Are you fed up with replacing your poor cellular trail cameras every year?

In this guide, we’ll show the 5 best cellular trail cameras for sending crisp images straight to your phone.

These can save you time, money and gas. It’ll also save you from constantly hiking in and out of the woods, disturbing your prime hunting habitat.

Alright! Let’s get started:

Recommended accessories:

Best Cellular Trail Camera Reviews:

1. Spartan GoCam M 4G/LTE:

Spartan 4G LTE GoCam Wireless Trail Camera

Via Amazon.com

The Spartan GoCam is the best cellular trail camera in our list.

It offers reliable performance with high-quality photos and videos.

If you’re looking for your first wireless game camera, you have to give it a try.

Key Features:

1. Stunning photos & videos:

Instead of blurry or unidentified rack images, this “Spartan-esque” device sends crystal clear pictures and videos to your phone.

Whenever there is motion, it INSTANTLY captures them and within 15 seconds transmits the capture to your phone.

So you’ll never have to worry about missing any deer that cross your path.

How does it perform during day and night?

The daytime photos and videos are spot on, while the nighttime vision is less clear but definitely good enough to get the details you need.

The high-contrast footage provides you with a ton of info and intel about what’s going on out in the field.

You don’t only SEE “which animals” are in your hunting areas, but know “when and what paths” they’re taking.

Spartan Photo 1
Spartan photo 2

Day and night photos (Via spartancamera.com ) 

How does it compare to general premium cameras?

The footage is not as sharp as a “DSLR” or 1080P HD, and is of lower quality than Reconyx Hyperfire (mentioned below).

However, the photos are much better (although pricer) than the Tatacam Reveal X Gen 2 (also discussed below).

Can you control the game camera at home?

Yep, you can control the camera 100% from your PC or phone app.

Spartan mobile app

Via go.spartancamera.com/pages/mobile-app

The handy app lets you have your cams set up in Vermont and receive photos in Connecticut, for example. Sweet, right?

Imagine waking up and being able to scroll and scout through your phone screen when you’re having your morning coffee.

Discovering what animals are around your hunting property is a lot of fun.

2. Built to endure bad weather:

The rugged and reliable box guarantees 24/7 smooth operation even in harsh weather.

The camo pattern blends your camera into the surroundings nicely. It keeps them less noticeable to animals and “curious human eyes.”

Retrieverman from Rokslide forum

from Rokslide forum

I’ve been using Spartans for over 10 years (since the 2g days), and they haven’t given me any reason to look at other brands.

I have 4 running at my place in Oklahoma with external batteries and solar panels; between them, they have sent 103,000 pictures.

Here’s the deal: Smart carrier switching

In earlier days, when using the Spartan GoCam you would have to manually pick the carrier that has the strongest signal in your hunting area.

These days, doing the same task requires zero extra effort.

The big, strong antenna AUTO DETECTS and picks the best signal.

No matter what carriers are available: Verizon, AT&T, T Mobile… Just turn the device on, and you’re good to go.

What if you’re in a weak signal area?

Let’s say you’re scouting in a remote area with weak signals (2 bars of phone reception, for instance). The Spartan still catches it and works flawlessly.

STRONG. IMPRESSIVE. EASY.

Is it easy to set up?

Yep, setting up the camera is pretty easy with a user-friendly app.

Non-tech guys (like me) can set it up within 15 minutes:

  • Just download the mobile app from the App Store or Google Play, 
  • Connect the cameras via IMEI code inside the box,
  • And walk through the intuitive settings.

And that’s it.

How long is the battery life?

The 12 AA pack battery runs for about 12 months on average.

You don’t have to change them frequently.

It means you’re less likely to disturb the animals by leaving your scent in there until hunting season begins.

Spartan GoCam 4
Spartan GoCam - solar charger

3. Reasonable price:

The scouting camera comes with a 2-year warranty.

You can’t find a camera offering quality photos and videos like this at such a decent price.

How many photos/videos can I download per month?

Unlimited. Yep, you read it right: unlimited.

Unlike other brands, which restrict the number of photos and videos you can download monthly, the Spartan gives you unlimited downloads.

They calculate your data usage instead.

What data plan do they provide?

Well, they offer many reasonable shared data plans.

