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Believe it or not, choosing the right batteries for your trail camera is a bit more complicated than you may have thought. These devices become essential when it’s time to scout a specific spot for information. To operate at their best, they need a good and reliable source of energy. These tools usually work on AA batteries and your choice will impact the lifespan and quality of the camera.
Comparison of the Best Trail Camera Batteries
Panasonic Eneloop 4th Generation
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Panasonic Eneloop AA With Charger
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Panasonic Eneloop Pro-AA
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EBL 8 Pack AA Batteries
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Mr. Batt AA Rechargeable Batteries
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How to Choose Trail Camera Batteries
Here are a couple of considerations to have in mind while seeking the right product:
The energy requirements of some devices can vary a lot. While most trail cameras need around 12V to operate, they can seemingly work with less power, but this turns into bad quality in essential areas like nighttime usage, quality of the picture, and motion detection.
Batteries lose energy over time, even while not taking pictures, and this is called discharge. This phenomenon directly affects the voltage, and therefore, the performance of the device in the long run. To get the job done some brands offer options with low self-discharge rate.
Continuous use can also deplete a battery in just a matter of weeks. A trail cam with many features will consume more power than a simpler one. That's why capacity is necessary for durability.
Depending on the type of battery, the temperature can have a considerable impact on performance. To generate energy, batteries create a chemical reaction that produces electricity. In cold climates, some brands may freeze and stop working. On the other hand, heat pushes the battery to work more making it lose energy faster.
Just like with any other product, you get what you pay for. Rechargeable models may cost a little bit more than your everyday alkaline but, in the long run, you’ll get way more use from them, and will avoid a pile of depleted batteries.
Review of the Best Trail Camera Batteries
Now that we have covered the features that make a get set of batteries and how to choose them, let's see which made our list and why.
Sanyo released the first Eneloop rechargeable batteries in 2005, but the fourth generation of the brand was released in 2013, years after Panasonic acquired the company. They are the standard in the rechargeables category. This time, their main selling point is the lower self-discharge rate. Panasonic offers a product that can keep 70% of its charge for five years while not in use.
Another strong point is that they won’t freeze easily, making them excellent for users that have to deal with low temperatures. A NiMH (nickel metal hybrid battery) has a completely different chemical reaction than any other alkaline, making them cold-resistant, unlike the former.
NiMH batteries generally come with a voltage of 1.2V, so they can under perform with devices that demand more power. Compared to other options, the discharge rate is higher when it’s in constant use. By the end of a cycle, the voltage will drop, and rather quickly, so charging them may become a chore.
This option is great if the camera is likely to be used in low-temperature settings and if the 1.2V each battery has is enough to power your device properly. The rechargeable feature is generally the best in term of cost-effectiveness, but the performance of the camera may suffer near the end of the energy cycle.
For a complete deal, this option of Eneloops comes with a charger which, in any case, is going to be necessary should you decide to get rechargeable brands. You may have heard of something called the memory effect when it comes to the durability of a cell. This effect consists of a battery losing capability with each consecutive recharge cycle. This problem is more common in NiMH batteries but it is not a thing with Eneloops or this charger.
Self-discharge is a problem all batteries have and this model is not an exception. They, however, can last up to 2100 recharge cycles which means they’re in for the long haul. To achieve this, the charger doesn't push the cells too much, so charging may take more time than with an advanced charger.
It would be best if you were careful when using off-brand or knockoff chargers as they can damage your rechargeables and the device they use, in this case, your trail camera.
These are an excellent option if it’s your first time getting NiMH rechargeable batteries as you get a reliable charger along with it. Though these batteries are supposed to not suffer from memory effect, they will still suffer from some mild self-discharge, although, they will hold 70% of their charge while not in use.
The pro version of the Eneloops has the same advantages of their standard product. They're rechargeable, resistant to cold, and have a low discharge rate and are for users that demand a more extended energy output, making them perfect for trail cameras since they can last longer with less voltage loss, which means better quality.
This version comes 2500mAh (Amp-hour), 27% more capacity than standard Eneloops. The disadvantage here is that their lifespan is that of around 500 recharge cycles, instead of 2100, which as stated before is likely lower than that. They are powered through the use of any fast NiMH charger and their recharge time is not long.
Nonetheless, the advantages of having a more powerful, a long-lasting cold-resistant battery outweigh the drawbacks in the long run. In the world of trail cameras, these batteries are suited for heavy-duty usage. The quality will start decline after a couple of hundred recharge cycles, but in the meantime, they will keep your camera out there functioning better and longer than the regular version will.
When it comes to the balance between power output and the cost-effectiveness that defines rechargeable batteries, the Panasonic Eneloop Pro can take the podium. Your camera will last longer out there, and the quality won't drop the same way it does with alkalines. The biggest drawback is that as rechargeable batteries go, their lifespan is considerably short.
