Are you a fan of hunting, sightseeing, camping or hiking at night? Then a night vision monocular is exactly what you need to make your night-time adventures unforgettable. If you’re not sure which one to buy, we’ve reviewed 10 of the best night vision monoculars on the market.
But before you pick one, bear in mind that there are many factors you must consider as we’ll outline below.
Quick Look at our Top 10 Best Night Vision Monoculars
1. Carson NV-200 Mini Aura
Digital Night Vision
2. Solomark Night Vision Monocular
Digital Night Vision
3. Carson Aura NV-150
Digital Night Vision
4. Firefield Nightfall FF24063 4x50
5. Sightmark Ghost Hunter SM14071
Digital Night Vision
6. Bushnell Equinox Z
Digital Night Vision
7. Bestguarder WG-50 HD
Digital Night Vision
8. Night Owl iGEN 20/20
9. ATN NVM14 Gen WPT
10. OPMOD Limited Edition GEN 3 Pinnacle PVS-14
GEN 3 Pinnacle
Know that there are different types of night vision monoculars and they’re classified according to generations. You can pick a night vision monocular which is either a 1st, 2nd, 3rd or fourth-generation unit. Here we’re referring to the type of image intensifier found in the monocular. And this tube determines the clarity of the image the monocular provides you with.
Generally, a 1st generation night vision device allows you to view images much more clearly in the dark. For this reason, it’s widely sought after by many night hunting enthusiasts. The 2nd generation night vision device also allows you to view images clearly in the dark and provides exceptional brightness. Law enforcement officers usually use this type.
3rd generation night devices are known for their impressive resolution and are widely used by US military personnel.
Last but not least, the 4th generation monoculars are known for their ability to increase target detection in low light situations. Ultimately the one you pick depends on your specific needs.
The next question you need to ask yourself is whether the device is analog or digital? Which one is better? This question is best answered by explaining their differences.
Know that analog night vision monoculars have been around for decades while their digital counterparts are relatively new being introduced over the last few years.
With regards to functionality, analog night devices are known for their impressive resolution. However, the trade-off is they don’t come cheap. It follows that digital night vision monoculars are an affordable option. But not only are they cheaper, but they’re also designed to last longer making them cost-effective.
In addition, digital night vision monoculars can be used during both day and night-time. On the other hand, analog night vision monoculars aren’t recommended for daytime use as this may prematurely damage the image intensifier tube.
All night vision devices feature IR illuminators. But note that they’re still able to function without the illuminators provided there is at least some ambient light. Night vision devices cannot function in complete darkness without an IR illuminator.
So, is it really necessary to pick a night vision device with an IR illuminator? The short answer is yes. IR illuminators improve your target detection at night allowing for optimum viewing regardless of your surroundings.
Also, IR illuminator's are usually not detected by animals which makes them much better to use as opposed to a flashlight. This means you can view targets easily without giving away your position.
Another factor worth considering before picking a night vision monocular is its field of view. This is generally the angle at which your device can detect objects within its viewing range.
Ideally, you want a monocular with a wide field of view that allows you to detect target objects from a sizeable angle and distance. But note that monoculars with a wider field of view are more costly than those with a narrow FOV. And the opposite applies as well.
The quality of an image lies in the resolution offered by the night device. If you expect to view clear images, then a device with a high resolution is the one you want.
Again, note that a device with a higher resolution will cost you more. By this, we mean a device with a high number of pixels. How is it measured? The resolution on a night vision device is measured in line pairs per mm (lp/mm).
Also, note that the resolution is also dependent on the lens on the model. You can easily adjust the quality of the picture by changing the lens.
From what distance can your device detect images? This is what is referred to as the detection range. You want a monocular that can detect images from afar.
Simply put, the higher the detection range, the better. But the one you pick will depend on your hunting needs. Do you want to view your target from afar or you prefer hunting for animals at close range? You’ll need a monocular with a high detection range if your targets are far away and the opposite is true.
You must also consider whether or not you can attach your monocular to a weapon? This will depend on whether you prefer a hands-free hunting experience or not.
Not all night vision monoculars have this mounting option. However, some models come with multiple mounting options. They allow you to either mount the device to a camera or helmet. Simply pick the type you prefer.
Can you use the device in wet conditions? Don’t let the rain stop you from embarking on your favorite night-time hunting adventure. Simply consider whether the device is water-resistant.
