The Complete Guide To Getting The Best Trail Camera

The Complete Guide To Getting The Best Trail Camera

The best trail camera is a necessary acquisition for many hunters. This compact, yet practical gadget allows you to detect fixed patterns in the animals’ behavior. Obviously, this could enhance your hunting activity.

Nevertheless, considering the multitude of cameras available on the market, you could be confused. Happily, this buying guide might help you in selecting the remote camera that actually meets your needs.

Woman Putting Trail Camera On Tree

I will assess some of the most important elements you should consider during your search. Additionally, I will present to you top five product reviews of trail cameras I have tested in advance.

Nothing’s more important than being informed when you’re looking for the best trail camera!

*Notice: On mobile devices, scroll right to see entire table.

What To Consider When Choosing A Trail Camera

So, you should establish why you’re getting the trail camera. That should give you a hint for purchasing the right product.

Purpose Of Use

Naturally, trail cameras have a range of usages. Hunters, researchers or homeowners use such gadgets to monitor wildlife.

On the other hand, nature photographs, researchers, and artists use trail cameras for time-lapse photography. And that is not all; these gadgets are commonly used in sports photography as well.

Plus, many prefer trail cameras for surveillance reasons. That’s mainly because they are on the affordable side.

Durability

Without a doubt, durability is a priority when it comes to selecting the best trail camera. You don’t need a device that has a defined lifespan.

Broken Trail Camera On Table

In plain English, a poor-quality camera is a waste of time and money; so you should steer clear of such products.

That being said, I advise you to go through a bunch of trail camera reviews before making your pick. This way, you’ll find out if a product is really durable or not.

The Camera’s Characteristics

Comprehending the camera’s specifications is fundamental. The following technical details should help you to narrow down your choices.

Trigger Time

As a general rule, the trigger time on the best trail camera should be quick. Essentially, trigger speed or trigger time includes the seconds until the camera takes a snap of a moving object.

This is a very important characteristic. If the trigger speed is too slow, the camera is more likely to miss taking shots of moving objects.

A camera with fast trigger time can capture a bunch of shots. From our experience, the trigger time on cameras ranges from 0.13 seconds to 1.3 seconds.

Recovery Time

Recovery time equals the time it takes for the camera to restart after taking a shot. We already said that slow trigger speed could mean missed opportunities. Naturally, low recovery time could mean the same.

So, there are models whose recovery time is under a second. On the other side, there are remote cams whose recovery time is up to one minute.

Trail Camera Hidden In Wood

As you can see, the difference is huge, which is what makes this feature worth considering.

Detection Zone

Moving on to the detection zone, this is the feature that makes the camera detect movement, hence, snap pictures of moving objects. Immediately after the camera notifies movement, it will capture a picture or video (depending on its features).

So, make sure you evaluate your needs and pick a product accordingly.

Battery Life

In our opinion, a notable downside to using a trail camera is that you have to change the batteries, replace the card, so on and so forth.

If you go there frequently, the wildlife species in your area could be mindful of human presence. As a result, they might not visit your hunting domain any longer.

So, battery life is a crucial consideration. While most manufacturers indicate that their products have 1-year battery life, unfortunately, most of the trail cameras on the market don’t live up to this affirmation.

So, make sure that you evaluate this feature before making a purchase. In the long run, this could help you in saving a lot of money.

Capture Modes

Generally speaking, the best trail camera captures both videos and pictures. While photographs are useful, having the video feature could be even more helpful.

Two Kangaroos Caught On Trail Camera

That’s because a video enables you to observe the way in which the animals actually behave, and establish criteria in their behaviors.

In other words, a video could be much more informative than a hundred pictures.

Megapixels

The number of megapixels highlights the quality of the pictures taken by the trail camera. The higher the number of megapixels, the better the quality of the photographs should be.

Many manufacturers offer users the choice of selecting between various resolutions. That’s because, in the case of high resolutions, the memory card is likely to be occupied quite fast.

