Night vision monocular is probably one of the most essential tools for anyone looking to venture into the world of wildlife observation.
There are many different types of night vision devices available, each sporting their own strengths and weaknesses.
Since each person has different needs, it is difficult for us to provide any one set recommendation - specifically in terms of pricing. For that reason, we have compiled a list of what we believe to be the best budget night vision monoculars on the market today.
In the following paragraphs, we’ll discuss precisely this and present some of the top products of this year that can be bought at reasonable prices.
Quick preview of our top 3 picks
The 7 Best Budget Night Vision Monoculars
1. Night Owl Optics NOXM50 Night Vision Monocular
- Light amplification: 500 times
- Magnification: 5 times
- Diameter of objective lens: 50 millimeters
- Field of view: 15 degrees
- Dimensions: 7.75 x 3.79 x 2.48 inches
- Focus range: minimum of 5.7 feet
- Weight: 16 ounces
When people buy a monocular for a lower price, they expect to get fair features for the price. With this monocular they can be certain of that. Unlike some other models that include optics that aren’t accurate and plastic materials, this model boasts with real optics made of glass.
They are enriched with a tube for intensifying the image that belongs to the first generation. This enables users to spot people and objects clearly even in utter darkness. What’s more, this affordable monocular has a built-in IR illuminator for bright images.
Aside from this, it’s comfortable and easy to carry. Its soft rubberized finish and the lens housing made of thermoplastic are responsible for this. The latter also makes it resistant to damages.
As is the case with many cheap monocular models, this one, too, has shown certain issues with the focus. But overall, this shouldn’t give people too many troubles while utilizing it.
Read more: 8 Best Night Vision Goggles Under $500
2. Bushnell Night Vision Equinox Z2 Monocular
- Magnification: 6 times
- Diameter of objective lens: 50 millimeters
- Weight: 2.4 pounds
- Dimensions: 7.5 x 3.9 x 2.5 inches
Bushnell’s Equinox is one of the most popular models among users. Predominantly, this is due to its digital abilities and its versatility. Moreover, it can be paired with an app, allowing the users to record and stream videos to their mobile phones.
Then, with it, people can spot a target from as far as 1000 feet. The built-in illuminator contributes to this. No matter the time of day, the monocular can capture videos in high quality of 1080 pixels. However, these features result in a bigger weight, making this model heavier than similar ones. Because of this, people may struggle with carrying it around all the time.
Also read more: Top 9 Night Vision Goggles Under $1000
3. OPTISCOPE Premium Night Vision Monocular
- Weight: 14.4 ounces
- Limited warranty of 1 year
- Magnification: 3 times
- Included mini SD card
- Color: black
What stands out about this monocular is that it includes glass optics that are multicoated with an infrared illuminator for seeing clearly in the dark. Actually, users can see an object at a distance of 328 feet.
To accompany this, there is a zoom inside the lens. It enables magnification of 3 times, letting people control how close the image appears. Aside from this, the monocular has an option for taking photos and recording videos, which can later be shown on larger screens. To make sure, the memory doesn’t run, a free mini SD card with a capacity of 4 GB comes with the product.
Despite this, though, users report certain issues related to the control of the quality of the materials used in the making of the monocular as well as the ring for focus being sensitive.
4. Solomark Blue-Infrared Illuminator
- Weight: 11.5 ounces
- Dimensions: 5.8 x 4 x1.85 inches
- Resolution of images and videos: 640×480
- Battery life: 5 hours
- Field of view: 14 degrees
Considering its low price, Solomark’s monocular has some quality features to look out for. For starters, it’s small in size and compact, enabling users to take it with them on their trips. Since it has an infrared illuminator, the views it produces in the dark are clear and sharp.
However, this is at a relatively short distance with the range being approximately 328 feet. This together with the AA batteries, which increase the cost, has been proclaimed as some of the main cons associated with this product.
Yet what many buyers like is the fact that it can be put on a tripod to be more stable and record videos with no shaky hands.
5. Firefield Nightfall
- Magnification: 5 times
- Diameter of objective lens: 50 millimeters
- Weight: 15.2 ounces
- Dimensions: 8.4 x 4.4 x 3 inches
What’s special about this model is that it incorporates a pulse feature that makes the life of the battery longer. The infrared emitter accompanies this. But its role is to provide sharp views even when the night is very dark.
Although the focus must be adjusted manually, it’s simple to do. But the real problem is that this monocular is known to have a narrow field of view. Because of it, users find it difficult to observe distant areas. Moreover, the range doesn’t go higher than 150 feet, making it harder for hunters and observers to locate their targets. But overall, it’s a fair model when you consider its price.
6. Xgen 2.1x Digital Night Vision Viewer
- Magnification: 2.1 times
- Field of view: 12 degrees
- Weight: 4.93 ounces
- Dimensions: 5.2 x 2.9 x 1.7 inches
- 5 settings to pick from
As a compact model that is small in size, the Xgen monocular can be utilized by both adults and children. It’s a basic model with a low price that doesn’t require people to take advantage of all functions.
Instead, it can operate with a click of a button. Due to its short focus range, it’s the most efficient when people are closer to the target. This can be sometimes complicated for the more pricy models.
