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Last updated: April 15, 2021
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Whether you are into hunting or like observing wildlife, being able to see in the night can be a huge advantage. That is why we are looking for the best night vision monocular in this article. These devices use infrared illuminators to help you see even in total darkness.
We reviewed 29 different products on the market, and our top pick is the Bestguarder 6x50mm HD Digital Night Vision Monocular. The device is extremely durable and water-resistant so that it can handle severe weather conditions. It features adjustable IR levels, and excellent image and video quality and clarity, which makes it suitable for long-distance use. We also selected six other popular monoculars so that you can choose your favorite easily.
We’ve spent 52 hours reading professional and user reviews, as well as expert opinions on night vision monoculars. We highlighted the important features of every product, such as the objective diameter, magnification, and field of view. All these are important because they can help you see clearly at long distances. Our team also considered whether the device supports video capture and what kind of batteries it requires. Finally, we highlighted physical properties to ensure that the unit meets your expectations when it comes to convenience. You can find our comparison table for a quick product overview below. After that, make sure to check out detailed information about all devices in our reviews. Finally, this article offers a comprehensive buying guide that will assist in choosing a suitable unit for you.
Bestguarder designed an infrared night vision monocular that does a great job at long distances. You can observe the surroundings at approximately 350 meters by relying on the IR illuminator. It does an excellent job even in totally dark conditions, which makes the monocular suitable for both beginners and advanced users.
The objective diameter is large, and the 6x magnification allows focusing on distant areas. However, if you don’t have a tripod, focusing might take a bit of effort. The product is easy to use, especially thanks to the integrated TFT screen. You can choose from seven languages, which makes the adjusting process easier.
The construction is impressive, and the monocular seems very durable. The housing is water-resistant, and it has USB and micro SD and TV port for connectivity. The photo and video quality are beyond expectations, and you won’t have any problems recording at night and long distances. That contributes to the versatility of this product, which you can use for hunting, night watching, observation, etc. A thing you would want to pay attention to is how long the battery lasts because it uses it quite fast.
What we liked:
Infrared illuminator does a great job even in complete darkness
If you are looking for an affordable digital night vision monocular, The Carson MiniAura NV-200 might be a great choice for you. It is important to note that you cannot expect wonders from a unit at this price range. However, the product proves to be one of the best ones in its class.
The first thing you notice is that this is an extremely small monocular. It is easy to carry it around, especially since it comes with a wrist strap and carry case. The monocular is also the lightest on our list since it weighs only a couple of ounces.
The device displays black and white images, and it has a 10mm diameter with 1x magnification. The infrared light does a satisfactory job in conditions of total darkness, and the visibility is approximately 80 feet. It is a shame that the IR light is visible, and creatures might notice the bright red spot, especially if they are in line with your device.
The display helps to control the device and to check battery life, but you can’t adjust the brightness, which might cause eye strains in low-light conditions. The good news is that batteries will last for a long time.
The Night Owl iGen is a powerful product, and it might be the best night vision monocular for the money. You can rely on this device in all conditions, and that includes total darkness. The monocular will always produce excellent image clarity because of the automatically-adjusted infrared intensity and up to 650x light amplification.
The iGen device comes with some unique benefits. The edge-to-edge display resolution secures fantastic image quality, and you can rest assured there will be no dark spots. The device even has the capability to see through the bright light and avoid bright-spot blooming typical for night vision.
The monocular has a durable construction and excellent damage resistance, while the non-slip grip helps to reduce the risk of dropping it. The item is fairly light and isn’t that small, but the good news is that it comes with a case for carrying it around.
There are multiple color output choices and an adjustable level of brightness. The battery might not last the entire night, which is why a set of spare batteries at hand can be useful.
Before we continue, you should note that this is a Gen 1 night vision monocular. That makes it a great product suitable for beginners, but not one that professionals would love.
The Firefield Nightfall monocular has a rugged construction and water-resistant housing. That makes it suitable to use when it’s raining and during other severe weather conditions. The objective diameter is 50mm, which is quite large, and the product also comes with an infrared illuminator. That is a crucial feature when watching during the night, and it secures decent image quality within 100 yards.
