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Best Night Vision Monoculars – Buyer’s Guide

Best Night Vision MonocularsYou 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.

TOP PICK — AGM Global Vision PVS-14 3NL1
Verdict
The AGM Global Vision PVS-14 3NL1 was our top pick because of its performance and extra cool features. This monocular has an infrared illuminator fitted into the optic system to help you see at night. It also has a brightness control feature. Let’s check out other features.
Pros
Infrared illuminator
Flood lens
Bright light cut-off
Automatic shut-off system
Weapon mountable
Waterproof
Cons
It is expensive
5
TOP PICK

Night Vision Monoculars Comparison Chart

Model

AGM Global Vision PVS-14 3NL1 1x26

Firefield FF24066 Nightfall 5x50

Sightmark SM14071 Ghost Hunter 2x24

Night Owl NOIGM3X iGEN 2.6x45

Bushnell 260140 Equinox Z 4.5x40

Photo

AGM Global Vision PVS-14 3NL1

Firefield FF24066 Nightfall

Sightmark SM14071 Ghost Hunter 2x24

Night Owl NOIGM3X iGEN 2.6x

Bushnell 260140 Equinox Z 4.5x40

Magnification

1x

5x

2x

2.6x

4.5x

Objective Lens Diameter

26 mm

50 mm

24 mm

45 mm

40 mm

Angle / Field of View
40°

15°
786 ft @ 1000 yd

25°
132 ft @ 1000 yd

12°
636 ft @ 1000 yd

28.5 ft @ 100 yd

Diopter Adjustment

+4 to -6

± 5

± 5

n/a

n/a

Operating Temperature

-60 to 120°F / -51 to 49°C

-4 to 104°F /-20 to 40ºC

-4 to 104°F /-20 to 40°C

n/a

14 to 113°F / -10 to 45°C

Runtime

50 Hours

20 hr, with IR
72 hr, without IR

20 hr, with IR
72 hr, without IR

n/a

6 hr, with IR
12 hr, without IR

Weight

11.3 oz

15.2 oz

8.8 oz

10.8 oz

22 oz

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5 Best Night Vision Monoculars (as of April, 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.

AGM Global Vision PVS-14 3NL1 head or helmet-mountable for hands-free usage

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.

AGM Global Vision PVS-14 3NL1 Review, Pros and Cons

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.

But now to the good stuff – the optics. AGM is known to produce superior optics and that’s what you get with the PVS-14. It has an infrared illuminator fitted into the optic system to help you see at night.

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.

AGM Global Vision PVS-14 3NL1 Night Vision Monoculars

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.

Main Features

  • 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
  • Waterproof
  • Weapon Mountable
  • System Soft Carrying Case
  • Limited 3-year Warranty
Verdict
Pros
Small-sized with a robust build
Built-in infrared illuminator to help you see when you are out in the dead of night
Built-in flood lens
Brightness control feature that adjusts automatically when lighting conditions change
Simple and easy to operate
Waterproof finish
Easy to hold and comfortable
3 to 5x magnification
Close focus range of 0.25mm
Comes with a variety of accessories including a carrying case and a shoulder strap
Cons
It is expensive
5

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.

Firefield FF24066 Nightfall

Via: @firefieldoptics

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.

While it does give you the option of magnifying objects up to 5 times, it has a small field of view. And so if you wear glasses, these could pose a problem.

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.

Firefield FF24066 Nightfall 5x50 Review, Pros and Cons

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.

Firefield FF24066 Nightfall night vision monos comes with carrying case & lens cloth

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.

Main Features

  • 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
Verdict
Pros
Rubber finish to give you a good and sold grip
50mm objective lens to help deliver clear views
Uses 2 AA batteries that can last for hours
Weatherproof build that is robust and lightweight
Infrared illuminator to help you see in low luminance
Focus rings that turn without resistance
Ideal for newbies
Comes with sturdy carry case and lens clothing
Cons
Narrow field of view
which may not be ideal for some users
It doesn’t work well in absolute darkness
4.8

3. Sightmark SM14071 Ghost Hunter 2×24 Night Vision Monocular Review

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.

Sightmark SM14071 Ghost Hunter Review, Pros and Cons

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.

The one downside is the field of view, which is narrow. So if you like monos that offer a wide field of view, these ones would not be ideal for you. This is a 24mm objective lens with a 2x magnification.

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.

Sightmark SM14071 Ghost Hunter 2x24 monos has a solid body with a rubber coating

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.

Main Features

  • 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
Verdict
Pros
Strong and lasting build
Rubber covering to give you a firm hold
Weather and shock-resistant
Integrated infrared illuminator for night viewing
2x magnification for long-range viewing
24mm objective lens
Easily adjustable eyepiece for enhanced and comfortable viewing
Easy to use focus ring that turns easily
Lightweight build
Cons
Small field of view which can make it hard to monitor and keep objects that are on the move in your view
Not ideal to use in the dark as the illuminator is not that advanced
Some users find the illuminator bulky
4.5

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.

But unlike other standard night vision monos whose display color is green, this one has a black and white color, which is more realistic.

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.

Night Owl NOIGM3X iGEN 2.6x45 Review, Pros and Cons

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.

Night Owl NOIGM3X iGEN 2.6x monos has the video recording feature

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.

Main Features

  • 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:

Night Vision Review: Igen NV-20/20

 

Verdict
Pros
Solid design that is durable and easily portable
Infrared illuminator for night sight
3x magnification
Background illuminator display color options
Video recording feature
Sturdy and compact carry case
Focus adjustment feature for sharper focusing
Pocket-friendly
Ideal for hunting wildlife observation and camping
Cons
Short battery life
It is heavy
4.3

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.

Bushnell 260140 Equinox Z 4.5x40 monocular

Via: @sociedadairsoft

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.

Bushnell 260140 Equinox Z 4.5x40 Review, Pros and Cons

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.

This mono has photo taking and video recording features. So when you are out in the field you can snap pictures and take videos and save them in the SD card. The mono has an SD card slot where you can insert the card.

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.

Bushnell 260140 Equinox Z 4.5x40 monocular has a rubber coating

Via: @bioweb.co

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.

Main Features

  • 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 – Deer Close Up

Equinox Z – Skunk Chase:

Equinox Z – Skunk Chase

 

Verdict
Pros
4x magnification
40mm objective lens with a wide field of view for improved viewing
Rubber coating to protect the body and its inner system from moisture damage
Built-in infrared illuminator for nighttime viewing
Multicoated lenses for enhanced viewing
Viewing range of 200 feet
Ideal for wildlife observation hiking camping star gazing and other outdoor endeavors
Solid design that is compact long-lasting and easily portable
Cons
You cannot detach the lens from the scope to see object closer
It is heavy
4.1

Buyer’s Guide

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.

Sightmark Night Vision Monocular

Via: @tacticalwestlv

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.

Most illuminators display a green color, while others give you the option to choose a display color. Some users prefer black and white colors over the green color because they are able to identify objects more easily.

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.

Generation 2 night vision monos

Via: @flirots

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.

Objective Lens

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.

Generation Type

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.

Generation 1 night vision monos

Via: @flirots

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.

Night vision monocular are easy to use

Via: @pelodejabali

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.

Budget

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.

Conclusion

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.

Best Night Vision Monoculars

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