Traditional Trail Cameras vs. Cellular Trail Cameras: Which One is Better for Your Needs?

Traditional Trail Cameras vs. Cellular Trail Cameras: Which One is Better for Your Needs?

When hunting, luck is a good thing to have on your side, but proper preparation is even more important. If you want to bag big bucks this season, you’ll need to have all the essential hunting gear in place and hone your surveillance and hunting skills. 

One of the fastest ways to ensure you have a successful season is maximizing your scouting efforts by using reliable trail cameras. 

Before you start your trail camera shopping, you need to know the different types available to you. They’re generally categorized into two categories: traditional and cellular. To help you choose the best one for your needs, we’ll take you through the differences between these two cameras as well as the pros and cons of each. 

Traditional Trail Cameras vs. Cellular Trail Cameras: What’s the Difference? 

Regardless of what type of hunter you are, you need to consider the differences between each camera type and what makes them stand out from each other. Knowing this comes in handy when deciding which is the most suited for your needs. 

Pros of Traditional Trail Cameras 

Traditional trail cameras save images on an SD card which you can physically retrieve to view. One of the most popular traditional game cams is the Bushnell Core DS (dual sensors) No Glow trail camera. 

It produces sharper and high-contrast images and comes with two sensors for day and night use. With the no glow technology, you’ll get more photos of your game using the trails without scaring them away. This traditional trail camera type can take up to 30MP photos and 1080p videos with audio. 

The main benefits of traditional trail cameras are: 

High-Quality Images 

Traditional game cams take high-quality images because they upload photos and videos directly to the inserted SD card. These cameras are great picks if you are not hunting off the grid. Remember to position your trail camera in areas you can easily sneak in and out without leaving a scent or trails. 


Most traditional game cams either come with a no-glow or low glow infrared feature when taking photos in low light situations or at night. Animals won’t detect them and get spooked. 


Since traditional game cams don’t need cellular network or wireless connectivity to operate, their price ranges are quite affordable. This is especially helpful for hunters on a budget. 

Cons of Traditional Trail Cameras 

When you visit your hunting area to retrieve the SD card, you risk spooking the animals and altering their movement patterns with your presence and scent. 

Since these make use of batteries and up to 32GB of storage, you also can’t stay away for longer periods without checking up on the battery life and available storage space of traditional game cams. This can prove especially stressful during cold weather seasons. 


Pros of Cellular Trail Cameras 

Also known as wireless trail cameras, cellular game cams send live feeds of photos and videos to your phone. 

Just like a cellphone, cellular game cams use radio waves to communicate to the nearest cell tower and transmit data using electromagnetic fields. Once the game cam takes a photo, it sends it to your phone using the cellular network from a wireless provider. The Bushnell Impulse Cellular Trail Camera, for example, uses wireless services from AT&T and Verizon. 

For this process, you need to activate your camera using the app or at, choose the plan you like, and add your payment information before you set the trail cam in the woods. They provide wireless data plans, depending on the number of photos and videos you want to receive each month. Photos are sent to your phone and you have the option of downloading high resolution versions. 

Cellular game cams pose some benefits over traditional trail cams, such as: 

High-Quality Images 

Cellular game cams like the Bushnell Impulse trail camera can send videos to your phone. It also has a 1-second trigger speed to capture quality images in fast motion. 


By sending photos to your phone in real-time, you don’t need to check up on your cellular game cams often. This allows you to expand your hunting ground beyond your station. And by reducing movements in the woods, you have more time to focus on other important things. 

Less Obstruction 

When you visit your hunting grounds regularly, you risk leaving your scent which animals can pick up and learn to avoid. On the other hand, with a cellular trail camera, your reduced visits ensure that you get more accurate records of animal movements. 


While other trail cameras are vulnerable to adverse conditions, cellular trail cameras have features to protect them. They’re built from sturdy material to withstand harsh weather conditions. 

For example, cameras like the Bushnell Impulse have GPS anti-theft alerts and a camouflaged tree bark color to make it more discreet. 

Cons of Cellular Trail Cameras 

Here are some of the challenges that you may encounter with cellular trail cameras:  

 Battery Life 

Since these cams use cellular data to transmit images and allow you to change camera settings remotely, the life span of their batteries can be shorter than traditional game cams depending on weather and activity. 

If your station is far from your scouting grounds, you can supplement your original battery with an external battery or a solar panel. It’ll give your trail camera a longer lifespan in the woods. 


Due to their advanced technological features, cellular trail cameras tend to have higher costs than traditional trail cameras. 


How Many Trail Cameras Do You Need? 

If you want to improve your hunting success, having just one trail camera won’t cut it. The number of trail cameras you need depends on the size of your hunting grounds and how your target game uses the area. 

The decision on how many trail cameras you use will significantly depend on your specific situation since you know your hunting grounds better than we do. 

Start Your Hunting Season with the Right Scouting Supplies 

Hunting is no walk in the park. But with the best trail cameras for scouting, you improve your chances of having a successful season. Whether you’re thrilled with the modern features of cellular trail cameras or prefer the standard features and reliability of traditional trail cameras, Bushnell has dependable, quality game cams to meet your needs. 

For over 70 years, Bushnell has been a leader in the sport optic industry. We’ve grown alongside hunters who depend on trail cameras for their hunting success. This makes us the most trusted brand in the industry. 

Browse our catalog today and find the best trail cameras for you.