Ideally, you want to pick one with a high waterproof rating. This means if the unit happens to be submerged or in contact with water, it won’t be damaged.
Other manufacturers take it a step further by including video recording capabilities on their devices. This allows you to record footage which you can playback and view at a later date. If you can find a device that can record videos while including sound, that would be even better.
Different night devices are available at different prices. But know that in most cases, the price reflects several factors including the quality and features it has.
As you may have noticed from some of the above-mentioned factors, the more features the device has, the more expensive it is. But for a good night vision monocular, you don't need to spend more than $1,000. Also, note that not all high-end monoculars are necessarily the best where performance is concerned.
A casual search on the internet will reveal a sizeable number of night vision device manufacturers. But it’s in your best interests to purchase from reputable manufacturers who’re known for providing high-quality products that won’t disappoint where performance and durability are concerned.
A few of the leading night vision manufacturers worth considering include:
If a portable monocular is what you’re after, this pocket-size model is the one to pick. We’re impressed with its compact and lightweight design that makes it easy to carry around.
Available in black or grey, you can pick the color you prefer.
Because it’s a digital monocular, it means you can use it during the day and night time. You’ll certainly be getting value for your money if you pick this model. This is because, with digital monoculars, the image intensifier tube won't be damaged if you use the product during the day time.
Still, on the subject of cost-effectiveness, we’re largely impressed by the versatility of this unit. This is your go-to model for those fun camping or night viewing adventures.
You can expect clear black and white images if you use this model. That’s a welcome functionality when you consider the conventional greenish images associated with the traditional monoculars.
An easy to use monocular is always best. And that’s what you’ll get if you pick the Carson NV mini digital night vision monocular. You can easily adjust the intensity of the images with a simple click of the button.
Given the small size of the product, it’s not surprising that it has a narrow field of view. However, the detection range is quite impressive; you can view targets from as far as 80ft even if its pitch black.
If a small monocular that doesn’t compromise performance is what you want, look no further than this Carson model.
Here we have yet another versatile unit. Pick this Solomark night vision monocular if you want to go night-time hunting or simply to explore wildlife. The same device can also be used for surveillance purposes.
Granted, it’s slightly more expensive compared to the Carson model reviewed above, but it’s still affordable.
With regards to functionality, you can also use this model regardless of the time of day. Not only can you use it to capture images but you can use it for video recording. This allows you the pleasure of viewing recorded images at a later time.
Thanks to the 4GB internal storage capacity, you can store a sizeable number of captured images and videos. And the manufacturer also included a mini USB cable in case you want to transfer images or videos to an external device such as your laptop.
The high sensitivity sensor coupled with the IR illuminator allows you to view images clearly even in total darkness. We’re impressed with the 328ft detection range that allows you to view your targets from a distance. With this model, you can adjust images according to your preferred brightness thanks to the built-in color LED screen.
Note however that it has a small field of view. On the upside, we’re certain the five-hour battery life will be more than adequate for your outdoor needs.
The exterior non-slip rubber design on this monocular allows for easy grip and handling. You don’t have to worry about dropping the device during your outdoor adventure. And the best part is the unit comes with multiple mounting options to pick from depending on your preferences; you can either mount it on a tripod or harness.
When not in use, feel free to slip it in your bag. Alternatively, you can keep it around your neck by making use of the neck strap provided.
The product comes with a two-year limited warranty which is proof of the manufacturer’s confidence in the product.
If you’re a fan of the Carson brand and have a little extra cash to spend, opt for this Aura NV-150 model. Because it’s slightly more expensive than the model reviewed before, you can expect a long-lasting product if you pick this unit. Made of extremely durable materials, you’re not only guaranteed a reliable but also a highly efficient unit.
This Carson monocular comes complete with an integrated IR illuminator for optimal viewing regardless of your environment. And because it’s a digital night vision device you can also use it during daytime.
Images are both bright and sharp. You won’t be guessing the type of animal you’re viewing. But this is provided you’re viewing target objects within the stipulated 230ft detection range for total darkness. With such an impressive detection range, for the price, this is the product to pick if you usually try to view targets that are further away.
Images can further be magnified with this model to get a closer and clear look. This is thanks to the 2x, 4x magnification ability. Weighing only 4.2oz, you can tell that it’s a lightweight unit. Carrying it from one place to the next will be easy enough.
