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Last updated: March 31, 2021
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Does the perfect night vision monocular exist? There really isn’t one that is perfect to a point where all of them just disappear. But there might be one that’s perfect for you in each and every day. Below is a list that will help you find a night vision monocular that will help you see better when it’s the dead of night outside.
The best night vision monocular includes some of the features that you shouldn’t compromise on. These features include the field of view, which will come in handy so you know what’s in front of you. If you want to capture the moment in real time, then you don’t want to skip out on a monocular that has a built-in video feature. These are just a couple of features that you want to keep an eye out for when finding a night vision monocular for yourself.
"This monocular works great no matter the weather and handles extreme temperatures, and its 27 mm objective gathers in a good deal of light.Rugged and durable design.Compatible with most tripods.Camera and video adaptable."
Leading off the top of the order is a night vision monocular that is one tough customer. The ATN PVS 14-3 might just be one of the best night vision monoculars in the business with the features it has going for it. For one, it can handle a wide variety of temperatures.
You can use this in the middle of a subzero winter night or when the summer days can hit the triple digits. Either way, it’s the closest thing that you can get to a monocular that works hard no matter the weather. It’s light in weight and is small enough to take with you. With 1x magnification, you can be able to see things up close and personal without having to move closer yourself.
The objective is measured at 27 mm (1.06 in), which can gather in a good deal of light and can really help you out on those nights when you need just enough of it to see what’s in front of you. It’s got 50 hours of total battery life, which isn’t bad considering that you are only limited to using it during the night time hours. Plus, you get a built-in indicator letting you know that the battery is low when it’s close enough.
Simply put, this monocular is worth every penny for the price it’s going for. With a wide enough field of view, excellent visibility, and its ease of portability, the quality will be outstanding. The ATN PVS 14-3 is the closest that you can get to professional grade quality.
Up next is the Bering Optics GT-14 Gen 2+. Just by looking at this alone, you know that this bad boy was built for prime time. It’s a tactical quality grade monocular that can handle the bumps, bruises, and everything in between when it comes to outdoor or even tactical use.
This comes with an ergonomic design that will make it more comfortable to use if you opt to utilize your hands as opposed to a tripod. You can also adjust the lens if you need to focus on something that captures your interest. It could be a coyote you are hunting for or something else that may be moving in the distance.
When attached to a firearm, it has the ability to handle up to medium levels of recoil. We are not joking when we say that this bad boy can take a beating. If you are a hunter or someone who deals with tactical situations on a regular basis, you’d be hard-pressed to find a monocular of this caliber anywhere else on the market.
But it doesn’t stop there. This has the ability to resist water, dust, debris, or any kind of elemental factors that would otherwise ruin a perfectly good monocular. Not to mention, it’s easy to clean with the right kind of tools.
Whether you attach this to a rifle or a tripod, installing this is easier than anything you’ve ever assembled or mounted. Why settle for anything more complicated when the GT-14 from Bering Optics does it better?
Next is another monocular from the ATN brand. This time, we’ll be talking about the PVS 14-4 version. Is it better than its predecessor in any way? Let’s take a deeper look at it.
For one, it has the ability to be attached to any tripod, rifle, even tactical helmet. You’ll be able to look through the monocular with an unobstructed view and it will be well lit regardless if you are indoors or outdoors. It’s the closest that you can get to a military grade monocular that is fitting for tactical or outdoor applications like night hunting or filming.
Not only do you get the monocular itself, but you get plenty of accessories to go with it including a carrying case, a cleaning issue that is easy on the lenses, one AA battery, a sacrificial filter, head mount assembly, and a demist shield. You get a whole complete kit all to yourself. And for the price it goes for, you know it would be right to include all the fixings.
This has a 40-degree field of view and has a magnification level of 1x. Plus, it has the ability to operate in almost any weather condition possible. Whether you are coyote hunting in January or filming something in the middle of June, this monocular can serve plenty of purposes no matter what nature throws your way.
If you are looking for something that will give you plenty of durability and reliability, the ATN PVS 14-4 can be really hard to beat against other competitors.
If you are looking for what could be the best digital night vision monocular, look no further than the SiOnyx Aurora Pro. Part of its digital capabilities includes its ability to capture videos and accept micro SD cards to keep all of your data stored. It also has some excellent built-in features like a GPS, compass, and an accelerometer.
It has all kinds of features that can make even the tech enthusiast nod in approval. Aside from its tech stuff, it’s also IP67 water resistant. It can handle bad weather like snow or rain if you’re using it outdoors. Not to be outdone, the carrying case that comes with the monocular is also waterproof (so if it’s submerged in water, nothing will leak inside).
