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The Best Trail Camera Reviews – Amazing Quality & Speed

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Moultrie Panoramic 180i Game Camera, Mossy Oak Break-Up Country
Don't you hate going home after the hunt with an empty truck?

Driving past all those other trucks with bucks in their beds is just the worst.


Chances are they had better field intelligence - they knew just where to find the animal. Are you ready to take your scouting to the next level?


To do that you're going to need a great trail camera. It just takes a little preparation before the hunt. Set up cameras in the field where are you think the animals might be, and they’ll take pictures of everything that walks by.


Having the right camera is critical to knowing where to set up your blind. You'll spend hours and hours waiting in the woods to get one shot at the game, so you need to make sure you're waiting in the right spot.


It could make the difference between going home empty handed again, or going home with a full truck.

Has this happened to you?
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The wrong camera could give you blurry pictures, or worse, the batteries might be dead by the time you go back to check it, leaving you no better off than before you bought the camera.


The problem is that there are hundreds of models available, all with a wide variety of features. Some cameras are better for one situation or another, and choosing can be overwhelming.


To make it easier to find the camera that’s right for you, I’ve compiled this list of the best wildlife camera reviews for hunters. I put together reviews of the top cameras, as well as descriptions of the features to look for, and the best brands. If your specifically looking to hunt for bucks, please check out our previous post on best deer cameras in the market as well but we will cover cameras that are versatile and functional to hunt in any environment or game.

Controversy Over Wireless Cameras
wifi trail camera, cellular trail camera

In the last several years, many companies have come out with Wi-Fi or cellular connected trail cameras that will allow you to check the camera’s photos without actually going into the field.


Of course this is incredibly convenient as you can monitor the activity around your camera in real-time. The biggest advantage to wireless cameras has to be for security applications. If you set the camera up to catch trespassers on your property, knowing about them right away is an incredible valuable.


However, there has been a lot of controversy over using these wireless cameras for hunting. Many hunters say these cameras violate the rules of fair chase.


Basically, the it gives you an unfair advantage over the animal because you know exactly when it passes your camera. Some states have even outlawed the use of these cameras, and competitions are disqualifying hunters who use them.


Now I'm not here to tell you what you should and should not do, but you should be aware of this issue. None of the the products on my best hunting trail camera list are Wi-Fi or cellular capable, though one is wireless compatible.

With so many options out there lets find out what is the best trail cameras on the market?

Top Rated Trail Cameras Comparison Table

As promised, here is my list of the top 10 trail cameras and Top 5 Trail Camera Reviews!

Image

Name

Trigger Speed

​Resolution

Key Features

Price

Rating

Moultrie Panoramic 180i Game Camera, Mossy Oak Break-Up Country

0.5 sec

14 MP / 1080P Video

180 Degree Panoramas, 3 Lenses, 70 Ft. Nighttime Flash, Wireless Compatible

$$$$

Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E2 12MP Trail Camera, Tan

Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E2 12MP Trail Camera

0.3 sec

12 MP / 720P Video

Burst, Incredible Nighttime Images, 80 Ft. Nighttime Flash Long Battery Life, Time-Lapse

$$

Covert MP8 Trail Camera, Mossy Oak Break-Up Country

Covert MP8 Trail Camera, Mossy Oak Break-Up Country

1.27 sec

8 MP / HD Video

Time-lapse

$$

Browning Strike Force HD Camera, Camouflage

Browning Strike Force HD Sub Micro 10MP Game Camera

0.67 sec

10 MP / 720P Video

100 Ft. Nighttime Flash, Zero Blur Tech., Time-lapse

$$

TEC.BEAN 12MP 1080P HD Game & Trail Hunting Camera No Glow Infrared Scouting Camera Night Vision up to 75ft with 36pcs 940nm IR LEDs and Waterproof IP66

