November 19, 2020

Best Trail Camera of 2020 – Game Camera Reviews and Comparison

by Allan Lederman

If you have been looking for information about the best trail camera to help with your hunting you have come to the right place; this site is packed with reliable, well researched, and helpful information articles and trail camera reviews to help you pick up the perfect game camera.

You need a great trail camera with the best features in the market to make the most out of scouting an area for gaming. However, with the multitude of trail cameras available and the similarity in their features, you might be at lost. Fortunately, this review will guide you in selecting the trail camera that best fits your needs, which features are important and and comparison of the 8 best trail cameras available in 2020.

The higher the MP, the better the picture quality. Average trail cameras have a resolution of 5–7 MP. The range, however, is actually vast, with the best cameras giving as high as 20 MP in their class.

Choosing the Best Trail Camera - Top 8 Reviews

Looking over the features the best trail cameras have there is a few things to keep in mind while it also requires assessing your own personal needs. Each piece of property is unique. If you are only interested in covering a food plot or a salt lick, then you obviously only need a different camera than someone that is using trail cameras in a remote location covering a large area.

1. The Winner

Reconyx HyperFire 2 HF2X Covert IR Camera

Reconyx HyperFire 2

  • Scorching .2-second trigger speed
  • 150-foot flash range
  • 80- to 100-foot detection range
  • State-of-the-art IR photography
  • 5 Year Warranty
  • Easy to Use / Install

Reconyx’ HyperFire 2 has a smoldering trigger speed of .2 seconds and a detection range of up to 100 feet, overlapped by a 150-foot flash range. Animals standing at the edge of the HyperFire 2’s range are always adequately illuminated. Video quality is not this camera’s strong suit. It only shoots 10-second clips in 720p definition and records sound as well. The quality of the photography sets the HyperFire 2 apart from its competitors. The high-definition images in 1080p widescreen (or 5 MP standard aspect ratio) that this camera produces are often magazine-worthy. Previous models were handicapped by red glow, the HyperFire 2’s LEDs are completely invisible.

The HyperFire 2 is suitable for almost any user, regardless of skill or technical know-how. There are pro models available that are meant for professional users, like wildlife biologists, but this model is more user friendly. Though skilled photographers will appreciate the variable ISO settings, these and other optional settings may just as well be left alone. The images are stunning regardless. Battery life is impressive, with up to two years of use possible on just 12 AA batteries. To maximize life, users should toggle the flash range down to its lowest setting, which should still reach the edge of the detection range. Other than that, it’s just set it out and forget it until you’re ready to check for images. Reconyx builds the HyperFire 2 to last, and backs it with a five-year warranty.


2. The Runner Up

Spartan HD GoCam

Spartan HD GoCam

  • Wireless
  • AES 256 Encryption
  • Great Image Quality
  • Good App
  • Easy to Setup

The Spartan HD GoCam is one of the highest-priced cameras you can get, so it makes a lot of sense that there are premium features attached to the product. There is an optional pay-as-you-go data feature on the Verizon network. There is no contract to deal with so this should appeal to a variety of users who want a Wi-Fi-capable trail camera camera. This advanced feature is ready to use straight out of the box, and since it is with Verizon there is no SIM card required. It is battery hungry, but no more so than the average camera. Twelve AA batteries are used to power the unit for months, with premium power-saving features so you aren’t constantly replacing batteries.

If you value privacy, then you'll like the built-in AES 256 encryption feature for when you’re transmitting your images. And out of all the cameras on the market, the best online interface for managing photos is probably going to be HCO GoWireless web. Not only can you sign up for Verizon’s service from there, but you can also manage all of your photos online in an easy-to-use interface. It is a one-stop shop for those that don’t want to stare at the screen on the camera. Big and innovative, this is a camera that shouldn’t be passed up.


3. Best Trail Camera for the Money

There are plenty of cheap trail cameras on the market today. Some make great security cameras, but may not be so useful for hunting. Others might provide you with panoramic vistas of an open field, but may not work so great at night.

 For the average hunter, the best trail camera for the money is the one that takes adequate pictures of game so that the subjects can be easily identified and tracked. Beautiful images are nice and all, but good enough is good enough for most of us.

Campark T85 Trail Camera

  • 20MP - 1296P
  • IR LEd Night Vision
  • Good Price

The Campark T85 Trail Camera boasts a wide range of features, from waterproofing to no glow night vision, this motion camera takes the cake. The 20 MP camera helps you track game anywhere you’d like, you can even capture video content in 1296P. The stellar night vision on this device has special no glow technology built-in, ensuring you get the highest quality footage even on the darkest nights. It’s even waterproof to an IP66 rating, making it ideal for tracking outdoor wildlife in the rainiest climate. With WiFi and APP control, you can keep an eye on your favorite trail or even your property with real-time streaming.

