A trail camera can be both effective and cheap. If you’re new to trail cameras or if you’re looking to buy several on a limited budget, there are a number of options to choose from. These include both low glow and no glow trail cameras with the features you want, but without the high price. Here are our top five picks for the best cheap trail camera.
|Campark T40 Trail Camera|
|TEC.BEAN 12 MP 1080P HD Trail and Game Camera|
|Meidase Trail Camera|
|Victure Trail Camera|
|Wosports 5MP Trail Camera|
3 Types of Trail Cameras
White Flash Trail Cameras: like a regular digital camera with flash.
Low Glow or Red Glow Trail Camera: uses infrared transmitters to photograph in the dark. Not suitable for security and surveillance, they have a faint red glow that can be seen at night. They have been known to startle wildlife.
No Glow or Black Flash Trail Camera: uses the latest in night vision flash technology. They are able to capture images without a visible flash. This makes them ideal for both wildlife viewing and security and surveillance.
Trail cameras come with a wide variety of features with prices ranging from affordable trail cameras to high-priced models. Check out this video for more information on trail cameras and how to use them:
Quick Tips for Using and Maintaining Your Trail Camera
- Use the correct size SD card for your trail camera. Common sizes are Standard or Micro-SD cards. Also, check the memory size as most can only support up to 32GB max.
- For the best images, use a new SD card. Format the card before using.
- Before inserting or removing the SD card, turn off the camera.
- Some trail cameras stop recording once the SD card is full. Others allow you to choose to overwrite old images.
- Use the recommended battery type for your camera. The wrong type of battery can damage or prevent the camera from working properly.
- Before using the trail camera, remove any protective film over the camera lens. If it leaves a sticky residue, clean it off with rubbing alcohol.
Our Top Picks for the Best Cheap Trail Camera
The best cheap trail camera is easy on your wallet, easy to use and fits your needs. A low glow trail camera is good for wildlife observation and monitoring the activity in a backyard or garden. A no glow trail camera is the better choice for hunters or security and surveillance uses. Including both low glow and no glow cameras, here are our top picks for the best cheap trail camera.
Campark T40 Trail Camera
The Campark T40 Trail Camera is a low glow trail camera with 42pcs infrared LEDs. It takes 12MP images and 1080P video with sound. It produces color images in daytime and black and white at night. With a 0.8s trigger speed, it has a 120-degree wide angle PIR sensor with 22m/75ft IR filter night vision and 15m/49ft PIR detection range.
The 2.4” color LCD Screen allows you to review your images without a computer. It has multiple functions including a time stamp and different shot settings. In addition to photo + video recording, you can choose 3 multi-shot, interval, time lapse, motion detection or timer-shot options.
Waterproof, it uses a class 10 micro-SD card up to 32GB and 8 1.5V AA batteries (card and batteries not included). Make sure to remove the protective film over the lens before use.
Customers said the manual can be difficult to understand. The batteries drain quickly, especially when using video. When the batteries get low, the camera will continue to take daytime photos but will not take night shots. The night shots need more power due to the LED bulbs. When taking lots of night images, check and change the batteries more frequently.
There is a Firmware Update that can be accessed at the Campark website here: Campark T40 Trail Camera Firmware Update. https://www.campark.cc/Download/Firmware_Download/2018/0606/94.html
- Low glow trail camera
- 42pcs Low Glow Infrared LEDS
- 12MP images and 1080P video with sound
- 8s trigger speed
- 120 degree wide angle PIR sensor
- 22m/75ft IR filter night vision and 15m/49ft PIR detection range
- 4” color LCD Screen
- Multi-functions: time stamp, photo + video recording, 3 multi-shot, interval, time lapse, motion detection, timer-shot
- 8 AA batteries (not included)
- Micro-SD card (not included)
- Manual hard to read and understand
- Batteries drain quickly
TEC.BEAN 12 MP 1080P HD Trail and Game Camera
Another no glow trail camera is the TEC.BEAN 12 MP 1080P HD Trail and Game Camera. Suitable for both security, surveillance and wildlife observation, it has 36pcs no-glow 940 nm IR LEDs Night Vision. It takes 12MP images and Full HD 1080P videos with sound. The images are color in daylight and black and white at night.
