11 Best Trail Cameras for 2021

Need to capture the unpredictable movements of wildlife or scope out an ideal hunting spot?

We’ve got ya.

We went on the lookout for the best trail camera on the market and found 11 excellent options.

Read on to learn more about their:

  • Top features
  • Image quality
  • Performance
  • Price
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1. Stealth Cam DS4K

This infrared trail camera is one of the few that lets you shoot 4K in low light. It uses dual sensors and has up to 100ft of no glow range. Couple all this with 30MP images and you have one of the best trail cams on the market. Full Review

  • 4K day and night
  • Lengthy battery life
  • 0.4 second trigger speed

This infrared trail camera is one of the few that lets you shoot 4K in low light. It uses dual sensors and has up to 100ft of no glow range. Couple all this with 30MP images and you have one of the best trail cams on the market. Full Review

2. Rexing Woodlens H6 Trail Cam

One of the best night vision trail cameras, the Rexing Woodlens H6, is capable of 20MP photos and records in glorious 4K during the day. The infrared flash is triggered in just 0.2 seconds and the 65ft range produces a great field of view. It is also rain and dust-resistant. Full Review

  • Dual 4K and FHD cams
  • Huge 110-degree viewing angle
  • Schedule recordings

One of the best night vision trail cameras, the Rexing Woodlens H6, is capable of 20MP photos and records in glorious 4K during the day. The infrared flash is triggered in just 0.2 seconds and the 65ft range produces a great field of view. It is also rain and dust-resistant. Full Review

3. Spypoint Link-S Trail Camera

Spypoint’s Link-S is a cellular trail camera, which can be accessed remotely by cell service. It’s one of the best options for hard-to-reach areas and remote monitoring. You get HD video with sound, 12MP images, and a 100-foot detection distance. The antler AI feature is excellent when used as a deer cam. Full Review

  • 720p HD video
  • Transfer via mobile app
  • Infrared night vision

Spypoint’s Link-S is a cellular trail camera, which can be accessed remotely by cell service. It’s one of the best options for hard-to-reach areas and remote monitoring. You get HD video with sound, 12MP images, and a 100-foot detection distance. The antler AI feature is excellent when used as a deer cam. Full Review

4. Bushnell Core DS No Glow

Designed for high-performance day and night, the Core DS No Glow from Bushnell is one of the best trail cameras we’ve reviewed. It’s built to withstand the elements, and no light is emitted when filming or taking pictures. This makes it ideal for scouting games or as a hidden security camera. Full Review

  • Dual day and night sensors
  • Weatherproof
  • 80ft night range

Designed for high-performance day and night, the Core DS No Glow from Bushnell is one of the best trail cameras we’ve reviewed. It’s built to withstand the elements, and no light is emitted when filming or taking pictures. This makes it ideal for scouting games or as a hidden security camera. Full Review

5. Bushnell Core DS Low Glow

Slightly cheaper than its no-glow cousin, this Bushnell trail camera provides comparable performance at 1080p and 30 megapixels. That means dual sensors for day and night, 100ft maximum range, and a 0.4/0.2 trigger speed for video and images. It also has a durable build that can withstand mother nature. Full Review

  • Dual HD sensors
  • 60 frames-per-second
  • Long battery life

Slightly cheaper than its no-glow cousin, this Bushnell trail camera provides comparable performance at 1080p and 30 megapixels. That means dual sensors for day and night, 100ft maximum range, and a 0.4/0.2 trigger speed for video and images. It also has a durable build that can withstand mother nature. Full Review

6. Stealth Cam G42NG

G42NG no flash trail cameras are an affordable 720p option for those that do not require full HD or 4K. It has impressive specs, including 10MP for still images, a 100ft flash range, and infrared for the dark. ‘Multi-zone detection’ ensures you never miss a good shot. Full Review

  • Zero light emission
  • Covers multiple angles
  • 0.5-second trigger speed

G42NG no flash trail cameras are an affordable 720p option for those that do not require full HD or 4K. It has impressive specs, including 10MP for still images, a 100ft flash range, and infrared for the dark. ‘Multi-zone detection’ ensures you never miss a good shot. Full Review

7. Bushnell Prime Low Glow Trail Camera

The most affordable Bushnell on our list, the Prime Low Glow films brilliant color and takes 24-megapixel photos. Its 36 low glow LEDs supply a constant 80ft range without scaring off your targets. The impressive battery life means you’ll be taking pictures for up to a year. Full Review

