Last Updated on March 1, 2021
Our goal is to evaluate the features that matter the most on a trail camera. We have ten high-end units available here, each costing under $100.
We’ve spent a lot of time testing the market, evaluating important factors such as accuracy, image quality, battery life, durability, and more.
If you want the best camera you can get your hands on, this is a great way to get it. Take a few minutes to read our trail camera reviews and decide on the perfect product for your purposes.
|Best Overall||TOGUARD 1080P||
|Campark T45 1080P||
|Stealth Cam 8MP 30IR||
The TOGUARD 14MP is an affordable, rugged camera that’s designed to stand up against wear and tear, as well as the elements. It’s waterproof, so you can leave it out long-term without worry.
It also features a wide-angle lens that gives you the best view possible. This is facilitated by a 1080P resolution that keeps the image quality high.
Average users will appreciate that this camera is made to be easy to use. It has a mounting harness that will naturally fit most surfaces you encounter on the trail, and the controls themselves are very straightforward. You don’t have to take a photography class to make good use of the camera. It will serve basic scouting purposes quite well in virtually any setting. You can even get your money back at any point during the first forty-five days if you aren’t happy with your purchase.
The one issue to look out for is false triggering. The sensors that tell the camera to start shooting are very sensitive. This means a sharp wind gust could potentially trigger it.
For many, too sensitive is better than not sensitive enough, but this is still frustrating.
However, this is still one of the best budget trail cameras of 2020.
The Campark T45’s fast-acting motion detector is able to capture images .3 seconds after noticing motion. Thanks to keen night vision, this feature can be accessed at any time and can go months without a new charge.
This is thanks to a low consumption power mode that burns virtually no battery whatsoever except when taking images.
As the last unit, it’s also waterproof, dustproof, and drop-proof, and it’s very easy to use.
If you weren’t sold on our top pick, this is a great alternative for your consideration. There are, however, a couple of things to be wary of. The image quality isn’t as high. Granted, trail cameras don’t need to shoot 4K video necessarily, but clarity is always ideal when you can get it.
The harnessing latch also has some durability concerns. It tends to snap easily, so you may need to replace it sooner than expected.
On a list of value picks, the Victure still manages to stand out as an affordable option for budget buyers. This camera uses infrared technology to shoot high-quality footage day or night.
You also get a lot out of the sensors. They’re able to respond to motion in .5 seconds, so you won’t need to worry about many false alarms.
Three working modes mean you get versatility out of the Victure as well. It can shoot video, take a single photograph, or both.
It is a challenge to use. Setup will take a while, and you may struggle to navigate the settings and modes for some time.
Customer service won’t be much help either. According to buyers, the company is challenging to work with, so any questions or problems you encounter will need to be worked out on your own.
None of these factors are ideal, but for the money, they may be worth accepting.
A massive memory capacity does the Stealth Cam 8MP 30IR well. Thanks to the capacity to work with a 32-gigabyte memory card, you can record for up to 180 seconds at a time, and store many videos as needed.
You do need to buy the card separately, which is quite pricey at that storage size, but if you need a large memory it will be well worth it.
The strong sensors have an 80-foot range and a .5 second response time that makes the camera about as responsive as you can hope to get in equipment at this price range.
The sensors are overly sensitive. You may find yourself with a lot of empty frames. It’s also hard to work with, and oddly enough, it shoots better video at night than during the day.
It works well, but as far as value is concerned, you could spend similar money to get more with our best for the money pick.
The APEMAN Trail Camera 20MP 1080P is one of the fastest cameras on this list. The sensors are able to activate in .3 seconds (as opposed to the .5 most units boast). When in the territory of fractions of a second, marginal improvements don’t mean a ton, but they can still be the difference in making or missing your shot.
The 20MP resolution means that whatever image those fast sensors pick up, it will be crystal-clear. The HD photos produced by this camera give you a distinct view of whatever wildlife you’re trying to capture.
It even has a built-in LCD screen for instant viewing of your photographs. You do pay a little more for these high-quality features. This is one of the pricier options here, which won’t do well for people trying to stay well south of $100.
It also doesn’t do so well with night-time photos, which could be disqualifying depending on your need for the camera.
The Foxelli 14MP 1080P has a durable waterproof body, and a medium-resolution 14MP camera that still keeps it competitive with the image quality of most cellphones.
You get a 65-foot range of vision even at night, and it comes with the standard .5 second sensor activation time so you won’t miss anything.
