Best Night Trail Camera (Buying Guide)
No matter which purpose you’re planning for your new trail camera, it’s vital that the trail camera performs well at night.
If you’re using a trail camera for security purposes, it’s more likely your property will be at risk in the night time, and thus you need to be able to get accurate images of interlopers or thieves on your property. If you’re using a trail camera for wildlife monitoring, often wild animals are more active at night, especially if they are nocturnal, or the area or hiking trail you’re surveying is often trafficked by humans during the day. So which is the best night trail camera for your needs?
In a hurry? Here’s the test winner after 10 hours of research:
There are a few factors you need to consider in your decision for the right nighttime trail camera. These determine how effective the trail camera is at capturing images and videos during the night. For example, you’ll need a camera with a long flash range to be able to accurately capture images of movements far away from the camera. You’ll also need a camera that can capture high definition videos at night in black and white if you’re looking to capture nighttime videos with your camera.
And here’s an overview of the best night trail cameras on the market today:
Or, if you’re investing in a trail camera for home security reasons, or you’re monitoring a particularly flighty species of game, you’ll need to look at cameras that have no-glow infrared sensors, or an imperceptible flash. This will ensure that no potential thieves are scared off by the presence of your camera, or notice its presence. You’ll be able to capture them unawares. Similarly with many species of animals. Trail cameras are often camouflaged, so that during the day time animals do not know they are there. Similarly, a no-glow flash or sensor will ensure that animals are acting naturally during the night, and aren’t alerted to the presence of the camera.
So, as we have outlined, the best night trail cameras capture clear images and videos in the night time, have a long-range flash, and are basically invisible to the eye or undetectable. So read on to find out which of the trail cameras on Amazon have all these features and more, and thus which is the best night camera for your unique set of needs.
Best Night Trail Camera – Overview
1. Browning Strike Force HD Pro X
This trail camera by Browning is top of the market when it comes to trail camera specs. It takes 20MP stills and records HD 1600 x 900p video quality with sound. And the real benefit of this model is that the quality of the video and stills is not completely sacrificed in the dark. This is first because of the infrared LED flash which has a 120-foot range and offers selectable no glow IR settings for nighttime use. The selectable infrared settings is a real benefit when it comes to nighttime trail cameras, and is quite a unique feature. Selectable infrared settings allow you to tailor the camera to a unique setting and your unique needs at nighttime.
Another feature of this camera which is vital for night time performance, is the PIR, meaning passive infrared. The camera features a passive infrared (PIR) motion sensor with an 80′ detection range and a 0.22-sec fast trigger speed for capturing images in response to subject movement. This ensures that in the dark, you’ll be able to detect movement from far away. And the super-fast trigger, which is really top of the range, will ensure you’ve captured the still of an animal or interloper before they move out of view.
- 20MP picture quality
- Records cam HD 1600 x 900p video with sound
- Infrared LED flash has an amazing 120-foot range
- Time-lapse and time-lapse viewer software
- LCD color viewing screen
- Superfast 0.22-sec trigger speed
- Video is shot in TLS files, which isn’t the most common or convenient file type
- The software although it usually performs well, sometimes skips frames
2. Browning Dark OPS HD APEX
- 18MP | 1600 x 900 HD Videos with Sound
This is another reliable and advanced offering of trail cameras from Browning. For nighttime use, one of the biggest advantages of this camera is the 80-foot invisible flash range. This camera uses a black flash, meaning it’s totally invisible while being fully operational. This camera is a great option if you want your trail camera to be unnoticeable during the night. Additional features to this high performing trail camera include SD memory card management options and Smart IR video to keep recording game during the daytime, one of the great wild game innovations.
There are many other features that make this a reliable and high performing trail camera: the 18 MP picture capability, 1600 x 900 HD+ videos captured with sound, lightning-fast 0.22-second trigger speeds, and superior battery life. Long battery life is really important for the performance of all trail cameras. With a trail camera, you want to be able to set it up and leave it for up to months on end, without having to do any maintenance or changing the batteries. This is, of course, important for capturing data during the night, as it means the camera is reliable enough to capture images from multiple nights, without you needing to replace the AA batteries.