Once you register for the shared data plan, you don’t have to manage multiple individual plans for each device.

The user-friendly app controls all of your cameras in a single place.

How much does it actually cost?

It depends on your subscription plan.

Check out the shared data plan examples below:

Spartan Data Plans

https://go.spartancamera.com/pages/data-plan

For instance:

Let’s say you’re running a string of 10 cameras for 12 months:

  • First camera cost: $199.99
  • Additional lines: 9 cameras x $60 = $540 / year
  • Total cost /cam per month: ($199.99 + $540) / 12 months / 10 cams = $6.1 /cam per month

It means: you’re deploying 10 cameras at $6.1 per cam/month only. Pretty economical, right?

However, there’s still some cons you need to consider. Keep reading:

Did you know?

The GoCam Ghost was the first and best selling 4G camera of Spartan since 2017.

The GoCam M is the upgraded version of GoCam Ghost. You can’t go wrong with it.

Drawbacks:

No GPS tracking

While the premium trail cameras feature GPS tracking, the Spartan does not.

If your device gets stolen, you can’t track where it is.

What you can rely on are padlocks and security locks for protection from theft though.

Pretty bulky

Its 6” x 5" dimension is pretty big, and might get noticed by your prey.

But it’s not a big deal as after a few weeks of setting up, the animals will likely get used to them.

Spartan 4G LTE GoCam Wireless Trail Camera with Mount

Via Amazon.com

No taking photos on demand

The camera triggers and sends you notifications based on motion and time-lapse (fixed time), not on-demand activation.

You can’t take a photo/video whenever you want.

If you need this extra feature, go with one of the more advanced options (such as the Spartan GoLive or Reconyx below).

Short video length

The video sent to your phone lasts 5 and 10 seconds. It might cut short your video watching experience.

If you need a longer period, check the SD card for a better and longer video duration.

Not waterproof

The camera box is water resistant rather than waterproof.

If you're hanging them on heavy rain properties like Louisiana or Mississippi, it might stop working due to leaking water.

My advice: cover it with a security box to eliminate water getting in.

Not-so-great customer support

There are many complaints about the slow response time from the Spartan customer support team.

In case you have technical queries, they might take days to call you back or answer your emails. What a shame!

Pros:

  • High quality photos and videos
  • User-friendly app
  • Built to endure bad weather
  • Smart carrier switching
  • Easy to set up
  • 12 months battery life
  • Reasonable price
  • Economical data plan

Cons:

  • No GPS tracking
  • No on-demand capturing
  • Pretty bulky
  • Short video length
  • Not waterproof
  • Poor customer service

2. Reconyx Hyperfire 2 Cellular Covert Ir Camera:

HyperFire 2 Cellular IR Camera Verizon OD Green

Via Amazon.com

Reconyx Hyperfire 2 is the most reliable and premium camera on our list.

If you’re looking to bag a big deer, you’ll need a “die-hard” camera running around the clock.

It is not cheap, but you also won’t have to deal with replacing them every year.

Key Features:

1. Built to last:

This American-made camera is built to last through extreme conditions without issue.

Once hanging on the tree, it’ll stay there and run flawlessly for the next 10 years. It’s that tough.

Keep the piece of mind that you don’t have to run back and forth Walmart to replace a batch of 5 cameras after year 1 or 2.

What you need to do is take an air pressure gun and clean the outer dust once a year instead.

Is it crisp?

Yep, the camera quality is phenomenal, especially the night time photos are the BEST IN CLASS.

This is the only cellular trail camera that has crisp and clear night time pictures.

The added glow and excellent contrast not only shows you “whether it’s a buck or doe” hanging out on your land, but even “what their antler size is”.

Reconyx Hyperfire 2 photo at night

Via reconyx.com

Reconyx Hyperfire 2 photo at day time

Via reconyx.com

Low delay in picture

While cheap cams come with a long delay in picture (30 seconds), the Reconyx Hyperfire 2 has a short delay of 0,5,10,15 second intervals.

Think about it:

When a big buck slowly walks by a trail, if you have that 30 seconds delay, how many important photos could you miss in 24 hours? A LOT.

The Hyperfire 2 stops missing the valuable pictures with much shorter delay options for when the deer suddenly appears.

