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Best cellular trail cameras in 2022: camera traps that transmit images to your phone

Best cellular trail cameras - man attaching a cellular camera trap to a tree
(Image credit: Bushnell)

With the best cellular trail camera, you can monitor wildlife remotely, and have the additional flexibility of being connected to the camera wherever you go. We've put together this guide to help you pick out the best cellular trail camera for you, and find it at the best price. 

If you're not familiar with trail cameras, here's a quick primer. Also known as camera traps, these cameras are made to be left in the outside world for extended periods, allowing you to grab photos of the kinds of shywildlife that normally wouldn't be seen anywhere near a loud wildlife photographer tramping through the woods. They're an ideal way to see animals behaving naturally, as a well-disguised trail camera can blend right into the environment.

A cellular trail camera adds the extra dimension of allowing you to pop in a SIM card. This means that rather than having to wait until you retrieve the camera before seeing the images, you can upload them right away to a cellular network, making for a much more immediate experience. This can be game-changing in the competitive world of nature photography.

You'll need a SIM for the camera, and you don't necessarily have to stick with your regular phone network. Some cameras come bundled with the SIM and a good no-contract plan; most will require some kind of monthly financial commitment so that you can access your images remotely. Explore the options from different brands below as we count off the best cellular trail cameras you can buy.

Best cellular trail cameras in 2022

(Image credit: Skypoint)

Best cellular trail camera for stealth

Specifications
Stills resolution (megapixels): 12MP
Video resolution: 1080p, 1920 x 1080 pixels
Video length: Not specified
Data storage: Via SD or SDHC card, up to 32GB
Night vision: Yes, via infrared
Audio recording: Yes
LCD: 2in color
Power: Solar + 8 AA batteries
Cellular technology: LTE 4G (e.g. US, UK)
Cellular plans: Verizon, no-SIM
Size: 96 x 175 x 99mm
Reasons to buy
+Can be left for extended periods+Connects to any cellular network+No-glow flash+100 free images on Spypoint plan
Reasons to avoid
-Subscription service isn’t free

This system combines Spypoint’s most popular features: solar charging of an internal lithium battery plus cellular connectivity (and you can also add normal AA batteries where the sun can’t help you). The camera isn’t short of functions too, the system can stamp photos with date, time, temperature, and the lunar phase which makes for fascinating reviewing. Time lapse and multi-shot are also on offer and the 42-LED infrared night light has an effective range of about 30m/100ft, so anything within the camera’s detection range is suitably lit. The two-inch color LCD and menu-driven controls are adequate for setup, even in cold conditions. We also appreciated that the system sent decent quality images allowing us to choose which to download in full resolution via the Spypoint app.

(Image credit: Browning)

2: Browning Defender

Best cellular trail camera for resolution and multi-camera plans

Specifications
Stills resolution (megapixels): 20MP
Video resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
Video length: 120 secs
Data storage: Via SD, SDHC or SDXC card, up to 512GB
Night vision: Yes, via infrared
Audio recording: Yes
LCD: 2in color
Power: 16 AA Batteries
Cellular technology: LTE 4G (e.g. US, UK)
Cellular plans: AT&T, Verizon, no-SIM
Reasons to buy
+High-resolution camera+Large battery bay+Data recording includes air pressure
Reasons to avoid
-Can't download video by cellular-Big downloads push up monthly plan

Once the sixteen batteries have been slotted into the back of this it forms a chunky unit, which means you can be confident that the power-hungry cellular radio circuitry will last a decent while. Open the door and the back-lit 4-way menu button and on-screen menu makes setup straightforward, and of course it also serves as a real viewfinder when positioning – ace. Video enthusiasts will appreciate the system’s ability to monitor and keep recording subjects which keep moving while photographers will love the resolution compared to some of the more game-orientated options. Those operating in busier areas will appreciate the optional security box an 

(Image credit: Bushnell)

3: Bushnell CelluCORE 30

Best cellular trail camera for resolution at low cost

Specifications
Stills resolution (megapixels): 30MP
Video resolution: 1080p, 1920 x 1080 pixels
Video length: 30 secs
Data storage: Via SD or SDHC card, up to 32GB
Night vision: Yes, via infrared
Audio recording: Yes
LCD: No, mono settings display only
Power: 12 x AA
Cellular technology: LTE 4G (e.g. US, UK)
Cellular plans: AT&T, Verizon, no-SIM
Size: 112 x 176 x 98 mm
Reasons to buy
+Very high resolution+Shoots Full HD at 60p
Reasons to avoid
-Unsubtle design-Hard to find outside US

