5 Best Trail Camera Reviews 2018-Top Picks and Comparison

Choosing the best trail camera can be time-consuming and at times quite difficult. There are so many trail cameras to choose to range in many different aspects such as different brands, memory capacity, night vision and resolution just to name a few.

We have put together a trail camera reviews guide below to assist with the decision making in finding the best trail camera for you. There are various elements to consider before purchasing, and we hope the below interactive chart will make this process easier. It was created so that a user can sort any of the columns based on their specific preference or requirements. Included in the guide are 9 columns:

Trail Camera & Image – The product image of the camera being reviewed.
Resolution – The megapixel of the images taken by the trail camera
Video Rec – If the trail camera has video recording capability
Flash – The flash technology used
Night Range – The distance in feet the night flash can capture
Trigger Speed – Time taken from detection to image recorded
Memory – Maximum removable external memory
Price – The approximate prices. $ = under $100, $$ = $101 to $149, $$$ = $150 to $199, $$$$ = $200 or more
Rating – The average user rating from Amazon.com out of 5

Trail Camera
Res
Video Rec
Flash
Night Range
Trigger Speed
Memory
Price
Rating
5 MP Yes Infrared 50′ 1.5 sec 32 GB $ 3.8
3 MP Yes Infrared 40′ 1.5 sec 8 GB $ 3.8
8 MP Yes Infrared 45′ 1 sec 32 GB $$ 4.1
3.1 MP No Infrared 50′ 1.5 sec 32 GB $$$$ 4.9
8 MP Yes Infrared 65′ 0.69 sec 32 GB $ 4
8 MP Yes Infrared 45′ 1 sec 32 GB $$ 4
6 MP Yes Infrared 40′ 1.2 sec 32 GB $ 4
7 MP Yes Infrared 70′ 1 sec 32 GB $$ 4.3
8 MP Yes Infrared 80′ 0.88 sec 32 GB $$ 4.2
8 MP Yes Infrared 60′ 1.2 sec 32 GB $$$$ 3.5

 

Today, the best trail cams come in a wide array of styles. These gadgets are used for different purposes as well. As you set out to pick the best one that the market has to offer, some game camera reviews will surely help you out throughout your search. These items are already described and compared below.

Moreover, you have to identify some crucial factors, before placing your order online. Of course, your budget is among the top factors to consider, followed by other aspects, including the trigger type, whether slow or fast, having incandescent or infrared flash, life span of the battery, wide or narrow detection, and so on.

The list just goes on and on, considering whether you need a low glow, no glow, burst, hyper, or a freeze frame shutter. Hence, by reading the following reviews, you will better understand the differences between these top-rated trail cameras.

 Reviews of Best Trail Cameras

1. Moultrie M-880 Low Glow Game Camera\

Moultrie M-880 Low Glow Game Camera

Moultrie is a popular brand among fellow hunters. However, we found that their customer service has room for improvement. Many users have reported that Moultrie’s support team’s response rate is quite poor. Having said that, there is no doubt that the M-880 is one of the best trail cameras for shooting in the dark. It provides crystal clear images with a very long range of 90-100 feet and a wide peripheral to capture a broad detection range. Also, the trigger speed is phenomenal at .88 seconds.The HD video recording on this trail camera is not used as widely, as it offers a rapid multi-shot function, which takes up to 4 images per second. The LED flash is quite visible at night, but it doesn’t affect the performance or scare the wildlife away. It is pretty bright when the flash goes off, but the images captured are fantastic! At under $120, the price is quite reasonable; in return, you get very clear night shots. Cressi Palau Mask Fin Snorkel Set with Snorkeling Gear Bag Review