The APP control (Hunting Camera Pro) allows you to adjust your settings and view/download the footage you create with your trail camera. It’s not a webcam, so you do have some control range limits to keep in mind if you’re looking to use this feature, but if you can it’s an amazing quality of life feature. It has upgraded Bluetooth from previous models to control the camera, turn WiFI on/off, you don’t need a remote control. You can easily transfer photos or videos to your phone by just being near your device. With 20MP it’s got ultra-high resolution photos to capture the vivid images and details that other cameras miss and with 1296P HD video capabilities, this trail camera is a no-brainer.

This trail cam captures shots of natural wildlife behaviors with infrared flash illumination technology thanks to 36pcs LEDs. It’s fully automatic IR filter will make those night-time shots really stand out. It triggers at up to 65’ (20 m) so that you can get great shots and the animal won’t even realize it’s being monitored. Dust, weather, and waterproof, you can be sure that this camera will stay on the trail even when you can’t! Make use of the threaded tripod or mounting strap to put this trail camera virtually anywhere.

  • Waterproof IP66 rating
  • 20 MP camera with adjustable quality
  • 1296P video with adjustable quality
  • No glow night vision
  • Movement trigger range: 65’ (20 m)
  • APP control
  • Bluetooth
  • 2.3” (5.84 cm) screen
  • Alternative home security option
  • Require 8*1.5V AA batteries (not included)
  • SD card compatible up to 128GB (not included)

5. Budget Option - Good Choice

Stealth Cam STC-P12 Game Camera Review

Stealth Cam STC-P12

  • Low Price
  • 6 MP
  • 15 Sec Video
  • Easy to Use
  • Fast Install
  • Long Battery Life

The lowest priced camera on the list is the Stealth Cam STC-P12 6.0 Megapixel Digital Scouting Camera, a standard definition camera capable of good pictures and video recordings of 640 x 480 VGA up to 15 seconds long. Twelve IR emitters work in a max range of 50 feet with an optional burst mode that catches 1–6 images per trigger, and is able to be manually set to 5–59 seconds based on that rate. Time, date, and moon phase stamps are part of the many options on this camera, and all can be set from the LCD screen with the EZ dial programming and quick set functions. The myriad of options are very easy to use and geared towards beginners, with the EZ dial programming and preset quick set functions making this an easy purchase decision for those users.

The camera can be used outdoor for scouting and game or at home for security, and has a mini-USB plug for transferring and manipulating media. The quick set mode has 3 preset modes to choose from, and the external LCD has a test mode and low battery indicator, although the battery lasts a good 6–12 months depending on usage. Night vision gives pretty good feedback, and with support for an SD card up to 16 GB, the Stealth Cam STC-P12 is capable of lasting months without any upkeep. A strap is included and can be used to either position the camera outside or as a replacement strap for products in the same line.


4. Budget Option - The Runner Up

Stealth Cam G42NG No-Glow Trail Game Camera, Fast Trigger Speed with Burst Mode, Shoots HD Video

Stealth Cam G42 No-Glo Game Camera

  • No Glow
  • Fast Trigger
  • HD Video
  • 12MP / 480p
  • 100ft IR Range
  • Burst Mode

The Stealth Cam G42 is a mid to high-priced advanced camera meant for intermediate to expert users, featuring a variable 4 resolution camera capable of 2, 4, 8, and 10-mp HD recordings up to a maximum of 180 seconds long. The trigger speed is 0.5 seconds and the entire unit is supported by 42 black IR emitters with a 100-foot range. An easy-to-see back-lit menu is available on the LCD screen with programmable inputs for a 1–9 images per trigger burst mode and manual shot capability. The SD card slot supports up to 32 GB and can be password protected from unauthorized use.

The camera is a light 11.4 ounces and can be used outdoors for game and scouting or for home security. The unit comes with a multi-use strap and holds up well in bad weather conditions. Rechargeable batteries are not recommended with the unit and may cause some of the functions of the camera to be temporarily inoperable. With proper setup, the Stealth Cam G42 easily takes advantage of the space on the SD card, with lower resolution images and videos doubling its intended capacity. Read our full Stealth Cam G42 review here or if you are interested to read our Best No-Glo Trail camera review here.


