Trail cameras have come a long way in recent years. Many hunting outfitters manufacture wireless trail cameras, which can function on both Wi-Fi and GSM networks. There are many advantages to using a wireless trail camera, and below we will review four of the best wireless trail cameras available on the market today.
Wireless Trail Cameras vs. Cellular Trail Cameras
One of the benefits of living in the 21st century is that we hunters have so much advanced technology at our fingertips. Trail cameras have come a long way in recent years, and many hunters now use wireless trail cameras and/or cellular trail cameras. What do these terms mean, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of each type of trail camera?
Wireless Trail Cameras
Wireless trail cameras transmit signals and information via Wi-Fi networks or radio frequencies.
Wireless trail cameras use Wi-Fi so there is no need for you to purchase a cell phone plan. Additionally, users with multiple trail cameras can often link multiple units together wirelessly. This allows you to transmit photos and videos from one camera to another and then back to you.
- Wireless trail cameras require a lot of juice to stay connected to the Wi-Fi network. This can hamper the amount of time the camera stays operational before the batteries need to be replaced (think about how much longer your laptop can remained powered on when it’s connected to an Ethernet cable as opposed to when it’s strictly using Wi-Fi). For this reason, you might want to consider wireless trail cameras that have external battery jacks or use solar power sources.
- Another disadvantage is the limited range, especially if you’re only using one camera. Wi-Fi signals cannot travel very far and the connectivity could be further reduced by bad weather or difficult landscapes.
Cellular Trail Cameras
Cellular trail cameras operate using a wireless telecommunication provider’s service.
- You can use a cellular trail camera anywhere that has decent cell phone reception (two to three “bars” is recommended). The batteries used in cellular game cameras tend to last longer, with some manufacturers rating battery life at up to 12 months.
- Trail cameras operating on a cellular network also allow the user to receive notifications, photos and videos virtually instantly. This is extremely helpful when using trail cameras for home surveillance or trying to figure out the location of a specific buck.
- Contrary to popular belief, your personal cell phone provider doesn’t have to be the same as the provider used by the camera itself. This means that if your cell phone is AT&T based, for example, you can still use a cellular trail camera that works on the Verizon network.
Cellular trail cameras require you to pay a monthly subscription to be useful – otherwise it’s just a standard camera. You’ll also need to insert a SIM card (similar to the one implanted in your cell phone) for the device to work properly. You can buy plans for as little as $10, but you should consider how many photos and videos you expect to receive when choosing the proper cellular game camera plan.
Which Type of Trail Camera is Better?
Wireless trail cameras are best in short-range situations. If you want to keep an eye on your back door while you’re home then wireless could be the way to go. Many people prefer cellular trail cameras, however, because they enable you to receive instant notification when something triggers the camera. They don’t have to be extremely close to your current position to work, and the subscriptions are reasonably priced. If you’re in the market for a cellular trail camera, we recommend you consider models like the Covert Special Ops Code Black, the Bushnell 8MP Trophy Cam, and the Reconyx SC950C.
Top 4 Cellular & Wireless Trail Cameras
- Read More: Top 7 Cheap Trail Camera Reviews 2017
There are dozens of wireless trail cameras available, but not all of them meet the common needs of trackers and hunters. Below, you’ll find the top four best wireless trail camera reviews.
Bushnell 8MP Trophy Cam HD
Bushnell does not disappoint with this wireless trail camera. It has an 8-megapixel camera and records high-definition videos in 720P quality. The camera’s 32-piece infrared LED system allows you to spot and capture targets from up to 60 feet away. It offers time lapse mode, and all photos/recordings can be stamped with the date, time, temperature, and moon phase. The Bushnell 8MP HD Trophy Cam is designed to operate for up to six months on a single set of batteries.
This weatherproof game camera also has advanced wireless capabilities. It’s equipped with wireless connectivity right out of the box and uses a SIM card in combination with a data package. You can transfer your images and videos from the camera directly to your iPhone or Android using a free app, and you can manage your settings (e.g. trigger interval, filming mode) directly from your smart phone, tablet or computer.
