Best Trail Cameras For The Money 2019

We all work hard for our money, and the last thing we want is to blow that money on a cheap trail camera that doesn’t perform to our expectations. Worse yet, spending money on an expensive trail camera that has features and settings that we never use, yet are paying for. So, we set out to find the perfect balance of good quality trail cameras, that will not burn a whole in your pocket.

We use and test new trail cameras all the time, and have compiled a list of cameras that meet a perfect balance between performance, durability, and price. Here is our list of the best trail cameras for the money, so that you can get the most bang for your buck.

Standard Trail Cameras

Exodus Trek

  • .7 Second Trigger Speed
  • Black Flash
  • 3.1 MP Image Sensor
  • Video Resolution 1080p @ 15fps or 720p @ 30fps
  • 5 Year Manufacturer Warranty
  • MSRP: $145


The Exodus Trek is one of our favorite cameras, in fact it is a part of our Recommended products. With a .7 second trigger speed, and a 3.1 MP native image sensor, this camera takes great photos. Backed by a 5 year manufacturer warranty, the Trek is built to last for years. At an MSRP of $145 this camera not only makes the list of best cameras for the money, but tops it. Exodus is a primarily direct to consumer product, but you can also find it here on Amazon.

What We Liked

There is a ton that we like about the Exodus Trek. For this price point you are getting an extremely high quality camera that takes excellent photos. The .7 Second trigger speed must be worst case scenario, because we have never had an instance where we have missed a running deer, in fact most cases we have gotten multiple photos in burst mode.

The 3.1 megapixel native image sensor, allows you to set the camera to use a lower interpolated photo. We found this to be an extremely helpful addition, that only most high priced trail cameras have. It allows you to zoom in on photos without getting blurred lines in the details.

Most of all what we really like about the Exodus Trek as with all Exodus cameras in general, they come with a 5 year manufacturer warranty. Only a company that builds an excellent camera, has the ability to stand behind it for 5 years. A bonus to the manufacturer warranty, as a company they recognize that accidental damage, bear damage, and theft become a financial burden to their customers, so they offer a 5 year 50% off theft and damage warranty to help ease that burden. Even better yet, they back up their warranties with excellent customer service. When you call the customer service number for Exodus you are do not speak with a customer service rep from another country, in fact about 80% of all customer calls is fielded directly by the owner, so you know you will be taken care of.

Where It Missed

When you find a trail camera that you like as much as we like the Exodus Trek, it feels almost like nit-picking to find things that do not meet our expectations, but we did come up with two.

The video mode is quality for what it is, but it is only 720p resolution. This camera does offer a 1080p resolution, but only at 15 frames per second. If you are in search of trail camera to run primarily video, this camera might not be your best fit.

The only other aspect of this camera that didn’t hit the mark is the grey color housing. In a time where more and more people are using cameras on public lands, there seems to be a harder and harder time keeping your trail cameras hidden from potential thieves. The grey casing of the the Trek makes this camera sticks out like a sore thumb in an environment mostly comprised of brown and green.

Moultrie S-50i

  • .3 Second Trigger Speed
  • Black Flash
  • 2″ Full Color Screen
  • 1080p Video Resolution
  • 2 Year Manufacturer Warranty
  • MSRP : $129.99


The Moultrie S-50i is an incredibly good trail camera at the current asking price of $129.99. The S series of trail cameras by Moultrie is a part of their professional line of cameras, and meets most of standards that we have for trail cameras. A fast .3 second trigger speed, with 100′ detection distance and 1080p Full HD video resolution. You can find the Moultrie S-50i at their best price on Amazon.

What We Liked

The Moultrie S-50i at $129.99 is a heck of a steal. When you visit the Moultrie website it shows that this is a sale price, and the original price is $199. This has been on their site like this for 3 months, and we are not sure if this is an extended promotional sale, or a great marketing ploy to get people to buy. We will treat it as the latter, and if the price goes back up, it wouldn’t have made this list. But at $129 you are getting a big value.

