In recent years, there has been an increase in demand for reverse camera systems for motorhomes and other large vehicles. However, with so many options available online, finding the best one can be somewhat challenging, especially since there are so many factors to consider.
The best motorhome reversing cameras produce high-quality images and wide-angle viewing. Night vision, waterproofing, and durability are also important features. Some of the best options include the Furrion FOS43TASF Vision Vehicle Observation System and CoolWoo Dual Backup Camera & Monitor Kit.
This article will help you pick out the best reversing camera for your motorhome. It covers various features you should look for in a camera and lists some of today’s best options.
Do I Need a Reversing Camera for My Motorhome?
We all know that motorhomes have been around longer than reversing cameras and that it certainly is possible to operate such a vehicle without the advanced technology. However, having a reversing camera for your motorhome is a significant upgrade that will increase overall safety and lower driver stress.
Operating a motorhome can be intimidating at first. Many beginners take a bit of time to get used to manoeuvring such a large vehicle. Even small motorhomes are larger than an average car, and it can be tricky backing up–particularly if you’re in a pedestrian-heavy neighbourhood or a camper-packed campground.
And if you own a larger sized motorhome, you know that reversing pr parking without a sensor or camera is not exactly straightforward.
Besides, you likely paid a hefty sum of money for your motorhome, so an investment like a reverse camera makes sense to better protect it from dents and scratches. You can even opt for the less-expensive, back-in sites at your favorite grounds since it won’t be such an ordeal to get in. (And with such decisions, the camera could soon pay for itself!)
Overall, a reverse camera will make you feel more at ease behind the wheel and make your motorhome much less threatening to cars and pedestrians around you.
As it were, failure to see objects in motorhome blindspots are one of the most common causes of accidents in motorhomes, from minor bumps to fatal tragedies. Perhaps more importantly, it will help keep everyone inside the motorhome safe, as well.
Finally, a reversing camera will be an appreciated and worthwhile investment if you plan to sell your motorhome later or list it on RVshare or a similar site. Even if you are experienced and feel at ease driving your motorhome, renters and first-time drivers may not be as comfortable.
A camera that allows them to see what is happening around them will help reduce their stress (and ideally, reduce the chance of damage, as well).
What Should I Be Looking For In A Motorhome Reversing Camera?
If you asked ten random motorhome owners what you should look for in a reversing camera, chances are good you’d get at least four or five different answers.
Camera systems come in a vast array of types, with differing installation needs, video quality, price points, and more, and choosing the best camera for you and your motorhome will likely be based on several factors.
Let’s take a look at the many different features available in reversing cameras. Especially if you’re new to this technology and are unsure what to look for, this will help you make a more informed and confident decision.
Complete Camera System Kits
You may be shopping around to upgrade only the camera part of your reversing camera monitoring system. Though it’s much more likely that you need an entirely new system, from the camera to monitor to mounting and everything in between.
If desired, you could seek out and piece together individual components; however, many of the best motorhome reversing camera systems will be sold as a kit. Some even include mounting brackets and all other necessary items and accessories for quick and easy installation right out of the box.
Reverse Camera Types & Usability
Reversing cameras come in various types, each with its own advantages and appeal, and some options may benefit certain vehicles over others. Furthermore, many camera systems can accommodate multiple cameras, so you may wish to purchase more than just one type.
If you want to find the best camera for your motorhome, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with each type so you can make an informed decision that won’t disappoint later on. Here are the different types of reverse cameras available:
- Box Camera: One of the most popular motorhome camera options available, box cameras are easily mounted, provide a standard 120-degree angle view, and are contained in a waterproof housing. Night vision LED lights are automatic, and there is an adjustable sunshade. Other features include high-resolution CCD lenses, grid lines, and a dual camera in some models.
- License Plate Camera: This kind of camera is designed to mount over your vehicle’s rear license plate (specifically, a U.S. standard size plate). It features grid lines to help you judge distances and LED lights for low-light conditions. This camera will function nicely on motorhomes as well as other big rigs. Low-profile varieties are available for those with strict state laws about covering plates.
