If you’ve ever looked into adding a backup camera to your RV, it’s highly likely that the enormous variety of choices was a bit overwhelming to you. This is completely understandable. There are countless RV backup camera options on the market, and without any knowledge on the topic, deciding which one to purchase can seem almost impossible.
For this reason, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to do the legwork for you. We’ve researched the many aftermarket backup camera choices out there so we can provide you with the best information on what to get and why.
Here’s what we know.
Who Needs a Backup Camera for their RV?
The first question is whether or not you really need a backup camera. The truth of the matter is, anyone who drives an RV of any kind should probably invest in this nifty feature. After all, ruining your rig (or something else) due to an unseen obstruction would never do, and hurting somebody would be even more terrible.
All that said, the people who really need to consider a reverse camera include those who use their RV often. Others who would definitely make this list are those who don’t have a spotter to help them back up and those with extra long rigs.
Wired vs Wireless Backup Camera
Once you decide to take the plunge, the next step is deciding whether to purchase a wired or wireless rear camera. Both options have major pros and cons, so this is something you will want to consider and decide for yourself.
Wired Camera Pros and Cons
Pros: Wired backup cameras offer consistently excellent picture quality. They will never drop the signal or give a delayed image, even in poor weather. Additionally, because these cameras have been around for quite some time, there are numerous options to choose from.
Cons: Unfortunately, there are some pretty big cons to consider. For one thing, wired cameras are very difficult to install. In fact, most people will need to call a professional in to help with the installation. These cameras are also more expensive than their wireless counterparts.
Wireless Camera Pros and Cons
Pros: On the other hand, wireless cameras are super simple to install and can be ready to go in five minutes flat. They are relatively inexpensive as well, making them accessible to anyone, and some can even be integrated into existing vehicle navigation systems.
Cons: Unfortunately, even the best wireless backup camera will occasionally have connection issues. This means the picture quality you receive will be fuzzy, delayed, or even nonexistent. This can be incredibly frustrating, and even dangerous in some situations. You can avoid some of this interference by going with a digital signal rather than an analog signal, but you’ll never be able to prevent it entirely.
However, the wireless camera will work for most people in most situations, and considering the lower cost and overall ease of installation, it’s a good choice for many.
Monitor vs Smartphone Bluetooth Backup Camera (and Other Display Options)
If you do decide to go with a wireless camera, the next question will be whether to use a camera with a monitor or to purchase a camera that will connect to your phone via Bluetooth.
While the smartphone option does work, and while it may be a cheaper way to go, it isn’t generally the best option. This is because using your phone as a screen will quickly drain the battery. Additionally, it makes using your phone for music, navigation, and phone calls a little more difficult. Lastly, because your phone doesn’t live in your vehicle, there is always a chance you won’t have it on hand when you need it.
On the other hand, a separate backup camera monitor can live in your vehicle. It is specifically made to pair with your camera, meaning your connection will likely be stronger, and using the monitor won’t drain your phone battery. On top of all that, some monitors can be multipurpose, serving as a screen on which to watch movies, play games, and more.
Another option is to go with a rearview mirror camera. This unique option actually displays the camera image in your rearview mirror. Many people prefer to go with a backup camera mirror in order to avoid adding extra gadgets to their vehicle. After all, they already need a mirror in the vehicle, so why not use it for more than one purpose?
The main problem with the mirror option is display size. With such a small display, it might be hard to see the image clearly.
Other Things to Look For in a Rear View Camera
Choosing between wired and wireless, and then choosing which screen option to go with, will narrow your search quite a bit. That said, there are some other things you’ll want to look for when searching for the best backup camera for you.
Your camera is going to be exposed to all sorts of weather. For this reason, it is very important that whatever gadget you purchase is completely weatherproof and ready to take on the heaviest of rain and brightest of sunlight.
If you decide on a wireless camera, you will want to know the range of the device and make sure it exceeds the length of your rig. As mentioned before, you may also want to look for a digital connection rather than the more typical analog option.
Field of View
The field of view is important when considering which camera to get. Obviously, you want to see everything that is behind you, and if your view is too narrow, this simply isn’t possible. Look for something that offers at least a 90-degree field of view, but shoot for more if possible.
Finally, you will want to watch for a night-vision option. While most people don’t plan on backing into RV sites late at night, sometimes we don’t have control over this. Having night vision available will make things much less stressful when these nighttime arrivals do happen.