You don’t have to do your outdoor activities during the day, you can also do them at night.
And in this case, we are talking about activities such as hunting.
Nighttime hunting is as exciting as daytime hunting.
You can follow and observe your prey using night vision binos or monos and if you are lucky enough, you can get to take your catch home.
Night vision devices such as night vision monos are designed to help you see in utter darkness. So you don’t need to go hunting in the moonlight to catch your prey. But its worth to mention that not all night vision monos deliver the nighttime performance you would expect.
There are many brands out there that produce cheap monos that can’t do anything for you in the daytime let alone at night. But you can get some quality ones that deliver outstanding performance day or night.
In this guide, we have come up with a list of some of the best night vision monos according to our research. And they are all are affordable. It is a short list, but it should give you an idea of what brands to give thought to when selecting night vision monos.
We have also included a buyer’s guide to help you know what to look for when choosing the best night vision monos.
So let’s start with our best choice.
Night Vision Monoculars Comparison Chart
|Objective Lens Diameter|
|Angle / Field of View|
28.5 ft @ 100 yd
+4 to -6
-60 to 120°F / -51 to 49°C
-4 to 104°F /-20 to 40ºC
-4 to 104°F /-20 to 40°C
14 to 113°F / -10 to 45°C
20 hr, with IR
20 hr, with IR
6 hr, with IR
5 Best Night Vision Monoculars (as of September, 2020):
1. AGM Global Vision PVS-14 3NL1 1×26 Night Vision Monocular – Top Pick For Professional Use Review
The AGM Global Vision PVS-14 3NL1 1×26 is a night vision monos that has been used by the US military for years. And now civilians can own one of these to partake in their nighttime outdoor pursuits.
You can use this mono for activities like hunting, camping, hiking, and surveillance. And they are great for professional use like surveillance.
The first thing we noticed was the rugged design. The AGM PVS-14 3NL1 has a rugged and compact design that is lightweight and comfortable to hold.
When you hold it, it doesn’t feel heavy. It is comfortable and it has a rubber finish that gives it a nice solid grip.
So even if your hands are wet or you are using gloves, your grip on the monos remains firm. Aside from that, the rubber coating makes the device impermeable.
And the illuminator throws an infrared light that you cannot see with your eyes to help you see in the dark.
It also has a brightness control feature that automatically adjusts based on the lighting conditions. And this is to keep your images steady and so they don’t appear fuzzy.
Although we did find the 26mm objective lens to be small, it uses superior glass to give you perfectly clear visuals. The lenses are also coated with special anti-reflective coating for precision.
The PSV-14 uses a 1 AA battery which can last you up to 50 hours. It provides you with ample time to engage in your outdoor activities.
- Gen 3 Level 1 Intensifier Tube
- 26mm f/1.2 Lens System / 40° AAOV
- Head or Helmet-Mountable for Hands-Free Usage
- Manual Gain Control
- Ergonomic, Simple, Easy-to-Operate Controls
- Built-in Infrared Illuminator and Flood Lens
- Bright Light Cut-Off
- Automatic Shut-Off System
- Led Indicators: Low battery; IR On; Excessive light conditions
- Compact, Rugged Design
- Weapon Mountable
- System Soft Carrying Case
- Limited 3-year Warranty
2. Firefield FF24066 Nightfall 5×50 Night Vision Monocular – Top Pick For Amateur Use Review
The Firefield FF24066 Nightfall 5×50 night vision monos comes with some great features. And these include a quality optical system that uses an infrared illuminator for night sight.
During the day, you can switch it off and then switch it back on when the lighting conditions change.
The great thing about the illuminator is that you don’t need a source of light to see your objects because it transmits an infrared light that allows you to see objects in pitch-black darkness.
But this is a gen 1 night vision binos so you might find it hard to see when it is totally dark at night because it doesn’t use a superior illuminator.
Another of its great features is the 50mm objective lens that helps deliver clear views. You can adjust the lenses to get a clearer view of your objects. And for a gen 1 night vision bino, we were impressed with the clarity of the visuals at both short and long distances.
Nevertheless, it has a solid housing that is made of strong and long-lasting lightweight materials. And a rubber coating to give you a nice solid and strong grip. The rubber coating also helps protect the inner system from shock and water damage.
But this doesn’t mean that the binos are vulnerable to damage. So you might want to avoid using them underwater or dropping them for a high place.
Another thing we noticed about these monos is that you can see up to 200 feet in low luminance. But when there is a full moon, you can see a lot further.
