There are night vision goggles, night vision driving glasses, and then there is the night vision monocular. While opinions are divided as to which one is best, the most practical course of action would be to listen to people whose profession calls for the use of all three and find out which they think is better. The fact that the military prefers to use the best night vision monocular as much as possible should be reason enough to determine that they are the best out of the three.
Think of it this way: because of their size (small enough to carry in your shirt pocket), night vision monocular has earned the prestigious title of being the “Swiss army knife of night vision devices.” That is mostly because if you find the best night vision monocular, you will have found a piece of night vision equipment that is not only versatile but also compact, lightweight, and perfect for almost every situation, including being mounted on a weapon or camera by way of a camera adapter.
Of course, as you would expect, there are both pros and cons of using a night vision monocular with the biggest advantage being that you can easily switch back and forth between either eye should you get tired of looking through the lens.
The biggest seller here is that the unaided eye maintains some level of night vision adaptation, which allows you to keep your peripheral vision. That is extremely important, especially when dealing with night hunting expeditions. Even the military thinks that this is better since it gives you better situational awareness.
Some of the biggest disadvantages have to do with the fact that you need to get used to keeping both eyes open, even the unaided one, when using a monocular. To some people, this is just way to unnatural and inconvenient. Having night vision in just one eye can be a tad bit destabilizing at first, but once you get used to it, you will find that it’s far more versatile than using night vision goggles.
Whether you are into hunting at night, wildlife observation or camping, and a host of other outdoor activities that might have you staying out till late into the night, having a night vision monocular in your pocket is an excellent and convenient idea.
That being said, here are some of the best night vision monocular options for you to consider:
If all you want to do is enjoy a bit of birdwatching with an affordable monocular that is not only effective but also quite portable, then you might want to consider the VIVREAL 12×50 monocular telescope. For one thing, it’s equipped with the BAK-4 prism as well as a fully multi-coated lens, which means that it allows for more light transmission, giving you brighter than normal images.
This monocular is exceptionally light and quite compact. Weighing at just 0.61 pounds, the monocular fits perfectly into your pockets, your backpack, and so on. Furthermore, it has a screw hole through which you can connect your tripod, thus making it more stable and efficient when birdwatching.
This is a high-powered dual focus monocular that features an adjustable rotating eyepiece, which is perfect for both people who wear glasses as well as those who don’t. With a magnification of 12 and an objective lens of 50mm, this monocular is ideal for most outdoor activities such as wildlife watching, driving, hiking and climbing, and so on. It’s capable of delivering crisp images that are clearer and much brighter than expected.
Using it is also quite a breeze as you can simply fast focus it with one hand. Being half the size of typical binoculars, this monocular is designed to be held and operated with just one hand making it quite ideal. The package comes complete with the monocular, a phone adapter, a flexible metal tripod, lens covers, cleaning cloth, hand strap, cloth bag, and a user manual.
• Powerful 12×50 monocular
• Compact enough to be used with only one hand
• Delivers crisp and brighter images
• Package comes with a host of accessories
• Features an ergonomic design
• Both water and fog proof
• Has a 360ft/1000yd field of view (you can use it to see clearly up to 360 feet wide at a distance of about 1000 yards)
• The rear cover isn’t attached to the monocular and can easily get lost
2. Firefield Nightfall Night Vision Monocular (The Best Night Vision Monocular for Total Darkness)
The science behind most night vision devices is that they enhance what little light exists in dark conditions to highlight your subject. Some devices, however, are capable of operating in total darkness.
Designed using an electro-optical intensifying tube, this night vision device doesn’t need an external source of light to work. It does, however, benefit from an artificial infrared light that would greatly enhance the effectiveness of the scope.
Manufactured to be used in almost all outdoor conditions, this night vision device is not only compact and rugged, but it’s also water-resistant, which makes it almost perfect for most outdoor conditions.
Even though it’s only a 4X50 monocular, you can easily adjust the objective lens diopter (using one hand) to clearly amplify subjects that are up to 100 yards away. It comes equipped with a PULSE IR illuminator that is not only power saving but also the reason why it can be used in near-total darkness conditions. All you have to do is activate the infrared illuminator, and any subject within 100 yards will be clearly highlighted for you.
• It’s rugged
• Equipped with a PULSE IR illuminator
• Works well within 100 yards
• Can be used in near-total darkness conditions
• Compact and easy to operate
• Has a high-resolution intensifier
• Features multi-coated optics for clear imaging
Generation 1 monocular are generally designed to be used by people who enjoy a little casual wildlife observation since they don’t capture subjects that are that far nor that clearly. However, there are some generation 1 monocular such as the Sightmark Ghost Hunter Night Vision Monocular that is better than the others.
