It’s amazing when you trace the history of night vision technology and see not only how effective has become, but how small night vision units are these days. Early German night vision needed a backpack to power it, but modern night vision is small enough to attach to a helmet and wear in front of your eyes—or simply hold in your hand.
The tools I’m speaking about are called night vision monoculars, and also they have actually revolutionized the night vision industry. With optics in general, however much more so when we are discussing NV, a monocular with its single lens and also barrel has a couple of vital advantages over a binocular’s two lenses:
1) Size Matters
The first, as well as the most noticeable one, is size. As it is essentially half a binocular, a night vision monocle is much more portable and lightweight as well as therefore less complicated to lug around along with the store.
The 2nd large advantage an NV monocular has over a bino is that they are more affordable. This is since the producer only needs to make half a tool using far fewer elements therefore they set you back a great deal much less to make.
So if you are seeking to save a few bucks, an economical night vision monocular is the way to go.
Best Night Vision Monoculars
Prior to we reach the reviews as well as recommendations, I believe we ought to promptly mirror regarding simply what constitutes being “the best”:
Along with 2 primary benefits over binoculars that I have actually currently mentioned, a leading night vision monocular needs to be a variety of points:
- Price less than an equally top quality NV binocular
- Feature far better than others within its class
Thus in this article, I will use these points as a guide to select and go through some of the very best night vision monoculars is a range of uses generations and categories as well as provide links to my complete hands-on reviews of many of them.
Top 6 Night Vision Monocular Reviews in 2020
Below are my top nite monocular recommendations in their respective categories.
To start with there are the “standard” devices that use Photo Intensifier Tubes to amplify any type of offered recurring light taken in by the objective lens and which is after that forecasted onto the eyepiece for you to see.
With each of them, I have actually created a mini-review of the item based on its main features and specs. Hope these night vision monocular reviews could assist you to recognize a lot more. If you have any kind of questions, do not hesitate to contact us.
Best Gen 1 Night Vision Monocular
There is no doubting good quality greater generation NV tools do use enhanced efficiency, however, if you get on a tight budget or only strategy to utilize your tool occasionally, then you truly must not mark down a Gen1 NV Monocular.
I have had some actually great cause this class and have actually been really happily stunned on a number of events. As a matter of fact, there are some, like the one listed below that provide a picture that matches many typical Gen 2 instruments that set you back a great deal even more.
But you do need to be careful as in this category more than all the others you also get a far higher proportion of poor quality devices.
Luna Optics LN-NVM5-HR Night Vision Monocular
The Gen1+ LN-NVM5-HR from Luna Optics integrates an effective 5x magnification with a large 50mm unbiased lens, this is suitable if you need simply that little more reach than numerous lower-powered tools can supply, but still wish to preserve as brilliant and also image with as much information as feasible.
Main Specs & Highlights
- Waterproof Body
- High-Resolution Generation-1+ Intensifier Tube
- Powerful 5x Magnification
- 15°Angular Field of View
- 50mm Objective Lens
- Built-in IR illuminator
- Light gain: Min 500x
Powered by a single 3v CR123A battery, the Luna Optics LN-NVM5-HR Night Vision Monocular has a number of the same attributes as that of greater generation devices.
This consists of an integrated IR illuminator for use in total darkness, a water-resistant body that is both challenging and also tripods adaptable.
Whilst screening this device I believed that both the image quality In regards to clarity) and brightness on just about the extremely darkest nights was great specifically if you remember the high powered 5x magnifying and also quickly matches or beats any others in this course.
I likewise assumed that the power and also effectiveness of the built-in IR went over and also in my experience is as good or better than any others I have actually used in this course.
With the tethered lens cover and also included wrist strap and also tripod placing thread, Luna Optics reveals excellent focus to information.
Best Gen 2 Night Vision Monocular
When you are talking about “real” image intensifier instruments and thus ignoring digital devices, then Generation 2 night vision devices are where you get a really good sweet spot between performance and price and is why for most civilians this is the best and most popular category.
Even here there are quite large differences in performance and thus when doing your research, try and look for devices that are advertised as using the better quality Gen 2+ intensifier tubes which deliver a brighter and better quality view even in the darkest nights.