6. Wide Viewing Angle - Winner

Moultrie Panoramic 150 Game Camera Review

Moultrie PANORAMIC 150 Game Camera

  • 150-degree detection angle 
  • Video: 1080p
  • Pictures: 8.0mp
  • 5 Modes of operation
  • Motion Detection: 45 feet
  • One second trigger speed

Medium-priced and just about what you would expect from Moultrie, the Panoramic 150 lives up to its name and gives customers a much better view of the field than a regular game camera. The technical specifications are impressive, touting an 8-MP camera with 3 motion sensors that cover a full 150-degree angle. Anything that crosses its path will be captured, giving you much better placement options when setting up the camera. But this model's bread and butter is its combination of additional features. It has system customization options, time lapse, video options, and photo options.

Up to 5 operational modes are available so that buyers will always have the best mode set for the current project. The camouflage Mossy Oak tree stand is a great case for the camera, letting you attach it to a tree so that it blends in with the environment. Batteries won’t be quickly drained by all of the features since the camera automatically goes into sleep state when not in use. This will extend the life of the batteries and keep the customer from having to purchase expensive AAs every couple of months. Moultrie kept the LCD on the device simple, and it’s the easiest to use model in their lineup. At just the right price and with some nice upsides, customers should consider this for multiple uses.


7. Wide Viewing Angle - Runner Up

Amcrest Trail Game Camera (ATC-1201) 12MP HD 65ft Night Vision 100° Viewing Angle

Amcrest ATC-1201 12MP

  • 100 degree viewing angle
  • 12mp, 1080p HD Video
  • IR Led night vision
  • Battery or DC Powered

Barely skimming the low price range is the Amcrest ATC-1201 12MP Digital Game Cam Trail Camera that has a lot of high performance specifications. It is a powerful 12MP camera that is capable of 1920 x 1080p video. This comes into play when you want to display your pictures and videos on a big screen TV without it looking like they were taken on an old cell phone camera. The motion sensing is automatic and reaches about 65 feet, which is about 5 feet more than the normal range of cameras of the same size. This is pretty good since it factors into the night vision range and has up to 3 different levels to work in any situation.

The trigger speed is surprisingly spiffy at 0.7 seconds, and if you combine that with the burst mode and a large 32-GB SD card, you'll have the perfect combination of features for months at a time. The standby time is good and can last up to 3 months on a single charge, and if for some reason the product malfunctions, the 1-year warranty will step in when needed. This is one of those cameras that really flies under the radar and is a high-powered buy for anyone in need of security or game surveillance.


8. Good Trail Camera to Hide

Moultrie Game Spy M-990i Gen 2 10.0 MP Camera, Mossy Oak Treestand

Moultrie Game Spy M-990i

  • 10MP
  • Fast Trigger Speed
  • Good Detection Range
  • Good Image Quality
  • Strong Build
  • Colors Make it Easy to Hide

Low-priced and available to blend into any forest setting, the Mossy Oak tree stand is probably the best design you can get in order to hide a camera in plain sight. That is one of the many benefits of the M-990i, with the selling point being the 10MP and less than 1-second trigger speed. Before the target even realizes they’re being watched, the picture or video is snapped, and all without alerting them thanks to the invisible 940NM IR LED flash technology. This applies to both animals and humans, so expect it excellent quality both outside and inside the home.

The flash range is 70 feet while the detection range is the usual 50 feet, so there are plenty of places that the camera can be placed while still being effective. The casing of the camera is also more effective than a normal case, protecting both the lens and IR filter, critical components of the camera. They will last a lot longer than on other cameras, even if used in adverse conditions. Since this is considered the flagship model, expect for it to continue to be improved over the years as the company improves it from generation to generation. One of the best and still a popular buy, this is one camera series that continues to get better.


Best Trail Camera Reviews Comparison Chart

NameFlashTriggerPixelsRangeBatteryRating
Browning Strike Force Sub Micro Zero Blur Night IR0.67 second10MP100 ft6 AA4.5
Stealth Cam G30IR.5 second8/4/2.0 MP80 ftN/A4.5
Bushnell 8MP Trophy Cam32 Black LED, 80'0.6-second8 MP N/A(4-8 AA)4.3
Stealth Cam G42 No-Glow.5 secondsN/AN/A12-volt4.3
Browning Recon Force XRIR illumination0.67 second 8MP100 ft8 AA4.2
Covert Special Ops Code60 Invisible Flash LED's1.2 seconds3-5-8 MPN/A12 AA4.2
Covert MP8 IR 28 infrared LEDsN/A8MP40 ft 8 AA4.5
Stealth Cam STC-P12IR lights do glow 1-6 img per trig6.0 MP50 ftN/A4.1
Bushnell 8MP Trophy CamNo-Glow "black" LEDs0.6 second8MP60 ft12 AA3.5
Covert Scouting Cameras MP-E528 Red Glow LED's1.2 secondsN/AN/A8AA4.5