Also, it maximizes your time in the woods, increasing your odds of tagging the big buck.

My advice:

You should set it to a 5 or 10 second delay interval.

If not, it will take pictures after picture, after picture, without rest time which will eat up your memory card.

Can it capture a close-up deer shot?

Unlike cheap cameras that don’t trigger if a buck crosses your cam too closely (the edge of detection range), the Hyperfire 2 quickly activates and catches them all without missing any opportunities.

In fact, the sensor of Reconyx is 3X more sensitive than the Spartan, with a trigger speed of 0.2 seconds rather than 0.6 seconds.

Reconyx Hyperfire 2 - close photo

Via reconyx.com

How long does the battery last?

The battery life is second to none.

Once plugged to a solar panel, it lasts up to 2 years without changing.

No other cellular cameras on the market have such a SUPERIOR LONG BATTERY LIFE.

The battery even outlasts the camera. After 10 years, it is still run without fault.

Can you access it in real-time?

Yep, the real-time access works like CCTV.

It is handy when you need to see how your food plot is growing every few weeks or if you just want to randomly check in on them.

Just activate “cell aim mode”. It will capture and send photos to your phone every 3-5 seconds.
Sweet, right?

How helpful is the app?

The app saves you a ton of time and gas money in case you need to stop capturing.

In the event that a doe is bedding in front of the camera, you don’t want it endlessly capturing, flooding your camera with images.

Or, if you simply want to lower the trigger settings as soon as you realize the battery is running low.
You can make all these adjustments remotely with the app.

Hyperfire 2 app

Via Basspro.com

Did you know?

The Reconyx Hyperfire 2 is the only cellular trail camera that is 100% made in the USA.

By purchasing this camera, you’re supporting the US outdoor conservation effort.

made in usa

2. Best warranty and customer service:

Unlike most imported units offering 1 - 2 years, this Wisconsin-based company has your back, with a 5 year warranty.

Their customer service is UNMATCHED.

Picture this:

After installing a Hyperfire 2, you realize the SD card slot stops working.

Immediately, you dial in their Toll-Free number.

Instead of having it continue to ring, waiting with no answer, a professional INSTANTLY picks up and takes your case without asking a ton of “dumb” questions.

They keep you informed and can fix and return your cams within 2 weeks.

Isn’t that great?

Reconyx Hyperfire 2

3. Cost effective plan:

The Reconyx has a cost effective photo plan, at $5/month per cam.

Unlike other brands charging a setup or activation fee for the first camera, the Reconyx set doesn't charge for the base camera setup.

How much does it cost?

They offer 2 plans:

  • Unlimited plan: $20/month for unlimited access and storage
  • Standard plan: $5/month for limited usage

It fits your bill nicely, no matter how many cameras you’re adding.

Reconyx Hyperfire 2 - data plans

https://reconyx.com/product/cellplan

For example:

Let’s say you subscribe to the standard plan for a batch of 4 cameras.

The total cost is: $5/month x 4 cameras = $20/month in total. Pretty cheap, right?

However, the cost adds up quickly if you have lots of activities during the rut season.

Since there’s more images captured, that breaks the limits.

The best part?

You can pause your subscription for up to 6 months/ camera. It comes in handy in the off-season, saving you at least $30 every six months per camera.

How many photos will you get?

You’ll get a huge number of photos:

  • Around 2,000 - 5,000 photos in auto-detection mode
  • Nearly 10,000 images in once-daily transmission mode.

Drawbacks:

No auto-detect carriers

This camera can’t auto-detect the strongest signal in your area.

It means you have to measure the signal strength before picking the appropriate cell service.

Costly

Yep, it has an outrageous price tag.

For the price of a Reconyx you could buy 3 Spartan Gocam cameras.

Besides that, hanging and leaving a few grand worth of cameras out in the woods is risky.

However, if you have no trespassing issues and enough budget, then the Hyperfire 2 is likely your best cam option.

You might pay more for the camera upfront, but you get the best warranty, battery life, and durability, which will pay off in the long run.

My recommendation: buy one Hyperfire 2 every year.

So you don’t have to pay too much upfront. Other than that, if any issues occur, you can change up the brand before overcommitting too heavily.

If the price tag is too hefty, check the Exodus Render 4G below, which is a lower premium class of camera.

