How to Choose The Best Batteries for Trail Cameras?
3 types of trail camera batteries - Pros & Cons
If you find the life of your trail camera batteries unexpectedly short and you have to spend too much on changing for new ones; then you might not have had the best batteries for trail cameras yet. Sometimes, it is not the camera but your settings that wolf the power quickly.
Whatever the reasons are, you will find the solutions in this post.
Why Should You Be Serious about Batteries for Trail Cameras?
We both know the importance of batteries to the trail camera. Without them, your camera will stop taking pictures. Hence, we all check the battery information carefully when choosing a camera. But it turns out that not all of us select the right batteries.
The fact that most of the modern trail cameras use the AA batteries might lead to some common mistakes.
- Whichever AA battery will do as long as it fits the battery tray.
Remember that AA batteries have the same size, but not all of them are created equally. There are many types of AAs to consider.
- There is no need to use branded batteries.
Many hunters complaint about the cost of battery replacement. Thus, they go for off-brand batteries to save their wallet. Unfortunately, such the batteries are under-capacity as advertised and they might even harm the camera.
- Some prefer rechargeable batteries, thinking they are cheaper and easy to buy.
In fact, this is a bad idea! The voltage of rechargeable power is lower than that of the regular alkaline or lithium. It means the batteries are eaten faster and their capacity declines over time. Not to mention, you have to come back frequently to recharge the batteries.
If you find yourself making similar mistakes, it is time to get some knowledge of the trail camera batteries.
Where to learn? – Right here 👇
3 Types of Trail Cameras’ Batteries
When you search best batteries for trail cameras, the results might be one of the three types: Alkaline, Lithium, and Rechargeable batteries. Each has pros and cons.
Alkaline batteries produce energy by the chemical reaction of the internal Zinc (Zn) and Manganese Oxide (MnO2). They work for the standard output of 1.5V and create a 6 to the 12V operating voltage. The typical capacity ranges between 1,000 to 1,500 mA of discharge.
Such power is enough for the cheap camera with several basic functions whereas, for mid-range to high-end trail cameras, the battery life will be concise!
- The least expensive among three batteries types
- The availability at almost all retail stores or gas station
- The poor performance in cold weather. There is a water-based electrode inside the Alkaline batteries for chemical reaction to happen. And, the water is freezing in cold water, making the batteries to be less capable.
- The loss of voltage when the batteries begin to drain. When the output drops to 1.2 of individual, the trail camera will stop working properly.
- The short lifespan. For many reasons like size, temperature, or chemical properties, the alkaline has high internal resistance. As a result, the amount of current is reduced, and the lifespan of the batteries become shorter and shorter. A full set of 8 alkaline AAs can take 7,000-9,000 still photos at the most.
For your information, the rechargeable batteries use the Nickel Metal Hydride technology (NiMH). This creates a chemical reaction between the negative hydrogen alloy and the positive nickel oxide, which eventually produces the energy to run the trail cameras.
Thanks to the chemicals makeup, those batteries can be recharged at a slow trickle up to 800 times. The average capacity is more significant than that of the alkaline. It is around 2,000 mA.
- The money-saving advantage since you do not have to purchase new batteries
- The availability of rechargeable batteries
- The excellent cold-weather performance thanks to the mental-base electrode
- The less capacity compared to the alkaline or lithium batteries.
- The lower voltage that might cause the camera to shut off suddenly
- The high-self discharge rate
- The cheap or unofficial chargers which run the batteries’ durability and performance
Interesting enough, Lithium is the lightest metal with the highest electrochemical power. When being used as the trail camera batteries, lithium is free of current resistance. In other words, the current flow is consistent over time. Moreover, the potential output charge is at 1.7 volts, and the typical capacity is over 3,000 mA – higher than other battery types available.
In brief, Lithium batteries can last longer in the field.
- 3-time higher capacity compared to the alkaline
- A consistent voltage output of 1.7V
- Excellent performance in cold weather since the operating temperature is as low as -40 degrees
- The most expensive battery type of the three
Which Are The Best Batteries for Trail Cameras?
To sum up, Lithium batteries are the most recommended thanks to their durability and outstanding performance. At high traffic areas, a set of full Lithium batteries can take over 20,000 photos before they are out of power. Despite the upfront cost, they are worth your investment to ensure that the trail camera is not off at the middle of the shoots.
The alkaline is less expensive and easy to find when in a hurry. However, it runs out shortly, especially in winter. About the NiMH rechargeable batteries, they might save on your budget at first, but the effectiveness reduces time over time.
Best Practices to Make The Most of The Trail Camera Batteries
Choosing the right battery type is the first step to optimize your trail cameras’ performance. And, knowing how to use the batteries properly can help more.
Here are some tips for you to take away:
- Use official batteries. The branded batteries are not always as expensive as you might think.
- Consider the type recommended by the manufacturer
- Do not mix the type of batteries in a set
- Ensure the proper installation of the batteries in the tray
- Use alkaline in the hot weather and the Lithium in the cold weather
- Purchase the official charger if you come to use rechargeable batteries
- Consider some external battery chargers that are friendly to the batteries like solar panel
- Set up the trail cameras wisely
Above I have shared some experiences on using the batteries for trail cameras. If you find this post helpful, do not hesitate to share with others. And, if you have any tips for choosing the best batteries for trail cameras, also share with me on the comment box.
I look forward to hearing from you guys!