Best Gen 2 Night Vision Monocular for the Money [Reviews and Buying Guide]

Updated on September 4, 2023

Even newcomers to the niche belonging to night vision monoculars know that there are four generations of devices. While the first one is deemed to be more basic, it set the foundation for more professional models with improved specifications and performance. Generation two embodies that. It consists of models that are upgraded to serve buyers by delivering images with more brightness and contrast of details even in low-light settings and nighttime. But the question stands – is the best Gen 2 night vision monocular for the money easy to find in 2023?

The fact is that numerous models are available on the market right now. Yet when users are equipped with the right knowledge of night vision monocular belonging in the second generation and know what they need, the search for the most adequate model for you isn’t difficult.

best gen 2 night vision monocular for the money

Thus, below we’ll cover the positive and the less positive aspects of the Gen 2 night vision monoculars. Afterward, we’ll put an accent on some of the most important features you should have in mind when you’re going shopping. And eventually, we’ll answer some questions that frequently give headaches to a plethora of users around the globe. Stay tuned as we begin in just a few seconds!

Top 3 Picks: Best Gen 2 Night Vision Monocular


SiOnyx Aurora Sport Full Color Digital Night Vision Monocular

SiOnyx Aurora Sport Full Color Digital Night Vision Monocular
Magnification: 3 times
1 Lithium-ion battery included
Item Weight: 1 Pound
Size: around 4.7 x 2.5 x 2.1 inches
Warranty:  1 Year


ATN NVM14-2 2nd Generation Night Vision Monocular

ATN NVM14-2 2nd Generation Night Vision Monocular
Magnification: 1x
Objective lens: 27 millimeters
Field of view: 40 degrees
Battery life: from 50 to 60 hours
Size: around 7 x 7 x 4 inches


VNEED 12×50 Night Vision Monocular Telescope

VNEED 12x50 Night Vision Monocular Telescope
Magnification: 12 times
Objective lens: 50 millimeters
Prism type: BaK-4
Size: around 6.8 x 3.6 x 2.7 inches

6 Best Gen 2 Night Vision Monocular for the Money

With so many night vision monoculars from the second generation to choose from, it’s perfectly understandable why users often feel baffled and confused. To make this situation a bit clearer, we compiled a few reviews regarding the best models in the category, which are currently available on the market. Both from famous brands and less-known ones, the monoculars we’ll present to you promise to deliver satisfying results during nighttime. Moreover, each review is followed by a short list of the highlight features and specifications of the particular night vision monocular.

Bushnell Night Vision Equinox Z Monocular

Field of view: 30 feet at 100 yards
Magnification: 3 times
Weight: 15 ounces
Objective lens diameter: 30 millimeters
Viewing range: 656 feet
Digital zoom: 1 to 3 times

Bushnell’s Equinox Z line comes with a special CMOS sensor to aid the monocular’s night vision performance. So, users can see up to five hundred feet of what lies ahead of them in the dark.

The model has an LCD display, too, so that the visuals can be seen easily. Related to this, when used for night vision purposes, the screen projects black and white images. During the day, on the other hand, they’re colored. Further, the lens has multiple coatings for clearer and more vivid visuals.

To enable the user to even see in the dark, the monocular has an infrared illuminator that is fully built into its construction. With that being said, due to a rail on the side, users can separately buy another illuminator as an accessory.

Also, the construction is very sturdy and durable. It has water resistance characteristics, too. If they feel the need, users can mount the monocular on a tripod.

Something that a few users thought could be improved is the user-friendliness of the model and the intuitiveness of the functions and buttons. Regardless, let’s catch a glimpse of the specifications and features above.

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Night Owl iGEN 20/20 Day/Night Vision Monocular

Size: 9 x 4 x 2.5 inches
Field of view: 70 feet at 330 feet
Magnification: 2.6 times
Weight: 19.1 ounces
Angle of view: 12 degrees

Since it can be used during the night as well as during the day, the monocular’s application stretches far and wide. From hiking and camping to surveillance, hunting, and everything in between, a variety of activities can be successfully completed with it.

Thanks to its infrared and optical capabilities, the visuals are exceedingly clear and the appearance of black spots is minimized. The light is amplified according to the ambiance and the environment the user finds themselves in. With the automatic infrared power, the illumination during the dark and low-light surroundings is adequate.

Another feature of this model is known for is adjustability. Users have the freedom to adjust the interval of time after which the night vision monocular will shut down. Also, there are multiple levels of infrared emittance as well as display settings to choose from and all of that to accommodate the user’s current needs. With that being said, the model sports a video output for connecting the monocular to an outside video-recording device to capture the most out of the visuals the user observes.

A small con is that there is no head harness for utilizing the monocular in a hand-free manner. Next, we’ll move onto the section dedicated to the model’s signature technical specifications as well as features above.