Yet users complain that the resolution isn’t as good. Moreover, the IR sensor discovers light in 640×480 pixels but the display can support only 320×240 pixels. This leads to low quality of the picture when it reaches the screen.
7. LANDOVE Digital
- Magnification: 20-60 times
- Diameter of objective lens: 80 millimeters
- BAK4 prism
- Field of view: 1.58- 0.91 degrees
- Weight: 4.49 pounds
If you’re looking for a monocular that is versatile, this one is for you. It’s a new and fresh model that has powerful features. For starters, its lens is multi-coated and incorporate BAK4 prism. It’s responsible for increased brightness and transmission of light, which leads to sharper and clear views during the night.
As a digital model, it has the option to record quality videos and take photos. For a quick transfer, it can be connected to a smartphone through a special phone adapter. It can be mounted on a tripod for steadier views, as well.
This isn’t everything, though. Since it has a strong design and is made with high-quality materials, it’s durable and able to resist water and fog. Also, the grip doesn’t allow slipping, which contributes to its comfortability.
After this, potential buyers may wonder about the downsides. One of the main ones users reported is that they experienced some difficulties while using it for long ranges.
Guide for perfect selection
Size and Weight
This is among the most important aspects buyers should look out for when purchasing a night vision monocular. A monocular usually tends to be lighter and smaller in size when compared to binoculars, which is one advantage over the latter. This enables the user to carry one around all the time and store it away easily when he/she is done with it.
Although having great magnification is desirable, the most common myth surrounding the magnification capabilities of a monocular is that a higher number always translates into a better viewing experience. That’s clearly a myth and let’s explain why.
If you’re moving, higher magnification is much more difficult to control. The visuals will be shaky and disrupt the whole experience. Slightly lower magnification may be more adequate in these situations. Opposite of that, if the user doesn’t move much while they’re observing the subject, higher magnification abilities are more effective.
How much one should spend on a night vision monocular is defined by his/her personal needs and preferences and the level of proficiency they need. Moreover, from a Generation 1 model to a Generation 4 model, the price can significantly change with the latter type being pricier.
So if you want to use a monocular as a hobby or not so often, then a cheaper one can do the job just fine. The situation is a bit tougher if you’d like to use it professionally and need advanced features. In that case, you should be prepared to let a few more bucks slide off your pocket to achieve that.
Regardless, the models we talked about above are proof that you can find a suitable budget monocular with a great performance that doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
Since we’re talking about night vision models, they should present the user with bright images in the night. It’s one of the key factors for grading the performance of a monocular. An individual may utilize a monocular for several tasks, so the more important the subject is, the brighter the visuals should be.
Battery and Source of Power
A plethora of battery alternatives is at the customer’s disposal. Which batteries to look for depends on what you need the night vision monocular for, how long you plan to use it, and the model, itself.
Usually, manufacturers prioritize the size and compactness of the model, so the batteries tend to be smaller and lighter. That’s one of the reasons why you’ll frequently find double AA batteries as well as CR123 batteries used in a monocular.
With that being said, users who are going outside for a longer period should get a monocular with longer battery life. That’s because recharging it may not be always in the game. Another alternative may be the external battery packs. These packs can be found in both larger and smaller forms and can be even connected to a helmet or a rifle. However, they may slightly increase the weight. Additionally, these types of packs aren’t compatible with every model, so users should check that, too.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)
1) Is there a way for me to attach a night vision monocular to a scope?
Answer: There is no definite answer as this largely depends on the type of night vision monocular you purchase as well as the scope. It boils down to the original settings of the model. Usually, people connect the two via special adapters or a scope mount. It’s best to read through the manual that comes with the purchase and find out what the manufacturing brand recommends to be the right way. Buyers can ask the clerk from where they bought the model if it’s from a physical store, too.
2) Can I use my night vision monocular during the day?
Answer: There’s a reason why these devices are called night vision models, right? So, you can’t actually use them in daylight. But this isn’t a firm ‘no’. With that being said, a monocular with digital night vision capabilities can be utilized during the day without a safety issue. On the other hand, traditional night vision systems may not respond that well to natural daylight. That’s because it can seriously damage them and make the whole product unusable.
3) Which activities can I use a night vision monocular for?
Answer: The list of purposes for which individuals buy a monocular is long and wide. If we could shorten it down a bit, we can definitely include observing wildlife at night, night hiking, hunting and fishing at night, military purposes, family gatherings and camping, and similar.
All in all, people can find suitable night vision monocular when they’re shopping on a budget. Although it may seem that serious features suffer because of the price, in reality, this isn’t really the case. Furthermore, the models incorporate some quality functions that are useful to hunters, observers, and the likes.
Now, what’s your verdict? Do any of these models sound like the right one for you? Share your opinion with us.
Note: GearOdds.com is a reader-supported website. When you buy through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Check disclaimer.
Hi, I'm Matthew, a passionate blogger and traveler. I'm also a hard-core hiker. Hiking with friends and visiting new places is what I live for. Currently, I'm working at Gear Odds Co., Ltd. as CEO & Columnist. I would like to provide my best outdoor experience possible.