2. Reconyx HyperFire HC500 Semi – Covert IR Game Camera Review

Reconyx is a reputable brand offering high-quality trail cameras. The majority of users have found that the battery life of this camera is excellent. It takes about 40 to 50k photos a year, and after this period, the battery life is still at around 90%. You can’t get any other camera better than that! We have to agree this game camera is reliable; always works at its best and it never turns off. Most importantly, Reconyx provide great customer service! This little device captures everything even little nitty gritty insects.The HC500 Semi works well in all kinds of weather conditions, whether it is cold or hot and humid weather. Unfortunately, this camera doesn’t have a video function, however with the fast trigger speed and a wide and high detection zone, you don’t need it. The picture quality it great, however, night shots are not always clear and can be blurry at times. At around $450, it is quite pricey compared to other trail cameras. However, this is expected when receiving quality customer service and a battery life that lasts longer than most.Cressi Palau Mask Fin Snorkel Set with Snorkeling Gear Bag Review

3. Bushnell 8MP Trophy Cam Standard Edition Review

 

Bushnell 8MP Trophy Cam Standard Edition

The Bushnell 8MP Trophy Cam Standard Edition, on the other hand, garners a 4-Star rating on average. This game camera review will tell you of its impressive features, including its 8MP night vision with an invisible 32-LED flash, allowing a 24-hour game scouting experience.

This standard edition boasts a respectable trigger time, compared to other models out there. Many users also love the recovery time. The Bushnell Trophy is among the smallest cameras on the market today, making it less noticeable for the targets.The overall quality is good, although the night images can be a bit dark. Sometimes, it captures a bit of glow around the edges. But, the most interesting feature of this best hunting camera is its video with the audio feature, which is an attractive feature for many users.

The battery life is great, not to mention the motion-activated day or night PIR auto-sensor. It boasts a 45-foot flash and sensor range as well as black and white text LCD. The adjustable PIR can be adjusted to either Low or Medium, or High with a one-second trigger speed, similar to most of the game mentioned above camera reviews.

This item from Bushnell features a programmable trigger interval, ranging from one second to 60 minutes. It also has a multi-image mode, which provides one to three images per trigger. It has a widescreen, VGA, QVGA video resolution with audio, while its video length can be programmed from one second to 60 seconds.

This high-grade camera has a Field Scan Time Lapse Mode, allowing a simultaneous live trigger. This allows the user to take pictures at pre-set intervals of one to 60 minutes within the desired hour, and with the simultaneous use of the motion activated sensor. All in all, the Bushnell Trophy can be the best trail cam today, considering its waterproof construction, supportive SD card slot, great battery life, and nice choice for the money.

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4. Moultrie A5 Low Glow Game Camera Review

Bushnell 8MP Trophy Cam Standard Edition

The Moultrie A5 Low Glow Game Camera garners an average rating of 4 Stars on Amazon. This is among the top rated trail cameras on the market today, having 5.0 Megapixel, Low Glow Infrared features. It also has day and night video clips and a 30,000-image on 4 C-cell batteries.

This game camera offers a picture-delay of 1, 5, 10, and 30 minutes, along with a Moon phase, a time stamp, date, and a camera ID stamp. The Moultrie A5 provides an easy setup with impressive features at a very reasonable price tag, making it the most affordable gadget within its bracket.

Moreover, this device makes scouting easy with its maximum of 32GB SD memory card slot. The manufacturer has integrated a strap loop with Python cable compatibility. It is considered as the best-selling camera, based on trail cameras reviews mainly because of its attractive price, especially for those who are planning on outfitting their property with more cameras.

This camera tends to be triggered by a lot, so, the placement will never be an issue. Its low glow flash feature can certainly emit a visible flash, although reduced drastically. More often than not, the color will be a faded red glow, just perfect for those who do not want to pay for the no-glow camera. The night time images appear to be black and white.

Technically, you will not encounter problems with this game camera working as advertised. Equally, it takes acceptable stills and videos, while not upsetting any animals. But, this one produces a flash that the animals can see as you will notice some raccoons looking at it while capturing several shots.

For a spying game, though, the Moultrie A5 Low Glow Game Camera is not very perfect. You would want to get something a bit higher up the lineup of Moultrie. Keep in mind that spying games require higher resolution and range. However, the Moultrie A5’s simplicity will work well for simpler hunting games.