So if you want to go out at night to hunt or observe wildlife, you should do it in the light of the moon, if you are to see anything. But for city viewing, this would be great work because of the city and the street lighting.
- 1st Generation Intensifier
- 5x Magnification & 50mm Objective Lens
- High Power Built-in Infrared Illumination
- Ergonomic Design & Quick Power-Up
- High Quality Image & Resolution
- User-Friendly / Easy-to-Use Design
- Rubberized Armoring Provides Non-Slip Grip
- Water Resistant – Rated IPX4
- Compact & Lightweight
- Carrying Case & Lens Cloth
The Sightmark SM14071 Ghost Hunter 2×24 monos are quite popular with experienced bino users. And these monos are easy to carry and you can mount on a tripod if you intend to use them for a prolonged amount of time.
They have an integrated infrared illuminator that enable you to see your views when there is no light at all.
But these are gen 1 monos, so the illuminator is not powerful enough to see in utter darkness. You need to use them together with a flashlight to see in absolute darkness.
But they do work extremely well if there is moonlight or another source of light. So these are great monos for star gazing and city viewing.
We liked the quality of images when the lighting conditions are not so great. The objects are crisp clear and sharp. With the illuminator, you can view clearly up to 80 feet. Therefore, if you have a big ranch and you want to keep a lookout for wildlife, this would do well.
And when you increase the power, the field of view becomes narrow. And this is one big problem you’ll find with gen 1 binos.
The Ghosthunter has a solid body that is made of long-lasting and strong materials. The materials are also lightweight making the whole unit easily portable.
The body is covered with a rubber coating to make it water and shock-resistant. The rubber coating gives you a solid grip whether you are wearing gloves or your hands are wet.
- 2x Magnification & 24mm Objective Lens Diameter
- Integrated IR Illuminator
- Multi Coated Optics
- High Quality Image & Resolution
- Close Observational Range of Focus
- Ergonomic Design & Quick Power-up
- Automatic Shutoff When Exposed to Bright Light
- Hand Held & Head Mountable Operation
- Lightweight & Durable Composite Body
- 1/4” Socket for Tripod or Accessories
- 72 hour Operating Time w/o IR Activated
- 20 hours Battery Life with IR
- Durable Nylon Carrying Case & Lens Cloth
4. Night Owl NOIGM3X iGEN 2.6×45 Review
The Night Owl NOIGM3X iGEN 2.6×45 uses iGen technology to give it more powerful optics than what you would find in standard gen 3 and 4 night vision binos. So the image clarity is beyond remarkable whether it is in pitch darkness or in daylight.
Like all quality night vision monos, this one has an infrared illuminator that has been integrated into the optical system. And the illuminator aids in nighttime viewing when there little to no light.
So your images are easier to make out particularly at long ranges. And the good thing about these monos is that you can change the illuminator’s background display color to green, blue, or red.
We liked the focus adjustment feature that is designed to help you get a sharper focus on your object. The focus ring is easy to turn and it has little resistance.
Another thing we liked about these monos was the video recording feature, which when you are viewing, you can record your views using the mono’s RCA video system.
And using an RCA jack, you can connect the monos to your television to see your videos on a big screen and in high resolution.
Also, the iGen has a great design. It looks and feels great in your hand. And it has a rubber finish to give you a firm grip.
- Proprietary iGEN Technology
- Olight I3E EOS Flashlight (Black)
- 3 Modes of Infrared Intelligence
- Enhanced Infrared Sensitivity
- Light Amplification Adjustable from 300x to 10,000x
- Variable Frame Rate (2 fps to 30fps)
- Wattage Adjusts Automatically as needed for varying levels of darkness
- Works Day or Night
- Programmable Time-Out Features
- Color Output Choices
- Infrared Start-Off Option
- Video Composite Output for Direct Recording to external device
- Composite Video Cable (RCA cable)
Night Vision Review: Igen NV-20/20:
5. Bushnell 260140 Equinox Z 4.5×40 Review
The Bushnell 260140 Equinox Z 4.5×40 monocular is a great mono for locating deer or hog in a forested area or open field at night thanks to the builtin infrared illuminator that is designed for night sight.
The built illuminator is bright enough that you can identify a target that is 100 yards away in absolute darkness. And this something you don’t get with some monos. While some brands claim that their monos can see well in the dark, this is sometimes is not the case.
So we were glad to see that with the Bushnell, we could identify objects in the dark. And in the moonlight, you can see objects that are much farther than 100 yards, which is why these monos are also great for city viewing.