The CelluCORE 30 is a relatively new trail camera from Bushnell, upping resolution from the previous CelluCORE 20 to, you guessed it, 30MP. This automatically puts it streets ahead of the vast majority of other trail cameras, so while this does make files larger and means you have to think about storage and transfers, it also gives you a lot more detail in your images. Equipped with night vision and a 100-foot no-glow flash, the CelluCORE 30 also captures Full HD video at a super-smooth 60fps. The only real drawback to the CelluCORE 30 is that as it's relatively new, it's less available than others, especially outside of the US. We'd expect that to change as time goes on; in the meantime, the CelluCORE 20 is also worth considering. 

(Image credit: Skypoint)

Best budget cellular trail camera

Specifications
Stills resolution (megapixels): 10MP
Video resolution: No
Data storage: Via SD or SDHC card, up to 32GB
Night vision: Yes, via infrared
Audio recording: No
LCD: 3-color Status light
Power: 8 x AA
Cellular technology: LTE 4G (e.g. US, UK)
Cellular plans: Nationwide (US), no-SIM
Size: 96 x 175 x 99 mm
Reasons to buy
+Modest price, especially for one
Reasons to avoid
-You must buy plan for each camera-First-time setup can be tricky

At a significantly lower price point than others, the Link-Micro-LTE is a device well suited for those who want to get several lenses in the same area and keep an eye on the movements of bigger animals, for research or game management. Spypoint’s app certainly doesn’t neglect location data coming from the cameras, or taking advantage of other available data (like weather services) but ultimately this is just as suited for strapping around trees and sending back images via a 4G LTE network as the Link-S-Dark above. You’ll need to change the batteries more, though.

(Image credit: Skypoint)

A good solution to add a cellular link to an existing trail camera

Specifications
Data storage: -
LCD: -
Power: 8 x AA
Cellular technology: LTE 4G
Cellular plans: Verizon, AT&T, no-SIM
Size: 35 x 35 x 35mm
Reasons to buy
+Connects to existing devices+Works with virtually all cameras
Reasons to avoid
-Trail camera sold separately-ID Cable/SD slot connection can be tricky-Remote setup options not available on off-brand cameras

This cube-like chunk is big enough to house eight AA cells and the 4G LTE tech to turn any existing trail camera into a cellular one. Naturally the manufacturers would prefer your original was a Spypoint too, but they’re not picky; in theory at least any camera which uses an SD Card – and that seems to be most – should do the trick. An SD-like adapter at the end of a flat cable must be negotiated through the weatherproofing of your original device and inserted into the SD slot 

(Image credit: Reconyx)

6: Reconyx HF2XCv

Best All-American cellular trail camera

Specifications
Stills resolution (megapixels): 1920 x 1080 or 3MP at 4:3
Video resolution: 720p
Video length: 10 secs
Data storage: Via SD, SDHC or SDXC card, up to 512GB
Night vision: Yes, via infrared
Audio recording: Yes
LCD: Backlit mono text for settings
Power: AA (Lithium recommended)
Cellular technology: LTE
Cellular plans: AT&T, Verizon, International
Size: 140 x 114 x 76 mm`
Reasons to buy
+Dual antenna design+5 Year warranty+Long range night vision (45m / 150ft)
Reasons to avoid
-More expensive-Lower resolution than competitors

We know there are some of you out there who love to buy American and, if you have the budget, Reconyx provide options suitable for wildlife scouting, if not high-resolution photography. The HF2XC “Hyperfire 2” certainly has a cool name, and we certainly appreciate the ability to use SD cards up to 512GB and survive a year on lithium batteries. It also has to be said that Reconyx know the hunting market, with dedicated software to help organize collected data called Buckview Advanced for Windows). Whether it’d be better to buy more cheaper cameras and use their apps (or Google Maps and Notes) to track bucks and make a hit list is a decision we must defer to you.

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Adam Juniper

With over 20 years of expertise as a tech journalist, Adam brings a wealth of knowledge across a vast number of product categories, including timelapse cameras, home security cameras, NVR cameras, photography books, webcams, 3D printers and 3D scanners, borescopes, radar detectors… and, above all, drones. 


Adam is our resident expert on all aspects of camera drones and drone photography, from buying guides on the best choices for aerial photographers of all ability levels to the latest rules and regulations on piloting drones. 


He is the author of a number of books including The Complete Guide to Drones, The Smart Smart Home Handbook, 101 Tips for DSLR Video and The Drone Pilot's Handbook