The Best RV Backup Camera Systems in 2020
Comparison, Reviews, and Guide
Backup cameras are so useful that they’re becoming standard equipment in higher end cars. “Rear visibility” technology has become mandated for new U.S. cars. You can also find and buy back-up cameras to install in a car or RV to gain the benefits of a backup camera though the vehicle didn’t come with it. Let’s learn what backup cameras are before addressing the benefits of owning one.
Top 5 Best RV Backup Cameras - Comparison
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What's an RV backup camera Actually?
A backup camera is a small, wide-angle camera mounted on the back of a vehicle intended to provide a clear view of what is directly behind a vehicle, helping you to see what is behind the car or RV. It is designed to fill in the rear blind spot that drivers usually have. This is why they are also called rear-view cameras and reversing cameras.
Many of these cameras turn on when someone shifts the vehicle into reverse. Some run continuously. Some cameras will turn on automatically when you’re backing up but can be turned on and stay on when a button is pressed. Note that installing a backup camera does not eliminate the need for a driver to look around the vehicle and check their mirrors before backing up.
Backup cameras may or may not be combined with other safety systems like alert systems or emergency braking. Alert systems would issue an alarm if someone or something is detected in the rear blind spot. Emergency braking systems would automatically stop a vehicle if something is detected in that same blind spot.
These are in wired or wireless
Backup cameras may be wired or wireless. They may provide audio information as well as images; a few let the driver hear what else is going on and shout at someone behind them without having to get out of the driver’s seat. Backup cameras can be portable or permanent. Rearview cameras may be located next to the rearview mirror, built into the dashboard or located somewhere else.
The simplest backup cameras consist of a single wide angle camera that looks back ten or more feet from the back of the vehicle. Some backup cameras consist of several networked cameras so that you have no blind spots, whether they’re behind or beside the RV.
Types and Differences of the RV Backup Camera
There are several different types of RV backup cameras. We’ll discuss each type in detail, including its pros and cons. We'll also share what factors should matter when you're shopping for an RV wireless backup camera or a wired one.
One benefit of wired backup cameras is that the signal is almost always good. You don’t have to worry about someone’s wifi or other wireless signals interfering with your ability to see what is behind you. You won’t suffer from poor signal strength rendering the image useless or outdated; a delay of one or two seconds in the images from a wireless backup camera could make the difference between hitting a pedestrian or not. Wired backup cameras tend to have far better image quality.
Wired RV backup cameras that are built into the RV are very difficult to steal, as are those that feed the image to your rear view mirror. If the backup camera screen is built into the dashboard, then the camera itself won’t interfere with forward visibility. Nor will rain or sleet interfere with the image quality being broadcast to the screen, though any camera can fog up upon exposure to bad weather.
The downside of wired backup cameras is the difficulty installing it. The wire has to run the length of the RV and/or tow vehicle. The camera and screen have to be mounted somewhere in the vehicle, and this could cause issues with other equipment in the dash. Some RV owners end up buying a wired backup camera and hiring a professional to install it. That is on top of the greater cost of wired backup camera systems.
Wireless backup cameras tend to be cheaper than wired backup cameras. This is partially due to the lower quality camera and sensors built into it.
The biggest advantage of wireless backup cameras is that you can take one off the shelf and set it up in a matter of minutes. With many designs, you’d simply attach the camera to the back of the car. A common spot is right above the license plate. Place the companion LCD screen up on the car dashboard, and you’re done.
An RV wireless backup camera has another advantage that you may not appreciated until you realize the need for it. A wireless camera or a wired camera should be located where you have the best view of the blind spot behind your vehicle. A wired camera will be set in place, difficult to even turn at an angle.
A wireless camera could be shifted from the rear of a camera to an off-center location, addressing whatever blind spot you feel is most appropriate. In short, it gives you flexibility. For example, if you’re driving an RV and decide to tow something, you could move the backup camera to the back of the towed vehicle and enjoy the same rear visibility.
