Safety Backup Cameras for Vehicles

What Are Safety Backup Cameras?

Camera attached near taillights of a car.

Safety backup cameras are an excellent addition to any car because they increase the visibility surrounding your vehicle. Backup cameras are also called rearview cameras and are designed to be attached to the rear of your vehicle. They allow you to see what is behind your car, which makes it easy to back up. It also alleviates the rear blind spot, which causes people to bump into objects behind their cars that they can’t see. 

Safety backup cameras are also essential in reducing backup accidents and collisions, which can be fatal. These backup cameras are attached to a screen, usually the vehicle’s head unit display. 

How Do Safety Backup Cameras Work?

Screen with parking guidelines.

The main idea of a safety backup camera is straightforward. A camera is attached to the rear and automatically turns on when the car is put into reverse. It then sends a video of what is behind the vehicle to a display attached inside the vehicle. However, the way this interaction takes place is a bit more complicated because these cameras are sophisticated pieces of technology. 

When the backup camera captures an image, it does not transmit the picture as it is. Typically, the backup cameras are configured to send a mirror image to the monitor. By sending a mirror image, the driver is able to have a better orientation. 

If the camera transmitted the image as captured, it would be reversed. Thus, if you wanted to steer right, you would turn left instead because of the camera image. By showing you a mirror image, the system ensures that you drive in the right direction to avoid any issues.

Safety backup cameras are generally installed in the vehicle’s rear trim pieces. This area is mostly unobtrusive, so the camera is often well-hidden. Some manufacturers also place it near the license plate and hide it within the bumper. In SUVs and pickup trucks, you may find it at the tailgate.

These cameras usually aim toward the ground to provide the best view of what is directly behind your car. Safety backup cameras usually have wide-angle lenses so that the field of view increases and you can see more. A larger view is excellent at reducing the possibility of an accident. 

Most safety backup cameras on the market use colored displays. However, there are still a few that use monochrome cameras and monitors. The best safety backup cameras use high-resolution cameras that deliver a crisp image that you can view on a high-definition display.

Can You Add a Safety Backup Camera to a Car Without One?

A safety backup camera can easily be attached to cars that do not have one. Although new vehicles come equipped with them, cars before 2018 usually do not have pre-installed backup cameras. However, it is very easy to attach one because many different kinds are available on the market. 

There are also multiple guides detailing exactly how to attach one. Whether your vehicle is old or new, you can connect a safety backup camera to it and feel safe when reversing or backing up.

You can also purchase a small camera or video recorder, install it at the back bumper and connect it to a video screen inside your vehicle. However, this setup is very simple and lacks the complexity that regular safety backup cameras have. It may not flip the image, and you will have to be extra careful with your lefts and rights.

Advantages of a Safety Backup Camera

Man parking using guidelines on an inbuilt monitor.

The most obvious benefit of a safety backup camera is that it helps you avoid injury-causing and fatal accidents by expanding your field of vision. However, it has many other benefits as well. Safety bumper cameras are designed to help you eliminate blind spots by using a wide-angle lens. It helps make sure that there is no spot that you cannot see when backing up your car.

Safety backup cameras can also be very helpful in parking, allowing you to park easily, quickly, and safely. These cameras give you a much more accurate view of all the obstacles behind your car that you must avoid. High-end backup cameras also come with an alarm that rings when you get too close to another object. 

There are also onscreen guidelines that help you park more easily. These lines are usually parallel to ensure that your car moves in a straight line. There are three pairs of lines colored green, yellow and red. If your car is near the red lines, you are too close to an object and should move away. 

Four Types of Safety Backup Cameras

Car screen showing parking guidelines

There are four basic types of safety backup cameras available on the market. You can pick any of them depending on what you already have installed in your car.

1. Camera-Only Systems

Camera-only systems include only the camera and can be added to cars with a stock screen attached to the dash. These are relatively cheap because you don’t have to buy the entire system. The camera integrates within the car’s existing electrical system and uses the monitor in the dash to display live footage from the car’s rear. 

Before you purchase the camera-only system, ensure that the camera is compatible with the pre-installed screen and your car’s electric system. 

2. All-in-one System

An all-in-one system includes a display and a camera that can be mounted on the dash and the rear bumper, respectively. These backup camera systems can be both wired and wireless. If you choose a wireless system, it will draw power from your car and use radio frequencies to transmit images from the camera to the monitor. 