Pros:

  • Made in the USA
  • Built to last
  • Outstanding camera quality
  • Superior battery life
  • Excellent detection at close range
  • Low delay in picture
  • Cost-effective photo plan
  • Best warranty and customer service
  • Real-time access
  • Easy to use app

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • No auto-detect carrier

3. Exodus Render 4g Lte Cellular Trail Camera:

Exodus Render 4g Lte Cellular Trail Camera

Via Amazon.com

Exodus Render is the lower premium camera with the fastest transmission speed on our list.

The performance is as insane and dependable as Recoynx, but comes in at a cheaper price.

Key Features:

1. Built tough performance:

The Exodus Render is built well and won’t stop working when you need it most.

Here’s the fact:

Many low-cost cell cams out there claim a high-resolution sensor (24 MP, for instance), but their images are no sharper or clearer than a 12 MP sensor.

With the Exodus Render, there’s no gimmicks.

This game camera sets you free of pixelation by not using software to try to blow up images.

Instead, the Exodus Render features a built-in advanced sensor (3.1MP CMOS) and color optimization, translating to REAL crisp images only.

REAL crisp images only.

REAL crisp images only (Via Amazon.com)

How does the camera compare to the Reconyx and Spartan?

The HD resolution is equal to the Spartan but lower than the Reconyx (Full HD).

However, you’ll see sharper and clearer pictures than the Spartan, even without technically being HD quality.

How long does it take to send you images?

Once triggered, the cell cam transmits thumbnail photos/videos to your phone within 25 seconds.

In fact, Exodus offers the fastest transmission speed and enables real-time observation when you use the Scoutek app or Web Portal.

How can on-demand ability help?

Let’s say you just want to see the live weather conditions at your feeder before heading out. Just pull the app up and click a button.

And voila!

The app shows you exactly what the weather is in real-time.

In other words, you’re less likely to get surprised by unforeseen conditions.

Built tough performance

Via Amazon.com

Note:

Do not always leave the on-demand mode in use unless you connect it with an external power source.

Why? Because it “chews up” the battery really fast.

Easy-to-follow buck patterns

The Exodus Render offers 9x longer video than the Spartan, at up to 90 seconds.

Although it occupies lots of memory, it comes in handy during the rut season.

The over 30-second video helps you to understand whether the buck follows the doe trails, and where they travel in and out from.

So you won’t miss that super valuable pattern information.

Exodus Render 4g

2. Top-notch warranty:

Exodus is the ONLY brand offering such a remarkable warranty.

Like Reconyx, Exodus stands behind your cameras with a 5-year “no b.s.” warranty.

If something goes wrong, they’ll repair or replace it for free.

Even more,

If your cameras get stolen in that period, you'll get 50% off with the theft and accidental damage replacement .

Cool, right?

top notch warranty

Via Amazon.com

3. Versatile data plan:

Like Spartan, you can share a single data plan for unlimited cams.

But its cost is not as economical as Spartan and Reconyx.

Why? Check out their data plans and our example below:

Exodus Shared Data plan

Exodus Shared Data plan (Via Amazon.com)

For example:

Let’s say you run a batch of 10 cameras with a 500 MB data plan for 10,000 images.

Here’s how much it costs:

  • Shared data plan: $20/ month
  • Additional line: 10 cameras x $7/month = $70 /month
  • Total cost: ($20 + $70) / 10 cameras = $9 /cam per month

Not cheap, yet not too expensive.

Kris87 - Moderator of Georgia Outdoor News

Moderator of Georgia Outdoor News

I paid $300 per camera for the Exodus. I am paying $20/mo for each camera and I can't remember how many photos that gives me but it's a lot.

The Exodus takes the best pictures of all my cameras, even without having to request a HD pic, which it does easily.

My Spartans are probably the most reliable, but they send very grainy photos. Their data plans aren't that expensive either and always stand behind you.

Drawbacks:

Works with Verizon only

Well, it’s locked to the Verizon network.

If their cell coverage is low in your area, you should pick another option.

On the high price side

Yep, it’s a little bit pricier than the Spartan GoCam.

This is your go-to option if you’re a serious hunter needing close to instant photo delivery, maintenance-free, and outstanding warranty cameras.