If you are planning on mounting this to a rifle, it has the ability to easily attach to Picatinny rails. In tactical situations or if you are tracking down varmint at night, this monocular will definitely give you a better chance at seeing what’s in front of you. Plus, your target won’t see you coming since you’ll have the optical advantage. That’s the beauty of these night vision monoculars.
This can handle a good amount of recoil, so it won’t get damaged in the slightest should you have to fire a few shots. You won’t need to do any kind of adjustments or recalibration (unlike some rifle scopes or any other optic). If you want a digital night vision monocular that is super tough and is south of $1000 in price, this one might be the no brainer choice.
If you are looking for budget options at this point, the last four (including this one) might be one of your better choices. This is the best night vision monocular under $500. But it has some pretty good qualities such as video recording, image capturing, and a viewing range of up to 1000 feet.
This is yet another monocular that you can use either during the day or at night. If versatility is a deal maker for you, the Equinox Z might just be exactly what you’re looking for. It has the ability to operate hands-free since it can be easily attached to a tripod.
Whether you are filming nature during the day or scouting out a good spot for night hunting, this monocular does not disappoint. The picture quality is pretty good, even for something going for south of $500. Beyond that, it’s waterproof and has a long battery life.
It will see its share of outdoor activity and can handle the bangs and bumps that come with the territory. That’s because it has an outer housing that is built like a tank. Even if you hit it on hard pavement, it will continue to work as if nothing happened to it.
The night vision technology just might be the most powerful on the market. It’s supercharged and will give you more brightness. More brightness equals better image quality. For the best budget night vision monocular, the Bushnell Equinox could be right up your alley.
If the Bushnell isn’t good enough for you, here’s another night vision monocular that is south of $500. This one has some digital abilities such as video capture, WiFi compatibility, and the ability to link up with Android and iOS devices. If anything, these technical features are quite awesome to have.
Aside from that, it has all the makings of delivering an excellent performance no matter what you’re using it for. Whether it’s hunting for varmint or surveying your property in case something goes “bump” in the night, you’ll need to be ready to strike. Just remember, with night vision like this, you have the upper hand over your target. Don’t forget to capture it on video so you can catch the key moments.
While it can take videos, it can also capture high-resolution photos and can be saved as jpegs. You can be able to upload them fairly quickly on your computer without worrying about converting them from one file type to the next. Plus, you can easily transfer them to another USB device or a storage device like an external HDD.
One other thing that it has is powerful magnification. It can be magnified up to 9x, so you can be able to see some of the stuff from far away up close. At this point, it has better magnification compared to some of the other monoculars on the list.
If you want the best value night vision monocular with all the tech features you desire, the Sightmark Signal Series N320RT could be the best money ever spent.
Next is our choice for the best night vision monocular under $200. For something of that price, you’ll swear that you’ve scored the steal of a lifetime when you try this out. It has the ability to capture high quality images that won’t blur or obstruct your view.
This comes with a multi-coated lens that will make it really hard to scratch. It also plays a supporting role in making your images stand out even better. It’s crisp, clear, and will work great for any purpose.
It’s lightweight, rubber frame has the ability to absorb a good amount of shock. So, if you attach it to your rifle, it can absorb some recoil. And it can still work just fine even if you drop it on a hard surface accidentally.
This monocular is water-resistant, which will make using it easy in rainy or snowy conditions. You will always have a clear view of your target each time you put this to good use. Varmints, coyotes, or any kind of target won’t know where you are until they are close enough (and by then, it will be too late).
If you are looking for one of the best night vision monoculars for hunting while saving a considerable amount of money, the Firefield could be a pretty solid choice. Plus, it’s got plenty of accessories to go along with it like a lanyard, carrying case, and a lens cap. For the price tag, that’s a heck of a deal that you’d be crazy to pass up.
One of the most common problems with night vision is that they tend to burn out over time. Sometimes, the timing could be worse. With the Carson MiniAura NV-200, you get a more black and white view compared to the typical green that you see from other monoculars.
With one press of the button, the night vision intensity can change. Depending on how dark it is outside, there’s always a setting for you. And it’s all powered by three AAA batteries that will last you quite awhile.
This will give you an angle of view of 19 degrees, leaving you with some real estate whenever you are exploring the area in front of you or while you are hunting down some varmint or hogs. Plus, it’s so compact in size that it can fit in your pocket. That’s way better than carrying a tripod with one of these monoculars already attached to it.
If you are looking for the best cheap night vision monocular, this one could be of service to you. Quality wise, it’s anything but cheap. But it’s affordable for those who want to stay within a certain price range. On top of what you get, you’ll also get some additional accessories, which include a carrying case and a wristband.
Whether you are exploring your backyard for all that ruckus that has been going on lately or if you are tracking down those coyotes who are causing trouble and stalking your livestock, this monocular will obviously deliver the goods without you spending an arm and a leg.
