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Best trail cameras in 2021: Top camera traps for wildlife

Best trail cameras
(Image credit: Bushnell)

The best trail cameras can allow you to get spectacular candid shots of wildlife. Also known as game cameras or remote cameras, they are specifically designed to be used remotely so the photographer can avoid disturbing wildlife.

As well as being used to capture animals and other wildlife, some people also use trail cams for security. The best trail cameras are typically waterproof, durable and shoot both video and still images. They're also usually camouflaged, or finished in a plain earth tone, allowing them to blend into a natural background and go unseen by potential subjects. From that foundation, there are many different additional features to look out for when deciding which of the best trail cameras suits your needs. They offer different lighting ranges and image qualities, and some offer solar power and provide cellular connection for remote viewing. 

If you're looking for a different type of camera, check our guide to the best camera for creatives, and if you're just starting out, see our roundup of the best cameras for beginners. Meanwhile, read on for our guide to the best trail cameras available now. Note: there are currently some issues with stock so we have ordered the cameras in this list to reflect the shortage. Most models appear to be coming back into stock in late May.

The best trail cameras available

Best trail cameras: Stealthcam DS4K

(Image credit: Stealthcam)

01. Stealth Cam DS4K

The best high-end trail camera

Still resolution: 30MP | Video resolution: 4K (3840x2160 pixels) | Video length: Up to 180 seconds | Data storage: SD or SDHC up to 32GB | Night vision: Yes (via infrared) | Audio recording: Yes | LCD: Yes | Power: 12x AA batteries

30MP stills
4K Video
More expensive
Runs on 12 AA batteries

The Stealth Cam DS4K is a trail camera that doesn't compromise on image quality. With a huge world-first 4K video recording resolution and 30MP stills, it allows photographers to capture more than ever. Its hybrid shooter, capturing video footage and still photos simultaneously when desired, and it works well in low light thanks to its Retina Low Light sensitivity. 

At 0.4 seconds, the trigger time is pretty fast, and the built-in No Glo infrared lights offer a 100ft flash range, making this overall a spectacular trail camera for capturing difficult subjects.

Best trail cameras: Bushnell Low GlowCB endorsed

(Image credit: Bushnell)

02. Bushnell Core DS Low Glow

A more affordable Bushnell Core DS that still packs a punch

Still resolution: 30MP | Video resolution: 1080p at 60fps | Video length: Up to 60 seconds | Data storage: SD or SDHC up to 32GB | Night vision: Yes (up to 80ft) | Audio recording: Yes | LCD: Yes | Power: 8x AA batteries

High resolution stills
Long night vision
Not wireless
Only AA battery power

The more affordable Bushnell Core DS Low Glow Trail Camera is virtually identical to the No Glow model in specs for video and stills. It comes with all the tech offered by its big brother (dual image sensor technology and high-resolution stills with full HD video). 

The difference is all in the lighting. The Low Glow's lighting is brighter than the more expensive No Glow, so the camera may be noticed by some wildlife, and by any people passing by. However, a lower cost for the same quality of photography and video means this is still one of the best trail cameras around.

Best trail cameras: Spypoint Link S

(Image credit: Spypoint)

The best trail camera with cellular connection

Still resolution: 12MP | Video resolution: 1280x720p | Video length: Up to 90 seconds | Data storage: SD or SDHC up to 32GB | Night vision: Yes (using low-glow LEDs) | Audio recording: Yes | LCD: 2-inch color LCD | Power: Solar, rechargeable lithium ion, or 8x AA batteries

Transmits photos over 4G LTE mobile network
Solar powered
Rechargeable Li-ion battery
Monthly cost for cellular use

This Skypoint trail camera adds another welcome feature for those that want to review footage remotely on their phone or another device. On top of its rechargeable lithium-ion battery, the Skypoint Link-S also boasts cellular technology that allows the camera to connect straight to the Skypoint app on your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. 

With potentially unlimited battery time and no need to visit the camera to download stills and videos from the memory card, this is one of the best trail cameras for more remote locations or areas where you want to avoid disturbing timid wildlife. It also has distance detection of up to 100ft. It shoots colour in the day and infrared at night.

Best trail cameras: Bushnell No GlowCB

(Image credit: Bushnell)

04. Bushnell Core DS No Glow

The best Trail Camera overall

Still resolution: 30MP | Video resolution: 1080p at 60fps | Video length: Up to 60 seconds | Data storage: SD or SDHC up to 32GB | Night vision: Yes (up to 80ft) | Audio recording: Yes | LCD: Yes | Power: 8x AA batteries

Waterproof body
Two image sensors 
Nearly invisible lighting
Only AA battery power
No wireless connection

One of the challenges of remote trail cam recording is the ability to capture decent footage in both bright daylight and the dark of night. Bushnell helps resolve that by giving this trail camera two image sensors rather than one. the first is optimised for daytime use and the other for use at night. Together with the Bushnell Core DS No Glow Trail Camera's 'nearly invisible' LED lights, this makes it easier to capture shots of even the most timid of wildlife. 