The TEC.BEAN 12 MP 1080P HD Trail Camera has five capture modes. These include photo, video, camera + video, motion detection, and time lapse. The trigger speed is 0.6s – 0.8s with a detection range of 23m/75ft.
You can view images in the field on the 2.0-inch color LCD Screen. Password protected for security, it has multiple functions that include a time stamp with the moon phase, temperature, and a GPS Geotag.
The manufacturer recommends using a 16g class 10 high-speed SD card (not included). You can use a 32GB SD card but it may cause the shooting speed to be slightly slower. It’s waterproof and runs on 8 AA batteries or a 12V DC external (not included). Unfortunately, rechargeable batteries, Carbon Zinc, and NI-MH AA batteries are not recommended.
This trail camera can go through batteries quickly. You can change the settings to lower image resolution and video length to extend the battery life. If the battery is too low, it won’t take night videos. After setting up the camera, switch it to ON mode. TEST mode will use more power. With the ON mode on, the camera will switch to a power saving mode after 15 seconds of no operation.
- No Glow Trail Camera
- 36pcs no-glow 940 nm IR LEDs Night Vision
- 12MP images and Full HD 1080P videos with sound
- Five Capture Modes – photo, video, time lapse, camera + video, motion detection
- 6s -0.8s trigger speed
- 23m/75ft detection range
- Password protection
- 2.0-inch color LCD Screen
- Multi-functions: timestamp with moon phase, temperature, GPS Geotag, and more
- Uses 8 AA batteries or 12V DC external (not included)
- Drains batteries quickly
- Rechargeable batteries are not recommended
- Will not take night videos if the battery is too low
Meidase Trail Camera
The Meidase Trail Camera is a popular no glow trail camera. It takes 16MP images and full HD 1080P videos, color in daylight and black and white at night. It has 38pcs no glow 940nm IR LEDs Night Vision with a trigger speed of 0.2s.
With a 2.4” LCD color screen, you can review photos and images in the field. It has wide angle PIR sensors of 90 degrees and up to 120 degrees when the side motion sensors are enabled. Sensitivity can be adjusted for high, normal, or low.
The Meidase Trail Camera has 3 capture modes: photo, video, and photo + video. Functions include a timer, timelapse setting and a time stamp with temperature, date, moon phase. It also features password protection for greater security.
It uses a standard SD card of up to 32GB class 6+ (not included). When using a new SD card, format it with the format command on the camera menu before using. It uses 8 AA batteries (not included). The manufacturer recommends high-quality AA alkaline batteries. Lithium batteries are NOT recommended.
Unlike some trail cameras, you can choose whether the camera will stop recording when the SD card is full or will record over previous images.
If you’re looking for both video and audio, the Meidase Trail Camera does not record sound. Also, make sure to remove the clear plastic protective cover on the PIR Lens before use. It may leave a sticky residue.
- No glow trail camera
- 16MP images, full HD 1080P video, Color in daylight, black and white at night
- 38pcs no glow 940nm IR LEDs Night Vision
- Trigger speed: 0.2s
- 4” LCD Color Screen, can review photos and images in the field
- 20M/65ft night vision detection range
- Wide angle PIR sensors of 90 degrees – 120 degrees when side motion sensors enabled
- 3 Capture modes: photo, video, photo + video
- Multi-functions: timestamp with temperature, date, moon phase
- Password protected
- Standard SD card (not included) up to 32GB, Class 6+
- Uses 8 AA batteries (not included)
- Does not record sound
- Plastic cover on PIR Lens leaves a sticky residue
Victure Trail Camera
The Victure Trail Camera is a low glow trail camera. It takes 12MP images and HD 1080P videos that are color in daylight and black and white at night. It has 26 PCS low glow 940nm IR LEDs night vision with a trigger speed of 0.5s.