  • 1080p video at 30fps
  • One second recovery time
  • LCD screen

The most affordable Bushnell on our list, the Prime Low Glow films brilliant color and takes 24-megapixel photos. Its 36 low glow LEDs supply a constant 80ft range without scaring off your targets. The impressive battery life means you’ll be taking pictures for up to a year. Full Review

8. Spypoint Solar Dark

Spypoint’s Solar Dark combines efficient solar power with no glow technology, and one of the fastest trigger speeds on the market. It takes both photos and video at 12MP and 1080p, respectively. Plus, you can get clear shots from up to 90ft thanks to 42 LEDs. Full Review

  • Solar panel and lithium battery
  • Six picture burst mode
  • No flash technology

Spypoint’s Solar Dark combines efficient solar power with no glow technology, and one of the fastest trigger speeds on the market. It takes both photos and video at 12MP and 1080p, respectively. Plus, you can get clear shots from up to 90ft thanks to 42 LEDs. Full Review

9. Browning Strike Force Pro XD 24MP

Get the best of both worlds with this dual-lens offering from Browning trail cameras. During daylight, one lens is finely tuned to deliver stunning color imagery. At night, the second lens creates clear black and white images with the help of infrared. With a 0.15-second trigger speed, it’s unlikely you’ll miss a shot. Full Review

  • 24MP and 1080p
  • 120ft range
  • SDXC memory card compatible

Get the best of both worlds with this dual-lens offering from Browning trail cameras. During daylight, one lens is finely tuned to deliver stunning color imagery. At night, the second lens creates clear black and white images with the help of infrared. With a 0.15-second trigger speed, it’s unlikely you’ll miss a shot. Full Review

10. Spypoint Force-20 Trail Camera

For just $99.99, the Force-20 from Spypoint is a good cheap trail camera that doesn’t sacrifice performance. You get vibrant 720p HD video and crystal clear 20MP still images. The 48 low-glow LEDs produce effective photos and video clips in dark conditions. Full Review

  • Less than $100
  • Five picture burst mode
  • 80ft flash range

For just $99.99, the Force-20 from Spypoint is a good cheap trail camera that doesn’t sacrifice performance. You get vibrant 720p HD video and crystal clear 20MP still images. The 48 low-glow LEDs produce effective photos and video clips in dark conditions. Full Review

11. Campark Trail Camera-Waterproof 16MP

Certified waterproof, this cheap trail camera retails between $39.99-$69.99. It can withstand intense downpours while providing full 1080p HD video and detailed 16MP images. Campark also provides a wide 120-degree field of view. Full Review

  • IP56 certified waterproofing
  • Sensitive detection
  • 0.3-0.5 second trigger speed

Certified waterproof, this cheap trail camera retails between $39.99-$69.99. It can withstand intense downpours while providing full 1080p HD video and detailed 16MP images. Campark also provides a wide 120-degree field of view. Full Review

Best Trail Camera for 2021

All the best trail cameras have their own pros and cons. Here’s what we thought stood out the most for each camera:

Detailed Reviews

  • 4K day and night
  • Lengthy battery life
  • 0.4 second trigger speed
  • USB output

The Stealth Cam DS4K was the first 4K no glow trail camera on the market and remains the best. It supports stunning 30MP still photos and has a fast trigger speed of 0.4 seconds. The flash range is an impressive 100ft.

Depending on whether you’re using it in the day or low-light/night, it switches automatically between two sensors. In the dark, it uses infrared for crisp and clear images. The other sensor is optimized for light, so you get improved color accuracy over one-sensor models. 

Regardless of the mode, the camera is completely silent and doesn’t emit light from its LEDs. For capturing wildlife undisturbed, this is what you want. 

Because of the wide-angle lens, you get an excellent field of view. You can sacrifice some of this with a tagline that includes the date, time, temperature, and moon phase.

You can choose modes to capture things effectively. Hybrid mode takes video and still images together. Burst mode snaps between two and nine images every time the sensors are triggered. You can also have fun with the time-lapse mode and set a specific period of time for the camera to be active. 

Flipping between modes is easy, thanks to a pre-set switch.

