Best Cellular Trail Cameras in 2021
We always keep saying how technology has changed our daily life and helps us experience extraordinary things. One of those things happens to be the cellular trail cameras.
Conventionally, it is believed by many that cellular trail cameras are for hunting or wildlife photography. As it happens to be accurate, it is also true that these cameras can be used for security purposes.
Recently, while searching to find more about the best cellular trail camera, I’ve come to learn a lot more things. That’s why I decided to bring my research and the outcome forward if you are looking for one yourself.
How Does A Cellular Trail Camera Work?
Cellular trail cameras work pretty much the same as a cellphone. You insert a SIM card, an SD card, and control settings via an app. In simple words, it is much like sending MMS before the internet started ruling over the world.
- First of all, you need to insert a SIM card for data transmission. And to make that successful, the camera needs a network with a strong signal in the location. Without it, data transmission will be impossible.
- As for the storage, one can insert an SD card with more extended storage to save the photos the camera will capture.
- You will get to download an app to know more about the camera’s activities. You can even control the settings of the camera using the app.
- And of course, the most essential thing that the camera does is capturing both photos and videos. The motion detecting sensor is triggered when humans or animals walk by in front of the camera. Depending on the quality and features of the camera, the photo quality might vary.
- With the network data, the camera will send you photos and videos in real-time.
10 Best Cellular Trail Camera Reviews
If you don’t have enough time or patience to go through the entire review, you can have a look at the following comparison chart to know my top picks for the best cellular trail camera list.
Videos & Flash range
Target speed & Network
Creative XP 4G
1080p, 65 ft
0.35 sec , 4G
Creative XP 3G
1080p, 65 ft
0.4 sec , 3G
1080p, 80 ft
0.4 sec, 4G
Spypoint Link Micro 4G
480p, 80 ft
0.5 sec, 4G
Bigfoot 3G Trail Camera
1080p, 65 ft
0.4 sec, 3G
Covert WC-A LTE
1080p, 100 ft
0.4 sec, N/A
WingHome 480 Ace 4G
1080p, 65 ft
0.4 sec, 4G
480p, 80 ft
0.5 sec, N/A
Browning Defender Wireless Pro
720p, 120 ft
0.22 sec, 4G
Spypoint Link Micro Small
N/A, 80 ft
0.5 sec, 4G
I wanted to start with something affordable. As a result, I picked the GlassRaven 4G trail camera from the Creative XP store.
Other than being affordable, it has HD photo and video quality, wifi network feature, and an exceptional flash range. On top of that, it comes with both SIM and SD cards.
- Affordable: Some might say this Creative XP RavenGlass is expensive. Yes, you are likely to find cellular trail cameras at a lower price. But compared to high-quality 4G trail cameras, it is not costly.
- Included SIM And SD Card: As part of the package, you will get a SIM card with 500 complimentary photos and an SD card. The SD card has a 32GB storage capacity.
- HD Photos And Videos: With the 12MP camera and 110° wide-angle lens, the photo quality turns out to be stunning. Even the video quality is full HD. And if you are worried about the night-time photos, the GlassRaven got that covered with its 65 ft flash range.
- Fast Trigger Speed: So, how fast does this camera capture photos? The answer would be 0.35 seconds which is an excellent speed.
- Full HD camera does not compress photo or video quality
- Capacity to capture photos super fast
- 4G network signal helps faster data signal
- Can be connected to wifi for data transfer
- Package includes SIM card and SD card
- Affordable price
- Batteries die faster
- Customers complain regarding Creative XP customer service
Creative XP store has one more cellular trail camera but 3G. Nevertheless, it possesses the same high-quality features as my previous pick for the cellular trail camera.
- Performance: This camera’s high performance makes it worthy of being on the cellular trail camera list. Its 12MP camera takes HD photos and 1080p video. The 110° wide-angle lens captures pictures in 0.4 seconds.
