- The #1 best solar trail camera is the Spartan GoCam 4G Trail Camera.
- This camera is 4G and LTE-enabled, allowing for remote access and sharing of captured images.
- Solar trail cameras can stay powered for weeks or months at a time, reducing the need for frequent battery changes.
- You can buy solar trail cameras in specialty shops and online marketplaces, including Amazon.
Whether you’re into nature conservation or wildlife photography, a trail camera can help you track wild animals into their habitat with minimal disruptions to their natural activities.
From all trail camera types, the solar kind can stay powered and keep capturing videos or photos for weeks or months at a time. This translates to fewer trips to change the batteries, especially in the cold season when the camera location might be difficult to access.
However, not all models have the same features. To find the right model for you, check our ranking of the best solar trail cameras you can buy this year.
- #1 Best Overall: Spartan GoCam 4G Trail Camera
- Best 2K: Ebitcam Cellular Trail Camera Gen 3.0
- Best for Live Streaming: Spartan GoLive 4G Trail Camera
- Best for Photos Only: SPYPOINT Link-Micro-S-LTE-V Trail Camera
- Best Budget-Friendly: VOOPEAK Solar Trail Camera
#1 Best Overall: Spartan GoCam 4G Trail Camera
- Takes HD photos and videos
- Works on Verizon and AT&T networks
- 52-degree field of view
- Battery life up to 4 months
- Remotely update camera settings
The Spartan GoCam is the best solar trail camera if you want to keep an eye on wildlife without breaking the bank.
This model is designed to capture and send high-definition images and videos of wildlife directly to your Spartan Camera Management App or to your Spartan web portal account. It is 4G and LTE-enabled and works with Verizon, AT&T, and other carriers.
Aside from quick access to the captured images, the connectivity also allows you to access the camera remotely or share the access with friends, family, or coworkers. Solar charging must be set up separately, but it cuts down maintenance and the number of trips you have to make to the site. Otherwise, the battery provides around four months of runtime per charge.
A highlight is the included SIM card, which is already embedded in the device. Spartan data plans currently cost around $5 per month, and you can share the connection between 10 devices at a time. If you want to save on data, we like that you can save the photos and videos on a standard SD card of up to 32GB.
The only thing we don’t like is the challenging configuration, especially since the camera doesn’t come with a user manual.
Check out the Spartan GoCam on Amazon.
|This trail camera provides up to four months of runtime without solar charging.||Configuring the camera is difficult.|
|The trail camera is 4G and LTE-enabled, and it works with Verizon, AT&T, and other carriers.|
|You can pair up to 10 Spartan GoCams to monitor a larger area.|
Best 2K Trail Camera: Ebitcam Cellular Trail Camera Gen 3.0
- SD&4G LTE SIM Card
- 360° full view
- 2K live streaming
- Remote access on the phone
- Solar wireless game camera
- Night vision
- Motion activated
- IP65 waterproof rating
Equipped with a 6W solar panel and a high-capacity battery, the Ebitcam Cellular Trail Camera Gen 3.0 is the best one if you want to observe wildlife all year round.
Like the Spartan GoCam, the Ebitcam Gen 3.0 is 4G LTE-enabled and is compatible with Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile networks. This means that you can use it with a SIM card (included) and get wildlife photos and videos directly on your mobile app. You can also save on data in areas with Wi-Fi coverage, making it a great option for property surveillance.
One of the best features of this trail camera is its 360-degree full view, which allows you to keep an eye on any area of the trail. The 2K resolution also allows you to capture stunning images and HD videos of wildlife during the day and night.
To save you data or space on the SD card, this motion-activated camera includes an AI-powered sensor that reduces false alarms. To observe wild animals, you can activate real-time alerts on your phone. Alternatively, you can use the camera with a standard SD card of up to 128GB or save the data in a cloud folder.