SiOnyx Aurora Sport Full Color Digital Night Vision Monocular

Magnification: 3 times
1 Lithium-ion battery included
Item Weight: 1 Pound
Size: around 4.7 x 2.5 x 2.1 inches
Warranty:  1 Year

Something that SiOnyx takes great pride when it comes to their Aurora Sport model is the fact that users are able to see the visuals in full color in the dark whereas most models on the market offer black and white pictures.

Further, users can record all of that as proof of what they’ve seen and share it for further usage. There’s a special application for smartphones, too. With it, users can watch and record the footage, download it and store it on an SD card.

The design of the monocular is pretty long-lasting and resistant to external conditions. To prove that, the model can be submerged into water and held below water at three feet for about half an hour and the manufacturer assures that no damage will be done to it.

Additionally, the night vision monocular can be used as a camera and mounted on a vehicle on a boat to capture as much of the environment as possible. Plus, the night vision is considered to be long-range. The monocular is powered by a lithium-ion battery which is provided with the purchase.

On the other hand, a few customers say that users can’t see through heavy fog with this monocular as well as in extremely dark conditions.

Read more reviews about Night Vision Monocular Helmet Mount.

ATN NVM14-2 2nd Generation Night Vision Monocular

Magnification: 1 time
Objective lens diameter: 27 millimeters
Field of view: 40 degrees
Battery life: from 50 to 60 hours
Size: around 7 x 7 x 4 inches

Just like the name, itself, points out, this generation-two night vision monocular is versatile and can be useful to users for a wide variety of purposes and tasks – from surveillance, law enforcement, and map reading to driving, hunting, maintenance of vehicles, and more. This is additionally enabled due to the ability to mount the monocular on helmets, weapons, and such. So, users can operate hands-free which can be handy in numerous situations. Subsequently, the monocular is equipped with a special Total Darkness Technology besides a built-in infrared illuminator. This tech enables the user to enjoy observing in very dark conditions when light is scarce.

Moreover, the design is ergonomic and user-friendly. Plus, it’s waterproof, thus buyers can operate with it no matter the weather conditions or the area they’re working in.

When compared to other models, this one is a bit heavier, which can be considered as a small minus. Also, the magnification powers aren’t very impressive.

It’s time for the specifications and features that characterize the night vision monocular (above).

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Barska NVX100 3x Night Vision Monocular with Built-in Camera

Magnification: 3 times
Objective lens diameter: 14.5 millimeters
Exit pupil: 20 millimeters
Digital zoom: 2 times
Field of view: 328 feet / 100 meters
Weight: 8.71 ounces

Being a compact model, Barska’s night vision monocular doesn’t weigh much and is pretty small at that. Because of that, buyers can effortlessly carry it around with them on travels, outdoor expeditions, and such. When we mention traveling, they can pack it in their suitcase or bag with ease and even find a place for storing it when they don’t actively use it.

The design is eye-catching and contemporary. The brand blends an interesting shade of blue with black shades and white buttons. This same design entails a durable and strong construction that protects the monocular from external conditions like dust and debris from entering and damaging the lens system. It’s water-resistant, as well.

The model’s usage extends beyond simple nighttime and includes daylight operations, too. With enough magnification powers that it offers, you can see plenty of what stands before you even in conditions with a minimal light source. Plus, what you see can be captured in an image or a video. These visual materials can be viewed on the internal screen of the night vision monocular and even transferred to a computer or other device for further watching and sharing.

What a couple of people weren’t exactly fans of was the resolution. When compared to similar models in that range is slightly lower.

If you’re interested to find out more about this monocular, don’t skip the specifications and highlight features.

VNEED 12×50 Night Vision Monocular Telescope

Magnification: 12 times
Objective lens diameter: 50 millimeters
Prism type: BaK-4
Weight: around 15 ounces
Size: around 6.8 x 3.6 x 2.7 inches

Beginning with the outer looks of the VNEED night vision monocular, the black color brings out the elegance and contemporary appearance of the model. The model is considered to be waterproof and fog proof so moisture and external particles cannot diminish the overall performance. Plus, this makes it easier for buyers to use it in different weather conditions.

The ability to make modifications is another strong side of this model. Thanks to a single wheel, users can make important adjustments like the focus and similar. The eyecups are modifiable, too. They can be pulled up and down to accommodate both users who wear glasses while operating with the monocular and those who don’t.

With that being said, buyers can mount the monocular on a tripod for longer usage without straining the arms and hands-free observing. Thanks to a smartphone adapter, there is even a possibility to mount a smartphone. That includes some of the latest phones on the market. The lens covers are of the removable type, as well.

When it comes to the performance of the optics, the model, or the lens system to be more exact, is equipped with multiple coatings and a BaK-4 prism that provide clear and detailed images.

However, it’s worth mentioning that a couple of buyers mentioned that directions aren’t easily found and understood. Also, they thought that the field of view is slightly narrower than similar night vision monoculars in that range.

Buying Guide for Buyers

A lot of features and aspects are packed in a single night vision monocular. Because of that, in this buying guide, we’ll cover some of the most important features to look out for when looking to buy the next best Gen 2 night vision monocular.