- Bumper Camera: This camera type is manufactured with a compact design so it can mount to the bumper of your motorhome. Most modern RVs already have a small, removable piece in the bumper where the camera can be mounted.
- Side View Camera: A side view camera is ideal for more oversized vehicles with large blind spots or otherwise limited visibility, such as your motorhome. These cameras make changing lanes on the highways much safer and provide visibility to everything surrounding you, regardless of your traveling direction.
- Surface-Mounted Camera: This type of camera is an excellent choice for a motorhome. It is typically mounted higher-up on a flat surface and provides better depth perception and a more commanding view.
- Flush-Mounted Camera: The benefit of this kind of camera is that you don’t easily see it. It can be mounted through a hole in the body of your motorhome, leaving only the bezel and lens visible, and you get a clean look. The downside is a limited depth perception compared to a surface-mounted option.
Wired vs. Wireless
While there are dozens of brands, models, and specific makes of cameras to choose from, they can generally be broken down into two main categories: wired and wireless.
If you’re looking for a high-quality and reliable camera system, then you might want to consider getting a wired system. As the name implies, wired reverse camera systems are wired into your motorhome using a cable that connects the camera system in the back to a monitor in the cab.
Though this often involves a more complex setup and hiring a professional to install the system is highly suggested (which often comes at a steep price).
The upside is that wired cameras can be retrofitted into virtually every motorhome and RV out there. Whether you drive a fifth-wheel trailer, a Class A motorhome, or a tiny sleeper van, you can get a wired reversing camera that will work for your rig.
Furthermore, a wired camera system will offer a superior picture quality compared to wireless systems. Plus, you don’t have to worry about dropped or interrupted signals.
You might choose a wired reverse camera system for your motorhome if you:
- Need reliability and great image quality
- Want longevity
- Have a larger motorhome
- Tow a car or trailer
- Travel often and move around frequently
- Can install it yourself, or are okay paying a specialist
Wireless reverse camera systems are–that’s right–not hardwired into your motorhome. Instead, they rely on a wireless transmitter technology and either digital or analog signals to ‘connect’ the camera system to the monitor.
Analog systems typically are cheaper, but they are more sensitive to interference and prone to poor image quality. DIgital systems tend to be the preferred option because long operating ranges help minimize external signal interferences.
In general, wireless reverse camera systems are less expensive and are easier to install; however, some users say signals tend to weaken with interference and become unreliable, especially in larger vehicles. In many cases, interference can cause annoying, obstructive stripes or static to appear on the monitor.
With that said, digital signals have improved, and interference has lessened in some reverse camera systems. Also, wireless systems are super easy to use; most are up and running once you plug the system into your 12-volt DC connection.
You might choose a wireless camera system for your motorhome if you:
- Have a tighter budget
- Own a smaller motorhome
- Still rent out motorhomes and don’t yet own one
- Tend to stay put longer and don’t need to reverse often
- Don’t mind interference affecting the image or an odd glitch now and again
- Can’t install a wired system (or won’t pay someone to do it)
If you opt for a wireless camera system, you’ll need to make sure its range covers and exceeds the length of your motorhome. As discussed earlier, a digital connection will produce better results than an analog option.
A wide-angle view is best to help you see greater distances, both far and wide, and keep an eye on both corners. This field of view is determined by the type of image sensor and its size, and the lens’s focal length. The bigger the sensor, the wider the viewing angle. Picture quality will be better with bigger sensors also, especially in low light.
For a reversing camera system, look for a viewing angle of 120 degrees at the minimum with 180 degrees as a maximum.
Anything wider than 180 degrees is likely to be distorted and difficult to operate. Many find anything between 150-170 degrees to be an optimum angle. (And for what it’s worth, the field of view for the human eye is an average of 114-130 degrees.)
Weatherproofing & IP Ratings
Your motorhome reversing camera system–the camera, connectors, and wiring–will be exposed to the elements and needs to be protected. UV-resistant wiring and watertight wiring connectors will be required, and the best cameras will be able to withstand changing temperatures and extreme weather conditions.