Pros:

  • Built tough
  • Real crisp images and video
  • Fastest transmission speed
  • On-demand ability
  • 5 year warranty
  • 50% off theft and accidental damage replacement
  • Versatile data plan
  • Easy to set up
  • Longest video length (90 seconds)

Cons:

  • Not cheap
  • Works with Verizon only

4. Browning Defender Pro Scout Max Extreme:

Browning Pro Scout MAX Cellular Camera

Via Amazon.com

The Browning Defender Pro Scout Max Extreme is a compact scouting tool for beginners.

It provides great photos and battery life at an inexpensive price tag.

Key Features:

1. Great battery life:

Instead of using a 12-battery pack, the Defender Pro Scout Max Extreme needs only one 8 battery pack to run over 1 year.

How so? Its compact size occupies very little power.

The 24/7 performance and user friendly app saves you from needing to physically go back and forth from the field to scout for animals.

Also, the replacement cost for 8 pack batteries is cheaper than 12, saving you a few extra bucks.

2. Excellent photos:

The small, powerful camera snaps lots of stunning photos and videos.

The 22 MP image and Full HD videos with sound give you a ton of information, day and night.

The multi-shot images and 2 minute video length provide lots of intel, such as their habits, deer movement and patterns…

Browning Defender Pro Scout Max Extreme - photo 1

Via browningtrailcameras.com

Browning Defender Pro Scout Max Extreme - photo 2

Via browningtrailcameras.com

The best part?

You can mimic the sound of bucks, does, elk, turkeys etc.… by watching and listening to your captured videos.

The helpful videos give you more chances to tag an animal this upcoming season.

3. For you: Dual Carrier Technology

Like the Spartan, this camera has a built-in SIM card with dual carrier technology. It auto-pairs with the best signal in your area, saving you from extra guesswork.

However, the cell reception is not as strong as the Spartan.

Warning:

If the cell coverage is lousy (3 bars on phone instance), you might end up getting no picture sent through.

It turns out that you’re paying for a non-cellular camera in that case.

The result:

You have to drive 3 hours and hike into your spot to pull the SD card to see pictures and videos. So, only pick this camera if cell coverage is really strong in your hunting area.

Drawbacks:

Costly photo plan:

Whereas the Spartan is based on data usage, the Browning is based on the number of image and video uploads.

This makes it not the most economical plan for multiple setups.

Browning data plans

Click to zoom in (Via browningtrailcameras.com)

For example:

You’re subscribing to the Guide Pro plan for 7 cameras.

  • Base cost: $49.99 / month
  • Additional line fee: 6 cameras x $5/month = $30/month
  • Total cost per cam: ($49.99 + $30) / 7 = $11.42 / month per cam

Comparing the same setup, the Browning cost is 30% HIGHER than the Spartan GoCam.

Header

Browning Guide Pro plan

Spartan data plan

Base cost

$49.99 /month

$16.58 / month

Additional line fee

$5 /month

$5 /month

Total cost per cam

$11.42 / month

$7.76 / month

If you’re running on an even tighter budget, check our cheapest cell cam (Tactacam Reveal X Gen 2) below.

Not durable

You can’t expect a long lasting camera at this price point. So, be prepared to replace them after the second season.

No anti theft GPS tracking

Like the Spartan, there’s no GPS tracking for anti theft. You won’t see them again if they get stolen.

Pros:

  • Excellent photos and videos
  • Great battery life
  • Quick trigger (0.25 seconds)
  • Good detection range (up to 100 feet)
  • Huge SD card support (up to 512 GB)
  • Setting up is straightforward
  • Good low price
  • Handy phone app

Cons:

  • High cost photo plan
  • Not durable
  • No GPS tracking
  • No on-demand access

5. Tactacam’s Reveal X Gen 2.0:

TACTACAM Reveal X Gen 2.0 LTE Cellular Trail Camera

Via Amazon.com

Tactacam’s Reveal X Gen 2.0 is the best budget cellular trail camera on our list.

This simple, effective cellular camera gets the job done without breaking the bank.

It can’t really compare with the top-of-the-line cameras.

But, Tactacam Gen X 2 won’t disappoint you if you run multiple cameras or are just starting up in the trail camera world.

