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Best Overall: TOGUARD H85 Trail Camera at Amazon
"Has great all-around specs and allows you to operate the camera remotely with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth."
Best Budget: Wildgame Innovations Terra IR Trail Camera at Amazon
"This camera is a great fit for those who want to try a trail camera with minimal financial commitment."
Best Splurge: Reconyx Hyperfire 2 at Amazon
"Can catch more animals across a larger area compared to less expensive trail cameras."
Best for Beginners: Wildgame Innovations Wraith 16 at Cabelas
"Easily view images in the field with the included viewer."
Best for Night Images: Browning Dark Ops HD Pro X at Amazon
"A fast trigger and infrared LED night illumination delivers night images without spooking game."
Best Image Quality: Bushnell Core DS No-Glow Trail Camera at Amazon
"Maximizes image quality by using different sensors for the different conditions of day and night photos."
Best for Video: Apeman H70 4K Trail Camera at Amazon
"Unlike other game cameras, the Apeman H70 offers 4k video and 30-megapixel still images."
Best Battery Life: Spypoint Solar Dark Trail Camera at Walmart
"Features a built-in solar panel that constantly recharges the batteries."
Most Compact: Wildgame Innovations Shadow Micro Cam at Amazon
"The small size of this camera means you can mount it in a tree where it's less likely to alert its subjects."
Best Networked: Creative XP Networked Trail Camera at Amazon
"This SIM card-equipped camera sends images directly to your phone or email."
The market for trail cameras is driven by hunters hoping to remotely scout their prey, but they are great fun even if you don’t hunt. Ever been curious about what comes through your yard at night or when you’re not around? Trail cameras give you the chance to find out.
Trail cameras are also practical: keep an eye on pets or farm animals, use as a form of in-home security, or just find out who is raiding your bird feeder at night. But the vast array of options make it hard to know which camera is right for you, so we’ve assembled the top trail and game cameras to help you narrow it down.
Read on for our picks of the best trail cameras available.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: TOGUARD H85 Trail Camera
This affordable trail camera has great all-around specs. Images can be captured at a range of resolutions up to 20 megapixels. Video records up to 1296P which is slightly better than HD at 30 frames per second. The sensor’s trigger speed is a quick 0.3 seconds and it has a respectable range of 65 feet.
What sets Toguard's H85 Trail Camera apart its ability to connect via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth so you can operate the camera remotely. This feature lets you control the camera with your smartphone, which avoids having to take down and open the camera each time you want to download images or change settings.
Best Budget: Wildgame Innovations Terra IR Trail Camera
First-time trail camera buyers often get sticker shock, but the Terra IR keeps it budget-friendly with reasonable specs and features. The 14-megapixel camera reaches out to 65 feet and delivers 1080p video and night images via infrared. There's also an LCD screen that displays battery life and how many pictures you've taken. This isn’t a top of the line trail camera, but it’s a great fit for those who want to try a trail camera with minimal financial commitment or who want multiple cameras and can’t afford to multiply the cost of higher-end options.
Best Splurge: Reconyx Hyperfire 2
This camera comes with features and specs to help you catch more animals on camera. First, the shutter quickly activates within 0.25 seconds and takes images every half second. The sensor detects motion out to an impressive 100 feet and the infrared flash reaches out 150 feet, so the Hyperfire 2 captures images across a large area while cheaper cameras tend to only pick up what walks right in front of them.
It also features some interesting settings such as Rapid Fire Mode and Time Lapse Mode, which give you options for different applications of the camera. The battery life is long and features a special mode to optimize for lithium batteries. It comes with a 5-year warranty, as well.
Best for Beginners: Wildgame Innovations Wraith 16
The least fun part of owning and using a trail camera is often the moment when you have to pull the memory card and then remember how to connect it to your computer and view the images. If you’re not tech-savvy or just hate this process, consider the Wraith 16 bundle from Wildgame Innovations. It lets you view your images on a handheld device right there in the field. You can still swap SD cards and deal with images on your computer if you want, but for quick and easy checking, it’s hard to beat the LCD viewer. The camera itself is no slouch either, featuring 16-megapixel images and 15-second video clip options.