The 2.4-inch LCD screen makes it easy to instantly view your photos on the device itself, so you don’t need to wait to see what you captured.
One of the best things about this camera, however, is how energy-efficient it is. The manufacturer describes the camera as a “set it up and forget it” tool, which is apt. It can run for up to eight months on basic double AA batteries.
The low maintenance makes it great for a variety of users. There are a few points of concern, however. As mentioned earlier, the camera isn’t as high-quality as others on the list.
The LCD screen is also hard to view. The size and quality of the screen keeps the images blurry, which minimizes the utility of this otherwise very handy feature.
The Moultrie A-40 scales back some of the high-end features we’ve seen on other cameras. It’s certainly not all bad. It has a large memory capacity and a high-quality battery that allows 17,000 images to be taken on just one set of batteries.
It also features an intuitive backlit interface that makes the unit easy to control and set up to your ideal specifications.
It loses ground in the department of image quality and responsiveness. The images you get out of this camera are only so-so, and the sensors aren’t as quick as the others. They have a .7 response time, compared to the .5 second or better responsiveness that we’ve seen in the other cameras. This isn’t
a dealbreaker by any means, but it’s somewhat disappointing all the same.
The camera’s interface is outstanding, but the actual image quality could use some tweaking.
The Browning Trail Cameras Command Ops Pro Camera has microphones that allow sound recording. The utility of this feature will naturally depend on your intentions, but it’s handy to have regardless, especially given how often this component is overlooked in the world of trail cameras.
The other features are mostly standard: a durable build, .5 second sensors, and a 14MP resolution. The image quality itself struggles, and the mounting straps are somewhat fragile, which can cause problems over time.
The camera also takes many “blank” photos, which can be irritating.
The Wildgame Innovations Cloak Hunting Game Trail Camera is a low-cost camera that’s good for buyers looking to spend as little as possible. The unit also has a reliable six-month battery that makes it fairly low-maintenance.
That said, the image quality you get with the Wildgame is very low compared to most of the other options on our list. It’s an 8 MP camera, which is a good deal less than even the camera on your phone. During the day the image quality is mediocre, and at night it’s virtually non-existent.
The straps are also very small, which makes it hard to attach it to trees or other thick surfaces.
We end with a more basic unit. On its own merits, the WOSPORTS Trail Camera Hunting Game Camera looks fine, but relative to the rest of our picks it doesn’t stack up well.
The best thing it has going for it is its price tag. This is one of the most affordable cameras on our list, but there are tradeoffs. The camera quality is not very good, the sensors are poor and take many “blank” photos, and the body feels cheap relative to the other options.
Related guides: Here’s how to prevent your trail camera from getting stolen.
Here are a few short considerations that may help make your decision a little easier.
The megapixels are what ultimately have the biggest effect on your image quality. The more megapixels you can get, the better your pictures will look.
Twelve megapixels is likely the very least you’ll want to settle for if image quality matters to you. That’s roughly the quality of a phone camera, which serves as a good baseline for the results you can expect to get.
Ruggedness is important because trail cameras, by definition, spend an enormous amount of time outside.
You’ll want something with a sturdy build, and a dust/moisture seal.
Long battery life is very convenient and will save you money over time. The average camera will take four to eight pricey batteries. Long battery life may pay for itself over several years of use.
Anything between six months to one year will be great if you can get it.
Where are you mounting the camera? A twig, a branch, a fence post, a tree? You’ll want the mounting straps to suit a range of different circumstances. The more adjustable the straps, the more freedom you’ll have with your camera.
Other price ranges we’ve reviewed:
Ideally, our trail camera reviews have made it clear which of these products is right for you. We’ve looked at ten great cameras. With that many options, it can be hard to settle on just one. We truly hope that you find the best cheap trail camera that will live up to your needs.
If you still need a little more help, we do have a final recommendation for you. Our top pick, the TOGUARD 14MP 1080P Trail Game Camera, features high-quality images and fantastic sensors that will help ensure you have a pleasing experience.
You know a ton about trail cameras now, so hopefully, you won’t have any trouble deciding for yourself.
Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.
10 Best Vortex Scopes for AR 15 in 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks
5 Best Spotting Scopes with Reticles in 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks
6 Best Scopes for AK47 in 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks
7 Best Budget Night Vision Goggles in 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks
Falcon vs. Hawk: What Are the Differences?
Buying a Trail Camera You’ll Love: 8 Features to Look For
15 Types of Hawks in the United States
5 Planets That are Visible Without a Telescope (2021 Guide)