Whether you are scouting, keeping an eye on your food plot or protecting your property from trespassers trail camera is no longer a fad but a regular part of many hunters’ toolbox. But if you are looking to purchase your first trail cam doing so can be confusing and likely to result in getting a unit you are unhappy with. Before you make what could be a sizable investment check out these tips on selecting the right unit for you.
Top 10 Best Trail Cameras For The Money 2017 – 2018
Last update on 2018-12-15 at 06:15 / Affiliate disclosure / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Flash type – available in either white or infrared and with either a red glow or no glow night option. White and red glow are similar to traditional camera flashes, while infrared and no glow were developed for surveillance cameras. White and red glow produce a visible light when operating and will be seen by humans when triggered. Infrared and no glow on the other hand do not produce a visible light even at night.
Cellular or SD Card – all modern trail cams utilize an SD card to store pictures and video. A growing number of models also allow pictures to be transmitted as either a text message or email via cellular service. Cellular enabled trail cams are all the rage but do have limitations. First, you need moderate to good cellular service in the areas cams are deployed. Second, there will be a monthly service charge. Third, not all cellular companies offer service and not every camera will work with your preferred carrier.
What do I recommend?
If I were purchasing a trail camera today I would select a model with the following features:
- Infrared, red glow flash – while it may be visible to humans it will also provide the best quality pictures both day (color) and nighttime (black & white).
- SD card with remote viewer – personally I am torn on the use of cellular enabled cameras. While it is a hand feature there are too many drawbacks, not the least of which is the monthly fees and limited service where I hunt. Instead I recommend a unit which incorporates both an SD card and remote viewer. This remote viewer is a smaller unit containing both an SD card and view screen which uses a self-contained Wi-Fi signal to allow several units to transmit pictures to one central location without the need for expensive cellular service. This allows you to check pictures without actually approaching each camera. Range is generally 500 yds. or more depending on terrain.
- Security – regardless of the unit you select it is likely to be a big investment and may present a tempting target for thieves. I recommend purchasing a unit which includes a lockable mounting box. More expensive units may also offer GPS tracking, similar to that available for lost cellular phones, a nice feature to have if you will not be able to control who might enter the area where cameras are located.
Go ahead; give a trail camera a shot!