Dash cameras vs. GoPros: Which one is more appropriate for your vehicle?

Dash cameras and GoPros are two products intended for different purposes.

A dash camera is a small video camera that can be mounted on your vehicle’s dash near the windshield and can run on a continuous loop to provide video evidence in the event of an accident, traffic stop, vandalism or fraud. Many dash cameras have a small screen that gives you visual confirmation that they’re recording. Dedicated dash cams are also cheaper than the new GoPro.

A particular brand of small action camera, a GoPro has better video and audio quality than a dash camera and certain models can also loop video if connected to a smart phone.  Generally, a GoPro is used for making short videos for entertainment purposes, extreme sports activities and weather events.

Battery Life

The average battery life of a GoPro is slightly less than two hours. The stock dash mount and housing for this action camera doesn’t allow for non-stop power or external power packs, and both solutions had been recognized to cause overheating problems in normal temperature environments. There are lots of experts who’ve created custom mounts and charging structures, but asking the average consumer to create their charging harness and the mounting ring is a tall order.

Dash cameras are designed to be powered by the car charger, without the overheating or wiring issues. They often come with wire management equipment to stop the problem of wiring them in, and their internal batteries are more beneficial (and much less trouble-laden) than the GoPros’ battery. Dash cameras are designed for the task.

Recording Features

With a dash cam, the moment the car starts, the camera does too. All dash cams from reputable manufacturers use power and motion sensors to control recording, letting users drive fear-free.

Using a GoPro, on the other hand, can be trouble, as you have to turn it on, verify the recording mode, hit record, and manually turn it off while you stop. A technique that’s affordable when you’re shooting a time lapse on a road trip, but one that could speedily become a problem if you are pressured to do it every day.

Theft Threat

GoPro cameras are expensive, visually excellent, and popular. There’s a lively resale market for action cameras and GoPro cameras are a big target for thieves. Leaving a GoPro hooked up on your dash will turn your car into a target for a smash and grab.

Dash cameras, on the other hand, are designed to be small, discreet, and hard to be noticed. A well-position dash cam makes a perfect protection tool; even a GoPro can regularly be a security risk.

User Controls

Dash cams are designed for use on the go. With rear screen and easily accessible buttons, it’s relatively easy to adjust your settings while you’re driving (whether you should or not is another story).

GoPros have three buttons, a small front screen, and no overview features. And while it’s possible to purchase attachable screens or to connect your mobile phone to the camera, these characteristics are complex, battery-draining, and expensive.

Overheating Issues

Left out in the sun, a vehicle can quickly heat up to up to over 120 degrees on a 78-degree day. This can be a problem for dash cameras and especially GoPros. According to the GoPro support page, they will automatically shut down when they attain 125 degrees, which creates a narrow operating range for users.

If you were to purchase and use either camera, you would probably need a way to detach and keep off the dash when your vehicle is parked and in the sun.


Dash cameras are the best bet for everyday driving due to cost, durability and effectiveness. If you want to drive somewhere, then stop and take video, a GoPro could be a great choice especially if mounted to a helmet or bicycle.

Rachel Stinson has always had a knack for writing, food, fashion, and places. Blogging has combined all four for her with an added bonus of enthusiastic audiences. She expertly analyzes real estates, restaurants and electronics stores with respect to pricing and people involved and can express her opinions in an unhesitant, engaging manner for all matters.

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