What is the best micro SD card for use in a dash cam?
That is the question I set out to answer in this post.
My top picks based on speed, reliability, price, and overall performance.
Choosing the right micro SD card for your dash cam will save you a lot of headache in the future. If you constantly find your micro SD cards failing it is likely due to the fact that your micro SD card is not meant for use in a dashboard camera.
Dash cams record continuously which means that video footage is constantly being written to the micro SD card which wears them down over time. Certain micro SD cards hold up to this beating MUCH better than others.
Top High Endurance Micro SD Card picks:
1. SanDisk High Endurance Micro Sd Card
This micro SD card comes from a super reputable supplier and is highly reliably and specifically build for dash cams.
2. Transcend Micro SD Card
Another reliable micro SD card made for constant recording in devices such as a dashboard camera.
3. Lexar High Performance Micro SD Card
A third high performance micro SD card with an amazing track record.
A microSD card’s speed class refers to the minimum writing speed to the SD card measured in megabytes per second.
A class 10 micro SD card (10mb/s data writing speed) is perfect for almost any dash cam owner. Class 10 micro SD cards are meant for Full HD (1080p) video recording.
Here is a summary table showing and describing the differences between various micro SD cards and an image of a sample micro SD card for you to see where these symbols appear:
Speed classes range from 2mb/s to 30mb/s. The minimum use for HD recording (720p-1080p) is a class 6 micro SD card however we recommend a class 10 micro SD card for better recording quality due to faster writing speeds.
You may also see a U rating and Roman numeral I or II rating on a micro SD card. These also refer to the writing and transfer speed of your micro SD card. UHS stands for ultra-high-speed.
U1 means that the minimum writing speed of the card is 10mb/s (megabytes per second)
U3 means the minimum writing speed of the card is 30mb/s
As for Roman numerals, this refers to something called the UHS bus which deals with transfer speed.
I means UHS-I and transfers data at a minimum of 50mb/s
II means UHS-II and transfers data at a minimum of 156 or 312mb/s
UHS I or II provides faster writing and transfer speed for data. Most dash cams do not utilize UHS interface and this will not effect the performance of your micro SD card at all. If your dash cam supports UHS it will take effect and write and transfer data faster.
To sum up, a class 10 micro SD card is ideal for every dash cam user. For more information on everything SD card related check out this link. (insert website)
For the everyday dash cam user a 32gb micro SD card will work just fine. This will provide you about 3-4 hours of stored HD footage.
Users who are looking to store larger amounts of footage should look at 64gb or larger cards.
Pretty much all dash cams support at least 32gb micro SD cards.
An important thing to note is that increased storage size increases durability.
For example, a typical 32gb micro SD card lasts for approximately 6,000 hours of HD recording. Doubling the size to 64gb yields about 12,000 hours of use.
Make sure to check out the maximum size micro SD card that your dash cam supports. If you use a card with larger storage space than what your dash cam supports you may experience issues such as footage not being saved, or only being saved up to the maximum storage space allowed by your dash cam.
As the amount of storage increases, so does the price of micro SD cards.
Here’s a table of recommended SD cards and a link to Amazon to see the current price.
This is one of the most important factors that determines the life span of your micro SD card.
NAND refers to how data is stored in your micro SD card.
SLC stands for single level cell and each cell inside the micro SD card holds one bit of data.
MLC stands for multi-level cells and each cell stores 2 or more bits of data.
We highly recommend a SLC micro SD card because they are far more durable (up to 10x) than MLC cards. This is because they store less data in each cell which improves speed and reliability. SLC cards cost slightly more than MLC cards but we think the added reliability is well worth the few extra bucks.
Note: TLC stands for triple level cell and means that this micro SD card stores 3 bits of data per cell. We highly recommend to NOT purchase TLC cards due to their lack of reliability.
Comes with the dash cam:
A number of dash cams actually come with a micro SD card.
Purchasing a dash cam with a micro SD card allows you to setup your camera immediately and start recording that very same day.
It also ensures that the micro SD card will be compatible with your dashboard camera and perform well.
Micro SD vs SD:
Most dash cams have a slot for micro SD cards and we ultimately recommend this over a regular size SD card.
Micro SD cards are smaller and more convenient than their larger counterparts. They hold just as much space as regular SD cards and are equally as reliable.
Counterfeit Micro SD Cards:
A surprisingly large market exists for making and distributing counterfeit micro SD cards.
These fake cards often have a lower speed class or less storage space than what is advertised.
In order to avoid buying a counterfeit micro SD card we advise people to not purchase cards from EBay or Aliexpress.
Some people have even reported receiving fake micro SD cards directly from Amazon. Make sure to read reviews about the card and investigate the supplier of your micro SD card before purchasing to avoid fraud.
Go for a micro SD card over a regular sized one.
A class 32gb class 10 speed card is the optimal micro SD card for everyday drivers. 32gb provides you with about 3-4 hours of Full HD recording.
A 64gb micro SD card is also a great option that doubles your expected card lifespan to around 12,000 hours. You will also be able to hold double the footage. This is great for people who frequently want to save clips from their dash cam.
In terms of NAND go for a SLC card to improve durability and reliability.
Keep an eye out for deals that seem too good to be true or sketchy vendors because counterfeit micro SD cards are a real problem.
Consider buying a backup micro SD card to keep in your car in the case that your main card breaks or you get into an accident and want to be extra safe about keeping the accident footage.
Look for deals where a dash cam is sold with an accompanying micro SD card. This helps you save money and the micro SD card should be compatible with the dash cam.