You often will see manufacturers claim that their cameras are ‘waterproof.’ Still, an ideal choice is weatherproof (as well as shockproof). You should look for IP or Ingress Protection Ratings when shopping for a reverse camera. These are measured levels of protection from objects and elements, such as sand and water.
Ratings will start with IP and typically be followed by two digits. The first digit shows the intrusion protection level from solids; the concern focused on tiny sand or dust particles. A rating of IP6 is the highest rating, meaning the camera is completely dust-tight.
The second digit of an IP rating indicates the level of moisture protection. These numbers rank from 1 for drips to 9 for deluges, with anything five and above granting you good protection from heavier rainstorms.
For example, when you put the two considerations together, an IP67 rating means equipment can withstand sand or dust, high winds, and prolonged rain; IP68 means equipment can withstand sand, dust, and high winds, but also torrential downpours.
Image Quality (Resolution)
It’s unlikely you’ll be shooting any award-winning footage from the back of your motorhome, but that doesn’t mean you should skimp on image quality. And while it isn’t necessary to make out every superfluous detail, the whole idea of a reversing camera is to have a clear image of what is happening behind you. So it makes sense to invest in a camera with a good resolution.
The minimum resolution needed to view tv images is 720 pixels, so that is the minimum you should look for in a reversing camera. Any less than that, and you may find it difficult to make out important details.
The higher the resolution you can find in a camera, the better. More pixels means a clearer image, which will help tremendously when backing into tight spots.
The best reversing cameras have an excellent resolution not only in daylight but also with other image settings, including color, black and white, and night vision. Such a feature will allow you to choose the best option based on your circumstances.
If you are going to buy a reversing camera separately to connect to an existing monitor or smartphone, ensure the screen display has at least a 720-pixel resolution.
If it doesn’t, you may wish to consider getting a new monitor or opt to buy a complete reversing camera system. (This won’t be a concern when purchasing a kit since the camera and monitor are made to pair together.)
Monitor Quality & Size
The idea above for camera image quality is the same for monitors. And it won’t matter how high-quality and impressive your camera is if it doesn’t have a monitor that is equally high-quality and impressive to view the image.
Luckily, many of today’s monitors are high-resolution LCD, LED, or other high pixel-count displays, so you will encounter no difficulty in finding something with acceptable resolution.
Again, if you’re shopping for a complete system, you’re easily going to find great quality choices with high resolution. The size of the monitor is of equal concern. Too small, and you won’t be able to make out anything; too big, and it can be a driving distraction or cause blind spots.
Monitors range from as small as 4 inches (101 mm) to as large as 10 inches (254 mm).
The most commonly preferred sizes for visibility generally range from 5 inches (127 mm) to 8 inches (203 mm).
Other great features to keep your eye out for are anti-glare screens and monitors with hoods. Monitor hoods are ledges that extend beyond the screen to block the sunlight, and both are worth taking the time to look for.
If your motorhome already has a monitor built-in or on top of the dashboard with auxiliary input, it’s possible to spare yourself from purchasing a monitor and buy a compatible camera and cable instead.
Seeing clearly at night is essential, especially when travelling challenging terrains and long distances. The best reversing camera system will include night vision. This feature allows the driver a clear image of several meters from the camera in the dark.
Most modern reverse cameras for motorhomes should have night vision, as it is a significant safety issue.
The best reversing cameras will have a mirror image setting (usually the default setting) so that what you see in your rear-view mirror correlates with what you see on the monitor.
That is to say: all objects are on the same side of the image within your view. This is because the camera image capture is facing rearward, and if it were displayed the same way on the monitor, the image would appear reversed.
Most monitors for reversing cameras display a mirror image that matches the rear-view mirror image. If you find one that doesn’t, you probably shouldn’t buy it.
Other Features To Consider
Reversing cameras use one of two types of sensors: CCD (Charge-Coupled Device) or CMOS (Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor).
CCD reversing cameras have been the preferred choice for many because they produce better results. The sensor only collects light images. The rest of the processing necessary to transfer the image to the camera’s video output is handled by separate parts on the camera board.