The first thing that jumped out at us was the lighting fast trigger speed. The thing that most people might not comprehend is how this coordinates with the field of view. If you have a fast trigger speed and a super wide field of view, most subjects (deer) will result in being mostly on the edges of the photo. Moultrie coordinated the fast trigger speed with a slightly smaller field of view, which results with most deer being centered in the photo. This was excellently done.

We also like the 2″ color screen. Most trail cameras that have this option are in the $200 price point. To have a camera for under $130 that can not only show you where it is physically pointing while setting up, but allows you to use playback directly on the camera is a great bonus.

The final thing that we really liked is the 2 year manufacturer warranty. While we have never had an issue with this particular trail camera, we have had an issue with another Moultrie camera, and enacted the warranty. While it was a little back and forth with the customer service rep, in an attempt to “fix” the problem, in the end we had to send the camera back, and within 4 days received a new one. We weren’t in desperate need for the replacement, but it is great to know that they are quick to react.

Where it missed

The biggest thing that we found was that the control panel was a bit clunky. It has a plastic slide switch that moves back and forth between the settings. That switch doesn’t move smoothly and seems to be cheaply made. While we didn’t have any problems with the switch itself, we foresee it being easily broken.

One thing that we have encountered over the years with Moultrie trail cameras is that eventually, the IR filter that drops down over the lens for for night time photos, will get stuck down, creating pink photos during daylight hours. While we have not had any problems with this camera in particular, this has become a problem using other Moultrie products, and we suspect that eventually the same will occur with this one.

As we alluded to earlier, the price of the the S-50i is really up in the air. If the price eventually jumps up to the $199 price point, it is not worth the asking. But as of right now the “sale” price is a bargain.

Spypoint Force Dark

  • .07 Second Trigger Speed
  • 110′ Detection Distance
  • 1080p Video Resolution
  • 2 Year Manufacturer Warranty
  • MSRP : $129.99


The Spypoint Force-Dark is an exceptional camera at a really great price. This camera boasts a .07 second trigger speed, the fastest on the market. With a 110′ detection distance and a 90′ night time flash range, it is packed with a lot of features that assure you get a photo of anything that passes in front of the camera. Backed by a 2 year manufacturer warranty, this camera is a great deal at $129.99. You can find the Force-Dark at a great price from Amazon.

What We Liked

Aside from the the super fast .07 second trigger speed, one of the things that really stood out to us is the exceptional day time photos. Deep, clear colors without any motion blur. The high quality full image resolution pictures are competitive with just about any trail camera on the market, making it a great bargain at $129.

Similar to the Moultrie S-50i the Force-Dark is equipped with a 2″ view screen. If you have never used one, a camera at this price is a good time to try it out. It is easy to use, and incredibly convenient when setting up and checking your photos in the field.

The Force- Dark has a unique removable mounting bracket making it easier to hang your trail camera without having to balance your camera on the tree while reaching around and messing with the buckle to get it perfect. Just easily push a a plastic tab to disconnect the camera from the bracket. This not only makes the mounting aspect simple, it is a nice little feature in checking cameras as well. Not needing to get on your knees to pull SD cards and adjust settings. Sometimes its the small little things like this removable mounting bracket that impresses us.

Where it Missed

One of the things that we had noticed with this trail camera is that it has a little bit of a problem with night time motion blur. Assuming that it is due to the exception trigger speed, it is also coupled with a fast shutter speed. (you can read about the difference between trigger speed and shutter speed here) A fast shutter speed doesn’t allow enough light into the image sensor, leaving photos of animals in motion to have a slight blur. Not the end of the world when it comes to trail cameras, but does limit the places you may want to set you camera if you get a healthy balance of night time photos.

