Best Trail Camera Reviews in 2019: Top 10 Game Cameras Tested

If you are here right now then you must be pretty familiar with what these cameras do for you. At the core of it, game cameras function as an aid for hunters or even people needing extra surveillance around their compound to detect animals or maybe even intruders. These cameras are remotely activated through the equipped motion sensors or an infrared sensor which uses a light beam as a trigger to capture a picture.

Getting the right camera is pretty subjective as these cameras come with different detection zones, image quality, battery life, design etc and the compatibility of these cameras for you depends accordingly.

Hereon therefore, we have narrowed down the most used and most highly rated trail cameras in 2018 which we will explore in detail so you can choose to switch to this newer trail camera from the one you already have or even for those of you who are starting to do hunting or just want extra security around the premise. Hopefully by the end of this article you’ll find just the one compatible for your surroundings and budget too.

In case you not interested in reading the entire write up, we have kneel down on the top three picks you could go for.

Our Top Three Picks

 

CAMPARK 14MP
  • Editor Rating
  • Campark 14MP
  • Best Budget
DAY 6 PLOTWATCHER
  • Editor Rating
  • Day 6 Plotwatcher
  • Best Distinct Features
BROWNING STRIKE FORCE
  • Editor Rating
  • Browning Strike Force
  • Best Value

This is not a review about wireless trail cameras where you get to leverage cellular or wireless signals to see the images via electronic devices such as tablets, smartphones, etc. Due to the popularity of these wireless choices, we did a completely standalone review of the best wireless game cameras here.

Buying Guide: What to consider before you pick the Right Game camera

Before we hop on to the cameras itself, in reference to the subjectivity of choosing the perfect trail camera for you and all that you’re going to read on the TOP 10, hereon we will first discuss the importance of each one of them eg detection zones and picture quality in detail to give you a glimpse of what it really means and how is it important that you know to choose wisely and ideally.

Here are the top 7 things you need to know before choosing your camera which we will discuss later.

Five Different Flashes To Consider

This might just be the most important element in a game camera, the flash is the lighting produced by the trail camera which is required to capture the animal or the person the camera was intended for. It is important on what type of flash you would want in a camera as there are many types of them and each with different pros and cons.

1)Firstly is the infrared flash, this allows you to capture images without emitting a bright white flash. This would therefore ensure that the object you are trying to capture does not get alerted and flees before the picture is fully taken as image capture does not happen concurrently with the flash. When the flash for cameras with this feature, there will only be a tiny red dot on the camera so there will not be any animals or people being alerted as an actual bright flash would.

2)On the other hand are incandescent flash cameras, these emit a bright light which would be very useful for nighttime image capturing as opposed to the infrared which would not be able to capture pictures with color or with much clarity and crisp. The downside for these types is that it may deter the animal away with the flash but if the emphasis is on clarity, color and the size of the animal then this type would be the better choice.

3)There are also no-glow infrared cameras which is a flash that stays invisible to the human eye and would be very much suitable especially for people looking for game cameras for surveillance and safety. It still does function as a game camera and is still suitable to capture animals, the animals too would not be able to see the flash going off, providing security. However these no glow infrareds do not produce good clear pictures, the image quality at nighttime would be darker and grainier opposed to bright flashing trail cameras.

4)Also available to you are red-glow cameras which does emit light when capturing images but is a very light red glow, would be noticeable if looked at directly, otherwise it would be completely unnoticed. If used for animals, this type of flash would be pretty suitable as they are most likely not going to notice a camouflaged trail camera fitted to a tree in a forest. This one is definitely produces better image quality than a no-glow can but still lesser than a bright flashing incandescent one.

5)Last but not the least available is the white LED flash trail cameras, these are a special breed, they are capable of producing color images and videos day and night.

They produce crisp color image and video but sadly just like incandescent flash cameras they will definitely attract/deter animals or people to or away from it which is risky, the animals would not go close to it and humans may just grab the camera and steal it.

For those of you who know exactly what you want for your surrounding and situation, you got all the information you need. However be reminded that although the camera was meant to be discreet and unnoticeable by animals and humans the cameras with incandescent and LED flashes have their own benefits which may be very much more important.

Whats the point of capturing bunch of pictures if you can’t see the picture clearly especially when it comes to your premise surveillance, you need to know who was it to ensure its an intruder and not a family member before taking your guns out.

So it comes down to the function of the trail camera for you, if it’s for quality ,it’s the bright lights if its just wanting to count the number of animals that pass your backyard or the type of animal that passes by it’s the infrared no-glow cameras.

