In the UK, the habit of accessorising and adding aftermarket pieces to cars is seen as something reserved for a certain demographic. But aftermarket doesn’t necessarily mean big spoilers and cavernous exhausts. It can also mean genuinely useful parts such as dash cams, parking sensors, daytime running lights, tracking devices, or reversing cameras.
Reversing cameras are an extremely helpful aid to those of us who struggle with spatial awareness. We don’t like to admit it but reversing a car does not come naturally to everyone and woe betide any passenger who dares point out, “you seem to be struggling with reversing, would you like me to do it?”.
Which aftermarket reversing cameras are worth buying?
This is the crux of the issue. There are swathes of reversing camera systems about and a lot of them are cheap, and a lot of these are terrible and don’t work properly.
What we have done here is separate the gold from the gravel to present you with a number of reversing camera options that all work, albeit slightly differently. The main thing all our picks have in common is that the brands from which they come are all reputable and have been around for years.
The best reversing cameras:
Auto-Vox Solar 1
Easiest to install
For convenience, look no further. The Solar 1 set from Auto-Vox is the easiest reversing camera to fit. The camera is solar-powered, so you donu2019t have to wire it to the reversing light for power. Furthermore, the connection between the camera and dashboard display screen is wireless.
The solar panel is perfectly adequate for charging the 2.8Ah battery, which, in turn, powers the camera. Auto-Vox says that if the solar panel gets 30 minutes of sunlight per day on average, you need only top up the battery (via USB) once a year. The screen needs to be powered by plugging it into the 12V plug in your car, but the charger has a USB port so you can still use it for phones or other devices.
One of the reasons we like the Solar 1 beyond the easy setup, is the strong and uninterrupted signal. In many cheaper wireless units, the transmission can be sketchy. But not here.
|• Fairly good value||• Video quality could be better|
|• Exceptionally easy to set up|
|• Solar panel works well|
|• Easy to put on|
In Phase DINY603B-W
Best rear view mirror reversing camera
A lot of people donu2019t want yet another screen on their caru2019s dashboard. Fair enough, and this reversing camera kit alleviates this concern.
Like the Auto-Vox Solar 1, the In Phase DINY603B-W uses a strong, reliable wireless signal to transmit the image; the difference of course being that the image appears on the supplied replacement rearview mirror. It’s a slightly more fiddly setup because the camera needs to be wired up (you can get it professionally installed if you don’t want to do this yourself), but still a straightforward process.
The image quality is fine, it could be better but we prefer the smooth transmission to remain the priority – which it has.
|• No extra screen required||• Auto-Vox Solar 1 is easier to set up|
|• Smooth wireless transmission|
|• 170-degree wide angle camera|
TOGUARD CA711 Reversing Camera
Best for larger vehicles
There is a trade-off with this reversing kit from TOGUARD: you get good image quality and a large screen, however, itu2019s a fully wired system and demands time to install.
This is best for large vehicles such as motorhomes or vans because the extension cable is a healthy 15 metres and the 7-inch screen is quite large and may look a little odd squeezed onto the dashboard of your Volkswagen Polo.
But the camera is superb. It gives a 120-degree field of view and is high quality – both day and night because it has 18 infrared LEDs. There are a couple of installation methods - you can hardwire it to come on automatically when the vehicle goes into reverse, the less fiddly option is to just plug the monitor into the cigarette lighter but will require being turned on and off manually.
|• High quality video||• Not wireless|
|• Great value||• A bit big for medium-sized and small vehicles|
|• Excellent night vision|
Auto-Vox TD-2 Reversing Camera
Best value wireless reversing camera
The Auto-Vox TD-2 gives you wireless value. Installation is essentially the same as the In Phase DINY603B-W: all you need to do is get a power source to the camera and youu2019re away. Attaching the camera is easy, just use the 3M adhesive pad provided to plaster it to your caru2019s bumper u2013 and donu2019t scoff, it really stays in place.
The 110-degree field of view is good for giving enough of a wide view, plus you can actually change the parking lines on the 4.3-inch monitor to whichever suits you best. We like this kit because it’s simple and it works as it should. Like the other Auto-Vox kit above, the car charger for the monitor has a USB socket too.
|• Stable wireless transmission||• Image quality so-so|
|• Easy to install|
|• Subtle screen|
Garmin BC30 Reversing Camera
For use with Garmin satnavs
Along with many people, you may already have a Garmin satnav screen on your caru2019s dashboard and not wish to add another screen. One option is the In Phase DINY603B-W above; another is to get this reversing camera kit specifically for use with Garmin satnavs.
What we like about this kit is that you can have multiple cameras linked to it. It comes with one, but you can purchase another to use at the front of the car too if you wish. The camera’s signal is transmitted wirelessly to the Garmin satnav screen.
When wired to the reversing lights for power, the camera will be triggered and the image automatically displayed on the satnav screen. Very simple and effective, if not a little pricey.
|• Simple and effective||• Relatively pricey|
|• A natural choice for Garmin satnav owners|
Nextbase Rear Camera Modules
In a similar vein to the Garmin BC 30, if you already own a Nextbase 322GW, 422GW, 522GW, or 622GW dashcam, consider buying a rearview module instead.
The reason being, they are cheaper than a reversing camera kit, much easier to fit, and still work fairly well. Your options are the Click-in Rear View module or the wired Rear Camera module. The former plugs directly into the side of the dashcam, facing backwards through the car and out the back. This sounds silly but it actually works rather well, as we discovered when testing the 522GW and 622GW. The latter goes on the back window.
Select the “Reversing Camera” option under the “Driver Assistance” menu and the image from the rear camera will be put up on full screen, helping you see. Just remember to place the dash cam somewhere the driver can see the screen.
In truth, these camera modules aren’t as good as the proper reversing cameras, but they certainly help in today’s cars that have a love affair with hatchbacks and small, tinted rear windows.
|• Affordable for Nextbase dash cam owners||• Dedicated reversing cameras give better vision|
|• High image quality|