Best Budget Cellular Trail Camera
Hunting is a lot of fun, and the experience is even better with a good cellular trail camera. This lets you observe nature even when you are not around. All you have to do is set your game camera up and let it record. However, cellular trail cameras can be expensive, which discourages hunters from getting them.
There is good news for you if you are one of them. There are many best inexpensive cellular trail cameras that you can get that will perform the same functions as the pricey ones. Getting one of these trail cameras will give you the same experience but at a more affordable price.
Why Use a Cellular Trail Camera
One of the benefits of using a cellular trail camera is that they let you send pictures and videos to your phone. This takes away the need to go to the woods every day to retrieve the footage. It is a convenient use of your time, allowing you to see the patterns of the animals in the wild without getting them startled by your presence.
Best budget cellular trail cams use SIM cards that will transmit this footage. Some cameras, such as the Camojojo Trace LTE, come with an inbuilt SIM card, and all you have to do is buy a Data Plan, which Camojojo also provides.
Things to Consider
Finding a cheap cellular game camera is not hard. Amazon, Wal-Mart, and your local outdoor sports or hunting stores have a dizzying array of cheap cell cams. Not all low-priced cellular trail cameras are worthy of your money, and some high-priced trail cameras may not have the best features either. Here, we've reviewed as many cellular trail cams as we could find to give you our top picks, and we've also included a comprehensive buying guide that should help you select the best cellular trail camera for the best budget.
Picture and Video Quality
A mark of a good trail camera is the quality of footage it takes. Clear pictures and videos make identification of the animal species, gender, and age easier. It also enables you to spot any unique identification features from the animal; getting high-quality pictures and videos is not necessary, but can be useful when it comes to game hunting and taking footage at night.
The trail camera you get should also have a fast trigger speed that can capture all animals, especially the fast-moving ones. There needs to be a short period of time between motion detection and footage capture. Look for a fast trigger speed; anything ranging from 0.25 seconds- 0.1 is fast enough to capture any animal in the wild. A faster trigger speed also takes more pictures of the animal that you can use for further analysis.
Different trail cameras have different battery consumption needs and your batteries should be able to keep up with this. The camera you get should have a long battery life to save you the hassle of constantly recharging. You can also get one with rechargeable batteries. Get multiple battery packs if you go with this option so you can easily switch them when they get low, saving you time in between charges.
A trail camera's memory must be large enough to hold the video or still image it took when it was triggered so that it can be viewed at a later time. Some game cameras have an inbuilt SD card that stores all the pictures and videos it records. Look for a 32GB or higher SD card that offers you enough space and allows you to record more footage. Getting a camera with a built-in SD card is also more economic as you won’t have to purchase a separate SD card.
You will be setting the game camera up in the woods, leaving it vulnerable to the weather conditions and the animals. The game camera you get should be waterproof and dustproof so that it can withstand any rain or moisture without breaking down. One with a wide operating temperature range is also necessary; your trail camera should be able to function in the lowest and highest temperature in the area. This ensures no weather conditions will affect it and you will get continuous footage.
This is the distance where the camera's motion or heat sensors are triggered once the animal is within the range. A camera with a wide detection range covers more space, meaning you will get footage spanning a wider space. It also allows the trail camera to get fuller pictures of the animals, and in some cases, more than one animal. The game camera you get should have between 20-100 feet of working area.
A data plan is a requirement for cellular trail cameras. That is because they rely on cellular data to send the footage they capture to your receiving device. This is useful as you will not have to wait until there is WiFi to get your footage. Get a game cam with a decent data plan and one that you can afford. Camojojo, for example, offers affordable data plans with great discounts that, together with their inbuilt SIM card, you can use to send images without breaking the budget.
Animals can be easily spooked by the flash you use, so you need to choose this with caution. Low-glow flashes are a better option as they emit low-frequency light, which is just bright enough to provide the lighting you need to take a clear picture without spooking the animal.