According to trail cam reviews, purchasing some accessories for this gadget will be a good idea, such as a cable and a bicycle lock, especially if you are worried about people messing with it. The bicycle lock or lock hasp would secure the camera, keeping it from being opened, while protecting the SD card and batteries at the same time.buy form amazon

5. Stealth Cam G30 Triad Armed 8mp Trail Camera Review

Bushnell 8MP Trophy Cam Standard Edition

A 4.5-Star-rated game camera is the Stealth Cam G30 Triad Armed 8mp Trail Camera. It features an 8.0 megapixel with three solutions, ranging from 8Mp to 4Mp and the 2.0MP. It is capable of HD video recording between 5 and 180 seconds.

This device boasts 30 IR emitters, resulting in an 80ft range with Reflex Trigger, along with a Matrix Blur Reduction system. It has a manual shot capability with a secure lock password protection as well as an SD Card slot up to 32GB. It also features new intuitive backlit menu programming, including a test mode, USB output, and a video output.

Based on the reviews, this model is smaller, having a more compact size than other previously released Stealth Cam cameras. Customer reviews also reveal that this new version has a great trigger speed with very good battery life. The removable battery tray results in a convenient battery swapping.

This camera produces wide 16×9 image size. The quick set modes are very easy to use, while its lighted LED display is great in low light or just after dark. All the more, it creates an amazing HD video with audio.

The old style with a strobe flash had serious issues when it comes to the response time with white-out pictures day and night. However, with the new edition, there is no such issue. Previous users also feedback that this model is perfect for capturing might images and videos. The response time, sound, and battery life have improved without a doubt. This infrared trail camera takes black and white pictures, instead of or colored something that other users do not want that much.

All in all, the Stealth Cam has been established in 2000 and became a leader in the scouting camera innovation very quick. This lineup of products features top-notch quality with a price that you want. Indeed, the Stealth Cam G30 Triad Armed 8mp Trail Camera surpasses the set standards, surrounding the best-rated trail cameras.Cressi Palau Mask Fin Snorkel Set with Snorkeling Gear Bag Review

Trail Camera Buying Guide

While you already have an idea about the top rated game cameras, there are a lot more to learn, before purchasing one of these. Below are some important tips to keep in mind, before purchasing this camera type.

Trail Camera Flash

This feature is perhaps the most highly debated aspects when it comes with this camera. The type of flash tends to emit once it is triggered. Thus, there are different flash options available, and choosing the best one depends on your opinion. Below are the available types of trail camera flash.

  • No-Glow Flash – Cameras with the No-Glow feature are equipped with black LEDs that are totally invisible to both game animals and humans. Take note that all images captured at night time with this feature will always be in black and white. Trail cameras with this feature usually have flash range that is not as long as other cameras, although it’s not a very big issue.
  • Low-Glow Flash – This feature emits a visible flash, but will be reduced drastically. The color is a faint red glow. The images captured during the night time are also black and white.
  • White-Flash – This feature of trail cameras has gone a long way. All images captured, whether day or night will be colored. Hence, this feature can provide the best photos.

Megapixels

Moreover, probable buyers of the best game camera should pay close attention to the megapixel numbers. The megapixels will mean nothing if the lens quality is low. In short, a high megapixel number does not always mean high quality images. Look at the real-world image quality to determine this advantage. Simply make a research and rely on talk forums, company websites, as well as social media outlets.

Trigger Speed

Also referred to as trigger time, the trigger speed is the measurement of how long it will take to capture a picture once a subject a seen, like a deer for instance. This is an essential feature of a trail camera. Those with fast trigger times can capture a set of photos that will be missed by cameras with slow trigger speed. The cameras mentioned above usually have one-second trigger speeds, but there are also variants with 0.13-second trigger speed, perhaps the fastest, but the most expensive one.

Capture Modes

Capturing images with a trail cam can be done in two specific manners – videos and still photos. While capturing still photos is great, having the video option serves a lot of benefits. Among of which is that the user can take a glimpse into the animal world, watching how they behave in the field. Hence, having the video option can reveal more information on the subject matter than a single image.

