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Last updated: August 02, 2021
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Did you know that thermal imaging is an invention by Hungarian physicist Kálmán Tihanyi? Its first application was in World War 1 for British defense anti-craft. This new camera technology then spread across the globe, with the applications increasing. Currently, this invention has numerous applications that are not military. The thermal monocular is among the many variations of this invention available in the market. They detect heat signatures and radiation making them the best option for a wide range of uses, including hunting, surveillance, energy analysis, military, and industrial applications.
In this article, we review five of the best thermal monoculars. We use fundamental features of such devices to assess their functionality and rate them accordingly. The features we focus on are type, magnification, resolution, objective lens diameter, the field of view, size, and weight. These are the critical elements that will guide you in the selection of the best thermal monocular. We include a buying guide herein to make your shopping experience smooth.
FLIR Systems Scout II 320 Thermal Night Vision Monocular is one of the units that you will find useful in your hunting ventures. It is a fixed thermal monocular that detects animals’ body heat and people who are as far as 600 yards away.
This device weighs 12 oz. making it an ideal choice for numerous applications that require lightweight thermal monoculars. It is a handheld unit that you can use both day and night in any terrain.
The magnification for this thermal monocular is 2x, while the resolution is 320-240 pixels. The objective lens is 19mm in diameter, while the field of view is 17 degrees. These features allow this device to achieve superior performance, giving you a clear view of your surroundings, even in the darkest night.
It measures 6.7 x 2.31 x 2.44 inches and comes with different selectable detection palettes that allow you to tailor the type of feed you get as per the terrain. The weather-resistant shell and the ergonomic design allow this thermal monocular usage in different circumstances without you having to worry about ruining it.
What we like most: This device is versatile, with features that make it the best for a wide range of applications. It has an ergonomic design and lightweight, improving usability.
What cons did we find? It seems like a perfect choice, so nothing to improve.
If you are in the market for a thermal monocular with high sensitivity and solid construction, your search may be over. This Pulsar Helion XP50 is a variable thermal monocular with many desirable features that guarantee longevity and superior performance.
This unit is one of the best multipurpose thermal vision monocular with an easy to use interface that makes it the best choice for both beginners and seasoned users. Additionally, this unit has a battery life of eight hours; hence, it is a suitable choice for long surveillance hours.
The in-built WI-FI feature permits live streaming from the thermal monocular to the internet. The remote control option is available with this unit. Hence, you can set up in a different location and keep off the area depending on the purpose.
This model is what proof and can withstand submersion in water of up to one meter. It can stay in water for a maximum of thirty minutes; hence you can utilize it in your fishing expeditions.
The onboard video recorder allows you to record footage to use later. This thermal monocular comes with an integrated accelerometer and a stadia metric rangefinder, which enhances the thermal monocular performance.
What we like: This unit features the latest technology and an array of sought-after features that guarantee top-notch performance.
What are the flaws? The pricing for this thermal monocular is on the higher side.
FLIR Systems is the leading manufacturer of thermal imaging devices globally, and this unit from them is among those that will give you value for your money. The type, objective lens diameter, and magnification information for this device are unavailable. If you are particular about these features, contact the manufacturer for the info before placing your order.
This unit is versatile, and you can use it for outdoor adventures as well as a home surveillance system. It is also an ideal thermal monocular to carry for rescue missions due to its weather-resistant housing and 100-yard detection range. The field of view that this thermal monocular offers is twenty degrees and weighs 6 oz. It is a lightweight unit that is easy to carry around.
You can use this device both at night and during the day. The intuitive interface and one-button design make operation seamless for this device. This FLIR Systems Scout TK Mini Thermal Monocular has nine selectable video palettes that allow you to adjust your view as per your preference and specific needs.
What we like: This thermal monocular from a renowned manufacturer with an array of uses both within the home and outside.
What cons did we find? FLIR Systems should avail of all critical information about this product.
Water-resistant thermal monocular units offer a more comprehensive range of applications. You can use them both on land and underwater. The uses for this unit vary from military and sports use to home surveillance and rescue aid.
If you are looking for a unit that you can use for long nights, consider buying this Prometheus 336 Thermal Imaging Monocular. It weighs 2.5 lbs. and measures 7.6 x 2.7 x 2.4 inches. This compact design makes usage easier. You will also not struggle with carrying this device around as you go about the outdoor activities you need it for.
