Our Top Pick for 2018: Esky EC170-09 Waterproof High Sensitive Color Universal Rear View Backup Camera
Read our full review.
Safety is an important topic nowadays especially when it comes to vehicles. One of the most dangerous actions we do when behind the wheel is backing up. It is dangerous because we humans simply do not have eyes in the backs of our heads. This lack requires us to turn our heads towards the rear of the vehicle and simultaneously try to steer. As if that were not difficult enough, we also must do this while not being able to see everything located to the rear of our vehicle. A good solution to this problem is a rear view camera.
Let’s Have a Quick Look of Our Top 4 Picks:
|License Plate Backup Camera, Esky Rear View Camera 170° Viewing Angle Universal Car License Plate...||1,412 Reviews||$29.99||Buy on Amazon|
|LED Backup Camera,Car Rear View Camera Waterproof High Definition 170 Degree Viewing Angle,Universal...||122 Reviews||$14.92||Buy on Amazon|
|Backup Camera，Esky Car Rear View 180° Viewing Angle 100% Waterproof High-Definition CCD 2 LED...||599 Reviews||$25.99||Buy on Amazon|
|Car Rover Night Vision Car Rear View Camera 170 Degree Rear-view Back-up and Parking Camera...||38 Reviews||$70.99||Buy on Amazon|
#1. Esky EC170-09 Waterproof High Sensitive Color Universal Rear View Backup Camera
This highly-rated rear view camera comes in a package that will include the camera itself, a 3.5 foot power cable, 20 feet of RCA video cable and a user manual. The camera is first mounted onto a black metal, chrome plate frame designed to fit over your license plate. Most users find the camera itself easy to install. Running the power and video cables is also a simple task for most consumers.
Designed to fit over a standard U.S. license plate size, its specific measurements are 12.21” x 6.34” x 1.06” (310 x 161 x 27 mm). With a weight of just 1.2 pounds, this backup camera barely adds any load to your vehicle. It is also almost invisible when mounted. When mounting the product, be sure to connect the DC12V power cable to the harness wires found on the tail light assembly in the backup light. For those who may not be experienced in this area, note that the red wire is positive while the black one is negative. Although the camera itself offers an IP-67 weatherproofing rating, care should be taken when installing to prevent damage to seals.
The camera will be connected to the monitor itself via the 20 foot RCA cable. It is important to note that this camera only provides an NTSC image. Although the sensing area is a generous 4.08 x 3.10mm and has 510 x 496 effective NTSC pixels, this camera must be paired with a monitor that also supports the NTSC video system. Speaking of that monitor, this camera provides 420 TV lines of horizontal resolution and the video output is an RCA connector, 1.0V 75 ohm coaxial cable coated with polypropylene.
One of the most important features this product offers is its mirror image. This feature ensures that the user will see the same image as they see in their rear view mirror. Being able to see the same type of image you would see in your rear view mirror is key due to the many years spent learning to maneuver the vehicle in that manner.
Once installed, the lens of this camera can be adjusted to suit the driver’s preferences. Built-in distance scale lines allow the user to choose custom measurements. With a 170 degree viewing angle, drivers are easily able to see what’s behind the vehicle and beyond. Some users have complained that the colors are not completely accurate, but the CMOS (PC1030) image sensor system does provide clear day-time pictures. At night, users can depend on the 8 IR red LEDs to provide excellent night vision even in light as low as 0lux at F2.0.
The camera is operated via the reverse gear shift. Simply put, whenever you put your vehicle into reverse, the camera will turn on to aid you in the process of backing up safely. The majority of users found this camera easy to use and even those who are highly discerning were satisfied with this product. One user cautioned that the camera frame might party obscure the name of your state, which may not be allowed by your state’s laws.
If any problems do occur with this product, consumers can contact the manufacturer for assistance. Returns are allowed up to 30 days after purchase and users report that the company is quite willing to replace any defective items during the first 12 months of ownership. Furthermore, the manufacturer provides lifetime support for this product. Overall, this camera is definitely the best camera for its cost and users can purchase it with confidence.
#2. CHETOO LED Waterproof High Definition Backup Camera
For those who might not wish to have a frame attached around their license plate, this backup camera made by CHETOO can provide an alternative option. This tiny black camera is attached to a small mounting bracket that can be attached almost anywhere with the 2 screws included in the package. Examples of mounting locations are back bumper, license plate and the rear window.