A potential side benefit of wireless backup cameras is that you could move the same backup camera system to a borrowed or secondary vehicle when you leave the RV.
The Downsides of the Wireless Camera
The major problem with any wireless accessory is how interference impacts its performance. Heavy rain and sleet could interfere with the connection even if the camera itself isn’t wet or iced over. High speeds could affect the signal. The transmitter may not work right when you’re maneuvering the RV at an angle, especially in enclosed spaces. This means it may work fine on the open road but not work well when backing into a metal storage building.
03) Wireless/Cell Phone Hybrids
Depending on the wireless RV backup camera you have, you may be able to receive the images on your smart phone. However, you don’t want to rely on this when driving. The reception of backup camera images when driving will drain the cell phone battery, and it has a less reliable connection than the standard wireless backup camera LCD screen.
Another issue is the fact that you’re relying on your cell phone as a screen for the backup camera. If you lose or damage your phone somewhere else, now you don’t have a backup camera. If the phone software updates and interferes with the camera app’s function, again, you’re at a loss. Then there’s the risk someone will steal the phone you left on your dashboard so it is in place when you’re ready to back out of your parking space.
How to Choose the Right RV Backup Camera?
Why are you installing the RV camera? The general answer is to improve your visibility when driving especially when backing up. Understand the reasons you want to put the backup camera on the RV. If it is there to minimize the odds of hitting something when backing up, you will look for cameras with extra features that make that process as safe as possible. If you’re putting the camera up to improve your view in general, such as when you want to use it as a security camera, then you’ll look for a different set of features.
02) Display/Video Quality
Resolution matters. If you have a poor quality image, it is almost useless. Another factor is how good the display is. A high quality image that is displayed on a little screen so small you can’t see what you’re being warned of is useless. You don’t have to have a backup camera that clearly identifies people and animals from obstacles.
03) Camera Type
The main types of RV backup cameras are wired and wireless. These cameras may relay their images to the car infotainment center, a separate but related display screen, an app on your smart phone or a screen built into the car’s rearview mirror.
04) Image Capability
One variation of this issue is how clear the image is in low light conditions. Most cameras let you see if someone or something is behind your RV if it is bright and sunny out, but fewer allow you to clearly identify who or what is around the rear of the RV when it is in the shadows or late at night. A few RV cameras can look into the infrared or other frequencies to let you see as well at night as you could during the day.
Another issue is how the image is going to be displayed. If your car has a screen built into the rearview mirror, you want the backup camera to be plug-and-play with the screen already in the car. If your car has an infotainment center screen, you should give preference to backup cameras that can automatically communicate with the car and share a high quality image on the biggest screen in the car dashboard. In short, pick an RV wired backup camera that is compatible with your car's systems.
05) How Easy It Is to Install?
Ease of installation should be a major consideration. How hard is it to install the camera in your RV matters most if you’re planning on installing the camera yourself. This matters less if you’re going to pay someone else to install the camera, though truly complex systems will cost more to have installed by a professional.
Another factor to consider is how easy it is to install the RV camera if you can reasonably expect to move it periodically. For example, if you often tow loads behind your RV, you may want to buy a wireless RV backup camera so you can put it on the back of the trailer or car you’re towing so that you truly have a clear image of what’s behind you. If you aren’t sure if you want the backup camera located above the license plate and may want it in the middle of the back of the RV instead, you’ll want a movable wireless unit.
The price of the backup camera is one factor, but it isn’t the only dimension to this. For example, the cost of the camera has to be compared to other money you have to spend to install it and operate it. If you buy a cheap wired camera and have to pay someone else to install it, the installation costs have to be added to the equipment cost for a real, total cost.
Another issue is any hardware you have to buy in addition to the camera. For wireless cameras, you typically get the wireless camera and the display screen. Wired cameras may or may not come with all the wiring you need, though connections to your RV’s infotainment system may be required. Or you may need to add the cost of a new rear view mirror that lets you see the wired camera’s image in your rear view mirror.
