Best Trail & Game Camera For The Money: We have reviewed 6 of the best selling and top rated trail cameras from different manufacturers to help you buy the Best Trail Camera For The Money. If you are in a hurry:
Now let us move onto the detailed reviews.
Here are the 6 Best Trail Cameras for the Money that we shortlisted:
- APEMAN Trail Camera (WINNER)
- X-Lounger Trail Camera (RUNNER UP)
- Moultrie A-Series
- HC200 Trail Camera
- Bushnell Trophy Cam
- XIKEZAN Trail Camera
How To Choose The Best Trail Camera
A trail camera is used for shooting still pictures and videos at angles and locations that are physically remote to reach. You can mount it using mechanical arms, clamps or other such fixtures and then operate it remotely. Most of the top-rated trail cameras use laser, infrared, and sound technologies for shooting and recording images and videos. Here we have listed some important features which we considered while trying to answer what is the best trail camera for the money:
Image resolution is stated in terms of megapixels, bit depth, dynamic range and color depth. HD cameras usually have image resolution in the range of 7MP to 16MP. Sometimes an increase in the absolute number of pixels could result in smaller pixel size which negatively affects image quality. Image quality refers to clarity, coverage (field of view and focal length) and sharpness of images captured by the trail camera. Hence, best game cameras for the money are said to balance the number of pixels and size of pixels efficiently.
High Definition video is stated to be in the range of 720P to 1080P. The depth, brightness, and contrast are other important factors which impact video quality. Similarly, the infrared technology used in trail cameras helps in recording quality videos during night times.
FPS or Frames per second: Video quality varies with FPS, recording speed and trigger speed. If a trail camera with high FPS has low recording speed, then it may result in poor video quality. On the other hand, trigger speed is the time between motion detection and video shooting and is an important factor that affects the video quality.
Range: Distance between the subject and the camera is called range. A long-range shot can reduce the video quality due to environmental factors and distortion. There are times when the subject (e.g. wild animal) could move randomly within the range, making it difficult for the trail camera to balance quality. In fact, any of the best trail cameras for the money should have the inbuilt settings to auto-optimize range, resolution, quality, and speed.
The trail camera can have two sources for audio i.e. internal and external. The external device is usually connected to the XLR input while the internal device is usually an inbuilt microphone. A good trail camera should be able auto adjust the audio level within the peaking (distortion) and lower (background noise exceeds the subject sound) points. While using external sound input, audio needs to be matched with video sequencing so that audio and video don’t lag each other at any moment. Do remember, the quality of sound recorded by the trail camera depends on the detection zone as well.
Detection Zone and Flash Range
Detection zone of the trail camera is the maximum distance at which the image shooting or video recording can get activated. Usually, flash range is supposed to match the detection range. Otherwise, the image and video quality could be considerably lower. Some of the trail cameras use infrared technology for shooting images and videos at nights without disturbing the natural movements of the animals.
Trigger speed is the time between motion detection and the start of an image or video recording. The field of view, range and recovery speed (time for re-activation after one session) are the important parameters which impact trigger speed. Ideally, the best trail camera for the money should be able to efficiently balances all these parameters to deliver optimal trigger speed.
The build quality depends on the construction material. Usage of high-grade engineering plastic, metal (copper, bronze or steel and alloys) and other lightweight material. Waterproof body with impact resistance and break proof features could be added benefits for the durability of the camera. Most of the best game cameras for the money come with additional protection for preventing dust, moisture, humidity, and heat.
Battery and Backup
The lithium rechargeable batteries used in most trail cameras have longer run time and are lightweight as compared to alkaline batteries. A good lithium battery should be able to work in the temperature range from under -30 degrees Fahrenheit to over 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The runtime or battery backup also depends on shooting duration, idle time and other such parameters. Most of these lithium batteries can be charged using portable charging units. A good game camera for the money would also come with external power option.
Most trail cameras come with inbuilt storage and support external storage options like SD cards, USB drives, flash drives, etc. Once the internal storage is full, trail cameras usually switch to the external storage automatically.
Now, let us move on the detailed reviews.
Best Trail Camera For The Money
APEMAN Trail Camera (WINNER)
- This is a high-performance trail camera which captures 12MP photos and HQ quality videos with clear audio.
- It comes with motion detection which can take up to 3 images each time it detects any movement.
- Apeman trail camera has an automatic Infrared filter which allows it to take photos using an invisible flash.
- Combined with a trigger distance of up to 65 feet, it can capture great images of passing animals in complete darkness.
- Trigger speed of this trail camera is quite fast at under 0.5 seconds, which ensures that images are captured quickly and accurately whenever any motion is detected.
- It supports multiple modes and functions like time stamp, timer, interval recording and real-time replay.
- Apeman trail camera comes housed in an IP66 rated plastic case, which makes it waterproof, drop-proof and dust-proof.
- Thanks to the sturdy built, it can withstand harsh environments, such as tropical rain forests or deserts.
- Together with a low power consumption system, it offers longevity and reliability throughout the season.
- It comes with a mounting strap and a threaded tripod (included in the box), which makes it easy to setup and install this camera.
- It supports SD/ SDHC memory cards for storage up to 32GB, 8x AA batteries and an external port for optional power supply.
- Best Trail Camera for the Money as per our reviews.
- High-quality images, video and sound recording
- Infrared technology with 26 LEDs
- IR flash range and trigger distance up to 20m
- Fast trigger speed and energy efficient system
- IP66 rating with impressive build quality
- 2.4″ LCD display screen
- Nothing really
X-Lounger Trail Camera (RUNNER UP)
- This trail camera from X-Lounger captures high-quality images up to a resolution of 12MP and 1080P HD videos at 30FPS.
- It has fast triggering speed of 0.5 seconds and a triggering up to 85 feet during the day or 65 feet during the night.
- Infrared flash comes with 24LEDs and has a range up to 20m. The sound recording range is also said to be similar.
- The lens comes with an auto IR filter, a 5MP image sensor, and a 0.25 CMOS sensor.
- The auto IR filter makes this trail camera ideal shooting images and videos at night without disturbing animals.
- Ideal for surveillance and security as well.
- It supports multiple modes like Photo, Video, and Photo+Video and functions like time stamp, time lapse, 3 pics burst, and interval recording.
- It is powered by 8 AA types batteries, with a standby time up to 6 months and supports SD/ SDHC cards for storage up to 32GB.
- This camera is rated IP66 waterproof and dustproof.
- It also supports Wi-Fi and comes with a USB cable, wall mount, tree strap and a carry case.
- 1080P HD videos with great sound quality
- 24 black infrared LEDs which don’t spook animals
- Supports 6V DC external power
- Wide 90-degree detection angle
- 2.4″ built-in LCD display
- IP66 waterproof. Works from -4°F to 140°F
- Highly sensitive, sometimes takes pictures without any visible object
- Moultrie A-Series Game Cameras are available in 3 basic variants namely A-30, A-30i and the A-35.
- Both A-30 and A-30i come with a 12MP image sensor, whereas A-35 comes with a 14MP camera.
- All three variants are capable of recording videos up to 720p resolution and come with an inbuilt LCD display.
- The A-30 has 24 LEDs for a 70 feet nighttime infrared range.
- A-30i has 32 LEDs for a 60 feet invisible illumination range.
- A-35 has 32 LEDs for an 80 feet long range of nighttime illumination.
- The trigger speed for all three variants is same at 0.7 seconds.
- All three variants support SD card up to 32GB for storage and come with a power port for an optional external power source.
- All three variants are reliable, durable and sturdy.
- The infrared system is known to work under night and harsh climatic conditions.
- Power packed LEDs for a long-range flash
- High-quality photos and videos
- Power port for external power option
- Multiple modes and functions
- 2-year warranty
- No audio recording with videos
- HC200 trail camera captures high-quality 12MP images and 1080P HD resolution videos.
- It captures colored photos during the daytime and B&W images at night.
- It has a fast trigger speed of 0.5 seconds, trigger distance up to 20m and captures up to 3 images per detection.