Trail Camera Buyer Guide

Trail Camera Buying Guide

What to Look Out for in a Game Camera

1. Image Quality

Image quality is measured in Megapixels (MP) and is also called resolution. The higher the MP, the better the picture quality. Average trail cameras have a resolution of 5–7 MP. The range, however, is actually vast, with the best cameras giving as high as 20 MP in their class and basic, inexpensive models delivering only 2 MP.

  • You may also find very cheap variants of trail cameras for as low as 1.5 MP.
  • If your snaps and game recording are as important as the game itself, then we would recommend at least a 7-MP camera.
  • It is better to buy a camera of 5 MP or higher. Pictures under 5 MP are usually very shoddy, especially when viewed on a full screen, and their performance during night hunts is absolutely abysmal.
  • With cameras over 5 MP, the difference between day and night snaps varies hugely.
  • If your budget allows and you would like great contrast and fine pictures at night, then go for a 10-MP+ version.

One point to remember is that if you have an infrared flash, night shots will only support black & white photos. In addition, each additional megapixel will cost you more money, so it's vital to decide on what's important. In addition, if you plan to use your trail camera for wildlife photography, a high-resolution camera is recommended. Nevertheless, a 5–7-MP camera is suitable if using strictly for game.


2. Battery and Power Options

Battery Powered Trail Camera

A game lasts for hours and sometimes days, and the last thing you need is a dead camera, so battery life is an important feature for game cameras. Remember that usually you would just mount the camera and leave it there unattended. Just imagine coming back to collect it and realizing that battery died in the middle of night!

Most of the brands' have a battery life between 6 months and a year. However, the point to keep in mind is that the actual life tends to be less for the simple reason that some features of the camera consume a lot of power; and if you happen to use more of them then your battery will drain much faster.

  • An incandescent flash consumes a lot more power than it's infrared counterpart. In the same way, a cellular camera drains batteries expeditiously when compared to regular trail cameras.
  • Some cameras come with plug-in option and are good choices if you tend to spend a lot of time in the wilderness in one period. However, you will have to carry the entire plug-in system, which can be quite bulky.
  • Look for cameras that have at least 8 sockets for AA batteries. Lithium batteries are much better than alkaline batteries.
  • You may also go for rechargeable ones, which are costlier but can last for years. If you look at the overall cost of high-end batteries and divide it by the number of years they last, you will find that they tend to be more economical.
  • Rechargeable batteries are also weatherproof. At the very least, always check the recommended battery brand and try to stick to it.
  • Go for cameras that include a battery indicator, which will protect you from an unexpected shut down.

3. Trigger Time

Bushnell 6MP Trophy Cam Essential Trail Camera with Night Vision

Trigger time is the time in which the camera detects movement and captures the snap — the less the better. The whole process goes something like this: the animal enters the detection zone and the sensors activates the camera, which in turn triggers the capture, and the snap is saved in the storage.

  • The lower the trigger time, the better i.e. well below one second. If the trigger time is high, by the time the camera captures your game will have moved to the end of detection circuit.
  • A slow trigger speed is suitable only for those games where you have to monitor something stationery, for example, a place where the deer herd resides or where you might have tied a bait.
  • These are the only situations where the animal will hover and linger for quite some time. These cameras are also suitable for food plots that have good visibility.
  • The fastest trigger speed available on the market is 0.14 seconds! The range goes up to 4 seconds in some cameras.
  • If you have a wireless cellular camera, this time will be a little on the higher side because the trigger time also includes the time the camera takes to transmit and store the picture in a connected device.

4. Different Types of Trail Cameras

Lower Battery Life

Buying a trail camera is no easy feat, considering the features you have to keep in mind, like motion detection, resolution, focusing abilities, sharpness, pixelation, as well as being inconspicuous in the woods. Therefore, we have prepared a list for you so that you can zero in on your favourite type of camera, one that suits your needs perfectly!