For storage, the DS4K Stealth camera accepts SD cards up to 32GB. It has an AV and USB output to save you from removing it. Battery life is great – it lasts over a year if you were to take an average of 35-day and 35-night pictures every 24 hours. Even with lots of video, you can expect it to last several months

The design is all about durability, encasing the camera in sturdy plastic that can be locked. This protects it from drops and knocks. We also found it ok in moderate rain, though it doesn’t have an official IPX rating. This means it’s not certified for persistent water exposure and definitely can’t be submerged. 

Our only qualm is that despite the 4K, it only delivers 15 frames-per-second. The $299.99 price tag is also quite expensive without being a cellular remote trail cam.

  • Dual 4K and FHD cams
  • Huge 110-degree viewing angle
  • Schedule recordings
  • Built-in LCD screen

The Rexing Woodlens H6 is an infrared trail cam with dual 4K/FHD cameras. While night footage is restricted to 1080p, it has a higher daytime FPS than the DS4K.

Both modes support audio recording and there is no outward sound when switching between modes, so animals aren’t startled. Photos are taken at up to 20MP via a CMOS digital photography lens. 

Using a 110-degree angle of view, infrared night vision can take images as quickly as 0.2 seconds. Subjects are captured up to 65ft away in impressive clarity. 

You can adjust the sensitivity settings, depending on the size of what you want to capture. We were able to get just shadows with the highest setting, so most people will want it a little lower.

Meanwhile, to record between a set time rather than whenever motion is detected, use the handy scheduler feature. This works for time-lapse photography, as well as standard video. 

The camera is particularly well-designed, sitting inside a closable case that protects it from the wind and rain. It can also be secured with a lock and password, so you don’t have to worry when you leave it in the wilderness.   

You need an SD card for storage and you do not have to remove it to view videos and photos on your TV, as it comes with an AV cable. You can also playback and make basic edits via a built-in 2.4-inch LCD screen and speaker. The system is easy to use.

If you’re looking for the best infrared trail camera, the Rexing Woodlens H6 is hard to ignore. Especially for capturing those night-time critters. You can find it for $259.99.

  • Dual day and night sensors
  • Weatherproof
  • 80ft night range
  • High-speed 0.2 trigger

At 30 megapixels and 1080p, the Bushnell Core DS No Glow sure is a top-rated trail camera. Its dual sensors give a maximum quality in the light and above-average detail in the dark. 

There’s also zero light emitted during use, allowing it to hide in nature or used as a trail cam for security.

Video is recorded at full 1080p (60fps) with audio included. The contrast and quality are some of the best we’ve seen. You also don’t have to worry about missing anything. The sensors trigger in just 0.2 seconds. Only the Spypoint camera models beat this.

For storage, the No Glow takes a regular size SD Card. At 16GB, this works out to around 4,600 8MP pictures and over an hour’s worth of HD footage. Bushnell promises an average of 12 months battery life, although this depends on usage.

There’s a python cable lock and a slot for a slate river mount. You should have no trouble attaching it to trees and objects. Weatherproofing keeps the camera functional in the cold, heat, or rain. It’s also durable enough to withstand drops or bites and clawing from animals. 

At night you get an 80ft range, however, if you want to capture smaller animals the best performance is seen within 20ft. Their heat and movement will trigger the motion sensor.

One area needs improvement – the narrow field of view. At 34.9 degrees, other cameras do a better job. Nonetheless, it’s certainly not a deal-breaker. 

Overall, the Core DS No Glow has everything you need from a motion-activated camera if you’re not interested in 4K. You can pick it up for $219.99.

  • Dual HD sensors
  • 60 frames-per-second
  • Long battery life
  • Rainproof

With a 0.4 second trigger speed, the Bushnell Core DS Low Glow provides smooth and clear HD footage at 60fps. It doesn’t matter if you favor the daytime or night-time sensors. You also get stunning 30MP still images at a trigger speed of 0.2 seconds.  

The only time things can look a bit iffy is at dawn or dusk. The sensors haven’t quite switched over, but this is common with most cameras of this kind.

As a low glow cam, it does not block the LED lights completely like the Core DS No Glow. Nonetheless, the effect is subdued enough that you are unlikely to scare away any deer. The camo-shaded shell stealthily attaches to trees to detect movement as far as 100ft. 

Compared to the average field of view, it doesn’t quite hit the mark at 34 degrees. Everything else is on point.

You can capture between one and five images per trigger event. Video clips run for up to 2 minutes at a time during the day and 15 seconds at night. 

Bushnell is known for its excellent detection sensitivity. The Low Glow is no different. You will rarely get slow detection. 