Detection Circuit And Why It’s Important

The flash works closely with this aspect of any trail camera. A detection circuit is a feature which includes a detection zone, trigger time and a recovery time.

Detection Zone

A detection zone is the width and distance from the camera at which the animal or human is standing in which the camera can detect. Different cameras have different abilities in doing so, the more expensive ones having a very large detection zone and the more cheaper ones having otherwise. It is an important feature in the camera as it would determine whether you may or may not be able to capture the image you’re looking for.

Why? Sometimes the animals in the interest may be just a little outside the detection zone and therefore no detection and no picture. To be on a safer side its always better to get one with longer detection areas to ensure maximum security to yourself for a captured picture the next day.

Trigger Time

The second part is the time between the detection occurs to the moment the camera takes a shot of the moving object which is done through heat and motion sensors. For this part, you need speed because animals don’t just linger around the woods they are usually moving and you need the shot the moment its detected. In better cameras it only takes a fraction of a second while others may take even seconds.

It is essential to get a camera with high speed triggers to ensure you get that shot at the moment of detection or else the other features such as the far detection zone would go to waste. On average it would take 0.8 to 1.5 seconds for a cheaper trail camera and the fastest in the market is about 0.14 seconds, a guaranteed shot for sure!

Then again it comes down to the function this camera plays for you, if you are not in it to capturing fast moving animals then the slower ones would do just the job for you ,just slower.

Recovery Time

This feature of the camera plays very closely with the flash as the infrared cameras and LED flash cameras have different battery consumption. For infrared flash cameras the recovery time would be shorter as opposed to LED flash cameras.

The recovery time is the time the camera would need in between the shots usually for the camera to adjust with the picture processing . Infrareds take lesser time because pictures taken are not in color and don’t take long to process and is likewise for the LED flash cameras. The quicker the camera recovers from the shot the quicker it is able to take the next shot therefore a fast recovery time is essential if you want as many pictures as possible. These game cameras would only take seconds to recover but the second difference determines how many pictures, the faster, the better.

Another type of trail camera which is also quite popular nowadays are wireless ones and these usually take longer time due to the camera needing to transmit the captured image to the other device its connected to. The different recovery times of the cameras matters to those of you who need as many pictures as possible while the animal or person is in the detection zone otherwise lesser pictures would not be a worry if all you need is just one.

Picture Quality

Picture quality is another aspect of the trail camera that is essential, especially when its nighttime as there is lower brightness and lesser reflection of light for the camera to capture. The trail camera chosen therefore should have a high resolution or in other words the number of pixels an image can contain. With higher pixels, the picture captured would be clearer and vibrant compared to one with lesser pixels. Another point worth noting about the pixels is that the clarity would be preserved even when you zoom into it when you have a higher pixel camera.

The picture quality can also be determined by the degree of the picture taken or the width of the angle that the camera can capture, higher the width, the better the picture quality. With a higher angle width and pixels it also means higher prices, trail cameras nowadays come with resolutions of up to 14 megapixels, producing crisp and amazing pictures.

Battery Life

Without this there will not be any pictures at all that’s how important this is. Having a long lasting battery is essential for trail cameras as they would usually be fixed in a particular spot for some time without any power resource to charge it automatically. Game cameras usually come with batteries, they can run with AA, C or D batteries. In most occasions pricier game cameras have longer battery life than cheaper ones probably because the expensive ones are usually more energy efficient and is more advanced internally. The batteries of game cameras are usually more lasting for infrared flash ones than incandescent ones as they take up more battery for the bright light.

Choosing the camera which has a shorter battery life may be cheaper but if the costs of the battery in the long run is more than it would be for the longer lasting expensive camera then you should probably go for the pricier instead. The battery life also depends on factors like weather as cold conditions would wear off the batteries quicker and would require you to change it more frequently.

Other than that it comes down to the battery itself that is used, some batteries would last longer than others as some battery producers make better ones than others, so not only should you choose cameras with longer battery life but also the batteries itself that are long lasting, durable and efficient. Be reminded also that better batteries also produce better pictures so don’t jeopardize your picture quality with lower-quality pictures.

Video

Another feature that some of you should know about is that certain models of trail cameras come with a video-mode which allows you to record videos with it both day and night but the risk of it is draining both the battery and taking up a lot of space in the memory storage.

Memory Storage

This is where all the pictures or videos taken would be stored. The trail cameras usually come with either built-in memory or a removable SD card. The built-in memory means all the pictures taken would be stored internally and would require you to connect to a PC or laptop to see the images taken. The SD card is a card inserted beside the trail camera and is easily removable so you can remove it and insert it into any other device with the SD slot.

