- Our choice for the #1 Best Overall Cellular Trail Camera is the TACTACAM Reveal X Gen 2.0.
- Cellular trail cameras are cheaper than ever before, with some getting close to the price of a conventional trail camera.
- With a cellular trail camera, all of the pictures go straight to your phone, so you don’t have to go home to check an SD card.
- Before you buy a new cellular trail camera, you need to consider the price, what service it operates on, how far it takes pictures, and what the picture quality is like.
Cellular trail cameras provide the unique ability to send photos and videos straight from the camera to your phone. While trail cameras have remained popular for a long time, they required someone going to manually check the SD card inside. The problem is that you will often find that nothing new is on the card, making the trip a waste. Another problem is that you need an SD card reader for your phone. Otherwise, you would have to take the card and plug it into a computer later. Today, cellular trail cameras are very affordable, with many priced under $150. But even more important is the fact that cellular service for the cameras has also become more affordable, with some data packages only costing $5 per month. So, which is the best cellular trail camera? Here are our top five picks.
- Best Overall: TACTACAM Reveal X Gen 2.0
- Best Solar: Vyze-Link 4G
- Best No-Glow: TACTACAM Reveal XB
- Best High-End: RECONYX HyperFire 2
- Best Under $100: Moultrie Mobile Edge
#1 Best Overall Cellular Trail Camera: TACTACAM Reveal X Gen 2.0
- Adjustable night illumination at 96+ft
- Detects animals at 96+ft
- IP66 waterproof certified
- Cell cam operates on AT&T or Verizon LTE/ 4G networks
Our pick for the overall best cellular trail camera is the TACTACAM Reveal X Gen 2.0. It comes with most of the features you expect in a cellular trail camera, like night vision, LTE connectivity, and long battery life. It has a nice brown color, and the body is textured and contoured to make it blend in with the surroundings.
The TACTACAM has a number of different photo modes to ensure you always get the perfect shot. Speaking of which, it has a 16MP camera and can detect animals over 80 feet away. The camera does have infrared light for night vision, which is low-glow. One constraint that the camera has is that it only works with 16GB-32GB SD cards.
You can also pair the TACTACAM with a solar panel, as it has a power inlet. In addition to the LTE internet, the camera also has Wi-Fi connectivity. You can connect to the camera with the Reveal app, which lets you view photos stored on the camera.
The camera also works with both Verizon and AT&T networks, so you can see which has the best signal in your area. In addition to taking photos, you can also take videos, but you may want to use this sparingly as it will use a lot of data and take up more space on the SD card.
One of the great things about the TACTACAM is that you simply insert batteries, an SD card, and a SIM card to get started. From there, you complete the camera setup from the Reveal app on your phone.
|It takes high-quality photos and videos.||It has limited SD card compatibility.|
|It supports solar panel charging.||Its antenna is very large.|
Check out TACTACAM Reveal X Gen 2.0 on Amazon.
Best Solar Cellular Trail Camera: Vyze-Link 4G
The best cellular trail camera with a solar panel is the Vyze-Link 4G. Firstly, the Vyze-Link is an affordable option that offers more features than any other camera in the price range. It comes in under $150 yet has full solar capabilities. The camera is also coated in a camouflage pattern, unlike many other trail cameras that are just brown.
While there are other cameras that work with solar panels, the Vyze-Link’s panel is compact and can be conveniently mounted to the top of the camera. And unlike other trail cameras that go through dozens of batteries, this one doesn’t use disposable ones. Instead, it comes with rechargeable batteries that the solar panel charges.
Another standout feature is that you can rotate the Vyze-Link camera 360 degrees. In addition to rotating the camera, you can also tilt it up or down to get it so you can see in every direction.
None of the other cameras on this list have the ability to turn. You can even control and turn it from your phone with the camera’s cellular capabilities.
The Vyze-Link even has a mounting plate in case you are able to screw it to a tree or structure. Otherwise, it also comes with a traditional strap mount.
