Are you searching for the best trail camera?
I’ve used many different trail cams over the years and I am very impressed with the tech advancements in recent years. It is well worth investing in a quality camera if you are looking for top performance. I have reviewed the most popular models on the market today and after reading this article you will know my recommendations.
Check the quick list below for links to customer reviews and prices for my best trail camera picks, or read on for the full review:
- APEMAN Trail Camera 20MP 1080P Hunting Cam
- Campark Trail Game Camera 14MP 1080P Waterproof Hunting Scouting Cam
- REXING Woodlens H1 HD 16MP Trail Camera
- STARLIKE Trail Camera 1080P Waterproof Hunting Scouting Cam
- FHDCAM Trail Game 1080P Hunting Scouting Cam
With the ever-growing rate of technological advancement, trail cameras have become an essential scouting tool utilized by the majority of hunters and outdoor photographers for keeping dangerous subjects under surveillance. In fact, trail cameras have become so useful that homeowners have started using them as a means of improving their security measures. Additionally, setting up a couple of trail cameras around your property is a lot less expensive than a home security system.
For first-timers, shopping for a trail camera can be an overwhelming task. You’ll find that a large number of companies advertise products that feature relatively high megapixel counts, which can be deceiving since a lot of these products use low-quality lenses. You should know that there’s more to trail cameras than just megapixel counts. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the factors that you should consider before buying a trail camera, and then we’ll reveal our top picks for the best trail cameras on the market.
Selecting the Best Trail Camera
There are plenty of factors that play major roles in the quality and performance of a trail camera. Some of these factors are crucial to the quality of your photos, while others affect that of your videos. Let’s break each of them down.
Factors Affecting Picture Quality
Generally, the more megapixels your camera has, the sharper the photos are going to be. If you’re going to use your trail camera for outdoor photography, then you’ll need a high megapixel count. However, if your aim is to utilize your trail camera for scouting or home security, you can go with a lower count and still get a good-quality picture.
Time Lapse Photo Mode
Time-lapse mode is the ability of the camera to automatically take a picture at a fixed time interval. Many trail cameras allow the user to choose how often they want the camera to take pictures and how long it will remain operating in time-lapse mode. Note that standard time-lapse mode can only operate in daylight. There are, however, some higher-end trail cameras that feature a nighttime time-lapse mode.
When a trail camera is on burst mode, it will take multiple pictures very quickly in a row, allowing you to get a close look at a fast-moving target. Some cameras allow you to select the number of pictures that you’d like to be taken, while others have a set number that can’t be changed.
Having a camera that attaches important information such as the time and date can be extremely helpful when you’re trying to pinpoint the perfect time to hunt your target. Some trail cameras also include the temperature and the moon phase at which the picture was taken.
Factors Affecting Video
Similar to the megapixel count, higher resolution rates make for sharper video quality. Low-end trail cameras feature a standard resolution of 640×480, while moderate and high-end models have a higher definition of 720p or 1080p. There are also a few trail cams on the market that feature 4K resolution.
Trail cameras that feature video capabilities are most likely to include audio as well. However, there are a few models that don’t have audio at all since sound may not be that important in tracking your target. If you’re going to utilize your trail camera for home security, then you may want to consider purchasing a model that features both video and audio.
When shopping for a trail camera, make sure that it allows you to select the duration length of the video. Depending on the model, the video duration length can range between 3 to 300 seconds.
By using hybrid mode in a trail camera, you will be able to capture both a short video and a photo. This feature isn’t very common with low-to-moderate-end cameras and often found in higher-end models.
Time Lapse Video Mode
Similar to that of photos, time-lapse video mode allows the camera to record short videos at fixed time intervals. You can set the length of the videos that will be recorded and the time interval between each video. Please note that time-lapse for photos is different from that of videos. Make sure the description of the product states clearly that it features time-lapse mode for either photos or video, depending on your needs.
Additional Trail Camera Factors
The detection range refers to how far your subject can be and still trigger the camera to snap a picture. For wildlife watchers, it’s advised to go for a trail cam that has a long detection range. Shooter range models are ideal for enclosed spaces.
During the night-time, it’s essential for a camera to feature the right type of flash in order to capture a clear picture. It’s also important to look into the range of your flash as it will determine how far your subject can be and still be illuminated.
White flash will emit very bright light to illuminate the subject, but such brightness can result in your target being spooked. Low-Glow flash will produce a dim yet visible red glow, resulting in a black and white night-time photo. No-Glow flash is the most ideal option for hunters as it emits no visible light whatsoever, eliminating the chances of scaring your target away. This type of flash will also produce a black and white night-time photo.
Trigger speed refers to the time but the camera takes to snap a picture once motion is detected. Generally, the faster the trigger speed is the better the photo is going to be. It’s advised to purchase a trail camera that has a trigger speed of less than half a second.
This is the time needed by the camera to reset itself to take another shot. Recovery times can range between 1 second and 1 minute. A trail camera with a slow recovery time will lead to a lot of missed snapshots.
Best Trail Cameras
APEMAN Trail Camera 20MP 1080P Hunting Cam
The APEMAN trail cam features 20 megapixels of photo clarity and 1080p HD video resolution. Such clarity allows for vivid and crisp images. The central PIR sensor features a super fast trigger speed of 0.2 seconds, guaranteeing that you never miss that golden shot. APEMAN trail cams feature 40-PCS low-glow IR LEDs with an illumination range of 65 feet.