What makes it stand out?
Easy intensity adjustment
Affordable for most budgets
Compact and portable
Great for hunting or exploring
No “burn outs” ever
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
May drain some brand name AAA batteries
Things to Consider
Choosing a night vision monocular out of the list above can be a difficult task. However, it’s one of the common reasons why we put together a buyer’s guide like this. This will help you make a decision based on some features that you consider a “make or break” deal for you. Some of the features may be based on personal need while others may be based on preference. Either way, this will help you find the right night vision monocular for you.
Important features of a night vision monocular to take into account before you buy
Below is a list of important features that you need to look for in a night vision monocular. Whether you can afford any of the items on the above list or if you’re looking for the best inexpensive night vision monocular, there is no sense in ignoring these features. Keep in mind that these features differ from one monocular to the next.
Let’s take a look at the list of features below and why they are important in your final purchasing decision.
The objective diameter is intended to gather in as much light as possible. The larger the objective, the more intense the night vision will be. With a more intense night vision, you’ll be able to see what’s in front of you much better than a monocular with a smaller objective.
Magnification will come into play if you need to get a closer look at something that is farther from you. The magnification levels will depend on the field of view. If your monocular has a larger field of view, the magnification levels will be lower. Whereas a narrow field of view will yield a more powerful magnification level.
If magnification is important to you, consider how much you need. Keep in mind that you could sacrifice some field of view as a result.
Field of view: Linear and angular
A field of view can be defined in two terms: linear and angular. A linear field of view is often measured in feet based on an observation of 1000 yards. In terms of angular, the measurements are based on degrees. Regardless, the larger the number, the more area you’ll be able to see on your monocular.
Keep in mind that a wider field of view will mean a less powerful magnification. If you are looking for moving targets, you may want to consider a wider field of view so you can be able to catch what’s in front of you rather than worry about magnification. On top of that, even with a wider field of view, you can still be able to see clearly if you magnify the monocular by 1x or 2x.
The focus range is the distance between the closest object and the farthest object away. Finding the right focus range is important when finding a monocular. This will help you be able to see some objects from a far distance away without the use of magnification.
This is a feature that can place a high level of importance for someone who intends to use a monocular for hunting purposes. Being able to positively identify a potential target before pulling the trigger can be beneficial. Especially if you are hunting at night.
The longer the focus range, the better you’ll be able to see objects at longer distances. Plus, you can be able to see objects closer to you using a monocular, that would otherwise be invisible to the naked eye.
Pay close attention to the focus range when making a final decision on a monocular, especially if you are a hunter that wants to get a good clean shot without moving any further.
Video and photo capture capability
There is nothing more exciting than being able to capture something in a photo or on video. Especially if you are hunting. Also, capturing what actually happens in a tactical or self-defense situation can also be helpful in certain situations.
Either way, a monocular with video and photo capture capability should be a high priority on your list. The image or video quality should be decent enough so it can be viewed without issue on any mobile device or desktop computer. In other words, there should be no blurriness or distortion.
One thing to pay attention to when looking at a monocular with video and photo capability are the statistics. Can it film 1080p video? What are the resolutions of the photos (and the type of photos)?
To take it one step further, see if the videos and photos can easily be transferred from an SD card to another storage device. Most of the monoculars will save videos as .mp4 or .mov files (or the like). Your photos will likely be saved as .jpeg files.
Light amplification and IR levels
Simply put, the higher the light amplification, the better the image quality. Plus, you’ll be able to experience greater night vision intensity. Most of the night vision optics will also rely on infrared sensors (or IR).
The light amplification has increased considerably over the years (based on “generations”). Gen I night vision optics has a light amplification of 1000. While not as intense, it relied on moonlight as a way to intensify it even more.
Since then, the amplification has multiplied considerably and therefore will not always need the sun or moon light to increase the intensity of the night vision optics. However, with higher intensity in light amplification, the more power.
Since most night vision monoculars are battery operated, it’s important to pay close attention to how much actual battery life there. Some monoculars will have a battery life that will last you 50 hours or more.
Infrared has the capability of picking up heat signatures of a specific target. When combined with infrared illumination, night vision has a spectral range from 700 to 1000 nm. This is below the visible spectrums that can be seen by the naked eye.
The most common power supply for night vision monoculars are batteries. The types of batteries will vary from one device to the next. Most will use AA batteries while some others will use AAA batteries, like the Carson NV-200 Mini Aura.
However, some of the batteries will have rechargeable capabilities. This can be as simple as charging them with the use of a USB cable and a USB port (2.0 or 3.0). One thing to keep in mind when considering a device that is battery operated, it’s determining how much actual battery life it has.
It’s always a good idea to have extra batteries on hand. The batteries may drain quicker than expected or they can take a while to drain depending on the brand. Better to prepare ahead of time than never at all.