Spartan HD GoCam 3G Wireless
You aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover, but the sleek, compact, camouflage design of this camera is fitting considering how advanced it is on the inside. The camera has an adjustable resolution setting that goes all the way up to 8 megapixels, and the video capabilities are an astounding 720P. Thanks to the full blackout flash feature, you can count on photos and videos taken at night to be bright and clear as the infrared LEDs work for up to 60 feet.
The trigger speed for this model is less than one second, and you have the option of stamping the date, time, moon phase, temperature and battery level on all photos and videos. This game camera also has an SD Overwrite feature, allowing you to replace the oldest photo saved with the newest.
You can adjust the duty periods, time lapse settings and trigger intervals remotely using the camera’s wireless capabilities, and you can even choose to encrypt information sent to and from the device using AES 256 encryption. This wireless trail camera uses affordable data plans supplied by Verizon Wireless and no SIM card is required.
Covert Special Ops Code Black 3G 60-LED Wireless
This well-designed trail camera captures 8-megapixel quality photos (also adjustable to 3 and 5 megapixels) with a 1.2 second trigger speed and sends them directly to your computer or smart phone. It has a detection range of 90 feet and its 60 invisible flash LEDs illuminate objects up to 60 feet away during the night. This camera is also known for having a wide field of vision.
This camera works on AT&T’s 3G network so it can send you text messages or emails with pictures attached. The pictures arrive in 640 x 480 resolution so you can clearly see what’s happening at the trail camera’s location within one minute of the photo being taken.
The camera is powered by 12 AA batteries that can last for months, and you also have the option of connecting an external solar power source. It’s compatible with SD (memory) cards of up to 32 megabytes, which means you can save around 3,000 photos before having to replace the card or download and delete photos.
Amcrest ATC-1202W 1080P HD Wireless
Amcrest didn’t cut any corners when designing the ATC-1202W wireless trail camera. It has a crystal-clear 12-megapixel camera and the ability to record videos in 1080P quality (the same clarity as many televisions). It has a 0.7 second trigger speed and can detect movement from up to 65 feet away. It also has a 100-degree field of vision, a number that dwarfs the field of vision of many other similarly-priced cameras.
The ATC-1202W operates on either 4 or 8 AA batteries (it’s up to your discretion based on how long you plan to use the camera) and is compatible with memory cards of up to 32 megabytes. In addition to its small frame and camouflage design it also has a 2” LCD screen to make it easier for you to view pictures and adjust the settings.
Speaking of settings, this camera has no shortage of them. It has various trigger modes, adjustable video lengths, rapid-fire capability, a delay timer, and the ability to take periodic shots. The infrared motion sensor is also adjustable, and even though this camera comes with a bungee cord it also works with a variety of other cords and mounts.
Which Unit Should You Choose?
If you need pictures of the highest quality to track specific targets, the Amcrest camera has the highest-quality resolution. It’s also the most customizable camera, and the only issue with this model is that it works on the now-outdated 2G network.
The Covert Special Ops Code Black game camera is ideal for nighttime photo-taking, especially if you want to see the results immediately because photos will be transferred directly to you via email or text. While this camera has great photo-taking abilities, however, some users have found it may not be the best choice if you need to record clear videos.
The Spartan GoCam is a solid all-around trail camera. It has respectable picture and video quality, admirable nighttime vision capabilities, it’s well-designed and it works on an encrypted wireless network. It also has a lot of programmable settings so you can customize the way it works for you.
The Bushnell Trophy Cam is also a great camera for beginners and old-timers alike. It takes high-quality photos and videos, has a good storage capacity, and many of the settings can be toggled to your preference. We also really like the fact that Bushnell created a smart phone app for this camera so you can view pictures, watch videos, and adjust the game camera’s settings all from the comfort of your home.
Wireless trail cameras are the future of the tracking and hunting industries. We hope you have found our information and reviews to be helpful, and we’d love to hear about your experiences using the aforementioned trail cameras. Happy hunting!