Trail Cameras: Affordable and Durable Options for 2018

Trail cameras, also known as game cameras are one of the best tools for any hunter. Besides using a trail camera to scout hunting trails, or monitor wildlife, you can also use one for security reasons. Today’s trail cameras are weatherproof and self-powered, so there’s no need to worry about power sources.

These important features are vital out in the woods. There may be instances where you need to leave your camera out for extended periods of time to capture game footage. So, do your research before you buy the most expensive model on the market.

And always look for a trail camera that best suits your needs. Fortunately, today’s trail cameras have many uses — even spying on bobcatsWhile some trail cameras take pictures, others can shoot videos and some are capable of both tasks.

Before we dive in to our review of the best trail cameras, let’s review how to properly use a trail camera …

  • Determine the best location for placing your trail camera — ideally off the road less travelled
  • Install the batteries when charged, and make sure the memory card is installed
  • Ensure the trigger speed, trigger frequency, timer and flash settings are set
  • Mount your trail camera (there are many tutorials online or use a bungee)
  • Always keep your lens clean and clear
  • Mount your camera facing north or south and slightly higher than eye level
  • Activate your trail camera and test (better during daytime and at night)
  • Before you leave the area, use scent eliminator on and around the camera

Now that you’ve brushed up on proper set-up of a trail camera, take a look at our list of the best trail cameras available on the market today.


1. The Moultrie A5 Low Glow Game Camera (Best Value)

Image of The Moultrie A5 Low Glow Game Camera

For the past 35 years, Moultrie has made products that are reliable, durable, and affordable. The company is known as the number one feeder-selling company in the industry. A perfect example of their superior craftsmanship is their A5 Low Glow Trail Camera.

To begin with, the Moultrie A5 Low Glow Trail Camera offers excellent battery life, perfect trigger speed, and security features for protection. It’s also affordable and a great tool if you want to monitor your property while on vacation. The Moultrie 5.0 megapixel camera will provide you with exceptional full-color day and white and black night photos.

The image resolution is adjustable to 250 x 1920 or 640 x 480 to match your shooting environment, and the delay speed is 62 seconds between shots. In addition, this camera comes with a slot to accommodate up to a 32GB SD card. The A5 Low Glow boasts a direct design so it’s very easy to operate — and it certainly isn’t going anywhere, thanks to the sturdy Python cable.

The A5 camera case is constructed of a rugged design with dull (camouflage) colors that blend well with the environment to make it difficult to notice. Overall, the Moultrie A5 is a great value for your money and a fantastic choice.

Features

  • 5.0 megapixel low glow infrared game camera
  • 50-foot nighttime illumination (flash) range
  • Long-range 850nm IR LED Infrared
  • Moon phase, time, date and camera ID stamp
  • Picture delay 10 seconds, 30 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes
  • Check latest price on Amazon

2. The Bushnell 8MP Trophy Cam Standard Edition (Expensive)

Image of The Bushnell 8MP Trophy Cam Standard Edition

The Bushnell 8MP Trophy Trail Camera is a top-of-the-line model. But, it costs about twice that of the Moultrie A5. This impressive trail camera features an 8 megapixel camera, plus a very useful field scan time lapse mode. It also boasts an incredibly fast trigger speed.

With exclusive features such as hybrid photo and video recording, the 8MP also comes with a TV Out Port. The crystal clear quality of this trail camera is like no other. It delivers bright color day pictures which get even better with a decent amount of sunlight. 

The Bushnell 8MP has three picture-taking modes and features an adjustable PIR sensor for better sensitivity. The 8A trail camera also features a sturdy Python cable lock for extra protection during unfavorable weather conditions.

If you’re looking for a durable and reliable trail camera that won’t let you down, then the Bushnell 8MP is worth your consideration.

Features

  • Quality optics and stunning HD clarity
  • 100% quality materials used and tested extensively
  • Beautiful design and durability built to last
  • Wireless connectivity, sim card and data included
  • Camera settings can be managed via your computer or smartphone
  • Programmable trigger interval
  • 8MP high-quality full color resolution
  • No-Glow black LEDs with 60-foot range
  • Day/night auto sensor and PIR sensor
  • Check latest price on Amazon

3. Stealth Cam G42 No-Glo Trail Game Camera (Best on a Budget)

The Stealth Cam G42 No-Glo Trail Camera is designed to give you high-quality images even in the dimmest light. It comes complete with a No-Glow technology and an advanced matrix blur reduction. In addition, it offers a wide detection capability and a 12-volt battery box power backup –at a price that won’t break the bank!

If you’ve used a trail camera before, then you know it’s important to take pictures without being detected. The unfiltered infrared light limits discrete shots, and the No-Glow black IR flash of the Stealth G42 camera illuminates objects without being detected. 

Besides these perks, the G42 makes no sound when capturing images, thus allowing you to take game photos without startling the subjects. You can capture still images, time lapse photos, and HD videos. In addition, the Stealth G42 has a manual shot capability to allow you plenty of surveillance options.

The Stealth G42 trail camera is a snap to set up and it’s new Intuitive Backlit Menu programming gets your camera running in no time. Plus, with the Quick Set Mode, you can easily customize your camera with the three pre-programmed modes. If you’re on a budget and need a terrific trail camera, look no further because this trail cam is the one for you!

Features

  • Superior low light performance for extended nighttime range
  • New intuitive backlit menu programming
  • Retina low-light sensitivity
  • Burst mode 1-9 images per triggering
  • Manual shot capability with Secure Lock password protection
  • Built in SD card slot up to 32 GB
  • Check latest price on Amazon

4. Browning Strike Force HD Camera (Best Overall)

Image of Browning Strike Force HD Camera

The Browning Strike Force HD Trail Camera  is perfect for any hunter. It offers high-quality images and videos, long battery life, and wide coverage. In addition, this trail camera will exceed your expectations with its fast trigger speed and detection range.

