Last Updated on
Just because the sun goes down, it doesn’t mean you’re done for the day. With outside projects to get done, varmints to hunt, and midnight raids to prepare for (no, not midnight refrigerator raids), you will need night vision.
The dual image intensifier tubes, dual oculars, and high magnification on night vision binoculars can change the way you see the world at night.
It’s a wonderful place to explore if you can see in the dark. That’s why we have a lineup geared just for you night vision hounds who want the best bang for your buck. Don’t forget to look over the tips we hand out, so you don’t go buying something without knowing what it means first.
Guess what? All this info is free of charge. You’re so very welcome.
QUICK LIST: 15 Best Night Vision Binoculars 2019
- Best Overall: ATN PS15-2 Review
- Best Gen 2 Night Vision Binoculars: AGM Foxbat-5 NL3 Review
- Best Gen 1 Night Vision Binoculars: Night Owl NOB3X Review
- Best Digital Night Vision Binoculars: ATN Binox 4K 4-16X Review
- Best Night Vision Binocular for the Money: ATN Binox HD 4-16X Review
- Best Night Vision Binoculars Under $1000: Pulsar Edge GS 3.5X50 L Review
- Best Night Vision Binoculars Under $500: Yukon Signal N320 RT Review
- Best Night Vision Binoculars Under $300: Solomark Digital Night Vision Review
- Best Night Vision Binoculars Under $200: Nightfox 100V Digital 3X20 Review
- Best Night Vision Binoculars Under $100: Sharper Image True Night Vision Review
- Best Cheap Night Vision Binoculars: Sightmark Ghost Hunter 2X24 Review
- Best Night Vision Binoculars for Hunting: Sightmark Ghost Hunter 4X50 Review
- Best Night Vision Binoculars for Wildlife Viewing: Night Owl NOBX-5 Review
- Best Night Vision Binoculars with Camera: Bestguarder NV-900 Review
- Best Day and Night Vision Binoculars: Creative XP GlassOwl Review
Our 15 Top Night Vision Binoculars
|ATN PS15-2||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|AGM FoxBat-5 NL3||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Night Owl NOB3X||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|ATN Binox 4K 4-16X||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|ATN Binox HD 4-16X||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Pulsar Edge GS 3.5X50 L||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Yukon Signal N320 RT||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Solomark Digital Night Vision||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Nightfox 100V Digital 3X20||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Sharper Image True Night Vision||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Sightmark Ghost Hunter 2X24||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Sightmark Ghost Hunter 4X50||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Night Owl NOB5X||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Bestguarder NV 900||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Creative XP GlassOwl||VIEW ON AMAZON|
Be careful scouring the market for very cheap night vision binoculars (NVB) as you might end up with a regular one. Night vision (NV) is expensive technology, so price will be an indicator of quality and whether it’s a true night vision binocular.
A trick to see through some false advertising is the term “low light night vision binoculars.” These do not offer true NV tech as they tend to function best in daylight with some acceptable low light vision.
The night vision binoculars in our lineup have true NV technology distinguished by their passive generation class or active digital systems. Everyone can benefit from seeing in the dark. You might only think that military snipers or cops use ’em, but you’d be wrong.
NV is a must-have for varmint hunting, scouting before dawn, and quartering up your buck at night. Using NV while camping, hiking, and watching wildlife in the dark lends to a more enjoyable and safer activity. NV for home defense, security, and property surveillance provides peace of mind and enhanced security measures. Should we go on? Meh, we think you get the idea.
But, why choose a binocular over night vision goggles or monoculars? Essentially, you have higher magnification, larger apertures, and dual IITs (Image Intensifier Tube) that can give you greater light amplification, greater detail at longer distances, and longer, more comfortable glassing sessions. But, we’ll get into that some more down below.
For now, let’s get into the binoculars that are trending hot and the ones have defied time and trend as the most dependable NVB the consumer market currently offers.
Night Vision Binocular Reviews
Best Overall: ATN PS15-2 Review
The PS15 series are the only binocular-body NVB ATN offers. The iconic PVS7 and NVG7 models are bioculars. If biocular designs are too weird for you to get around, stick with the PS15.