  • Cellular Camera: Cellular cameras record images and transmit them to your phone and tabs via an internet connection. A SIM needs to be inserted into the camera’s slot and works just like in a phone. Most of these cameras work on GSM networks and you need to buy a data package for the SIM. These cameras usually come with motion sensor technology nowadays, which activates when there's movement in front of the lens span. Cellular cameras are hassle-free, are very easy to install and do not have tonnes of wires.
  • Wireless Wi-Fi Camera: Wireless cameras have in-built transmitters that transport images using a wireless network. You need to choose the wireless network of the receiving device in the camera to connect them. Wi-Fi cameras are relatively innovative but extremely user-friendly and relevant to today’s user. They have fewer attachments and no wires, which is an appealing feature for indoor or semi-indoor use.
  • Security Cameras: Have you ever felt the need to track what goes on in and around your house in your absence? You may have contemplated keeping an eye on your business establishment, office space, storage unit, or warehouse. This is especially applicable to those who have to put up a temporary shelter in the woods while on a wildlife trip. For these situations, a fully enabled security camera, better known as surveillance camera, is the best solution. Reliable and tamper-proof, if any incident takes place in your absence, this type of camera will record it in real time so you can use the footage as evidence later on. It also has a deterrent function because criminals will usually be put off by a security camera.
    • However, there are a few points to keep in mind before a security camera is installed. The law forbids installation of recording devices in private areas like baths and toilets. So make sure that you are not bending the law while installing these cameras. If you have one inside your home, it is going to potentially record private moments and conversations that you would rather keep private. This is why data deletion has to be done regularly and carefully since information sharing these days is fast and easy. In addition, everything invariably turns up on internet. In fact, make this a daily routine to delete the unwanted footage thereby avoiding other risks related to data leakage.
  • Infrared Cameras: Infrared cameras are suitable for tracking and recording at night. For ensuring a round-the-clock supply of video footage in the wild, no camera is better than the infrared. These cameras have high resolution and capture night images with a lot of clarity. They also come fitted with sensors that automatically switch the infrared function on and off. These cameras are used extensively to capture wildlife due to their night or dim lit capability. Scientific researchers have always used infrared cameras in their experiments due to their sensitivity and high resolution.

Advantages

  • They are easy to install and usually come in a single unit with a lens and recording storage.
  • Infrared cameras are very sturdy and can withstand tampering effectively.
  • They are designed to not give way easily when deliberately damaged.
  • Disadvantages

  • All of the advantages of an infrared camera result in the model's biggest  disadvantage: the price tag. They are far more costly than other types and therefore use in smaller establishments and domestic surveillance has not gained much momentum.
  • Owing to the LED lights mounted on them, they have limited use around reflective surfaces; the resulting photo will be a blotch of light.

    • Flash Cameras: The flash camera is made for night shots. For dark or night shots, the camera automatically switches to flash mode. This one feature makes it usable throughout the day and night, while you are on the move.

    Advantages

  • The set up is simple and very easy to install.
  • They are highly portable and are available in a variety of sizes, enhancing their portability.
  • The picture quality is extremely good, and they have the best zoom capacity of all camera types.
  • Disadvantages

  • The main disadvantage of this camera is the strength of the flash! Getting blinded by a flash is undesirable to say the least, and especially if it continuously triggers without any warning. This is an extreme drawback when shooting in the wild; it can easily scare off animals and waste your valuable time.
  • Flash cameras are also known to make a shutter sound when the flash is triggered. Both of these features make it unsuitable for wildlife photography as the flash agitates the animals. For covert tracking, too, this type of camera is useless since there is nothing clandestine about it. The flash can be particularly annoying to your neighbours if you are using if for outdoor monitoring.

  • 5. Should I Go For Flash or Infrared?

    There are two types of flash available in trail cameras: LEDs, also known as incandescent flash, and infrared, better known as invisible flash. Choosing the right type of flash is an extremely important criterion as it can either hamper or facilitate the game.

    • An incandescent flash camera has a bright, white light, which makes pictures taken in shadow or dark places quite clear and refined. The quality and contrast of the pictures is impressive. Even the night shots come in colour; although they're not as great as the day shots, they are still pretty descent.
    • The disadvantage of this camera is obviously that it can spook your game in the night. A bright, white, intense flash may also blind you for a few seconds or attract other hunters in the area.
    • If you use the camera for security purposes then the flash will alert intruders. The bright flash is also a nuisance for others in the neighbourhood.
    • On the other hand, an infrared flash creates an invisible zone and does not draw any attention. The only visibility that the flash may have is a red dot on the camera, which is quite unnoticeable.
    • Some newer models have hidden this red light as well making the camera completely unnoticeable.
    • For covert night games, infrared is the most suitable option. Some brands have come up with interchangeable flashlights. You might choose one of these models as they give you the option of changing to infrared invisible or incandescent white flash as per your needs.