- 80-foot invisible flash range
- SD card management options
- Smart IR video
- 18 MP picture capability
- 1600 x 900 HD+ videos captured with sound
- Lightning-fast 0.22-second trigger speeds
- Superior battery life
- Quite expensive
- No time-lapse feature
3. Bushnell 30MP CORE Trail Camera
- Accepts up to a 32GB SD Card (not included) and operates on 6 AA batteries (not included)
Bushnell is another reliable producer of trail cameras and are a well-respected name in the niche. This camera though is truly extraordinary. It boasts image and video recording quality as we have never seen on the market in a trail camera. It captures amazingly clear 30 megapixel images and records 1080p video. When it comes to accuracy and clarity of images and film, this camera is king. However, at just under 220 dollars, you definitely pay for the privilege.
You might find though if the main requirement of your trail camera is that it performs excellently at night, that this isn’t necessarily the best option for you. This option by Bushnell has an 80 foot No red glow Infrared Night Range. As we have mentioned, this is necessary for not alerting any game, wildlife or trespassers to the presence of the camera. And although 80 foot is still a long-range for a flash in the night time, some other options have a range of up to 120 feet, like the example reviewed from Browning. So really the choice is up to you, between the best quality images and videos on the market, or being able to survey a larger area with your trail camera.
- An incredible 30-megapixel camera
- Records 1080p 60FPS Video
- 80 foot No Glow Infrared Night Range
- 1-year battery life
- 0.2s Trigger Speed and 0.6s Recovery Rate
- 80 foot No Glow Infrared Night Range – some options have a longer range
4. Bushnell 6MP No-Glow Black LED Surveillance Camera with Night Vision
- 20 black leds provide a completely undetectable flash with a 35' reach for infrared nights video & image capturing
This trail cam is another good, reliable option from Bushnell. The main benefit of this camera for nighttime purposes is that it’s black. This is especially useful for home surveillance purposes, where you can place this trail camera on your garage. A garage is the ideal location for a trail camera for home security reasons, as this is often the first location thieves head to, presuming that it will store expensive tech and grantees access to the rest of the house. If you have a black pole, wall or another surface where you can mount this trail cam, it will be almost invisible especially considering its compact size, and thus highly effective as a security camera.
However, this trail camera only has a 35-foot reach for infrared night video and image capturing. This should be perfectly adequate for home security purposes, especially if you have a smaller property. However, we wouldn’t recommend this option to you for the purposes of wildlife monitoring, especially if you’re looking to monitor a large area. However, if you’re looking to monitor animal movements in a small, planned area, like next to a new carcass, this compact camera will do the trick, and deliver you clear images of wildlife at night, with 20 Black LEDs which provide a completely undetectable flash.
- Black and compact, good for camouflaging in the night
- Take up to 3 images per trigger on each motion event with the Multiple Shot Mode, or adjust the photo delay with 0.05 to 0.59 or 1:00 to 10:00 options
- Runs for 6 months on 4 AA batteries
- 20 Black LEDs provide a completely undetectable flash
- Only has a 35-foot reach for infrared night video and image capturing
- Stills are only 5 megapixels
5. SPYPOINT Solar Trail Camera 12MP
- The SPYPOINT SOLAR-W trail camera captures color images by day/IR by night. Features: Built-in solar panel&rechargeable battery, 2" view screen, HD video, IR LEDs, high quality camera lens, fast...
When it comes to high spec trail cameras, it doesn’t get much better than this option by Spypoint. The list of features provided in this trail camera is almost endless! Some of the unique features include: a built-in solar panel and rechargeable battery, a 2 inch LCD screen, multi-shot, time-lapse and continuous modes, a trigger speed of 0.07 seconds which is literally the fastest on the market, and a curved motion sensor lens to improve the detection angle and distance covered in the shot.
There are also many unique features of this camera that make it ideal for nighttime use. The first is the 90-foot flash range, which is necessary for capturing crystal clear images of wildlife at night and capturing a long-distance range. The second feature is the 42 high power and low glow LEDs which offer a greater and clearer night image, without alerting any wildlife or trespassers to its presence. The only factor where this camera falls short slightly is in the resolution of the images, which are only 12 megapixels. However, if you want a camera that performs really well at night, and has unparalleled battery life, and don’t mind sacrificing a little in the quality of the images, this option could be for you.
