Top 10 trail cameras

Updated July 20, 2017

A trail camera is a weatherproof device consisting of a camera, motion detector, and flash. Trail cameras attach to trees in hunting grounds where wild game live, and are used to monitor animal travel patterns so hunters know where and when to hunt. The best trail cameras combine wide motion detection ranges with fast triggers and powerful features.

Reconyx RM45

This camera sports a 1/10-second trigger time (the time between detection and image capture), making it one of the fastest cameras on the list. Because detection zone nearly matches the camera's field of the view, tests show that the camera can capture a subject almost the instant it enters the frame. Its consistency at distances up to 80 feet make it one of the best trail cameras available.

Spypoint Pro-X

In the Shootout (a side-by-side performance comparison), the Spypoint Pro-X came in second place, beating out other established cameras. Fifty feet seems to be its best range, capturing the most images with its fast trigger speed and generous detection zone.

Scoutguard SG550

This might be a tough camera to get your hands on, but it could be the right camera for you. The camera's sweet spot - the range in which it captured the most images - is in the 20-to-50 foot range.

Bushnell Trophy Cam

The Trophy Cam has a shorter detection range than many cameras, but what it lacks in distance, it makes up for in detection zone width and pricetag. Trigger time is marginal at just over 1 second, but it has a battery life of 4-to-6 months.

Leaf River IR-7SS

This camera boasts a 1.5-second trigger time, good for a camera in this price range. Lots of buttons and features make the camera confusing, but it comes with a helpful instruction manual. The camera uses seven megapixels for big, clear images, and it has a wide detection zone.

Wildview Extreme 5

The Wildview Extreme 5 has a slow trigger time of 4 seconds, but makes up for that with a wide detection zone. It's most effective in the 20-to-50-foot range.

Predator Xtinction

This camera features an invisible flash with a 30-foot range, or a visible infrared flash that extends the range to 40 feet. The camera boasts a fast 1/2-second trigger and five-image-per-trigger burst mode.

Stealth Cam Sniper

This camera performed admirably at 40 feet, capturing 6 images per trigger, but performance dropped off at longer distances. At five megapixels, images are less crisp than other cameras. Video resolution tops out at 540-by-480 pixels, which is nearly standard definition video.

Cuddeback Capture

On the value end of the spectrum, the Cuddeback Capture fits the bill. Working at distances up to 40 feet, the Capture has a narrow detection zone with a fast trigger.

Moultrie I45

Time, temperature, moon phase, date, and photo ID information marked on every frame make this camera an eye-catcher. The infrared LED flash is virtually invisible, and improvements to the SD memory card slot make this camera a bargain.

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About the Author

Aaron King is an award-winning media production specialist with more than 15 years of experience in video, television and new media. An experienced, published writer, King runs a travel and adventure blog, a video production blog and the official blog of a microbrewery. He holds a B.A. from Marist College.