You can find the Ebitcam Cellular Trail Camera Gen 3.0 on Amazon.
|The 6W solar panel and high-capacity battery can power the camera for months on end.||This trail camera is expensive upfront, and the data plan for the included SIM card might also cost you more than a data SIM bought directly from a carrier.|
|You can capture pictures and videos in up to 2K resolution.|
|An intelligent sensor reduces false alarms, preventing the waste of data.|
Best for Live Streaming: Spartan GoLive 4G Trail Camera
- 4G LTE
- Verizon Certified
- Live streaming capable
- Anti-theft GPS
- On-demand image and video capture
- Real-time updates
- Built-in Lithium Battery
The Spartan GoLive Cellular Trail Camera doesn’t come with a solar kit in the box, but it is your best bet if you want a cheap data plan and the chance to live-stream wildlife.
Like the GoCam, this camera features a high-capacity lithium-ion battery that can power the device for months at a time (around nine months, to be precise). To cut down maintenance and the number of trips to the site, you can pair the device with a 10W or 15W GoLive solar panel kit that will recharge the battery automatically.
Once set up, you can use the mobile app to live stream or capture photos on command. When it’s not live streaming, the camera can record between 30 seconds and 24 hours of footage, or you can set a photo trigger interval between 0 and 60 seconds to capture candid pictures of wildlife. Using the motion-activated sensor as a trigger is also possible.
The embedded SIM card uses 4G or LTE connectivity to send data to your mobile or save it in the cloud. Alternatively, you can save everything on a standard SD card of up to 128GB. Other highlights include anti-theft GPS and the possibility of pairing up to 10 cameras.
Have a look at the Spartan GoLive 4G Trail Camera on Amazon.
|The GoLive trail camera pairs with 10W or 15W solar panels for indefinite runtime.||You have to buy the solar panel kit separately.|
|This camera live streams at up to 30 frames per second.|
|The anti-theft GPS makes it easy to locate your trail camera.|
Best for Photos Only: SPYPOINT Link-Micro-S-LTE-V
The SPYPOINT Link-Micro-S-LTE-V Trail Camera doesn’t record videos, but it’s one of the best options if you need a cellular solar trail camera with a cheap data plan.
Its greatest highlight is the built-in solar panel that keeps the battery charged. In periods with little to no sunlight, the lithium-ion battery can keep the camera going for around two months per charge — the solar panel can capture energy even on cloudy days, so you won’t have to take trips to the camera site too often.
Like most modern trail cameras, this SPYPOINT model is cellular-enabled and comes with some of the best plans out there. If you don’t want to send more than 100 pictures per month, the transfer is completely free.
Paid plans vary from around $5 per month for up to 250 photos to $15 per month for unlimited photos, and you can reduce the monthly costs with an annual subscription. This camera comes with a SIM card and works with all cellular networks, providing nationwide coverage.
As far as the camera’s capability goes, you can expect a motion sensor and flash range of around 80 feet and a trigger speed of 0.4 seconds, but the picture quality is debatable. You can choose from a continuous or multi-shot mode and save additional photos on an SD card of up to 32GB.
You can find the SPYPOINT Lin-Micro-S-LTE-V Trail Camera on Amazon.
|An app allows you to monitor the site in real time.||This trail camera doesn’t record videos, and the photos are rather low-definition.|
|Data transmission packages include a free option for up to 100 photos per month.|
|An app allows you to monitor the site in real-time.|
Best Budget-Friendly: VOOPEAK Solar Trail Camera
The VOOPEAK Solar Trail Camera is a good choice if you don’t mind a lower image quality and don’t want to spend too much.
For under $100, this device can snap satisfactory pictures or record videos of wildlife and save them on an SD card — that you have to buy separately. It doesn’t have a cellular connection, so you won’t be able to check the area via an app or upload the images in a cloud. However, the built-in solar panel keeps it powered for months on end, so you don’t have to visit the site too often.
If, for one reason or another, solar charging is a problem, you can use a USB-C charger to recharge the built-in battery or use four standard batteries as backup.
The image quality is lower compared to high-quality trail cameras, but if you only need the device for site surveillance, it does its job brilliantly. The only real downside is the basic operating system, which can sometimes result in annoying bugs. These problems are rare, though, so this camera might still be worth your while.
