As most trail cameras use an SD card, you’ll need a way to read the card so as to view the images and videos taken. To do so, it’s a good idea to get an SD card reader that is specifically for trail cameras.
Although you may already have an SD card reader at home or perhaps on your laptop, these are usually not ideal for using with trail cameras.
This is because they can generally only be used at your home, which is not very useful for viewing in the field. Of course, you don’t want to bring your expensive and heavy laptop out for a day in the field!
Another common option is to use an adaptor and your smartphone, however this is also not ideal.
Firstly, there are often compatibility issues with the phone and the SD card, and your phone is unlikely to be very durable in the elements.
In particular, if the weather is cold, wet or hot, you might find that your phone struggles to cope.
Therefore, getting a dedicated SD card reader for use out in the field is highly recommended.
Not only will it ensure that the device can easily read the SD card, but also that it is not damaged by the elements or by any accidental impacts.
Finally, SD card readers that are designed especially for trail cameras usually have a long battery life so you don’t need to worry about them letting you down while you’re in the field.
Overall, if you’re serious about tracking wildlife using your trail camera, a dedicated SD card viewer is a great investment.
The best SD card reader for trail cameras at a glance
|Product Name||Type||Battery||Max. Card Capacity|
|#1. Stealth Cam
Our Best Pick
|Standalone viewer||4 x AAA||64GB|
|#2. Moultrie Card Reader
|Standalone viewer||4 x AAA||16GB|
|#3. TrailCam SD Card Reader
|IPhone/Android App||Runs off phone||N/A|
Let’s take a closer look!
#1. Stealth Cam
Stealth Cam are a well-known brand that makes trail cameras as well as accessories including SD card readers. They have developed a great reputation thanks to their dependable and easy to use products.
This one is a durable reader that has a strong ABS plastic case to protect against damage. This is great for having peace of mind as you use it while outdoors.
Another strength of this product is that it is extremely easy to use. Simply place the card into the slot, and you will immediately be able to view the photos and videos on the large 4.3” screen.
You can also zoom in on the image to get a better look at what you are viewing.
This SD card viewer also has a headphone jack where you can plug in and also listen to any audio that was recorded along with your video.
This card reader runs off of 4 AAA batteries, giving it a long battery life. The fact that it runs off of standard batteries also means that you won’t be stuck in the outdoors without a charger.
The device is compatible with SD cards of up to 64 gigabytes, so it is ideal for most recreational users.
All in all, this is a great option for a SD card reader for your trail camera.
#2. Moultrie Trail Camera SD Card Reader
Moultrie is another well-known and well-respected name in the world of trail cameras, so it is no surprise that they have come out with their own quality SD card reader.
This card reader is extremely easy to use – just pop the SD card into the reader, and the image will appear on the 4.3” LCD screen. There is a zoom function to allow you to get a closer look at your images.
We also appreciate the ability to adjust the brightness on the screen which is especially useful if you plan to use the reader at night, and don’t want to scare any animals away with the glare.
In addition, you can listen to the audio from your videos using the inbuilt headphone jack.
The Moultrie card reader also runs on 4 x AAA batteries, giving it a good battery life and meaning that it take standard batteries which are easy to find.
One downside of this card reader is that it can only take cards up to 16GB in size. That is quite restrictive, and we hope that future models will have a larger storage capacity.
#3. TrailCam Tracker for iOS and Android
While we have already explained that there are various benefits in choosing a standalone trail camera SD card viewer, you can also turn your smartphone into a card reader using this product from TrailCam.
Simply put the reader into the charging jack of your smart phone, and then you can use it to upload and read the images and videos on the SD card directly from your phone.
This viewer comes with a free app which makes it very easy to sort through your photos and zoom in for a better look.
As this device requires a smartphone to function, you’ll need to make sure that your phone is adequately charged to use it. This might be an issue if your phone runs out of battery while outdoors, and you have no way to stop and charge your phone.
One of the best things about this option, however, is that as it uses the high-quality screen of your smart phone, the image quality is very good.
In addition, it is small and lightweight, with no restriction on what size SD card it can display, although we recommend double checking the compatibility with your SD card before use.
And the winner is…
Of these three options, the Stealth Cam stands out for us. This SD card reader is designed specifically with trail cameras in mind, and it is ultra-durable.
The fact that it uses standard batteries is extremely useful, meaning the battery life is excellent and you’re unlikely to get stuck with a flat device and no way to charge it.
We also love that the Stealth Cam accepts cards with up to 64GB of capacity.