The Browning Strike Force camera comes with a 10MP resolution and it also displays quality videos with a 1280 x 720 HD option — the Zero Motion Blur feature enables clear images under motion.

With this trail camera, you can take photos as far as 100 feet away and eight images per trigger. When you’re hunting, you don’t want to be bothered with a camera that takes forever to set up, and the Browning Strike Force delivers. It’s user-friendly with easy set up, plus the internal view will help you make the right settings for perfect shots.

In addition, the Browning camera provides you with a stamp for the date, time, moon phase, and temperature. These memories are accommodated with up to 32 GB SD card (purchased separately). Like all trail cameras, the Browning Strike Force trail camera is made to be left outdoors.

To ensure the camera is free from tampering, the case is designed to blend in with the environment. It’s also super rugged and durable, and the camera itself is easy to carry as well as conceal. So what’s our verdict? Overall, the Browning Strike Force HD Trail Camera is an affordable, high-performance trail camera.

Features

  • TRIAD: 8.0 Megapixel: 8MP/4MP/2.0MP, HD video recording
  • 30 IR emitters/80ft range with reflex trigger
  • New intuitive backlit menu programming
  • Manual shot capability
  • Secure Lock password protection
  • SD Card slot up to 32GB
  • Check latest price on Amazon

5. Apeman Trail / Hunting Game Camera

The Apeman Hunting Game camera is compact, sturdy, and housed in a weatherproof plastic case. Its dependable longevity is able to work in tough environments like the desert or tropical rainforests. Also, the Apeman Trail Camera boasts an IP5 Spray Water protected design and short trigger speed.

In addition, you can use this trail camera for wildlife monitoring, scouting, home security, and private property surveillance. There’s lots of impressive features that come with this trail camera such as quality images, videos, and a passive infrared (PIR) sensor to record each motion of objects accurately with a 2MP image sensor.

Whether taking photos during the day or night, the camera auto adjusts itself to give you the best experience possible. For the night support, the camera has a Low Glow Infrared technology which produces just the right amount of light for black and white images. 

Like all the other cameras on our list, a good trail camera needs to adapt to the woods and various surroundings. The Apeman trail camera is no different as it’s designed to blend in with the environment. As far as the case’s construction, it’s strong, sturdy and rugged enough to be left in the rain because of its IP54 Spray Water technology.

Even if you’re a newbie to trail cameras, you really shouldn’t have a difficult time setting up the Apeman. In addition, this trail camera is easy to carry and mount. Plus, the 2.4 inch screen gives you enough display to help you navigate through the camera.

The whole package includes a user manual, a mounting belt, a wall mount, a USB cable and a USB charging cord. Overall, the Apeman Hunting Game camera is simply an ideal trail camera and a perfect tool for all your hunting and security needs.

Features

  • Fully automatic IR filter to capture shots of wild game’s natural behaviors
  • Infrared Flash Illumination technology equipped with 26 LEDs.
  • Trigger distance and IR flash range both up to 20m (65ft).
  • Waterproof, dust-proof, drop-proof and rain-proof
  • Fast trigger speed and low power consumption
  • Professional 24-hour after-sales services on Amazon
  • Check latest price on Amazon

6. Day 6 Plotwatcher Pro HD Game Camera (Best Software)

Image of Day 6 Plotwatcher Pro HD Game Camera

The Day 6 Plotwatcher takes photos at regular intervals and doesn’t use a motion sensor for triggering the camera. The interval can range from 5 to 10 seconds. After the camera is set up and properly mounted, the Day 6 captures day-long footage and condenses the images into a 10-minute HD time-lapse video.

You can view your subject’s activity in just minutes via the GameFind and MotionSearch software, which allows you to easily scroll through daily videos. Offering a larger field of view, the Day 6 camera will catch images of the game no matter how far or near.

Because it’s not triggered by short-range motion, the area it captures can be 30 to 300 feet! And finally, the long battery life can last up to a full month of time-lapse coverage with one single set of batteries, (or one million video images).

While the Day 6 Plotwatcher Pro trail camera is marketed towards hunters and game enthusiasts, you could also use it for anything from security monitoring to monitoring the progress of various projects. The Day 6 Plotwatcher Pro HD Game Camera has it all and is simply a fabulous choice.

Features

  • HD game camera — takes pictures every 5 to 10 seconds
  • 2.5-inch LCD for onboard camera setup
  • Captures up to 1 million video images
  • GameFinder software allows you to review files in forward/reverse frame by frame
  • Up to 32 GB of SD card storage
  • Supports add-on zoom lens
  • Check latest price on Amazon

Final Thoughts

With so many trail cameras on the market today, it can be challenging to understand which features are important and which are just added for marketing reasons. As we stated in the beginning of this review, the rule of thumb is not to purchase the first trail camera you find.

To aid in your decision making, there are basic criteria to be concerned about. These include the resolution power, battery life, trigger speed, detection range, infrared technology, picture-taking modes, LCD screen, easy setup, and security features.

The six trail cameras presented above come with top-notch features that will enhance your wildlife scouting or hunting experience. They can be used for both observing wildlife moving patterns, hunting and security purposes. Plus, they offer weatherproof designs and high quality and resolution images. So, if you’re looking for the best trail camera, you’ve come to the right place.

Alex Joseph is an avid bow hunter and father of two boys. Originally from Tacoma, Washington Alex now resides in California.

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