This trail camera has a water-resistant structure that allows it to hold its own against harsh weather conditions and also helps prevent a misted lens. The time intervals, sensitivity, and brightness are all adjustable to suit your needs. The camera also features a 2-inch color LCD screen that allows you to view photos of your target easily with time and date stamps.
- Great photo and video clarity
- Really fast triggering speed
- Features low-glow flash
- Has a color LCD screen
- Not the best for nighttime shooting
- Video lacks fidelity and is very grainy
Campark Trail Game Camera 14MP 1080P Waterproof Hunting Scouting Cam
This trail camera from Campark features 14 megapixels and 1080p HD resolution that produces highly detailed images and videos. It has a fast triggering speed of 0.3 seconds with no delays whatsoever and a triggering range of 65 feet. This trail camera is extremely sensitive to without consuming much power, thanks to its 3 passive infrared sensors.
The 42-PCS infrared LEDs with 850nm infrared flash technology allow the camera to snap black and white night-time pictures without bright flash that can scare the animals away. The 120° detection angle allows for a broader view and a better detection range. While the construction of this camera is waterproof, it just feels a little bit flimsy. Overall, this camera is very user-friendly and can be applied to a variety of outdoor activities.
- Great night vision and motion detection
- Has a long-lasting battery life
- Features a broad viewing angle
- Waterproof construction
- Not suitable for recording lengthy videos
- The overall construction is a bit flimsy
- Difficult to insert or retrieve micro SD card
REXING Woodlens H1 HD 16MP Trail Camera
With the REXING Woodlens H1, you can snap photos with a resolution of 16 megapixels and record 1080p HD videos with a number of customized capture modes. The H1 supports Micro SD cards up to 32GB, but none are included with the package. This camera is equipped with PIR side sensors that have a triggering speed of 0.2 seconds and a 120° detection angle.
The silent infrared night vision flash ensures that your subject isn’t alerted when being observed. The LED flash has an illumination range of up to 65 feet. The H1 features a power-saving standby mode that the company claims could have the H1 last up to 16 months of continued surveillance with 8x AA batteries. Additionally, the camera can be connected to a 6v external DC source.
- Has a superb battery life
- Easy mounting process
- Very fast triggering speed
- Construction is weatherproof
- Fairly noisy performance
- Buttons are pretty cheap
- Can glint very badly
STARLIKE Trail Camera 1080P Waterproof Hunting Scouting Cam
This trail camera can snap vibrant 12-megapixel images and 1080p full HD videos with clear sound in vivid colors during the day and in black and white during the night. This camera also features a wide visual angle of 120° for a broader view. The STARLIKE cam has an IP65 waterproof, drop-proof, and dust-proof plastic housing for great durability. This camera comes with a fixing belt and a tripod for easy mounting.
The 0.3-second trigger speed allows you to capture that perfect moment without missing a shot. You can use 8 AA batteries to power this camera or connect it to a solar panel. The camera features 3 highly-sensitive, adjustable PIR sensors and a detection range of 65 feet. The 36 PCS infrared LEDs, coupled with 940nm invisible-light, allow you to record without scaring your subject.
- Very affordable price tag
- Has a wide viewing angle
- Great motion sensitivity
- Features a long battery life
- Not the best image quality
- Can use better instructions
FHDCAM Trail Game 1080P Hunting Scouting Cam
The FHDCAM trail camera has the ability to capture 12-megapixel photos with great clarity and 1080p HD videos with clear audio. This product has an upgraded night vision function for sharper night shooting. The 3 passive infrared sensors make this camera very sensitive to motion. Further, the trigger speed for the central sensor is 0.4 seconds.
This model features a PIR sensor with a 120° viewing angle for greater coverage and a trigger distance of 45 feet with IR flash. Moreover, it has an IP65 waterproof certification that ensures great resistance to harsh weather conditions. Additional features include a timer, hybrid mode, real-time replay, password protection, and photo stamp.
- Surprising image quality
- Can be easily mounted
- Waterproof construction
- Multiple recording modes
- Difficult to insert Micro SD cards
- Not the best for nighttime shooting
For more camera guides and tips read these articles:
- Best Car Security Camera
- Best Solar Powered Security Camera
- Best Night Vision Security Camera
- Best 4k Security Camera System
- Best Window Alarms
- Best Trailer Hitch Lock
- Best Police Scanner
- Best Automatic Gate Openers
- Best Keyless Door Locks
- Best Wireless Access Point
The competition between the above-mentioned products is extremely tough since they all share a lot of the same qualities and features. However, the one that stands out the most has to be the APEMAN Trail Camera 20MP 1080P Hunting Camera for its superior megapixel count and its color LCD screen. The follow-up is clearly the STARLIKE Trail Camera 1080P Waterproof Hunting Scouting Cam because of its very competitive price. Which one of these products do you think is the best?
Fred is the Ready Zeal owner and editor. He has been passionately pursuing all things emergency preparation since working alongside his grandfather as a boy growing up in the Midwest. When not working on the family homestead he can be found brewing coffee and reading a good book or backpacking in the wilderness. Contact Fred at [email protected]