Sensitivity Adjustment

A camera’s sensitivity rating will also influence its reaction to moving objects. Simply put, a high sensitivity rating implies that the camera is more likely to capture moving objects, irrespective of their size.

On the other side, low sensitivity rating indicates that the camera is prone to miss small stuff and concentrate, instead, on big animals.

Wireless Connectivity

State-of-the-art trail cameras support the wireless feature. This characteristic could be particularly useful if you want to review your photographs without actually having to remove the SD card.

Man Watching Trail Camera Picture On Laptop

That would enable you to leave your hunting domain entirely untouched. This way, you minimize your presence in the area.

Nevertheless, one of the drawbacks to choosing such a device is the cost. Apart from the price of the trail camera, you have to pay for the wireless service, as well.

Plus, depending on your area, the wireless feature might fail to work consistently, as a result of poor quality cellular service. This is common particularly if you plan on using the remote camera for hunting purposes.

Our Recommendations

The market abounds with a bunch of products that could be described as the best trail camera. On that note, in today’s post, I have prepared distinct product reviews of five cameras I would wholeheartedly recommend to my readers.

Best Trail Camera Under $150 - Winner: Bushnell 12 MP Trail Camera

I’ll start by presenting this excellent trail camera, which comes at a good price. It features state-of-the-art features and durability at an unequaled price.

Pros

Cons

  • Sharp, detailed pictures
  • Excellent video quality
  • The infrared LEDs will make sure that nighttime captures are high-quality
  • 80-feet detection circuit
  • Fast recovery time
  • The night trigger isn’t as quick as the daytime trigger
  • The product doesn’t come with an SHDC card or a connection cord for transferring the pictures to a computer

Without a doubt, the 12MP resolution is noteworthy. Nevertheless, if you aren’t too keen on selecting the highest resolution for taking photos, you could also choose the 3MP or 8MP options.

The battery life, another important consideration, also works as expected. One set of batteries lasted for 12 months. In other words, we didn’t have to go to the hunting site regularly to check on the battery.

In the meantime, the 32 low glow LEDs ensure that the night pictures turn out well. Furthermore, the casing comes in a great hue, as it camouflages the camera from both intruders and game. Who wants a trail camera that can be spotted from a distance, right?

Bushnell Essential E2 Trail Camera

Source: Trailcampro.com

OUR RATING

Depending on your preference, you can capture images on demand or at intervals. As for the field scan technology, it has been significantly enhanced. This trail camera captures excellent HD videos.

The best trail camera should capture equally qualitative photos and videos. And this product does the job excellently. In fact, when I played the videos on full screen, I was surprised by the presence of incredible details on the capture.

Another feature worth mentioning is that this camera easily adapts to its environment. In other words, it will function optimally. You can adjust it manually, or you can let it change its settings automatically.

If you equip the trail camera with a 32 GB SD card, you’ll have plenty of memory space for HD photos and videos. Although most products in this price range aren’t so outstanding, Bushnell is a top provider that aims at supplying terrific products at attractive rates.


Best Trail Camera Under $150 – Runner-up: Moultrie Game Spy Trail Camera

The Moultrie Game Spy Trail Camera is our second recommendation for the best trail camera for the money. It features 10 MP camera resolution, no glow IR flash, and many other noteworthy features.

Pros

Cons

  • Excellent battery life
  • High-quality daytime captures: realistic colors and minimal blur
  • Affordable rate
  • 80-feet detection circuit
  • The ability to connect to a Wi-Fi network
  • Slow recovery time
  • The python lock bracelet could be improved
  • Nighttime captures are prone to be blurry or grainy
  • The detection circuit could be enhanced

It captures decent nighttime photographs and videos. The camera also incorporates a microphone, so the videos feature sound. Another useful aspect is that each picture presents information regarding temperature, moon phase, date, and location.