- Gen 2+
- 1x magnification
- Close focus
- Head mountable
The specs on these binoculars actually qualify it as goggles. What are the benefits? It has 1x magnification, an extremely close focus distance of 0.25 yards, and it comes with a goggle kit assembly. As goggles, it’s not entirely fair to pit it against the binoculars in the lineup, but you wanted to know about the best out there, right?
As the only binocular-body NVBs for the brand, it deserves a spot in the lineup even though it’s ridiculously priced out of most everyone’s budget range. But upper level generation tubes have never been cheap, and on a binocular body, it proves to be even more expensive than bioculars.
So, what does the PS15 have over a biocular? The dual Gen 2+ IITs provide excellent depth perception for NVB. You can be as mobile as you can be at night to creep, walk, and run and still see detail needed to avoid the pitfalls of what seems like unpredictable terrain in the dark.
You can also read text, graphics, and maps with this high-quality, 1x power bino. It has 45-54 lp/mm resolution which isn’t the best in the industry, but it’s a far jump up from the 30-36 lp/mm of Gen 1 tubes.
Additionally, it has a whopping 40 degree FOV. This may be due to its 1x magnification and placement of its optical assemblies. Requiring either a single CR123 battery or AA battery, you can have up to 60 hours of operation for those midnight stake outs.
Much smaller and lighter in weight than bioculars, it’s 4.7″ long and weighs 1.5 lbs. This makes it an excellent option for long-viewing sessions needed for hunting and professional use.
Best Gen 2 Night Vision Binoculars: AGM Foxbat-5 NL3 Review
- Super fast, multi-coated, all-glass optics; Dual eye viewing system for long viewing sessions
- Detachable long-range infrared illuminator, Rugged and versatile design, Water and fog resistance
The price for Gen 2 NV may seem like a leap from Gen 1 and that’s because it is. Not only is price significantly higher, quality is too.
- Gen 2+
- 5x magnification
- Detachable IR
- Battery options
AGM is a brand-new manufacturer of sporting optics, and their products include NVB. As a babe to the market, we’re giving them their 15 minutes of fame right here to help promote the American-based brand to showcase what they have to offer.
For our top pick for Gen 2 binoculars, we’ve chosen the Foxbat-5 NL3. It’s a biocular by design and has its own set of benefits to aid in your night stalking adventures. This Foxbat has 5x magnification, a huge 108 mm aperture, and multi-coated, all-glass optics. The potential for incredible light transmission and amplification is all there.
With its powerful and large configuration, it’s a long-ranging binocular that will help you see great detail at night. Usually seen on NVB is a built-in IR, but this Foxbat won’t always need it due to its high-quality, Gen 2+ “Level 3″ IIT tube. But, when you find yourself needing IR light, it comes with a detachable Sioux 850 nm long-range IR illuminator. Obviously, because of its large size of 10.3” (L) and 2.9 lb weight, you’ll want to mount it to a tripod for extra-long glassing sessions. Not a big deal. You either want big and powerful, or you’re going home empty-handed and unsatisfied.
The Foxbat has all the usual fixings you want to see on an NVB, namely, Bright Light Cut-off, Automatic Brightness Control, and long-lasting operating times. Powered with 1x CR123A battery, you can expect up to 60 hours of glassing. Powered with 1x AA battery, it’s limited to 30 hours – of course, IR use will affect how fast you run out of juice.
We like everything about the Foxbat – even its price tag. We will go so far as to say it’s good enough for law enforcement, hunting, and professional surveillance use. For upper level Gen 2 tech, you’re getting the very best for less than $3000. Support the new guy, they deserve it!
Best Gen 1 Night Vision Binoculars: Night Owl NOB3X Review
- Generation 1 technology; central focusing; integrated infrared all-glass optics
- Field of View: 70 feet at a distance of 200 feet
Are you looking for low power, lightweight, and high resolution in a true NV binocular? The Night Owl NOB3X may end your search today.
