6 Best Night Vision Monocular Under $200 – Advanced Features for a Decent Price
Night vision monoculars are great tools for seeing any activity occurring after dark. This list of the best night vision monoculars under $200 has a ton of great options for all of your night vision needs.
Being a professional journalist, James knows how to turn any topic into a comprehensive, easy-to-digest text. Even if you've never dealt with telescopes before, rest assured James will explain everything you wanted to know about them better than your physics coursebook.
Charles holds a Master’s degree in Physics Engineering (optics and photonics specialization), has been teaching physics at school for almost 15 years and recently has started teaching a course on optics at a local university. Our irreplaceable website expert.
Last updated: November 30, 2021
The Optics is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Ever wish you could see at night? Well, thanks to modern technology, you can! Purchasing night vision equipment can be expensive and confusing. Night vision technology is super useful and very cool.
One of the best pieces of night vision equipment to start with is a monocular (think: binocular, but with only one lens— like a telescope). Monoculars offer many of the benefits of other night vision equipment but at a fraction of the price. We did some research for you to find the very best night vision monoculars under $200 on the market. There are a ton of great options on this list, and we’re sure you’ll find one that suits your needs.
The Carson MiniAura is a fully digital monocular option— meaning that unlike models with image intensifier tubes, this model won’t burn out. The IR intensity is adjustable.
This model is best suited for people who are looking for an extremely lightweight and portable night vision monocular. It’s easy to transport and has a powerful illuminator for its size. This would be great for observing wildlife at night without needing a flashlight.
What are our favorite features?
We love that this model is fully digital, which makes it easy to use without worrying about parts needing replacement. It also offers a great 190-degree angle of view with up to 82 feet of view in total darkness. The device comes with a convenient carrying case and attachable wrist strap for ease of use and mobility. Given its small size, this model significantly exceeded the expectations we had for its performance.
What could be better?
This model is best for use in total darkness as it can get some extreme light flare when used close to a source of light. It also has an infrared element that is visible to the targets you point it at, which makes stealth difficult if you intend to use this for hunting or observation. Due to its small size, it also has a smaller range of view than some other monoculars on the market.
This night vision monocular offers an exceptional range for the price. The Equinox Z Digital Night Vision Monocular gives users great optical clarity, illumination, and field of view. Not only does it offer night vision capabilities, but it also takes pictures and videos.
This is a great choice for someone who is looking for maximum range without compromising affordability. It’s the perfect model if you’re interested in observation and video or photo capturing, as well as night vision in complete darkness.
What makes it stand out?
This model is simply chock full of features that we really love. The impressive range reaches 750 feet without compromising its image quality or illumination. This model offers full daytime color, image and video capture, and adjustable IR illuminator settings. We love how versatile this model is and find the night vision features to be remarkably functional in multiple levels of darkness. When used as a camera, this model has a fast shutter speed, making your pictures less blurry.
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
While this model offers an impressive range, it has a more compact field of view than some of the other models by Equinox. Using this model will limit your spatial awareness more than a model with a larger field of view. Other than that, there isn’t a whole lot that we disliked about this model. It also requires AA batteries which isn’t as great as a rechargeable option.
The Firefield Nightfall Night Vision Monocular offers 4x magnification and gives you clear vision from a significant distance— even at night. The lens is 50mm, allowing you to transmit and gather more light during use.
This model is great for people who intend to use it in more rugged conditions as the body is weatherproof and can withstand intense rain exposure. It’s also great if you intend to use it in pitch darkness, as the pulse IR emitter maximizes visibility in the darkest settings.
What do we love it for?
We love the durability offered by this model, thanks to its well-built weatherproof body. It really puts our minds at ease to know that our expensive monoculars won't stop functioning if we happen to get caught in the rain! The visuals offered by this model are exceptionally clear, and the manual focus adjustment makes it convenient and easy to use. The magnification offers high-detail viewing even in total darkness.
What were we disappointed with?
This model works best when used statically, meaning that it’s difficult to use when you’re moving around or tracking a moving object or animal. It’s great if you want to set it up on a tripod, but not great if you need to be able to move about. Additionally, this model has a relatively narrow field of view despite the 50mm lens, which makes it difficult to get a clear idea of the bigger picture of an area— especially if you can’t move it.
This model is a great compact option for easy transport. It offers an impressive range in total darkness and a longer range during daylight. This model has impressive performance in such a small package, and we found that it did better than some other models that were much larger.
This is great for someone who wants a powerful night vision monocular that is easy to transport in luggage and in their hand. This model is lightweight and comes with a convenient wrist strap for easy transport. This is a great option if you intend to use it at night and during the day.
