Best Trail & Game Cameras

We did the research to find the best trail and game cameras made in the USA. Below, you’ll find our top recommendations, tons of detail about each one, why we liked them, some things we didn’t like, and the criteria we looked out during our research.

Our Findings

Overall, we found that two American manufacturers are leading the way in game camera production: Reconyx and Cuddeback. In the electronics industry, it’s really tough to find 100% American made products. Therefore, we broadened our scope a little bit and decided to include brands that may use some parts from overseas, but absolutely still design and assemble their products in the U.S. and provide American jobs at their U.S. facilities.

Top Recommendations

Best Trail & Game CamerasBest for:
Reconyx UltraFire Gen2 Covert IR XR6Covert
Reconyx Hyperfire Semi-Covert IR HC500Image Quality
Reconyx WR6 UltraFire White Flash Color LEDAccurate Detection
Cuddeback Long Range IR Model E2 CameraLong Range
Cuddeback Attack IR 5MP Game CameraTrigger Speed

Recommendations: Going Deeper

Below are in-depth product details about each of our top picks, along with what we liked, didn’t like, and where you can get each one.

Best Covert Game Camera

Reconyx UltraFire Gen2 Covert IR XR6

Headquartered in Wisconsin, Reconyx has been manufacturing game cameras in the U.S. since 2002. The UltraFire Gen2 Covert IR XR6 came out on top of our research as one of the best covert game cameras because of its “no glow” infrared illumination, up to 80 feet. It has two lenses – one for daytime and one for nighttime – no noisy lens transitions or moving parts means this camera truly runs a silent operation. It has good image quality both day and night, and isn’t going to spook any nearby deer or other wildlife while in operation. This cam also has 1080P HD video (30 frames per second) and stereo audio quality with noise reduction. It has a few different options for image resolution – 3.4, 5, and 8 megapixels. HDMI and USB ports are easily accessible on the exterior of the camera, making it simple to playback or download images and videos on any device.

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Things we like:

  • Totally silent operation
  • 2-year product warranty
  • Great image, video, and audio quality

Things we don’t like:

  • Reconyx logo appears in the bottom corner of all images and videos

 

Best Game Camera for Image Quality

Reconyx Hyperfire Semi-Covert IR HC500

The Reconyx Hyperfire Semi-Covert IR HC500 tested the best for image quality among the game cameras that we looked at, and the Hyperfire’s Ultra HD IR camera lens is the reason why. This camera produces the sharpest 1080P HD images and videos that we’ve seen on the market. The camera can run up to a year on a single group of batteries, and also has some great weatherproofing features to protect it from the elements. It has a hard external casing and a temperature range from -20 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. In terms of day vs. night, the Hyperfire does well at both times. The infrared nighttime flash range is up to about 50 feet. The SD card is easily removable so you can download photos and videos onto your computer or other device.

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Things we like:

  • Sharp image, video, and audio quality
  • 1-year product warranty
  • Strong performance day and night
  • BuckView Advanced Software (for Windows) is included in most purchases
  • Quality customer service from Reconyx if you ever have an issue

Things we don’t like:

  • It has a tougher time picking up smaller animals like small birds and squirrels

 

Best Game Camera for Accurate Detection

Reconyx WR6 UltraFire White Flash Color LED

This Reconyx WR6 UltraFire has many of the same capabilities as its Gen2 Covert brother that we mentioned above. 1080P HD video, stereo audio quality with wind noise reduction, several image resolution options, two separate lenses for day and night,  and more. Where this camera stands out from the pack is in sensitivity and accurate detection. You won’t get many false images or recordings with the WR6 UltraFire – it is very good at knowing when there is actual action in front of it. Another great feature about this trail camera is the digital display on it, which is something that no a ton of trail cameras have. The color display is about 2.4 inches and allows you to playback images, videos, and sound directly on the camera, along with some available programming options. Overall, this is a great buy, if you really value reliability.