- Gen 1
- Adjustable IPD
- Manual focus
- Not waterproof
The NOBX5 has a wider FOV than its sibling, the NOBX5. The angular FOV of 19.7 degrees or 70 ft at 200 yards is great for an NVB and comes in second to the Sightmark Ghost Hunter 2×24 with its 25 degree FOV. For this reason and more, it’s our favorite Gen 1 NVB.
The Night Owl has Generation 1 IITs, low power of 3x, 42 mm objective lenses, and 35 lp/mm resolution. With the 3x power and high resolution for Gen 1, you can see clearer and brighter images without sight picture distortion that occurs with higher magnification binos. With a manual focus found near the objectives, you can clean up the picture for better image quality at a minimum of 6.6 feet.
A nice touch to the binoculars is its adjustable IPD that will fit most eye widths of its users to collimate the picture to one, complete image. It’s also lighter in weight at 30.6 oz and smaller at 6.7 x 5.8 x 2.5″ in size compared to the NOB5X.
Powered with 1x 3V 123 lithium battery, it can last up to 80 hours without use of the IR and up to 40 hours with the IR. But, there’s no word on its tough exterior being waterproof. Many cheap Gen 1 devices lack fog and waterproofness, so we assume the Night Owl does, too.
The NOB3X may not be the serious option for the secret agent, but it is an affordable option for the night stalker on a budget.
Best Digital Night Vision Binoculars: ATN Binox 4K 4-16X Review
- Live Streaming & HD Video Recording 24/7: a revolutionary lag-free combination. Bright day and crisp night images with smooth zoom imitating your natural eyesight
- Multi-purpose Laser Rangefinder for hunting, outdoor sports, bird and wildlife observation, surveillance and you can even use this feature for golfing. Your target is...
Priced on the higher end for NV digital tech, the Binox 4K sets the standard for all digital devices. Is it worth pulling the trigger on?
- Day/night use
- Laser rangefinder
- Ultra HD sensor
- BIX tech
- Live stream
For all your digital and night vision needs, you won’t find anything better than the Binox 4K. It has HD optics, can be used in both day and night light, and it’s smart – maybe too smart for its own good. It’s so smart that it has every digital feature you can think of that includes WiFi, Bluetooth, and a 3D Accelerometer; 3D Gyroscope, 3D Magnetometer, and E Barometer; E-Compass, Live Streaming, and lastly, a Smart Rangefinder.
With all the bells and whistles, you better figure out how to use this before you hit the hunt tonight. The rangefinder can range from 5-1000 yards with +/-1 yard precision. With video 1080P recording, a 4-64GB micro SD card, and Dual Stream Video, you can snap, record, and share live on-screen with your buddies in the field or those waiting at home.
No wonder the Binox is a beast at 9.4″ long and 2.5 lbs – it’s a camera, laser rangefinder, and NVB in one package. But, what is the BIX (Ballistic Information Exchange) technology? The binoculars are compatible with ATN’s Smart HD devices that includes their rifle scopes to exchange vital information needed to holdover and hit bull’s-eye. Even if you don’t have an ATN Smart scope, you can use it with your traditional glass scope by using their Laser Ballistics App. Geez, talk about being versatile!
With its dual CORE technology and Ultra HD sensor image quality is unbeatable in the digital NVB market. With true color fidelity in daylight and 600 lp/mm resolution and 1280 x 720 x 2 display resolution for nighttime use, you’ll have sharp clarity and brightness no matter the time of day.
Is the Binox worth the higher price tag for digital NV gear? Definitely. . . Duh.
Best Night Vision Binoculars for the Money: ATN Binox HD 4-16X Review
- Use Day and Night in HD resolution - take your shots in color at high resolution with Binox-HD. No blurry images regardless day or night!
- Smart Rangefinder - built in rangefinder allows you to range your target without carrying additional equipment. The rangefinder will calculate the distance of an object...
It’s not a duplicate review of the reviewed Binox 4K. This is the Binox HD binoculars that come in at half the price and without all the fancy features that you don’t need. Compared to its competitors, the Binox HD sits at the top.
