From different styles to different uses, there is a best trail cam for your specific needs.
Before you can decide which top rated game camera to purchase, you need to compare them side by side.
That is where our game hunting camera comparison table comes in. But a comparison table would be useless if you don’t understand all the factors that you are looking at.
Table of Contents
- 2019 Top Rated Trail Camera Reviews|Buying Guide & Comparison
- Best Wireless & Best Rated Overall
- Best Night Vision Game Camera
- Best Game Camera under 150
- Best for security and surveillance
- Best for wide angle and panoramic monitoring
- Best for monitoring food plots
- 6 Questions you must answer before buying
To figure out which trail camera model is best for your requirements, you need to ask yourself a few questions. Without wasting anymore time, let’s get stuck into…
2019 Top Rated Trail Camera Reviews|Buying Guide & Comparison
Today we’re taking a look at the best game trail cameras available on the market right now. It’s fair to say that names like Moultrie are synonymous with excellent quality and motion detection, but other brand leaders like Bushnell and Simmons also have good products to contribute
Learn more of what we’ve discovered about each of these game hunting cameras, from their biggest strengths to ny potential limitations.
Best Wireless & Best Rated Overall
While it is easily the ugliest option featured here, the Bushnell 8MP Trophy Cam HD Wireless offers a lot of bang for your buck. This product has an impressive trigger time and take excellent picures when compared to the competitors, not to mention that it is my top rated wireless game camera.
The recovery time for this camera is above average; it’s not spectacular, but it is faster than most affordable hunting cameras. The real advantage of Bushnell’s 8MP Trophy Cam is that it’s one of the smallest models on the market, making it easy to mount and less noticeable. It also has good picture quality, although it’s a little on the dark side and pictures glow a little around the edges.
A truly interesting feature that this camera offers, which others don’t, is audio. It’s not something every outdoor camera user will need, but it is great for those who might like to hear as well as see what’s going on. The Bushnell also has great battery life; all in all, I would rate it as the best wildlife camera.
Best Night Vision Game Camera
No compilation of game camera reviews will be complete without checking out a product like the Simmons Whitetail Trail Camera with night vision. It is my nr 1 choice if you are looking for a night trail camera.
This is truly the ultimate partner for any hunter. With 7 amazing months of battery life, it’s low maintenance, highly dependable and so easy to use you don’t even need the manual. It’s obvious that Simmons has dedicated themselves to considerable research and innovation.
There are three models of this trail camera with night vision to choose from; we checked out the 4 MP version. Each has a few different features and accordingly, a different price. Each can comfortably take video and images in the dark up with a range of up to 45 feet, made possible by the motion-activated sensor and the infrared night vision LED.
Best Game Camera under 150
Next we take a look at the Moultrie M-880, a great choice for an affordable price. The M-880 features a wide detection zone and fast trigger and recovery speeds. According to Moultrie, the detection zone is up to 40 feet; however, in my experience it’s even greater.
It’s likely they are cautious with their estimate because they want buyers to detect 100% of the motion they claim can be achieved in the field.
Programming the M-880 is so easy, as you’d expect from this company. They are excellent at delivering on the specs and claims they promise with these wildlife camera reviews.
Not only is the Moultrie M-880 easy to use, it’s really durable and my pick as the best deer camera for the money.
Best Budget Cheap Option
If your budget doesn’t quite stretch to the M-880, the Moultrie A5 has been receiving plenty hunting camera reviews, being a best selling product year after year. Being so cheap, it’s easy to imagine outfitting your property with a few of these good cheap trail cameras so you don’t miss out.
It’s worth noting that the pictures are a little blurry and washed out compared to some higher end models, but the camera is affordable and incredibly easy to set up.
Another drawback to this camera that you might not experience with other Moultrie models is it can be triggered by seemingly nothing; however, with careful placement this could potentially be eliminated.
All in all, it’s important to remember that you get what you pay for and if you aren’t expecting top of the line high resolution images you won’t be disappointed with the budget-friendly Moultrie A5.
Best for security and surveillance
Now, the best part of doing covert trail camera reviews is when you find one that you’re really crazy about. That’s definitely the situation with the Moultrie M-990i and me. Out of everything I’ve tried and tested, it’s my top rated game camera for security on the market right now.
This hunting camera offers solid battery life with at least 2 months on a rechargeable 990i battery. You might even get more life out of it if you use a lithium ion battery. The M-990i also has a super quick trigger and recovery speeds, with the ability to take 24 pictures in the time some older models take 1! It’s pretty hard not to be impressed with that.
If you are looking a trail cam for security, this model has an exceptional no glow infrared flash that’s invisible to the human eye. You wouldn’t even realize it was taking your picture if you didn’t set it up! Consequently, animals won’t be spooked by it either.
This camera also features a handy live viewing screen and live preview mode which I like to use for security and surveillance. It’s really durable and as expected, easy to use, making it better than some cameras that cost double!
Best for wide angle and panoramic monitoring
With 3 times the panoramic field of view compared to a standard game camera, it’s hard not to get excited about what this model can accomplish. It will even detect motion up to 60 feet!
