If you’re looking for the best camcorders for your family — or even a video recorder for your kids — you’ve come to the right place. Sure, with a cell phone in your pocket, it’s easy to record all your family’s everyday moments — the highs, lows, and everything in between. But if you’re looking to capture memories via higher quality video, you may want to look into buying a camcorder. Maybe you want a separate device from your phone because if that got lost or stolen, you’d lose a lot more than your most recent videotaped memories. Or maybe you need something especially durable or waterproof to take on vacation. Perhaps you’re after one that’s easy enough for the kids to use. In any case, a camcorder is handy to have, whether you’re recording your fam’s Disney trip or your kids’ go-kart races in the backyard.
You may remember your parents lugging around giant video equipment during your family vacations, but camcorders these days are not only compact in size, they can also record in HD video. That means you can relive all your family’s best and most embarrassing moments over and over in crystal clear resolution. Yesss!
Whether you’re looking for a video camera for easy recording, something rugged to keep up with your active family, or you need a kid-friendly device to prevent them from stealing your phone for selfies, here are nine of the best family camcorders.
This Sony HD camcorder measures 2.13” x 2.34” x 5.04” and only weighs 6.7 ounces, but it’s packed with features including 27x zoom, a wide lens, low-light sensitivity, image stabilization, face detection, video effects, and intelligent auto mode. It records 1920 x 1080 HD video (as well as 9.2MP still images) in AVCHD and MP4, which you can transfer to your computer via USB cable.
Despite all these fancy-sounding features, reviewers assure it’s easy to use. Said one, “What a perfect little camcorder. Exactly what I was looking for. I wanted something that I literally just had to open and start shooting. No extra buttons/settings to deal with. That’s exactly what I got. Zooms amazingly far. The picture isn’t fuzzy. Sound is great.”
To capture all your family’s adventures, you need a video camera that can keep up with the action. The compact GoPro HERO9 is rugged, waterproof down to 33 feet, and has video stabilization built in. It records 5K video and takes 20MP photos and has live streaming capabilities. There’s a front display and a rear touch screen, a hindsight feature (this captures video 30 seconds before you press “record”), time-lapse, and slo-mo features — more than enough options to capture all your best memories while on the move.
One reviewer said, “By far the most impressive GoPro I have ever owned. The 20MP camera functionality makes this great to bring to my kids’ sporting events and the 14.7MP frame grabs have been fun to pull out of the videos. I love the front screen and plan on buying housing for any rugged activities. I have been playing around with the ‘Hindsight’ feature (captures something like 30 seconds before you hit the button) at my kids’ baseball game which is really cool because I don’t need to record the whole game to find a good action shot or miss a spectacular play. By far one of the sweetest options.”
The Canon EOS Rebel 7 DSLR can upgrade both your video and photo skills, even if you’re a beginner. It has a 24.1 megapixel sensor, fast autofocus (to make sure you get non-blurry photos of your kids who can’t stay still), and an LCD monitor. You can record HD video in various sizes and frame rates depending on what you’re shooting. It also has built-in WiFi to connect to compatible devices so you can share photos easily or control the camera remotely to let everyone be in family photos.
One reviewer said, “Awesome deal in this price range. You can’t really ask for better on a year 2018 release. The instruction manual could have been more thorough but other than that, it’s a high quality picture for its price and with good built-in features. All around worth it for video and pics. 1080p at 30fps is the max quality.”
Best Camcorders with Microphones
If you want to videotape your family without having to shove a phone camera right up in their faces, this Panasonic camcorder gives you some flexibility. It features a wide-angle lens, 50X optical zoom, and 90X intelligent zoom. There’s a sensor to help you capture photos both in low and bright light, and for video, it has optional creative effects like 8mm movie and silent movie to add extra fun to your home videos. There’s also a microphone that automatically adjusts recording volume depending on how far you’re zooming in so you can get clear audio at any distance.