This game camera’s detection circuit is 50 ft. Even though this isn’t the best there is out there, we don’t feel as if we have missed a lot, because of that.

A considerable benefit is that daytime pictures feature little to none color distortion. From our experience, many trail cameras modify the real life colors in photographs. They’re either too dull or too bright.

Even though this isn’t of primordial importance when it comes to determining the presence of animals, it was nice noting that the pictures were clear, with minimal blur.

Moving on to nighttime captures, we can confirm that they were obviously lower quality, in comparison with daytime photographs. Still, the LED array reaches its purpose. In other words, it illuminates the moving target.

oultrie Game Spy M-990i Gen 2 On White Background

Source: Moultriefeeders.com

OUR RATING

Our suggestion is to set up the trail camera away from obstacles. By doing so, immediately after the flash goes off, it will target the moving animal, and not the branches, leaves or any other objects.

Apart from that, you can turn on motion freeze. That will significantly diminish the blur in the case of images taken with flash.

Moreover, this trail camera operates with 8-AA batteries. With a single set of batteries, the game camera will capture more or less than 13,000 photographs. Alternatively, you could use rechargeable Li-ion battery or Ni-Cd battery.

Apart from that, the camera supports the AC power mode. This could also be helpful. Furthermore, you can connect the camera to a Wi-Fi network, if you want. Therefore, you can directly transfer the pictures to your PC. A Wi-Fi trail camera is genuinely practical.

Note that you can select the overwrite the oldest mode that erases old photos to make room for new ones. In the long run, this trail camera is excellent for hunters who want to purchase a decent product at a favorable price.


Best Trail Camera Under $100 – Winner: Wild Game Innovations Trail Camera

This is the best trail camera for the money. This is one of the most popular products in its category. That’s because it provides some useful features, at a decent rate.

Pros

Cons

  • The camera’s ability to take 360 degree captures
  • Water-resistant design
  • Reliable battery life
  • Silent camera operation
  • The quality of the videos is inferior to that of the pictures
  • 30 seconds maximum video length
  • The construction of the gadget could be more durable

Without a doubt, a notable feature on this camera is its capability of capturing 360-degree photos and videos. That is possible thanks to its rotating lens, first-class infrared flash system, and 360-degree detection area.

Simply put, this 360-degree camera records everything. Whenever it senses motion, it will capture that right away. The design of the trail camera enables it to blend into the environment easily. The color palette makes it suitable especially for setting the camera up in natural surroundings.

If you don’t pay close attention to it, you could mistake the camera for a tree branch or something. So, animals are less likely to recognize its presence. Moving on to another feature I find noteworthy; the 1.5-second trigger speed is an advantage. That means this camera will take photo after photo without missing on important opportunities.

Wild Game Innovations 360 Camera On White Background

Source: Wildgameinnovations.com

OUR RATING

Apart from being a practical acquisition for gaming purposes, this is the best trail camera for surveillance use as well. You could rely on this product for determining the presence of burglars, trespassers, or vandals.

To my mind, setting up the camera is quite easy. Plus, you can either install it on a tall tree or telephone pole. Even in complete darkness, at night, the camera will monitor the presence of intruders without them being aware of that.

A drawback worth considering is that you cannot lock the camera. Since you plan on setting it up in outdoor environments, such a feature could have been useful. The quality of the photos is also notable. Nevertheless, the video quality is subpar, the maximum being 720MP.

Since this 360-degree camera covers an extensive area in comparison with regular cameras, it’s a useful product that has gained its place in the industry.


Best Trail Camera Under $100 – Runner-up: Moultrie Game Spy A-5 Trail Camera

For this product, the color and the design work together in a balanced way, making this tool the best trail camera for both surveillance and hunting.

