The Best Batteries For Trail Cameras [Especially Cold Weather]

Deer season is just around the corner and you are likely in the process of scouting for your next big buck. Trail cameras are an invaluable tool, but if their batteries don’t last, they can be a huge disappointment. I’ll help you quickly find the best batteries that will keep your camera operating properly, including in extreme weather.  
 
There are three main types of batteries to choose from. Each type has advantages and disadvantages. Alkaline batteries are the most commonly used in everyday use. Alkaline AA batteries can work fine in most trail cameras during the summer, spring, and early fall. 

However, when the temperature drops it can drain alkaline batteries faster than you would expect.  For this reason lithium is the best choice for game cameras for most people. 

Lithium - The Best For Serious Hunters

Since the most crucial time of the year for game cameras is fall and winter I highly recommend using name brand Lithium batteries. Lithium batteries will give your trail camera the best chance of lasting a full hunting season.  Most people will agree that lithium is the best battery on the market when it comes to trail cameras. It just isn’t needed in every situation.

There are two applications where I would highly recommend lithium batteries. The first is when you are using a trail camera as a remote security camera. The second is when you are chasing the buck of a life time. In both situations, having a camera’s batteries die and missing some key footage could be very costly. One great example is the Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA Battery – L91. It has been tested down to temperatures of -40 degrees Fahrenheit.  

Alkaline - Good For Normal Temperatures And Less Critical Setups

Alkaline AA batteries are a more budget friendly option. Like I mentioned above, they won’t work as well or last as long in extremely cold weather. However they can be a great option for people in more moderate climates.  They can be a good option if you can change your batteries more often as well, but then that additional cost could make Lithium a better choice.

Rechargeable NIMH Batteries - Good For Unique Situations

NIMH rechargeable batteries can be a great option in specific situations. One example might be someone like a guide that runs many cameras and also has the ability to visit the cameras often to switch out batteries. The other disadvantage is the high initial cost of purchasing multiple sets of batteries.  This could definitely save money in the long run though, but you will see a drop in performance in the winter as well.  

Solar Panel with Rechargeable Battery Pack

The fourth option is to use a solar panel that can continuously charge your compatible battery pack when there is enough sun light. One example is the Link Micro S which comes with both the solar panel and LIT-10 battery pack.

This can be good option for people who are using cameras in extremely remote areas or anyone scouting out of state land. Keep in mind the location you plan to deploy your camera since dense trees will impact how much sun light makes it through to the solar panel. This could also be a great option for remote security cameras as long as there is plenty of direct sunlight.  Due to how cellular trail cameras work, a solar panel can help give it extra power and let you have it set to transmit photos more often.  

Image Product Features Price
Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA Batteries, 8 Count Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA Batteries, 8 Count
  • 8 pack of Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA batteries
  • Longest lasting AA battery
  • Leak proof construction
  • 20 year shelf life
  • Great for devices like trail cameras
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Energizer Max AA Batteries, 24 Count Energizer Max AA Batteries, 24 Count
  • 24 Count of Energizer MAX alkaline AA batteries
  • Balance of Cost & Performance
  • More Likely To Leak Compared To Lithium
  • 10 Year Shelf Life
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Panasonic BK-3MCCA8BA Eneloop AA Rechargeable Batteries, 8 Pack Panasonic BK-3MCCA8BA Eneloop AA Rechargeable Batteries, 8 Pack
  • Recharge up to 2100 times
  • NIMH 2000mAh typical, 1900mAh minimum
  • Can used down to -4 deg F
  • Maintain up to 70% of charge after ten years
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Other Things To Keep In Mind When Selecting Batteries

Other Things To Keep In Mind When Selecting Batteries

There are additional things that can affect the life cycle of a battery.

  • Location
  • Time Of Year
  • # of batteries in your camera
  • Trail Camera settings
  • Cellular vs Traditional

The settings you choose will also affect how long your batteries will last. For example, recording long HD videos will use up more power than a single image. Test different batteries and settings to see what will work best in your situation.

What is the difference between lithium and alkaline batteries?

In general, lithium batteries work battery in electronics such as cameras.  They also last longer than alkaline batteries in cold temperatures.  

Alkaline batteries are rated at 1.5V and often start at 1.6 V new out of the package. Lithium batteries are also rated 1.5V, however they are typically 1.8V when they are new. Lithium batteries can operate down to -40 degrees F compared to just 0 degrees F for alkaline. Lithium batteries have a longer shelf life, often 20 years, compared to alkaline at roughly 10 years.

Energizer Lithium Battery Capacity

As you can see in the graphs above and  below, the lithium battery stays at a useable voltage for a much longer period of time compared to the alkaline battery that drops more steadily. The lithium battery dropped to 1.2V after 250 minutes during the digital camera test. During the same test the alkaline battery only took around 25 minutes to drop to 1.2V. I chose 1.2V as a point of comparison because most cameras should work fine until that point, but not much lower than that.  [Source]

L91 Lithium
E91 Max Alkaline
Energizer E91 Max Camera Test

How Long Do Rechargeable Batteries Last On A Single Charge?

This could vary depending on the battery brand, but when I used rechargeable AA Eneloops, I would change them at the 30 day point to play it safe.

What Battery Lasts The Longest In Trail Cams?

Lithium batteries will have the longest battery life in most conditions, especially cold temperatures.

Personally, I use each of the three main battery types. I use lithium in the most critical cameras / locations, especially during the fall and winter. In areas where its easier to access the camera more often, I will use rechargeable NIMH or as a last option alkaline batteries.

Last Updated:  November 27, 2022
By: Scott