If you’re a long time hunter or just getting your feet wet in the world of hunting, knowing what to look for in the best trail camera can help you step up your game and improve your knowledge of your target area. Trail cameras, also called game cameras, are used by hunters to track and monitor potential prey in areas that are dangerous or otherwise hard to access. Whether you’re looking to invest in your very first trail camera, or upgrade your current trail camera, we have thoroughly researched some of the best trail camera brands and models of trail cameras on the market. And we’re happy to share our findings with you so you can make an informed purchasing decision.
A trail camera enables you to observe the behavior of game and wildlife remotely by taking both still pictures and videos. Trail cameras are incredibly easy to use: simply attach the camera to a tree or post, turn it on, and configure it to take the type of images/video you want. Then, the camera will get to work, automatically taking images and video in set intervals on your behalf. The only required maintenance of a trail camera is replacing the batteries, with battery life varying greatly between different models of trail camera. Battery life can range anywhere from 3 months to 1 year or more depending on the trail camera and settings you use.
While hunters are the primary users of trail cameras, the cameras can serve a multitude of other useful functions as well. Many buyers report using trail cameras to monitor the exterior of their home, saving them money over more costly video surveillance systems. Others even use trail cameras to keep watch over their romantic partners when they suspect cheating. Whatever your anticipated use is, having the best trail camera for your needs, that performs well, lasts a long time, and takes high quality, clear images and video will give you the best experience when it comes to using your trail camera.
Still, a professional or aspiring professional hunter will no doubt be looking for the best trail camera on the market in terms of performance and value, and that’s what we’ll be discussing here today.
Best Selling Trail Cameras And Brands – Worth The Hype
According to all of the reviews available online, the three most popular brands of trail camera are Primos, Bushnell and Moultrie. Of these three top tier trail camera brands, noteworthy models include the under $100 Primos Truth Cam 35, the Bushnell X-8 6MP with night vision and field scan, and the Moultrie M-990i 10MP, M-880 and D-555i, each with 8MP.
Buyers of all of these trail camera models report crystal clear pictures, large flash ranges, easy set-up and configuration, and built in microphones which allow for sound recording as well as video recording. Other things mentioned by buyers are long battery lives, fast trigger response times, and nighttime picture clarity. Most buyers prefer game cameras that have night vision and either low or no glow infrared when taking pictures at night, so that animals in the area don’t get spooked and flee. Also, a good trail camera needs a wide-angle view range, enabling the user to monitor as much of an area as possible. HD video and various shooting modes enable you to fit the best trail camera for your budget, to your specific needs. These models and many other top-selling trail cameras include multi-shot and fast fire continuous shooting capabilities. When looking for the best trail camera out there, make sure you find a model (such as those mentioned here) that has all of these features.
And of course, the best trail camera must also be a good value for the money. No matter what you use the camera for – hunting, surveillance, or otherwise – investing in a durable product that stands the test of time while delivering on its promises for a fair value will make you a happy trail camera user for many years to come. Ultimately all users are looking for the same thing: great performance for a great price.
Requirements For The Best Trail Camera(s)
If this is your first time looking into trail cameras, then make sure you keep this checklist of essential “best trail camera” features handy, so you know you’re investing in a model that will meet all of your needs and then some.
- Wide field of view
- Clear day and night pictures
- Very fast trigger speed (2 seconds or quicker)
- Huge flash range
- Fast recovery time (1 second or quicker)
- 1280 x 720 p video (with audio)
- Superb battery life (3-12 months)
- Friendly set up and easy to use
- Great case design, durable and camouflaged (if needed)
Four decisive aspects that will help you decide how good a trail camera is include:
- Detection circuit (this is what detects the prey in your target area, and manages your trigger speed, recovery time, and detection zone)
- Picture quality (determined by number of megapixels, flash power, infrared power, and trigger speeds)
- Battery life (the less batteries the camera requires, and the less drain there is on the batteries, the more money you’ll save in the long run)
- Usability (simple, effective interfaces work best for novice and professional hunters alike)
When examining trail cameras, make sure you consider these four features. We’ve also researched them, along with thousands of reviews from trail camera users, to help you weed out the playing fields of brands and models to reveal some of the best trail cameras available in the market today, such as the Reconyx Hyperfire HC 500 and The Primos Truth Cam series. These two brands offer something for every budget and get great reviews from users!
The Best Trail Camera for the Money
Fortunately for anyone interested in investing in a good trail camera, there is a diverse range of cameras with a very wide range of price points. There is nearly always a model that performs similarly to a very high-end camera, but at a lower cost.
Such high-end trail cameras can go for $550 and beyond, while less expensive ones cost around $75 to $160. The difference between the higher end and more affordable trail cameras can be numerous: some large, some subtle. The feature set of a high end camera will be larger than that of a less expensive camera: better infrared capability (yielding higher quality night photos), higher resolution (yielding crisp, clear day and night photos), flash booster capacity, sound recording, and more.
The Best Trail Camera for You
Because virtually every trail camera bought is used for a different purpose or to monitor a different area, it’s difficult (and over-simplistic) to choose one specific model of trail camera and label it the best trail camera for everyone, regardless of their needs. One model of camera that has continued to impress a lot of hunters is the Reconyx Hyperfire HC 500. For more entry level needs and those with lower budgets to invest in a trail camera, we’ve written a nice little guide to the Top 5 Trail Cameras Under $100 which will help you choose among the large number of trail cameras and determine the best one on a budget. Either way, make sure you use the requirements listed earlier in this article to determine the best trail camera for you.