Drive Smart!
Understanding the importance of dashcams and some of the best alternatives if you don't want a dashcam or don't have the budget to buy one.

Apart from making life easier for us, innovations help enhance security. You can find a lot of tools and gadgets meant for making homes, personal property, and even our vehicles more secure.

And we can’t be thankful enough! A vehicle is an expensive investment. More than just the convenience, safety on the road while driving is just as important. As such, a dashcam in your car can serve that specific purpose.

A dashcam can record everything that’s happening around your car. This is very useful in documenting an accident or crime. The problem is that not a lot of people do not see the value or need for this device. Needless to say, many think it's too expensive.

A dashcam

A dashcam can record everything that’s happening around your car

A vehicle is already expensive. Add the maintenance and gas budget to that, and you already have to allot a fortune for your car. But don’t worry because Philkotse.com is here to help. Whether you don’t have a budget for a dashcam or just don’t want to buy one, there’s a perfect alternative for you. Check out our recommended alternatives here:

While we did our best to source the best alternatives, there is nothing better than a dedicated dash cam with high-quality features. But if you think you can settle for less, there are still a handful of ways for you to get a similar dashcam effect. Here are some options you can consider:

1. Digital cameras

Yes, we are referring to the same digital cameras you use in everyday life or in really rare and special occasions. In fact, you can actually use any recording device that’s portable enough. But of course, it needs to have video capability. If you’re considering using your trusty digital camera, there are a few considerations that you need to ponder over.

digital camera

You can actually use any recording device that’s portable enough

>>> About dashcams: 

Using a digital camera as a dashcam

The main issue with using a digital camera is the storage. But let’s say that you equipped it with an SD card capable of large memory capacity. You would still have to tend to it because most digicams don’t have a looping function.

This means that your recorder will not be able to overwrite older data to record new ones. You will have to dedicate a few minutes of your time to delete the old recorded files manually.

This may sound fine at first. But if you’re a busy person with a lot of appointments every now and then, this could be a problem. You may eventually procrastinate and leave the manual deletion for later. You can even forget deleting them at all until it’s too late.

Another issue with using digital cameras is how they record the videos. By using a dashcam, you are able to record short films of the everyday travels from to and fro. But if you use a digicam, you end up recording one long video file instead.

Digital camera and SD card

You can actually use any recording device that’s portable enough

This “long video file” can last the whole duration of the recorded day (or longer). It may become hard for you to locate the exact event that you want to be looking at. Of course, you can just use the fast-forward feature.

But if your digicam has been recording for days, it may be hard for you to find the screen you need. This is especially tedious if you don’t remember when and on what date it happened.

Note: If you want to keep a few minutes or hours from the long recorded file, you can opt to do some editing. Of course, you can also have someone else to do it. But if you have streams of a video file and you only need a few vital cuts, this will juice out a lot of time from you.

>>> Also check:  Never Be Too Lax: Follow This Dashcam Installation Guide!

2. Surveillance devices

A dashcam is primarily meant to record the events that happen on the road while you’re driving. But they can also record events while the vehicle is parked.  If you want the “surveillance” functionality on for vehicle, you can opt for a surveillance device that isn’t classified as a dash camera.

These devices work more like dash cams. This is primarily because they are often used in homes and commercial buildings. They also have the same loop feature that records and overwrites old recorded data. They also create small video files instead of long, chunky streams.

surveillance devices

You can opt for a surveillance device that isn’t classified as a dash camera

Using a surveillance device as a dashcam

The main problem with using surveillance devices as the dashcam is power. Most surveillance devices run on battery power or 120V AC. If you have a surveillance device that needs to run on a 12V, you can power it via two options. You can either use a cigarette lighter inverter or a car power inverter. But of course, this could possibly drain your battery to a point where your car won’t even start.

Our tip: If you still want to use a surveillance device as a dashcam, we suggest that you include some kind of motion sensor. This way, the device would only turn on if there’s anything happening in front of it. This will save you on battery power, especially if you leave the car parked for a long time.

>>> Have you know 8 Great Benefits of Installing Dashcam In Your Car?

3. Smartphones

Applications that mimic the functionality of a dashcam are now available for smartphones and other smart devices. You can find available applications regardless if your device runs on Blackberry, Android, iOS, or Windows.

The apps could vary in design and functionality. It’s best that you try two or more before you choose the best for you. Like dash cams, these apps are set to record and overwrite data.

smartphone used as dashcam

Applications that mimic the functionality of a dashcam are now available for smartphones

The drawback is that you would need to start and run the app every time you take a drive. You would need a reliable phone mount. If this doesn’t bother you, you can start searching for the perfect app for you.


Hanna Sanchez

Hanna is one of the most competitive swimmers in the country during her day. It was not long before she discovered her passion for the automotive industry as well. Nowadays, she balances her passion through writing as well as coaching.