- CORE tech
- Day/night use
- Video recording
- Digital features
- Must remove batteries during storage
The most common complaint about the Binox HD are issues arising due to battery usage. It appears the binoculars will drain battery life even while powered off, and it may turn itself back on even after powering it down. The solution? Remove the batteries when you’re done glassing. It takes 3x CR123A batteries that are included in the purchase, but you may want to buy rechargeable ones since the lithium option will provide 6-8 hours of use.
As a digital binocular, it has ATN’s Obsidian CORE technology that allows you to use it during both daylight and nighttime. It has a system resolution of 90 lp/mm and 1080 P video recording resolution.
Its digital features include WiFi (with the WiFi module), GPS, E-Compass, and more. You can record taking down the hogs plaguing your fields at night and record it on the 4-64 GB micro SD card. As long as you’re not too close to them, you can use the built-in IR to see out to 300 yards so the hogs don’t spot the minimal red glow. You’re more likely to be spotted rustling and fumbling about in the dark.
The binos are weather-resistant, 8.2″ long, weigh 1.75 lbs, and have huge 65 mm apertures. With these specs and digital features, you’ll have the brightest image to see details needed for a successful hunt, sightseeing, or catching crooks red-handed.
Best Night Vision Binoculars Under $1000: Pulsar Edge GS 3.5X50 L Review
- Built-in laser IR illuminator
- Constant image quality across the whole field of view
You should know, we’ve reviewed the Edge GS 1×20 goggles which came in as our Best Gen 1 goggles in the lineup. While it seems like we’re featuring the Edge GS again, it’s actually it’s larger, higher-powered sibling – the 3.5×50 model.
- Gen 1
- CF-Super tech
- 5 lens eyepiece system
- Weaver rail
- Detection range
The 3.5×50 Edge is a new and improved version of the 2.7×50 NVB from Pulsar. Users said 2.7x power was limiting for a binocular, and Pulsar listened by increasing magnification. Since it has magnified optics, no head gear is included with this Edge like its 1×20 goggle counterpart.
However, it does share all the same, great features that includes the CF-Super technology. This is a special type of photocathode that allows for consistent resolution across the entire FOV. If you notice any aberration, it will be less than 20% difference from the center to the edges.
The 5-lens eyepiece system also helps with the sharp resolution and clarity on this Gen 1 binocular. With its built-in 805 nm LED IR illuminator, you can reach out to distances of 220 meters to get an idea of what’s going on up ahead.
With the Weaver rail, you can attach an IR flashlight if you wanted to push the distance when you’re not overly concerned about remaining stealthy. But, the flashlight will cost you extra, and it seems this Edge model costs you quite a bit more for the extra mag power and larger aperture.
But, for true Generation night vision, it’ll always cost ya. Staying under 1000 bucks, the Edge GS may be your binocular go-to.
Best Night Vision Binoculars Under $500: Yukon Signal N320 RT Review
- High night sensitivity, Variable magnification 4.5 / 9х
- Nighttime distance observation more than 350 m, Powerful IR illuminator
The Signal N320 RT are NVB with a CMOS sensor. The Signal series have replaced the Ranger binoculars. The specs promise high-performance and multiple features valuable to the cost-conscious buyer who don’t want to compromise quality in the trade for a low price.
- Detection range
- Weaver rail
- Poor FOV
The N320 NVB are a digital pair of binos that can be used during the day and night, and it comes with all the works – Stream Vision through your smartphone, video recording, and jpeg photos saved on an included 8GB memory card. There are multiple photo and video resolutions, but the camera displays in 640 x 480 pixel resolution on the LCD screen.
It has 4.5/9x magnification, weighs 12.3 ounces (w/out batteries), and is 6.6″ long. It’s worth nothing that digital FOVs are usually narrow, and the angular field of vision of 7.7 degrees falls right in line with this drawback.
The N320 also has a Display Off feature that powers down the LCD screen during non-use but is instantly ready again for when you put bino to eyes. It takes 4x AA batteries, and it can also be charged and used with external power banks using a micro USB connection.
