This is a guide to the best body cameras for recording interactions, evidence collection and protection.
You might also just want a body camera for fun, due to the unique first-person point of view they provide.
Body-worn cameras (BWC) were introduced in 2019 here in Australia to NSWA paramedics to record audio and video.
The best body camera needs to be small unobtrusive, easily attached to clothing and have great video and audio quality.
Ideally, it will have good low-light performance too, and if it’s to be used in law enforcement, it needs to be rugged and weather-resistant.
While action cameras may seem like a handy body-mountable alternative, a dedicated body camera is much better
(You’ll discover why in the guide below, along with some other FAQs.)
So whether you’re a police officer, civilian, or simply a content creator wanting some stealthy video footage, here’s a list of the best body cameras this year.
Table of Contents
What is the Best Body Camera in 2023?
1. BOBLOV B4K2 (Our Top Pick)
- Small and lightweight
- Easy to set up and use
- Sturdy design
- Infrared camera
- GPS capabilities
- No image stabilization
- Relatively expensive
The BOBLOV B4K2 is our top pick among the best body cameras because of its great range of features.
First of all, it can record at 4K, so you’ll be able to capture high-quality, high-resolution footage.
The device locks onto moving targets quickly, too, using a red laser light.
You can record at night, either with its powerful, in-built flashlight or with its infrared night vision camera. That’s good up to 50ft, and can be set up to engage automatically.
One particularly useful feature, especially for those who might be recording in volatile or quickly-changing situations is the quick start function.
When the device is off, you just need to press a single button, and the BOBLOV turns on and immediately starts recording.
It’s GPS-enabled, can stamp your footage or photos with map coordinates in real-time (at no additional cost), and track your video route.
You might think that with this many features, the body camera might not last for too long. But you’d be wrong. It can last for up to 16 hours on a single charge.
That’s more than enough continuous recording to take it through, for example, a 12-hour shift as a police body camera.
And it comes with two of those batteries, plus a micro SD card. No need to buy accessories, you’ll be good to go out of the box.
All in all, this is an excellent, robust, feature-packed choice for law enforcement, security professionals, and first responders.
2. BOBLOV M5 (Runner Up)
- Robust build
- Dual-use dashcam and bodycam
- High resolution
- Great battery life and memory capacity
- No 4K video
- Not particularly stable on the body without an accessory
These body cameras are police body cameras. Specifically designed for law enforcement use.
With that in mind, you can expect certain things from it (plus other perhaps more surprising things).
First off, it’s a tough device with excellent build quality. It can withstand drops of up to 2 metres and is waterproof to IP67.
It has GPS, so can record the exact position of your footage or images.
The footage is 2K (and can also be set to automatically record infrared for low light and nighttime), and the camera gives you a resolution of 48 megapixels.
Like the BOBLOV B4K2, it has a red laser that quickly locks onto moving targets, very useful for crime scenes, and unlike the B4K2, it has red and blue flashing alarm lights, which can be used as a warning, or to signal for backup.
You have the option of up to 256GB of internal memory and, whatever amount of memory you choose, the battery life is excellent, up to 15 hours of continuous recording.
So, whatever situation you’re called to, you won’t need to worry about your device letting you down.
This device is also dual-use. That is, you can attach it to your body, or use the suction cup to make it a dash cam. If you do decide to use it as a bodycam, though, it’s best to buy the magnetic clip to go with it, as it’s not stable enough without it.
3. BOBLOV KJ21 (Best Entry-Level Body Cam)
- Good battery life
- Dashcam option
- No GPS
Very similar in look and design to the BOBLOV B4K2, but at around half the cost, the BOBLOV KJ21 is best for budget-conscious users looking for a reputable bodycam.
Although you won’t get the ability to record in 4K for up to 16 hours at a time, this entry-level option allows you to record in 1080p for up to 10 hours.
Which is probably more than enough for most civilian and even professional users.
You have an infrared camera (for up to 30ft away), a flashlight, a siren, a quick start function, and the possibility to have up to 256GB of memory using a microSD card.
It’s got a nice and secure clip to attach it to your clothing or a bag strap, and you can also use it as a dashcam.
It’s small, lightweight, robust, and has the basic features of its more expensive cousins.
But if you don’t need GPS and 4K video, and want a high-quality bodycam at a low cost, this could be your best choice.
