There are many reasons to have a wildlife camera set up in your backyard, but the damage that wildlife can cause frustrates most homeowners. Short of staying up throughout the night, how do you see what is causing the damage? Getting the best backyard wildlife camera to aid you is an effective solution. Hidden from view and mounted in the wild, you set these cameras to capture images and videos at certain intervals when they detect motion.
Wildlife cameras have also been handy at helping document many rare creatures or even to just watch common backyard wildlife visiting your yard. In this trail camera review, we will have a look at both high end and best affordable trail cameras. In addition to that, we will share tons of valuable information to help you make an informed decision when in the market for the best backyard wildlife camera for the money.
Top 5 Best Backyard Wildlife Cameras
*Top overall pick
Whether you are wanting to see what is raiding your bird feeders at night or you want to catch a glimpse of that elusive fox who is frequenting your yard, this is a great trail camera for watching backyard wildlife. It is easy to set up, has a wide range of settings, and takes clear crisp videos day or night. It’s great for watching all manner of backyard wildlife including skunks, opossums, deer, birds, moles, foxes, coyotes, stray cats and more.
The motion sensor is triggered almost instantly when it detects movement from up to 65 feet away. Aside from wildlife watching this camera could easily be used for home security and surveillance or hunting.
Video is in full 1080 HD giving you high quality and detailed videos and images, playback for this camera is best with VLC media player. The camera takes 8 AA’s and the manufacturer recommends against the use of rechargeable batteries, however some reviewers have reported good results with lithium rechargeable batteries on Amazon.
Overall this is an excellent camera for watching backyard wildlife. The price is right, it has excellent reviews, and the feature set checks all of the boxes.
- 20MP images
- 1296P Video Resolution
- Up to 32GB SD card
- Trigger distance up to 65 feet
- 0.3 second trigger speed
- Nightvision with 3 infrared sensors
- 120 degree wide angle lens
- Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity
2. Tec.Bean Trail Camera
This backyard wildlife camera sports a 12-MP image resolution to offer stunning quality images. With its 1920×1080p video resolution, you are guaranteed of high-definition videos. Its vivid imagery means you can capture every detail of wildlife. The camera can produce up to nine photos per trigger with a trigger speed of 0.6-0.8 seconds. Any movement that this camera detects, it captures instantly. Its nighttime vision range extends up to 75ft with 36 pieces no-glow IR LEDs.
Enjoy two filming modes when you buy this camera – the motion detection mode and hybrid mode. With the two modes, you can enjoy numerous applications. Its IP66 feature guarantees double protection courtesy of password protection and waterproof casing. Unlike in the past couple of years, it is no longer limited to warm-blooded animals.
Seen in its image stamp are geotag, pressure, moon phase, temperature, date, and time. Interval recording and real-time replay are the additional features on this camera for adequate documentation of wildlife in your backyard. Its patented energy-saving tech is handy in lowering power consumption. Its ample storage (32GB SD memory card) can store hundreds if not thousands of pictures. It saves videos in AVI format and images in JPEG format.
- Ample storage
- Stunning quality images
- Two filming modes
- Password protected
- IP66 for waterproof feature
- Battery life of up to 8 months in some cases
Looking for a durable trail camera for wildlife? It boasts a sturdy 3-D camouflage housing to protect it even in case of falls. Enjoy 6 megapixels image resolution with a video recording of 15 seconds. The camera’s 12 IR emitters provide high-quality images at night and during the day. Its detection range of up to 50 feet is great for capturing all wildlife activities.
Its burst rapid-fire mode provides 1-6 images per trigger with a recovery time out of 1-59 minutes. Date, time, and moon phase are included in the image stamp printed. View photos and videos on the spot as well as test mode through an external LCD screen. A mini USB output is available for a smooth downloading experience.
It operates on an external 12V power jack or 8AA batteries. In terms of space, this camera dawns a 16GB SD memory card with the ability to hold more than 450 pictures. Its style and design make it great for both home and wildlife security.
Want to secure the camera to a fixed location? Well, it is very much possible since it is compatible with python cables. In addition to being extremely easy to grasp, handling its customizable controls is also effortless.
- Burst rapid-fire mode
- Energy-efficient design
- EZ dial programming for easy setup
Crenova game trail camera provides you with remarkable performance with 1080p for video and 20MP image resolution. Secondly, you get to enjoy excellent audio recording quality. This camera produces crisp colored photos during the daytime and black/white ones at night. Its 120 degrees wide-angle lens not only offers you a proper hunting scope but also allows your camera to cover a vast area.
In addition to having pretty fast trigger speed of central PIR sensor of 0.6 seconds, this camera can narrow down to 0.2 seconds via the PIR function. It captures and records every moment in real-time. Enjoy instantaneous display through its in-built LED screen. It has 46 LED pieces that serve as IR light up to 65ft range.
The camera boasts an incredible motion detection with a detection angle of 40 degrees to bring out nothing short of high sensitivity. If you want a camera that produces a bright flash to scare animals away, then you can trust on this one.
It sports an IP66 waterproof design making the camera a good choice for the outdoors. Enjoy multi-recording modes such as low battery alarm, timestamp, interval recording, password protection, timer and time-lapse. Included in the image stamp are moon phase, date, time, and temperature.