Pros

Cons

  • The neutral design makes it fit for outdoor and indoor use
  • Rock solid batteries and long battery life
  • Durability
  • Affordability
  • A decent product for beginners
  • It doesn’t record videos
  • 5MP is below the average resolution found on most trail cameras
  • The bulky design could make it difficult to find the right spot for setting it up
  • It is quite limited when it comes to the diversity of features

It weighs approximately two pounds. As a result, the dimensions and its weight could make it a bit challenging to hide it in small places.

Note that the limited circuit range could prevent you from setting it up too high up. As for home security, to blend it, you should decorate it a bit.

I think that this camera works great for beginners. The initial setup is effortless, and the same goes for configuring the options.

Moving on to durability, if a car ran over it, it would still work fine. In plain English, Moultrie cameras are resistant and durable, which is a unique advantage.

Moultrie Game Spy A-5 Trail Camera On White Background

Source: Bhphotovideo.com

OUR RATING

When it comes to picture and video quality, this is where we have a considerable drop of quality. Since the resolution is of 5MP only, you could just as well forget about the video.

As for the pictures, the quality is average. Still, this doesn’t mean the captures are necessarily poor quality. They simply get the job done, and for the price, what more could you expect?

Furthermore, you’ll need 8AA batteries for powering the unit. Considering the low resolution of the photographs, the camera can take 16,000 images on one charge. Since this isn’t an energy hungry gadget, you could certainly use a set of generic batteries.

To conclude, a significant portion of the appeal of this gadget is its surprisingly low price. As for the features, they are pretty basic, which is what makes this the best budget trail camera for beginners, in particular.


Best Value Trail Camera – Bushnell 8MP Hybrid Trail Camera

Bushnell is renowned as a top leader in the industry. As a result, this camera is one of the best on the market. A covert trail camera is always a top acquisition.

Pros

Cons

  • It takes three captures per trigger
  • You can schedule the length of the videos
  • The hybrid capture allows you to capture images and record videos at the same time
  • Geotag data on each photograph
  • Selecting a generic set of batteries could prevent them from lasting up to one year
  • In the event of rain, the lens is prone to get fogged up, which is quite inconvenient

You will definitely get plenty of use out of this item. Not to mention that the price tag is quite attractive considering the set of features it offers. If we were to assess the performance vs. the cost of the gadget, we could say that this is an outstanding choice.

The remote camera looks durable and well-made. The use of dark brown makes it easy to camouflage. So, you shouldn’t worry that burglars or animals will see it.

This product is targeted for intermediate or advanced users. I would have to say that advanced users are more likely to benefit from what this camera has to offer, especially when it comes to the extra features.

Still, beginners shouldn’t feel left out. It is user-friendly, which means that in time, you will get the hang of it if you are willing to learn. This camera is durable and strong. This doesn’t come off as a surprise. The components on its inside are quite expensive, which necessitates a durable case.

Bushnell 8MP Trophy Cam

Source : Bushnell.com

OUR RATING

The camera comes accompanied by an adjustable web belt for tightening it. You can position the camera literally anywhere you want. Also, it weighs only one pound, so it’s easy to carry it around.

The web belt has the same superior quality as the camera. In other words, it will last for a couple of years, at the very least.

Apart from that, the unit is external power compatible as well. So, this could help you to cut down the costs when it comes to batteries since external add-ons are quite affordable.

Overall, this is a fully featured, powerful product that has everything you need: HD photographs and videos, durable, smart design, hybrid capture mode, geotag data, and so on.


Conclusion

In short, each of the items I presented in this guide qualifies as the best trail camera. I assessed important aspects such as price/quality ratio, battery life, durability, build quality, trigger speed, picture and video quality, and others.

That being said, each of these models is among the best in their price range. They balance the right set of features, especially in contrast to the price.

It goes without saying that purchasing the best trail camera is crucial for every hunter. It will upgrade your hunting adventures, for sure!

If you have other questions or suggestions regarding this broad topic, I would be happy to hear them out. Just leave them in the comment section!

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