If you have been looking for more information about the best trail camera to help with your hunting – you have come to the right place. This place is packed with reliable, well researched, and helpful information listicles on trail camera reviews to help you pick up the greatest game camera.
You need the best trail camera with the best features in the market to make the most out of scouting an area for your gaming sessions. However, with the multitude of cameras available in the market and the similarity in their features, you may be at lost. Fortunately, this review can guide you in choosing the trail camera that best fits your needs, starting with a comparison of some of the best top-rated game cameras available in 2020, followed by a detailed evaluation of each device.
Each of these cameras has been getting some great reviews and ratings in the last few years and after reviewing them ourselves, we conclude that they are the best you can get whatever your purpose is. Whether it is for hunting, fun, security, or anything else. Check out this evaluation chart of the game cameras that we have put together.
You don’t have to be a hunter in order to have fun with a trail camera. Monitoring your property with one (or several) of these useful little gadgets is a fascinating hobby for birders, wildlife enthusiasts, kids, or just people who enjoy being surprised at what goes on in their backyard after nightfall. Also known as a trap, game, or wildlife camera, a trail camera gets to you with a passive infrared motion detector that triggers the shutter when a beast or trespasser walks into its field of view.
Hunters regularly use them to identify places to find a game when the game season starts, or to start migration or feeding routes. Birders are fond of the close-up, freeze-frame images a trail cam can capture; a person holding a camera can easily scatter the birds. However, an unobtrusive trail cam does not quite bother them a tiny bit.
Some people will set up trail cams just out of inquisitiveness about the activity of wildlife, or even their own pets, when humans aren’t around them. Residents of rural areas and even suburban areas are sometimes surprised and charmed by the diversity of animals their cams capture, and by their mischief. Trail cam “bloopers” of wildlife caught in goofy moments have become a popular category on various wildlife and lifestyle blogs and video sites.
Table of Contents
- Buying Considerations – The Features to Look Out for
- The Best Trail Cameras – Revealed
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Buying Considerations – The Features to Look Out for
Here are some quick and easy criteria on what trail-cam features you should look out for.
Movement kick-starts a trail camera’s shutter. The amount of time between the camera movement and when the photo is taken is called trigger speed. It’s convenient to find cameras that fire in half a second or less. The Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Aggressor Low-Glow, Browning Strike Force Apex, and Browning Dark Ops Apex are some examples of cams with 0.2-second trigger speeds. Naturally, you will certainly want the photo to be captured or the video to start recording as soon as possible before your subject of interest moves out of view.
A related measure is the recovery time, or how long it takes for the camera to get it ready to take another picture. Not every camera maker specifies their recovery time, however, it’s worth considering when they do. It’s common for cams offer their users a burst capability, firing off several shots in rapid succession, or a multi-shot mode with an optional period of time between their shots. You can also set the interval between the camera’s triggered events, so your memory card does not fill up with shots of the same show-off deer.
Also related to trigger speed is the detection range: how close to the camera an animal has to get in order to trigger the motion detector. Naturally, a longer (farther) detection range can capture more wildlife movement, however may fill your card more quickly.
As with most cameras in general, the higher the resolution, the higher the potential for a sharp and clear picture or video. However, be aware that a lot of times the maximum resolution listed for a camera is an interpolation, or enhancement, of a significantly lower innate resolution. The camera simply adds pixels to what its sensor captures.
The good news is that even the native resolution is normally sufficient to capture really nice photos and video, and they can take up a lot less space on your memory card. Many cameras provide the user the ability to select the still-photo resolution and the video resolution. Browning’s Recon Force 4K lists a maximum resolution of 32MB for the photos and UHD 4K maximum for video resolution, with lower resolutions also available.
Nighttime photography needs artificial light. Trail cameras usually offer three kinds of flash: white, which is becoming progressively rare; “red” or “low-glow” infrared; and “black” or “no-glow” infrared. The infrared options are so far the most popular because they are much less likely to surprise the animals being photographed. Low-glow flashes work just above the visible spectrum (at a wavelength somewhere around 732nm) so they do emit any or much light at the source, but not much.