- Wide-angle lens
- Dimmed LEDs
- Advanced time switch and rime-lapse
- Waterproof design
- Fast trigger speed
- 1 year warranty
- Free 32GB SD card
The Bushnell Trophy camera trail offers a realistic viewing experience with 7200p HD video/audio recording and 20MP image resolution. An overly-sensitive passive infrared motion sensor detects even the slightest of movements. It has a PIR sensor mode to provide you with the consistency of the images captured. This camera effectively monitors temperature provided its in a detection range. It also controls the trigger signal sensitivity.
The camera’s motion sensor can detect movements up to 80 feet with a trigger speed of 0.7 seconds. It has 32 LEDs which work as a flash. They allow the camera to capture images in total darkness within a detection area. Because of the flash, you get to enjoy explicit after-dark photos.
It is suitable for an array of applications such as scouting game, home surveillance, and wildlife monitoring. The camera comes equipped with night and day auto-sensor meaning you can operate it both at night and during the day. Enjoy a field scan time-lapse mode that captures images at pre-set intervals. On top of that, you can two windows to capture images which makes it useful at dawn and dusk.
A great highlight about this camera is the fact that it can make video clips or pictures without the normal or standard movement trigger. All the images the camera produces are automatically stamped with moon phase, temperature, date, time, and geotagging. Its geotag tag allows you to input the latitude and longitude of its position. While the camera saves videos in AVI, the images are in JPEG file.
8AA batteries run the camera. Your captured images and videos are stored in a 32GB SD memory card which is sold separately.
- PIR motion sensor
- Fast trigger speed
- Night and day auto-sensor
- Field scan time-lapse mode
What should I look for in a wildlife camera?
With so many wildlife cameras in the market today, and countless options to choose from, having a criteria makes it easy to decide. Here are the top factors to consider when in the market for a wildlife camera:
- Trigger time
- Image quality
- Power and battery options
- Detection circuit
- Viewing screens
- Anti-theft cables and security boxed
- Price (budget)
Other types of trail cameras
Cellular Trail Cameras
Cellular trail cameras connect and transmit data to your mobile gadget using a cellular system, aka, wireless telecommunication network. They feature sensitive sensors to not only detect but also capture any motions. Once these cameras capture video and phone, they send immediately to your email or text message.
- Flexible storage
- Distance-free connection
- Set and forget it
- High battery consumption
- Complex installation
Bigfoot 3G Camera makes an excellent choice of the best cellular trail camera.
Wireless Wi-Fi Trail Cameras
These are good alternatives to the costlier cellular plans. They send photos or videos to your phone via your radio frequency or Wi-Fi network.
- Wirelessly connect multiple cameras
- Short battery life
- Unstable connection
Campark Trail Camera with WiFi is a good option if you are in the market for the best wireless WIFI trail camera.
Trail Camera FAQ
Are trail cameras motion activated?
Yes, trail cameras are motion activated. However, not all are! Motion-activated trail cameras are best suited for users that desire minimal manual interference in photo capturing. They need articulate timing.
How do trail cameras detect motion?
Trail cameras use a PIR (Passive Infrared detector) to detect motion. Their detection zone is cone-shaped. It extends outward from the camera. The closer your camera is to the subject, the tighter its detection zone. When the subject is further away from the camera, the wider the camera’s detection zone. For instance, at a range of 10-inches in front of a camera, the detection zone can be roughly 5-inches wide.
Do trail cameras have night vision?
Nowadays, all trail cameras support night vision. An LED mounted camera takes color pictures at night. The issue with this is that their bright white flash spooks wildlife. Furthermore, it can blind you for a couple of seconds.
Can trail cameras send pictures and video directly to my phone?
Not all trail cameras can send pictures and videos to your phone directly. If you want such a feature, you must invest in a Wi-Fi or cellular trail camera. Their similarity lies in the fact that you can work with both without hooking up a wire. Their difference is how they send videos or photos to your phone.
How far can a trail camera take a picture?
Game cameras normally have a detection field/range of 50 – 100 feet. For yours to manage to grab pictures of distant objects, they need to have a long-distance motion detector, a fast trigger speed, and the right focal lens.
Can you use a trail camera as a security camera?
Yes. Trail cameras for security are available in numerous configurations with an array of programming options. The best trail camera for home security can capture photos in complete darkness without visible flash. License plate trail cameras are optimized specifically to effortlessly capture the plate numbers of moving cars in low light.
What is the difference between a game camera and a trail camera?
No, there is no difference between the two. Trail cameras also go by the name game cameras. They help you capture a target’s location and picture. Once you install and set them, they sense movement and activate the trigger hence collecting valuable data of your target even without your presence.
Do trail cameras have a flash?
Most of them have a flash.
Are trail cameras waterproof?
Not all trail cameras are waterproof!
Note: There is a difference between waterproof and water-resistant trail cameras. While both are built to sustain exposure to water, a difference exists between them. Water-resistant ones can withstand some water or moisture. You cannot keep them completely submerged. Waterproof trail cameras, on the other hand, can withstand water at a higher level compared to the water-resistant ones. On top of that, they can handle high-pressure levels too.