No-glow trail cameras are also another good choice as they don’t have a noticeable light that will spook the animals. This setting does not provide light which can make it hard to get clear pictures.
Ease of Setup
Setting your game camera up should not be complicated. Not all of us are tech-savvy, and we cannot spend all of our time trying to figure out how to use the camera. The cellular game cam you get should have instructions that are easy to follow and that someone who hasn't handled such a device before can understand.
A good mark of any product you purchase is the kind of customer support you can get from the brand. Good customer service is necessary as it provides a safe space where your questions will be answered and your complaints will be solved. Ensure the game camera you purchase is from a brand that cares about its customers and gives the best customer service possible.
Sometimes our trail cameras can stop functioning for reasons we don’t understand. Having a warranty is necessary for such situations as it protects you from any manufacturing or operating error that you did not cause yourself. Do not purchase a camera without a warranty. It is also better to get one with at least a 6-month warranty period to be safe.
Best Budget Cellular Trail Cameras
Below are some of the best budget cellular trail cams available. These are the ones that meet the necessary cellular trail camera requirements without breaking your budget. They are an example that you don’t need to spend too much money on trail cameras and still get amazing quality. The best cellular trail cameras for the money that we found are:
Bushnell CelluCore 30
This is the first of the cheapest cellular game cameras we found. One of the features that make the Bushnell CelluCore a worthy camera is its fast trigger speed. This trail camera has a 0.2-second trigger speed. This is an impressively fast trigger speed that comes in handy when hunting. Some animals can move very fast, such as the deer, which can be easy to miss if your camera has a slow speed.
Another great feature of this cheap trail camera is its fast recovery time. This allows the game camera to take more than one picture of fast-moving animals. Together with the fast trigger speed, it makes it easy for you to have multiple clear pictures and videos of whatever it records. It has two data plans, going from $9.99/month to $14.99/month.
Picture and video quality is also something that sticks out when getting a trail camera, and the Bushnell delivers on that with its 30mp picture quality and HD video resolution. It is also a good hunting companion because of its long battery life. It uses 12 AA batteries that are rechargeable. This enables the game camera to record for long periods of time without needing you to charge it. It also ensures the camera doesn't die before you get a chance to record it, giving you more footage.
- Easy and fast setup
- 100 feet detection range
- Fast trigger speed
- Long battery life
- Fast recovery speed
- Nighttime pictures are of a lower quality
Another best inexpensive cellular trail camera that should definitely be on your list is the Camojojo Trace LTE. It is one of the best cellular trail cameras on the market. One of the reasons for this is because of its instant video-sending and video-playing feature. This cellular trail cam can capture movements as far as 80 feet away.
Its auto-working mode makes the perfect balance of instant video sending and battery consumption as it transfers to eco mode automatically when it’s not triggered. All you have to do is enter the app, and you can view whatever footage it records in real time without requiring HD. This gives you the ability to watch the animal as it is before the camera, a feature most trail cameras lack.
The Trace LTE also has a live streaming option; the camera transmits the live stream to your phone. In other words, you can watch the live video from your cellular trail camera whenever you want, without having to wait for the video to be sent to your phone. It is more convenient for hunters or nature enthusiasts to observe animals and share this with their friends.
Do you love hunting with friends? The Trace LTE trail camera lets you share your album with friends. You can use this feature to cross-reference the footage you get, creating a community. The other thing that makes this trail camera the best affordable cellular trail camera is its easy setup. It is NFC equipped and has different modes for easier and more convenient use.
Camojojo also offers some of the cheapest cellular trail camera plan you can get. It starts at $4.99 for the Basic Plan and $11.99 for the Premium Plan. The picture quality is a bit lacking at only 5mp but it makes up with the 1080p video resolution that helps you see the animals clearly.