As always, battery life is great. Recording 20 videos every 24 hours would give you just shy of two months’ juice. Relying just on photos would give you 60 every 24 hours for almost a year.

We liked the overall design. It’s robust and there is a flip open-color screen and control panel. At the bottom, you will find a pull-out tray to take 6x AA batteries

If the 4K options are out of your reach, you can purchase this low glow Bushnell trail cam for $199.99.

Stealth Cam G42NG
Stealth Cam G42NG

BEST FOR

Nighttime trail camera

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  • Zero light emission
  • Covers multiple angles
  • 0.5-second trigger speed
  • LCD screen

The $189.99 Stealth Cam G42NG is one of the best no flash trail cameras for those on a tighter budget. It lets you record in 720p HD and take photos at 10MP without emitting any light. 

The first thing you’ll notice after unboxing is its brick-like sturdiness. When it’s locked down it is durable enough to withstand most passive impacts. Don’t worry too much, though – it comes with brackets and a tree strap

Under the cover are a small backlit LCD screen and control buttons, while on the side you’ll find a micro USB port and SD Card slot. This supports up to 32GB for storage.

The battery tray requires eight AA batteries. These will last months if you use lithium rather than alkaline. Alternatively, a power jack lets you connect an external 12V battery box.

The single sensor’s detection rate is slightly lower than the pricier options on our list, but 0.5 seconds is not such a noticeable difference. It’s still a good wildlife cam. You will, however, notice a long second recovery rate, which is the wait time required between shots.

You can make three-minute long videos. Stills can be singular or in bursts of between two and nine images.

G42NG kicks it up a gear with the ‘multi-zone technology’. The camera can cover multiple angles and has a wider field of view. It also has a range of 100ft, so you can be sure all targets will be detected.

Likewise, it has excellent settings, allowing you to switch quickly between pre-sets if you’re in a hurry. By default, these are a single image, three image burst, or 10-second video. You can also use custom mode to get the most out of different settings.

Overall, the video quality is great and does not suffer the saturation of some cheap trail cameras. It can be switched between 480p and 720p. We only had a problem at night time, when the subject was very close to the camera. This produced a washed-out effect.

  • 1080p video at 30fps
  • One second recovery time
  • LCD screen
  • Less than $150

If you want a reliable trail camera that doesn’t put a dent in your pocket, the Prime Low Glow from Bushnell ticks all the boxes. At just $129.99, you get full 1080p video recording and rich 24MP images – only slightly less than the Bushnell Core DS range.

The responsive sensor automatically switches things over in low light, providing clear infrared imagery at night. You can set sensitivity to low, medium, high, or auto. The latter is acceptable in most cases but there’s enough of a spectrum if you’re not getting the desired results.

Thanks to low glow technology, the constant illumination from its 32 LEDs is not perceptible to most animals, making it perfect as an affordable hunting camera.

You’ll also be able to take images from far along the trail due to its 80ft flash range. Plus, you don’t have to worry about missing your target with a fast 0.3-second trigger speed and one-second recovery rate between shots.

You will find all the expected modes and options – from bursts of up to three images to recording five to 60 seconds of video per trigger event. The time between triggers can also be adjusted up to 60 minutes.

Field Scan gives you a time-lapse of intervals between one minute and one hour for as long as you want. You can even capture two different time-lapse windows. For example, you might wish to compare activity at dawn and dusk over two days.

Bushnell trail cameras always get it right with the design. The tough box-like casing keeps everything secure, yet easily unlocks to reveal the 5-way controls and LCD screen. But when closed, it is completely weatherproof.

At the bottom of the camera, you will find brass inserts for mounting and a slot to screw in a solar panel accessory. This will allow you to prolong battery life, though it will last several months with six AA batteries alone.

Storage comes in the form of SD Card, with up to 32GB supported.

We think the Bushnell Prime Low Glow is the best trail camera for the money. It’s perfect for hunting and monitoring, without the unnecessarily high specs.

Spypoint Solar Dark
Spypoint Solar Dark

BEST FOR

Solar powered trail camera

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  • Solar panel and lithium battery
  • Six picture burst mode
  • No flash technology
  • Blistering 0.07 trigger speed

Spypoint continues to dominate the trail cam market when it comes to trigger speed. The Solar Dark provides a class-leading 0.07 seconds between detection and images being taken. Even if an animal saw a flash, it is still quick enough to capture it. One of the best wildlife camera options.