One of the most significant factors that determine even the overall quality of the visuals that the user receives boils down to the quality of the optics. Many different monoculars come with different optical options, so users should be careful when they’re shopping for the right model for them.

With that being said, the components that take care of the optics include the size of the lens or the objective lens diameter, as well as the prism type, and more. If quality images are your utmost priority, then a higher diameter will serve you just fine. However, you should be aware that these models can be a bit heavier and bigger.


The monocular’s size and weight both attribute to how compact it is. To be clearer, when a model is considered to be compact, it means that it’s small, light and that’s why it’s easy to carry around, transport, and store when it isn’t in usage.

What’s interesting is that some monoculars can be even as big as your finger and can weigh less than ten ounces. Of course, that is an extreme option. Users can find plenty of compact monoculars on the market that deliver amazing results despite their size.

Night Observations

It isn’t exactly easy to obtain clear and bright visuals during nighttime when the source of light is scarce or in low-light conditions when the light is significantly diminished. This is something that night vision monoculars can successfully carry out.

And since we’re talking about night vision monoculars, it’s imperative to look for models that deliver clear night visuals. Almost all generations have models in them that have this capability.

What’s more, some night vision monoculars can be used during the day, too. But you’ll have to check that in the manual or with the manufacturer.

Magnification Power

Magnification is deemed to be one of those features that every user has to check out before they make the final decision to purchase a particular monocular. Plus, it’s easy to do so, because it’s right up there in the model’s name. Out of the two numbers that are separated by an ‘x’, the first one typically is reserved for the magnification capabilities.

Furthermore, pricier and more professional models tend to have a higher magnification number that can circle around 10x. The cheaper models usually have a magnification of around 5x to 8x. In turn, these models are known for a bigger field of view, which we’ll talk about shortly, and close-range observations.

Field of View

How wide you can see with a monocular is determined by its field of view or FOV for short. To take in as much of the surroundings that encompass the subject you’re observing, a higher number of yards is advised.

Since we’re talking about night vision monoculars, this can be tricky. That’s because you can’t easily see very wide when there is not enough light out there. So, many suggest going for a model with a minimum of a hundred yards. This level of the field of view will enable you to see plenty of details in the dark.

Waterproof and Fog Proof

Night vision monoculars are most frequently used outside and the weather can often be unpredictable. So, to be covered in all sorts of crazy-weather situations, purchasing a waterproof model is a smart move. This is especially the case for users who are living in rain-stricken areas. Again, the specifications as well as the user’s manual are the right places to look for these types of information.

Additionally, some lenses tend to fog when it’s cold outside. To make sure that this negative effect doesn’t ruin the viewing experience or the quality of the visuals, you can browse models that are fog proof, too.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. How do Gen 2 night vision monoculars differ from models from the first generation?

Answer: Manufacturers have made plenty of improvements and additions to models belonging in the second generation when compared to the ones before that. For starters, the resolution is increased and the optics are more quality. All of this is to make the visuals crisper and clearer even in a low-light environment. The magnification is also higher. With that being said, it’s estimated that the life expectancy of these models is around five thousand hours of usage. These characteristics can slightly increase the price as well.

Q. How should I clean my Gen 2 night vision monocular?

Answer: Dirt and debris are commonly found on the lens as well as on the exterior of the monocular. Dirt can accumulate so much on the lens that it can create a blind spot. A clean cloth that is sometimes included with the purchase together with a cleaning solution with alcohol in it can do the job just right.

Q. Can I see through fog with a night vision monocular?

Answer: That depends on how advanced the technology in the monocular is. Nevertheless, it is possible for night vision monoculars to see through fog as well as light rain and even snow. You should be aware that the observation range will be shorter as you won’t be able to see far. Also, the images may be a bit less clear due to these specific occurrences.

Q. Are images clear during the day when I use a night vision monocular?

Answer: For models that operate both during the day and at nighttime, this is easily achievable. So, make sure you carefully read the manual and find out if your model can be used in both of these situations. If that’s a yes, then you can rest assured that the quality of the images won’t be affected regardless of the time of day.

In Conclusion…

Even though there are multiple generations of night vision monoculars, the second generation is still filled with quality models for the money. It’s up to the customer to opt for the one they deem to be the right for both their present needs as well as their budget. After looking through all the reviews together with the buying guide and the FAQs, users can choose from a wide plethora of models.

Ideally, night vision monoculars should be compact so that you can easily carry them around with you and provide vivid visuals thanks to their lens, magnification, and similar features. Users should be able to utilize them in a variety of situations, so they should be resistant to severe external conditions and increasingly durable. And all of this is achievable!

Now, we pass on the mic to you. We are eager to read about your experience with the best Gen 2 night vision monocular! Have you bought a monocular like this before or is this your first time? Which brand is your favorite? Stay connect with us for more information.

Matthew Koch

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 as CEO & Columnist. I would like to provide my best outdoor experience possible.