- Has a live streaming and live video playing option
- A flexible holder that makes for easy setup
- Impressive night photography
- Fast trigger speed at 2 seconds
- Built-in SIM and SD cards
- Best night vision
- The app can sometimes be slow
3. Browning Defender Pro Scout Max
The Browning Pro Scout trail camera is another cheap cellular camera that is worth your money. It has high-quality pictures that do well at night. This trail camera also has a wide detection range of 120 feet. You can even increase this detection range by setting it up somewhere higher. That allows you to cover more ground, which in turn lets you observe more ground and all the animals and wildlife in the area.
Its trigger speed is slower than the previous two at 0.25 seconds, but it still shows enough pictures. The pictures are also quite clear with a 20mp resolution and HD video resolution, making it a good cheap cellular trail camera. Battery life is another important feature of trail cameras, and the Browning does not disappoint. It has 8AA batteries that give it long-lasting power. It also comes with a chipset that you can use to connect to either Verizon or AT&T, depending on what is stronger in your area.
Durability is something else we all want in a game camera. A good trail camera is made from high-quality and durable materials that can withstand different weather conditions. This trail camera will hold its own even in the worst of downpours or scorching sun. It will power through, taking more pictures without succumbing to the weather. These factors make it impressive through and through.
- Incredible battery life
- Wide detection range
- Ease of use
- Fast trigger and recovery speeds
- Great picture and video quality
- Has poor reception in some areas
4. Reconyx Hyperfire 2 Cellular
I have mentioned more than once the importance of having a good battery life for your trail camera. The Reconyx Hyperfire trail camera delivers 12 AA lithium batteries. The batteries can provide your game camera with power for days on end, ensuring you can still get your footage. The batteries are rechargeable, so you can always recharge them before returning them to the trail cam.
The fast trigger speed of 0.2 seconds is also something that excites me about the Hyperfire. It also has a wide detection range of 100 feet. The recovery speed makes all these features work together perfectly. They allow you to take clear pictures with a fast turnaround time that covers a wide area. What more could you ask from a camera? Pictures are also relatively clear at 3 megapixels as well as videos that use 720p resolution and have audio.
The camera also performs well at night, taking clear pictures that allow you to see every detail of the animal in the dark. The night performance is improved because of its relative silence. There is no trigger sound, and the low-glow feature is very subtle. It is not enough to scare animals and lets you take pictures of the animals even at close range. The Reconyx also supports LTE and AT&T data plans, with the basic data plan at $5 for 2,000 images and the premium at $60 for 24,000 images.
- Great performance and takes high-quality pictures
- Has a wide detection range
- The trigger speed is fast
- Made from durable and long-lasting materials
- Noiseless operation
- It is a bit expensive
- It easily fogs up
5.Moultrie Mobile Edge
The Moultrie Edge is another of the cheapest cellular trail cameras that don't slouch off on the quality. It has one of the fastest trigger speeds at .85 seconds. This makes it possible for you to capture everything that passes by your trail camera. The detection range is narrower at 80 feet, but it still covers enough ground to let you see a large area and the animals in it.
Setting up a trail camera can be hard, with all the technicalities involved. That is not the case with the Moultrie Mobile Edge. Its setup is seamless that even a novice hunter can figure it out easily. You can actually get more tips on the mobile app on how to set the camera up and how to operate it.
Like the Camojojo Trace LTE, it also has image recognition. This feature allows you to identify the animals you record and their movements. The clear recording that shows pictures at 33 megapixels and shows videos with 720p resolution helps you identify the animals' movements. The trail camera also offers unlimited cloud storage, so you can store endless footage that you can compare. The trail camera's 16 AA batteries make it last longer, which is also another important feature.
You can also use this cellular trail cam’s data plan. The Standard Plan goes for $9.99 a month, covering 1,000 pictures and ten videos. The more advanced Pro Series Plan goes for $34.99 a month, giving you unlimited images and up to 50 videos.