- Data Transmission: Since you will receive data in real-time, it will only be a matter of a minute to receive the photos on your mobile phone or email. But to have that system, you will have to connect your camera with a cell network.
- Battery Life: Though the Creative XP 4G trail camera runs on 12AA batteries, the 3G model runs on 8AA batteries. This leaves a chance for the batteries to run out of energy faster. But to save battery power, you can try installing a solar panel.
- SIM And SD Card: As part of the package, you will receive a SIM card and a 32GB SD card. The downside of this is that the SIM will connect only to AT&T and T-Mobile cell towers.
- HD quality photos and videos capture
- It comes with SIM and 32 GB SD card
- Fast real-time data transmission
- 110° wide-angle lens
- Built in-no glow lens
- Affordable price
- Lifetime warranty
- Battery life is not extended
If you would rather save battery power to save some money, I suggest you make sure to check out the Spypoint Link-Micro-S-LTE. Not only is it energy efficient for having a solar panel, but also it is affordable, does not take up much space, and is inexpensive to buy.
- Security: Trail cameras are known as hunting or wildlife photography equipment. This trail camera is suitable for home security also. You can prevent unexpected people from trespassing your property when you are using this trail camera.
- Small Size: It is more accessible to discreet the cameras when they are smaller in size. This type of trail camera is suitable for camouflaging too. If it is set up in the wild, animals or other hunters may not notice it.
- Photo Capture: The flash range of this 10MP camera is really impressive. The sensor can detect movement and flash from an 80 feet distance. The trigger speed is 0.4 seconds which is quite fast.
- Power Efficient: This Spypoint cellular trail camera runs on lithium batteries which are rechargeable. Also, you get to save more battery power by using the solar panel.
- Accessories: So, let’s take a look at the things you will be receiving with the package! Other than the camera and solar panel, it comes with a protecting band, 16 GB SD card, mount, and card reader.
- Small and easy to discreet
- It comes with extra accessories
- Extended flash range
- Battery and solar-powered
- Affordable price
- Suitable for home security too
- Photo quality could have been better
Spypoint trail cameras have always been among the popular names. That’s why it often becomes difficult to introduce just one of them. That’s why I’ve picked this Link Micro 4G model.
It is more affordable for having a lower price, along with all the other essential features. The package comes with almost all the necessary accessories you are likely to need.
- Flash Range: The flash range plays a part in determining the quality of the pictures. In this case, the 80ft range of this camera will not disappoint you.
- Trigger Speed: How fast is fast for you? The standard trigger speed of a trail camera is usually between 0.1 to 0.5 seconds. So, the 0.5-second range of this model is fast enough for clicking pictures at the right moment.
- Camera Resolution: The camera is 10 megapixels and suitable for excellent photo capturing at any time. But the drawback would be the video quality which is only 480p.
- Accessories: Cellular trail cameras require several things to be installed and to make it work. For that, you will get 8 AA batteries, 16 GB micro SD card, mounting belt, etc. Other than these, you will get a preactivated SIM card with free 30 days of unlimited photos plan.
- Low price makes it more affordable
- Extended flash range
- The smaller size makes it easier to hide
- It comes with batteries and necessary accessories
- Photo quality could have been better
- Low video resolution
For the next cellular trail camera, I’ve got the Bigfoot 3G Trail Camera. This camera is getting popular among users and is known for being worth every penny.
- Easy Setup: While many trail cameras seem troublesome, the Bigfoot 3G trail camera is somewhat easier to set up. Having all the necessary equipment, you can set it up in less than 15 minutes. And in case you face any problem with the installation, Bigfoot customer service or YouTube video can help you with that.
- Data Plans: The camera comes with a preinstalled SimHero SIM card. And the SIM card contains 30 days of free data, which is worth 350 photos.
- Camera: The 12 MP camera provides high-quality photos and videos both day and night. The LED flash takes quality images from 65 feet range during the night. Its sensors work fast enough to capture pictures in 0.4 seconds.