Best for Night Images: Browning Dark Ops HD Pro X
Whether you’re trying to pattern wild hogs, identify a nocturnal intruder, or just see what’s going bump in the night, some game cameras' monochromatic night images can be a letdown. Browning takes this challenge head-on with the Dark Ops camera which features a 0.22-second initial camera trigger and 0.6-second cycling on subsequent images. Illuma-Smart technology adjusts the infrared flash to be based appropriately on the distance at which the sensor was triggered. The camera generates 20-megapixel images and has some nice options like the ability to hook up to external power (such as a solar panel) and an 80-foot reach for detection.
Best Image Quality: Bushnell Core DS No-Glow Trail Camera
This Bushnell trail camera maximizes image quality by using different sensors for the different conditions of day and night photos. The day sensor optimizes for crisp, clear images with rich color while the night sensor optimizes for contrast and properly exposes the infrared illumination. The camera shoots 30-megapixel stills and 1080p HD video, both of which are activated by a fast 0.2-second trigger with a 100-foot detection range. It also offers time-lapse mode and a rapid-fire mode that captures up to six images in a burst.
Best for Video: Apeman H70 4K Trail Camera
Most trail cameras, even the high-end ones, top out at 1080p HD video which is plenty for just keeping tabs on wildlife. But if you want to enjoy resolution that doesn’t look out of place on a TV, consider the Apeman H70, one of the few trail cameras that offers 4K video.
Still images are impressive, too, at 30 megapixels and featuring a 65-foot sensor reach on night images. Open the camera case and there’s a 2-inch LCD screen so you can review images in the field if desired.
Best Battery Life: Spypoint Solar Dark Trail Camera
If you can’t check your camera often or just plan to leave it in the field for long periods of time and don’t want to worry about power, consider the dual-power SpyPoint Solar Dark camera. It uses rechargeable batteries like many trail cameras but features a built-in solar panel that constantly recharges the batteries.
The 1080p video resolution is nice, and the 12 megapixel still images are captured with an industry-best 0.07-second motion trigger. Paired with a 110-foot detection range, you’re sure not to miss a shot on even the fastest moving animals.
Most Compact: Wildgame Innovations Shadow Micro Cam
Stealth in a trail camera can be important for a number of reasons: avoiding spooking game and not alerting trespassers to its presence are two big ones. The small size of the Shadow Micro Cam means you can tote it around easily and mount it in tight places or high up in a tree where it's less likely to alert its subjects. Slightly bigger than a GoPro, this camera can be thrown in a pocket or pack and taken into the field with minimal weight and space penalty. Helpfully, the required batteries, SD card, and mounting strap are all included so you’re ready to start capturing images right out of the box.
Best Networked: Creative XP Networked Trail Camera
For a price, you can avoid dealing with memory cards altogether and get a SIM card-equipped camera that can be set up to send images directly to your phone or email. This is a great solution for remotely scouting your location in advance of your hunt. Of course, the spot can’t be so remote as to be beyond cell service, but this Creative XP camera also records to a memory card so you have a backup if cell service fails. The camera comes equipped with SIM card so you’re ready to go once you activate a data plan for a very reasonable $8 per month
What to Look for in Trail Cameras
There is a wide range of prices for trail cams but the features you get for your money don’t have quite the same spread, so don’t assume that a camera that costs twice as much will deliver two times better images. If you simply want reasonably clear images of animals, captured reliably, then a middle of the road priced cameras will be sufficient.
It helps if you know where you intend to use the camera before you start shopping. The camera you buy to monitor a large deer food plot may be much different than the camera you want to use for home security in an alley behind your house. Are night images more important than day? Is video more important than still images? Think through how you’ll use the camera first and it’ll be much easier to decide if it’s worth paying for a particular feature.
Some features, such as cellular network connectivity, don’t come cheap on trail cameras. While it’s a great feature, decide if you really need a networked camera enough to pay the premium and check your spot to be sure it has service before you commit. Likewise, if you know you’ll dread dealing with SD cards and computers, consider a dedicated reader or at least a trail camera with a high-quality built-in screen.