The objective lens diameter is 50mm. This unit offers extended operation time with the option of using an external battery power supply to prolong usage. It is a water-resistant unit with aluminum alloy construction that guarantees durability.
It comes with an optional video recorder with an onboard replay. This unit detects targets by cutting through snow, smoke, fog, and other environmental factors that limit such equipment’s performance.
The magnification options available are 1x, 2x, and 4x. This allows you to get to your target undetected.
What we like: This thermal monocular is water-resistant and features a compact design alongside an easy to use interface.
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind? Resolution information is unavailable.
The Pulsar Axion Key XM30 is a thermal monocular at an affordable price. Pulsar has designed the Axion series as entry-level thermal scanners and the XM30 sits in the mid-range of this product range. The XM30 has a 12 Micron Thermal Core with a refresh rate of 50Hz and a high-definition AMOLED display with 1024×768 pixel resolution. The base magnification power is 4x and there are three others to choose from. The Germanium objective lens allows the viewer to look at objects in several different color modes and there are eight color palettes available.
This thermal scanner is weatherproof at the IPX7 rating, it can be submerged in up to 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. The body of the scanner is made from a magnesium-alloy that is lightweight and durable for years of continued service. The Axion series uses the APS3 lithium-ion battery pack found on the latest Pulsar rifle scopes. This is a simple to use system and a single battery will last for 3 or 4 hours depending on the temperature conditions outdoors.
One of the best things about the Pulsar Axion Key XM30 is the fast boost up time. The scanner is ready to use almost instantly from a cold start from the default “Display Off” mode. It is possible to make this already impressive start time even faster if you select the “Stand-by” mode. This switches the display off to conserve battery power but it provides a faster startup when you touch the power button.
Thermal monocular are complex devices with a host of features to ensure maximum functionality. You must know the different features to review to get the best unit for your needs. It is best to evaluate the thermal monocular’s purpose to guarantee that the unit you buy will be ideal for the applications you have in mind. Our buying guide dives deep into thermal monoculars’ intricate features to help you understand them and why they are essential. By the time you are through with this guide, you will be able to make an informed choice regarding the best model to buy.
Why do you need thermal monocular?
If you are a hunting or fishing enthusiast, you will find a thermal molecular useful in your outdoor ventures. There are many reasons why you need thermal monocular. Here are some of the reasons.
You can inspect the various systems, including plumbing and the power supply in your home with ease using a thermal monocular. Some models are best for a home inspection, while others have shortcomings. You can do any home inspection involving temperature using a thermal monocular. Home inspectors can use a thermal monocular to make their work more manageable as the detections with these devices are accurate.
The different brands of thermal monoculars in the market use temperature to determine many factors. You can scan your home with these devices to know what is out there without scaring them away. You can pick monitor your business parking area with this equipment as the heat sensors can provide critical info from the cars, among other things. The downside with devices in this category is that they do not work through glass, limiting their usage.
Hunting is one of the many applications of thermal monoculars. Most people think this is the only use of this type of imaging. The heat sensors show you where the animals are, making it easier to track and capture them. Waterproof models are best for fishing as they usually function underwater. You can make your hunting and fishing trips a breeze with a thermal monocular.
Features to consider before you buy a thermal monocular
You must review every aspect of a thermal monocular before purchasing any of the available options. Some of the features you cannot overlook are below.
You will find different types of thermal monoculars in the store. Assess your needs against the different types present in shops to determine which the best variation is. The brands we discuss above differ from one another regarding the type. Some are fived, while others are variable. List the pros and cons of each of the variations available to help you determine your needs’ suitable choice. Like the Prometheus 336 Thermal Imaging Monocular, brands that lack this information should not be on the top of your list. Talk to the manufacturer about this aspect for a better understanding of a unit prior to purchase.
The magnifying power of a thermal monocular is an essential aspect that you must pay keen attention to. You cannot overlook this feature as the magnification plays a vital role in bringing the image of the animal you are hunting or tracking closer to you. It also makes it easier for you to know what is going on in the darkness around you. Magnifying the image you see allows for closer analysis of the situation; hence an informed decision can be reached. Units with a higher magnifying power like the Pulsar Helion XP50 are the best for surveillance, hunting, and fishing, among other outdoor ventures.