Review images and videos in the field with the 2.4” LCD display. It has 5 recording modes: photos, videos, photos + videos, time-lapse and motion detection. Password protected, it also features a timer and a time stamp with temperature and moon phase.
The Victure Trail Camera is waterproof and uses 4 or 8 AA batteries or external 6V power supply (not included). It uses a standard SD card class 6 or above up to 32GB (not included). When using a new SD card, format the card in the camera before using.
For the best images, place the camera within 1m to 10m from the subject. Also, the default picture size is 5mp. For better images, increase the picture size to 12mp.
While the Victure Trail Camera is a night vision camera, you’ll get better night images if using an external light source. Install the camera horizontally at a height close to the height of the detected subject. Tilting the camera up or down may cause the picture to be dark or bright. The clear protective covering on the lens may leave a sticky residue. If so, clean with rubbing alcohol.
- Low glow
- 12MP images 1080P videos
- Color in daylight, black and white at night
- Trigger speed: 0.5s
- 26 PCS low glow 940nm IR LEDs night vision
- 4” LCD display
- Multi-functions: time stamp and moon phase, timer
- 5 recording modes: photos, videos, photos + videos, time lapse, motion detection
- Password protection
- Standard SD card class 6 or above up to 32GB (not included) (format card in camera before using)
- Uses 4 or 8 AA batteries or external 6V power supply (not included)
- Use an external light source for better night images
- Protective cover on lens leaves a sticky residue
- mount horizontally for a clearer image
Wosports 5MP Trail Camera
The Wosports 5MP Trail Camera is our top pick for the best budget trail camera. It’s the cheapest one on the list, with fewer features than the others. If you’re new to trail cameras and want to try one out without paying much cash, this is a great one to start with. It’s a low glow trail camera that takes 5MP images and 1080P videos with color images in daylight and black and white at night. It has 28pcs low glow 850nm IR LEDs night vision with a 50ft night vision flash range.
The Wosports 5MP Trail Camera has a 45 degree PIR angle and a trigger speed of 0.6s-1.2s. Images and videos can be viewed directly on the camera through the 1.44” color LCD monitor. Waterproof, it takes a standard SD card Class 4+ up to 32GB (not included) and uses 4 or 8 AA batteries (not included).
With 5MP images, the photos may not appear as sharp as images from a 12 or 14MP camera. One customer recommends using a new (instead of a used) SD card for better images. Being one of the cheapest trail cameras, some customers said it was not very durable. Also, the protective covering on the lens may leave a sticky residue.
- Low glow
- 5MP images and 1080P videos
- Color images in daylight, black and white at night
- 28pcs 850nm IR LEDs
- 50ft night vision flash range
- 45 degrees PIR angle
- Trigger speed: 0.6s-1.2s
- Color LCD monitor: 1.44”
- SD card Class 4+ up to 32GB (not included)
- Uses 4 or 8 AA batteries (not included)
- Use new SD card
- Not very durable
- Images not as sharp
- Protective cover on lens leaves a sticky residue
The best cheap trail camera is easy on your wallet, easy to use and fits your needs. Our top pick for the best cheap trail camera is the Meidase Trail Camera. It’s a no glow trail camera with sharp 16MP images and a fast trigger speed of 0.2s. The large 2.4” LCD color screen lets you easily review photos and images in the field.
It uses a standard SD card that can be formatted in the camera itself. It also has the option to record over previous images or stop recording when the SD card is full. It’s easy to set up and adjustable. The password protection feature ensures that your images are protected.
These are our top picks for the best cheap trail cameras. From low glow to no glow trail cameras, these have the features you want at an affordable price.