While it does resemble a security camera, this is specifically a trail camera as it doesn’t support 24/7 recording. Finally, the camera quality is pretty low compared to other trail cameras, as it is only 3MP.
|Includes a solar panel and batteries.||Takes low-resolution photos.|
|Allows full turning and tilt.||Looks like a security camera.|
Check out Vyze-Link 4G on Amazon.
Best No-Glow Cellular Trail Camera: TACTACAM Reveal XB
- Powerful enough to handle extreme outdoor weather
- LED indicator showing signal strength and battery level
- Can operate on ATT or Verizon nationwide LTE/ 4G Networks
- No Glow IR Technology
The best no-glow trail camera is the TACTACAM Reveal XB. Despite all of the advancements in cellular trail camera technology, no-glow cameras are still pretty rare. This is also surprising considering just how cheap cellular cameras have gotten. In fact, if you want a cellular trail camera that has no glow, your options are really limited.
If you aren’t familiar, no-glow means that there is no visible light coming from the camera. Very old trail cameras relied on an actual flash, but those have been out of style for many years.
Most cameras transitioned to infrared, but that still leaves a visible light. These low-glow cameras are fine for watching animals because they won’t notice, but people will quickly spot the glow.
The Reveal XB is a completely no-glow camera, meaning you will not be able to see red lights glowing at night. Similarly, there are no indicator lights that go off, which could give away its location.
The camera’s body is dark brown, and it is relatively square. It also has a decent number of functions that allow for both photos and videos.
You can use the Reveal XB on both Verizon and AT&T networks. Unfortunately, the camera does not have a screen, just LED indicators, so you must use your phone for setup. However, the pictures are high quality, thanks to the 24MP camera. Additionally, it features GPS tracking in case someone does take your camera.
|Doesn’t use visible infrared.||It’s more expensive than low-glow alternatives.|
|Has GPS tracking in case of theft.||The boxy design isn’t easily hidden.|
Check out TACTACAM Reveal XB on Amazon.
Best High-End Cellular Trail Camera: RECONYX HyperFire 2
If you want the absolute best pictures, then you need the best high-end cellular trail camera, which is the RECONYX HyperFire 2. This one is easily one of the best cellular trail cameras available thanks to its impressive features.
The trail camera market is largely dominated by low-priced options, but if you have one really good spot, then this is the camera for you. On the surface, the HyerpFire 2 looks like most other trail cameras, as it is an unassuming brown box.
However, you will quickly notice the dual antennas sticking out of the top. They provide an extended internet connectivity range. However, you are limited to either AT&T or Verizon with the HyperFire 2, so you will have to pick one or the other at the time of purchase.
The other major drawback is that it still uses AA batteries, and you will need twelve of them to keep the camera operating. It takes 3MP photos, which is pretty low, especially considering the price.
But where the camera really stands out is its 0.2-second capture speed, which lets it take a photo within a fraction of a second when motion is detected.
In addition, it also has a very long-range sensor that picks up motion 100 feet away. The camera also features no-glow night vision, which lets you see up to 150 feet.
Unlike some cheaper cameras, the HyperFire 2 does have a small display to provide basic info like date, time, battery life, and storage. Plus, it supports an SD card of up to 512GB, so you won’t have to worry about regularly deleting the photos.
|Motion detection and night vision are long range.||It’s extremely expensive.|
|Has a strong cellular signal thanks to two antennas.||You have to choose between AT&T or Verizon.|
Check out RECONYX HyperFire 2 on Amazon.
Best Cellular Trail Camera Under $100: Moultrie Mobile Edge
The best budget cellular trail camera is the Moultrie Mobile Edge. Moultrie is a leading brand in hunting and outdoor equipment. They have a wide variety of trail cameras to fit any need and budget, but Mobile Edge definitely stands out.
Cellular trail cameras have gone down a lot in price over the years, and this model actually costs less than non-cellular Moultrie cameras did just a few years ago. The outer casing is pretty barebones, with just a rectangular box.