07) Automatic Capabilities
More than one RV wired backup camera brings more capabilities than a clear image of the area behind your RV. Many of them put up clear red, yellow and green lights on the screen so you can tell how far you are from an obstacle. A few build in warning alarms, generating an alarm when you’re dangerously close to the obstacle. These alarms cut the risk of an accident when backing up by up to 70%.
Auditory warnings provide warnings even when you’re not looking at the backup camera; this is why they reduce accident rates over cameras alone. Depending on the rearview camera you have, the rearview camera may be able to communicate with the car’s computer so that it displays the appropriate warnings.
08) Field of View
All backup cameras are supposed to provide a clear image of the area right behind an RV. However, they are not all equal. Some cameras provide a narrow view of what is directly behind the camera.
Others provide a wide angle view that lets you see everything behind the RV, including items that are near the back corners of the RV. You may have to pay more for this wide angle camera, but in general, it is worth it as long as you aren’t sacrificing the image clarity.
Consider rules and regulations that may affect whether you’re allowed to use a specific camera. For example, a camera that blocks so much of your license plate that it isn’t legal to use shouldn’t be installed. Cameras that send out light or lasers to improve low light visibility may not be allowed if they interfere with license plate readers.
You may want to compare the power sources available for different RV backup cameras. For example, an RV camera that pulls power from the dashboard power port may only draw power when the RV engine is on. That won’t drain house power.
Other backup cameras may be wired to the RV’s electrical system, and then it may become a general power drain off of the batteries. This isn’t an issue with wireless backup cameras that run off of their own batteries. However, now you have to take care to check the batteries and need to replace them periodically.
Here are the Top 9 Best RV Backup Camera Full Reviews
01) Rear View Safety Backup Camera System with 7" Display, Model RVS-770613
Editor Rating: 4.5/5
The 130° angle camera gives you a truly broad understanding of what is behind you. This gives you far greater visibility than the typical RV backup camera. On top of that, it has infrared lights that allow you to see what is behind you in low light and no light conditions.
The camera itself is waterproof. It won’t start erroring out because it got splashed or you left it running while driving through the pouring rain.
The unit has an average price for this type of product. The screen is fairly large, but its universal mount is better than average.
The camera comes with a 66’ or roughly 20 meter long cable; this can add complexity to the installation but allows it to provide crystal clear images at the back of a long RV or sit on most trailers. You may have to invest some effort into mounting it on an attached trailer.
02) 4Ucam Digital Wireless Camera + 7" Monitor for Bus, RV, Trailer, Motor Home, 5th Wheels and Trucks Backup or Rear View
Editor Rating: 4.5/5
This is a wireless camera. This makes it easy to install. It stands out for its interference-free image and clear, nearly immediate relayed images, in most circumstances.
The monitor can be plugged into the typical power port or cigarette light in a car or RV dashboard. The unit itself is water resistant but not water proof.
This camera is middle of the pack in terms of price. You can save money on refurbished units by the manufacturer, but those may have different warranties attached to them than the new units.
The unit comes with nearly a dozen infrared LEDs to give you good night vision. You can move the camera wherever it needs to be for the right view. If you want it directly above the license plate or looking down at an angle to cover a particular blind spot, you can.
The only weakness is in the wireless RF system itself. It needs to be nearly line of sight with the camera to work.
03) Backup Camera and Car 7 Inch Monitor Screen Waterproof Rear View Rearview Backing Parking Reversing Reverse Camera
Editor Rating: 4.5/5
This RV backup camera is cheaper than average; it is half the price of some of the other backup cameras on this list.
This unit stands out for the quality of its images at night. It has CMOS sensors and infrared lights to give you excellent images in low light conditions, even when it is pitch dark.