Buy on Amazon

Things we like:

  • Clear color pictures and videos in both the day and night
  • Great sensors for accurate detection and triggering at the right time
  • 2-year product warranty
  • Very temperature resistant, -20 to 120F
  • Includes BuckView Advanced Software for Windows

Things we don’t like:

  • Reconyx logo in bottom right corner of all images and videos

 

Best Long Range Game Camera

Cuddeback Long Range IR Model E2 Camera

Cuddeback has been making trail cameras since 1989, and has quickly become recognized for their industry leading range and trigger speed. This Cuddeback Long Range camera has IR LEDs that illumniate up to a 100-foot flash range, which is longer than all of the trail cameras that we researched. The long range images also come out in a nice quality with little to no motion blur. This camera produces 20 megapixel images, a huge image size which allows you to zoom in to see details of your photos. It also has an advanced CMOS image sensor, meaning it is optimized for speed and lower power consumption. You can customize your camera settings for a couple of different situations – wide view (best for fields) and centered view (best for trails).

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Things we like:

  • Industry leading range
  • High quality image resolution
  • Fast trigger speed
  • Very customizable for whatever environment you’re placing each camera in (field, trail, etc.)

Things we don’t like:

  • SD card not included for image and video storage

 

Best Game Camera for Trigger Speed

Cuddeback Attack IR 5MP Game Camera

The Cuddeback Attack is a nice compact camera that is well optimized for Cuddeback’s best feature – the fastest trigger speed on the market. This camera fires in 1/4 second with exclusive Centered Subject Technology for accurate detection of your target – that’s quick enough to capture a deer running at 20 feet per second. Another great feature of this camera is Guard Duty – this setting takes 5 photos every minute during the day so you can monitor what is happening around your field, home, or other place without relying on motion detection. And the memory capabilities are big enough to support that feature. The Cuddeback Attack has 60MB of internal memory, an SD card slot (up to 32 GB), and a battery life of about 50,000 images. Image quality is very good both day and night with a 60-foot flash range.

Buy on Amazon

Things we like:

  • Industry leading trigger speed
  • Tons of memory
  • Advanced settings and features like Guard Duty to fit your needs
  • Includes a tree mount
  • SD card slot and USB port for storing and downloading photos and videos

Things we don’t like:

  • No SD card included

Recap: Best Trail and Game Cameras Made in the USA for 2017


Factors We Considered

Image Quality

Image quality is really important when evaluating game and trail cameras. Cheaper lenses and other parts can result in pixelated images and motion blur if the target is running. We looked for cameras that had 1080P image quality and (at minimum) stereo audio quality. Additional features that we liked were noise reduction capabilities for wind, and enhanced image sizes (up to 20 megapixels) so that users can zoom in when viewing images and videos.

Battery Life

Lots of trail cameras are meant to be “set it and forget it”, so if your battery is draining quickly, it can be extremely frustrating. We looked for cameras that had at a minimum around 1 year of normal, continuous use in the field and showed durability with their power consumption after multiple battery changes.

Accurate Sensors

Tons of “blanks” in your image memory can be super annoying, especially if your cam doesn’t have a large memory capacity. We eliminated  several cameras from our consideration that had multiple consumer reviews around lack of accuracy.

Speed

Sometimes you only have a split second to catch an image of the deer or other animal coming across your camera. If your game camera’s trigger speed isn’t up to par, you could miss it. We looked for trail cameras that had trigger speeds of under a second, and in some cases for our recommendations, the best trigger speed on the market (Cuddeback).

Range

Our criteria for flash range was a minimum of 50 feet. You need to be able to capture everything that’s within a reasonable distance of your cam, and sometimes your placement isn’t perfect for each and every instance of wildlife that comes across.

Stealth

The last thing you want your game camera to do is spook the deer or other animals that appear in the area. We looked for cameras that had minimal noise, movement, and flashes that would disturb anything around it.

Durability

Durability is a big checklist item for any trail camera. After all, you’re leaving it out in the elements for an extended period of time, subject to all weather conditions. Extra-hard weatherproof casings and large temperature ranges were the two biggest features we looked out for in this category.

Value

We want to make sure that you’re getting the best trail camera for your money. We eliminated any game cameras that didn’t pass our quality tests for the price they are listed at.

 

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