- Built-in solar panel and rechargeable battery
- 2 inch LCD viewing screen
- Multi-shot, time-lapse and continuous modes
- Trigger speed of 0.07 seconds, almost in real-time
- Curved motion sensor lens
- 90-foot flash range
- 42 high power and low glow LEDs
- 12 megapixel, lower image resolution
- Clear nighttime videos, but the sound is not recorded
6. SPYPOINT SOLAR-DARK Trail Camera
- TECHNOLOGY: With 0.07s Trigger Speed, FASTEST trail camera in the market! Unlimited battery life with the integrated solar panel and 12V lithium internal rechargeable battery, BUCK TRACKER - AI Image...
This is the second Spypoint trail camera we have reviewed, and it similarly has the market’s best trigger speed time, making it one of the fastest trail cams out there. It’s a bit more expensive than the last model reviewed by Spypoint, but is similarly hardy, reliable, and well designed. This model also has a smart patented integrated passive solar panel technology, which used in unison with the 12v lithium batteries, delivers virtually unlimited battery life. This camera is an ideal option for those of you looking for a hunting camera. It uses patented AI buck tracker technology, which recognizes and analyses your photos, identifying game, species, and gender even!
This model of trail camera similarly performs excellently during the nighttime. This is because of a few reasons, including: it’s 12 megapixels stills, uber-fast 0.07-second trigger speed for
motion detection, 90-foot flash range (no-glow) and 110-foot detection range. Even if the game could see the invisible LEDs, they wouldn’t be able to react before the camera springs into action and captures them in up to six images on multi-shot mode. When it comes to game cameras, or trail cameras for hunting purposes, this camera offers more features and special bells and whistles than most.
- Integrated passive solar panel technology
- Patented AI buck tracker technology
- Uber fast 0.07-second trigger speed
- Quick recovery time
- 90-foot flash range (no-glow)
- 110-foot detection range
- 12 megapixels stills, limited image quality
- Security box not included
7. Stealth Cam G42NG No-Glow Trail Game Camera
- RETINA(Sub1-‐Second Trigger) – Superior low light performance for extended nighttime range
This trail camera by Stealth Cam is another fantastic option for the hunters among you. The 10MP Trail Camera captures high-quality 10MP pictures and five- to 180-second of HD videos with audio. Although this isn’t the best picture resolution, if you’re looking for a cheaper camera and don’t mind slightly grainer images, this camera works just fine. Furthermore, for most hunting purposes, crystal clear images aren’t that necessary. The no-glow 42 black IR emitters also allow a 100-foot visibility range in the dark, yet won’t spook nighttime game.
There are other features that make this camera perfect for capturing images in the dark. First of all, retina low-light-sensitivity technology catches the light and disperses IR illumination to create a detailed, evenly lit scene in every shot. What they call Matrix Blur Reduction takes crisp images of moving subjects in IR mode, meaning you can even capture images of moving game at night accurately. Rapid-fire burst mode takes up to nine photos after being triggered, and time-lapse mode with PIR override catches images of game over set periods of time. Both of these functions are super useful for hunting purposes, to accurately monitor the movements of game.
- No glow 42 black IR emitters allow a 100-foot visibility range in the dark
- Retina low-light-sensitivity technology
- Matrix Blur Reduction
- Rapid-fire burst mode
- Time-lapse mode with PIR
- Non-cellular trail camera
- Only 10 megapixel
- Doesn’t have wifi connectivity
Our top pick for the best trail camera for nighttime use is the Browning Strike Force HD Pro X. This is primarily because of it’s incredibly long LED flash and trigger range, which is an impressive 120 feet. This means that at night, you’re going to get crystal clear images of wildlife or trespassers, even when they’re really far away from the camera. This trail cam also boasts 20- megapixel stills and HD 1600 x 900p video with sound.
Browning’s model might be the highest performing night trail camera, because of the distance of its flash and the quality of the images, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the right night trail camera for you. You might need to survey a much smaller area, for example, so the 120-foot range might not be necessary. You might want to opt instead for models with adjustable IR, or cellular trail cameras to get the ultimate in a hands-off approach to photography.
So there we have it, out of all these trail camera reviews there will be something to fit your unique needs and purposes. If you’re looking for a security camera for a small property, for example, check out the 6MP Bushnell offering. Or maybe you’re a wildlife photographer, wanting to capture stunning images of wild animals in their natural habitat. If so, check out our 20 or 30- megapixel options. No matter your purpose, we’ve given you all you need to find the best night trail camera for you.
Bonus tip: Take a look at this video, to see the kind of videos that can be captured using a trail cam during the night!