- Network: This camera’s preinstalled 3G SIM card goes with AT&T cellular provider. Unfortunately, AT&T has stopped MMS via phone. Thus, the only option to receive the camera data is to connect through your email.
- Inexpensive camera
- Easy to set up
- 12 MP camera captures high-quality images and videos
- It comes with a free SIM with a month worth data plan and a 16 GB SD card
- Faster triggering speed
- Photos often turn out grainy
- Won’t take pictures without a strong network
My jaw dropped on the floor when I found this robust trail camera from the Convert WC series. Not only it has the most incredible features, but also it comes at a minimum price. One can’t have asked for more than what it comes with.
- Camera: Convert manufacturers took the trail camera HD quality to a whole new level with the WC-A model. It has a 32-megapixel camera that captures excellent photos and 1080p HD videos. Using the app, you can switch between photo to video mode whenever you want.
- Flash Range And Trigger Speed: If you have the Convert WC-A model, you can sit back and relax and stop worrying about the camera’s flash range. It covers a massive area with a 100 feet range. The high sensitivity feature detects motion and clicks in 0.4 seconds.
- Data Transmission: Receive images in real-time, along with the date, time, and even the moon phase. You can have the data transferred via a cellular network or a mobile app.
- The price is worth the robust features
- High-resolution camera
- Flash range of 100 feet
- 0.4-second trigger speed
- Invisible IR flash
- 1.5″ color viewer
- Supports up to 32 GB SD card
- Highly sensitive
- Supports only AT&T network
WingHome might not be the most recognized name for a cellular trail camera. But, its 480 Ace models have a stylish design with an HD camera and other essential features.
- Wireless Communication: The whole point of having a cellular trail camera is reducing the trouble of going back and forth to retrieve data. This trail camera is no different either. The wireless settings will ensure accessible communication between you and the camera via a mobile app or cell network.
- SIM Network And Storage: You will have a SIM card as part of the package. It is operated by the 4G network, which is excellent for faster data transfer. The camera supports up to 32 GB SD cards. But neither the SD card nor the batteries will be included in the package.
- Photo Quality: As it has a 24 MP camera, the photos will be of excellent quality without a doubt. The camera sensors are also highly sensitive and can trigger in 0.4 seconds.
- Budget-Friendly: If all the features make you worry about the price, maybe you should stop worrying. The camera is budget-friendly and is affordable for almost anyone.
- 24 MP camera with 1080p video
- Flash range 65 feet
- Trigger speed 0.4 second
- 4G network enables fast data transfer
- Includes a SIM card
- It does not come with an SD card or batteries
This is my third pick from the Spypoint for the cellular trail camera. You might not find much noticeable difference between this and the previous two models I’ve picked. But, having multiple options to choose from makes things easier.
- Camera: Spypoint Link-Micro-LET has a 10 MP camera. The sensors can detect movement from 80 feet, and the camera will click photos at 0.5 seconds. You can change the settings to take multiple shots at a time.
- App Connectivity: Spypoint app allows you to connect the trail camera to your phone. In this way, receiving photos or videos and changing settings becomes more flexible.
- User-Friendly: When it comes to installing the camera, it should be a hassle. You can be done with the entire process within 10 to 15 minutes.
- Lightweight: The perk of having a lightweight trail camera is that it will stay strapped in place. Because the heavier ones often weigh down the strap and end up taking photos from the angle you didn’t want to have.
- Easy to set up
- Flexible control with an app
- Sends data on phone or email
- 80 feet flash range
- Quick trigger speed
- Durability needs improvement
- No solar panel
Browning Pro Scout is one of the newest trail camera models. From a stylish look, an exceptional camera resolution to the extended flash range, this trail camera is too difficult to ignore.
- Flash Range: A camera with a good flash range is more suitable to take excellent quality pictures in the dark. And with a 120 feet range, this pro scout camera takes photos like a pro.