Again, this may seem a little bit like nit-picking but one thing that bothered us was that there is no designated power button. With this camera you need to press the “OK” button to turn it on, and hold the same button to turn the camera off. In general, this is not a huge issue, but we got caught reading some of the menu options a number of times and left our finger on the “OK” button a bit long and shut the camera off. (the same button us used in setting up the camera).

Browning Dark Ops Apex

  • .22 Second Trigger Speed
  • Smart IR 900p Video
  • Adjustable Black Flash
  • .6 Second Recovery Speed
  • Compact Size 4.5″ X 3.25″ X 2.5″
  • MSRP: $149.99


Browning has come a long way in producing quality trail cameras, and is probably one of the more sought after brands in the industry. The Apex is no exception to that, as it is equipped with an extremely fast .22 second trigger speed an 80′ flash range, and adjustable night time black flash. With a quick .6 second photo recovery time, this compact camera, is quality built at an affordable price. You can find the Browning Dark Ops Apex directly from Browning or through Amazon.

What We Liked

The first thing that really stood out to us is the fast recovery time. At .6 seconds it allows the camera to be ready to take a followup picture in less than a second. This means you get more photos of deer in your strike zone than most cameras on the market.

Any time a camera has features that are adjustable, it allows for the user to set the camera to their specific needs, and to us, the more versatile a camera is the better off the user will be. With the Dark Ops Apex you have the ability to adjust the IR intensity for night time photos. This give you complete power over where and how you set your trail camera. If you have a trail that is passes close to the camera, you can adjust the flash to ensure you will not have white out photos. The same goes if you are hanging your camera along a field edge, you will want to adjust the IR to have more intensity with the lack of back drop to absorb the light. This feature gives you control over where and how you set your camera, and for a user that is a great experience.

The last thing that we really liked about this camera is the Browning Smart IR video. This feature allows the camera to activate and deactivate the video based on movement in front of the camera. Unlike other trail camera’s where you have a set length of time you can record, the Smart IR Video recording gives you only what you need in video recording time, no more, and no less.

Where It Missed

Browning the maker of one of our very most favorite cameras the Dark Ops Pro XD, has a 1080p video resolution that records at a whopping 60 frames per second. With that said, we were expecting much more from this camera in terms of video resolution. The 900p seems like a board room compromise between those who wanted to go cheap with a 720p and those who were pushing for 1080p. Almost all laptops and tablets will support 1080p, and we felt that even at 30fps this camera should have at least met that expectation.

Browning Dark Ops Extreme

  • Adjustable Trigger Speed (.4 to .7 Second)
  • 80′ Black Flash Range
  • .6 Second Recovery
  • 720p Video Resolution
  • Smart IR Video
  • MSRP: $149.99


The Browning Dark Ops Extreme is very similar to the Apex. In fact there is only one distinct difference. With the Extreme you recieve the ability to have an adjustable trigger speed, at the same token will give up the 900p video resolution of the Apex and have a 720p option instead.

Aside from that small difference, you are getting the same fast photo recovery speed, detection distance, flash range and the same exact price point. You can find the Browning Dark Ops Extreme on their website or sometimes find great deals for this camera on Amazon.

What We Liked

As we had previously discussed with the Apex, having adjustable settings on a camera will give you versatility in your use. Not only does the Extreme offer the adjustable flash intensity, it allows you to adjust the trigger speed, giving you the ability to set your speed according to your set up. You will want to use a quick trigger on areas where deer would move quickly through an area, such as pinch points and funnels. You can also back the trigger speed down for more static sets such as scrapes, feeders and field edges. This camera gives you the best of both worlds.

The fast .6 second photo recovery speed is a great feature that allows your camera to be ready for follow up pictures in less than a second. It is extremely helpful during the rutting season when bucks are chasing does.

We talked about the Smart IR video a bit with the Browning Apex, but it is important to know that the ability to get all of the information you need in one video rather than having a set time period, and potentially missing action while waiting for your camera to recover from the previous video. It takes the guess work out of setting a time length for your videos.