Originally, users of hunting cameras used to choose between capturing a still photo and capturing a video clip. Today, however, the trusted manufacturers of this product have already designed variants that offer both functions at the same time, thus, giving the user the best of both worlds.

Detection Zone

Although this aspect is an invisible area, it is still essential for all users of the best game trail camera. This starts at the camera face and then spreads outwardly in a V-shape. It tends to grow larger in correlation to distance. The detection zone is where the camera detects the movement. When a movement is detected, the camera will activate, capturing an image or start recording a video.

The particular models have varied detection zone features, identifying how wide and how long the model can go important, but it will largely depend on the area of placement. High numbers in both areas allow the camera to find more movements and then snap more images, and vice versa.

Recovery Time

The recovery time is the time that a camera takes to ‘start-up’ or ‘recycle,’ after taking a photo. Keep in mind that slow trigger time might cost missed opportunities. Thus, slow recovery time does the same. A very good trail camera with dependable recovery time would be one that has a second of recovery time or over a minute. Equally, the trigger speed and recovery time should be adequate, especially if placing the device on a trail or path.

Sensitivity Adjustment

The sensitivity adjustment determines how sensitive the device is to objects that pass in front. A high sensitivity rating can capture everything, while those with low sensitivity ratings can miss out even the small stuff, mainly focusing on larger objects. Some of the best hunting cameras today will allow the user to adjust this setting. With that said, having an adjustable sensitivity feature results in several advantages, compared to devices without such setting.

Battery Life

Identifying the best trail cam for the money largely depends on many features and aspects. However, for many users, the battery life is among the major factors that contribute throughout the decision-making of any buyer. Keep in mind that the number of return trips is among the biggest pitfalls of using this device, both in checking the SD card and replacing the batteries.

The issue with the battery can be taken care of if you opt for the best trail camera, having the longest battery life. Some manufacturers claim more than a year of battery life, but, beware as not all companies live up to such statement. Other companies advertise at least one-month battery life of their products. However, this aspect also depends on the frequency of use.

Take note that a trail cam with a long battery life will not only save you money but also time. Long battery life may be equated to convenience, considering your return trips that might take a long distance.

Research and Compare

Nonetheless, doing your homework is always best, researching about and comparing the different products and reviews on the web, before placing your order. Getting the best choice will save you a lot of money eventually, instead of re-purchasing due to a low-quality and useless camera.

While comparing, take note of the factors mentioned above because these aspects will greatly help you decide. Bear in mind and learn about the reputations of trailcam providers, ranging from Moultrie to Bushnell, Stealth, and Simmons.

Conclusion

Over and above, a new name is added to the list of top rated trail cameras, making these items available for consumers, while meeting their needs at the same time. All of them can have impressive features, but not all are as useful as the others. It is very sensible to begin your search by learning about each feature of the device, identifying whether it will be necessary for you or otherwise.

Nonetheless, this guide to the top rated game cameras has provided you the most basic details, surrounding this outdoor device. While trail cameras are certainly complex, this comprehensive review will somehow clear your way towards the most reliable trail cam on the market.

It will always be best to arm yourself with accurate information about this tool, taking into account the essential parts, types, uses, and features of a game camera. By doing this, you can narrow down your choices, according to your available budget, needed features, trusted the brand, and so on.

Reading about product descriptions, ratings, and the reviews will equally help you throughout your search of the best device possible. Finally, it is of utmost importance that you place your order on reliable dealers, such as Amazon, taking into consideration the offered manufacturer’s warranty, securing yourself from defective materials. All of this will secure you with a genuine product and the best trail cam for the money.


What is a Trail Camera?

Trail cameras, also known as game cameras, remote cameras or camera traps, are very popular with sportsmen and researchers who find it pleasurable or necessary to photograph wildlife. Although their popularity has increased in recent years, trail cameras have been used for decades to conduct ecological and wildlife studies. Their primary purpose is to capture photos in a way that eliminates human interference, thereby preserving the integrity of the natural landscape.

