The 10 Best Monoculars With Night Vision
This wiki has been updated 17 times since it was first published in March of 2019. With some of today's technology, you can see in the dark, which is especially helpful if you're a hunter, a wildlife observer, or a paintball player who enjoys night games. Here are some of the most powerful, durable, and cost-effective night vision monoculars available. They come with a range of features, including mounting system compatibility, digital zooms, and image recording capabilities. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
September 22, 2020:
There's a pretty big divide between models suitable for use in tactical situations and those intended for hunters or wildlife enthusiasts. Something like the PRG Defense Wolf-14 actually meets specifications you'd see on military-issue equipment, making it a good choice for law enforcement officers or wealthy paintballers. The FLIR model in our special honors section also falls into this category.
For most folks, models like the SiOnyx Aurora or the Night Owl iGen would more than suffice, and might even be overkill for certain uses, but they're among the best models to make an investment in, as they're durably built and boast features that should be useful for the long haul, including image capture technologies with high resolutions.
For newcomers and enthusiasts, there are slightly less expensive offerings like the BestGuarder WG-50, which has some impressive specs for its price point, but the native magnification of which might be a little more limited in its versatility than others, and the build quality of which — while sufficient for outdoor excursions in nice weather — can't rival the weather sealing in finer models like the Pulsar Challenger GS.
April 05, 2019:
Whether you're new to night vision or you've spent an entire tour of duty staring down a vacuum-sealed tube, it's important have realistic expectations when you're looking for a monocular. They run the gamut from relatively inexpensive to incredibly highly priced, and for the most part, you get what you pay for. If you've never used one of these devices before, realize that the field of view isn't going to be very similar to your smartphone's camera, at least not on the lower end of the budget. On the other hand, if you're hoping to watch out for deer 500 yards away, an inexpensive battery-powered spyglass most likely won't get you where you want to be.
If you just want something handy that will help you see a respectable area in front of you in the dark, the Carson MiniAura is a pocket-size option whose price can't be beat. The BestGuarders are an interesting option because they're relatively affordable and capable of recording directly to a microSD card. But if you don't want to spend a fortune (and if you're not planning on attaching it to a weapon, helmet, or head strap), the Night Owl iGen is awfully tough to top. Its proprietary imaging method produces contrast levels that some users compare to much pricier models. If you're willing to spend a little bit more and you're specifically interested in realistic image quality, consider the SiOnyx, which is one of the very few that can record in color, as well as at 60 frames per second. It's a bit pricey, but full-color night vision is something else.
If you WILL be using it to track down furry and delicious creatures, your choice should be determined partially by budget. The Pulsar Challenger, DigiForce, and Recon offer exceptional performance at low, mid-level, and moderately high prices, while the PRG Defense Wolf-14 is a high-end unit that fits the definition of military-grade well. If you need higher performance than the Wolf-14 can provide, it's likely that your specialized use case will necessitate in-depth research into the various specific models crafted to the PVS-14 specifications, in which case, PRG Defense or Armasight may have you covered.
FLIR MNVD-40 This model comes from a company revered in imaging industries for their thermal technology, but whose expertise is well applied to seeing in the dark. Its compact housing is intended to travel well in dangerous environments, and to add very little weight to a helmet. Somewhat surprisingly given its power, it boasts an impressive 40-hour battery life. flir.com