The Equinox has a 4mm objective lens and 4x magnification. The lens delivers clear images because it gathers more light. In fact, when compared to the Bushnell Equinox 3x mono, which has a smaller objective lens, the 4x produces sharper and brighter images.
We also loved the fact it has a wide field of view, which is very helpful particularly when you are hunting or viewing at night.
The overall design of the Equinox is pretty standard. It has a compact design. It is robust and easy to carry around. It has a rubber coating to protect it from water damage and to give a firm and solid grip.
Besides all that, we had some issues with the Equinox. For one it’s heavy. So you cannot use it for long without needing a tripod at some point. And two, you cannot detach the lens from the scope, which makes it hard to see objects up close.
But overall, for its price, this is a mono that is worth investing in.
- 4x Magnification & 40mm Objective Lens
- Fully Multi-Coated Optics
- 1x-3x Digital Zoom
- Adjustable IR Brightness
- Day or Night Time Use (Daytime color with IR off)
- Micro LCD Screen
- Image Capture
- Video & Sound Recording
- Built in Infrared Illuminator for Long Distance Viewing
- Auto Off: After 10 minutes idle
- Video Out
- Operates on 4 AA Batteries
- Battery Life: 12 Hours with IR off, 6 hours with IR on
- Carrying Case & Tripod Mount
Equinox Z – Deer Close Up:
Equinox Z – Skunk Chase:
Before you start looking for a night vision mono, you need to ask yourself a number of questions. Like what is the reason for buying the monocular? Do you want to use them for nighttime hunting, city viewing or wildlife viewing? How much are you willing to spend?
So basically the reason why it’s important to ask yourself these questions is to be able to make a more informed decision. Night vision monos differ in one way or other.
Some use superior optical system features that allow you to see clearly in absolute darkness. Others can see well in total darkness.
This is why we decided to add a buyer’s guide to help you know what features are important when choosing night vision binos. So read on and hopefully, you find the information helpful.
The Infrared Illuminator
Night vision monos have an infrared illuminator integrated in the optical system to help you see in the dark. The illuminator transmits an infrared light that you cannot see with your eyes to illuminate your views making it easy for you to see clearly in the dark.
The other thing you should know is that there are different infrared illuminators. Generation 3 and 4 night vision monos use more powerful illuminators than 1 and 2.
This is why the see well in the dark. Something you cannot achieve with a 1 or 2 gen night vision bino unless there is a source of light.
The size of the objective lens is significant when you are deciding what you want to use the monos for. If you want them for night hunting, it would be advisable to go with monos that have a small objective lens as they are easier to carry around.
But for activities like night wildlife viewing, a monocular with a large objective lens would be a better option. The only problem is that it is heavier and you would need a tripod to use it for a prolonged time.
Generally, there are four are 4 different generations of monos. The oldest is the gen 1 night vision monos that can see up to 75 yards in poor lighting conditions. The don’t work well in the dark, but if there is a source of light, you can see your views clearly.
Usually, they offer a small field of view, which might not work with some users.
The gen 2 night vision monos are slightly more advanced than gen 1’s. They have clearer images and higher resolution. They have larger field of view as well. So broadly speaking, they are better in all aspects than the gen 1 monos.
Generation 3 and 4 night vision monos are more powerful than 1 and 2. They offer sharper and clearer views. They can see clearly in the dark because their infrared illuminator are more advanced.
The only problem with the gen 3 and 4 monos is that they are relatively more expensive than the gen 1 and 2 binos. But when you are looking at performance, the price becomes insignificant.
Ease of Use
When you decide to buy a pair of night vision monos, buy monos that are easy to use. And particularly if you have never used night vision monos before. And this is often dependent on how the monos are designed and the controls.
A mono with easy to understand and use controls is easy to operate. So check for features like the focus wheel and the eyecups.
Get to see what other users are saying about a mono when it comes to the adjustable features. This way you’ll be able to make a solid decision.
While when it comes to how much you want to spend depends entirely on you, don’t overlook a mono just because it’s cheap. And then again don’t buy a mono because if it’s expensive it must be better.
There are many cheap night vision monos in the market, but some of them perform extremely well at night. So again, see what other users are saying about the mono before buying one.
Otherwise, you could end up with a very expensive or cheap mono that is completely useless in utter darkness.
All the monos discussed in this guide perform well in poor lighting conditions and some perform excellently in the dark. They all have the essential features that make for a great pair of monos and most of them are affordable.
The AGM PSV-14 first top on our list because it has great features, it’s easy to use, it performs well and it gives you value for your money. But this is not to say that there are no better models out there.
We recommend that you do your due diligence before buying night vision monos to find the right one.