Although while there is a chance it will spook the game, it also provides better photos. Operating well above its visible spectrum at wavelengths around 864nm, a No-glow flash is entirely stealthy; the animal goes about its business without really be alarmed. White flash is not really used often, because it’s likely to shock the animal and cause it to flee. However, it also allows night-time color photography, while infrared flash only allows users black-and-white.
It’s a bit inaccurate, however, most cameras list a flash range. Within its range, the flash will provide sufficient light to photograph the subject; if it’s beyond the range, it’s too dark. It’s hard to say exactly how far flashlight goes (and trail cam makers all list questioning round numbers). However, the range is still a useful pointer of the strength of the flash, and therefore what you will be able to see in your pictures and videos. The RECONYX HF2X Hyperfire 2 lists its no-glow flash range at 150, which is considerably longer than most cams.
Memory Cards or Cellular Plans
Most (if not all) trail cams store their images on memory cards. Some also transmit their images to your cell phones and web portals. The benefit of a cellular cam, such as the Spypoint LINK-DARK Cellular Trail Camera, is obvious: you don’t need to visit your camera in person and pull the card (or view the images on the cam’s screen) to see what it has captured. At the same time, if your camera is stolen, lost, or destroyed, you still have the images sent to you.
The disadvantage, of course, is its cost – in the buying price and in the monthly charge, which typically ranges from US$9.99 to US$49.99, depending on the level of service you have selected. Most cameras offer a choice of Verizon or AT&T plans (in America), while some, like Spypoint, and also offer their own network.
Your trail cam is honestly going to use a lot of batteries. Eight AA batteries are a usual and normal requirement, and some cameras need as much as twelve batteries.
However, many cams, such as the Browning BTC-4P Command Ops Pro, can also accept power from an external source, usually a 6-volt or 12-volt battery or power bank. A growing number of trail cams can run on solar power, such as the Spypoint LINK-S-V Solar Cellular Trail Camera. The Spypoint LINK-S-V Solar Cellular Trail Camera has a built-in solar panel that charges an on-board 12 VDC lithium battery to power the unit. If it needs to, the cam can also run on 8 AA batteries or a plug-in DC power supply. Brands including Moultrie, Bushnell, RECONYX, and Spypoint offer solar panels manufactured to work with select trail cams.
Most cameras come with a strap or a bracket for mounting on a tree, and some also have ¼ inches to 20 inches threaded tripod-style sockets for more options. Many feature a channel or holes made for use with a Python-style locking security cable to prevent theft.
Trail cameras have always been fun to work around with. Currently, they are also highly capable and convenient. Whether you need them for watching games, indulging your interest in wildlife, keeping an eye on a remote property, or just for spying on the wildlife when it thinks no one is watching, you’ll find the right model here with our suggestions.
The Best Trail Cameras – Revealed
Find out more about some of the best trail cameras that are on the market as of this article’s writing.
1. Browning Strike Force HD 850
One of the smallest high-performance trail cameras in the hunting camera industry, the Browning Strike Force HD 850 does it all – including capturing 16-megapixel pictures and 1280×720 HD video with sound in lengths that ranges from five seconds to two minutes. It fires off in 0.4 seconds when its IR sensors are activated, and it can capture eight images in either multi-shots or rapid-fire modes, while a time-lapse shooting mode can take images at pre-set intervals for a customary period of time. Dusk images are captured from infrared LED illumination, with a “Zero Blur” tech to avoid blurry footage from ranges of up to 120 feet, buoyed by an 80-foot detection range.
An info bar shows the time, date, temperature, and moon phase for each image, and it comes with both USB and TV out-ports, with SD card compatibility that max out at 512GB (not included). It runs on 6 AA batteries for many hours of reliable use, and also includes a 12-volt exterior power jack if your choice spot is on the grid or you want to peruse an external battery. The camo finish allows it to blend in with its surroundings, whether you fasten it to a tree trunk or utilize its tripod socket.