This Ghost Hunter monocular is not only compact in design, but it’s also one of the few Generation 1 monocular that can operate both on passive mode (without infrared) as well as on active mode (with infrared illumination). This means that you can use even in very low-light conditions or, impressively enough, in total darkness.
The manufacturer went to great lengths to provide its customers with various models to choose from, including some that have a standard ¼” tripod socket, which allows you to install your Ghost Hunter on a tripod.
This Ghost Hunter monocular features a highly compact design, which makes it excellently portable and very convenient to use. It’s also lightweight, extremely durable, and made out of polymer, which gives it excellent endurance.
It has an 805nm infrared illuminator that goes a long way in catching vivid images even in low ambient light or, worse yet, total darkness. You can choose between a 2X24, 4X50, and a 5X60 monocular.
• Ergonomic and rugged design
• ¼” tripod socket as part of the accessories
• Works well, even in total darkness
• Lightweight and easy to use
• High-resolution images
• Has no zoom function
Best Premium Choice
4. SiOnyx Aurora Sport I Full-Color Digital Night Vision Camera
Traditionally, night vision devices tend to display images in an ambient green color. This SiOnyx Aurora Sport I Full-Color Digital Night Vision Camera is one of a kind, and unlike its competitors, it allows you to see the night around you in vivid color. This means that you can use it to see and even record your subjects while night hunting, exploring those interesting night trails, and even playing night sports.
As a unique color night vision action monocular camera, the device is not only water-resistant, but it’s also designed for tough. It comes with a host of features such as Wi-Fi, navigation, and time-lapse, which allows you to record all of your adventures clearly.
If, however, you are an explorer who goes hard, then you can choose the Aurora Explorer Edition, which has even more goodies in store for you. This Explorer Edition comes with a customized Picatinny rail mount, an incredible 940nm IR illuminator, a couple of Aurora batteries, an external battery charger, a handy carrying case, and a 32GB microSD card for storing all your data. It even has a lanyard and a USB charging cable.
Designed with ultra-low-light technology, this monocular allows you to capture the surrounding in stunningly vivid detail and color. Because it’s so powerful and has recording capabilities, this is one of the best options for hunters who want to study their prey without spooking them. The Aurora camera comes with an app that allows you to operate it remotely, which means you can simply put it on the trail and record live-action remotely.
• The world’s first colored night vision monocular
• Sleek yet rugged design
• A host of recording features
• Quite pricey
• Can’t see through poor weather conditions such as fog
5. Pulsar Axion Key XM30 2.4-9.6x24 (The Best Thermal Monocular)
This is the kind of night vision monocular device you get when you are serious about your nighttime activities, from hunting to surveillance. The Pulsar Axion Key XM30 2.4-9.6×24 is a special kind of monocular device in that it provides you with both amplified images as well as thermal imaging.
There are very many features that make this Axion monocular stand out. For starters, it has a digital zoom function that allows it to achieve incredible optic magnification. This digital zoom function allows you to easily identify your subject even in the most low-light conditions.
Secondly, it has a built-in video recorder, which is an excellent asset for those who want to document their hunts or subjects. All you have to do to operate this video recorder is press the REC button and begin to capture vivid images of your subjects. The monocular device also comes with 16 GB of internal memory, which gives you plenty of storage space for your images and videos.
This is one of the very few monocular devices that also features color palettes. It has 8-color palettes that go a long way in enhancing your viewing experience in various conditions. Depending on what you want to do, you can choose to either use the classic “White Hot” mode, which is rather versatile.
However, if you are a hunter who prefers to hunt at night, then you might want to consider using the “Hot Black” mode, which is excellent when it comes to detecting wildlife in low-light conditions. There are also other alternatives such as the Red monochrome, which allows for long-range observation as well as “Red Hot,” “Ultramarine,” and “Rainbow” options that go to enhance temperature differences.
You can also use the “Violet” option when you want to identify subjects faster. With a 1,300-yard detection range as well as a 320X240 resolution, this is undoubtedly one of the best and most versatile monocular devices on this list.
• Extremely high magnification power
• Zoom function
• Both video and picture recording functionalities
• Numerous color palettes for a better viewing experience
• Rugged and durable
• Picture in picture digital zoom
• HD AMOLED microdisplay
• Compact and lightweight
• Comes with a rechargeable battery
• The magnification of 2.4 makes it somewhat cumbersome to locate your subject at first
6. WANNEY Smart Day /Night Colorful Digital Night Vision Scope (The Best Day and Night Vision Monocular)
You won’t find many monocular devices that work during both night and day. Thankfully, this WANNEY Smart Day /Night Colorful Digital Night Vision Scope is one of those rare devices that do. Featuring a “day and night” mode, this monocular device can be used at any given time you feel like it, regardless of the lighting.