Key Features:

1. Middle-of-the-road quality:

The photo resolution is not bad (16 MP), while video length lasts up to 15 seconds.

Nothing is groundbreaking.

The delivered photos are a bit blurry. Sometimes you can’t tell whether the buck has antlers.

But hey, you can request full HD photos and videos for better resolution.

Also, the low glow IR technology ensures you will never spook deer with crazy flashes.

hd photo quality

HD Photo requested

Hybrid mode

Typically, the Tactacam can either send pictures and setting changes once per day (daily mode), or within minutes (instant mode).

In hybrid mode, it takes pictures and videos, and sends them to your phone after 5 minutes.

Once activated, you get faster photos while also running longer battery life.

Improved design

Tactacam’s Reveal X 2.0 has an improved antenna, giving better cell reception, even in low-lying land.

You also won’t have to worry that your game camera will stop working under rain or snow since it’s IPP66 waterproof certified.

Tactacam’s Reveal X Gen 2 - image quality 1

Via revealcellcam.com

Tactacam’s Reveal X Gen 2 - image quality 2

Via revealcellcam.com

2. Budget friendly:

Instead of delivering crisp pictures and lightning-fast triggers, this cellular device gets the job done without busting your wallet.

Coming in at 40% cheaper than the Spartan GoCam, the Tactacam takes good photos when a turkey or deer is inframe.

However, don’t expect a full photo burst of a deer passing through.

You might miss a lot of worthy pictures due to a long recovery time between photos (up to 30 seconds).

budget friendly cell cam

Via Basspro.com

3. Most economical plan:

Let’s say you subscribe to a starter plan.

Here is the cost: $55/ year = $4.58 / month per cam. Pretty cheap, right?

Also…

Like the Spartan, it comes with no activation fees, plus allows for unlimited cameras.

But unlike the Spartan, the Tactacam counts the number of photos transmitted, rather than by data usage.

Tatacam REVEAL X 2.0

Via Amazon.com

Tactacam’s Reveal X Gen 2. - 1

Drawbacks:

No auto carrier detection

The Tactaca comes with 2 separate sim cards. You have to pick ẠT&T or Verizon depending on which has the strongest signal in that area.

It means one more step to set it up.

No photo burst

It’s a shame that you can't get photo bursts transmitted to your phone, due to the long recovery time.

How long is the delay interval between photos?

  • Standard mode: 16 seconds delay
  • Instant mode: up to 30 seconds

Pretty long, right? Imagine how many worthy pictures you can miss in that period.

No real time access

Unlike the premium cell cams, you can’t access your photos or videos in real time.

However, retrieving photos once or twice daily is enough for beginner use.

Easy to miss photos

The sensor of Tactacam Gen 2 is pretty vertically narrow.

Let’s say you hang the camera on the tree and angle it down.

Despite the 96 foot claimed detection range, sometimes the sensor won’t activate if a turkey crosses the edge of the detection frame (near the bottom or top of the image frame).

The result: You might get a photo of the back end of a hen walking out of the frame.

Short battery life

Instead of 12 months, the Tactacam battery runs for only 6.5 months.

You’d better pair it with a solar panel or an external power source to extend its battery life.

No internal screen

This is the only cellular camera featuring no internal screen. It means you can only set it up via a phone app.

Setting it up is a breeze. The user-friendly app walks you through several simple steps within 5 minutes.

But if you’re not a techy guy, it might be a little annoying.

Pros:

  • Most budget friendly cellular camera
  • Middle-of-the-road quality
  • Most economical data plan
  • Good cell reception
  • IPP66 Waterproof certified
  • Easy to use app

Cons:

  • No auto detect carriers
  • No photo burst
  • No real time access
  • Short battery life
  • No internal screen
  • Easy to miss photos

What To Look For When Buying A Cellular Trail Camera?

This section will show you the most critical factors for distinguishing between a good and bad cellular trail camera.

So keep reading:

Picture Quality

blur image

Blur vs crisp image

crisp image

As a rule of thumb, a high-priced trail camera often translates to better quality.

Instead of blurry and grainy images, a good cell cam gives you a crisper and clearer quality.

Especially nighttime photos, which must be sharp enough to determine whether it’s a buck or doe.

Does higher resolution mean better quality?

