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A guide to dash cam SD cards

A guide to dash cam SD cards

One area we regularly get questions about when it comes to dash cams is what are the best memory/SD cards for dash cams? Questions range from what type of storage card is needed, what the class rating on the cards mean and how much video can be recorded per gigabyte?

We’ve attempted to answer these questions and more with the below guide to dash cam memory cards:

What type of memory card do I need for my dashcam?

While there are a lot of different types of memory cards out there, nearly all dashboard cameras use Micro SD cards. These are just 15mm by 11mm, so are very small, but can can pack a lot of storage.

How much storage you opt for in your SD card is entirely up to you, as dash cams typically support 8GB, 16GB and 32GB cards. Some of the newer models even support 64GB Micro SD cards.

As well as the storage capacity they hold, SD cards also have a class rating on them which indicated how fast data can be written and stored onto it – with the higher the class rating the faster the data can be recorded onto it. You will find that most dash cams these days require class 6 or class 10 rated SD cards, however don’t be fooled into thinking the higher the class the better. Some dash cams may struggle to cope with a memory card that is too fast so it can cause problems with the recording process.

As long as you have purchased your dash cam from a reputable source then you should be able to easily find out what class of SD memory card is compatible with it. Our advice is then to not go too much above the class stated by the manufacturer.

How much dash cam footage will my SD card hold?

How much you can record onto your dash cam depends on a few factors, the most important being the bit-rate of your dashboard camera. This figure indicated how much data your camera can process at any one time, and the higher the bit-rate the better quality of recording – which means more storage is required.

As well as the bit-rate, the screen resolution you choose to record in will also determine how much footage you can store on your SD card. Most modern dash cams now give you a choice of resolutions e.g. 1080p or 720p which refers to the numbers of frames-per-second that are stored. So again, if you opt for a higher resolution to get better quality recordings then it will impact the amount you can store on the SD card.

Our tip is to choose as low a resolution as required – as long as you can clearly see what is happening on the road and can read car registration numbers then you are fine. Anything higher is not necessary.

Dash cams can also record and store other forms of data like sound, GPS and g-sensor information, all of which can take up space on your SD card.

As a basic guideline for some for some popular dashboards cameras, here’s how much footage can be recorded:

CameraBitrate (kbps)8GB16GB32GB
Mobius18,0001 hour2 hours4 hours
Mini 080112,0001½ hours3 hours6 hours
G1W15,0001¼ hours2½ hours5 hours
BlackVue DR3500-FHD10,0001¾ hours3½ hours7 hours
Mi-Witness HD10,0001¾ hours3½ hours7 hours
BlackVue DR650GW-2CH11,7001½ hours3 hours6 hours