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Dash cam memory card guide

This guide explains everything you need to know about microSD cards in relation to dash cams and recommends the best.

Written by Chris Williams Published: 1 March 2022 Updated: 1 March 2022

MicroSD guideHaving the correct microSD card for your dash cam is as important as using the right key for a lock. Without the correct key, you don’t unlock the door; without the correct microSD card, your dash cam footage won’t be saved as it should.  

With microSD cards being richly embellished with numbers and letters, and along with the sheer quantity of microSD cards available on the market, it’s easy to feel lost and conquered by these little plastic chips. In light of this, we’ve put together this guide to explain everything and help you choose the right microSD card for your dash cam.

Jargon buster 


This is often the only piece of information about microSD cards that people know. Before you even think about what size of microSD card you want, you need to find out what size of microSD your dash cam can take. Dash cams have a certain maximum memory card size, which varies between models. Budget 1080p dash cams often have a maximum of 32GB or 64GB, while top-end dash cams or dash cams with higher video quality (1440p or 4K) can usually cater for larger sizes, often up to 256GB.     

How much footage a microSD card can store of course depends on its own size but also the quality of the footage: 
32GB: 4-5 hours of 1080p; 3 hours of 1440p; 1 hour of 4K 
64GB: 8-10 hours of 1080p; 6 hours of 1440p; 2 hours of 4K 
128GB: 20 hours of 1080p; 12 hours of 1440p; 4-5 hours of 4K 
256GB: 40+ hours of 1080p; 25 hours of 1440p; 9-10 hours of 4K 

There are also other variables such as frame rate and whether you’re using a dual dash cam that will affect how much footage microSD cards can store.   


Fortunately, most microSD cards are fast enough even for 4K, so speed is not something you need to worry too much about, but nevertheless it’s helpful to know what’s what.  

On a microSD card you will see a ‘U’ with either a 1 or 3 inside it; a ‘C’ probably with a 10 inside it; and perhaps a ‘V’ with a value next to it. The ‘U’ stands for Ultra High Speed, the ‘C’ stands for Class, and the ‘V’ stands for Video Speed Class. They all refer to the writing speed (read speed isn’t that important with microSD cards for dash cam use because footage is written onto the memory card, not read off it). If your microSD card is Class 10, U1, U3, V10, or V30, that’s enough. For 4K you will want to go for U3/V30.  

Speed Class table


You’ll come across ‘SDHC’ and ‘SDXC’ microSD cards. The former stands for Secure Digital High Capacity, the latter for Secure Digital Extended Capacity. SDHC cards have up to 32GB of storage, SDXC have anything more than that. 


It’s important to understand that the life of a microSD card inside a dash cam is a hard one. The constant overwriting of footage gives dash cam microSD cards a limited lifespan. Makers and retailers of microSD cards therefore void microSD card warranties if they’re used in dash cams because of this. That’s also why it’s important to check the microSD card every couple of weeks.  

U3/V30 microSD cards are intended for dash cam (and security camera) use, so you can opt for one of these if you wish. Some microSD cards such as Samsung’s Evo Plus and San Disk’s High Endurance microSD cards will offer better durability than others. It also pays to stick with reputable brands such as Samsung, San Disk, and Kingston rather than the cheapest.  

The best microSD card for dash cams:

San Disk High Endurance MicroSDXC

Editor's pick

San Disk microSDXC

Price: £9.39 - £35.66 | VIEW OFFER

Available in 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB 
Write speed 40MB/s (U3, Class 10, V30)

San Disk’s High Endurance microSD cards are everything you need for use in a dash cam: reliable, fast, and great value. Our pick of the lot is the 64GB version (£10.99), which is good for all circumstances except perhaps high-quality dual recording, in which case we suggest getting one of the larger ones. It even comes with an SD adaptor.  

Buying checklist:

1. Find out the largest size microSD card your dash cam can accommodate.
2. Do a rough calculation to establish what size microSD card you realistically need.
3. Make sure the microSD card you choose is fast enough (U1, U3, Class 10, V10, or V30; or U3/V30 for 4K)

Parkers' favourite dash cams

Nextbase 522GW

Editor's pick

Nextbase 522GW

Price: £158.96 | VIEW OFFER

The Nextbase 522GW is our overall winner because it offers fantastic build quality, specification, and value for money. The 522GW records at 1440p Quad HD at 30fps or 1080p at 60fps, which is very clear and better than anything else at this price. Like Nextbase's flagship 622GW, it has GPS, a subscription-based Emergency SOS service, and Alexa. That’s in addition to all the usual features such as the G-sensor, parking mode, polarising filter, and loop recording.

Like the top-end 622GW, it is very well put together and is something you notice the moment you lift it from the box. Aesthetically, it’s a winner too thanks to its brushed metal front plate. It is the perfect dash cam for the driver who undertakes the usual day-to-day tasks and long road trips because it offers value and relevant features.

The best high-tech dash cams

Orskey S680

Best budget dash cam

Orskey S680

Price: £42.49 | VIEW OFFER

Easy to use, reliable, sound performance, and with a rear-facing camera, it's hard to disparage this budget dash cam. It's not very stylish but that hardly matters when it performs so well. The large three-inch screen is the same size as what you find on the top-end Nextbase dash cams, for example, and makes the dash cam simple to use.

The S680 records in FHD 1080p at 30fps; it has six infrared LEDs around the lens to help improve night vision, plus WDR software to improve image clarity. Having a 170° wide angle is also very useful and also 30 degrees wider than Nextbase dash cams.

The best budget dash cams

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Nexar Beam dash cam review

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