Simple Guide to Picking the Right Dash Cam Micro SD Card

If you just got a dash cam and want to insert the first micro SD card in it, STOP! Dash cams require a micro SD card to store recorded footage but not everything goes. While you can indeed use any micro SD card, you will learn that regular memory cards fail in just a couple of months if used in a dash cam.

Why Do Micro SD Cards Fail?

What all dash cams do is to write small video recording segments of up to 5 minutes at a time. It breaks the recording into smaller videos to make them easier to manage. When the micro SD card gets full, the dash cam will start recording over the oldest videos.

This recording cycle takes place many times. The smaller the micro SD capacity, the more write cycles will be done by the dash cam. As regular cards use TLC memory chips because they are cheaper, they are more likely to fail due to repeated write cycles.

In a dash cam, if you use a standard micro SD card that uses TLC memory chips, you will notice that after some time, either the cam will display a memory card error or you will notice that your recorded video files are corrupt and cannot be read. Formatting the micro SD card will not solve the problem. Once a memory card fails, it becomes a useless piece of plastic.

Which Micro SD Cards Are Recommended for Dash Cams?

For dash cams, high endurance micro SD cards are recommended. These memory cards usually have MLC memory chips. MLC memory is more resilient to constant write cycles. Some manufacturers started using 3D TLC NAND flash memory which is more reliable than regular TLC memory chips. They are still inferior to MLC memory cards but come with a more reasonable price tag. Very few manufacturers disclose what type of memory they use. The best indicator is to look for high endurance micro SD memory cards.

Things to consider when picking a micro SD card

Speed Rating

The speed rating of a memory card is expressed in the form of classes. A Class 10 memory card can write data at a minimum speed of 10 MB/S. For 4k videos, Class 10 is recommended. For 1080p, a Class 4 micro SD card should be good enough. To get a good understanding of the difference between the two, a 4K video is usually 3 times the size of a 1080p video.

Compatibility

Each dash cam has its specs and requirements. It also has its limits. The user manual should clearly state the maximum supported capacity of micro SD storage cards. Usually, 32 GB is supported by all dash cams but for memory cards that are 128 GB or higher, you should consult the user manual first before purchasing a micro SD card.

Type

As discussed previously, high endurance memory cards are recommended. These can be expensive but they are much more reliable. You can check some regular memory cards and look at reviews and get a feel of what others experienced when using these micro SD cards in their dash cams.

A Few Recommended Memory Cards

Samsung Pro Endurance is a popular pick. These memory cards were designed to be used with dash cams thus they have a higher endurance to constant write cycles. The model can be found in capacities of 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB.

Sandisk High Endurance memory cards are yet another good example of reliable micro SD cards that can work great in dash cams. Despite having an impressive number of read/write cycles before starting to fail, Sandisk does not disclose if they use MLC. Just like the Samsung cards, they can be found in different capacities and are more expensive than regular memory cards.

Kingston High Endurance memory cards are more affordable than Sandisk and Samsung memory cards and offer similar performance. They are built to survive in harsh conditions such as exposure to high temperatures and support a higher number of write cycles than regular Kingston memory cards.

Lastly, Samsung Evo Select memory cards can be a great budget alternative. Even if they are not specifically advertised as high endurance, the 128GB model is recommended for 1080p dash cams. The larger capacity implies a lower number of write cycles and it is usually half the price of a high endurance micro SD memory card.

Sources:

The Best Micro SD Cards for Your Dash Cam 2020

4 Best SD Cards for Dash Cam in 2021

The Best MicroSD Cards for Dash Cams in 2020

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