    6. Detection Circuit

    Detection circuit refers to the range in which a camera’s sensors can detect movement and trigger the camera to capture. The range is measured in feet whereas trigger speed is measured in seconds.

    • Naturally, long-range cameras are preferred for hunting in the wild or even on a farm. Nowadays, cameras can have detection ranges of almost 100 feet.
    • However, before purchasing, you need to be sure that the model delivers what it claims. Some of the models manage only 60% of the advertised range.
    • The average range of a trail camera is 60–70 feet. A low range is suitable only if you have a very limited area to cover, otherwise go for a long-range camera.
    • Along with the distance in feet, you must also establish the field of view, which is basically the width of the angles within which the camera can detect movement. A wide field view means a better capture because the movement will be in range for a longer amount of time.
    • Trigger speed and recovery time are very important aspects as they determine the number of articulate shots that you will be able to take at a time.
    • The animal you are going to capture is not going to hover at one place for a long time; in fact, most of them will pass by giving you a window of a few seconds. Trigger speeds as low as 0.14 seconds are available in the market.
    • Any speed beyond 1 second is considered very slow and may hamper your game. Recovery time is the time it takes for the camera to get ready for the next capture, which can be as low as 3.3 seconds and as high as 5.5.
    • Remember that cellular cameras have a very high recovery time because they transmit the picture after capturing and storing; it is only then that the camera gets ready for the next snap.

    Therefore, a speed of under 5 seconds is normal and considered fast. However, if you are hunting a fast-paced animal in your game then a cellular camera might not fit the bill.


    7. Video or Picture

    The quality of a picture is measured in megapixels. Trail cameras have an average resolution of 5–7 MP, which is usually enough; unless of course your priority is a high resolution snap. However, for hunting needs, the average resolution is more than enough. High-resolution pictures is a unique selling point for some cameras.

    • These cameras have a resolution of between 12 MP and 20 MP. 20 MP is the highest resolution claimed by trail camera brands. Most of the cameras available nowadays come with a video option.
    • These cameras all support videos ranging from 3 to 300 seconds. Some of them only have video recording in black & white while others may produce coloured video with HD quality.
    • However, you have to keep in mind that if your game takes place at night then it won't make much of a difference which quality you are using.
    • Some video recording features do not have audio function, so basically you end up with a muted video. When buying a camera, check for an audio feature.
    • Flashlights on a trail camera determine the picture quality and also the detection range of the camera.
    • These Flashlights come in LED or infrared. LEDs have a strong, white flash and therefore the picture has stark contrast and lively colours.
    • These cameras can also capture night scenes in colour. However, the flip side is that LED can compromise your hunt by spooking animals and other hunters. For security purposes, these lights are not ideal either as they can give away the position of the camera and alert the intruder.
    • They can also be a nuisance to your neighbour with an intense flash filtering into their house every night. Some of these cameras come with a flash-off or no-flash option. However, since these cameras are designed to use a flashlight, you may end up with blank pictures if not using it.
    • Depending on how vast the range is, the camera can be mounted with 5–50 LED lights. On the other hand, infrared is your perfect companion in covert games. It does not spook or draw attention to itself.
    • At most, it may have a red dot like an indicator light, which is not very noticeable. In fact, many brands have done away with this red light in some of their models making the camera completely clandestine and covert.

    Infrared cameras have an invisible flash, which will not blind you like the ordinary LEDs. The only flip side is that they support only black & white pictures at night. The quality of contrast may not be very impressive but they are best suited for night expeditions.


    8. Memory

    Most of the cameras are compatible with 32-GB SD cards. However, some can accommodate a higher storage capacity. There are some cameras with memory as low as 8 GB; however, think before you choose; you do not want the hassle of a full camera storage halfway through the hunt.

    • The card requirement depends on your usage. If you have a camera that takes multiple shots, i.e. one trigger results in more than one picture so that there is at least one perfect snap, then you will need a bigger data storage.
    • This kind of camera stores all of the pictures, which can be reviewed and deleted later on. However, during the game, you will not be able to delete the unwanted snaps and they will keep occupying storage.
    • One point to keep in mind is that a hunt goes on for a very long period. A video-enabled camera also needs a vast memory, and one with HD recording will eat up the entire storage space in no time, and the quality memory card reader.
    • Whether you need to record video will also play a decisive factor here because pictures take up less memory than videos. A picture of high resolution needs more storage space so if your pictures are both high resolution and high definition, additional storage may come in handy.
    • When your game goes on for some time, backup storage is a good idea. If you are using your trail camera for security purposes, good storage is also helpful.
    • Otherwise, you will go on deleting the data every couple of days, especially if there is a lot of activity around your house, in terms of people, animals, or vehicle traffic. Another important point to keep in mind is to make sure that you use the right brand and quality of SD card. Remember not all SD cards run properly in all cameras.