The internal memory is good in a way that you would not require to buy an SD card but buy a camera that comes with its own memory, saving cost. It also means that you would have more security, small SD cards are prone to go lost easily so built in ones are much safer. However, the SD cards you purchase usually have higher capacities and you will have access to more pictures. You don’t have to continually delete the older pictures but can buy a new SD card and keep the old pictures.

Therefore it would be wiser to get an external memory card, getting an internal one is just too much work. Game cameras are usually fixed in one place for a few months, removing it and fixing it back is too much work and may even damage the camera in the process. Plus, once newer memory cards are produced with higher capacity, you would just have to remove the old one and attach anew.

Trail cameras nowadays come with high compatibility of SD cards eg 36 GB ones and some even higher but with higher compatibility comes higher prices. Cameras with lower memory storage are usually cheaper but if you are going to keep changing the memory storage every time it would only tire you out.

Therefore it comes back down to you on what function the camera is intended to fill, if you want high resolution pictures or record videos you would need a higher storage capacity otherwise a game camera with an 8 GB SD card would be enough for your normal use.

Design

When it comes to design, almost all trail cameras look the same. Some may have a slightly different look from another but they look almost the same all the time. They are usually coated with camouflage and is very durable. The design is usually plain and small as they only function to watch and not to be watched.

Top 10 Trail Cameras For Effective Hunting

1. Campark Trail Game Camera 14MP 1080P

On top the food chain of trail cameras would be this fine Campark produced camera. The camera features a 14 MP camera and records videos in 1080P quality. With that sort of video quality the nighttime recordings would be in great quality too. The camera features an infrared LED without a bright flash which means nighttime shots and videos would be of great quality and provides .850nm infrared technology providing almost invisible sight of the camera.

The cameras trigger speed is an astounding 0.3 seconds, which is possible due to the 3 passive infrared sensors which have extremely high sensitivity. The camera has a trigger distance of up to 65 feet with a 120° wide angle lens .

This camera is suitable for those of you wanting a long lasting camera which can really withstand years of usage. The camera is also really easy to operate and mount to your desired location. You can learn more about it here!

2.Browning Strike Force Sub Micro 10MP Game Camera

This trail camera is definitely one you need to bag before you go out for hunting. This trail camera came bursting into the hunting scene not very long ago and is a favorite for both consumers and producers alike. The camera comes with a motion-sensor 100 feet flash that captures high quality pictures due to the 10MP that comes with it.

The camera comes with an infrared flash to aid with nighttime viewing. It is also capable of recording videos in high definition and impeccable sound quality. The videos can be recorded from between 5 seconds up to 2 minutes.  Inreference to the trigger time, the camera takes only 0.67 seconds.

The camera runs on 8AA batteries which unfortunately does not come together with. The camera is also coated with a layer of camouflage which helps abundantly in blending in with the surrounding. The game camera comes with a really reasonable price and with the quality of the products this is a definite good buy. Many users have given great ratings of this products and you should give it a shot too. Click here to find out more about it.

3.Moultrie M50i

The M-series by Moultrie has a huge emphasis on high performance and quality. This M50i has a 20 megapixel camera which makes the pictures incredibly clear and crisp. The camera also comes with a HD 1080P resolution for video taking that comes with sound.

Most prominently is this cameras detection circuit, being able to reach a distance of 100 for game detection and a super-fast trigger time of 0.25 seconds. The camera also features a illumi-night 2 sensor which makes picture and video taking at night extremely clear with perfect contrast and most importantly brightens the picture. The flash of the camera is 80 feet, being able to cover a large area, the game couldn’t possibly go out of sight once the camera is triggered.

You can learn more about it here.

4.Moultrie A-40 Game Camera

This is the latest edition of the Moultier product for the Moultier Game Spy A-5 which comes with a 14MP for crisp pictures. It has a fast 0.7 second trigger speed which helps capture the perfect shot once triggered. The camera comes with an illume light sensor to produce the brightest and clearest nighttime images out there.

The unit comes with a back-lit control and an intuitive interface which enables you to easily setup even in low-light conditions. This model requires 8 AA batteries which can last for 17000 images, very energy efficient. The game camera is advised to use Lithium batteries in harsh conditions to ensure longevity of it.

The Moultier A-40 is also mobile compatible due to its wireless technology within. You can view the images taken on your phone or tablet if you are nearby and connected.

Click this link to read a comprehensive review about this trail camera.