Luna Optics LN-EM1-MS Night Vision Monocular
The Gen2+ Luna Optics LN-EM1-MS night vision monocular is light and also compact enough to be easily carried anywhere.
The device includes all-glass multi-coated optics providing brilliant image and also a really broad Field Of View as well as a built-in 2-power level IR illuminator enabling short-distance observation also in complete darkness.
- Generation-2+ Intensifier Tube
- 26mm Objective Lens
- Magnification: 1x
- Very compact and lightweight aluminum body
- Built-in 2-power level IR illuminator
- Multicoated optics
- Weight 12oz
When I tested these my impact was that they development quality was really high and also loved just how the really compact and light-weight design makes them not only really easy to bring around in your hands yet also very easy to store in your bag as well as take any place you are going.
It operates just one AA kind battery as well as can also be accented with an optional head-mask to be used as an NV goggle, bigger magnification lenses, as well as prolonged range IR illuminators.
The Gen 2+ tube as well as low magnification generate an unbelievably brilliant picture which is a lot more incredible when you take into consideration the fairly small 26mm objective lens.
I liked utilizing and checking the Luna Optics LN-EM1-MS Night Vision monoculars and also if I had not known, I would certainly have presumed they were a Gen 3 instrument.
It is therefore as well as their portable size I would certainly state that these monoculars are ideal for most night-time wildlife monitoring along with home, farm, as well as commercial safety and security requirements.
Best Gen 3 Night Vision Monocular
Whilst buzz is about Gen4, make no mistake Generation 3 Night Vision devices offer an extremely high level of performance, indeed it is what most military and law enforcement units were and indeed still use.
The beauty here is that the price of a good Gen 3 monocular is considerably lower than that of Gen 4 (often about half the price), yet in terms of night vision performance the difference is relatively minor.
N-Vision Optics GT-14 Night Vision Monocular
The GT-14 from N-Vision Optics is a tough, take anywhere instrument ideal for a wide range of night-time.
Important Features & Specs
- Generation: 3
- Magnification: 1x
- Field of View: 40°
- 25mm Objective Lens
- Automatic Brightness Control
- Submersible and shockproof
- Onboard IR illuminator
- Hand-held, helmet-mountable, weapon-mountable
- In ocular indicators
- Dimensions: 4.7 x 2 x 2.7″
- Weight: 11oz operations
Like many of the others on this list, the GT-14 can be hand-held and used as a standard monocular, it can also be head/helmet-mounted as used as a single-eye NV goggle and you can also weapon-mount it to use as a night scope.
What also stood out for me was the ease at which you can attach it to a camera (photo or video) to record any activities.
On top of all this, you can obtain extra 3x or even 5x telephoto lenses to increase the unit’s magnification.
Then also available the N-Vision optics dual mount adapter which enables you to mount two GT-14 monoculars together and thus convert it into a dual tube binocular!
Best Gen 4 Night Vision Monocular
It was not that long ago that as a civilian, it was completely unheard of to own this level of Night Vision device, so the fact that today we can go out and get the very best and latest technology is great.
However, getting your hands on the latest and best does come at a price and so whilst the performance does improve it is the case of diminishing returns. Meaning the closer you get to the top, the more you have to pay for ever-smaller improvements.
ATN NVM14-4 Night Vision Monocular
Make no mistake this generation 4 night vision monocular is not only one of the best in its class, but in my opinion, is up there with the very best in any class and for any use.
Like the Luna Optics LN-EM1 above the ATN NVM14 has the same really compact chassis design with durable and robust construction.
Main Specs & Highlights:
- Generation: 4
- Magnification: 1x
- Built-in Infrared Illuminator
- Lens Diameter: 27mm
- Field of View: 40°
- Dimensions: 4.7″ x 1.9″ x 2.7″
- Weight: 9.9oz
- Power: 1 x 3V (CR123A)
If the conditions are really bad, you can also switch on the onboard Infrared light, which acts as a torch, providing the device with a light source for you to see in complete darkness.
However the beauty of the NVM14 series from ATN is that should you need some extra image detail (magnification), you can also get a telephoto lens that attaches to them to give you up to 8x power.