Although it is great in the conditions of total darkness, lights in the distance might compromise viewing capabilities. Additionally, the field of view is somewhat narrow, but you can’t expect a lot more at this price range.
Overall, this monocular seems to be a decent investment for the money. The batteries last for a long time, and it is quite durable and reliable when used outdoors. The design is ergonomic, and the manufacturer includes a fabric case with the product. There is a socket for a tripod at the bottom, but you will have to buy it separately.
What we liked:
A large objective diameter
A great option to use within 100 yards
The batteries last long
The water-resistant housing
What could be better:
Lights in the distance might compromise viewing capabilities
We expect an ergonomic design from a monocular, but it is worth noting that Solomark did a good job with their product. This blue infrared monocular comes with an IR illuminator with multiple adjustable levels. All controls are on the top of the unit, and the built-in LCD will help you to set brightness and all other settings you need.
This might be the best night vision monocular under $200, especially if you consider that it delivers impressive image clarity at long distances of up to 300 feet. You can use it to shoot videos and take photos at night, but not everyone was happy with the photo quality. Some people found those images too grainy without a stabilizer, such as a tripod.
The construction seems durable, and the rubber on the outside ensures a comfortable grip and minimizes the risk of dropping the device. The lens cover protects the glass objectives, but it seems like it could fall off at any moment.
The product comes with excellent connectivity with other devices. It includes a micro SD card, and it also comes with a USB port and the required cables. The manufacturer was kind enough to include a carrying case and a neck strap, too.
What we liked:
It performs well at long distances up to around 300 feet
Adjustable infrared illumination
Excellent connectivity with other devices
The ergonomic design makes it easy to hold in your hand
What could be better:
The lens cover seems like it could fall off easily when the device is in use
We have mixed feelings about this product since it has many great features, but also a couple of downsides. For starters, it is a helmet-mountable model, and you can also attach it to weapons.
The water-resistance housing features durable construction. Despite that, the manufacturer managed to keep the device lightweight and easy to carry. The battery consumption is impressive, and you can use the product for three days without the IR illuminator.
However, since we are talking about using the device at night, IR illuminator will be required in most cases, but still, the batteries should last at least 20 hours. Although it does a decent job, it is visible to the naked eye, and you might scare the creatures you are watching. The product automatically turns off if exposed to bright light, which is convenient.
The objective diameter is large, and the field of view is decent. However, it is difficult to get a perfectly crisp image since the optics are very sensitive. The price tag is not too high, but you might be able to get a Gen 2 night vision monocular for the money.
Boblov might have a true gem here since this product seems like a candidate for the best night vision monocular for hunting, as well as a night watching and other outdoor activities. The product comes with a 32mm objective diameter and a great magnification feature. You can easily zoom the desired animals or objects without disrupting image clarity.
The product is suitable to use in total darkness with the integrated IR illuminator. Thanks to the built-in daylight filter, you can also use it during the day. The entire interface is user-friendly, and beginners shouldn’t have any problems using the product. The recommended distance is approximately 150 yards, which is decent at this price range.
It is obvious that this monocular isn’t the smallest one out there, but it is fairly light and easy to carry around. The construction is solid, but the manufacturer fails to mention water resistance. When it comes to connectivity, you can easily transfer photos and videos via USB cable. The manufacturer includes a 16GB micro SD card, and the device can be mounted to a helmet.
What we liked:
Extremely user-friendly and easy to use
A spacious 16GB micro SD card included
You can also use it during the day
The zooming feature is perfect
What could be better:
The manufacturer doesn’t mention water resistance
Not the smallest unit out there
Things to Consider
The market offers numerous high-quality monocular devices to use during the night. While that is great, it can make your choice harder, especially if you don’t have in-depth knowledge about this product. That is where our buying guide comes into play. We analyzed the crucial features that a monocular should have to show you how to pick a unit that will meet your requirements. Don’t forget to check out the FAQ section in the end because you might find answers to some interesting questions there!