The only potential downside to this camera is that it has more moving parts. To paraphrase the old adage, the more parts, the more there is to break. However, it’s worth pointing out that no one has complained of breakages yet that I’ve heard.
The quality of this multi-featured camera is top of the line, and there’s nothing to complain about with its range. Imagine all the stuff you’re missing out on without having 3 times to view!
Best for monitoring food plots
The brilliant wide angle view makes it worth the money, even if it doesn’t have all the latest tech associated with newer models.
The primary features in the D-555i have stood the test of time; it takes 8 MP pictures and has the option for HD video, which is better than current industry standard.
The only real drawback seems to be the slow recovery time, but if you’re using it for something like checking food plots it might not matter. All in all, this is still a highly rated scout camera that most hunters will love.
These are some of the top rated game cameras on the market today. If you are unsure which of the above models will work best for you, have a look at some of the factors you have to consider when purchasing a wildlife camera.
Whichever model you end up going for, there are several excellent options for all needs and budgets. Whether you go for Moultrie, Bushnell or Simmons, you’re sure to find something that captures the images you’re after.
6 Questions you must answer before buying
Whether you are new to wild game cameras, or you have owned dozens of them, these 6 questions will ensure that you get make the right selection from the best trail cameras for your needs. There is no single model that can be considered the best, rather there are game cameras that are better suited to certain uses than others.
Read through these questions, and once you have answered them, you will know which camera is the right one for you.
What can I afford to pay for a trail cam?
Your budget is the first concern. If you can only spend $70 on a trailcam, you have some options. But you will be limited to an extent when it comes to functions and features.
Think carefully though, because it might be worthwhile to spend another $20 or $50 and get a really nice model, than to try and save. My dad had a saying: buying cheap usually means buying often.
Get the right trail cam from the start, and you will have a device you can use for years to come.
How long must the batteries last?
If you plan on using the trail cam for security or surveillance purposes, you need a sturdy model with exceptional battery life. No use having a cam that takes excellent pictures, but the battery dies and leaves you unprotected.
Similarly, if you use your camera for scouting, you need to take into consideration how long you will leave it out.
Should I get a slow trigger or fast trigger?
A quick trigger speed can be critical for nice pictures. A cam with a slow trigger speed might give you pictures of the backside of a deer, where a faster trigger speed can give you that beautiful headshot.
Do I need a infrared flash or a incandescent flash?
It is critically important that you understand the difference between these two. Many experienced trail cam users say that the flash is the most important thing to consider when looking at different models. My personal opinion is that the best wildlife camera option when it comes to the flash, is to go with infrared. Having said that, models that come with incandescent and white LED flashes, take far better pictures. No questions asked.
You know that lighting is the most important thing when taking a picture. Exactly the same when it comes to game and trail cameras. You have to ask yourself though, do you want one nice picture of a deer in blinding lights? Or would you rather have plenty of slightly darker pictures? Bright flashes spook and scare wildlife away, and you won’t get too many pictures. In fact, you might even spoil a good hunting spot by using too bright a flash.
With infrared flashes, the light is very dim red glow. You and I might notice it when paying attention, but you can rest assured that those deers won’t know they are being snapped. On top of this, these infrared flashes have faster trigger times since they do not have to charge before each picture. I have seen guys comparing these two flash options side by side, and the infrared can be faster by up to a whole second. This can mean the difference between a pic of nothing, and a pic of that whitetail. Battery life is also typically much longer with led flashes.
Do I need a camera with slow recovery or fast recovery?
The recovery time refers to the period between when two pictures. A slow recovery time means that a camera can take fewer pictures when compared to a device with a faster recovery. About 8-10 years ago, the top rated trail cameras had a recovery times ranging between 30 and 60 seconds. Cameras today, often with recovery times around 2.5 seconds, can take 24 pictures compared to the older models that could only take 1, or maybe 2 pictures.
This is a huge difference!
So, a faster recovery time is important. But again, it depends on how you will be using your device. If you are monitoring food plots, recovery time becomes less of an issue. For scouting it is a good deal more important, while for security it is absolutely essential.
Should I go for narrow detection or wide detection?
This refers to the detection zone, which is simply the area where the camera will pick up movement before taking a picture. This area can be thought of as a triangle that flares out from your trail cam. Any movement inside of this area will be detected, and will be photographed.
When talking about detection, the width and the range are the important numbers. Range can vary from as little as 30 feet up to 100 feet.
Go for the biggest range you can afford, as this will mean a bigger detection area which will lead to more pictures. A narrow range means you are monitoring a small area, and you might miss a great picture of that elusive whitetail by a few yards. You won’t even know it was there!
There are scenarios where a narrow range will work, think of a bait station or a feeder. Your prey will come up to the feeder, and you will get the shot. No need to splurge on a model with wide range.
One thing to keep in mind, is that while a narrow range will lead to far less pictures, these pictures are quite often better quality than those from devices with much wider ranges.
This is one of those few times when is better to sacrifice a little bit of quality for quantity instead.
With the range, you also need to consider the trigger speed. A narrow range with a slow trigger will lead to many a missed shot, as deer will move too fast through the small detection area.