4. Transcend DrivePro Body 10 (Best for Windows Users)
- Good price
- Sharp footage
- Quick Snapshot function
- Lower battery life than competitors
- LEDs can’t be turned off, so cannot be unobtrusive
The Transcend DrivePro Body 10 is made in Taiwan by a reputable, established company, and sold at an excellent price point for its features.
It’s our choice as best for Windows users as the latest model is Windows only, with no Mac compatibility.
It uses a 360-degree rotating mount and clip to attach itself to your body (or for you to attach it to your body), and its body is lightweight, with a small, sleek design. It’s tough too, both shock and water-resistant.
The footage quality is great. It uses a Sony sensor (well-known for their delicious images) and records crystal-clear 1080p footage.
A particularly handy feature is the Quick Snapshot function. If you need to take a photo, you can do it without interrupting your recording.
Just press the button and the device will snatch a frame and save it in a separate folder as a jpeg.
It can record in the night too, thanks to four infrared LEDs that surround the main camera. One thing to be aware of, though, is that these operate automatically, and can’t be turned off.
That means your daytime footage can have a slightly purple tint in low light, as there’s no infrared cutout filter in the camera.
That shouldn’t be a problem most (or any) of the time though, and certainly not if you’re using this for creative purposes.
Battery life is 5 hours. Although that doesn’t sound like much, you can record and charge at the same time. So put a charger pack in your pocket and you can record for as long as you want.
5. Boblov C18 1296P (Best Mini Cam/Spy Camera)
- Recording light can be switched off
- Can control from an app
- Buttons are a bit weak
- Menu can be difficult to navigate
This is our pick for the best mini cam or spy camera.
It’s just over four inches in length so, smaller than a pen, and can slip easily into a pocket and be securely attached there with its removable clip.
It’s discreet in another way, too, as its flashing LED recording light can be switched off. Something other body-worn cameras on the market don’t do.
It has surprisingly good picture quality for its size and price (don’t expect miracles – it has a tiny sensor), and can record at 1080p.
Memory size is not massive (32 or 64 GB), but that’s to be expected for both the size and amount of use its target market would get out of it – which is mainly you and I, the average consumer.
You can also control it directly from an app, as it can be connected to WiFi.
Connecting it to the internet will reduce its battery life by a bit though. And that battery life is between 3 and 4 hours of recording at 1080p with the WiFi turned off.
6. MIUFLY 1296P
- Built-in GPS
- Good battery life
- Rugged design
- Password protected
- Heavier than competitors
- Audio can be muffled
The MIUFLY 1296P is a rugged option for those in the market for a body cam.
The ability to record up to 1296p gives you good quality, high-resolution footage and pictures. And you can start recording video and audio with one touch.
It has good battery life, up to ten hours of continuous recording, and that can be stored in internal memory of 32GB, all the way up to 128GB.
There’s built-in GPS, and infrared sensors for night recording. And, if you want to be discreet at night (or during the day), it also has a Covert Mode which turns off the blinking LED recording light.
All in all, it’s a no-nonsense piece of kit, that has a decent amount of features for the price.
22 Factors to Consider Before Buying a Body Camera
Choosing a body camera is a decision that should take several factors into account, especially when the primary goal is to enhance personal safety or collect video evidence:
- Video Quality: A good body camera should offer high-definition (HD) video recording. Look for cameras that can record in at least 1080p resolution. Higher resolution can provide clearer images which can be essential for evidence.
- Audio Quality: Clear audio can also serve as crucial evidence. Look for a device with a high-quality microphone.
- Battery Life: Depending on your needs, you might require a camera that can record for an entire shift or outing. Check the device’s battery life to ensure it’s suitable for your needs.
- Storage: Check how much internal memory the camera has and if it’s expandable. Video, especially HD video, can consume a lot of storage space quickly.
- Durability: The camera should be durable and resistant to elements like dust and water, especially if you’ll be using it outdoors.
- Size and Weight: Choose a camera that is compact and lightweight for comfort and convenience. It should be easy to wear without causing discomfort.
- Ease of Use: It should be simple to operate, with easily accessible controls.
- Night Vision: If you’ll be using the camera in low-light conditions, look for a model that includes infrared or night vision capabilities.
- Wide-Angle Lens: A wider field of view can capture more in the frame, which could be important in volatile situations.
- Security Features: Look for models that prevent tampering or unauthorized access to the recordings. Some cameras offer password protection and secure file formats that can’t be altered.
