A trail camera, which is also sometimes referred to as a game camera, is a small device used to take photographs or capture video for the purpose of wildlife surveillance for hunting. These little gadgets have become incredibly popular, especially since the overall quality of images and videos has gone up over the years. They are exceptionally handy for finding good hunting spots where there is a lot of activity.
There are tons of different hunting cameras available on the market today. They vary mostly in picture quality, performance, and price. Finding the best one for your own hunting trips can be a bit difficult. The Consumer Essentials team is here to help. Further down the page you’ll find a list of what we consider to be the best trail cameras available. We built this list to help hunters find the right camera. Each device was rated on its overall picture quality, range, battery life, and flash type.
Looking for an awesome game camera, but don’t know where to start? Use the list below as a guide. We’ve tested dozens of different cameras and came up with what we believe is the perfect top 5. We tested the trigger speed, battery life, flash, and image quality of every camera to determine which was best. It’s important to note that all of the models listed below do feature anti-theft locks as well. Look through the list and see if you can’t find a model that fits your hunting needs and personal budget.
The Hunter’s Guide to Buying a Game Camera
Picking out a trail camera can be rather daunting. You want to get a good one that’ll give you the advantage and allow you to find the perfect hunting spots. It’s not easy to figure out which is best, though. There are tons of different models available and a lot of them have very similar stats, just with a different brand name.
Plus, not every hunter is well-versed in technical jargon. But no one wants to go out and spend $80 to $100+ without knowing they’re putting that money toward a camera that’s worthy of the investment. That’s exactly why we decided to create a detailed buyer’s guide to help you out.
Below we talk about some of the most important things you need to look for when shopping around for a good trail camera. We explain the importance of certain features and give you tips that will ultimately help you purchase the perfect camera for your own hunting tips.
This is easily one of the most important aspects of a camera. In order to get a good idea of what the best spots are you need to be able to clearly see what’s roaming around in the woods. That means you need a device that’s equipped with a decent camera.
Lower-end game cams are often fitted with 2 to 4 megapixel cameras. These are far from great. The photos these gadgets takes are often blurry or hard to make out, especially in low-light situations. Generally speaking, you want to get one that has at least 5 megapixels. This means the resolution is higher and the images are much clearer. For best results you may even want to spring for a six to eight MP camera.
Another important spec to look at is the overall sensor range. Unfortunately, you won’t always get lucky and place your camera in exactly the right spot to catch every creature the scurries through the woods. That’s why you need to get a camera that has decent range. In order for the camera to trigger and snap a picture it first must see something moving within its sensor’s range.
As a general rule of thumb, the greater the range, the better. A lot of trail cameras feature 40-50 foot ranges. These are pretty good and work quite well. Some models even have 60 to 80 foot ranges. In most cases, the less expensive models will have lower range while the higher-end gadgets will have more sensitive sensors that are capable of capturing images of wildlife at longer distances.
Trigger speed is quite possibly one of the most important, if not THE most important, features of a game camera. Why? Well, we all know very well how easy critters get the jitters. All it takes is a slight rustle of the leaves and they’ll be long gone. So, in order to capture a good image of one, the camera needs to be able to snap a picture as quickly as possible.
Some cameras take 1 to 2 seconds to take a photo. Believe it or not, that’s often too long. What you want to look for is a cam that has a trigger speed of less than a second. You’ll find that some models have about a 0.80 second trigger. That’s not bad, but there are better ones. For optimal results you’ll want to purchase a camera that has a 0.70 second or less trigger. In the case of speed, the lower the better.