The earliest examples of trail cameras functioned just like the traditional cameras which existed before the digital age of photography. The film had to be loaded into the camera and taken for processing to a laboratory. Today it is much more common to find trail cameras that function as a digital camera, allowing for more pictures to be taken and transferred to an internal memory card. Photos can then be transferred to a computer or copied to a disc for archival storage.

Most trail cameras operate on a trigger mechanism. The trigger can be motion-activated, snapping photos when motion is detected in the camera’s field of vision, or they can operate via an infrared sensor which cues the camera to take pictures when a light beam is broken. A few trail cameras are non-triggered, meaning that they either capture images continuously or on a schedule which is determined by the camera user. As with any digital camera, battery life is a concern, and this makes triggered cameras a preferred option.

One of the most important aspects of any trail camera is its ability to withstand the elements. These cameras are designed to withstand water, the wind, and excessive heat. Most are housed in a hard protective case that will prevent captured images from being destroyed.

Why Use a Trail Camera?

The uses for a trail camera are limited only by the creativity of those who use them. While they were originally designed for scientific purposes, trail cameras today are being used in many different capacities.

Hunters use trail cameras to photograph game trails or observe feeding areas to determine the best time to hunt wild game. A deer hunter can use them to determine if deer are passing in the vicinity of a stand or blind. A trapper can use them to see if an area is suitable for their traps. Some farm owners have even used trail cameras to identify a predator that might be raiding their hen house at night. The majority of trail cameras today are used for these and similar purposes.

Of course, researchers still use trail cameras to collect data and analyze the behavior of animals in the wild, especially those that are nocturnal. Being able to eliminate human interference has given animal scientists the ability to record behaviors that would have been almost impossible to observe otherwise. This type of scientific data is very important to protecting and developing new habitats for endangered animals.

Trail cameras are even used by paranormal and crypto zoological researchers! The popularity of paranormal television shows has encouraged armchair ghost hunters to do their investigations, and many of them use trail cameras to photograph areas where there are claims of paranormal activity.

Trail cameras have also become very popular for security purposes. Many people are using them for their home or a business they may own to catch out burglars, vandals, and trespassers. This is thanks to their compact size and being slightly more affordable than most home security systems.

What to look for?

Resolution/Quality of Image – Trail cameras ranges anywhere between about 3MP to 12MP. They all get the job done, but obviously, the higher the megapixels, the better the image quality will be. Just keep in mind that this also means that the images will be larger. We found that the sweet spot is usually around 6-8MP.

Night Range – This relates to the distance range the camera has to record images using the flash at night. The higher the range, the better, but just beware that the night conditions such as moonlight and cloudiness may affect the accuracy of the manufacturers claimed range.

Trigger Speed – The trigger speed is very important. If the speed is slow, you may not have the best images captured. The trigger speed refers to the amount of time it takes from when the wildlife is detected in the area to when the photo is taken. The faster the trigger speed, the better.

Battery Life/ Memory Capacity – Many of the trail cameras offer battery life of at least 6 months to a year. This allows you to place the trail camera in a discreet area for a long period before you check what has been captured. Larger memory capacity will allow the camera to store more images if there is more activity than anticipated. Most trail cameras do not come with built-in memory. Therefore an external SD memory card needs to be purchased separately.

Design – Probably one of the most important aspects of a trail camera is the design. The idea is for it to be discreet and not noticed, so a design that is camouflaged and also easily mountable to a tree is key here. The best game cameras are also light and compact which make them no fuss to carry around to the desired location.

Simmons Whitetail with Night Vision (6MP)

Simmons Whitetail Trail Camera with Night VisionThe Simmons isn’t our first choice, but it is a great game camera for under $100. It’s real simple to operate and setting it up is pretty straightforward. The battery life is not as good as the Reconyx, but it is still pretty reasonable. This game camera takes great day shots, but night shots are limited to about 30 feet and are sometimes unclear.The trigger speed on this Simmons is a little slower than others, so when the fast game runs past, the images taken may be blurry. We found that even though this camera claims to be weather resistant, moisture or rain can still get inside the camera damaging the functions. A solution is to purchase a security box to keep the moisture out as well as keeping your game camera secure – killing two birds with one stone!

