It’s no doubt that hunting game can be very challenging. Testing enthusiasts’ cunning, wit, and strategy, hunting may require the need for many different pieces of equipment to guarantee success. One of the essentials any self-respecting hunter should never be without is a trail camera.
Trail cameras are unmanned devices that you can strategically set up to capture images of animals while you’re away. This helps establish their routine and behavior, making it easier for you to come up with a game plan. Now, you might be thinking a trail camera would cost a fortune. We’re here to tell you that’s not always the case. Buy the best trail camera under 100 dollars and get the best bang for your buck with these top picks.
Tracking Down the Best Trail Camera
For any first time buyer, a trail camera can seem like a completely alien device. After all, it looks nothing like a typical camera, so that initial impression might throw you off and have you confused.
If you’re not quite sure how to choose a trail camera and you’re worried you might buy the wrong one, read through these main factors to help you secure a solid choice.
- Detection Circuit. The detection circuit of a trail camera tells you how well it will perform on the field. There are three main factors that contribute to the circuit and each one plays a pivotal role in efficiency.
The first thing to consider with the detection circuit is the trigger time. This basically indicates how fast or slow a trail camera reacts after it detects movement. Some trail cameras can take only a fraction of a second, while others take much longer.
The second factor is the recovery time. Faster recovery times mean that the trail camera takes a shorter time to save a captured photo and prep for a second shot.
Finally, the detection zone tells you how far your trail camera can sense. Anything that falls or moves outside the detection zone will ultimately be ignored. With a larger detection zone, your trail camera can snap photos of targets even if they’re at a distance from the device.
- Flash vs. No Flash. If you’re using your trail camera to stalk animals at night, you should know it’s not going to be easy without some form of light. Trail cameras that use flash are much more likely to capture creatures in greater detail so you won’t have to keep guessing at poorly lit or black and white images. But they are more likely to scare away animals once the light goes off.
No flash trail cameras come as either no glow infrared or red glow infrared. The two main distinctions between these cameras and the flash variants is that they do not emit a strong, white light once an image is captured and they save pictures in black and white.
The red glow emits a very faint red light that can only be seen at certain angles, which means you lessen the chances of scaring off animals. The no glow variants don’t emit any light at all and are best for targets that are easily scared off. The only downside is that they tend to take lower quality pictures.
- Battery Life. A trail camera will likely spend a good several months outdoors, especially if you plan to use it for night time detection. So you should expect it to last long enough while it’s unmanned.
Batteries can differ from model to model, so be sure to figure out your own needs before making a purchase. Some can last for days before a replacement or recharge is necessary, while others can last several months before the need for any sort of battery adjustments.
Top 5 Trail Cameras Under $100
1. Elepawl Wildlife Game Camera
As the best trail camera under 100, the Elepawl Wildlife Game Hunting Trail Camera 12MP 1080p HD No Glow with Time Lapse definitely packs some pretty astounding features. The 12MP 1080p HD camera can capture images and video in precise detail, allowing you to skip the guesswork to really understand what you’re up against.
The trail camera works with a no glow infrared detection system that promises to keep game unaware of the device. It boasts a trigger speed of just 0.2 seconds, capturing even fast moving animals that many other trail cameras would probably miss.
Robust, durable, and with a battery life superior to many other trail cameras on the market, the Elepawl Wildlife Game Hunting Trail Camera 12MP 1080p HD No Glow with Time Lapse is your best bet if you want to get a reliable gadget at a friendly price.
- Durable design
- Weather protected
- Convenient mounting strap
- Great daytime photos
- Infrared lags
- Not for cold weather
2. LDesign Hunting Trail Camera
Another top pick for buyers who want nothing short of the best is the LDesign Hunting Trail Camera. This budget trail camera comes equipped with 720p video recording resolution and an 8 MP sensor for images, so you can get reasonably clear images even in low light.
It takes around 0.8 seconds after movement to trigger the camera, which can be programmed to take up to 7 consecutive shots to frame your game for certain. IT also has a 100 degree detection zone, giving you a relatively wide area of coverage so you can monitor animals more effectively.
Straightforward, simple, and effective, the LDesign Hunting Trail Camera doesn’t really have all the fancy bells and whistles, but it gets the job done. For a camera at its price, you can be sure you’re getting a good deal.