The night vision function offers you up to 300m of range within which you will be able to see your subject vividly thanks to the multi-coated glass. It also has an infrared LED illuminator that does more than just highlight your subjects at night; it does so clearly and in HD at 980ft/300 m away in total darkness.
To make things even better, it has a video recording function that helps you record high-quality HD videos at 1080p. It also has RAV (Recoil Activated Video) as well as Wi-Fi streaming, which all go to bringing a whole new level of tech to your hunting trips.
Since this monocular can be mounted on a hunting rifle, you would be forgiven for thinking that you might have to bring along a whole list of additional devices if you are to actually use it for hunting.
While you might have to bring in other personal preference devices, one thing you won’t need to worry about is a rangefinder as it has one built right into it, thus making your life much easier and more convenient.
Because you can use this scope in both day and night, you will get vividly colored images during the day and black and white images at night. It offers a long visible distance thanks to the 2X digital zoom function that is paired with 3.9 optical amplification.
By downloading the app, you can sync it to your phone as well as use the Wi-Fi transmit function to view the images and recordings on a much bigger screen.
• It has a rangefinder
• Built-in rechargeable battery
• Has a host of other functions such as GPS, IR LED light, Wi-Fi transmit, and so on
• It’s built for tough
• Can be mounted on a hunting rifle
• Can record video and images at an impressive 1080p
• Lightweight and easy to use
• Can be synced with your phone
• A bit pricey
Best Night Vision Monocular Buyers Guide
Much like most other specialized equipment, night vision pricing depends on how advanced the monocular in question really is; the more advanced, the higher the price tag.
However, just because one option says Generation 3 and another says Generation 3 doesn’t necessarily mean that the Generation 3 monocular is the best option for you. It all depends on your particular needs. And that is why you need to go through this buyers’ guide before deciding which monocular to buy.
The Different Generations of Night Vision Monocular Devices
The first thing you need to know here is that the quality of the image you get from your monocular device will greatly depend on its generation. Monocular devices are categorized from Generations 1 through to 4.
The higher the generation of the device, the better the image quality. Here is a quick rundown of the different generations of monocular devices and who can benefit from each of them:
Generation 1 Monocular: These are typically hobbyist type of monocular devices. They tend to be limited to about 100 yards as far as effective visibility is concerned. Of course, there are some more expensive Generation 1 Monocular that can give you better visibility for a few more yards.
Generation 2 Monocular: You will find two tiers in this generation (2 and 2+). These offer you an incredible increase in image quality as well as the range over Generation 1 monocular. They are typically designed for professional hunters who appreciate a higher recognition range, which allows them to see further and in better detail.
Generation 3 Monocular: Now we are getting into the range of military-grade devices. Meaning that these are similar to what the military uses and offer you much better quality and allow you to see much further and in greater detail with less light than any of the previous generations. With a Generation 3 Monocular, you can actually see fine facial features from a much further range.
Generation 4: These offer much more clarity and give a better range than Generation 3. They are, however, extremely expensive and not that common.
While the price is a huge determining factor when shopping for a night vision monocular, it’s also prudent to consider the purpose. Why are you looking to buy a night vision monocular? Are you looking to hunt, or is it for security purposes? This will determine the generation you go for and, inevitably, how much you spend.
Uses for the Different Generations of Monocular Devices
Consider what you want to use the monocular for, and you will find the generation that you need:
Hunting and tactical purposes: Here you will need one that can easily attach to a HALO mounting system or a helmet so that your hands remain free for other purposes. This monocular has to give you an excellent range and clearer vision. This means that you will need one that is either Generation 2 or 3.
Observation and surveillance: In this case, you will need one that can be mounted on a tripod. Depending on the kind of observation you intend to do, you might need Generation 1 (for animal observation) if you are an animal lover. If you are a hunter, however, then you will need a Generation 3 device.
Of course, you also have to consider the weight and size of the monocular device. For animal lovers, you can pick one that is heavy since you are most likely going to be mounting it on a tripod anyway. However, if you intend to do a bit of hunting, then you might want to pick one that is lighter since it will probably end up on your helmet.
There, now you know what to look for when shopping for a night vision monocular device. The ones listed on this list just so happen to be some of the best night vision monocular devices on the market today. Depending on your intended purpose, all you have to do is find one that works for you, buy it and enjoy it.