Nonetheless, it employs no glow technology so there’s no perceivable light emitted from the camera. This is adjustable if you don’t really need it. We find adding a little glow will increase range at night. 

Furthermore, boost and blur reduction settings optimize the cam when monitoring the likes of pastures and food plots.

The Solar Dark uses solar power via an inbuilt panel at the top, which is bigger than the Link-S. It charges 8 AA batteries and significantly improves their life. You are unlikely to run out of charge in direct sunlight, especially if you use lithium batteries.

We found no fault with the picture quality, which is rich and detailed in the day thanks to the 12 megapixels. The infrared night camera is also good, producing clear images without noticeable washout. 

You can take one or a burst of up to six images at a time. Meanwhile, video with audio is recorded at full 1080p HD for up to 60 seconds. It comes with a time-lapse mode and you can set trigger intervals of up to 30 minutes.

The provided 16GB SD card stores content and the camera will support up to 32GBs, if you have your own. 

Design-wise, it is encased in chunky plastic to absorb shocks and bumps. It can cope with all outdoor weather conditions.

When you open the device, you’re treated to a nice built-in color screen that allows you to playback footage without transferring off your SD Card. This is alongside some simple but effective four-way buttons.

This solar trail camera is one of the best options if you want to prolong battery life without affecting performance. It’s available for a reasonable $199.99. 

  • 24MP and 1080p
  • 120ft range
  • SDXC memory card compatible
  • Eight image burst mode

The Strike Force Pro XD by Browning takes the absolute best quality images day or night via dual lenses. Because they are separately optimized you don’t get the same restrictions associated with single-lens cameras.

The result – notably sharper and contrasted photos at night, and color-rich photos in the day. You can thank the 24 megapixels and an infrared glow that adjusts automatically based on current conditions.

The camera gives off a red glow, yet it’s not exceptionally bright, making it a good deer camera. The 0.15 second trigger speed is one of the fastest on the market. You can also take eight photos in rapid succession, so the odds of getting a great shot are greatly improved.

Distance is also not a problem for this night vision trail cam. It sports an 80ft detection range and 120ft flash range.

On the video side, you get full 1080p HD and audio. Individual clips can run between five seconds and two minutes during the day. It’s a bit of a let-down that the maximum duration at night is just 20 seconds, however, when others can go 60 or more.

One area the Strike Force Pro stands out is its storage capacity. It supports SDXC memory cards, which offer a maximum capacity of 512GB. You probably won’t use all this unless you never transferred or deleted clips.

In the box, you’ll find a 32GB SD Card and six lithium AA batteries. The battery life is excellent and will last months under average usage. 

Little things like the all-steel tree mount bracket are a nice touch. It’s also fully encased in rugged camouflage plastic, which protects it from the elements and keeps it hidden from prying eyes. 

You will see four control buttons and a 1.5-inch color screen that supports direct playback from the storage card. 

At $189.99 it is a good value choice among our top-rated trail cameras.

Spypoint Force-20 Trail Camera
Spypoint Force-20 Trail Camera

BEST FOR

Trail cam under $100

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  • Less than $100
  • Five picture burst mode
  • 80ft flash range
  • Infrared boost technology

At a low MSRP of $99.99, it’s still difficult to pick faults in Spypoint’s Force-20 infrared trail cameras. As the name hints, it delivers 20 megapixels, which is higher than some cameras twice the price. Users also get 720p HD video, with a high frame rate and a nice picture. 

The 48 LEDs used to illuminate its field of view are also higher than others. These are low glow, so despite the number, there is little perceptible light to scare animals. 

Infrared boost technology ensures a good range of up to 80ft and we were pleased with the clarity of night-time images. 

Setting up was easy with the backlit LCD screen and arrow controls, but it would be nice to view footage on the screen too.

We found only one downside – the 0.7 second trigger speed, but this will only cause blurring when an animal is traveling particularly fast. 

The multi-shot mode creates a good selection of images. It supports a maximum of six per trigger. You can take photos at intervals between 20 seconds and an hour with the time-lapse feature.

Video can record for up to one minute at a time and there’s also a continuous mode to keep the clips rolling. If you happen to use up all storage space, it will begin overwriting the oldest clips. 

Both footage and images can be stamped with the date, time, temperature, and moon phase.

Although there’s no official mention of resistance and weatherproofing, the sturdy shell is on the same level as others we reviewed. We didn’t experience any problems when using it in moderate rain.