TEC.BEAN 12MP 1080P HD Game & Trail Hunting Camera 

0.6 sec

12 MP / 1080P Video

Cold Blooded Animal Detection, 75 Ft. Nighttime Flash Range, Time-lapse

$$$

Wildgame Innovations Blade X6 Trail Camera, Bark

Wildgame Innovations Blade X6 Trail Camera

1 sec

6 MP / SD Video

Tru Bark Texture, 1 Year Battery Life, Time-lapse

$$

Browning Recon Force FHD Camera, Camouflage

Browning Recon Force FHD Camera, Camouflage

0.67 sec

10 MP / 1080P Video

100 Ft. Nighttime Flash, Zero Blur Tech., Time-lapse

$$

Crenova Game and Trail Hunting Camera 12MP 1080P HD With Time Lapse 65ft 120° Wide Angle Infrared Night Vision 42pcs IR LEDs 2.4

Crenova Game and Trail Hunting Camera 12MP 1080P HD 

1 sec

12 MP / 1080P Video

2 Side PIR (Passive IR) Sensors, Multi-shot, Interval, Time-lapse

$$

Bestguarder HD Waterproof IP66 Infrared Night Vision Game & Trail Hunting Scouting Ghost Camera Take 12MP Image & 1080p Video From 75feet/23m Distance

Bestguarder HD Waterproof IP66

0.6 sec

12 MP / 1080P Video

Time-lapse, Interval, Cold-Blooded Animal Detection

$$$

Stealth Cam P18 7 Megapixel Compact Scouting Camera with Batteries and SD Card, Camouflage

Stealth Cam  Compact Scouting Camera

1.5 sec

7 MP / SD Video

Burst

$$

I’ve done the hard work in narrowing down the best game trail cameras for most people. Your needs may be different, but it’s always a good idea to start your search with the best.

The top 5 trail cameras on my list have just the right combination of build quality, ease of use, dependability, and features. While some are priced in the high end, I made sure to include some more affordable models as well, so you can get the top trail cameras for the money.

Let’s get right to it. Here are my wildlife camera reviews.

1. Moultrie Panoramic 180i Game Camera

Moultrie Panoramic 180i Game Camera

Moultrie sets the bar with this panoramic camera.


One of the major problems with game cameras is that their field of view is limited. If an animal is walking near the camera but not quite the front of it, you won't get the picture. But with this new panoramic camera, you get a full 180° view.


Of course, this panoramic camera is significantly more expensive than other cameras. However, if you take into consideration that instead of strapping three cameras to a tree, now you only need one, you're actually getting a very good value.


The first panoramic cameras used moving lenses and flashes to capture their shots. The moving parts made them unreliable and noisy in the woods, spooking deer and alerting people to their locations.


This new camera solves those problems by using three separate lenses and flashes, eliminating all moving parts. Plus, the no glow IR flash makes sure you won't spook any game.


The battery life in this camera is great and the image quality is fantastic. You can't go wrong with the Moultrie Panoramic 180i, and that's why it sits proudly at the very top of my best game camera reviews.


Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E2 12MP Trail Camera, Tan

Bushnell stepped up their game with the Essential E2. This fantastic camera performs at the highest level with an affordable price.


It has all the features you would want from a high-end camera. You will be stunned at the pictures it takes.


While the daytime pictures and videos are phenomenal, most cameras these days capture very nice images during the day. It's the nighttime photos and videos that really impress.


The image quality at night from this camera is the best I've ever seen. No other camera comes even close.


The long flash range makes sure you get movement even in the distance, and the flash will adjust the as animals get closer to the camera, minimizing the white out effect.


Video quality as well is better than nearly any other camera I’ve seen, and the HD video from this camera look great on your flat screen TV.


At 0.3 seconds, this camera has one of the fastest trigger speeds on the market, meaning you won't miss any action. You won't be looking at any empty pictures wondering why they were taken.


All this for a fairly low price makes the Bushnell Essential E2 an unbeatable buy, and that's why it shares the top spot with the Moultrie Panoramic 180i. This is without a doubt the highest rated trail camera for the money.