Browning BTC 2 Trail Force Recon, Camo

The Browning Force Recon is one of the best trail cameras for those who are not very tech savvy. It is simple to set up and easy to operate. The camera is designed to blend in with the tree bark really and the camo color and pattern makes this camera pretty much invisible to the naked eye. The daytime images are high quality with a wide angle and night images are not bad either. One of the biggest highlights is the HD video with sound function. Force Recon takes really clear videos even in the dark!One strange annoyance is that it automatically turns to night mode even though it is still bright out which sometimes make the images not as clear. Night mode provides a grainier image, but with this 8-megapixel camera, it is still clear enough to distinguish what has been captured. For under $90, it is a great game camera, to begin with if you don’t want to spend too much. However, the battery life is dependent on the number of images captured.

 

Consensus

The Browning Trail Cameras company was started in America by John M. Browning, and their desire to be the most innovative trail camera company has been realized over recent years as their company has developed some of the most truly ingenious designs in the industry. Such things as their invisible night-vision capability are unequaled by their competition.

There are a few series to choose from, the most basic and least-spendy of the group being the Range Ops XR series. You’re looking at an average online price of $95 or thereabouts, and you’ll wind up with 8 megapixels, HD video capability, and day or night photo capability, as well as sound capturing. It’s very compact and comes with a one year warranty. Picture delay can be set from as low as 5 seconds to one minute, ensuring you see everything that’s going on when the action starts.

The next series up, is the Recon Force XR. You get everything the previous series offers, plus an upgrade to 10 megapixels, and 100+ feet of night illumination shots, 6 rapid fire shots in 2 seconds, up to 2-minute clips of HD video, and if that’s not enough, zero-blur technology, ensuring crisp, clear images even at night. All this, at an average online price of $130, and you’re going to have some fun!

Next, is the Spec Ops XR series, which gets even better. For about the same price as the Recon Force Series, you get the added perk of invisible night-vision illumination (invisible flash), and a 2” color viewing screen, so you can review your images and videos out in the field.

The Strike Force, 10-megapixel camera, is in a class by itself and is a new offering from this company. It is purported to be the smallest camera like it in the business and has all the features the other cameras have, with the added advantage of being super small and silent. It’s almost invisible, and it only costs around $150.

Then, there’s the Dark Ops 10 megapixel sub-micro camera, with all of the features above, plus the added coolness of being practically invisible. It doesn’t have the 2” playback screen, but if you’re looking to catch super-sensitive pictures, trespassers, skittish game, etc., this is the camera you want, and it will set you back about $180.

For more information on the various options available with each series of camera, click here:

Each of these cameras is practically invisible, not only just because of their small size, but also because of their effective camo-housings. Strong lock hasps allow a cable-lock to secure your camera to its moorings, and protect it, as well as the batteries and SD card, from being taken. It is also insulated to protect it from the reasonably cold weather, but if you are expecting severe cold, you’d better bring it in.

There are multiple accessories available to go with your Browning trail camera. Not only does Browning make their SD cards that are easier to configure to your camera, but there are also some really useful things like the trail camera power pack, which holds 8 AA batteries and super-extends the length of time you can leave your camera out before having to replace the batteries. All-steel construction, camo paint security box will keep your camera safe from theft and vandalism, and a variety of tree mounts are also available to make installing your camera and keeping it installed an easier experience.

Let’s recap: Browning trail cameras get consistently favorable reviews, and provide some cool tech to the field, whether you just want to observe what kind of wildlife is in the area, or catch a night prowler, or strategically plan your hunting based on your continual observation of photographic evidence of animal activity. Whatever you are planning, there are enough options for you to find something awesome within your budget. Happy shooting… Of pictures!

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