This is why CCDs produce higher-quality images. Additionally, CCD sensors are more sensitive to low light situations and perform well at night.
The only drawback is that because CCD cameras have multiple components to create their superior image quality, they draw more power than the alternative.
On the other hand, CMOS reversing cameras draw less power and can run longer when used on a battery. Power consumption is lower because there are fewer parts in the camera board.
A CMOS image sensor must both collect the light and perform the processing required to transfer the image. This not only makes the process slower, but it also produces an image of lesser quality.
However, CMOS sensors have been evolving over the years, and many are performing as well as CCD sensors.
Some camera systems are available with a fitted microphone. This allows someone outside the motorhome to provide verbal information to a driver, even when they are out of sight.
An audio setting certainly has its advantages and is worth looking for, particularly if you have a larger rig.
The price of a high-quality reversible camera system may be somewhat off-putting at first; however, a substantial investment now could spare you from the secondary and tertiary investments needed to replace a poor investment.
Obviously, you don’t need to find the most expensive option available, but you shouldn’t be too thrifty, either. When it comes to technology, you usually get what you pay for. And a low price often means an inferior product.
Always be sure to check that your vehicle voltage matches the reverse system voltage. Otherwise, you’ll want to protect the equipment from current surges by fitting a voltage regulator. Variable voltage accepting units (approx. 12-volt to 18-volt) should be more durable.
The specific type of mounting you use may depend on which camera system chose, as some may require a more substantial setup than others. In general, cameras are mounted three ways: a license plate mount, a flush mount, or a surface mount.
Typically, flush and license plate mounted cameras are suitable for cars. In contrast, motorhomes benefit from surface mounts because they allow the cameras to be mounted high up at the vehicle’s rear.
Generally, reversing cameras are mounted on small brackets, though the monitor will also have various types. Rearview mirror versions permit you to look in a place you usually do when you drive to see behind you using long screens. Other systems have adhesive or suction mounts for your dashboard.
If you are shopping for complete camera system kits, look for an option that has mounting included for maximum setup convenience.
Monitor vs. Smartphone for Wireless Viewing
When shopping for a wireless camera, you will find some options that work with a monitor and others that connect to your smartphone using Bluetooth. And while using your smartphone for viewing is the cheaper option, it isn’t necessarily the best option.
For one, it will quickly drain your phone’s battery. It also makes using any other apps–music, phone, navigation–very difficult. Additionally, Bluetooth connections can be weak at times, which further strains your battery and can cause signal disruptions.
Furthermore, your smartphone likely doesn’t live in your motorhome, leaving the possibility open that you may not have it when you need it.
On the other hand, a monitor can stay in your vehicle. It will also be designed to pair with the camera, providing you a stronger connection and reduced chance of interference. Better still, some monitors are multifunctional and can be used to play games or watch movies as well.
Overall, if you are going to invest in a decent reversing camera, you may as well opt for the more dependable choice and use a separate monitor instead of your smartphone.
6 Best Motorhome Reversing Cameras
|Brand & Product Name
|CoolWoo Dual Backup Camera & Monitor Kit
|Rear View Safety RVS-770613 RV Backup Camera System
|Furrion FOS43TASF Vision Vehicle Observation System
|LeeKooLuu F09 HD 1080P Wireless Backup Camera
|AMTIFO A7 HD 1080P Digital Wireless Backup Camera
|Yuwei Digital Wireless RV Backup Camera System Kit
CoolWoo Dual Backup Camera & Monitor Kit
This wired backup camera kit is versatile enough for any type of motorhome you have. The CoolWoo camera is high-definition and features infrared night vision with eight integrated infrared LED lights as well as the most recent CCD chips. Sharp and colorful displays are guaranteed with this choice.
The IP rating ensures proper functioning even during heavy rains and violent storms and eliminates the possibility of fog or mist penetrating the case. And the 7″ HD screen is equipped with two video inputs and DVD support and will provide an excellent HD experience–all this for a moderate price of around $150.