Interestingly, the N340 model shares all these features, too. So, what are the differences between the N320 VS N340? The only differences are in the detection range and built-in IR illuminator. The N320 has a detection range of 350 m which is 50 m more than the N340. However, the N340 has a 905 nm (invisible) IR versus the visible 850 nm on the N320. Both have Weaver rails for additional accessories.
The Signal series has been developed to be compatible with modern age technology with its live streaming features. Sharing, bragging, and living in the moment with family and fellow night stalkers is now brought to you by Yukon.
Best Night Vision Binoculars Under $300: Solomark Digital Night Vision Review
- Built in 3W Infrared LED, 850nm Infrared Illuminator allows viewing up to 1300 ft/400m viewing distance in full darkness; Day or night use(with IR off for daytime color);...
- Outstanding optical clarity, high performance digital night vision binocular, clearly see up to 7X magnification in the darkness, 2x Digital Zoom and a 31mm Objective...
Solomark debuts with their digital NVD, and like so many other popular models like it, it’s a winner with the cost-conscious buyer.
- 4″ screen
- 640 x 480 resolution
- FMC optics
- No batteries included
As seen with digital devices of this caliber, the 8x AA batteries required to power it are not included. Additionally, the Solomark comes with a 4GB TF card instead of a 32GB micro SD card that its competitors are now including in the buy.
But, it has the same 2″ screen converted to 4″ of a display with its convex lens assembly. You will have color detail during daytime use and black/white detail for night vision. It has optical magnification of 7x and 2x digital zoom. Make sure to keep the IR-filter cap over on the left objective during daylight use to protect night vision components. Simply remove the cap when you’re ready to stalk in the night.
Like comparable models in the market, it boasts of 1300 ft (400 m) detection ranges. It could be this good with perfect conditions and with the built-in 850 nm IR illuminator on max, but realistic expectations will be about 100 yards at night.
With FMC optics, 640 x 480 pixel resolution for photo and video recording, and 31 mm apertures, the Solomark can provide better than decent clarity and resolution.
It comes with the 4GB card, soft carry case, shoulder strap, AV cable, and a USB cable. It can be mounted to a tripod for extra steady use. Recommended for amateur, casual, and recreational use, it’s not one intended for looking at the skies. For cheap NV on a budget, the Solomark is another digital option that you can play around with in the dark.
Best Night Vision Binoculars Under $200: Nightfox 100V Digital 3X20 Review
- Revolutionary widescreen viewing monitor - comfortable viewing with both eyes, even useable with glasses
- Viewing range of up to and over 110 yards at night, 3x fixed magnification with a 2x digital zoom button (6x magnification total)
For under $200, you can have NV. No, it’s not true generation NV as it’s digital technology at its core. Still, to see what’s prowling and lurking in the dark, besides you, a cheap pair of digital glasses is the way to go.
- Widescreen display
- Focus wheel
- Tripod mountable
- No photo or video recording
For a digital binocular, it’s almost strange that it doesn’t include photo or video recording features, but we suppose that’s what helps to shave the costs down to under 200 bucks.
The Nightfox has fixed 3x optical magnification with 2x digital zoom for a total of 6x magnification for long-distance viewing. With the on-board IR illuminator, you can see in total darkness, and you can adjust the IR intensity with 7 settings. The detection range is stated at 110 yards, but many users have said they have easily reached out to 300 yards depending on where they are, i.e. desert plains, woods, or in light-polluted cities.
It has a widescreen display and you can adjust the focus with the itty-bitty center focus wheel on the underside of the body by the objective lens. It might be narrow and small, nevertheless, you’ll appreciate that it even has this feature.
You can also mount it to a tripod which is nifty. Viewing time may be cut short since it operates with 8x AA batteries for only 6 hours. It’s digital, so it’s going to eat up juice power faster than true NV tubes.
The Nightfox is an entry-level, digital NVB, and it’s priced as such. But, what surprises us is the 18-month warranty on the binos. For a budget optic, it’s impressive it even comes with a warranty. If you’re looking to spend as little as possible for the most simplistic night vision gadget without the doodads of sub-par features, the Nightfox is your best pick.
Best Night Vision Binoculars Under $100: Sharper Image True Night Vision Review
Who knew you could get NV for a hundred bucks? Believe it because you won’t see a deal like this again once these are sold out.