- Easy setup
- Incredibly fast trigger speed
- Great app support
- Image recognition feature
- Cloud storage option
- The trigger can be hard to use
- Fast battery draining
6. Tactacam Reveal XB
This camera is a step above the Tactacam X, with a few more features than its predecessor. It takes better pictures that keep going, whether rain or shine. It is, however, hard for it to cope with fog or extremely cold environments. The pictures will come out clear whenever you take them, so it is better to go clear them up whenever you see the fog setting in.
The Reveal XB offers variety with its pictures with different megapixels; you can get your pictures starting at 8mp/12mp/16mp or 24mp. It also features HD video resolution for clarity. This best-budget cellular trail cam is a no-glow camera, but this does not make it any less clear. Its footage still comes out clearer than ever, and it competes with the other trail cameras when it comes to picture quality. The daytime pictures are even clearer, making you feel like you are there yourself.
Some cellular data plans can be a little more expensive than others, but they make viewing and downloading pictures easier. The Reveal XB data plan starts at $5 per month using the Starter Plan and goes up to $13/per month on the Pro Plan. This trail camera has a wide detection range that still holds at night. It even has an 80-foot flash range that allows you to take wide pictures and videos in the dead of night.
- Super-fast trigger speed at less than .5 seconds
- Incredible photo and video quality
- Long battery life powered by 12 AA batteries
- Waterproof design
- Easy and seamless setup
- Expensive data plan
7. Covert Blackhawk LTE
The Blackhawk is the best cellular game camera for the money, but it does come with a few downsides. But first, for the best features, the incredibly quiet operation makes this trail camera great for taking pictures of animals that can get easily startled. It also allows animals to come pretty close to the trail camera, which means you can take more up-close photos of the animals for easier identification.
The lithium 12 AA batteries ensure the trail camera can last for many days, with the full set lasting for more than a year without needing recharging. The game camera's operation is also made possible with the app. You can change the settings to whatever suits you and your needs the best. It also allows you to set times for the camera to take pictures and when it can rest. Doing this ensures it is not always recording, which elongates the battery life even more.
The company allows you to buy custom accessories that enable you to make the camera feel more like you. It is made even more efficient by the no-glow operation. The 0.65-second trigger speed also makes it possible for you to take pictures faster. The 100-foot detection range, 20mp pictures, and 720p videos make it even better. You can get its monthly data plan starting at $4.99/100 pictures to $19.99/for 20,000 pictures.
- Long-lasting battery power
- Quiet operation
- 0.65 seconds trigger speed
- Customizable features
- Wide flash range
- The trigger operates slowly when taking videos
8.Yellowstone.ai 4G LTE
Game cameras need to be strong and durable to survive the harsh conditions they are exposed to. The Yellowstone trail camera makes it possible with the IP66 protection rating. This ensures it does not get ruined by the weather conditions, such as dust, snow, and rain. It also has a wide operating temperature range that allows it to keep functioning at temperatures ranging between -13 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Its batteries can last up to 20 weeks, which means you can set it up and leave it to record for this long without needing to go back to check on it all the time. The solar panel it comes with also charges the trail camera, further increasing its battery life. This cellular game camera offers high-quality footage with 1080p video quality and 12mp for pictures. Its detection range goes as wide as 65 feet, with 50 feet when using the wide lens.
It is a good cheap cellular trail camera that offers great customer service. You can call or text their agents for any problems. This will help you get answers to your questions and concerns to make its use even easier than it already is. Yellowstone.ai’s data plan starts with the usage-based cover for $6/month and goes up to the Outfitter plan at $44.99/month.
- Extensive battery life
- Easy to set up and operate
- 0.4 seconds trigger speed
- IP66 water, dust, and snow protection ratings
- Wide operating temperature range
- The picture quality is blurry at night
9. Spartan Ghost 4G/LTE
The Spartan Ghost is a monumental and the best affordable cellular trail camera you can get, especially if you want a camera with lower consumption. It has a great battery life that does not drain your batteries. This will allow it to last for months out in the wild and capture footage throughout this time.