With a total size of just 5.4 x 3.3 x 2.4 inches and a weight of only 7.8 ounces, this camera will be barely noticeable once mounted. Just like the previous camera, this camera is 100% waterproof and has a weatherproofing rating of IP-67. The complete package includes the camera, a DC power cable, a 33 foot AV cable and 2 screws for mounting. Note that as with many backup cameras, a monitor is not included in the package. When purchasing a monitor to use with this camera, be sure to acquire one that supports the NTSC video system and has an RCA input.
After mounting the camera securely to the vehicle, users should connect the DC 12V power cable to the harness wires found in the tail light assembly. As with the above camera, remember that red is positive and black is negative. Once power has been connected, string the AC cable (yellow wire) towards the front of the vehicle and attach it to your monitor. Finally, adjust the angle of the lens to a suitable position.
Once connected, this camera will provide you with a high definition color CCD image. With 480 TV lines of horizontal resolution and an effective pixel measurement of 648 x 488 pixels, this camera will more than meet your needs for a clear image. In addition, the lens is able to provide 170 degrees of viewing from its location ensuring that the user will not have any blind spots.
While this camera performs quite well in regular and low light, it does need the aid of 12 high brightness LED lights for operation in the dark. Most users report that these LED lights function quite well, but others have found them distracting. Nevertheless, the majority of users seem to feel that this is a good camera for the price and that it meets their performance expectations. Most consumers also stated that the small size was a benefit in terms of mounting the camera and preventing theft.
It is important to note that this camera does not offer a mirror image. As explained above, most vehicle operators are accustomed to looking in their rear view mirrors when backing up. The rear view mirror provides a mirror image of what it behind the vehicle. Having a rear view back up camera with the same type of image will prevent the driver from having to mentally switch between the two images.
No warranties were discovered for this particular product despite a rather detailed search. However, the majority of reviews found online indicate that although the camera was smaller than the consumer had expected, it worked correctly once properly installed.
#3. Esky EC180-19 100% Waterproof High-Definition Vehicle Rear View Backup Camera
The third choice is made by the same company as the top pick. This Esky rear view camera comes in a package that includes a DC power cable and a 19 foot AV cable. The camera is part of a black metal frame that is mounted onto the license plate via two pre-drilled holes. Users report that this makes mounting very quick and efficient. Users will also enjoy the IP-67 weatherproofing rating given to this product. This means that the frame and its electrical connections are protected against dust and against water up to 1 meter deep.
The weight and size of this product are definitely smaller than the other Esky camera described above. The Esky EC 180-19 weighs in at only 4.82 ounces (150 grams) and boasts tinier measurements of 9.84” x 1.03” x .79” (250 x 24.64 x 20 mm). Its thinner width makes it even less noticeable than the top pick when mounted.
After mounting the camera to the license plate, the user should connect the DC power cable to the harness wires in tail light assembly taking care to connect the wires correctly. The AV cable will then be strung to connect to the monitor. As with the other recommended Esky product above, this system uses the NTSC video system. Thus, be sure that you purchase a monitor that supports the same system. However, this camera offers 480 TV horizontal lines rather than just 420 giving you a sharper picture.
This product has some features not found in the top pick. First, rather than having a CMOS screen, it offers a CCD screen. Many reviewers state that this gives the camera a much clearer and sharper image, especially in low or bright light. Furthermore, the colors in this camera are much more accurate thanks to its RGB level of 960 x 720. It also offers optional pixel settings of 717 x 669 or 628 x 586.
Users are provided with 180 degrees in the viewing area which helps to eliminate dangerous blind spots. The consumer can also adjust the camera lens up to 45 degrees as needed. Backing up at night is assisted with two white flat LED lights. Some users report that these two lights are too bright for their preferences and that the product becomes too hot if incorrectly connected to a power source. Both of these issues seem to occur rarely given the high number of positive reviews.
The one feature that this product does not offer is a mirror image. Consumers should remember that a mirror image allows the driver to see the same image in his monitor that he would see in his rear view mirror. After multiple years of use of a rear view mirror, having a back up camera that showed a reversed image might lead to some confusion and possibly an accident.
As with all Hisgadget products, the EskyEC 180-19 comes with several warranties. First, users who are dissatisfied can request their money back up to 30 days after purchase. Any product that fails during the first 12 months of ownership will be replaced. Finally, the manufacturer offers a guarantee of lifetime support in the use of the product.