Not always. Many low-cost cameras claim that they feature 30 MP resolution. But in fact, their quality is not better than a 12 MP.

Since they add pixelation by using software to “blow up” the image size without actually adding better quality photo capture.

pixelation

pixelation - adds up pixel without actually adding better quality photo (Source: https://www.moultriefeeders.com/trail-camera-buyers-guide)

So how do you know which is good quality?

You can usually judge by yourself by looking at real images, or go with the most reliably-known big brands, such as Reconyx, Spartan, Exodus, Covert, etc.…

That’s the only pricey way.

Trigger speed

fast trigger speed

Trigger speed is the time needed to wake the camera up and take pictures whenever there’s a movement.

Typically, the premium cellular camera features 0.25s - 0.5s trigger speed.

If it’s longer than 0.5s, that camera hopefully has some additional advanced features to make up for that slower speed.

Bear in mind:

The more sensitive the trigger speed, the more false-alarm photos it can take.

That includes movement of tree branches, smaller critters, direct sunlight etc.

Detection range

trail camera detection range

The detection range is the maximum distance that a cell cam can detect motion and take a photo or shoot a video.

It ranges from 60 - 130 feet, depending on the brand and model. Generally speaking, the longer, the better.

Here’s the truth:

Premium cell cameras (like the Reconyx Hyperfire 2) can take pictures at the top and bottom of the frame much better than cheap ones (like the Tactacam Reveal Gen 2).

It means you won’t miss lots of useful photos due to having a vertical narrow sensor.

Data / Photo plans

data photo plans

Every cell camera operates based on cell service. That being said, they MUST attach to a data/photo plan.

On average, it ranges from $5 - $12 per month per camera.

The rate varies by:

  • What brand it is
  • How many photos are transmitted
  • How much data is uploaded
  • Or how many cameras are you running

Separate vs. shared data plan:

A separate data plan allows you to subscribe for EACH camera you’re running. It means each camera comes with a different limit and rate.

The shared plan on the other hand applies a single plan fee for all your cameras.

Personally I prefer handy shared plans since you can manage them all from one app.

If you add more units, the cost actually becomes cheaper, and becomes better value.

For instance:

Let’s say you’re subscribing to a shared data plan of 6 months for 4 cameras.

The 6 GB limit applies for all 4 cameras instead of one.

Here’s the tricky part:

It is handy if one unit gets more activities and occupies more data than the rest.

Instead of auto-pausing operations like with a separate plan, that active unit still takes photos and sends them to your phone without issue.

Having low operation cameras allows for extra data/transmission for the ones that are more active, without needing to upgrade your data package for one individual camera.

Battery life

cellular trail camera battery

On average, a pack of 12 AA batteries lasts up to 12 months.

Again the battery life depends on:

  • Camera setting
  • Activities in your environment
  • Cell service strength
  • Brands
  • Temperature

The longer the battery life, the more money, time, and gas it saves you from venturing back and forth to replace them.

So, try to pick the longest battery life possible.

Cell Reception

cell reception

You should select a cell camera compatible with the carrier having the strongest signal on your property.

And bear in mind: You don't have to match the camera carriers that the phone provider you’re using.

For example:

You're using Verizon, but the property where you're hanging your cell cams has a stronger signal of AT&T.

Just run them off AT&T.


What’s next?

Our final choice for the best cellular trail camera is the “Spartan GoCam 4G/LTE”.

Spartan 4G LTE GoCam Wireless Trail Camera

Via Amazon.com

Here’s why you’ve got to try them out:

  • Crisp and crystal clear daytime photos
  • Good nighttime videos
  • Easy to use mobile app
  • Spartan-esque, tough quality
  • Auto pairing to the strongest cell service
  • Work flawlessly in weak signal areas
  • Setting up is a breeze
  • Long 12-month battery life
  • 2 year warranty
  • Reasonable price
  • Economical data plan

So what're you waiting for? Grab on right now and get your scouting started!

Full disclosure:

We haven’t had a chance to test all of the great cell cams. That’s why we haven’t listed some of the other well-known brands.

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About the Author

Hi, I'm Robert Gate, a hunter from Texas and Founder of ArcheryTopic.

I first learned archery from my dad when I was 12 years old. He gave me a Mathew bow as a gift and instantly fell in love with the pursuit.

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