You’ll need the standard AAA batteries to operate this unit. But unfortunately, the product doesn’t have a long battery life. However, by reducing the refresh rate, the battery can last you a few hours longer. Alternatively, you can turn off the IR illuminator to save battery.
We’re particularly impressed by how easy to use this monocular is. Because this model doesn’t present a huge learning curve, it can be used by both security personnel and casual observers. And it helps that it’s an extremely high-performance unit that can be used for all your night vision needs. This includes anything from hunting to tactical activities and everything in between.
The ergonomic design of this unit makes for easy and comfortable handling. Plus, it’s pretty lightweight which contributes to its easy transportation.
As some of the models reviewed above, this model features an integrated IR illuminator. You can enjoy optimum viewing even in low light environments.
With a 4x magnifying ability, this model possibly has one of the largest magnification ratings on our list. This allows you to spot targets that are further away more easily. You will typically be able to see and identify targets that are 225ft. away. Depending on the size of the targets you may be able to identify them at longer ranges but Gen 1 night vision has a shorter detection/identification distance than the others. And the best part is that images are viewed with clarity regardless of the lighting thanks to the high resolution.
With a 12mm eye relief, you can view objects from a distance without causing strain to your eyes.
One thing you’ll appreciate is the product’s durability. Thanks to the high-quality material used in its construction, it’s designed to last.
Unlike the digital monoculars reviewed above, note that Firefield Nightfall FF24063 is an analog device. As a result, you can’t use it during day time.
The manufacturer included a carrying case with this monocular to protect the unit when not in use. You’ll find a cloth to clean the lens where necessary.
This unit is relatively easy to set up. Simply make use of the product instructions provided.
This Sightmark SM14071 monocular is one of the best rated digital night vision devices on the market. And it’s ideally suited for close-range image detection even in total darkness.
It features an IR illuminator that allows you to view animals clearly without scaring them off. As mentioned earlier, this is because the illuminator can’t be spotted by animals. Detection range is around 393ft which is decent in this price range.
For such a powerful unit, you’ll be impressed by how strong the monocular is thanks to its rugged construction. It weighs just under 9oz making it ultra-lightweight. Traveling with this monocular is hassle-free thanks to its compact and portable design.
What sets this model apart from the rest is its automatic shut off function. The unit is designed to switch off when it comes in contact with bright light thereby saving you battery.
However, note that the lens is only 24mm thick which makes it relatively thin. And thin lenses generally have a narrow field of view. But on the upside, you’ll appreciate the long battery life. The device can last up to 72 hours but this depends on usage and settings.
With this unit, you can view images clearly thanks to the high resolution. But what impressed us more with this model is that it comes with an IPX-3 rating making it water-resistant. As you may have noticed, this is the first model on our list that can be used safely in wet or damp conditions.
Thanks to the polymer construction, you’re guaranteed a long-lasting product. Handling this monocular will be pretty easy since it features an ergonomic design.
As highlighted earlier, Bushnell is one of the leading manufacturers of night vision products and is known for its high-quality products. And their Equinox Z model doesn’t disappoint where both quality and performance are concerned.
Known for its impressive image quality, this is the product to pick if you want a monocular that views targets with clarity. Because it’s a digital monocular you can use it during the day as well as night.
Apart from being a high-performance unit, you’ll appreciate that it’s one of the models on our list that has a wide field of view. Also, you can get a much closer look at targets thanks to its zooming capability. Targets can be viewed from as far as 750ft with the IR Illuminator on a dark night making it ideal for long-range viewing.
The product comes with an integrated IR illuminator that allows you to adjust brightness depending on the environment you’re using it in.
You won’t be cutting your outdoor adventures short if you use this night vision monocular because it has long battery life.
It weighs 22oz making it a relatively heavy unit compared to some other models. But the manufacturer included a carrying case that makes it easy to move around with.
This Bushnell monocular allows for video recording. This way you can view captured footage at a later stage when you get home.
If you plan on mounting this monocular on a weapon, you’ll appreciate that it comes with tripod mounting capabilities. But note that a few users have noted that the mounting instructions aren’t very easy to understand. You can consider watching YouTube videos to help you with mounting.
From the above, it’s clear this is a high-performance unit that’s worth considering.
The Bestguarder monocular is known for its outstanding image clarity even in the darkest of nights. This image quality is owed to the unit’s high resolution. You can view images in high definition. But what you’ll appreciate more is that it features an impressive 6x magnification capability. You can view targets from a distance with the utmost ease.
