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The first time I heard of a solar trail camera was when a friend in Maine shared some footage of bear on his trail, having a snuggle up with the tree containing his camera. The bear got up close and personal and put on a fantastically funny show.

Ever since then, I’ve been a little obsessed with trail camera footage. You can capture the daily life of animals like nowhere else with them, as well as spot predatory animals that could be dangerous for yout home or cabin, game you’re hunting, trespassers, and more.

Best Solar Trail Camera Quick-Find Table

ImageProduct
  • High-quality image and high-def video at an affordable price
  • Super-fast trigger speed of just 0.3 seconds
  • Multiple sensors for fantastic detection
  • High-quality image and high-def video at an affordable price
  • Super-fast trigger speed of just 0.3 seconds
  • Multiple sensors for fantastic detection
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  • Uses no glow night vision
  • Has a great triggering distance of 65-feet
  • Extremely waterproof – perfect for rainier climates
  • Uses no glow night vision
  • Has a great triggering distance of 65-feet
  • Extremely waterproof – perfect for rainier climates
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  • Real-time viewing via 4G network
  • Affordable monthly fees
  • Easy set-up and use, including programming setup
  • Real-time viewing via 4G network
  • Affordable monthly fees
  • Easy set-up and use, including programming setup
VIEW LATEST PRICE
trail camera image of a male deer

How Do They Work?

A solar game camera works about the same way that any other solar product does – like it’s standard counterpart, but without need for being hooked up to the grid. They use photovoltaic cells, like other solar devices, to collect and produce solar energy that is then converted into electrical currents that run the device.

Technically, you can attach a solar panel to a battery-powered or hooked in trail camera, but it’s not the easiest way to do it. Instead, investing in a solar trail camera that’s got all the “fixings” is the way to go. It has the components for solar energy production built-in, which means its lower maintenance than other options, as well. You don’t have to constantly check it, you don’t have to change the battery regularly, and you don’t have to worry about a power drain from the grid energy.

Daylight Dependent

The primary drawback of a solar trail camera is that there’s not always enough sunlight year-round to power a camera that’s in heavily shaded or poor weather locations. So, be sure that where you’re installing the camera gets enough light year-round to be worth your investment. Specifically look for ones that use monocrystalline cells for areas that are low-light or heavily shaded.

The Quality May or May Not Be High-Definition

The most budget-friendly solar game cameras are not going to have as high image quality as others. They are, after all, still trail cameras – meaning they have very strong limitations. You can’t automatically change the direction of the camera to follow critters on the trail and they use roughly the same kind of passive technology that driveway motion sensors do.

They may be excellent at capturing the footage or something may be just a bit too “off-screen” to meet your purposes. That is to say, trail cameras do their jobs, but they have limitations.

fox on solar trail camera

How to Choose the Right Solar Trail Camera

As you prepare for your new solar powered wireless game camera, we encourage you to think about these qualities before finalizing that purchase decision. Some will matter more to you than others, but they may not all be completely obvious things to think about.

You’ll Want One with the Best Trail Camera Battery Life

One of the most important things about a solar powered trail camera is going to be its battery life. You don’t want to hook up something that has a battery that will die out in a couple of months. Generally, one of the greatest benefits of a solar device is the low maintenance, especially on remote locations like a trail in the back woods.

Lithium batteries tend to have the longest life outdoors, thanks to their hardy makeup. They are more likely to last for several months than just about any others, apart from flukes. Typically, they’ll charge reasonably well each day there’s enough direct light and last until the next morning. This pattern should repeat for somewhere between six and eight months.

You’ll Need to Choose One with Sufficient Detecting Angle and Distance

Another thing you’ll want to be aware of as you shop is the full range of view of the camera. Will it cover the width and depth of the trail that you need?

The scope sufficiency can be determined by the size of the property that needs to be watched. If the angle is too narrow or depth of distance is too short, you’ll miss out on some smaller critters along the edges. Placement, of course, will help with this, but will only expand the scope slightly.

Consider Night Vision and Flash

Not everyone needs a camera with night vision, but if you do plan to capture critters scampering along the trail after sun down, you’ll want to verify the camera you’re purchasing has a high enough detection capability to grab video of what you’re looking for. Some use both infrared tech and a flash to capture under low lighting settings. The flash will scare away animals but generally provides a clearer picture.

Your Camera Needs Durability

Of course, you also need your solar game camera to be long-lasting. While a trail camera is unlikely to be beaten up by a bear, it will be exposed to the elements, may have tree limbs fall on it, or other minor disasters. They need to be tough and durable or they won’t stand a change out there.

Make Sure the Camera is Waterproof, Not Merely Resistant

Another simple but not always obvious thing to remember is that you need the camera to be waterproof enough that it can handle rain, snow, blowing wet winds, et cetera. If it’s merely “water resistant,” the camera is likely not to last that long out in the elements.

Understand How You Can View the Video

Finally, you’ll want to understand how you’re able to view the video from the camera and determine which options are suitable for your uses.

