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We recommend dash cams to all our readers because we want everyone to stay as safe as possible out there! A dash cam can help to protect you from liability should you become involved in an accident, and can also help potentially get you out of other issues like traffic violations. But if you leave your car parked on the street, you’ll want a discrete camera in order to avoid car break-ins and theft. Below, find our pick for the best hidden dash cam of 2021.
Why Use a Hidden Dash Cam?
There are tons of dash cams out there, some large, some small, some expensive, some cheap. What is a “hidden” dash cam anyways? And why use one?
In our mind, a hidden dash cam is just a normal dashboard camera that is small enough that it can be easily hidden away. By making it difficult to see from outside the car, you can discourage theft and car prowls. And in the case of insurance fraud, vandalism, etc. you can record the actions of others without them knowing there is a camera involved.
You might consider getting a hidden camera for car use if you live in a high crime area or if you park your car on the street regularly. Additionally, some people prefer these lower-profile cams simply because they are unobtrusive and convenient. Once installed, you pretty much never even notice them – until an accident happens, and you actually need to review the footage!
What is the Best Hidden Dash Cam?
To narrow down our list of recommendations to just a top 3, we utilized a combination of manufacturer specs, customer reviews, and our own experience with these cameras. Enjoy!
The Street Guardian SG9665GC is a great mid-range camera and our pick for best hidden dash cam for 2021. Its compact, discrete design makes it easy to hide behind your rear-view mirror, providing a hidden witness to everything that happens on the road in front of you. Beyond its ease of use and compact design, it’s also just an excellent all-around camera, sporting HD recording quality, WDR technology for night recording, GPS recording, and more.
- Small and easy to hide
- Comes with an SD card
- 1080p HD recording
- Wide dynamic range excellent night vision recording
- Built-in GPS capabilities
- Huge recording capacity
- Excellent reviews
- 1-year warranty included
- Click here to learn more
Keeping with the theme of the best hidden dash cam, the Aukey dash cam fits behind your rear view and is considered to be a low profile dash cam that offers stealth protection. Despite being hidden, the Sony Exmor Sensor will capture everything it sees in a crisp 1080p resolution.
- Very small, stealth design
- Easy to install/mount
- Sits behind your rear-view mirror where it can go unnoticed
- Films in 1080p with Sony Exmor Sensor
- 2-year warranty is included
- Hundreds of positive customer reviews
- Click here to learn more
3. Pruveeo F5
The Pruveeo F5 is a small, affordable camera that is quite easy to hide. It’s not the smallest on this list, so it didn’t earn the title of best hidden dash cam, but it’s a solid camera all around. And at a budget-friendly price (around $40), it’s tough to beat!
- Small, discrete design
- Recording quality up to 1080p (720p by default)
- Controllable via smartphone app
- Wide angle lens
- 1-year warranty
- Great reviews
- Click here to learn more
How to Install Dash Cams Discretely
The small dash cams we recommend on this list are chosen for their unobtrusive, discrete nature. That said, you’ll still want to install them in a way that minimizes their profile. But what’s the best way to install a hidden dash cam?
Generally speaking, the best place to put one is behind your rear-view mirror. As you can see in the image above, if properly installed behind your rear-view mirror, it’s pretty hard to notice from the inside of the vehicle. Even from the outside, it often just looks like part of the rear-view mirror. Unless someone is specifically looking for it, it’ll be hard to notice.
With that said, here are some tips to hide your dash cam once its installed:
- Purchase a small, discrete cam like the ones recommended here
- Hide the wires by snaking them around the vehicle’s windshield, under the ceiling components
- Hide the cam itself by placing it near the top of the windshield, ideally in the shaded area
- If you live in a high-crime area, consider removing your dashcam at night
Once you have it installed, step out of your car and see how it looks from the outside. Is it noticeable? Is there another place you can put it to make it more discrete? It’s very important to review your work from the outside to see how things look.
How We Chose the Best Hidden Dash Cams
There are plenty of things we took into consideration when looking for the right hidden dash cam for car usage. Sure, you want a secret dash cam, but beyond the ability to be stealthily placed, there are a variety of other options to consider before you choose which dash cam you’ll buy. With that in mind, here are some factors we considered and that you should consider too, when choosing a discreet dash cam. These and other factors helped us choose the recommended hidden dash cam for car list.
Size – If you want a discreet dash cam, size is going to be an important factor. The ability to hide your dash cam in a small, tucked away spot is going to depend partially on the size of the camera. Luckily, there are a variety of options that are small enough to be tucked in and go unnoticed whether your car is being driven or parked. Keep in mind, a dash cam might not always be marketed as a hidden dash cam for car use, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it as such if the size is right (check our top mini dashboard cam pick for more info).
Value – Like other types of dash cams, you can find some great deals on discreet or secret dash cams. Of course, it’s important to remember that if the price is lower, you’re probably going to suffer in other areas – usually with lower video or audio quality. While you can find a good deal, make sure that you check the features and camera specs, so you know exactly what you’re going to get. If You need cheap dash cam, chek our best cheap dash cam pick.
Picture Quality – This is one of the most important features to consider because ultimately, you’re going to want the best camera footage possible, whether you have a discreet dash cam or something that goes unhidden. Some models offer 720p, which isn’t necessarily bad, but for a small upgrade in price you can find 1080p or in some cases 1440p. At the end of the day, the better quality means an easier way to show what happened if a situation arises. You can also get license plates and other important information if your dash cam is of a higher quality. Consider checking the top 4k dash cam if picture quality is important to You.
Ease of Setup – If you lack any kind of technological knowledge, you can have Geek Squad install your hidden dash cam. If you don’t want to spend an extra $50 (or more, depending on the service you choose, you’ll want to make sure that the installation instructions are easy to follow. Many of the secret dash cams we chose are easy to install and come with adequate instructions to ensure that most people can install their dash cam with minimal problems. If you do find problems, customer tech support should be able to help you.
Display – Hidden dash cams vary a little bit where the display is concerned, because you want a unit that is small enough and discreet enough to remain hidden. Often, a 2 to 3-inch screen is going to make the device more noticeable. If display is an issue for you and you want one that is easy to manipulate, you might want to consider something like the YI Mirror, which is installed in your existing rearview mirror and offers a convenient touchscreen display that can be manipulated before use. We have a list of other mirror-mounted dash cams as well.
Added Features – There is no shortage of features on even the simplest dash cam. If you have a few in mind that you want, you can find the right secret dash cam quite easily. Some popular options for added features include things like Wi-Fi, parking surveillance, GPS, driver fatigue alerts, night vision, dual cameras, and more.
Warranty – Make sure you’ve looked at how long the warranty lasts, also. Whether you pay a small amount or get a luxury, higher-end hidden dash cam, you want something that the company stands behind. In our research, we found dash cams that offered everything from a 30-day warranty to up to 2 years.
Why Our Opinion Counts
Here at EducatedDriver, we strive to offer you everything you need to know to find the right hidden dash cam for car usage for you!
We are proud that our work has been featured in publications like Bustle, MarketWatch, Chron, Thrillist, RD.com, and others.
We start by spending hours personally researching these products to determine what features are offered and if they live up to the product claims. From actual performance to durability and quality of build, we consider all factors when making our recommendations.
From there, we consider third-party verified customer reviews and how the product is handled in the manufacturing process. This allows us to narrow down the best options in any given category – in this case a hidden dash cam for car use.
Want more info? Check out:
- Our pick for the best dash cam
- Best SD cards for dash cam
- Our picks from the dash cam categories: