Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or looking for some extra security, a trail camera is a must-have piece of gear. The model I rely on is the Vikeri E2. As a wildlife photographer, this camera allows me to see where animals are traveling day or night, and produces crisp 1080p footage. The Vikeri isn’t the only trail camera I swear by. Read on to learn about this year’s best trail cameras.
Best overall: Vikeri E2 trail camera
Animals do much of their roaming after the sunsets. Most trail cameras take decent daytime photos and videos, but capturing movement after dark is another story. The Vikeri E2 excels at grabbing high-quality stills and video in the pitch black of night and during daylight hours.
With a 120 degree wide-angle lens and 48 PCS no glow infrared LEDs, you get a broad of the environment without letting animals know you’re capturing the action. This trail cam also makes an excellent security camera. The 16MP images that come out of the Vikeri E2 are clear as can be, day or night, and the 1080p video is never grainy, shaky, or challenging to make out. The lenses detect action and trigger the E2 in 0.2 seconds.
On the back, there’s a 2.4-inch color LCD for replaying footage while in the field. My only complaint is with the LCD. It shows footage in all its glory, but it’s not really big enough to display the finer details. For that, you’ll need to pull the SD card and pop it in your computer or tablet.
The housing on the E2 is tough enough to withstand adverse weather, and it’s a camo print that blends in with trees and foliage. This kit comes with the trail cam, a 32GB memory card, and batteries to get you up and running.
- 48 PCS no glow LEDs
- Clear stills and video
- 120-degree viewing range
- 2.4″ LCD
- Blends in with surroundings
- Screen doesn’t show much detail
Best night vision: GardePro A3
If seeing things after dark is on your list of needs, you’re going to love GardePro A3. The distance and clarity from the A3 are exceptional, making it one of the best trail cameras of the year. After sunset, video and stills are crisp, clear, and perfectly balanced with the A3’s SONY Starvis CMOS sensor. The large aperture lens doesn’t miss a beat during the day or at night.
The GardePro A3 records at a speedy 30fps. Both sound and video footage are smooth. The trigger speed is a quick 0.1 seconds, so you can rest assured you’ll never miss a shot with this 20MP trail cam. The A3 has an IP66 waterproof rating and operates well in extreme temperatures.
The A3 takes eight AA batteries and a standard SD card. If you place this trail camera in an area that gets a lot of action, be prepared to change the batteries often. For most, this is the best night vision trail camera, and it works just as well as a security camera or in the woods.
- 20MP camera
- Infrared night vision
- 0.1 second trigger
Best cellular trail camera: Creative XP 4G Cellular
When you need a camera that will take images hundreds of miles from home and email or text the action to you as it’s happening, you want the Creative XP. Other game cameras require you to insert a memory card and then return to the camera to retrieve the images. The Creative XP has 4G LTE, which gives it the upper hand at delivering photos to your cell or computer in real time.
The Creative XP 4G is water and snowproof so that it can stay up year-round. The trigger actives in less than half a second and shoots up to five photos per trigger, so in addition to being a stealthy hunting camera, it also excels at doing home security. This setup is powered by batteries or a solar panel, a plus for those who leave the camera in the woods far away from home and don’t want to return to change out the batteries.
You’ll need a data plan to take advantage of the cellular capabilities with this model. The starter kit includes one free SIMHERO card for AT&T or T-Mobile, and additional cards are available for purchase. You are not required to broadcast footage via 4G. You can store photos and videos on the included memory card, instead, if you like. If you’re an avid hunter who doesn’t want to leave a human scent near a tree stand, the Creative XP’s 4G LTE can’t be beaten!
- Cellular connectivity
- Battery and solar-powered
- 1080p video
- 12MP stills
- 4G footage requires an AT&T or T-Mobile data plan
- No Wi-Fi option
Easiest to use: Browning Strike Force Extreme
The Browning Strike Force Extreme bundle is an affordable kit that includes a memory card and a card reader. The trigger speed on the camera is adjustable. That’s a helpful feature for those who move their trail cam from location to location to capture everything that moves.
Brownings’ Zero Blur Technology is built into this camera, meaning it consistently takes high-quality 16MP photos without motion blur. The detection range is 80-feet, so you’ll be able to see game animals near to the camera or far away. Each image is stamped with the date and time, a plus for hunters.
Daytime photos are crisp as can be, but videos are a tad grainy at night. You can still clearly make out what in front of the camera, but with HD baked in, we expected better. If nighttime video isn’t on your must-have list, this is a trusty little camera that’s easy to set up and use, and it comes from a reliable brand.
- 16MP photos
- Captures are blur-free
- Adjustable trigger
- A few extras included
Best entry level: Bushnell Trophy
The Bushnell Trophy trail camera has a 20MP sensor and produces clean video and stills. With 80-foot PIR sensors and an 80-foot night vision flash, you can capture movement during the day or in the dark.
The Bushnell Trophy logs the date, time, and even temperature, so you can accurately track when wildlife is present. This kit comes with an adjustable web belt and cam buckle for securing the camera to a tree, post, or another object.
The only downside is the 720p output, which feels a bit dated. Still, the optics are solid, and the video and pictures are clean and clear, thanks to the 20MP resolution. The LCD on this model is tiny, so be prepared to view most footage on a computer or phone via the memory card. For most, this is a good trail cam that will serve you well.
- Night vision flash
- All hardware included
- Clear display
And the best trail cameras is …
The best binoculars bring things up close and personal, but they don’t operate on their own. Trail cameras do the hard work while you’re far away.
The trail camera you choose should be able to snap high-resolution stills and clear videos no matter what time of day. Since many animals roam at night, it’s critical to invest in a model that can meet the challenges of low-light shooting. My favorite trail camera, the Vikeri E2 outmatches any other unit on the market today.
With 16 megapixels, 1080p video, a wide-angle lens, and a 120-degree viewing range, you’re guaranteed sharp photos and rock steady video from the E2. When motion is detected, the fast trigger never misses a shot, and it’s quick to stop recording when activity disappears from view, saving battery life. We love the night vision. After dark stills and videos are clear and detailed, even in bad weather.
My one gripe is that the 2.4-inch LCD is too small to display fine details. You can see them, but you’ll need to remove the memory card and view it on a laptop or tablet. For wildlife viewing, scouting, and home security, it’s a no-brainer to invest in the Vikeri E2. The camera comes with a memory card, batteries, and all the hardware required for installation.
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Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Jodi Owan is a seasoned wildlife photographer who relies on trail cameras for a living. Find her on Instagram and her website.
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