What are our favorite features?
We love the impressive range during the daytime. This model reaches up to 400 yards during the day and has a great range of 150 yards in total darkness. The zoom range for this model is from 3x to 6x, which is great for faraway objects and closer objects— or just getting a clear idea of the bigger picture. We loved how portable this model was and was impressed with its performance, given its size.
What could be better?
We don’t love that this model takes batteries and has a limited battery lifespan at nighttime of about 4 hours. This is significantly longer during the day— increasing to 9 hours. We always prefer rechargeable models because they tend to last longer and don’t require expensive battery purchases— these can really add up over time if you intend to use your monoculars with regularity.
This model is super affordable without compromising on functionality. It features an advanced low-light CMOS sensor and an integrated IR filter, and a 1-watt IR illuminator for transitional day-night use. It also features a 3x20mm objective lens and 9x digital zoom!
This is great for someone who wants a really durable option that’s highly functional for a relatively low price. It’s a convenient and weatherproof monocular in high-impact housing that comes with a carrying case for convenient transport.
What are our favorite features?
We love how great this model is for viewing objects at a great distance in all weather conditions. It’s lightweight and portable, which makes it a great choice for people who need to move around quickly or intend to use their night vision monoculars on foot to track an animal or to pan the landscape. It features an integrated IR filter for use during the day and a 1.5-inch high-resolution TFT display.
What could be better?
This model is also battery-powered, which is one of our least favorite features in a night vision monocular. This model takes 4 AA batteries. At times the image was also a bit blurry or fuzzy to us, but it wasn't a consistent issue. The manual focus can sometimes fall out of the state you set it to, but this is easy to rectify with a simple adjustment.
This model is super affordable and has a zoom capacity between 3x and 6x. It also has a high resolution of 640×480 which offers clear image quality even at the range or in total darkness.
This is a convenient and affordable option that’s great for anyone who wants to use their night vision monocular to track objects in the dark or get extreme visual clarity at a considerable range. It features an infrared illuminator and is designed for single-hand operation.
What makes it special?
We love the 3x to 6x zoom capability, which makes it easy to observe objects or animals in detail. This model features a -/+ diopter which lets you easily pinpoint your subject. The image resolution is high, especially for the price point, and it also has a great field of view of 200 feet. The IR illuminator makes nighttime viewing really easy and clear, and all in all, this model is extremely easy to use and operate.
What cons did we find?
Unfortunately, this model is not the most durable of the night vision monoculars on this list. It cannot withstand adverse weather conditions and was not designed to get wet, survive a fall, or get very dirty. This is problematic for us because we primarily use our night vision monocular outdoors. Having to focus on keeping our monoculars super clean distracts us from the activity at hand.
Things to Consider
Night vision monoculars are great for seeing objects at a great distance in total darkness, and it’s hard to beat the allure of an attractive price point below $200. If you’re an adventurous person who enjoys nature in any capacity, you’ll have a blast using one of the night vision monoculars on the list. While night vision monoculars under $200 are often considered to be entry-level versions, they still offer all of the base features you need for full night vision functionality.
Advantages of Night Vision Monocular Under $200
Night vision monoculars
Trusted SourceCNN - U.S. Army demos latest night-vision technology - April 15, 1999Many of the devices were products of the U.S. Army’s ongoing night vision and electronic sensor program. U.S. officials said the program was established during Operation Desert Storm, in an effort to maintain U.S. supremacy in night-vision technology.
under $200 are a great way to get introduced to the world of night vision equipment without breaking the bank. These tools are lightweight and compact, making them easy to transport and use on the go, unlike many of the more advanced night vision tools on the market. These tools are great for hunting at night, observing nocturnal animals, or keeping watch over a campsite or other location.
There are a lot of important features to look for in your night vision monocular. The lens diameter, magnification, field of view, focus range, magnification type, and battery type are all important factors that can influence your monocular use experience or even compromise the performance. While $200 is significantly less than the cost of some other night vision equipment, it’s still nothing to sneeze at. You should, therefore, carefully consider all features, benefits, and drawbacks when choosing the right night vision monocular for you.
Lens diameter is one of the key parameters that truly define these handheld visual magnifying devices. Larger lens diameters let in more light, which is a key component necessary for night vision optics. Most of the monoculars on this list have lens diameters of around 20mm, but one of them— the Firefield Nightfall— has a lens diameter of 50mm, which is the largest lens diameter on this list. The Firefield Nightfall was our pick for Best Value, and the lens diameter was one of the key features that earned it that top accolade.
Magnification is the other crucial parameter that defines a monocular. Given that monoculars are smaller and less powerful than visual tools like telescopes, the magnification capabilities of monoculars are likewise less intense.