Among the options listed here, these rechargeable batteries have the highest capacity with 2800mAh. They last a long time and can, for the most part, keep a trail camera working with excellent performance with each piece having an average voltage of 1.2 V. You have to be extra careful while charging them because they may exceed the energy needed for your device. Nonetheless, overall performance during their use will be high until they get depleted.
Not everything is perfect. The batteries are low self-discharge, but they still have a considerable energy loss. However, even after years of heavy usage and reduced capacity, they will still be on par with any other standard MiHM type, making them a perfect option down the line.
One last nice feature is that EBL tends to have excellent customer service, responding to issues quite fast and in some cases even replacing all of the batteries in a pack when customers have reported a problem with them.
If you are concerned about the lifespan of your battery then this is an ideal product with a large capacity. They are reliable, and even after losing energy from heavy usage over a considerable time, they can still work just like any other lower tier product.
If your objective is to ditch alkalines altogether, this is the most affordable option. These come pre-charged with 60% power and last for about 2100 cycles which makes them an excellent choice for their cost.
These have a voltage of 1.2 V, so while they can power most devices, their capacity of 1600mAh will reduce that power with continued use, like with any other battery, just faster. Another issue is that these have the lowest energy capacity out of all the options listed here. With time, their voltage output will be lower, affecting performance.
They will be reliable during the first charge cycles so that you can get the best out of them with some planning ahead. Another good quality is that given these are NiMH batteries they fare pretty well in low temperatures. Make sure you’re not using them in a hot environment because they will lose energy fast.
These batteries may not last that long out there given their lower capacity but they will fare way better than alkaline ones against freezing temperatures and will save you money in the long run. They have all the advantages that come with MiHN types but are easy on your pocket.
Types of Trail Camera Batteries
Below are some of the common types of batteries you may come across when shopping:
These are the standard everyday batteries that can be found almost at any store. They usually come at a reasonable price. They produce energy from the chemical reaction between manganese dioxide and zinc metal. The response is liquid, and that’s why these batteries are not a good option for low temperatures. They stop working once they freeze.
They have an average capacity higher than any NiMH battery with 3000hAm. The problem is once they deplete that’s it, they’re done for good. Their voltage is also pretty good with an average of 1.5 V, but it falls considerably fast with each discharge of energy.
Given their lifespan, they make only a good option if you have nothing else to work with since they can be found almost anywhere.
Nickel metal hydride batteries are rechargeable, and that eliminates the need to buy large amounts for some time. They tend to have a lower voltage with 1.2v average. Their capacity also tends to be lower, but it varies a lot between brands with some of them offering long-lasting options. They have a high self-discharge rate so while not in use they usually hold around 70% of their capacity.
What makes them a great option it’s their cost-effectiveness and another great feature it’s that since the chemical reaction they produce is not liquid, they perform amazingly in lower temperatures. However, like any other battery, they lose energy at an accelerated rate when overheating.
When it comes to lifespan, lithium batteries lead the race, but that doesn’t mean that they’re the best option. They can be quite costly, and their voltage generally far exceeds what is necessary for a trail camera. It's known that these types of batteries generally outlive the devices they power.
The capacity of the battery lowers in the cold, so they are also not a good option for low temperatures. They offer high quality but are in general, not an excellent, cost-effective option.
Benefits of Investing in Great Batteries For Your Trail Camera
Increased Lifespan: Here, we are not only talking about the battery lifespan but the lifespan of your trail camera. Just like with anything else, you get what you pay for and equipment that overheats or can damage your devices, sometimes making them unusable.
Quality Results: If you get the right batteries to meet the voltage demands of your tool then it will perform its work like it’s intended to, giving you better images even during the night. You wouldn’t want to miss the action just because the motion sensor in your camera isn't powered adequately.
Reliability: With the right model you don’t have to worry about low temperatures of any other inconvenience outside of battery discharge.
Cost-Effective: Batteries themselves may not be that expensive but once you have gone through a pile of them you can see the cost stack up, and that’s why your choice should be an efficient one which is also more friendly with the environment.
It’s all about planning when it comes to batteries. Do you need a considerable amount of power for a short time to get less power but more concise results? Alternatively, do you want a battery that will make your camera last longer out there, just not in constant use?
People Also Ask
There’s much information about batteries and how they work that can help you find the proper brand or model to accommodate your needs. There are so many options that it can get overwhelming at times, but it should not discourage you from finding a product that yields good results.
How Long Do Trail Camera Batteries Last?
The life of a battery is often advertised through its capacity. When it is higher, it means that it will last longer, but in general, other factors can affect the durability like weather and self-discharge. Even when it’s not in use a battery will lose energy.
Are All Batteries the Same?
Batteries come in all shapes and types. When it comes to AA types, there’s a considerable amount of models and brands. The main difference is how they produce their energy which is generally due to a chemical reaction that happens in their cells. This reaction is not only responsible for the power but for the voltage output, discharge rate, and a significant number of variables that make each type of battery unique.