This camera system allows you to add a second camera to it. Very few have that option. This is the best RV backup camera for the money if you want to rely on two of them at the same time.
The unit is quite cheap. The low cost is why we don’t consider it a flaw that the unit doesn’t have warning indicators when you’re about to back into something – you have to pay extra for that feature. It truly is just a backup camera.
So what is the downside? The color quality is horrible at any light level. You could see if there is someone or something behind the RV but not much more than that.
Hue adjustment does not fix that problem. The question here is whether or not color and image quality is worth more than good night vision. The image quality itself is mediocre.
The company has weak customer service if you have problems.
04) Furrion 381556 FOS48TAPK-BL Wireless High-Speed RV Observation System with Mounting Bracket
Editor Rating: 4.5/5
The backup camera can send a signal back to the monitor up to 100 feet. You could put the camera on the back of a vehicle pulled by a trailer or other long load and still see what is behind you.
They’re easy to install no matter where you put them.
One of the interesting details about this backup camera is that it is designed to withstand extreme weather.
They’re water and dust resistant, though not entirely water-proof. It stands out for its vibration resistance; if you’re driving over rough roads, it won’t come off or come apart internally because of the vibration.They have some infrared LEDs to provide OK low light visibility.
One downside of this model is the relatively small screen – it is only four and a half inches across.
A commonly reported issue is that it doesn’t work well at high speeds. That is rare but repeatedly comes up. Customer service’s answer here is “drive slower”. They sometimes fail to work when mounted on an aluminum trailer.
This RV backup camera costs 50% more than the average for products in this category. In short, it is expensive, especially given its middling quality.
05) Backup Camera System Kit,SHARP CCD Chip, 100% Not Wash Up,IP69 Waterproof Rear View Camera + 7’’ LCD Reversing Monitor
Editor Rating: 4.5/5
This is a wired backup camera; the water-proof camera offers crisp images. It comes with a 7” monitor and 50 foot cable. The camera has a wide 140° viewing angle.
This RV backup camera costs somewhat less than the average RV backup camera in its class. You can plug it into the cigarette lighter or any other 12 volt port on the dashboard and be up and running in no time.
The camera automatically adjusts the image brightness based on lighting levels. Relatively few cameras come with that feature. It also has excellent night vision, surprisingly good given its lower than average cost.
What’s the downside? There is a limited window for returns, a limited warranty past that point, and weak customer service. Try to install it as soon as you get it, and if there are issues, return it immediately.
06) LeeKooLuu Wireless Backup Camera and 7" Monitor Kit
Editor Rating: 4.3/5
The LeeKooLuu backup camera is one of the cheapest RV backup cameras on our list. The camera has a broad 150° view. This unit has a fairly large 7” monitor. You truly get an HD image if the wireless camera is within proper range of the monitor, and the image is in crisp, realistic color.
One side benefit of this camera is the fact that you can set it to show you what is behind the RV only when backing up or all of the time. Some cameras only show you what’s behind you when backing up. If you select the continual image stream, you’ll drain your battery faster.
The unit allows you to wire in an additional side camera. It doesn’t come with a second camera. Extra connections require extra protection. It does come with a charger adapter and mounting bracket.
The camera is waterproof. It doesn’t resist vibration well. You can leave it on during the rain, but you may shorten its life by leaving it on a trailer that is bouncing around on a gravel road.
While the manufacturer says it can broadcast images from up to 60 feet, it doesn’t provide good images past 40 feet. At distances past 30 feet, it can suffer from static and interference. Another issue is the horrible instructions if you don’t know how to install this from personal experience.
07) Backup Camera System with 7 inch Definition Display + IP69 Waterproof and Night Vision Reverse Camera
Editor Rating: 4.4/5
This RVTXRX RV backup camera comes with a long 60 foot cable that literally insulates it from interference. There is a detachable sunshade to improve the ability to see the screen without glare. The camera is waterproof.