- Sensitivity: As for the detection range, the sensors pick movements from an 80 feet distance. And once any movement is detected, the camera will trigger in only 0.22 seconds.
- Camera: Both the day and night-time photos of this Pro Scout camera will meet your expectations. The camera is 18 megapixels with an adjustable infrared LED. The video quality also meets the standard.
- Affordable price
- Excellent photo and video quality
- 120 feet flash range
- Superfast trigger speed
- Faster recovery time
- Capable of taking multiple shots
- It comes with an SD card and adapter
- No viewing screen
- Too sensitive
I promise this is the last one from the Spypoint and happens to be my final pick for the cellular trail camera review. Spypoint cameras are terrific in quality. And this model is said to be the smallest model in the market.
- Camera Resolution: 10-megapixel cameras are not everyone’s first choice. But, to be honest, if you are compromising for the affordable price, it can be the trail camera worth your penny.
- Small Size: Being the smallest in size, this trail camera has some extra advantages. The size will come in handy if you want to set it up as home security or other kinds of surveillance. Moreover, it will help to hide the camera from people to avoid the risk of getting stolen.
- Low-Cost Data Plan: What’s the point of having a low-priced trail camera if you end up paying a lot for the data? Spypoint offers its customers four different data plans. You can easily pick the offer that seems suitable for you as a monthly package.
- Easy to install
- The small size comes in handy for surveillance
- Affordable price
- Flexible data plan
- Quick trigger response
- Free smartphone app
- Real-time images
- No video mode
- Quality needs improvement
How To Buy The Best Cellular Trail Camera?
What camera quality works best for the cellular trail camera? What should be the trigger speed or flash range? What about network signals and price?
You have to know about and consider so many things before you finally make a decision. And I have listed the most important ones of them right here.
Having a camera installed somewhere to capture photos is never the same as being present and capturing the pictures by yourself. But, having a camera with a higher resolution makes the situation satisfying.
Since the resolution determines the picture’s quality, going for a 10 to 12 Megapixel camera is an ideal choice. The quality of the photo will be excellent even at night when you use a higher resolution camera. However, this can lead to storage running out faster.
And as for the video quality, the resolution has to be good enough not to create any visual noise. I would suggest going for 720p for short ranges and 1080p for long ranges.
Sensor Range And Trigger Speed
The sensor range means the capacity of the camera sensors to pick motions from a certain distance. And the trigger speed is how fast the camera clicks photos.
You should go for cellular trail cameras with a speed range between 60 to 80 during the day and at least 40 during the night. As soon as the sensors pick any movement within the range, it will click photos.
That means the trigger speed also needs to be very fast. The best thing to do is to pick a camera with 0.2 to 0.6 trigger speed.
Cellular trail cameras work through a cellular network signal. That’s how the cameras send photos and videos to your phone or email. Without a network, that task will be impossible to accomplish.
So, choose a network provider that is compatible with the camera location. Because the stronger the signal is, the faster you will receive the data. And for a strong network, a 3G or 4G cellular trail camera is the most suitable choice.
Don’t be surprised if you leave your trail camera unprotected and then lose it. The world isn’t full of friendly people, you know. Besides, a cellular trail camera isn’t really that cheap. So losing it should be the last thing you would want.
That’s why having security measures taken might help with the risk of losing the camera. You can use a cable lock to secure it around the tree or wherever you are setting it up. Also, nowadays, most cellular trail cameras have password protection options to make sure it stays safe.
No one can regulate mother nature’s mood. Not even the weatherman you see broadcasting possible weather conditions with such confidence.
So when you are going from one camera to another to pick the cellular trail camera, make sure the camera is compatible with any weather condition. Though most of these cameras come as waterproof, try to get the one with a material strong enough to handle certain situations.
While most of these trail cameras are battery-powered, many of them are both battery and solar-powered. Having both increases the camera’s durability and puts less strain on the batteries.