- Comes with a full auto IR technology and 24 low-glow black LEDs, which don’t produce bright flashlight at night.
- Multiple recording modes, including Time-Lapse, Interval Recording, Password Protection, Timer, Low Battery Alarm and Time Stamp.
- It has an inbuilt 2.4″ LCD display which allows you to check out photos and videos clearly.
- Comes in an IP66 rated housing which is considered water-proof, drop-proof and dust-proof.
- Ideal for extensive outdoor applications, such as property surveillance, home security, and wildlife monitoring.
- It is a surveillance and wildlife trail camera which comes with PIR sensor.
- This PIR sensor is able to detect any changes to the temperature within the detection range.
- Suitable for finding animals, recording moving objects, or monitoring private premises.
- High-quality image and video resolution
- Amazingly fast trigger speed
- 24 Pcs low-glow black LEDs, which don’s produce a bright flash
- IP66 rated housing and protection
- Inbuilt 2.4″ LCD display
- Some users have reported issues with motion detection
- Bushnell trophy cam is a high-quality trail camera which provides exceptional reliability and performance.
- It comes with excellent features, such as high-resolution 12MP images, 720P HD quality videos and a lightning-fast trigger speed of 0.3 seconds.
- Hyper night vision technology captures bright and crisp images at night.
- Bushnell’s night vision system is a quantum leap in brightness and range, which captures sharp after-dark images.
- Comes with multiple functions, such as time stamp where each image gets stamped with date, day, temperature and moon phase automatically at the time of capture.
- Also comes with a time-lapse function which snaps images automatically at preset intervals ranging from one minute to sixty minutes.
- It also allows you to program video recording length from five seconds to sixty seconds.
- High-quality 3MP, 8MP or 12MP full resolution images
- Lightning fast trigger speed of 0.3 seconds
- Single set of Batteries last up to 12 months
- Infrared and motion detection range up to 80 feet
- Wide viewing area
- Some users have experienced overexposed images
- The Xikezan trail camera comes with an inbuilt 3 zone IR sensor for an exceptionally wide 120° detection angle.
- It captures sharp 12MP colorful images during the day and clear B&W photos at night.
- It can also record 1080P HD quality videos with crystal clear sound.
- Comes with multiple functions and capture modes to meet different needs and requirements.
- You can set up this camera to either shoot images or videos.
- Then there is a Hybrid mode which allows this camera to capture images and record videos.
- Under the Hybrid mode, it will first capture images, then record videos and then capture images and again record videos repeatedly.
- It also has different functions, such as time stamp and time lapse.
- Xikezan trail camera measures only 5.2×3.5×2.9 inches, which makes it one of the most compact and portable trail cameras on the market.
- It comes with a 2.4″ LCD display, which allows you to preview in real-time.
- Requires an SD/ SDHC card up to 32GBs and 8x AA batteries to work.
- Comes with an external 6V port for optional external power supply.
- 120°wide detection angle
- High-resolution 12MP images and HD quality videos
- Fast trigger speed of 0.2 to 1-second
- One of the most compact and portable trail cameras
- Built-in 2.4″ LCD display for real-time preview
- It has an IP54 protection as compared to IP66
Conclusion: Best Trail Camera For The Money 2018
Here is our list of 6 Best Trail Cameras for the Money:
- APEMAN Trail Camera (Best Trail Cam for the Money)
- X-Lounger Trail Camera (Runner Up)
- Moultrie A-Series
- HC200 Trail Camera
- Bushnell Trophy Cam
- XIKEZAN Trail Camera
APEMAN Trail Camera is no doubt the best trail camera for the money as per our reviews. It comes with all essential features that I look for in a trail camera, such as high-quality images, videos and sound recording, invisible 940nm infrared flash, the IP66 rating which makes with waterproof and dustproof, and a fast 0.5 seconds trigger speed. At times, I have experienced trigger speed to be even faster than 0.5 seconds. It also comes with multiple functions like Time Stamp, Interval Recording, Timer and Realtime Replay.
Further Reading: Best Trail Camera Under 100