Covert MP8 Trail Camera Mossy Oak Break-Up Country

This is the definition of the workhorse trail camera. The Covert MP8 doesn't have a lot of fancy features but it does what you need it to do - and does it extremely well.


Hunters love this camera because it's incredibly durable, the battery life is fantastic, and the picture quality is exceptional. It’s simple, easy to use, and will not let you down.


Beginners will really appreciate how easy this camera is to set up. The casing is secure and easy to open. You won't have to fumble around with settings when you're out in the field.


The camouflage is nicely done, so that this camera disappears into the trees, and the low glow IR won't spook any animals.


What really sets this camera over the top is the durability and reliability. This camera can take a few hard drops, harsh weather and still keep going. That’s why it’s one of the highest rated trail cameras.


Browning Strike Force HD Camera Camouflage

This is one of the most popular cameras, and for good reason. It's small and easy to hide, works well and does what you need it to do. It’s also easy to use and program.


The Strike Force HD is a durable and reliable camera. The image quality is great, especially at night, where most cameras start having some issues. There is very little blurring when animals are moving.


Night photos are sharp and have a great flash range. There is very little white out, when the animal is closest to the camera, which many cameras struggle with. It even works well in thick timber.


Unlike many other cameras, there is no sound when this camera snaps a picture, so it won't spook the wildlife.


It’s not always wise to follow the crowd, but with so many happy customers, the Strike Force HD is an easy recommendation.


TEC.BEAN 12MP 1080P HD Game & Trail Hunting Camera No Glow Infrared Scouting Camera Night Vision up to 75ft with 36pcs 940nm IR LEDs and Waterproof IP66

The biggest surprise on the list is the TEC.BEAN DTC-880V. Not much is known about this company but it has a standout hit with this camera.


Most other companies on this list have a long history of gradually improving their products. As far as I can tell this is the first and only trail camera by TEC.BEAN, and hunters are loving it.


What sets this camera apart? No glow IR flash and quality nighttime pictures really put this camera ahead of the others on this list. You won't spook any animals with the flash. It has a great recovery time between photos and is very easy to use.


Video files are surprisingly small even though they're high quality. That means you can record a lot of videos before you have to swap SD cards, and you won't be filling up your card with videos before you have a chance to go out to check on it.


This is an all-around good game camera.


The Next 5 Top Rated Trail Cameras

Wildgame Innovations Blade X6 Trail Camera Bark

Wildgame Innovations’ Blade X6 is the only camera on the top 10 list that sells for significantly less than $100, and it has everything you need.


Browning Recon Force FHD Camera, Camouflage

The Recon Force FHD is another great choice from Browning, that features an 8 rapidfire shot burst mode with zero blur technology.


Crenova Game and Trail Hunting Camera 12MP 1080P HD With Time Lapse 65ft 120° Wide Angle Infrared Night Vision 42pcs IR LEDs 2.4

Crenova’s RD1000 is a no glow black IR Flash camera selling for around $100.


Bestguarder HD Waterproof IP66 Infrared Night Vision Game & Trail Hunting Scouting Ghost Camera Take 12MP Image & 1080p Video From 75feet/23m Distance

The Bestguarder IP66 adds interesting details to your photos with tags like barometric pressure, GPS location, moon phase, etc.


Stealth Cam P18 7 Megapixel Compact Scouting Camera with Batteries and SD Card Camouflage

The Stealth Cam P18 rounds out my top 10 list with a solid camera. It takes up to 6 images per trigger and we love the affordable price point of this trail camera. 


Best Brands For Top Trail Cameras

best brands for trail cameras

There are plenty of great game camera manufacturers. This is great news for hunters, because they are competing for your dollar, and they’re pushing each other to make better cameras.


I’ll briefly touch on the top brands. If you’re just looking for the top rated game cameras, you can skip down to the comparison table below.

Moultrie

Founded in 1981 in Alabaster, Alabama, Moultrie is a leader in game management products. Best known for their feeders, the company has expanded into other product categories like attractants and trail cameras.