- Mounting Options: Depending on your needs, you might want to consider what kind of mounting options are available – chest mount, shoulder mount, etc.
- Pre-Record Function: Some body cameras have a feature that continuously buffers video and can include a certain amount of footage from before the record button was pressed. This can be extremely helpful in capturing unexpected events.
- GPS Tagging: Certain body cameras come with GPS functionality which allows the video to be tagged with location data. This can provide valuable context to the recorded footage.
- Field of View Adjustment: While a wide field of view is generally beneficial, there can be cases where a narrower field of view may be preferable to avoid distortion. Cameras that allow adjusting this can offer more flexibility.
- Stealth Mode: Some cameras have a stealth or covert mode, which allows recording without noticeable signs like LED indicators. This might be important in certain situations where you don’t want to draw attention to the recording process.
- Data Transfer and Storage Options: Depending on your needs, you might prefer a camera that can automatically upload its footage to cloud storage, or one that allows easy transfer to a computer via USB.
- Automatic Activation: Some body cameras can be set to automatically start recording under certain conditions, such as when the police vehicle’s emergency lights are activated.
- Battery Saving Features: Look for features that help to conserve battery life when not actively recording, such as motion activation or a sleep mode.
- Resolution Settings: Some cameras allow you to change the resolution settings. Lower resolution video uses less storage space and battery, which might be useful in situations where high-resolution video isn’t necessary.
- Image Stabilization: Some body cameras have image stabilization to help keep the video footage smooth even if the camera is moving.
- Durability Standards: Beyond general durability, it can be useful to check if a camera meets specific standards, such as military or industrial standards for shock, vibration, and extreme temperatures.
- Price: Finally, cost is an important factor. Ensure the camera provides the features you need at a price point that fits your budget.
Which is Better: a GoPro or a Body Camera?
Take a look at this table to settle the GoPro vs Body Camera debate when it comes to protection, security and fun:
|Purpose||Designed for capturing high-quality, dynamic footage, often for adventure sports or cinematic purposes.||Designed for law enforcement or personal safety, capturing a point-of-view record of incidents.|
|Video Quality||High-resolution video recording, often 4K or higher.||Typically offers high-definition video, but may be lower than GoPro, often 1080p.|
|Audio Quality||Good audio quality, often with advanced wind and noise reduction features.||Variable audio quality; usually good enough for voice recording, but can be inferior to GoPro.|
|Durability||Very durable and often waterproof; designed for rugged use.||Usually durable and often weather-resistant, but may not be as tough as a GoPro.|
|Mounting Options||Many body mounting options available for helmets, chests, bikes, etc.||Typically worn on the body; usually clips to clothing or mounts on a chest harness or shoulder strap.|
|Battery Life||Variable, but often shorter due to high-quality video recording.||Often designed for long shifts, so may have longer battery life.|
|Field of View||Often adjustable, usually offering a very wide field of view.||Usually has a wide field of view, but typically not adjustable.|
|Stealth Mode||The small blinking light and the design of GoPro are usually recognizable.||Often have a stealth or covert mode, allowing recording without visible indications.|
|Night Vision||Not included.||Many models include infrared or night vision capabilities.|
|Cost||Can be expensive, depending on the model.||Variable cost; some are comparably priced to GoPros, while others are less expensive.|
|Special Features||Often include features like image stabilization, live streaming, slow motion, time-lapse, etc.||Often include features like pre-record, GPS tagging, auto-activation, secure data management, etc.|
Are body cameras legal for civilians?
Anyone can use a body camera anywhere they’d be able to use a standard camera, as long as they’re not breaking any privacy laws.
As for those laws, they change depending on where you are, so you’ll need to check for your region.
What is the best body camera for civilians?
It really depends on what you need a body cam for.
I think for civilian use you need an unobtrusive body camera, so I’d go with either the Boblov C18 1296P or the BOBLOV KJ21 from this guide. Another option is the Transcend, although only for Windows users obviously.
What brand body cameras do police use?
Out of those in this guide, I’d say the BOBLOV M5, as they’re designed specifically as police body cameras, and has all the features they’d need in their work.
How much does a personal body cam cost?
Those in this guide range from $80 – $200. You can pay less for a body camera, although I wouldn’t recommend it, and you can pay more, $500, $600. But you can always pay more, can’t you?