This trail camera captures incredible stills detail at 30MP and shoots smooth full HD video at 60fps. The camera triggers in a stunningly fast 0.2 seconds, so you shouldn't miss the opportunity for a shot when one arises. It boasts a solid construction designed to withstand hot and cold temperatures alike, and the camera's 'no glow' lighting makes it harder to find, keeping the device safer from potential thieves. All in all, this is one of the best trail cameras around.

Best trail cameras: Bushnell Prime No GlowCB endorsed

(Image credit: Bushnell)

05. Bushnell Prime Low Glow Trail Camera

Another solid Bushnell trail camera for those on a lower budget

Still resolution: 24MP | Video resolution: 1080p at 60fps | Video length: Up to 60 seconds | Data storage: SD or SDHC up to 32GB | Night vision: Yes (up to 80ft) | Audio recording: Yes | LCD: Yes | Power: 6x AA batteries

High resolution video 
Fast trigger speed
Cheapest of Bushnell line-up
1 sec recovery time
No wireless connectivity
Not currently available 

If your budget is too tight to stretch to either of the cameras above, the Bushnell Prime 24MP Low-Glow Trail Camera is another strong model from the same brand. It offers full HD video recording and 24MP stills. With the addition of flash lighting, it can record at distances of up to 80ft. 

Bushnell has dropped a few features in order to keep the cost down on this model, but for photographers who want a cheap but reliable trail camera, this is a sound 'no-frills' option that will do the job.

Best trail cameras: Stealthcam G42NG

(Image credit: Stealthcam)

06. Stealth Cam G42NG TRIAD

Full HD video and durable housing at an attractive price

Still resolution: 10MP | Video resolution: 1920x1080p | Video length: Up to 180 seconds | Data storage: SD or SDHC up to 32GB | Night vision: Yes (via infrared) | Audio recording: Yes | LCD: Yes | Power: 8x AA batteries

Full HD video 
180 seconds video time
10MP stills
Slow trigger time

This trail camera offers some impressive specs for the price, allowing it to compete with more expensive products. It boasts a video record time of up to 180 seconds and can trigger up to nine stills photos in burst mode. It captures full HD video and shoots 10MP still images, firing in less than 0.5 seconds. 

With durable, waterproof housing, the Stealth Cam G42NG runs on eight AA batteries, while the metadata on files includes time, date, moon phase, and temperature to allow better accuracy when studying footage.

Best trail cameras: Spypoint Solar Dark

(Image credit: Spypoint)

07. Spypoint Solar Dark

A stellar solar-powered trail camera

Still resolution: 12MP | Video resolution: 1280x720p | Video length: Up to 90 seconds | Data storage: SD or SDHC up to 32GB | Night vision: Yes (up to 80ft) | Audio recording: Yes | LCD: 2-inch color LCD | Power: Solar, rechargeable lithium ion, or 6x AA batteries

Long video record time
Solar powered
Colour screen
Not full HD
Premium cost for solar
Not currently available in the UK

If you need a trail camera that you can leave out in the field for longer periods, the Spypoint Solar-W is an ideal solution. This trail cam runs on its own lithium ion rechargeable battery, which is powered via the solar panel on top of the device, although it can also be powered by six AA batteries. 

It has a decent trigger speed of 0.07 seconds and 42 super-low-glow LEDs to light subjects in the dark. It offers up to a long minute and a half of video recording time but, sadly, its footage is limited to 720P video recording and 12MP stills. 

best trail cameras: Spypoint Force

(Image credit: Spypoint)

08. Spypoint Force-20 Trail Camera

The best compact budget trail camera

Still resolution: 20MP | Video resolution: 1280x720p | Video length: Up to 60 seconds | Data storage: SD or SDHC up to 32GB | Night vision: Yes (via infrared) | Audio recording: No | LCD: Yes | Power: 8x AA batteries

High resolution stills
Low cost
Video without sound
LCD for configuration only

At only five inches tall, the ultra-compact Spypoint Force-20 Trail has some impressive specs for its size, capturing 20MP stills. As long as you aren't fussed about audio recording, the Force-20 is ideal if you want something small and compact with an entry-level price tag. It triggers at 0.7 seconds, has an illumination range of up to 80 feet and operates in temperatures between -30 °C and +50 °C.

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