Additionally, the features aren’t as good as the more expensive options. For instance, video is limited to 720p; however, photo resolution is 33MP. The Mobile Edge’s range is about 80 feet. Like many other cellular trail cameras on the market, it is compatible with several different cellular networks.
But a nice feature is that it doesn’t require an SD card thanks to internal memory. This is great if you have the photos and videos going to your phone. This way, you don’t have to worry about having the right SD card or the card failing. Night-time photos are also possible thanks to infrared technology, but it is low-glow.
Moultrie also has a mobile app from which you can connect and manage the camera remotely. But the app also has unique features like unlimited cloud storage, maps, weather info, and even AI species recognition. While the Mobile Edge has a lot of great features, it comes at an astonishingly low price of under $100.
|The price is very low.||Doesn’t have a large set of features.|
|The app has great features like species detection.||Its housing is just a box and it doesn’t blend in well.|
Check out Moultrie Mobile Edge on Amazon.
How to Pick the Best Cellular Trail Camera: Step by Step
When choosing a cellular trail camera, you need to consider these four factors:
- Sensor Range
- Camera Quality
Let’s review each of these criteria in more detail.
The first consideration is how far the camera can detect objects. This is important because it dictates the types of pictures it can take.
Most trail camera sensors have around an 80′ range, but some are closer to 50′. This is the maximum distance that something can pass in front of the camera for it to automatically take a picture or video.
The next factor is the network the camera operates on. Cellular trail cameras today are much more flexible than older models. Instead of being limited to just one carrier, like your phone, many cameras can operate on multiple networks.
For instance, several cameras mentioned above work on both Verizon and AT&T. This is an important feature if you are in a remote area where only one carrier may have a signal.
The biggest concern is often price, and, as you’ve seen, there is a dramatic difference between cellular trail camera models. With cellular cameras getting more affordable, you can get one under $100.
However, you will have to compromise some features for that low price tag. Additionally, you should take into account the cost of cellular service, as there is a monthly cost to get photos on your phone.
Lastly, you should always look at the quality of the photos the camera takes. One of the biggest differences between cellular trail cameras is the pictures they take, and that is dictated by the quality of the camera.
The higher the MP, the better the pictures and videos should be. However, you should always look at photos taken by the camera because other factors, like night vision, also affect picture quality.
What to Know Before Buying a Cellular Trail Camera
Before you run out and buy a cellular trail camera, there are a few things that you must know. Firstly, trail cameras are often advertised for hunters, but there are other uses, as well.
Some people even use cellular trail cameras for security since they will send an alert when they detect motion. The downside is that you do need to pay for cellular service.
Fortunately, the monthly costs for trail cameras have come down significantly, and you can now get a plan for as low as $5 per month. But keep in mind you will have to pay for service on each cellular camera you want to send pictures from.
Before you buy a trail camera, you should always look for pictures from actual users taken during the day and at night to judge the image quality.
Using a Cellular Trail Camera: What it’s Like
Trail cameras are great because they let you see what is passing by in almost real time. There is a delay (typically a minute or less) between the time the camera takes the picture to the time you get a notification on your phone.
However, this instant access to trail camera photos is a game changer if you are used to checking SD cards. No longer will you have to trudge through the woods to check a camera in a difficult-to-reach area only to find no new pictures on it.
The biggest drawback is that most cellular trail cameras still use AA batteries, and they go through them faster than a conventional trail camera. Additionally, you may not want to take a lot of videos as they can quickly deplete your data.
|TACTACAM Reveal X Gen 2.0||High-quality photos and videos, solar panel support||Limited SD card compatibility, large antenna|
|Vyze-Link 4G||Included solar panel and batteries, full turning and tilt||Low-resolution photos, looks like a security camera|
|TACTACAM Reveal XB||No visible infrared, GPS tracking||More expensive, boxy design|
|RECONYX HyperFire 2||Long-range motion detection and night vision, strong cellular signal||Extremely expensive, limited network choice|
|Moultrie Mobile Edge||Low price, great app features||Limited features, boxy design|
The image featured at the top of this post is ©WildMedia/Shutterstock.com.