The thick lens on this model is a plus. Just be prepared to pay a little extra for this product because it’s one of the high-end models.
This is the monocular to pick if you want a device that allows for long-range viewing. You can view targets from as far as 1,150ft.
What’s even better is the user-friendly interface. Operating this device will be quite simple even for the beginner. You can use this device regardless of the lighting present. Simply adjust the IR brightness to suit the environment.
For a closer look at your target, make use of the zooming function. Most people will be impressed by the fact that this monocular is water-resistant. The device won’t be damaged when it comes in contact with water.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a wide field of view. Scanning a large area might prove to be a challenge. But overall it’s a highly durable unit making it ideal for hunting or extended use on camping trips.
Night Owl monoculars are also known for their exceptional quality and this model is no exception. But note that it’s not the cheapest monocular on the market so keep that in mind if you’re shopping on a budget. But for its versatility in application, it’s definitely worth considering. You can use it for many outdoor adventures including camping, hiking, and hunting.
What stands out on this model is that it’s constructed using Proprietary iGen technology which is known to surpass the Generation 2 and 3 models. As a result, by picking this model you’re buying a highly efficient and reliable monocular. Detection range is around 600ft. which is good enough for most applications.
You’ll be impressed that the unit can amplify ambient lighting that can up to 650 times depending on the environment. You can expect to see clear images thanks to the edge-to-edge high-resolution display.
The field of view on this model is quite impressive. You don’t have to worry about black spots while scanning as is common with other monoculars. Thanks to the objective lens, you can clearly focus on targets that are far away. And to get a closer look at the target, simply make use of the 2.6x magnification.
This monocular allows for video recording. You have the option to connect it to an external recording device.
Note that it’s a pretty heavy unit compared to other monoculars.
Here we have yet another high-quality unit that you can use for your night vision needs. Because it’s such a high-performance unit, it’s widely sought after by military personnel. But that doesn’t mean the casual outdoor enthusiast can’t use it too.
The product can be mounted on to a weapon. And you’ll appreciate that it’s compatible with many laser aiming devices which is a plus. Also, note that you have the option to mount this monocular on your helmet for a convenient hands-free experience.
The unit is quite sturdy thanks to its rugged design which guarantees its longevity.
You’ll find handling this monocular pretty easy thanks to its ergonomic design. Operating the device is also simple thanks to its intuitive controls and interface. It helps that it’s compact so you can carry it with ease.
Feel free to use this monocular even in wet conditions because it’s waterproof. Detection rage is good being able to tell the difference between a male or female at 300ft and being able to detect targets at up to 1,500ft.
You can view images clearly with this monocular. It allows you to adjust the brightness depending on your environment. And it also features a bright light sensor that’s designed to shut off if the light in a certain environment is too bright.
You’ll be happy to know that the product is covered by a two-year warranty for any device malfunctions or needed repairs.
If a multi-purpose night vision device is what you’re after, this is the product for you. But because of its rugged construction and efficiency, it’s widely used in the military sector.
For such a high-performance unit, you’ll appreciate how it’s surprisingly lightweight. This makes the device easy to carry around.
You’ll need a single battery to operate it. And you’ll be happy to know that it has a long battery life. The monocular has a wide field of view so you can scan images in a large area.
You can expect crisp and clear images with this model. It allows you to adjust the IR brightness depending on the environment that you’re operating in. This unit has no magnification so identification distances will be limited to a around 100 yards or so however detection distances will be much farther.
With this monocular, you can decide to mount it on your helmet, weapon or camera depending on your preferences.
This night vision device weighs only 11oz which means it’s pretty light. If you’re planning on venturing in damp conditions, know that the unit is water-resistant. But note that it’s not entirely waterproof so extra caution still needs to be exercised in very wet conditions.
This is a very impressive night vision monocular and it does not come cheap, however if you are looking for top of the line monocular and have the budget this can be a great choice. Also, the unit comes with a two-year warranty on faults.
Unfortunately, a few users have noted that the units may arrive with blemishes. But this in no way compromises the high performance of the monocular.
From our above recommendations, which night vision monocular will you be picking? Make sure the one you pick allows you to view images clearly especially in darkness. If you can find one that can also optimize day viewing you have a winner.
Lastly, look for one that’s not only high performance but reliable.
It doesn’t have to be the most expensive one on the market but a night vision monocular could be the key to more enjoyment of hobbies and functionality in many scenarios. Which one is best for you?