    Stick to the recommended brand and storage capacity to get the best of the camera and for the safety of your recordings and captures.


    9. Security Boxed and Anti-Theft Cables

    Trail cameras are not exactly cheap and therefore (although this one is the best trail camera for your money) can become victims of theft or get lost in the wild. Though trail cameras are sturdy considering their extensive outdoor usage, they can be damaged easily, especially in cases of vandalism and when cameras are not exactly covert.

    • Security boxes and theft cables can rule out damage or theft to a large extent. Security boxes come in strong material like steel, which protects the camera from direct blows and scratches.
    • Before you pick a camera that comes with a security box, check how compact it is. If space is a constraint and your priority is to have a compact camera then make sure you take a look at the security box as well.
    • The lock mechanism of the security box needs to be foolproof but simple. You do not want to be struggling with a lock that refuses to open. Security boxes also come in various shades and colours like solid black, camouflage, etc.
    • The different exteriors are not for enhancing the aesthetics but for making the cameras covert by blending them with their backgrounds.
    • Therefore, a game in the wild requires a camouflaged exterior, which does not draw the attention of an animal or other hunters or intruders. Try out the security box with your camera before purchasing.
    • A slight mismatch in size will block the flashlight or camera shutter. Security boxes also come with hooks and brackets to make them easy to install and mount.
    • Anti-theft cables are indispensable and a must-buy along with your camera purchase. These cables will prove valuable when you have to mount your camera for a perfect shot.
    • You can tighten or loosen the grip very easily. Since there are one-size-fits-all cables, you do not have to have multiple types. Remember a trail camera needs to be set up in various different and sometimes opposing conditions.
    •  Cameras can be mounted on a tree or placed on a rock. You won't always be able to safely install it. Strong cables are usually made by twisting a number of thin steel cables together to make them tougher, more robust, and secure.
    • Cables are usually covered with a vinyl coating so that they're soft to touch and the steel does not hurt while handling. There is a locking system, which can be slid easily over the cable and fastened wherever the grip is required. This locking system should also be thoroughly checked just to ensure that it is not too complicated.

    10. Viewing Screens

    Not all trail cameras come with a viewing screen, but it is an important feature. A viewing screen can play an important role in setting up the camera in the right direction and at the right height. You can also review the pictures immediately with a viewing screen.

    • In cases where the SD card has run out of memory in the midst of your adventure, you can begin deleting the unwanted pictures by reviewing them and freeing up space on the card. This is not recommended on a tiny, regular screen.
    • Many cameras come with HD support and an LCD viewing screen; however, it is up to you what kind of viewing screen you need. An LCD viewing screen is better but costs more than other screen types.
    • It may also be more sensitive than the regular screen. However, a screen cover can protect it from the general wear and tear of outdoor hunts. Viewing screens are simple to use and make the camera set up very easy.
    • The only flip side of having an external viewing screen is that it can make the camera a little bulkier, considering that it has to accommodate this additional screen on the exterior of the camera. Viewing screens come in various sizes depending on your needs.
    • A too-small viewing screen will be useless because it will not serve the very purpose for which it was built. On the other hand, a large screen will affect the size of the camera.
    • You won't want to have to carry around a monstrosity during your game! If you have a habit of retrieving your pictures frequently then remember that this function drains the battery pretty quickly.

    11. Budget and Price

    It all comes down to your pocket after all! If your budget allowed, you would probably buy the best camera available. Game or trail cameras come in a wide price range from $80 to an eye-popping $10K! Therefore, the decision will largely be based on how much you're willing to spend. This is why your priorities have to be clear before you step out to buy a trail camera. The first step is to recognize if you are a beginner or a pro.