For example, if you’re placing the camera in a hard to reach area, you’ll want to make sure that playback is available via wireless cellular devices rather than physically needing to have contact with the camera. If, however, you’re setting the camera someplace you visit frequently and can access it easily, you may not need something as fancy – and therefore more expensive – as all that.

elk caught on solar powered trail camera

Reviews of the 5 Best Solar Powered Trail Cameras

When you’re ready to purchase the best solar powered trail camera for your needs, keep the things above in mind. Verify the size of the land to cover and where you plan to install it before finalizing your decision.

Knowing that you may have any of a number of specific needs in mind, we’ve collected the best options in a range of types from budget-friendly to high-def, and everything in between, using the above guidelines to verify which ones we’d actually recommend. We’ve found that a lot of popular options (like the Spypoint Solar 12mp Trail Camera) don’t come up to snuff, so we’re going solely on quality in our recommendations.

Please note that the reviews are on trail cameras only, not solar panels to accompany them. You will need to invest additionally into solar panels that work properly with each given camera.

Campark T45A Trail Camera

Our top pick for the best solar trail camera is this surprisingly budget-friendly option from Campark, the T45A 2020 upgrade. The camera pretty much every quality you’re likely to be looking for with high-image quality, high-definition video quality, ease of use, and even a super-fast trigger speed of just 0.3 seconds.

  • Waterproof: IP56
  • Megapixels: 16MP
  • Video resolution: 1080p
  • Sensor range: 120°
  • Night vision type: Low Glow IR
  • Trigger speed: 0.3s
  • Infrared LEDs: 42 pcs

What We Loved

This solar powered trail camera is genuinely an all-around great option for just about any situation. We love the three sensors that detect movements and the super quick trigger speed for capturing images and video. The trigger distance on it is up to 65-feet as well, making it pretty darn great at capturing just about anything out there on the trail.

We love how sensitive the camera is and how high-quality the night vision is. The images are clear and crisp much of the time, unlike lesser quality cameras that you’ll usually see.

There are three passive infrared sensors that detect movement and trigger the recording mechanisms.

We love that this is a lower energy consumption product, as well, saving your battery for longer than the average camera.

Finally, we love the range and durability of the camera. It’s got a wide-angle lens of 120-degrees, 65-foot trigger range, and not only is waterproof but made of tough, durable materials that will last for years.

What We Didn’t Love

The one thing we don’t like about this is that the SD card has to be removed for video viewing. There is not real-time viewing available, despite some information claiming otherwise. For many, this is no big deal, but for hunters, people with remote locations their monitoring, et cetera, this could be a significant drawback.

Our Verdict

Ultimately, this is the best all-around solar trail game camera available. It’s high quality, built to last, has great night vision, and has a wide viewing range with a fast trigger. The one drawback, which can be significant for some, though, is that it does not offer real-time viewing. If you don’t need real-time, this is definitely the best choice. If you do, unfortunately, you’ll need to keep looking.

Just a note: Amazon will recommend an SD card to purchase with this camera. Do not purchase for this device. It is not compatible. Specific suggestions of accompanying panels will be included with each review.

The solar panel that works best for this camera is the Campark Trail Camera Solar Panel.

>> Tap Here to Read More Reviews and See Today’s Price on Amazon.com <<

Campark Upgrade T70 Trail Game Camera

For a step-down in some qualities, but a step up in others, the Campark T70 is our second pick for best solar powered trail camera. It’s amped up in waterproofing, specifically, which makes it the best option for highly rainy climates like the Pacific Northwest or Florida.

  • Waterproof: IP66
  • Megapixels: 16MP
  • Video resolution: 1080p
  • Sensor range: 120°
  • Night vision type: No Glow IR
  • Trigger speed: 0.5s
  • Infrared LEDs: 44 pcs

What We Loved

The no glow night vision is fantastic. The fully animated IR filter captures shots beautifully at night with an infrared flash illumination, using 44pcs LEDs, allowing clear shots without spooking the animals with a bright flash.

The trigger distance is just as great as our top pick at 65-feet and has the same 120-degree angle.

The high definition video and 16MP image quality is fantastic – capturing great shots in both bright daylight and overnight.

The camera has higher waterproof rating than almost anything out there, too, which makes it the perfect choice for rainier climates. The sturdy construction also helps to protect it from the elements and smaller curious animals that may give it a bump.

Plus, the video and images are time-stamped by the camera with date, moon phase, and temperature. There’s a timer, a hybrid mode, and interval recording, as well.

The trigger is still pretty fast at 0.5 seconds, as well, which should be fast enough to capture whatever may be coming through.

Finally, we love that this is a super budget-friendly device. Just about anyone can afford to install one, two, or more on their trail.

What We Didn’t Love

Our issue with this one is the same as the above – no real-time viewing. The description on the product page implies that it’s possible, but product doesn’t agree, unfortunately. Again, for someone who doesn’t need real-time, this is not a hindrance, but for someone who does, well, they need to keep looking.