The only complaint users have concerns the thin size of the wire, claiming it affects durability.
Rear View Safety RVS-770613 RV Backup Camera System
The RVS-770613 system by Rear View Safety is considered a single wired reverse camera made specifically for recreational vehicles. It offers a comfortable 130-degree viewing angle on a large 7″ screen, and it can handle up to three cameras.
Another nice feature is its trailer disconnect cord that you can use for a travel trailer or 5th wheel installation.
Its $300 price tag is a steal, as you are certainly rewarded for your investment. With a top IP69 rating, this reverse camera system is completely waterproof, making it incredibly effective during all kinds of weather.
This system also has 18 infrared lights that provide you with up to 50 feet of clear vision, even in total darkness. Additionally, the monitor can display distance grid lines to help you better judge the amount of space you have behind you.
The one downside reported by users is the one-time installation is a bit time-consuming.
Furrion FOS43TASF Vision Vehicle Observation System
The Furrion Observation System is one of the most innovative options available and comparable to models twice its price. Though expensive, it’s still a bargain at under $450 if you are looking for a durable and reliable wireless reversing camera system.
Furrion boasts about its amazing digital wireless technology, which effectively removes interference and blind spots from the surrounding environment.
One of the camera’s top features is its surveillance and motion detection, an automatic function that will show its 120-degree field of view if it senses any movement. This system also has an IP65 rating, providing you ample protection from rough weather.
The camera will also adjust automatically for color, contrast, and brightness, and the touch screen anti-glare monitor can accommodate a high-quality display of all ambient conditions as well. Distance and rear assist grid lines and an optional parking line are also available.
Additionally, the infrared night vision provides up to 40 feet of visibility, and the system even has sound capture to offer an audio reference.
LeeKooLuu F09 HD 1080P Wireless Backup Camera
The LeeKooLuu F09 system has the latest HD chips that provide clear pictures during the day and support a super night vision in the dark. It has a wide 170-degree viewing angle, and it also supports a second wireless camera that can be added to a second channel of the ample sized 5″ monitor.
This allows backup view, side view, or front view should all angles be desired. Customers love the easy, 2-step installation process and that it is suitable for most vehicles.
With an IP69 rating, this license plate mounted camera can withstand anything Mother Nature has to offer. The F09 system also has ultra-low power consumption to prevent overheating, can be mounted on either the dash or the windshield, and has optional grid lines available.
Coming in at just over $100 with a 2-year warranty, this is one of the best deals you’ll find for reversing cameras.
AMTIFO A7 HD 1080P Digital Wireless Backup Camera
The AMTIFO Digital Wireless Backup Camera features an upgraded digital wireless system with a built-in wireless receiver and transmitter, capable of working without interference on vehicles ranging under 45 feet.
The 7″ HD 1080P screen provides a large, clear image. Additionally, it supports a second camera, offers a split-screen setting, and has the option to flip the image vertically and horizontally for either an upside-down or front-facing view (mirror image is the default view).
The kit also comes with two mount options for either windshield or dashboard mounting.
Most impressive is its IP69 rating, guaranteeing you the highest level of protection even in the most inclement weather. Combine that with a wide 150-degree angle visible range and an easy installation process, and you’ve got yourself one excellent reverse camera system, all for under $200.
Yuwei Digital Wireless RV Backup Camera System Kit
Another reliable reverse camera system is the Yuwei Digital Wireless System. It features a “DIY design” that allows you to install it on your own in less than an hour. The 7″ LCD monitor can be set up in under a minute and provides clean, sharp images.
This system has upgraded wireless and digital design and operates with more stable signal transmission. Even during quick changes in vehicle speed, you can expect a smooth and clear signal.
The Yuwei System also supports up to four wireless reverse cameras, which can be viewed individually and used to see all angles of your rig. Plus, with its superior IP69 rating, the system is guaranteed protection no matter what the weather.
With a moderate price of just under $300, this option is made of durable, high-quality materials; however, this also makes this camera significantly heavier than other options, which can pose an issue for some.