Moultrie consistently pushes the industry with their camera innovations. The most recent big leap in their camera technology is the addition of panoramic cameras.


They have cameras for both the first timer and the pro hunter. Their lower end cameras are affordable and don’t skimp on the features you really need, while the higher priced, best rated game cameras have all the bells and whistles you’d expect.


Whether or not you shell out for a top of the line camera, with Moultrie products you’ll be happy with your purchase. They’re durable, easy to use, and come with a one year warranty.


They really do have something for everyone, and their top notch Panoramic 180i landed them at the top of my list - tied with an excellent camera from Bushnell.

Bushnell

The story of David Bushnell, founder of Bushnell Corporation, is worth a read. He started the company on his 1948 honeymoon to Japan, where he was impressed with some locally produced binoculars.


He nearly single handedly made binoculars affordable to middle-class Americans, when he returned home to California, by selling the binoculars he brought back from his honeymoon. Since then, Bushnell began importing and manufacturing all kinds of optical products, like rifle scopes, microscopes, and telescopes.


Trail cameras were a natural extension of their product line, and they’ve become a leader with their innovative and long-lasting cameras.


Moultrie and Bushnell are in constant battle for the title of the question, “what is the best game camera for the money” brand. Which one is the best? That just depends on who you ask. In fact, both companies share the top spot on my list.

Browning

A fairly recent entry to the world of trail cameras, Browning quickly rose to join the ranks of the top game cameras by focusing on quality and reducing the size of their products.


Their trail cameras are some of the stealthiest because of their excellent camouflage and tiny size. They really nail realistic looking tree bark cases.


If your biggest concern for a trail camera is invisibility, you should take a hard look at Browning cameras. All of their cameras will impress you with a super fast trigger speed and great image quality.


Browning has built very big fan base who love them for their quality and long-lasting cameras. While Bushnell and Moultrie are at the very top of my list, Browning is the only brand with the distinction of having more than one camera on the list.

Wildgame Innovations

A lesser-known brand that has been fighting its way up the ranks with great trail cameras is Wildgame Innovations. While you may not have heard much about them, they're competing hard for your attention by putting out solid cameras at very low price point.


Many of their cameras are priced under $100, and some are almost half of that. This makes them a very good option especially if you’re scouting a large area and want to put up several cameras.


Their Blade X6 is among the best game trail cameras available, and it's half the price of most other cameras on the list.


Why buy two cameras from another brand if you can get four cameras for the same price? That's the appeal of Wildgame Innovations. This also makes them a great choice as a gift for your hunter buddies.


At their prices they can even be more of a fun purchase. Why not put a few up around your property at home and see what walks by?

Cuddeback

Cuddeback can easily be considered the godfather of trail cameras. While they did not invent the trail camera, they’ve been around longer than any other company, starting in 1984.


Beyond just being more experienced than other brands, Cuddeback boasts that their line of cameras has the fastest overall trigger speed available. Trigger speed is critical to getting photos of all animal movement in the area.


If a deer is running or jumping through the area, by the time a slower camera snaps the shot, the animal could be out of the frame already - leaving you with just a picture of the trees.


Their cameras are moderately priced and well reviewed. They’re not the most camouflaged cameras but they’re durable and have great battery life.


While Cuddeback makes some of the best rated trail cameras, they didn’t quite make the top 10 list.

Covert

Covert is a relatively new camera company has done amazing things with their small staff in rural Southern Kentucky.


Beginning in 2007, they started building a reputation with their quality cameras. They have become well known for leading the industry with their wireless trail camera technology.


As mentioned above, using wireless cameras are generally frowned upon by hunters, but if you want the ability to monitor an area for trespassers, or just want to see what critters are running around, Covert’s wireless trail cameras might be right for you.


Their products range from moderately priced to ultra-high end, expensive cameras that connect to the AT&T & Verizon 3G networks. They’re all nicely camouflaged and hide well in the trees, some with a no glow infrared flash, that won’t spook wildlife or alert people in the area.


Their MP8 model lands high on my list with a nicely balanced feature set at a good price.