One reviewer said, “I love this camcorder! It doesn’t take long to charge (maybe a couple hours if that) and the battery lasts a decent amount of time (approximately a day and a half or two with heavy usage and a few days with light usage). The quality of picture/sound is fairly crisp for the price. It does not look professional by any means, but it doesn’t look cheap or fuzzy either. I got this for the purpose of taking home videos and capturing important events in my family. It does the job well and it’s very easy to maneuver. It’s very compact too so it’s something I just throw into my bag whenever an event is coming up that I want to capture.”
This camcorder not only shoots in full HD video and 24MB photo, but it also has night vision so you can record in low light or even darkness. Record your family memories in one of the multiple video modes including low-speed, time-lapse, self-shooting, and continuous shooting. There’s an included external microphone, 16X digital zoom, and remote control, and you can connect it to your computer to use as an extra webcam.
One reviewer said, “I really like this camera! Took it on vacation and captured some beautiful video. Handy night vision and zoom features both operate smoothly. Easy to use, lightweight and comes with a carry bag. Great little set for not a lot of money.”
Best Handheld Video Cameras
This lightweight, portable camcorder has a three-inch LCD touch screen, 57X advanced zoom, and shoots 1920 x 1080 videos. It has an external microphone jack, an image stabilizer if you have shaky hands or are trying to film an action-packed day, slow and fast motion recording, and features like backlight correction to help you record your family in the best light. This particular set also includes a case and card so you have everything you need to get rollin.’
“This is an outstanding camera,” shares one reviewer. “The pictures are clear and give good resolution. That is, they are not in any way blurred. I particularly like the external microphone jack which was one of the reasons that I purchased this camera.”
This tiny camera has both a front and back screen to capture your family’s action from all angles with a press of a button. It has stabilization technology built in, a wide angle, and is waterproof up to 11 meters. You can shoot 4K HDR videos at regular speed, in slow motion, or in time-lapse mode. It’s mountable on different surfaces and there are five voice commands so you can film, take photos, and power down hands-free.
One reviewer said, “It’s just amazing! Front screen, fast power on, great specs, nice image, flat color profile, bunch of shooting modes, this one has it all. I see no reason why you would not want to buy this if you’re thinking about an action camera. And to be honest, I bought it mostly for filming just regular stuff, not specifically action. It fulfilled my every need I had for a camera, just 0 regrets buying this!”
Best Video Cameras for Kids
Instead of letting your kids play with your phone, give them this digital camera that will let them take selfies and record their own videos. There’s a color LCD screen, front and rear-facing cameras, over 70 photo effects, interactive games, and a built-in recorder. You can download videos and photos to your computer via a micro USB cable, and the camera is durable enough to withstand a few drops and bumps. Choose between blue, pink, and camouflage versions.
Said one reviewer who bought this for their granddaughter, “I wanted a sturdy camera for her that is made for kids but is not a ‘toy.’ The VTech Kidizoom DUO met all my requirements. This camera is sturdy and has survived many falls (it was under the couch when I visited recently). It is very easy to learn and is fun to use. I believe she took around 1,200 pictures before maxing out the memory. When it gets full, we just delete the less than perfect pictures. The batteries last pretty long considering how much the camera is used. We have not printed any of her photos yet but what we view on the screen is very high quality.”
Kids are rough with their toys and gadgets, so you won’t feel bad about handing over this affordable, durable video camera to them. In addition to recording 1080p videos, it can take photos, has voice recording, and has five different built-in games. There are fun photo effects and frames so your kids can personalize their pics and it has 32GB of memory and a rechargeable battery that lasts 2-4 hours (long enough to keep your kids occupied for an afternoon). It’s available in four different colors as well.
One reviewer and parent said, “Is this video camera easy to use? Yes, my daughter took the camera out of the box, charged it on her own, and shot a whole bunch of videos and pictures without getting a single bit of help from an adult. Is it well designed for a kid? -Yes, perfectly designed. We have two younger boys as well who are not ‘gentle’ with any of their sister’s toys. It holds up well to child usage!”
For other great family-friendly products, check out our other Home & Kitchen picks.
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