Many wonder if their dash cam will get stolen in their car if they leave it in over night or while parked in an urban area prone to theft. While it’s always a possibility that someone might break-in to your car with the intention of stealing your dash cam, you can greatly reduce your chances of this by buying a small and discreet dash cam that is somewhat hidden and less likely to be seen from the outside.
Main features of a stealth dash cam
Here are 4 main things to consider when buying a discreet or hidden dash camera:
- Mounting type: We recommend buying a dash cam that uses an adhesive mounting type rather than a suction cup mount. A suction cup mount will hang down lower and be more visible from the outside. The dash cams we have curated below use an adhesive mount.
- Dash cam color: You should try to avoid dash cams that have bright colors or chrome like trim highlights, as these will shine in the sun or under light and make it more visible.
- Wiring: You’ll want to make sure you will be able to run the dash cam wiring along your top headboard of your car so you don’t have a wire hanging down, drawing attention to the dash cam
- Video quality: When buying any car dash cam, we always recommend getting a car camera with 1080p video resolution or greater. All of the dash cams listed below are 1080p or higher.
Top 3 Hidden Dash Cams of 2021
How did we curate this list? Our Dash Cameras website has been online for more than 8 years. During that time we have personally tested over 100 dash cams. We only specialize in Dash Cameras, giving us more experience with car camera systems. Below is our recommendation for those that want a stealthy and hidden dash cam sold at a reasonable price and by a reputable company.
The B1W is our pick for the best budget hidden dash cam. This dash cam from Blueskysea keeps the overall design simple and stealthy with its all black tube shape and adhesive mount, allowing you to hide it right up behind your rear-view mirror.
It takes 1080p HD video and uses a Sony IMX323 image sensor, which is considered to be better than other cheaper image sensor brands and is capable of recording crisp and clear videos, both day and night. It has a 150 degree wide angle lens and the mount allows you to rotate the camera 360° (up and down).
Because of its small size it does not have a built-in LCD screen. In order to make camera setting changes or delete individual videos, you will need to use the free app on your smartphone in order to remotely connect to the B1W via wifi, making it a good hidden dash cam with wifi. With the app you can also download videos right on to your phone to save or share with others.
Parking mode with impact detection is an option with the B1W and with its built-in capacitor (rather than a battery) it will do better in high heats when parked in your car on hot summer days.
B1W Dash Cam Specs
- 1080p HD Video
- 150° Lens Angle
- Sony IMX323 Image Sensor
- Novatek GM8135S Processor
- No Display Screen
- Built-in WiFi
- 64GB microSD Card Capacity
- Capacitor Based Power
- Cheap price
- Sony image sensor
- Capacitor powered
- Buit-in Wifi
- Lacking more advanced parking mode features
- Single cam, no rear camera
- No GPS
Blueskysea B1W Video Sample
The Mini is one of the smallest dash cams sold by a leading manufacturer of dash cams. While there are some cheaper Chinese car cameras that are technically smaller in size, they lack a quality image sensor and processor. Garmin uses higher end sensors in their dash cams, ensuring you get good day and night video quality. It shoots 1080p HD video at 30 frames per second and has a 140 degree lens angle.
Garmin has a wide range of other dash cams and the Garmin Mini can be synced up with other Garmin brand car cameras if you plan on adding more to your car or truck at a later time.
Even with its small size and shape, it still has built-in wifi and Bluetooth, allowing you to remotely connect to the Garmin Mini Dash Cam with your iPhone or Android phone by using the free Garmin APP. This will allow you to download videos from the Mini Dash Cam directly on to your phone if you want to save the, which makes sharing videos with your car insurance company or the police easy.
The Dash Cam Mini has parking mode features that can detect motion while your car is parked and begin to record when you are away. This will require a separate hard wire kit or external battery to keep that dash cam powered when your car is off.
Garmin Dash Cam Mini Specs
- 1080p HD Video @ 30FPS
- 140° Lens Angle
- Built-in WiFi
- Built-in Bluetooth
- Parking Mode with Motion & Impact Detection
- 512GB microSD Memory Card Capacity
- Capacitor Based Power
- Small and discrete design
- Uses capacitor, better for high heat areas
- Can sync with other Garmin Dash Cams
- No GPS option
- 140° lens angle is a bit small
Garmin Mini Dash Cam Video Sample
We consider the BlackVue DR900S to be the all around best hidden dash camera for sale. The car camera is housed in a small black tube that uses an adhesive mount to stick close to your windshield. When it is mounted up by your rear view mirror and the wires are tucked away in the headliner area, it’s often difficult to see and looks almost like a factory installed part of the car and not a 3rd party car camera. When it comes to high end dash cameras, the DR900S is one of the smallest. The rear camera for your back window is an all black tube shape as well, but even smaller in overall size.
It records some of the highest quality video you can buy, with its 8-Megapixel CMOS sensor that captures real 4K video on the front camera. The rear camera records in 1080p HD video.
With the dual dash cam setup it will provide nearly 360 degrees of coverage around your car with motion detection while in parking mode.
Overall the DR900S is one of the most stealthy dual dash cam setups out there with all the advanced features that you can find on a car camera system.
BlackVue DR900S Dash Cam Specs
- 4K Front, 1080p Rear Video
- 8MP Image Sensor Front, 2MP Rear
- 162° Lens Angle Front, 162° Rear
- WiFi, Built-In
- GPS, Built-In
- 256GB microSD Memory Card Capacity
- Parking Mode and Motion Detection
- Capacitor Based Power
- Discreet all black, tube shaped design
- Real 4K video
- Dual dash cam setup with front and rear cameras
- Advanced parking mode features
- Priced higher than other lower end dash cams
BlackVue DR900S Video Sample
Things to consider when buying a small hidden dash cam
We recommend buying the smallest dash cam you can get that has all the important features, like full HD video, front and rear cameras, built-in wifi and GPS along with parking mode options.
Dash cameras used to be rather bulky and somewhat flashy with bright colors and decorative chrome like features. Now the trend is all black, in a small wedge or tube shaped body with a stealthy or discrete look to them. It is important to have a relatively hidden dash cam for your car as it will help prevent car break-ins and the theft of the dash camera itself and other items in your car.
There are a number of different body shapes that dash cameras come in, but the 2 most stealthy design types are the tube shaped dash cam and the wedge shaped cams.
Tube Shape VS Wedge Shaped
There are 3 main mounting types that dash cams can come with and will have a significant impact on how visible your dash cam will be in your car.
- Adhesive mounting type, that sticks to your windshield, which is meant to be permanent. Although the sticky pad is meant to stay on your windshield, you can still slide the main dash cam unit off the sticky pad mount if you wanted to temporarily remove the dash cam. An adhesive mount is the best option for a hidden dash cam, as it has the lowest profile and holds the dash cam close to the window.
- Suction cup mounting type. This was popular on dash cam years ago, but is becoming less and less common. A suction cup mount tends to have the dash cam hanging down, which makes it more visible from the outside. A suction cup mount can be a good option if you are switching cars, or using a rental car, but not a good long term option.
- Dashboard mounted camera. While “dash” cams got their name from a literal dashboard camera, often used by police, most consumer level dash cams are actually stuck up on the windshield rather than the actual dash of the car. There are however consumer grade dash cams that are mounted to your dash board. These are the most visible types of car cameras you can get, which can make you vulnerable to theft.