Where it Missed

In today’s day and age, where almost every device you own has the ability to display 1080p video resolution, its just simply frustrating to have video that is less. Lets be clear, 720p resolution will get the job done, and will give you the information you need, but we look for a little more out of the video.

The one thing that we dislike about the Browning Extreme is how similar it is built to the Browning Apex. Essentially the two cameras are the exact same. As a consumer it is frustrating to decide between slight differences between a .22 second trigger speed and an adjustable trigger speed. Having a difference of 180MP in video resolution and a .18 second difference between trigger speeds is so small that it makes us wish they would have just created one camera.

Wireless Cameras

Spartan GO Cam

  • .6 Second Trigger Speed
  • 80′ Flash Range
  • 576p Video Resolution
  • Available in Verizon, AT&T, US Cellular, and Cellcom carries
  • Plans start at $9.99/ Month
  • MSRP: $299.95


The Spartan Go Cam is a cellular transmitted camera that has built a reputation in the industry as a durable and reliable trail camera. An 8MP trail camera, with a quality .6 second trigger speed, and no glow IR emitters, this camera will allow you to get your camera where you need it without spooking game. The Spartan Go Cam is available with Verizon, AT&T, US Cellular, and Cellcom wireless providers. Plans for this camera start at just $9.99/ month

What We Liked

The first thing that jumped out at us was the mobile app. This app can control everything you need in real time. You can change settings, download photos and request real time information. The app is simple to use and easy to set up.

We have had some problems with other cellular trail cameras in the past not being able to connect with signal. With the Spartan Go Cam these issues never seemed to be a problem. The antenna seems to have a strong enough reach where it worked in some of our most remote locations, which is obviously excellent for a trail camera that needs service.

Where it Missed

What we didn’t like is that the data plans were a little confusing to get started. Compared to some other companies, where you can simply choose your plan and move on, this took a little more work to decipher exactly what you were getting. Including added SMS usage charges.

The final thing where we found the Go Cam missed on was the video resolution. While, as a cellular trail camera you are not going to use and transmit video on a regular basis, (it eats through data quickly) in the off season when we might use the camera as a simple stand alone camera, without a data plan, the video resolution was much less than you would hope for with any trail camera.

Spypoint link Micro

  • .5 Second Trigger Speed
  • 80′ Flash Range
  • 80′ Detection Distance
  • Plans range from Free to only $15/month
  • Compact size: 3.1″ x 4.4″ x 2.2″
  • 2 Year Manufacturer Warranty
  • MSRP: $149.99


The Spypoint Link Micro is the smallest most affordable cellular trail camera on the market. This little camera packs a punch though, with a .5 second trigger speed and a matching 80′ detection distance and flash range. Basic wireless trail camera plans that includes up to 100 photos per month is free, and their premium data plan that includes unlimited data is only $15/month. If you haven’t invested in a cellular trail camera yet, this camera makes it simple, and cheap to dive into.

What We Liked

First and foremost the pricing structure of this camera is what we like the most. The Link Micro gives everyone an opportunity to try their hands at using a cellular trail camera without breaking the bank. The $149.99 price point is the cheapest price for cellular trail cameras on the market, and Spypoint’s service provider plans are the cheapest as well. You can receive unlimited data for only $15 a month, and if you buy for a complete year that price goes down to $10/ month, all of which helped land this camera on our list

We also like the ease in which you can set up your plan. Simply register your trail camera on the Spypoint website and choose your plan, it is really that simple.

Where it Missed

Lets be honest, the Spypoint link Micro reminds me of buying a KIA. You don’t go to a KIA dealership and expect Cadillac results, you buy a KIA because of the price. The Link Micro is the KIA, but it simply gets you what you need, and nothing extra. We could go into the details of night time motion blur, lack of video mode, and lack of IR emitters, but just know that with the Spypoin Link Micro you are getting what you are looking for, a cheap cellular trail camera that gets you what you need and nothing extra.

Recent Posts