As with most Spypoint cams, it supports SD Cards up to 32GB and comes with a 16GB card in the box. It also comes with a tree strap. 

Overall, this is our pick for best trail camera under $100.

  • IP56 certified waterproofing
  • Sensitive detection
  • 0.3-0.5 second trigger speed
  • 8-months standby time

Ranked by us as the best cheap trail camera, this 16MP waterproof model from Campark has a lot going for it. You can record videos in full 1080p or 720p and configure photo resolution down to 1MP.

All the expected modes are here, including time-lapse, burst, and trigger delay. You can also set the duration of video clips up to 60 seconds.

It detects shots within 0.3-0.5 seconds of entering the 65ft range. An impressive feat for a camera of this price when you factor in a wide 120-degree field of view.

They also won’t be stunned. While the camera isn’t fully no glow, the small red lighting is minimal.

It runs on just four AA batteries, which is less than the standard six. Campark claims it has eight months of standby time, so we can assume if used daily, the battery life is shorter than the average. It might not be the best pick for long-term remote monitoring but for a hunt, it shouldn’t be a problem.

When the device is sealed, waterproofing is rated IP56. Downpours won’t damage the components. A familiar plastic box build is strong enough to take the odd bump in the wilderness.  

We were surprised to find a 2-inch color LCD screen on such a small trail camera. It’s also usually the first thing to go on a lower-priced model. It allows easy review of videos and images without transferring.

One thing you should consider – an SD Card is not included in the box. You’ll have to purchase one separately at a maximum of 32GB.

Overall, image quality is good, especially during the day. Results are clear with accurate colors. At night performance drops off a little, so expect darker images than higher-priced competitors. 

The Campark trail camera is well worth it if you’re on a budget.

What Is a Trail Camera?

A trail cam is a small portable camera that automatically detects movement and quickly takes photos or video within range. The term trail refers to ‘game trails’, which are the footprints left by animals in soil. 

These wildlife cams use small amounts of power by only working when triggered, rather than continuously recording like a surveillance camera. Settings often allow you to set a specified time when the camera will function.

Hunting cameras of this kind are ideal for capturing game and wildlife that enter the field of view. For the same reason, they can also be useful for security or even shooting sports moments from secondary angles. 

They are more durable than other types of camera and commonly come with camouflaged designs to blend in with the landscape. This is why they are sometimes called stealth trail cameras.

Wireless trail cameras are the norm, using batteries and sometimes solar. Although cellular connectivity is quite common, WiFi trail cameras aren’t as popular. 

Benefits of Using a Trail Camera

There are many benefits to using motion detection trail cameras. E.g. if you are scouting, photographing animals, or overseeing game parks. They’re also useful at home for monitoring dangerous trespassers like bears and coyotes. 

Animal Detection

Thermal detection circuits give the edge. Using the same kind of passive infra-red (PIR) sensor found in burglar alarms, a change in temperature is detected within its field. 

While it cannot pinpoint the precise source like a thermal imager, whenever something moves that’s different, it triggers the circuit and low glow LEDs spring into action.  So, that’s what you need in an outdoor hunting camera.

More than a Wildlife camera

A less common use – home and business security. This includes the threat of predators like bears, though detection cannot distinguish between animals and people. So, you can also monitor human trespassers.

The downside is that people are more likely to be deterred by a visible CCTV presence rather than covert trail cameras

Low Power Needs

Regular cameras and continuous CCTV can be quite the power hog. An animal camera only becomes fully operational when triggered. Then, it only takes a set number of photos or small clips of video until re-triggered. 

This significantly reduces power consumption. You can leave them outside for weeks on end. 

Automatic

Another key benefit – these cameras take images and video automatically. You don’t have to rely on your own judgment and the cameras are rarely designed to be used manually. 

More importantly, in scenarios where you’d easily spook an animal when snapping away with a normal camera, trail cams work without you being anywhere near. 

It does its magic within a second of detecting something.

Camouflage

These stealth cameras frequently feature earthy colors and greens to blend in well with the great outdoors. This reduces interest from wildlife so the camera can take shots undetected. It also reduces the chances of someone stealing the camera. 

Night-Time Images

Let’s face it, most of us aren’t good at seeing in the dark. Using a flashlight just isn’t practical if you want to capture animals at night. 