2. Tougard Trail Camera
Despite a retail price well just under US$100, the Tougard Trail Camera shoots really well above its price range. It fires full HD 1080 video and 14MP still images – although you can adjust the image size to optimize your storage capacity. The trigger lag is minimal, measuring at 0.5 seconds after the motion sensor have been tripped, which can also be attuned to high, low, or medium sensitivity. A wide 120-degree field of vision can assure you in capturing all the necessary action, and infrared LEDs shoot high-quality, detailed black-and-white night pictures with a total shot distance of up to 22 meters. The camera itself is enfolded in a secure, waterproof housing to fend off bad weather, and an included mounting plate and straps provide adaptability when it is out in the field. Each image comes with a collection of different stats, including the temperature, time, and date.
3. Bushnell Aggressor Wireless
If you want to always be in the know what your trail camera is seen (and when it’s triggered), go with this Bushnell Aggressor Wireless trail cam. As its name implies, the trail cam comes with wireless connectivity to the Bushnell smart app (available for both Apple and Android devices) via AT&T’s 3G network to transfer the photos and video directly to your smart devices of choice. You can also control the trail camera from the app.
High-quality images are shot at 14MB pixels, while videos (with audio) are 720p HD; both fire off at a fast 0.3-seconds thanks to the 60-foot-wide motion trigger that comes with it. The motion trigger can be set to high, medium, low, or auto-sensitivity. Both data files also come with precise GPS coordinates and contain data stamps for the date, time, temperature, and phase of the moon. Unlike some trail cameras that shoot up to 10-minute videos, the Aggressor Wireless only captures them in 60-second intermittent time frames. However, 32GBs of internal storage offers a lot of space to store weeks of reliable images, boosted by the option to use an additional SD card. You can also utilize a time-lapse method to shoot images at two pre-set intervals, from one minute to one hour. That is an ideal way to monitor what happens at dawn and dusk when animals usually hunt for food and water. It runs on 12 AA batteries and compromises an average battery life of up to three months.
4. Reconyx Hyper Fire 2 Convert IR Camera
Wisconsin-based Reconyx has earned itself a loyal following by legions of hunters in large part due to the fact that they’ll fix your camera if anything goes wrong. This even applies after the warranty expires. That being said, the five-year warranty that comes with the Hyper Fire 2 Covert should offer hope that the camera is worth the financial investment. It captures both high-resolution/HD video and images, working off a 0.25-second trigger delay with a healthy image sensor the delivers clear footage every time. Reconyx’s No-Glow High Output Covert IR is able to capture images up to 150 feet away at night, with a rapid-fire setting that can shoot 1 to 10 images per trigger, or fire off footage every 10 seconds.
Like others on this list, you can also program set times for time-lapse at both dusk and dawn, programmable at one-, five-, 15-, 30-, or 60-minute intervals. The camera functions on a rechargeable NiMH or Energizer Ultimate Lithium battery, or via 12 AA batteries, with a total life of up to 40,000 images or 2 years. It offers storage support for up to 512GB SD memory cards.
5. Spypoint Force 11D
With an official 0.07-second lag time (which some users report may even be faster), this is the fastest motion-activated trail camera on the market. Of course, the Spypoint Force-11D can do a lot more than just quickly fire its shutter. It captures blur-free HD video and 11MP images with a 100-foot flash range and 6 different multi-shot selections. Furthermore, it captures IR images and videos after dark, accompanied with 42 low-glow LEDs and infrared boost. A curved motion sensor lens also amplifies the detection angle, with a detection distance of up to 80 feet.
The Spypoint Force-11D is really easy to set up and program, in large portion thanks to a two-inch screen that also allows you to review images directly in the camera. It also comes with an SD compatibility that maxes out to 35GB. Powered by six AA batteries, the camera can last for up to 11 months of everyday use, although you can also upgrade to a rechargeable lithium battery pack. A mounting strap, mounting brackets, and a quick-start guide are all included with this trail cam, and Spypoint also has free software available to allow you to assemble a whole lot of images shot in time-lapse mode into a video.