Our Verdict

This is a great option for someone on a budget, especially someone in a wet climate like the Pacific Northwest. It’s a great quality camera that offers high-definition video and high-quality photos with just one downside: no real time viewing. Overall, it’s a great bargain.

The most suitable solar panel for this camera is the Campark Trail Camera Solar Panel.

>> Tap Here to Read More Reviews and See Today’s Price on Amazon.com <<

creativexp trail camera with solar

For someone who’s looking for a great real-time viewing solar powered trail camera, this is your best bet. The LTE 4G Cellular Trail Camera has some great features, including and especially that real-time viewing on a high-quality network.

  • Waterproof: unknown rating
  • Megapixels: 12MP
  • Video resolution: 1080p
  • Sensor range: 110°
  • Night vision type: No Glow IR
  • Trigger speed: 0.35s
  • Infrared LEDs: 56pcs

What We Loved

This fully functional 4G cellular network solar trail camera is simply fantastic. We love easy it is to use, how easy it is to set everything up, and how viable the data is, especially since it offers real-time watching from your connected device.

The LTE has 65-foot range, 110-degree angle, and high-definition video, making it a great option. It’s got decent MP for photos, as well, as 12MP. Not the absolute top of the line, but for what it is, it’s pretty darn decent and worth the potential image downgrade for the ease of use with the real-time viewing.

We love that the camera comes with the SIMHERO card with 500 free photos, plus a 32 gigabyte SD card for storing up that video and photos. Plus, it’s got great sound on the recordings.

The no glow flash for the infrared night vision/photography is fantastic for getting clearer shots without scaring off the animals.

Finally, we love the inexpensive plan rates for the camera. 

What We Didn’t Love

There are two things we don’t love about this camera.

First, the price-tag is a little steep for most folks who might be considering multiple trail cams. For those just looking for one, the price isn’t horrible, but it’s definitely not as budget-friendly as other options. It is 4G capable, though, for real-time viewing, so that may well be worth the price difference for many.

The second thing we don’t love on this solar powered trail camera is not a deal-breaker by any stretch, but it may not be quite up to standards for some: the MP is lower than other models. At only 12MP, you’ll still get reasonably high-quality images, but nothing spectacular.

Our Verdict

Ultimately, this is a great trail camera for anyone who needs real-time viewing. It’s easier to set up and access images and videos than our top two choices, actually. It doesn’t have as high of image quality (only 12MP versus 16MP of the others), but the real-time viewing may well be worth the MP difference.

For this camera, you can buy the camera and solar panel separately, but we’ve linked below to a bundle that includes everything you’ll need, including the panel.

>> Tap Here to Read More Reviews and See Today’s Price on Amazon.com <<

Runner Up: My Animal Command Solar Trail Camera

This camera is another great option, though didn’t quite make our qualifications list (primarily because it simply doesn’t have enough reviews from real-life users to verify it’s as top-notch as we hope).

It’s got 16MP, 1080p video resolution, IP66 rating, and is built pretty sturdy, from what we can tell. It’s in the mid price-range at higher than the top picks but lower than number three, and a decent trigger speed of 0.5s. Overall, it’s a pretty sturdy pick.

>> See Price on Amazon.com

Runner Up: CREATIVE XP 3G Cellular Trail Camera

This is another one we just dont’ have enough data to fully back, but from what we can tell, it’s a solid choice for folks looking for the latest option in cellular real-time viewing.

The Creative 3G Cellular trail camera has 1080p video resolution, 110-degree angle, 12MP, and 0.4s trigger speed. All-in-all, it looks like a great option for someone looking for a cellular, real-time viewing camera in the “not quite as expensive” range.

>> See Price on Amazon.com

How Many Megapixels Do I Need in a Solar-Powered Trail Camera?

Your solar trail camera could come in a variety of megapixels, which means a variety of image qualities. The higher the megapixel, the higher quality. Depending on your needs – and your budget – you can choose from the size as desired.

Standard quality minimums on solar powered trail camera are usually going to be 16 megapixels or higher, up to about 30 megapixels. High quality video hits HD quality at 1080p, which is the quality found in DLSR cameras – in other words, the top of the line.

Generally speaking, anything 16MP and higher is sufficient for spotting game, prey, or unwanted intruders. Anything lower quality than that will result in mostly blurred images that may or may not be identifiable.

What About Placement?

Thankfully, not all solar panels need total direct sunlight to do their job – especially game camera solar panels and other similar devices meant for natural environments. They will work in a shaded area or in areas that don’t receive a lot of sunshine annually, though they will be, of course, less efficient than those placed in direct sunlight. So, if possible, avoid putting them into the shade.

All that said, season has an impact on placement of your camera as well. In summertime, when the sun is directly overhead, aim for the solar powered trail camera to get at least a half days’ worth of direct sunlight. Point it either towards the west or the east – whichever direction is less shaded – to ensure the most effective coverage.

As winter approaches, the sun is lower in the sky, so it’s best to have the panel south-facing (in the Northern Hemisphere) to recharge the batteries more fully.

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