Fortunately, trail cams apply infrared to take good black and white imagery in the dark by themselves. This is done without startling wildlife with bright flashes.

Planning

A hunting trail camera is not just for active hunts but for forward planning. They allow you to scout a location ahead of time, checking the average number of deer or other game that pass through. 

Using multiple cameras in different locations can help you decide on the best area to target before you even set up.

How To Choose the Best Trail Camera

Choosing the best trail camera will depend on your individual requirements. You should keep the following in mind:

Price

The price of a good cam typically varies based on its image quality, connectivity, and a number of features. You can expect to spend anywhere between $50 or less for a basic no-frills solution and up to $499.99 for the best cellular trail camera.

Image Quality

Image quality is excellent across the board. All the cameras we’ve listed provide at least 720p and 10MP

As long as there’s a good detection circuit, most people hunting, or monitoring animals require nothing better.

You might go all out for triple the megapixels and 4K video, however, if you intend to publish the images or footage. Photographers will want as high quality as possible.

How Much Glow

Wild animals are skittish and don’t like being dazzled by bright lights. Fortunately, trail cams are designed not to be as noticeable. 

To take things a step further you can opt for low glow or no glow models. Though the trade-off is decreased image brightness at night because there’s less lighting on the subject. 

If you’re monitoring a game park or enclosed area, glow is not such an issue.

Cellular Connectivity

Trail cameras that send pictures to your phone use cellular. These cost more upfront and require a specific plan to access remotely. However, if you’re traveling to and from one or more cameras, you could be spending money on fuel and hours in the day that you don’t have.

A cellular trail cam is also useful when you have limited access to an area. It’s also great for security monitoring. 

Field of View

Wide view trail cameras have a better chance of detecting movement because they cover more ground from side to side. Some options are over 100 degrees.

Battery Life

Because trail cams are on standby until a detection is made, very little power is consumed. Therefore, battery life is always considered good. 

But.

If you’re an intensive user, you can make it last longer. Models with a 12V power output can utilize an external battery pack. 

Spypoint has several models that have a solar panel to deliver power during daylight hours. The Bushnell Prime Low Glow also has a slot to screw on a solar panel, but that’s purchased separately.

Pro tip – lithium AAs last longer than alkaline.

Wrap Up

It’s time-consuming and impractical for individuals to scout wild game or monitor reservations with regular cameras. Animals are also quick to run off at the sight of danger, such as sharp lighting or the presence of people.

An outdoor motion-activated camera is an ideal solution for hunters, conservationists, and photographers. The best of these have no flash, while a trail camera with night vision creates clear imagery in the dark.

The best part?

You can use them for security monitoring, too.

Take a good look at our top 11 list, so you can find the best trail camera for you. 

FAQ

Are trail cameras worth it?

Yes, trail cameras are worth considering in many scenarios:

  • Tracking and hunting
  • Animal trapping
  • Wildlife photography
  • Monitoring during conservation
  • Studying animal behavior
  • Monitoring game parks, farms, sanctuaries, etc
  • Getting shots from tight spaces or inaccessible areas
  • To capture different angles during sports
  • Exterior security
How does a trail camera work at night?

Wildlife cameras often use infrared that is either low glow or no glow. This means perceptible light is not emitted like it is on a conventional camera. These use a bright white flash. 

Because of the infrared, you get a black and white image at night. The key benefit is that the wildlife you’re trying to picture is not disturbed by the bright flashing. 

Furthermore, the position of the camera is not revealed to potential thieves. You might even use the camera itself for covert security purposes. 

What is the easiest trail camera to use?

In our experience – the ones with good pre-set functions. You can flick through the most common setups instead of having to dig deeper through the menu. 

Stealth Cam models like the DS4K and G42NG are particularly good at this.

What is the best trail cam on the market?

The best trail cam on the market is the Stealth Cam DS4K, which delivers 4K in the light and dark. 

This is closely followed by the Rexing Woodlens H6. This has an impressive 0.2 second trigger speed and films in 4K during the day.

Although the resolution is sacrificed, the Spypoint Link-S is the best remote trail camera that you can access on a cell phone network.

What is the difference between a game camera and a trail camera?

There isn’t a major difference between trail cameras and game cameras. In fact, the terms are often used interchangeably. 

If a model is actively promoted as a game cam, however, you know it’s intended to be used for hunting and scouting game, rather than security or professional photography. 

The best trail camera is one that is suitable for most of the purposes we’ve mentioned.