6. Stealth Cam G42NG
Unlike some trail cameras that rely on low-level LED flash or red light illumination to help the camera view better quality black-and-white images in the dead of night. As a matter of fact, the camera can catch subjects up to approximately 100 feet away, and at resolutions that ranges from 2MPS to 10MPs. Purists will love that the 16:9 aspect ratio brings into line with the sizes of most of today’s computer monitors and TVs, making detailed review of the images very spontaneous. Video is captured in full HD in clips that can range anywhere from 5 seconds to 180 seconds – all come with audio. Data taken with each trigger includes the time, date, temp, and phase of the moon.
With eight AA batteries, the camera can run for up to 6 months, depending on its conditions, although you can also assign it to a 12-volt battery box via an external power jack. The camera also comes with a USB slot and can handle SD cards up to 32GB – all safely housed in a weatherproof casing. Trigger delay is not exactly the best, but at 0.5 seconds, you should still be able to capture all but the most sprightly and fast of animals. Especially if you use the burst mode, which can fire up to 9 images per trigger.
7. Primos Proof Cam 02
If you are looking for a trail camera that simply works without investing too much hours into tiny programming and adjusting camera configurations, the Primos Proof Cam 02 has you covered. Simply drop in the 8 AA batteries (which are rated to last for at least nine months), insert an SD card, set the time and date, choose your setting, attach it to a tree via the included straps, and you’re all well and set.
The trail cam is able to capture 12MP still images as well as full HD video with audio and HD time-lapse. An auto-adjusting passive infrared sensor functions by default, with a 100-foot range at dusk supplemented by 48 low-glow LEDs. This isn’t the kit you will use to capture interval dawn and dusk shots, or to capture video, images, and time-lapses. However, for plug-and-play simplicity, you get exactly what you need without the other bells and whistles that obscure higher-priced models.
8. Boly MG983G-30M
With a max image resolution of 30MB the Boly MG983G-30M blows away all other suggestions on this list in terms of its image quality, shooting color day shots at full resolution, and night image at 14MBs using “black” infrared flash technology.
Video is shot at HD 1080p resolution and the camera comes with a 100-foot-long sensor range with an overall responsive trigger lag. The device also uses a cellular SIM card to remotely transmit videos to your smart device from its free app or to your dedicated email address. You can also manage the camera settings and check the battery strength distantly via the 3G network over AT&T, T-Mobile, and Cricket Wireless via SMS texting. Video, in the end, doesn’t transmit remotely as of this article due to network data limitations, but a 3-inch screen on the device allows you review the footage in the field if you do not want to use an SD reader. It runs on eight AA batteries and also comes with a jack to utilize solar and external batteries for additional juice.
So there you have it – a list of some of the best trail camera reviews and how to pick the best one for your intentions. If you are looking for different kinds of trail cameras there are choices to buy small trail cameras, solar trail cameras, or even choose the best video camera for hunting in this piece.
Maintenance is important with these gadgets, especially when they are kept outdoors. To get the maximum usage out of your camera, charge its batteries regularly and use only well-known branded batteries and chargers. If you wish to store your camera for a very long time, take out the batteries before you store it.
Clean lenses with both glass and plastic well-matched cleaner. Before you place your camera in the woods for long period of time, make sure that you check all seals and gaskets for any wear or tear. These simple steps will help make sure that your trailcam functions flawlessly for a long time.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) you may have about the best trail camera.
Q: What are the best trail cameras to buy?
There are many great trail cameras in the market for you to choose from. If you’re looking for a trail camera with stealth cam, long battery life, burst mode, high trigger speed, has a SD card, can record HD video, has night vision, and everything else for home security, then there are a lot of choices for you to choose from.
Even if you are into wildlife photography, there are also trial cameras with good motion detection, picture quality, great data storage, night shots security camera, lithium batteries, flash illumination technology, video capability, picture resolution, to get the job done.