Suppose you choose a higher-end all-in-one backup camera. In that case, it will also include bonus features such as a portable navigation system. However, you must ensure that your chosen system does not interfere with any other radio signals in your car. 

The screen that comes in these systems can be attached to the dash, but you may need to remove any other accessory like dashboard dolls to make space for it. 

3. Individual Cameras and Displays

In an individual camera and display system, you purchase the two components separately. By purchasing them individually, you can customize the design and tweak it to however you want it. 

4. Cameras and Mirror Displays

Cameras and mirror displays have a unique setup because the camera feed is displayed on the rearview mirror when the car reverses. However, compatibility can be an issue with these cameras as these might not work with every car.

Things Consider in a Safety Backup Camera

Backup camera attached to rear of the car 

When you are in the market for a safety backup camera, you must know all the features that make a good safety backup camera. That way, you can ensure that a safety backup camera is worth purchasing. Here are a few key features you should look for in a safety backup camera. 

Video Quality

The first thing you should look for in a backup camera is video quality. You should purchase one with excellent photo quality so that you can see in great detail what objects are behind your car. The image’s quality depends on the camera’s resolution installed on the vehicle’s rear. It will be sharp and clear if it is a high-quality camera with a high resolution.

The image quality in cameras is determined in terms of pixels. The larger the number of pixels, the better the image quality. Aim to purchase a camera and screen system that has a large number of pixels. At the same time, the pixel count is not everything. The quality of those pixels is equally important.

Pixel quality something you might be able to gauge by reading customer reviews and sample images. A higher megapixel number is not everything. There are plenty of cheap no-brand cameras out there that boast their megapixel count, but their actual picture quality is not that good.

LUX Rating

The LUX rating is a measure of the performance of the camera in low-light conditions (LUX itself is a unit that represents luminance). The lower the LUX rating, the better it will perform in low light. Good quality safety backup cameras will also include LEDs or infrared, allowing you to see the area behind your vehicle much better. 

Other features such as WDR or wide dynamic range, and HDR or high dynamic range improve overall visibility and enhance contrast. They are extremely helpful when you are transitioning between bright and dark environments. 

CCD or CMOS Sensor Technology

Backup cameras also house sensors, such as CCD or CMOS sensors. These sensors are designed to use two different ways to convert light into signals. CCD uses an analog method, while CMOS sensors are digital.

CMOS sensors use less power than CCD, but the latter is better at handling fluctuating lighting scenarios. Therefore, it will perform well regardless of whether there is bright or dim light. The difference between the two is subtle, and most cannot tell the difference between the two.

Display Size

If you own a vehicle with a monitor, you are limited to it. However, if your car does not have a pre-installed monitor, you can choose one. There are various qualities and sizes to choose from, but ensure that you purchase one that fits into the dash. 

Camera Compatibility

Ensuring that the backup camera you purchase is compatible with the screen and your vehicle’s electrical system is extremely important. Additionally, the camera should also be easy to install. Backup cameras with a plug are one of the simplest to install. You can simply plug them into a touchscreen or a radio display. 

Parking Guidelines

Backup cameras are also extremely useful in helping you park in a tight spot. When you put your car in reverse mode, onscreen guidelines help you navigate your way into or out of a tight spot. There are three different colored pairs of lines that indicate whether you are in the clear or in danger of hitting an object. 

This feature is a huge stress reliever for many who have trouble parking and fear bumping the car and damaging it. However, suppose you are confident in your parking abilities and do not need these lines. In that case, you should opt for a camera with selectable parking lines. Some backup cameras even allow you to remove the option entirely during installation.

Viewing angles

Backup cameras are usually wide-angle cameras that provide a larger horizontal viewing angle. Typically, the wider you go, the more you can see behind your car, but the quality also lowers and distortion might appear at the edges. 

Mirror Image

The backup camera system is more complicated than a regular camera sending feedback to a screen. The image captured from the camera is reversed, which may cause issues for the drivers. Backup camera systems ensure that they mirror the image, so the image you see on the screen is what you see in your rearview mirror. Therefore, the chance of error reduces significantly. 

How to Install a Backup Camera?

Installing a backup camera is pretty straight forward and usually involves three main steps.