A magnification of 4x would signify that the monocular will make an object look 4 times bigger than it currently appears to the naked eye, which is helpful for viewing objects at a great distance.
The field of view of a monocular describes the amount of area you can see when viewing a landscape through your tool at a distance of 1000 yards. This metric describes the width of the area you can see, not the depth. Higher magnifications usually offer smaller fields of view, while smaller magnifications offer larger fields of view. Of the options on this list, the Bushnell 4.5×40 Equinox Z Digital Night Vision Monocular offers an extremely impressive field of view.
The focus range of a monocular tells you how far away an object can be from you while still being able to focus on it with your monocular. This metric usually decreases when using the monocular for night vision purposes due to the low light conditions.
The focus range for all of the models listed is quite varied and also listed with different measurements, which can make it a bit confusing to interpret.
The magnification type of all of these monocular options is either fixed or variable. A fixed magnification type means that you cannot change it, but a variable magnification type allows you to switch between two or more magnification settings. For example, the xGen Digital Night Vision 3x Monocular XGENPRO Magnification has a variable magnification type between 3x-6x. The X-Vision 3-6x Digital Night Vision Monocular XANB60 also offers a 3x-6x magnification variable type. Neither fixed nor variable magnification is necessarily “better” than the other, but the one you choose should depend on the type of activity you intend to do with your night vision monocular.
The battery of your monocular refers to both the type of battery that powers the monocular as well as the battery life of the monocular during both daytime and nighttime use. Unfortunately, not all of the options on this list specified how long the battery life is in the day versus night conditions, so we cannot provide that information for you at this time. We can comment on the type of battery installed in each of these tools, however. The vast majority of the night vision monoculars on this list are battery-powered with disposable batteries that require changing frequently. We don’t love this feature about these monoculars, but for the price, it is hard to find one that features a rechargeable battery which would be our preference.
Night vision monoculars are easy to use, thanks to the technology that powers them. There are two types of night vision technology that could power your night vision monocular. The first is an image enhancement, which amplifies existing light, making it easier to see objects even in near-total darkness. Night vision monoculars that use image enhancement also capture all of the existing light available to make it easier to see. Thermal imaging is the second type of night vision technology. This one captures the infrared light that a living creature gives off with its body heat and translates it visually. All of these monoculars are set up to make night vision viewing very easy and straightforward with virtually no setup.
Yes, some of the night vision monoculars on this list are dually functional for daytime and nighttime use. Some of the monoculars listed have special IR (infrared) filters that enable you to use them during the day without interrupting visibility or functionality. In fact, some of these monoculars even perform significantly better in terms of the magnification, the distance you can see, and focus range when used during the day rather than the night time. The increased range has to do with the fact that there is significantly lighter available during the day to illuminate the objects within the visible range. More intense night vision equipment can often see farther at night, but some of those are not designed for daytime use because the technology is so specific.
Night vision is a super cool technology that has a lot of useful applications. It’s not only meant to be used for military purposes
Trusted Sourcelluminated like ghosts on an LCD screen, figures pop out from behind parked cars in the darkness, and apparitions walk shadowy dogs across the street. Then, suddenly, a yellow icon of a cyclist appears in the head-up display on the windshield, and a warning alarm sounds. It’s all part of the latest generation of night vision technology appearing as on option on several vehicles this year.
, though, and can be a great addition to your camping trip, hunting expedition, or wildlife observation. All of the products listed above made our list of the best night vision monoculars under $200, and even more humbly priced like Firefield Nightfall FF24063, all of them feature magnification settings, the field of view, focus range, and much more. Many of the items on the list are battery-powered, which is either good or bad, depending on your personal preference. All of the monoculars on this list, such as our Editor’s Choice Carson OPMOD DNV and Premium Pick Bushnell 4.5×40 Equinox Z, are great choices for anyone looking to enhance their nocturnal activities. The under $200 price point makes these tools affordable and functional, and great for beginners—without some of the more advanced features that may be confusing for beginners.
CNN - U.S. Army demos latest night-vision technology - April 15, 1999
Many of the devices were products of the U.S. Army’s ongoing night vision and electronic sensor program. U.S. officials said the program was established during Operation Desert Storm, in an effort to maintain U.S. supremacy in night-vision technology.
lluminated like ghosts on an LCD screen, figures pop out from behind parked cars in the darkness, and apparitions walk shadowy dogs across the street. Then, suddenly, a yellow icon of a cyclist appears in the head-up display on the windshield, and a warning alarm sounds. It’s all part of the latest generation of night vision technology appearing as on option on several vehicles this year.