Depending on brand and camera models, they are operated by 8 to 10 batteries. The more batteries, the longer the power will last.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Cellular Trail Cameras
When you purchase the cellular trail camera, it really is the best in its own way. But it is a mechanical device, and naturally, it has both advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look at them, shall we?
- Saves Time And Energy: The thing about regular cellular trail cameras is that you need to be present physically to take out the SD card to retrieve photos. And if the weather is bad, things can get quite nasty.
However, cellular trail cameras have wireless control, which allows you to get the photos on your phone without being at the camera location. It saves you from draining your energy by going back and forth to the location.
- No Disturbance: When you set the camera for wildlife photography or hunting, retrieving the SD card or checking on the settings will cause disturbance among the animals. And if you are hunting, that is the last thing you would want to do. So, your purpose will be accomplished without any problem when you get to handle everything from a distance.
- Good Quality Photos And Videos: If you are doing wildlife photography and worrying about the quality, I assure you that the photos’ quality will not be disappointing. Yes, they can be slightly compressed because a wireless network will transmit them. But the quality will still be satisfying enough.
- Real-Time Photo: The camera will send you the pictures or videos as soon as they are captured. That means you don’t have to wait for a long time to hunt your camera to collect photos.
- Ability To Control Settings Remotely: Imagine staying in one part of the state and still controlling the trail camera in another part of the town. Yup, that’s how a cellular trail camera works. You can change the capture mode from image to video anytime you want.
- Costly: One of the drawbacks of this camera is the price. Cellular trail cameras cost more than traditional trail cameras because of their high-tech features.
But many of them come at a lower price. Nevertheless, with all the advantages they provide, the price is always worth it.
- Battery Runs Out Faster: Being battery-operated puts the camera at another slight disadvantage. With all its captures, data transmissions, and network activities, the batteries tend to die faster.
- Requires Strong Network Signal: You must set the camera at locations where the network signal is strong. If the network signal isn’t strong enough, the camera will not work.
- Risk Of Getting Stolen: You definitely know of this disadvantage already. It is not uncommon for other people to wander around the woods. And if seen, not everyone will walk away without taking a good look at it.
Cellular Trail Camera Installation Tips
Do you really want to make sure that your best cellular trail camera provides the best outcome? If you do, setting it in the right way is one of the first things that you must be conscious of. So I have some tips for you regarding the installation of the camera.
- Be Discreet: You don’t want the deers to regulate your activities and stay away. That’s why it is best to choose a location that has an easy entry and exit. Avoid checking the camera every day.
Instead, it is best to avoid checking at least for a week. And try not to leave anybody odor around the camera housing.
- Higher Mounting: Deers are clever animals, and they can sense and notice things immediately. Trail cameras flash off when taking pictures.
It alerts the deers of something unwelcome. That’s why it is suggested that you place your camera a few feet above than usual.
- Install The Camera Farther Away: You will not to get a perfect outcome from all the exhausting works if the camera isn’t set in the right way. Setting it closer to the deer territory will not give you wide-angle photos. Try installing it quite far from the territory with a 45-degree angle.
- Warning Sign: Protecting your property is essential for you. Attach a warning sign that might make the thieves think twice before attempting to steal it.
- Don’t Place The Solar Panel Towards The Sun: It’s not surprising to know that most people think that having the solar panel faced towards the sun will power it. But that’s just a wrong assumption!
It is necessary to have the panel exposed to the light rather than the sun. Besides, having the solar panel installed that way would end up taking over-exposed photos.
Cellular Trail Camera Maintenance Tips
Whether you are using your trail camera for photography, hunting, or home security, improper maintenance can cause more mayhem than benefits. Maintaining a trail camera properly has several advantages such as-
- It extends the camera’s lifespan
- That helps you save money
- Enables you to understand the functions more clearly
- Getting better quality images and videos
So, how about some more tips regarding maintaining the best cellular camera?
Before Installing The Camera
- Make sure the battery is working correctly. It is essential to check if the battery heats up before you install the camera.