- Clear daytime images
- Quick setup
- Easily downloaded pictures
- Poorly placed USB port
- Challenging menu structure
3. Crenova Game and Trail Camera
Supporting a number of different pre-sets and setting combinations, the Crenova Game and Trail Camera 12MP 1080p HD With Time Lapse Scouting Camera is the ultimate trail camera for hunters who want to get things done their way.
This camera can be set to take pictures at a number of different times and schedules that you can manually set to get the best results according to what you’ve learned about your game. In terms of resolution, it comes with a 12MP sensor for images and 1080p HD for video recording. It also features an ultra-wide detection zone of 120 degrees to cover a large area for your convenience.
The downside? The Crenova Game and Trail Camera has a trigger time of 1 second, making it one of the slower contenders on the list.
- Small and compact
- High-quality settings
- Easy to set up
- Lower quality nighttime images
- Low-quality mounting strap
4. Moultrie A-Series Game Camera
The Moultrie A-Series Game Camera is a great trail camera in a small, convenient package. It’s designed with plenty of power to capture movement on your property during the day and night. Also, it has the convenience of opting between two image resolutions to help conserve storage space.
When it comes to finding the perfect trail camera, there are plenty of features to consider. The Moultrie A-Series Game Camera is designed to outperform your expectations, offering impressive image quality.
You’ll find it’s equipped with 24 LEDs as well as 850nm nighttime infrared tech to illuminate areas up to 70 feet away. When shooting in total darkness, you’ll find the camera generates the ideal amount of IR light to capture elusive animals.
Another convenience is that you can toggle between two different image resolutions based on preference. The lower setting allows for 1920×1080 resolution, while the high setting allows for 4608×2592 images. The trail camera also lets you capture videos up to 15 seconds in length as an added benefit.
You’ll love the quality of the weatherproofing to keep the camera outside for extended periods. It boasts a weatherproof plastic exterior and a 72” mounting strap that you can use to affix it to trees.
Finding the perfect SD card should be simple with this model, as it works with class 4 or higher SD/SDHC cards. It’s also important to note that this trail camera is not rechargeable; you will require batteries. To capture up to 16,000 images, you’ll need eight AA batteries and lithium-ion batteries are recommended for longevity.
If you’re the owner of other Moultrie equipment, this camera is fully compatible with Moultrie Mobile devices. When synced together, you can wirelessly connect to your trail camera to view activity in real-time. Alternatively, you can take advantage of the 12mp camera to capture higher-resolution images.
- Easily adjusted mounting
- Produces no visible light
- Faster shutter speed
- Great for capturing birds
- Low image failure rate
- Narrow field of view
5. APEMAN Trail Camera Hunting Game Camera
Having the latest technology at your disposal to capture animal activity is ideal. The APEMAN Trail Camera Hunting Game Camera is a recently upgraded version of their existing trail cam. It comes with a slew of useful features that you’ll love putting to good use when monitoring your property.
The high-performance video and photo functions in this camera are its most significant benefits. You’ll be able to capture crystal-clear videos and images with the 12mp camera. Also, the sound quality is significantly better than expected and automatically starts recording when motion is detected.
This camera offers multiple shot modes and works effortlessly, capturing three photos per detection. At night, you’ll find it’s equally as helpful as it’s equipped with 940nm invisible infrared technology. The fully functional automatic IR filter helps you capture movement from flighty animals in the area.
You’ll find there are 26 LEDs as well as an excellent trigger distance of up to 65 feet. Whether animals are grazing in the area or just passing through, their activity is sure to be captured.
Another impressive detail of this trail cam is its design for use in all types of weather. The housing is crafted from IP66 waterproof materials, ensuring it’s drop-proof, waterproof, and dustproof. The high-quality plastic withstands plenty of wear and tear and is highly recommended for harsh environments.
You’ll receive a mounting strap and tripod threading in the bottom of the camera for quick mounting as an added benefit. In general, this camera consumes very little power and still offers trigger speeds as fast as 0.5 seconds.
When in standby mode, the trail cam can last up to six months before requiring battery replacements. If you use it outside of standby mode, you can expect the battery life to be cut in half.
When you’re reviewing your captured photos and videos, be sure to access the multiple functions in the menu. You’ll be able to review the air pressure, temperature, and moon phase for each photo. Also, you can take a look at a timer, have access to real-time photos, and program interval recordings.
- Impressive night shooting
- Built-in image review
- Easily hidden with camo
- Picks up motion quickly
- Average battery quality
- Challenging setup