The detection range is at 80 feet. However, the picture quality is decent, with pictures at 3mp/5mp and 8mp. You can get HD videos of the footage, but only by requesting HD, otherwise, the quality is very low. It also has a built-in SIM card that allows you to transmit footage using its data plan which ranges from $15.99 to $32.99 on a shared data basis, meaning you can share the data across all of your Spartan devices.
The Spartan Ghost also has a rugged exterior that makes it sturdier and more durable. Because of this, you can leave it in different weather conditions. It also has a GPS feature that discourages theft and enables you to track it should it get lost.
- Attractive design
- 0.4 seconds trigger speed
- Does not consume a lot of power
- Inbuilt SIM card
- Impressive motion sensor
- Short detection range
10. Spypoint Flex
The last best cheap cellular trail cam we will look at is the Spypoint Flex. Spypoint has been producing trail cameras for a few years, so they have the process down pat. One of the features that make it a good trail camera is its 33mp pictures and 1080p video quality. What is even more impressive is that you can record videos with sound. This gives you a more immersive experience, allowing you to both watch and hear the animals.
A 0.5-second trigger speed makes the camera work even faster, which is something to look out for in trail cameras. The long battery life from the 8 AA batteries ensures the camera takes good pictures and videos even during the night. It also comes with 2 SIM cards that allow you to send the data to your receiving device.
The camera is a bit on the pricier side, but its performance makes it a worthy investment. The range can also be improved as it gets wonky at 60 of the 100 feet it claims, but it takes stable and sharp features at the closer ranges. This cellular trail camera’s data plan starts at $5/month for the Basic Plan and up to $15/month for the Premium package.
- Clear videos that come with audio
- it has GPS detection
- takes clear pictures during the day and night
- 2 SIM cards that send to the clearest data plan
- Fast trigger speed
- Sending full videos to your phone can cost a lot
Do I need a cellular trail camera?
You don’t really need to have a cellular trail camera but having one is a good option for avid hunters. Even hunters with little experience in this field can benefit from using a cellular trail cam. Those who are working with a budget can benefit from getting a cheap cellular game camera that suits their needs.
Cellular game cameras also give you a better option for receiving footage. Instead of having to wait until you are somewhere with WiFi, you can use SIM cards to send or live stream pictures and videos without physically being in the same area as the camera. This is more convenient for people who want to watch the animals and learn their patterns but don't have enough time to stake out the place in person.
Do I have to buy a monthly fee for my cellular game camera?
You will need to pay a monthly fee for your trail camera. The subscription fee is what gets you a data plan that will enable you to send data to your phone or receiving device. You can get an affordable data plan that you can renew. Camojojo offers some of the cheapest cellular trail camera plans that range from $5 to $12 a month. The different data plans allow you to get something that fits your budget.
Do I need WiFi for my cellular trail camera?
Cellular game cameras are different from wireless cameras because they don’t need a data plan. Wireless trail cameras require WiFi signals for them to connect, but cellular trail cameras don't. That is actually the biggest difference between the two.
Will my trail camera get stolen?
This is a common concern for most hunters. The good thing is that there are ways to avoid getting your camera stolen. One of the ways is by getting a camouflage camera that will blend in with the surroundings. Other game cameras are black in color, which also allows them to fit in better.
The other way to prevent your trail camera from getting stolen is by setting it up on a higher branch. This will keep it away from any inquiring fingers. It is also out of reach for most animals, so they will not accidentally knock it down. You should also avoid checking on it frequently, as this will alert others. Try covering it with fake leaves and branches to make it less visible, but ensure you do not cover the lens.
Should I get a low-glow or a no-glow game camera?
Both options are great for cellular trail cameras. However, a low-glow camera can give you much clearer photos at night. That is because the infrared light emitted by the trail camera provides enough light for the pictures. You also don't have to worry about the light spooking the animals. Most animals will not notice it, and others will be more curious about the light. Hanging it higher is a better option to keep it from prying animals.