Things to consider before buying a night vision monocular
Your search for a suitable monocular should always start with the product’s performance. That includes the capability of delivering optimal image quality in the darkness, but you also need the device to perform well at long distances. You should also take into account physical characteristics, including size and weight, as well as the quality of construction, which is crucial for the item’s durability. Finally, additional features and accessories contribute to the convenience of using the monocular. Take a look at the guide below and learn more about the factors to keep in mind when choosing a suitable device for your needs!
The first feature that we will consider is the objective diameter. A typical monocular might come with an objective diameter of anywhere between 10mm and 50mm. Ultimately, choosing this depends on your preference. The important thing to note is that the objective diameter directly affects the size and the weight of your monocular. The good news is that these products tend to be light, and even the largest diameter shouldn’t add significant weight to it.
You can go with a small 10mm objective diameter, such as the one in the Carson MiniAura NV-200 Digital Night Vision Monocular, if you want a product that you can fit in your pocket. A large objective can mean better image quality and clarity, which is why you should consider looking for big diameters.
Whether you need a military night vision monocular, or you are using it for hunting and wildlife observation, magnification is an important feature. If you get too close, you risk scaring the animals, which is why it is best if you watch them from afar.
That is where magnification comes into play, and a typical night vision monocular might have a magnification anywhere from 1x to 6x or more. The Bestguarder 6x60mm HD Digital Night Vision Monocular does an amazing job in this category, as it secures a clear and sharp image even at the highest settings.
An important thing to note is that the larger magnification, the shakier the image. If you go with a digital monocular, it might offer both digital and optical zooms. In those cases, the digital zoom might be able to zoom in closer to the desired object.
Field of view
The field of view can vary from narrow to wide. If you go with a wide field of view, that means you will see more of the surroundings at the specified distance. That can come in handy if you are observing animals and other live creatures. They might move, and a wide field of view is helpful to follow their movement without readjusting the settings on your monocular.
Another important thing to check is how far is the maximum distance you can stay at when using the product. For example, Night Owl iGen 20/20 Day/Night Vision Monocular has an impressive distance range of 1000 yards. However, if you don’t mind getting a bit closer to the object or creature you are observing, you can go in a short distance. Try to keep the supported distance at around 100 yards, at least.
Video and photo capture
The primary purpose of a night vision monocular is to observe the surroundings. However, try to imagine this – you managed to find a deer walking nearby, and it is a stunning view. It is only natural that you would like to capture that moment, and that is where photo and video capture features are useful.
The photo quality that a monocular can deliver depends on the product, but if you choose wisely, you can brag with HD photos made with your device. On the other hand, the video quality is usually a bit limited, and you shouldn’t expect wonders from it. However, you should still be able to make decent videos if you encounter a situation worth recording.
Light amplification and IR levels
If you are looking for a monocular that will perform well in the darkness, that means it should have special features that allow you to see in the night. These features include light amplification and infrared illuminators.
The light amplification varies from one device to another. In some units, it can go to 500x or more, and the larger the number, the better.
As for the IR illuminators, they are a necessity in these devices. Most products come with multiple infrared levels, and some of them even allow you to adjust them, such as the Solomark Night Vision Monocular. If you are a beginner, you might also look for a unit that automatically adjusts the IR level for you. Please note some illuminators might have a bright spot visible to the naked eye, which might affect your viewing experience.
You will be using your monocular in outdoor conditions, which means electricity is not an option as a power source. That is why the manufacturers decide to power their products with batteries. The type and number of batteries use depends on the device, and we can tell the same about the battery life.
The general rule is that advanced devices, such as a Gen 3 night vision monocular, utilize more power than simpler and more compact units.
A monocular should be compact-sized, and most units fit that description. However, there is still a difference in dimensions. Some units are so small that they could fit in your pocket, which makes them perfect for carrying around the entire night.
You can also find larger units, which you can still carry in a single hand, but that might get tiring after a while. It is why you should consider a unit that you can mount on a helmet, such as BOBLOV Digital Night Vision Monocular 5×32.
