If you’ve got an older car or a newer car without the benefit of a backup camera fear not! We’ve put together a roundup of the best aftermarket backup cameras and reversing camera systems on the market along with a little bit of information about the installation process. Check out our picks below and read on to learn more!
The Best Wireless Backup Camera System
AUTO VOX Wireless Backup Camera Kit with HD Rearview Mirror Monitor
The Auto Vox Wireless reverse camera system comes with everything needed to install this backup camera in your car or truck. It’s a bit pricey at $140 and there are cheaper alternatives on this page but this one is wireless and can be installed in 10 minutes flat with minimal fuss. Another great feature is the HD Rear view mirror monitor. Rather than wasting console space or dealing with a more complicated monitor/display install, the Auto Vox system places the monitor on your rear view mirror. It’s a great setup.
An Alternative to our Winner…
Pyle PLCM7500 Car Vehicle Backup Camera & Monitor Parking Assistance System
The Pyle PLCM backup camera system is another viable alternative to the more expensive reverse cameras out there. Coming in at only $52.00 it’s a steal. It features a 7″ LCD screen and includes park assist which is a great feature. The system will actually display lines on the display when you’re reversing to show where you’re going and guide you. This is a wired system so the installation is a bit more complex but it’s still a DIY job for most.
Our Runner Up…
Backup Camera and Monitor Kit For Car,Universal Waterproof Rear-view License Plate Car Rear Backup Camera + 4.3 LCD Rear View Monitor
This rear view backup camera system is a lower priced option. Coming in at about $32.00 you can’t go wrong. It features a crystal clear, 4.3″ LCD display. The backup camera itself is housed in a mount designed to be fitted above your license plate. It’s advertised as universal fit at a great price. This reverse camera system has an average of 4 stars out of 5 on Amazon with almost 1000 reviews. Not bad for a sub $50 backup camera system
Choosing And Installing An Aftermarket Reversing Camera System
Choosing and Installing an Aftermarket Reversing Camera System
If you have a car with a long body, poor rear visibility, or just struggle with getting into tight parking spaces, a reversing camera can make a fantastic add on that can save your vehicle from expensive damages. Many newer high end cars come with a factory fitted reversing camera systems. The camera presents the driver with an image from the rear of the car, showing obstructions that may not be visible in the mirrors, and making gauging the distance to them simpler. Aftermarket reversing camera kits are now available for vehicles that do not come with a reversing camera fitted as standard equipment. This guide will help you explore some of the options available, and how they can be fitted to your car, van or truck.
Reversing cameras come in all shapes and sizes, designed to be embedded into the bodywork, or attached at some suitable mounting point. The type and size of rear view camera you choose depends on your vehicle and personal preference, but ideally they should be as unobtrusive as possible, and provide a clear view behind you. There are even some kits that contain both a reversing camera and parking sensors to make things even easier.
Reversing Camera Placement
The best place for your camera is on the central point of the vehicle. It can be fitted low down (giving a better field of view) or high up looking downwards (restricting the field of view, but making distance simpler to judge). The middle of the rear bumper is ideal, but on some vehicles (especially vans) above the rear doors can also be suitable. You may be lucky and find that there is an aftermarket camera designed specifically for your vehicle – these usually replace a number plate or plate light and give a fantastic ‘factory fitted’ look.
Universal cameras are designed to be either to be mounted on a suitable fixing point, or embedded in plastic or metal bodywork. The embedded cameras give a better refined look, and are less prone to damage, but do entail cutting a rather large hole in the bodywork! The exterior mounted cameras are attached with screws or high strength adhesive pads, which in theory makes them removable.
As well as on the back of a vehicle, a reversing camera could be attached to a trailer or caravan to give better rear visibility – our wireless reversing cameras kits are ideal. For caravan or trailer users, a camera on the towing vehicle also makes hitching up much simpler. Some cameras come with built in lights, normally LEDs as they are bright and don’t use much power. These are fantastic if you park a lot in dark areas, or your built in reversing lights are poor.
Getting Power the Rear View Camera
Your reversing cameras will need a 12v power supply. The power will connect either to a separate control box wired to the camera, or a cable that feeds directly to the camera itself. In either case the best place to power these is from wiring connecting the reversing lights. That way, when you engage reverse, the reversing light bulb comes on AND the camera gets power at the same time – simple!
If the camera is a vehicle specific one and replaced a backup light unit, you may need to reconnect it to the power supply for that rear light as well, so the light is turned on appropriately. For example, if it replaced a number plate light it needs to have power when the dimmed or main lights are on.
Reversing Camera Image Show
If you already have a built in Sat-Nav or in car entertainment screen, you may have a spare input that you can connect the camera to. Even if you don’t, it may be possible to use an additional wiring harness to allow multiple inputs .
If you do not have an existing screen, most reversing camera kits are available with an add-on LCD screen that can be attached to your dashboard. The screen will generally require it’s own power which can be from any 12v power supply – the cables supplying 12v power to the radio are often in a excellent position for this.
Connecting the Reversing Camera to the Screen
To get the image from the rear view camera to the screen, you can use either a wired or wireless camera system.
The wired systems are simple – a cable is run from the camera to the screen. The cables are best run inside the vehicle to protect them from the elements, and can usually be hidden under carpets or other equipment. Wireless cameras will have a transmitter attached to the camera (usually a separate box), and a receiver for the screen.
Tips for Choosing a Reversing Camera/ Rear View Camera System
If your existing screen only accepts PAL or NTSC signals, ensure the camera outputs in a suitable format. Many systems are compatible with both.
Wide angle cameras give a wider viewing angle, and are generally more useful. 120 degrees or more gives a decent view, but lesser angles are still useful if mounted centrally.
Depending on your needs, is can be useful if the camera has additional LED lighting, night vision mode or both to help in parking at night. Most cameras are designed to operate well even in low light levels.
A mirrored imaging mode (where the image is showed as a mirror image) is often simpler for reversing as it shows the same as you would see in a mirror.
Use a camera specifically designed for vehicles rather than a general purpose mini camera, as they will be waterproof and shock Resistant. The cameras available on this page meet the recommendations outlined above.