    • As a beginner, you have to understand that you might not be availing of all the features that a camera has to offer, so buying a fully loaded gadget might prove to be unnecessarily expensive and foolish.
    • However, if you have every intention of continuing and pursuing this sport and learning it rather quickly, then you should think about a higher-end version. Basically, “better to have it and not use then not have it and need it”.
    • Your usage also needs to be kept it in mind. If you need this camera for security purposes, then considering the area to be covered will help you save on detection range. A camera with a 100-foot detection range is much costlier than a 50-foot one.
    • If you want the camera to be installed in a 40-foot lobby then why buy a camera with a longer detection range? Similarly, you must consider the kind of flash you need. If the camera doesn't need to be covert, e.g. in an office space, then buying an infrared invisible camera is not required.
    • Remember, great picture resolution comes with a hefty price tag. If you need it strictly for hunting at night then do not go for a high-resolution camera.
    • Night scenes in high-resolution trail cameras usually come in black & white shades only. One more important tip is to go for a reputable manufacturer and brand. An unknown and not-so-popular brand may provide you with all these features at lesser price, but remember it will not be the same quality as an established brand.
    • You do not want to face small, nagging obstacles during your game. The established brands have learned from mistakes and lot of research. They have had years to improvise their products so the chances of getting sub-standard quality are next to none.
    • Your choice of resolution, flash, HD video capability, and external viewing screen all have bearing on the camera's battery life and storage. A camera with high-end features may require a data storage card with an extended memory.
    • Good quality data cards are not cheap. Apart from storage, these features will drain your batteries a lot. Over the years, you will end up spending a significant sum on batteries alone.

    You can spend as much as you want when it comes to a trail camera. The features are appealing and accessories limitless. However, do not get overwhelmed or lose the run of yourself. Prepare a budget and stick to it. A few dollars here and there is all right, but if you are deviating by hundreds then just stop and think if this is really what you need.


    12. Trail Camera Brands

    Browning Trail Camera - Recon Force XR
    • Bushnell Trail Cameras

    When it comes to scouting and hunting animals your Bushnell trail cameras are as reliable as it gets. Bushnell's Trophy camera line is excellent but you are also offered a wide range of features and different types to choose from depending on what you are looking for.

    • Moultrie Trail Cameras

    Moultrie is a leading brand when it comes to to the game; scouting animals has never been so easy. It is an old brand that you can rely on with a vast range of different types to choose from.

    • Tasco Game Cameras

    This brand is known for making great scopes and now Tasco has produced trail cameras that has been very popular among hunters and works great when it comes to spying on your game.

    • SpyPoint Game Cameras

    Spypoint’s mind-blowing collection of 27 cameras is the best lineup around with awesome variety and features.

    • Reconyx Game Cameras

    The Reconyx name is synonymous with quality and performance. This is the brand that wildlife biologists have grown to trust after decades of field experience. Impervious to weather, Reconyx trail cameras are perfect for hunting, security and any other purpose where positive identification is paramount. Superior photography is a hallmark of the Reconyx brand. These trail cams produce unbeatable nighttime photos, yet still operate in daytime mode long after most other cameras shifted to infrared.

    The color photos these cameras produce are exquisite, but the true measure of their quality is their detection circuitry. Blazing-fast trigger and refresh speeds are complimented by state-of-the-art motion sensors, eliminating the ghostly images that plague lesser cameras. Reconyx cameras also outlast most of their competition in terms of battery life, with 18-plus months of use possible on a set of batteries.

    While their battery life is measured in terms of years, the lifespan of a Reconyx trail camera may be measured in decades. Made in the U.S.A. – to the exacting tolerances that entails – Reconyx backs their construction with industry-leading warranties. Though their cost reflects their quality, users rarely regret the purchase. Reconyx cameras are an investment in the future, as they continue to function brilliantly long after most other trail cameras have found their way to the trash heap.

    • Other brands

    Browning, Primos Truth, Plot Watcher, Micro Crush, and Razor are also a few top brands offering a massive range of trail cameras with a plethora of features ranging from image quality to detection circuit and additional features like multi-shot mode, time-lapse mode, and audio recording.

    Generally, trail cameras cost somewhere between $50 and $800. Nevertheless, cheap cameras have fewer options for file size, memory size, and shot options and they often don’t have a video option. They also have slower trigger speeds, which may deprive you of capturing the real action in time.


    Final Words

    So there you have it; a complete guide to the best trail cameras and how to pick the best one for your purpose.

    If you are looking for different types of trail cameras there are options to buy small trail cameras, solar trail cameras, or even choose the best video camera for hunting in this article. If you are looking for a thermal camera we even have the best thermal camera for hunting article right here.

    Maintenance is vital with these gadgets, especially when they are kept outdoors. To get the most out of your camera, charge its batteries regularly and use only branded batteries and chargers. If you intend to store your camera for a long time, take out the batteries before you store it. Clean lenses with both glass and plastic compatible cleaner. Before you place your camera in the woods for longer periods, make sure that you check all seals and gaskets for wear or tear. These simple steps will help ensure that your gadget functions is flawlessly for a long time.