The camera has decent night vision; it can show you what is behind your RV up to 30 feet. The manufacturer says this eliminates 90° of the blind spot you’d otherwise have behind the vehicle.
The manufacturer outright recommends a different model if you want to see 40 feet or further back, though they unit comes with a 60 foot long cable.
It has a middling 120° viewing angle. This is good enough for some users, it isn’t enough for others.
You can add a side camera to eliminate specific blind spots, but this rear view camera kit doesn’t come with that. You can pay extra for a speaker to receive auditory warning.
The price is average for this type of product. The price adds up if you start buying accessories. The unit isn’t easy to install. The instructions are not very good.
08) Digital Wireless Backup Camera System Kit,No Interference,IP69 Waterproof Wireless Rear View Camera + 7’’ LCD Wireless Reversing Monitor
Editor Rating: 4.6/5
The infrared lights and CMOS sensor give this backup camera excellent visibility in low light conditions. This is on top of a 140° viewing angle. You can’t add extra cameras to the monitor feed to improve visibility.
The wireless camera works well in all conditions, including at high speeds and in the rain. The manufacturer says it will still send out a clear signal if you’re traveling 75 miles per hour.
We mentioned that at least one backup camera on this list is prone to issues if you’re traveling over 55 miles per hour. This is the best rv wireless backup camera for those who need clear images when going at top speed.
Note that it is water-resistant but not water-proof. Its level of vibration resistance is average.
The monitor can run off of 12 volt or 24 volt power. This unit’s price tag is right where you’d expect for a median grade product.
It isn’t hard to assemble and mount. It isn’t complicated to move to another spot on the vehicle.
There is a limited return period, very limited warranty and weak customer service if you have problems. If you do have problems with this unit, return it immediately since there is only a 30 day money back guarantee.
There is a 12 month replacement window but only if you really haven’t used it and they can’t blame the issue on mistakes you’ve made.
The camera doesn’t always sync well with the monitor. If that happens, you’ll never have a reliable view of what is behind you. If this problem arises, return it immediately.
09) Wireless Backup Camera and Monitor Kit Reverse Rearview Cam Digital Signal 2018 Update
Editor Rating: 4.1/5
Here we’re reviewing the 2018 version of the E1 wireless backup camera and monitor kit by eRapta. This eRapta brand wireless backup camera is cheaper than average. The camera has a smoother signal than earlier versions of the product.
The camera can be mounted on the back of an RV looking straight back. The camera cannot really be angled down to give you a good view of what is immediately down and behind an RV. The unit is lighter than average.
This camera has an incredible number of IR lights to give you clear night vision. Conversely, it has poor daytime rendering of color, though it can clearly show what is going on in black and white. Customer service by the manufacturer is weak to non-existent.
What're the benefits of using the backup camera in the RV?
There are a number of benefits to owning an RV backup camera. Let’s look at the proven benefits of using them.
01. Fewer Accidents
Backup cameras make it easier to see what is around and behind your vehicle. This reduces the risk of hitting something when backing up. Nearly half of car accidents occur when someone is backing up, though we’re only going backward 2% of the time. If you use a backup camera and check it as you’re backing up, you’re less likely to hit someone or something.
An Insurance Institute for Highway study found that vehicles that had the cameras experienced 16% fewer backing crashes compared to comparable vehicles without the cameras. For drivers over 70, the crash rate was 40% less for those who had the cameras. Combined with automatic braking and sensors, the backing crash rate fell by 75%.
Another way the backup cameras improve safety is letting you know how close someone is to your rear bumper. If someone keeps tailgating you, you can turn on the flashers to tell them to go around you instead of having them riding on your bumper where they are at risk of hitting you.
While fewer accidents and accidents that don’t cost as much to repair will reduce your auto insurance rates, auto insurers are issuing general discounts for installing one. However, you could ask your insurance provider if installing a backup camera could secure you a discount. If installing a rear view camera means that an accident prone driver stops filing claims, then they’ll see insurance savings regardless of any other factor.