Dimensions and weight
Why are dimensions and weight so important? For one, you can be able to attach a monocular to a rifle or a tripod if you want more of a hands-free operation. You want something that won’t be too long or wide on a rifle since you will need to rely on sights or other optics (especially if you are using a rifle for hunting or tactical applications).
Weight is also important since you don’t want to tack on any extra weight on a rifle. Also, you will need to attach it to a tripod. Too heavy can add some stress to the tripod and weaken its support.
Another reason why you need to focus on these two aspects is portability. Some of these monoculars can be small and light enough to fit in your pocket. Plus, you can quickly deploy it when you need it most.
Putting it in your pocket is completely optional. You can safely store it in a carrying case (which can be purchased separately).
If there is one quality that cannot be ignored, it’s durability. No matter what the price tag reads, durability is something that should never be sacrificed. If you are on a budget, find the best durability that you can afford.
You want something that will be able to survive accidental drop (like on hard pavement). If attached to a rifle, you want it to be able to absorb a medium level of recoil like what AR-15s can produce. Most of the monocular housings are made from rubber and high-quality materials that have the ability to absorb as much shock as possible.
Another thing to consider is how waterproof (or water-resistant) a monocular can be. Keep a close eye for anything like IP67 or similar. A monocular that is water resistant can be able to operate properly even in environments where precipitation is present.
If a monocular is waterproof, it should be able to continue working if it is submerged under a specific amount of water for as long as 30 minutes or more. The more durable the monocular, the more likely it can last.
When choosing a monocular, it’s important to consider whether or not you need extra accessories. If you are on a budget, it’s better to find a monocular with the necessary accessories instead of having to purchase them separately. Those on a budget would tend to save money rather than spend more of it.
Among some of the accessories that you should consider purchasing (or what should be included) are lens caps, carrying cases, cleaning cloths and accessories, and tripods to name a few. If you are purchasing these accessories separately, pay attention to some of the specifications. For example, if you need to find a lens cap you will need to find one that will fit the size of the monocular’s objective.
While some accessories are not required, some of them would be nice to have on hand. Some may be needed based on your personal preferences. If you want a hands-free operation, a tripod will be sufficient.
If you are on a budget, you may hold price at a higher importance. The question you should ask yourself is how much are you willing to spend on a night vision monocular. Some monoculars that are the highest in quality can be anywhere north of $1000.
However, finding the best affordable night vision monocular could mean settling on a certain price range. For example, the Bushnell Equinox is a good fit for those looking for a monocular that is south of $500 (but is no less than $300).
The main difference between Generation I, II, and III is the amplification of light. Generation I had a light amplification of 1000. They are the least in intensity and would require moonlight to amplify the night vision even further. Generation II night vision could be operational without relying on moonlight at all. The amplification will be up to 20000. Another distinction is the image quality. Finally, the Gen III, like our top pick ATN PVS14-3, had the most intense amplification. The range was measured anywhere between 30,000 to 50,000. Like Generation II, there was no moonlight to rely on. There is a Generation 3+ that has also been in development. However, some civilian consumers have often confused this as Generation IV (which does not exist).
The short answer: it depends on the monocular device. Alternatively, it can also depend on the battery. Some brands will last longer than others. On average, batteries should last anywhere between 50 to 150 hours. It’s important to consider battery life as a make-or-break option when choosing a night vision monocular. While the use is typically limited to night time, the battery life can stretch from one use to the next. However, the battery life expectancy may be shorter than expected on some devices. Take the battery life information you see on product pages with a grain of salt, especially when purchasing a night vision monocular of your choice.
You can mount a night vision monocular on a rifle or a tripod. If you are planning on attaching it to a rifle, it’s important to attach it in the right place. The night vision monocular and the scope that you use on your rifle should be in the same place. Before installing them, be sure to have your scope base and rings secure. Then, you’ll need to remove the top half and attach the scope. The night vision monocular should be located behind the scope so it’s the closest to your face. Your scope should still give you a good amount of eye relief so you can be able to see through it along with the monocular.
Now that you have a good idea of which night vision monoculars are available, let’s take a look at some of our best choices. The first suggested choice is the ATN PVS 14-3. It can be used year around thanks to the wide range of temperatures it can work in, and for almost any outdoor application. It also has plenty of intensity so you can be able to see what’s in front of you.
Second, the Bering Optics GT-14 is another excellent option. It is durable, handles almost any weather condition imaginable and will definitely be useful for those who prefer hands-free operation.
Our premium pick, the ATN PVS14-4, is also an all-year-round pick with plenty of capabilities that make it multifunctional. You can attach it to almost any tripod, a tactical helmet, or a rifle.
Though these three are what we suggest, the final decision is up to you.