Thermal monoculars with high-resolution power make work easier for the user. You can operate from a distance without moving closer to the target when your device has the most satisfactory resolution. Units like the FLIR Systems Scout II 320 Thermal Night Vision Monocular that have lower resolution levels are not fit for military surveillance applications.
Knowing why you need a thermal monocular will help you determine the best resolution range to work with. If you are after accurate readings and clear recordings of your venture, consider getting a thermal monocular with high resolution.
Objective lens diameter
The objective lens is the part further from your eye and in close proximity to what you are looking at. This feature’s diameter is critical as it determines the amount of light that goes through the lens. Thermal monoculars with wider diameters gather lighter than those with smaller ones. If you want a more detailed view in low light conditions, it is best to go with a device that has a large objective lens diameter. Objective lens diameters of above 30mm are the ideal choice for low light. The Pulsar Helion XP50 has a 42 mm objective lens diameter making it the best choice for a host of uses.
Field of view
This feature dictates the territory you see when you look through a thermal monocular. The various brands in the market avail devices with different degrees to the area you are observing. This feature works alongside the magnification.
The higher the magnification, the smaller the field of view.
If you want to observe larger areas, you will have to compromise on the finer details of what you see to cover a broad region. The Pulsar Axion Key XM30 can magnify up to ten times, but the field of view is capped at 7.8 degrees.
Size is an essential feature to have in mind, especially if you travel with the thermal monocular from one place to the next. Assess your needs and determine the best size for the tasks at hand. When going for expeditions that last long hours, a bulky device will cause problems on how best to carry them alongside the other equipment for the job. Important to mention is that smaller thermal monoculars tend to have fewer features than the bulky ones. Needless to say, this is not always the case. Advancements in technology have made it possible for smaller devices to have more features than you could imagine. FLIR Systems Scout TK Mini Thermal Monocular is among the compact design models you can consider.
A thermal monocular is a device that you have to carry around with you for the various applications. The purpose of the device will help you determine the best weight limit to pick.
Do not pick a heavy thermal monocular if you are going to work for long hours as it will be tiring to carry one around.
Consider the features that a unit has before you discard one based on weight. Units with many additional features tend to have more mass than those that only feature essential components. Most of the units we review in this article are lightweight variations. The Pulsar Axion Key XM30 is one of the units you can buy is you want something light. Pick a unit with the best features for your needs before you consider the weight element.
There are various brands and types of thermal monoculars available, each with unique interfaces. After paying for a unit, the package you receive contains a manual that will guide you on the best way to sue the thermal monocular you have. You should always follow the instructions that come with the unit you buy to guarantee maximum results. The features of a thermal monocular also determine how to use it. For instance, some are best for underwater use, while others don’t have this provision. Some models have recorded and live stream options, while others do not. Always ensure that you read the manual before you start using the thermal monocular you buy.
Manufacturers avail different kinds of these devices in the market. Different environmental factors affect the efficiency of thermal monoculars. Assess the conditions you are going to work under and the environmental obstructions available. Some of the available units are waterproof, and you do not have to worry about it coming in to contact water. The various listings on the internet indicate if a particular model is water-resistant. When buying from brick and motor stores, you should ask the attendants to point you towards weatherproof units. The materials manufacturers use to make the shell should confirm if the unit is weatherproof.
The different brands we discuss in this review are among the best that you will find in virtual stores, as well as brick and mortar ones. The editor’s pick in our evaluation is the FLIR Systems Scout II 320 Thermal Night Vision Monocular. It is a product from one of the leading producers in this industry with multiple applications. It features an ergonomic design and a utility light that allows for smooth operations. It is weathertight and lightweight hence the best choice for outdoor ventures.
For the premium pick, we choose the versatile Pulsar Helion XP50. This model has an assortment of additional features that enhance the functions of the thermal monocular. It is the best thermal monocular if you are looking for one with long battery life. The FLIR Systems Scout TK Mini Thermal Monocular is our best value pick in this review. The compact design, a weather-resistant shell, and other desirable features ensure this product gives you value for your money.