Nothing can get a hunter more excited for an upcoming hunting season than seeing a big buck with a widespread on the trail camera. Trail cameras are a simple tool that can make a huge difference in your hunting, so you will want to read through best trail camera reviews to find the best option for your needs.
Benefits of Using a Top Rated Trail Camera
Had I known the benefits of using a trail camera, I would have bought one year ago. As an avid hunter, I can see all the reasons why I should’ve put up a trail camera in my woods to make my hunting experience even better than before.
To learn more about why you should use a trail camera, you should read “Should You Use a Trail Cam?”.
Timing:- Hunting seasons give you a limited time frame to work within, but with trail cameras, you can extend your season by checking the cameras weeks before the season opens. This is perfect for people who are too busy to start scouting the area ahead of time. By checking the cameras, you can start to recognize which time of day you should be hunting. You’ll save a lot of time by going out when you know the deer will be in your particular area.
Recognizing Patterns:- Not only will you start to recognize when they are going to be in your area, but you will also be able to recognize their patterns of movement. This will give you an idea of other areas you can hunt as well as which animals are likely to be found there. Trail camera images and videos will show you which bucks are moving with which herds, where they eat, and where they bed. All of this is valuable information for someone who is serious about getting a monster buck.
Though the focus is often on deer, trail cameras can be used to recognize these patterns among all types of wild game and can lead to many successful hunts.
Checking for Other Hunters:- All wild game aside, the cameras will also give you a good idea of when other hunters are pressuring the game or even trespassing on your land. It is not uncommon to have other hunters wander onto your property, especially if they aren’t from around your area.
It is important to know when other hunters are pressuring the game in your area, so you can better time your own hunt. You will want to make sure you go out in the woods before all of the wild game has been scared away by your neighbors.
How to Choose The Best Trail Camera
Now that you’re ready to improve your overall hunting experience with a trail camera, you’re going to have to consider a few things before you make your purchase. The quality of the images, the speed of the camera, and the battery life can all greatly affect the effectiveness of your trail camera.
Image Quality:- You’re going to want to pay extra attention to the quality of the images captured by your trail camera. Rather than making a purchase by choosing the camera with the highest megapixels, you should compare sample images. Some cameras boast higher megapixels, but they also have a lower quality lens. You will want to use your own judgment to choose a quality that is suitable for you and how you plan to use your camera.
If you just want a camera to capture images of the large game, the quality is less important. If you want a camera to give you more clues and patterns or to capture smaller game, you’re going to want a high image quality.
Camera Speed:– Camera speed is important for capturing images of animals that move quickly. You’re going to want to capture as many images as you can if you are not running your camera on video, so you will want to make sure your camera works quickly to photograph an animal upon detection. The follow-up photos should also be quick otherwise you might not get any clues as to which direction the animal went when it ran off.
Flashes can be helpful when capturing images at night, but they can also scare the animals away. You will want to make sure that your camera quickly captures more than one photo following the flash or the flash was wasted on nothing.
Battery Life:- The better the battery life in your camera the fewer times you have to go out and replace or recharge your batteries. There is nothing more frustrating than having a trail camera that runs the batteries dead all the time. Missing out on hours of footage is even more annoying than having to replace or recharge batteries frequently. Every missed photograph is a missed clue to helping you piece together the perfect hunt.
Best Trail Camera Reviews 2018
Since you now have a better idea of what to look for in a trail camera, you’re ready to start scouring the internet for the best trail camera. There are several different brands and models to choose from, but these are some of my personal favorites.
Reconyx Hyperfire SC950
Any trail camera review will boast and brag over the Reconyx SC950. It is arguably one of the best cameras money can buy, and I have been very impressed by all of its features and capabilities.
The battery on this great camera lasts well over a year, but it still has an unbelievably fast detection circuit and captures crystal-clear photos. I am also very happy with the trigger and recovery speed of this particular camera. From the moment it detects wildlife, it starts snapping beautiful images. It is also very durable, so it will withstand all of the elements and any beatings it might take while it is strapped to a tree.
With all of its great features, this camera is going to come at a relatively high price point. Even though it is rather expensive, it still doesn’t have any video capabilities.
If you aren’t concerned with videos or a budget, you will love the incredible quality photos you get from this durable trail camera. However, there are a lot of other great quality trail cameras that also offer video capabilities and high-quality images.
- Long battery life
- Very fast detection circuit
- Extremely durable
- Great image quality
- No video capabilities
Browning Strike Force HD PRO
The Browning Strike Force HD PRO is by far the best trail camera for the money. I have not come across a better quality trail camera at a comparable price. It can impressively hold its own against other top trail cameras that come in at much higher price points.