- You should use an SD card that has more extensive storage. It should be virus-free as well.
- Keep the software and app up-to-date to decrease slow function. They need to be updated from time to time.
- If possible, spray some insecticides on the camera to prevent pests from attacking the camera and damaging it.
- Don’t forget to run a day and night test before you install the camera.
Upon Installing The Camera
- You never know what the weather is going to be like all the time. As trail cameras are waterproof, you can stop worrying about rainy weather. However, humidity can be crucial on such cameras. If possible, try to set it up at a place that is likely to stay dry.
- Just like any other camera, trail camera lenses also need regular maintenance. Over time, the lenses will gather dirt, dust, and seeds from trees.
They can be an obstacle to taking HD photos. The package often contains an instruction manual that will guide you to clean the lenses properly.
- Give the camera one last test before you prepare for the finishing. You can pass by the camera to make sure the sensor is still working.
After Retrieving The Camera
- After you have retrieved your trail camera, start examining the outer areas first. Once you are done checking the outside, check the internal spaces. Look for scratches, saliva, or bite marks. If anything needs to be fixed or replaced, get them done as soon as possible.
- If you think you cannot fix any issues or don’t know what’s wrong with the camera, you better take it to a professional rather than trying to fix it yourself.
- Remove the batteries after retrieving the camera. It will help you prevent corrosion issues.
- Do you format your SD card after retrieving everything? No? Maybe you should start doing it.
I mean, imagine the amount of trouble that you will have to go through if the camera loses storage space out of the blue. That’s why I urge everyone to format SD cards before installing the camera again.
- Checking on the camera once or twice in a few weeks can help to lessen the damages. You will stay up-to-date with your trail cameras and know if anything goes wrong.
- And lastly, store your camera in a bag when it’s not in use. Just like any other gadget, store it in a cool, dry place and make sure it is well cleaned.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have any questions regarding the cellular trail camera, I hope you will find the answers among the following.
Q. How To Set Up A Cellular Trail Camera?
Setting up a cellular trail camera requires three small steps:
- Activating data plan
- Camera settings configuration
- Installing the camera in a location
Whether or not the camera comes with a SIM card, you will need a data plan. It’s the way to connect the camera to your phone so that you can receive photos instantly. Some cameras don’t even work without data.
Then choose your desired camera settings. But make sure to give it a few tests at home before you set out with it.
Finally, choose a location where the camera will receive a strong network signal. Strap the camera to attach it to a tree. And before you leave the location, check the sensitivity and trigger speed one more time.
Q. Does The Trail Camera Network Need To Match My Phone’s Network?
Not at all! It’s a very common misconception among users, but you don’t have to use the same network. It is the same as connecting your phone to another phone to transfer photos or videos.
Some cameras come with a preset SIM card with a particular network connection. In that case, you will have to use only that network for the camera. As for your phone, you can carry on with your regular network provider.
Q. How Much Do Trail Camera Data Plans Cost?
There is no fixed cost when it comes to a monthly data plan for a trail camera. Different network providers charge differently. Besides, it also depends on how much data you are using every month. Nevertheless, it can be between $10-$25, and some cameras come with a month worth of free data plan.
Q. How Long Do Cellular Trail Camera Batteries Last?
The duration will depend on how many batteries the camera is running or and whether it has a solar panel or not. Usually, trail cameras have 8 to 12 batteries. The more batteries they have, the longer the camera will run. Yet, the batteries can last 6-10 months based on how much power is being used.
Now, if you are waiting for me to pick the cellular trail camera, I would get confused. It is challenging to choose among all the cameras I’ve personally selected for the list.
Still, I found Creative XP, Spypoint series, and Bigfoot trail cameras more convenient than the others. Not because they are popular brands but because they have impressive features and still come at a reasonable price.
I suggest you pick multiple options and choose your cellular trail camera based on your personal requirements. And make sure to follow the installation instructions and maintain them properly.