With lower-quality devices, you find that you have to often change the brightness levels depending on the situation, so for instance in places where there are other light sources like street lights, this can become a real pain.
The NVM14-4 NV monocular gets around this as it has an onboard system that automatically adjusts the brightness and so keeps the IIT brightness at a constant level.
There are also a bunch of other important features including an automatic system that protects the unit from the bright light that can damage other NV devices.
Best Cheap Digital Night Vision Monocular
If you are careful and choose wisely it is possible to get a good monocular with night vision for around $150 / £150 which if you consider all the technology involved and which was used seriously by the military not that long ago, then it is pretty incredible.
Night Owl Optics NOXM42-AL Digital Night Vision Monocular
With the 3×42 NOXM42-AL from Night Owl, you get an inexpensive and compact monocular that I feel still performed to a surprisingly good level and which I think is as good or better than any within this price and generation class.
- Generation-1 Intensifier Tube
- Magnification: 3x
- Field of View: 19°
- Large 42mm Objective Lens
- Compact and lightweight design
- Weight: 13.4 oz
- Dimensions: 6.5in x 3.79in x 2.33in
- Built-in IR illuminator
- All-glass optics Resolution:
- 35 lp/mm on center
Compared to all other monoculars with similar size objectives and within this sort of price range, these are in my opinion as good or better than any I have used. I therefore highly recommend them if you are looking for a compact, take-anywhere as well as a comparatively cheap night vision monocular.
Low price, lightweight, and compact design that is very comfortable to hold.
The large 42mm objective lens is a real feature and much bigger than many of its competitors. This means that this monocular is able to capture more available light and thus plays a crucial role in image quality and brightness:
Despite the low price, they look to be very well made and in my experience produce an image with as much detail and as bright as any monocular in this class.
Another really big highlight for me was just how few blemishes you see on the screen which once again is a big improvement to what I have experienced in the past.
The fact that it comes with an onboard IT illuminator is good and not always the case at this price point.
Best Digital Night Vision Monocular
Digital devices are an interesting option because not only are they cheaper, but they also make recording what you see through your monocular very easy as many come with built-in image and video recording capabilities.
In terms of performance, a good quality digital NV monocular produces a cleaner image (fewer screen blemishes) than most Gen 1 devices and is in my experience about equal to most Gen 2+ to Gen 3 instruments in terms of being able to produce a bright image in very low light conditions.
Bestguarder HD Digital Night Vision Monocular WG-50
Whether you dig in hunting, scouting games, night fishing, or camping, Bestguarder’s digital night vision monocular is the only travel accompaniment you need. Other than being an unparalleled gear for aforesaid activities, it works proficiently for security and surveillance, any other type of nighttime navigation, wildlife observation as well as for search and rescue operation.
The Bestguarder 6x50mm HD Digital Night Vision Monocular is a meticulously designed monocular that can amplify every nighttime experience. The bino is rubber coated and has a removable strap thus qualifying for convenient usage.
The infrared LED illumination light can be adjusted on the ambient light from IRO, IRI, or IR2 to IR3. With impeccable zoom in quality and its user-friendliness, this bino from Bestguarder is renowned as a go-to and the best night vision monocular out there.
- Digital Night Vision Monocular with 6x magnification.
- 1-5x digital zoom with a 50mm objective lens.
- Photo resolution: 2592*1944 pixels, 1600*1200 pixels.
- Video resolution: 1280*720/640*480 pixel @30fps.
- Built-in Infrared illuminator for up to an 1150ft/350m viewing distance.
- Date and time stamp available for photo and video.
- Suitable for both day or night use (with IR off for daytime color).
- The device is used as a live Infrared surveillance camera by connecting the TV with a cable.
The Digital Night Vision Monocular market has really exploded over the last decade or so and as such, there is a massive range of options available.
In some ways, this is great as it has pushed manufacturers to supply the higher-level technologies and so what was once only a military night vision monocular is now available to the public. Add to this the extra competition, which has driven down prices.
However, on the downside, it also means that there are a lot of substandard products on the market, which combined with a large number of options can make it very difficult as a consumer to know what to get and which one is right for your needs. Hope these night vision monocular reviews could help you make the decision. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.
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