Lithium Ion or Alkaline?
Does It Really Matter For Your Trail Camera?
When it comes to hunting the devil is often in the details…and by devil I mean the success of your hunt. The small things can make or break your opportunity. Anyone who’s forgotten their release back at the truck can testify to this. What about a detail like the kind of battery you choose to power your trail cam? Could that matter? It absolutely could.
Today’s hunter has two main choices when it batteries in their devices, alkaline or lithium. Based on sticker price alone, the answer may seem clear as to which is the better option. AA alkalines run under a dollar a piece while lithiums clock in around $1.70 per battery, but there’s more to performance than price. Here’s why you need to give lithium batteries real consideration before posting your trail cams outdoors.
Of special importance for hunters in northern latitudes, lithium batteries outperform their alkaline counterparts in extremely cold temperatures. Late season scouting can be difficult with bucks going nocturnal and only coming out on the fringes of daylight. Outfitting your trail cam with lithiums will keep your camera snapping long after the same unit goes dark with alkalines.
Packing Them In
If you have a large property, then you probably have a number of trail cams…and a whole lot of batteries. The heftier (but less energy dense) alkalines weigh in on average around 23 grams per battery. The more energy dense lithium weighs a diminutive 15 grams per battery. That may not sound like much, but at eight batteries per camera, multiplied by the number of cameras you have, that weight can add up…especially if you have to hike around the property. Lithiums make sense if weight is a consideration for your particular application.
In both low drain (times when your trail cam is simply monitoring for movement or taking a few stills) and high drain scenarios (video mode), lithiums outperform their alkaline counterparts. Where the distinction in service life grows is in the high performance applications. Testing Energizer did on both flavors of batteries showed the power drain time was four times longer for lithiums than it was for alkalines. Low drain performance yielded the same winner, though by a slimmer margin of 25%.
What does all that mean for the hunter wanting to capture images of a trophy buck? More time on post for the camera and less trips into the woods to replace batteries. It only takes one wrong move to send a mature buck bounding for the next county. Lithium batteries allow you to monitor more and check less, leaving less of a human signature in the woods.
Should you load your trail cam up with lithium ion batteries instead of alkalines? Is the extra cost worth increased performance? For most of us, just on the basis of service life, lithiums are worth the investment. If however, your trail cams only sit for short periods doing episodic work around your property, alkalines may be your best bet.