#4. Car Rover Night Vision Car Rear View Camera
For those looking to purchase a rear view camera at a really cheap price, this Car Rover night vision rear view camera is perfect. The specification of the product’s dimensions are listed as 5.6 x 3.3 x 2.1 inches. However, the camera itself is only 23mm x 29mm x 26mm. Converted to inches, this means that camera is about one inch long, one inch wide and one inch deep. It is also quite light at only 5.6 ounces.
The package comes with the camera itself, a DC-12V power cable, a video cable and an instruction manual written in English.
It offers the same weatherproofing rating as the other cameras at IP-67 and is rated to withstand a 6.8G level of shock. This black camera has a diagonal angle of 170 degrees and a horizontal angle of 90 degrees. The system functions using either the NTSC video system or the PAL system and is compatible with monitors using those same systems.
The image chip provides a one quarter color CCD image with effective pixels of 510 x 496 pixels for the NTSC system or 628 x 586 pixels for the PAL system. This HD camera provides clear images during the day and night with a transmission signal of 100 meters and 420 TV lines of resolution. The video input cable is a1.0V, 75 ohm coaxial cable coated with polypropylene.
Capable of operating in temperatures as low as -20 Celsius (-60 Fahrenheit), this economical camera can be installed on almost any car quite simply. Users should mount the camera, connect the power cable to the harness wire in the tail light assembly and then string the AV cable to the monitor.
It should be noted that this camera does not have a mirror image whose importance we have discussed above. Furthermore, it does not contain any LED lights to enhance the image during night time backups.
This product’s warranty only covers parts and users will have to contact the manufacturer for assistance. As a rather new product, the reviews available are fewer. However, for the price paid, those who have purchased have been quite happy with this product.
The most important factor to consider when purchasing a rear view back up camera is the picture itself. It will do the user no good if he purchases and installs the camera, but cannot see anything with it. Decide whether having a CMOS image or a CCD image is more important to you and consider the technical specifications such as effective pixels and TV lines of resolution. The monitor you purchase will also be a factor in obtaining a clear picture.
With years and years of relying on a rear view mirror to back up, drivers may find it quite difficult to learn to use a backup camera that does not offer a mirror image. Even if the user does manage to become accustomed to this difference, he may find that having one image in his rear view mirror and another in his rear view camera monitor is either distracting, confusing or both. This feature is highly recommended as a must by most users.
Given that you drive your vehicle in almost every type of weather, it is important for anything you attach to it to be weatherproof. Just think about the dirt, rain and snow that your vehicle is exposed to on a daily basis and you’ll realize why this feature is so important. While the camera itself may be both weather and waterproof, care must also be taken when installing the product to make sure that the wiring is also safe from the effects of weather.
Ease of Installation
While it would definitely be easier to purchase a car with a camera already installed, it is much more costly to do so. Thus, being able to purchase and easily install a rear view camera is an important factor to consumers. Most of these cameras are installed in a similar manner with the power coming from the harness wires in the taillight and the video cable being strung throughout the car’s interior to the monitor. Most people will find this easy to do, but you may need to consult a professional if difficulties are encountered.
If you plan to do all of your driving and backing up during daylight hours, then LED lighting may not be important for you. However, given that many vehicles are operated during the nighttime hours, LED lighting is a significant benefit. The number of LED lights can vary from camera to camera, so consumers should determine how much nighttime lighting they will need depending on their environment. For example, those living in a brightly lit city may not need this feature whereas those living in a rural area with little light may find that having a large number of LEDs is crucial.
Field of View
Rear view backup cameras offer a range of fields of view. Some can be as narrow as 60 degrees while others can be as broad as 210 degrees. Those will very small vehicles may find that the 60 degrees meets their needs. However, most users feel that 60 degrees simply does not offer enough of a viewing area to allow them to back up safely. On the other end of the spectrum, many users feel that 210 degrees is too much because it gives the feeling of being in a fishbowl. Most drivers find the range between 120 and 170 more than adequate for their needs.
Conclusion (Wrapping it up)
While it is clear that a rear view back up camera can greatly increase the level of safety while backing up a vehicle, it is also clear that consumers have a wide range of options to choose from. Choice is good, to be sure, but it also means that consumers should take the time to examine each option and its features carefully before making a purchase. For some, a basic cheap camera will suffice. Others will find that they require a higher quality product to be satisfied. No matter which option you choose, install it properly. Doing so will guarantee you an immediate improvement in successful backups.