Check out the VOOPEAK Solar Trail Camera on Amazon.
|This is one of the most affordable solar trail cameras.||You can’t access the camera remotely or upload the images to a cloud due to the lack of cellular connectivity.|
|In periods with little sunshine, you can charge the battery with a USB-C charger or use standard batteries to power the camera.|
|It is compatible with standard SD cards of up to 256GB.|
How to Pick the Best Solar Trail Cameras: Step-by-Step
When choosing a solar trail camera, there are six main considerations for most buyers.
- Solar panel type
- Remote control
- Image quality
Let’s see how each of these factors can affect your decision-making.
Solar Panel Type
Solar trail cameras can use built-in or separate solar panels to charge the battery. Built-in solar panels are very convenient as they need no setup. They are usually attached to the top of the trail camera, so you don’t have to worry about wires that wildlife could damage.
However, these solar panels are not very powerful and may fail to charge the battery on cloudy days or short daylight periods. Separate solar panels may or may not be included in the trail camera’s price, but they perform better than the built-in kind.
If you want to set up the camera in a remote or difficult-to-reach location and not bother about backup batteries, a trail camera powered by a separate solar panel is generally the best option.
Today, most solar trail cameras have a cellular connection and are LTE or 4G-enabled. The vast majority of these models come with embedded SIM cards that can connect to the cellular networks of most carriers.
Included data packages allow you to transfer photos and videos from the camera to your mobile phone. Some plans even include cloud storage, and you can choose to upload the files automatically. However, cellular trail cameras are more expensive than the standard ones that only save pictures or videos on an SD card.
While most cellular trail cameras have apps and can be controlled remotely, that’s not always the case. If remote control is important to you, make sure the solar trail camera you like has a mobile app. Beyond controlling the camera, an app also allows you to watch the surveilled site in real-time, and some cameras even allow you to live stream on your smartphone or computer.
Trail cameras are generally used for site surveillance, so image quality is not exactly a priority for most people. If you want to use the camera to capture high-definition images or videos of wildlife, though, you should invest in a camera with HD or 2K capabilities.
When buying a solar trail camera, inexperienced people might think they are all designed to withstand the elements. However, some cameras only have an IPX5 rating, which basically means they won’t withstand heavy rains or melting snow. If you can’t mount the camera in a sheltered spot, opt for a model with an IPX6 or higher rating.
The price can be a deciding factor when buying a solar trail camera, especially if you don’t need high-quality images. Standard, non-cellular models are the most affordable, but you won’t be able to watch the site in real-time or download any images unless you travel to the camera site. Solar trail cameras with cellular connectivity are more expensive, but they bring more advantages.
What to Know Before Buying a Solar Trail Camera
Solar trail cameras can help you save on batteries and trips to the camera site, but they only work if the solar panel gets enough sunlight exposure to charge the built-in battery. For models with built-in solar panels, this often means at least eight hours of full exposure per day. Trees, clouds, and other obstacles can reduce the hours of exposure, so the solar panel might fail to charge the battery fully.
Trail cameras with separate solar panels are more expensive, but you can install the solar panel at a distance from the camera. This means that you can mount the trail camera on a tree and place the solar panel on a higher branch or in a spot that gets more sunlight. Separate solar panels are also more powerful, and they can charge the device’s battery faster. These cameras are less likely to need backup batteries and generally have fewer charging problems than those with built-in solar panels.
Using Solar Trail Cameras: What It’s Like
Solar trail cameras — whether they have a built-in or a separate solar panel — are a great improvement compared to the conventional, battery-powered models. The solar panels can usually keep these cameras powered for months on end, providing you with plenty of photos and videos of wildlife. A cellular connection allows you to access the camera remotely and watch the site in real-time, while included data plans and cloud storage options make it easy to access the images without traveling to the camera site.
No doubt, using a solar trail camera that is 4G or LTE-enabled is way better than using a conventional trail camera that requires constant battery changes, and that can only save the captured images on an SD card.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©milart/Shutterstock.com.