02. Easier Maneuvering in Tight Spots
A backup camera makes it easier to see where the edge of a parking space is, how far you are from the gas pump and other hard objects you don’t want to hit with an RV.
Fewer incidents like this may or may not impact your car insurance rates, but it will give you peace of mind when maneuvering in tight spots. You won’t be as nervous about backing up to the gas pump. You may be able to back your RV into the garage or storage shed yourself because you know you won’t run into the wall.
The value of the camera in situations like this depends on how clear the image is at the current light level. One broad study found that those with backup cameras hit stationary items when backing up half as often as those that didn’t.
03. Improved Safety of Your Family
If you have a backup camera, the odds that you’ll accidentally run over a child or pet go down dramatically. Note that you still have to check mirrors and verify where everyone is, but the cameras do reduce the risk of this happening when you’re backing up. The speed at which the camera provides the image of the area behind you affects how valuable it is in these cases.
Another way the RV backup camera impacts your car is by letting you see what that noise is from the back of the RV. You’ll be able to see what fell off the roof of the RV and just landed in the road. And you’ll be able to do so without taking your eyes off the dashboard and the road in front of you.
Compare this to the anxious side glances at the side mirrors while driving full speed ahead or leaning out a side window to look backward while still moving forward. If you can check the rear view camera to see that the issue is with someone else’s car, you aren’t putting your safety at risk by suddenly slamming on the brakes and pulling over to check the load.
03. Reduced Inconvenience
If you can see a bike or tools laying on the ground behind your RV before you drive over it, you may save yourself the inconvenience of having to replace popped tires. If you don’t run over toys or bump into a generator too close to a back tire, you’re less likely to have to replace these items.
What to Look for in an RV Backup Camera?
It's a true and important question that What should An RV Owner look for in an RV backup camera? What factors matter most when shopping for a backup camera?
A. Image Quality
We already brought up how wireless RV cameras have, on average, worse image quality than wired RV cameras. However, the quality of the image varies across brands. In general, the more you pay for the camera, the better the resolution of the image. You should also consider how well you yourself can see the broadcast image. Maybe you want a bigger image on a dashboard screen than a smaller image shown on the rearview mirror.
Another factor to consider is the quality of the image in low light conditions. Not all backup cameras are able to pick up infrared or other frequencies that let you see a deer or pedestrian behind the RV when it is dark outside.
Not all rearview cameras are equally durable. Some fog up on exposure to rain. Many will break if hit by a rock or otherwise impacted. Life expectancy varies wildly. Some RV backup cameras will only last a year or two, while wired cameras are typically designed to last for years.
A basic rear view camera shows a ten foot by twenty foot area behind the RV. Some rear view cameras come with a wide-view angle camera that lets you see a much wider area. This may eliminate the blind spots near the corners of the RV that you can’t quite see with your side mirrors.
If you have a wireless backup camera, the odds are that you’ll need to check the batteries in the camera periodically. You’ll want to select a camera that uses standard batteries.
Some cameras are designed to shed rain and dirt. Other cameras will need to be cleaned periodically. Select a backup camera you don’t have to clear up so you can safely backup.
What Type of Camera Is the Best Choice for Your RV?
If you want the highest quality images possible, you want a wired backup camera for your RV. Also, If interference or theft are concerns, a wired RV backup camera is the better choice.
If you want to spend as little money as possible, you’d want to buy a wireless backup camera. Also, If you want to be able to move the camera as necessary, you must have a wireless backup camera.
The best RV wireless backup camera will offer the combination of features that you value at a price you can afford. The best backup camera for one users may not be the ideal for another, whether they don’t want to pay more for good night vision or don’t need to be able to move the camera to the back of a trailer to protect their entire hauled load. Understand what you need and what you’d like in a backup camera when you start shopping for one so that you can find the right product for you.
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