Affordability aside, the quality of the pictures and videos has drastically improved and makes it one of the best game cameras. Not only are the images great quality, but it also has a very fast detection that allows you to capture videos and images as soon as an animal is detected. It is able to take several photos in a row with great speed for the most part, and you will find that the range of the flash is great at night. Despite being such a hard-working game camera, the battery can last 11 months in picture mode.
Unfortunately, several other trail cameras reviews have reported that there seems to be a glitch in the recovery time around the 6th photo. Despite having a quick trigger on the first 5 shots, the camera seems to stumble and take a little longer to capture the rest.
For the great price, I could certainly deal with the glitch in the recovery time. If it were consistently lagging on every single shot, I would recommend that you pass on this camera, but you will not find a better camera at this same price.
- Extremely affordable
- Image and video quality is outstanding
- Impressive range of flash in nighttime setting
- Very fast video detection
- Quick on the picture trigger
- Long battery life on picture mode
- There is a glitch in the recovery time
Reconyx SC950C Cellular
The Reconyx SC950C is a cellular game camera that will send photo updates to your cell phone or email. As one of the original cellular game cameras, this model comes up frequently as a great option for other cellular trail camera reviews.
It is an incredibly durable trail camera that will allow you to get real-time updates of photos, including burst shots. While the photos are compressed to be sent to your cell phone or email, the ones on the SD card are great quality, high-resolution photos. It has a great detection circuit in it that allows you to get awesome photos and more advanced settings, so you can make changes as you see fit.
Unfortunately, this camera comes at a very high price with a very low battery life. It also does not have a video option.
This is definitely a great option if you are fortunate enough to be working with an unlimited budget, but the short battery life means that you’ll be changing batteries often if you want to continue to get your photos sent straight to your phone.
- Great detection
- Exceptionally durable
- Sends burst shots to cell phone
- Advanced settings
- Good quality images
- Very expensive
- Very short battery life
- No video
The Skypoint Solar is a trail camera you will not want to overlook. Not only does it come at a great price, but its solar battery capabilities set it apart from the rest of the trail cameras in-game camera reviews.
Since it is solar powered, this is the best-rated trail camera in terms of battery life because it is virtually unlimited. It is also very affordable, though not as affordable as the Browning Strike Force HD PRO. This game camera also comes with an incredibly fast trigger speed and recovery that captures colorful images, which can be viewed on the internal picture viewer.
The biggest downfall of this camera is the poor quality night pictures. As most animals are very active at night, this camera is going to make it difficult to get any valuable information from night-time photos. It also lacks any built-in Python brackets, which means you won’t be able to mount it very easily on a sturdy Python cable.
If you are concerned with remembering to change the batteries in your camera and you would like an affordable option, you might find this to be a great camera for you. If you rely on night-time photos to give you information about wildlife activity, you will be better off purchasing another game camera.
- Very affordable
- Nearly unlimited battery life
- Incredible fast trigger and recovery
- Internal picture viewer
- Colorful pictures
- Poor quality night time photos
- No built-in python bracket
Stealth Cam GXW Wireless
The GXW is the best wireless trail camera because, unlike most cellular trail cameras, it is able to send photos and videos to your cell phone or email. Anyone looking for an affordable wireless game camera will be excited to learn more about this impressive option.
If you aren’t already sold on the fact that this cellular trail camera can send you photos AND videos, then you should be impressed by the quality of its daytime photos. That’s not to say that the night-time photos are bad, I would consider them to be average, but the daytime photos are really quite exceptional. The easy setup, moderately low price, and fast trigger speed make this one of my favorite options.
Since the camera is working so hard to transmit photos and videos over cellphone signal, it is going to have a much lower battery life than other options. However, I would consider it to still be fairly average as it lasts around 2 months.
If you are adamant about having a cellular trail camera and still want to get videos, you will love the GXW wireless. For its fairly low price, you really can’t go wrong with making this purchase in my opinion.
- Sends videos and pictures
- Moderately affordable
- Easy setup
- Great daytime photos
- Fast trigger speed
- Mid to low battery life
The Best of the Best
The Browning Strike Force HD PRO comes in at the top of the list for the best trail camera. Despite being so affordable, it is not cheaply made. The camera has incredible image quality, impressive battery life, and a good trigger and recovery speed overall.
The Browning Strike Force comes in ahead of both of the Reconyx options for me just because they are both far more expensive than the Browning, yet they still do not offer any video capabilities. I also put it ahead of the Stealth Cam GXW because the Browning is more affordable with an equal if not better overall quality and longer battery life. Lastly, it comes in ahead of the Skypoint Solar because it still has a great battery life and overall better quality photos for a lower price. It is hard for any camera to beat the Browning in my opinion for the simple fact that Browning managed to design a high-quality trail camera at a budget price.
Keep in mind, that I personally prefer the Browning Strike Force HD PRO, while you might prefer an option that isn’t even on this list. You need to consider your own price point, how you intend to use the camera, and what features are most important to you in order to find the best wildlife camera for you.