Even the heaviest monocular on our list doesn’t exceed the two-pound limit, which tells you how light these units are. If you want to take this lightness to the ultimate level, pick a unit like Firefield Nightfall 4×50 Night Vision Monocular, which weighs only 21.1 ounces. However, the odds are you won’t notice a lot of difference. It is only if you carry the product around in your hand the entire night that you might feel fatigued with heavier units.
If you are outdoors, you never know when it might start raining. That is why your monocular should be waterproof. Please note that the water-resistance rating might vary, but most of them will keep the device safe in case of raining or if you drop it into a puddle (as long as you pick it up right away).
When it comes to durability, you should also think of the quality of construction.
Durable components combined with a rubber outside will protect the unit in case you drop it on the ground, and absorb shock from hitting the device into a tree or another object.
A night vision monocular usually comes with multiple accessories, and they might include:
Carry case – a protective case that keeps your device safe when it is not in use, and it is also convenient for storing.
Lanyard – these vary from neck to wrist straps, as well as lanyards that allow carrying the unit around the waist.
MicroSD card – it serves as an additional memory to store photos and videos, and a convenient way to transfer them to your PC. The available card memory varies, and it can go up to 16GB or more.
Tripod socket – you usually won’t get a tripod with a night vision monocular, but most of them are equipped for mounting a tripod. Look for a socket at the bottom or on the side of the device.
The final thing to check is the budget that you set aside for buying a night vision monocular. The good news is that you can find entry-level units for less than $100, as well as expensive devices that cost more than $300.
Here is an overview of the pricing categories:
Affordable – these devices stay within the $100 price limit. In most cases, you can expect a modest objective diameter, but also decent performance as long as not using them at very long distances. A great example of a value deal is the Carson MiniAura NV-200 Digital Night Vision Monocular.
Average – a mid-range monocular can cost anywhere from $100 to $250. You can find devices with many different features, which is why you should pick based on your preference.
Premium – these devices are considered expensive, and their price range is above $300. The actual cost will depend on the extra features, performance, and durability offered. The Night Owl iGen 20/20 Day/Night Vision Monocular is a premium device available at a fair price if you consider all its amazing capabilities.
A night vision monocular is a product that allows you to observe wildlife and other surroundings, even in conditions of total darkness. These products utilize infrared technology to collect it back and any other available light. After collecting it, the light amplification function adjusts the light and delivers the image. The quality of the image, including its sharpness, brightness, and other factors, will depend on IR levels and light amplification capability. Other features might also contribute to the quality, including zoom options and objective diameter. Many units also offer selectable infrared levels, which you can set based on the quantity of light around you, and some even come with an automatic adjustment feature.
The battery life on a full charge can vary anywhere from two to 20 hours or more. Some devices drain the batteries quickly, but other models can last the entire night. You can also consider taking replacement batteries if you are heading on a long trip. The battery life depends on whether you are using the infrared illuminator or not. These illuminators can shorten battery life for about 50%, but the problem is you need them in dark conditions. The general rule of thumb is that entry-level units don’t drain batteries as quickly as advanced devices loaded with functions and features.
A monocular should be equipped with a hand strap, which makes it comfortable for single-hand use. There is no reason why you shouldn’t carry it around with the hand strap, but you also have many other options available for the product. Some devices come with a neck strap to wear the unit around your neck. Another option can be to mount it on your helmet, and if you are a hunter, you might consider mounting in on a weapon. On the other hand, if you want to make steady images and videos, attaching the monocular to a tripod is recommended.
Do you already have your favorite when it comes to the best night vision monoculars? In case you still haven’t decided, allow us to remind you of our favorites.
At the top of the list, you will find the Bestguarder 6x50mm HD Digital Night Vision Monocular. It features four IR levels and allows you to observe the surroundings at approximately 350 meters from your location. Additionally, both the photo and video quality are impressive.
The third candidate for the best night vision monocular nomination is the Night Owl iGen 20/20 Day/Night Vision Monocular. It might cost a bit more, but it delivers fantastic image quality. Additionally, the device is beginner-friendly, and it comes with automatic IR adjustment and other useful features.
We hope that our review helped you find a suitable unit for your needs. Take your time studying our buying guide, and we are sure you will find a suitable unit quickly!