Spypoint

This fairly large Canadian company actually assembles their cameras in North America, a rare distinction these days. Spypoint cameras are high tech devices, with models that feature solar power, cellular connectivity, and more.


Their new Solar Trail Camera in particular is worth paying attention to, since you’ll never have to change the batteries. It’s quite affordable considering the build quality and innovative built-in solar panel.


The coolest innovations Spypoint is building into some of their cellular cameras are the anti-theft features.


They added a GPS transmitter and motion sensor to their cellular connected camera, so that it detects when it’s being moved and sends its coordinates to your phone. You can then track the thieves back to their hideout. The camera will also disable itself until you get it back in your possession.


Although Spypoint hasn’t built as large a following as some of the other brands on this list, their trail cameras are loved by hunters that own them. In time I’m sure they will become known as some of the best trail camera for the price in the hunting market.

Primos

Sometimes fancy features make a camera confusing and difficult to use. Primos, best known for their game calls, have made a name for themselves by creating simple, good trail cameras that are easy to use.


The last thing you want when you’re out in the woods is to struggle to get your camera set up correctly. The absolute worst thing would be to check for pictures after several weeks only to discover that your settings were wrong and it didn’t take any photos.


Primos set out to simplify the process of setting up and using your trail camera, letting you get back to the basics of scouting your game. Their products are also quite affordable and reliable.


Simplicity, affordability, and reliability are the foundations of any great product, and we expect many Primos customers will be happy hunters.

That completes my top game camera reviews. Since you probably still need a little more information, I have a quick buying guide below.

Trail Camera Buying Guide

With so many cameras to choose from it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Here are the top things to pay attention to when choosing the one that's right for you.

  • Your Needs. What do you need this camera for? Will you be scouting a large area and need several cameras? If so it might make sense to buy several less expensive ones, rather than move one from location to location. Do you need it to be completely camouflaged? That will certainly help you narrow your choices.
  • Your Budget. How much do you want to spend? If you’re on a limited budget, you’ll want to get the best rated trail cameras for the price. There are plenty available for less than $100, especially from Wildgame Innovations.
  • Flash. Will you need an invisible flash? All the cameras on this list have an IR flash. Low glow IR flash won't bother animals, but can be faintly seen by humans. If you need cameras for security it's best to use a no glow IR flash.
  • Resolution. People judge a camera by the megapixels, but in reality a camera with more megapixels is not necessarily better. Anything above six megapixels is fine. One thing you will want to pay attention to is whether or not the camera takes HD video.
  • Key Features. Depending on your needs, you might want some features like burst mode or time lapse. These features can give you additional insight into your prey’s activity.
  • Brand. The better-known brands will generally have better warranty service if something should go wrong with your camera. This is important to some people, while others don't mind experimenting with exciting new companies that shake up the industry.

For a quick tutorial on setting up your new camera, take a look at this video.

A Final Word

You spend enough time waiting in the woods, so you might as well be waiting in the right place.

With the information you gather scouting with a trail camera, you'll exponentially increase your chances of bagging a prize buck. I hope you've gotten a lot of value out of this guide and now have a good idea of which trail camera is right for you.


As I mentioned before, trail cameras can be confusing product, but if you use the information outlined above, you should have no trouble. If you have any questions about the guide or my top 10 game cameras, please let me know in the comments below.

Did you like our trail camera reviews? As always, I want to hear from you.

What is the top game camera in your opinion? Do you have a favorite camera that didn't make my list?


Feel free to share your game camera reviews with the community. What do you think is the best trail camera for the money?




Product images sourced from Amazon.com

About the author

Daniel Nelson

Originally from the small town of Alma, Wisconsin, Dan is an experienced hunter and survivalist. He has hunted in most of the top rated whitetail spots in the country and has acquired his vast knowledge and experience from hunting over 25 years. He enjoys being outdoors in the wild and is an avid angler as well. He shares his enthusiasm through writing his best hunting strategies and gear reviews here at NPLO.

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