The first step is installing the camera in the car’s rear. To install it, you will need to wire it so that it receives power. Backup cameras are configured differently; some need to be connected near the radio, and others to the reverse light. In all cases, the camera must be wired for both ground and power. 

The second step is to run a video connection from the camera to your dash, where the screen is attached. To do so, you will need to route the camera’s video cable from where it is mounted outside the vehicle and into the car. You might have to drill a small hole in a plastic part of your vehicle to reach the dashboard. 

Ensure that you have planned out your route in advance so that you can purchase enough cable.

The third step is connecting the video cable to a monitor or stereo. Ensure that the monitor is compatible. Shift your car into reverse to check if your monitor is working and all the connections are correctly connected. This should trigger the monitor and camera to turn on by themselves. 

Security Backup Camera Brands

Dash screen showing a view of what is behind the car.

If you are in the market for buying a high-quality safety backup camera, it’s highly recommended to purchase one from a high-quality brand. Such brands take special care in designing their gadgets and ensure they use the latest technology. Buying from a brand also means getting a warranty and a durable product. Some popular brands that manufacture safety backup cameras include Auto-Vox, Garmin, and eRapta.


Auto-Vox backup cameras are designed keeping ease of use in mind. They have some of the best picture quality, allowing you to see everything in full detail behind your car. You can mount cameras from this brand on your car’s rear and see everything on the screen inside. Auto-Vox safety backup cameras are reliable and durable. However, they are a bit pricier, but their high performance justified the price.

Some popular models include the Auto-Vox V5 Pro and the Auto-Vox Solar-1.


Garmin safety backup cameras are an excellent choice if you want to include GPS navigation with your cameras. They design their product to be high quality and have a large viewing angle so you can quickly reverse without causing an issue. You should definitely check out the Garmin safety cameras if you need a reliable camera paired with a dependable navigation system.

Some popular models include the Garmin BC35 and the Garmin BC30.


eRapta has some of the best safety backup cameras if you are on a budget. They are easy to use and can be attached by everyone. These do not come with a screen, but you can connect it to your car’s built-in display and see live feedback of your car’s rear. It has wired and wireless models. The wireless is easy to set up, while people have reported having trouble setting up the wired one.

Some popular models include the eRapta Backup camera 2.0 and the eRapta ERT01 Automotive Backup Camera.

Mounting Position

Mounting Position Description
Car Bracket Mounting This is the most universal mounting position. The camera is placed on an adjustable bracket that you can place anywhere.
Lip Mount Camera If your car has an inset area on its rear, you can mount your backup camera there, which is much more subtle than all other mountings.
License Plate Mounting Some vehicles have matching license plate frames designed to hold backup cameras. You can also use a strap-mounted backup camera, which fastens over your license plate using the existing screws.

Pros and Cons of Safety Backup Cameras

Pros  Cons
They help prevent accidents, including hitting animals, objects, and people They cannot prevent other kinds of accidents
They are easy to install and don’t cost a lot of money They may create a false sense of security
Make parallel parking a lot easier Some people can have trouble judging the parking lines


1. What is a good resolution for a backup camera?

A typical screen resolution found on backup cameras is 720×480 pixels. However, high end safety backup cameras can have a resolution of up to 1080p. The higher the resolution, the costlier the camera will be, so here your budget will probably be the deciding factor.

2. Is a wired or wireless backup camera better?

Wired cameras usually have better picture quality because there is a direct connection to the screen that is located in your car. When the image is sent through a wired connection, more data can be sent to the image and is received quicker, and the picture is sharp and focused. The main advantage of wireless cameras is convenience and they are easy to install, but they can cause interference with other electronics.

3. How do I choose a backup camera?

When choosing a backup camera, the most important thing to consider is whether or not the camera is compatible with your car and the screen. Additionally, you should also focus on the image quality, LUX rating, sensors and other features.

4. How long do backup cameras last?

Backup cameras come in a variety of different styles and qualities. Some backup cameras last upwards of 10 years, while some only work for a few months. 


If your car does not have a backup camera, it is an excellent addition to ensure your safety and those around you. Both backup cameras and car dash cams are designed to keep you and your vehicles safe but they work slightly differently. Safety backup cameras are mounted on the rear of the car and send the image it captures to a monitor installed inside the vehicle. Although backup cameras are useful in ensuring safe parking, they were not included in cars before 2018. However, you can easily buy and install one if you own an older car.