5.Stealth Cam 45 No-Glow

This camera comes with a 14MP resolution with an optional 4 resolution setting of 2MP, 6MP, 8MP and 14MP’s. This would allow for maximum control for you over the camera according to given circumstances. The camera also comes with a staggering 45 NO GLO infrared emitters. Which already sounds too good to be true as it is in this lower price -range. The IR emitters allow for detection of up to 100 feet.

Along with that is the 100 feet flash that will complement the detection zone. The camera also comes with HD recording for both nighttime and daytime. It is worth noting that this camera also comes with exceptional energy efficiency which saves the battery life.

Check out this post to learn more about it.

6.Stealth Cam 8MP 30IR Game Camera

This camera by Stealth Cam has many buyers to it. It comes with an 8.0 MP camera. The camera is a triad which means you can choose between 8/4/2 megapixels according to situations. The camera comes with 30 infrared sensors which cover a detection zone of up to 80 feet, very well over the average camera at this price range.

The camera also comes with an intuitive backlit menu programming which would aid you in situations of low-light which is very helpful. The camera also comes with a video mode that allows you to shoot in HD. With its simple programming system, this camera is a really good buy in this price range.

Read this article if you want to learn more about this product.

7.Day 6 Plotwatcher Pro HD Game Camera

This game camera is like none other, they do not use a motion sensor to detect the game. The camera takes photos at regular intervals and can range from 5 to 10 seconds. This is what makes the camera special, it continually takes pictures from dawn to dusk and once the entire day cycle is complete the camera makes it into a 10 minute HD time-lapse for your viewing.

The camera comes with GameFind and MotionSearch software which makes viewing the daily videos a breeze. This camera also comes with a greater field of view. It has an internal software which can catch pictures or images of the game from both far and near with ease. Since the camera is not triggered by short-range motion the area it captures can be between 30 to up to 300 feet.

Because the game camera is continuously taking pictures which become eventual time-lapse videos the battery life would last up to a full month. With a single set of batteries,this camera will last for a month and capture 1 million video images, making it a fair trade.

Please click on this link for the full review.

8.Bushnell Trophy Cam Low-Glow Trail Camera

Bushnell’s Trophy Cam camera has a 20MP resolution for its camera. The feature of this camera that trumps all else is the 0.2 second trigger speed it has. The passive infrared motion sensor has a 100 feet range, above any average camera. The camera comes with 36 LED low-glow and a 0.5 second recovery time after each picture.

The camera comes with a text LCD screen for easy settings and picture viewing. The camera also records video at 1920x1080P with sound which also trumps many other cameras out there. The camera is SDHC memory card compatible for easier memory changing. It runs on 4 to 8 AA batteries depending on your preference.

You can read this post for the full review.

9.Cuddeback Black Flash e3 Review

This small and compact game camera features a trigger speed which is up to 4 times faster than any cameras out there. The camera comes with a 20MP resolution enabling major zoom-in once the picture is taken.

The camera has an advanced low-light CMOS sensor for the images which works to enhance and produce a clearer look. Along with that is the low-light performance which extends night illumination range and drastically reduces the infrared blur. It also comes with superfast recovery after each picture. It would only require 0.25 seconds for taking the picture along with the 1 second recovery for the consecutive shot.

Its flash has a 50 foot range and an optional view setting, between wide view or centered view although wide view is preferred by many.

If you are interested, you can read more about it here.

10.ELEPAWL Hunting Trail Game Camera

Last but not the least is the trail camera by ELEPAWL, this camera has a 12MP camera resolution with a 1080P HD video recording. The camera allows for 120 degree wide-angle detection.

The camera comes with a no-glow infrared feature and is particularly special with its 42 piece infrared LED’s. This camera provides up to 65 feet of nighttime vision. With the no-glow technology it allows you to take pictures without the bright white flash.  ELEPAWL’s game camera also comes with a viewing screen for easy access to images taken. The camera runs on 8 AA batteries which can last up to 12 months long. It also comes with an SD card slot and is compatible with 32GB of memory storage.

Click on this link to get a comprehensive review of this product.

Final Verdict

Trail cameras are big investments but they last long too, before purchasing one you should firstly be very sure of what purpose the camera is going to be fulfilling. Although all the cameras in the TOP 10  above essentially achieves the same goal, capturing images or videos they differ in many aspects as we have discussed.

Some people would prefer a less pixel resolution and other people higher ones and it all depends on your usage. These trail cameras are really useful for both hunting and surveillance purposes, hunters may use this to track the activities of the game to make hunting easier or just people wanting to guard their home against intruders.

The trail cameras discussed above are truly the cream of the crop in the field of hunting,all these products come with very high ratings and are proportionate with the prices it offers, not too expensive and not too cheap, just right.