- Day/night use
- Adjustable IR
The True Night Vision binoculars actually don’t offer true night vision making for an ironic name. Instead, it has digital technology. You may see this as a downside, but it’s why it’s able to be sold at such a cheap price. But, thanks to its digital sensor, you can use it in both day and night conditions.
When the sun is down for the night, it’s supposed to offer up to 100 yards, and this seems like it would be the max detection range for its price. But, to keep expectations realistic, 50-80 yards would be fair. With the built-in IR and its adjustable levels of intensity, you can certainly play around with the range and sight picture clarity.
Even though it’s a budget night vision binocular, it still allows you to take photos and videos with 640 x 480 pixel resolution. It does eat up power requiring 4x AA batteries, but hey, at least it’s not the 8x AAs of other comparable digital binoculars.
Sharper Image says the binoculars weigh 15.2 ounces, but we suspect this is without the batteries installed. It may become noticeably heavier with the batteries, but still, it should be minimal and won’t take away from the enjoyment of having night vision.
What can you use these for? Seeing what’s howling and hooting in the backyard, spotting deer that feed at dawn, and maybe even watching your neighbor’s teenager sneak out their bedroom window.
For casual night vision on a budget, you won’t find it for less than this!
Best Cheap Night Vision Binoculars: Sightmark Ghost Hunter 2X24 Review
- High quality image and resolution
- Close observational range of focus
The Ghost Hunter 2×24 binocular are not a toy, digital tech, or head-mountable device. Now that you know what it doesn’t have, you must be curious to know what it does have.
- Gen 1
- Battery type
- Front & rear focus
What’s to complain about on the awesome Ghost Hunter NVB? Really, there’s nothing legit to moan about, especially for the low price, but it seems some users find the front and rear focus assembly a bit labor intensive, or they just don’t know how to use it and they whine about a fuzzy, blurry sight picture.
The Ghost Hunter models come with eyepieces that must be focused first for the target distance and then objectives are adjusted to enhance clarity and sharpness. That’s how front and rear binos work, and if you know how to do it right, you’ll see it has excellent detail for a Gen 1 device.
It also has outstanding 35 lp/mm resolution for Gen 1 tubes which will be important since the apertures are only a small 24 mm. But, paired with low 2x magnification, you can see a little more detail a little further away, and you have a much wider FOV of 25 degrees or 132 ft at 100 yards. This is impressive compared to other comparable Gen 1 binos.
It takes 2x AAA batteries which are affordable and available everywhere. They will power your Ghost Hunter for 20-72 hours depending on how much you use the IR illuminator. With clear skies and a bright moon, you won’t need the IR at all. You can see targets at a detection range of 131 yards, and if staying covert isn’t a big deal to you, use a more powerful IR to stretch the distance.
Because of its configuration, it’s a compact and lightweight unit at 25 oz (including batteries) and only 5.35″ in length. It’s a true hand-held optic that’s lighter in weight than many full-size daytime binoculars. However, this model does not come with head mounting gear. For hands-free use, you’ll need to jump on over to our Ghost Hunter 1X24 monocular review.
Best Night Vision Binoculars for Hunting: Sightmark Ghost Hunter 4X50 Review
- Hand held and head mountable operation. Integrated IR illuminator. Automatic shutoff when exposed to bright light. Lightweight and compact
- Field of view: 15 degrees, Field of view: 26 meter @100 meter
This Ghost Hunter has 4x magnification and huge 50 mm objective lenses. Designed to amplify light at a higher transmission rate than smaller aperture binoculars, it has more value to the night hunter who is looking to tread the woods like a ghost – unseen.
- Gen 1
- 50 mm apertures
- Battery type
- Front & rear focus
As mentioned in our Ghost Hunter 2×24 review, the 4×50 model shares the same front and rear focusing system. It can be a little confusing to beginners new to these types of NVB, but they’re easy to focus and provide the clarity and sharpness you need to hunt in the night.
You first focus the eyepiece focusing on a target about 30 m away, and then you focus the objective lenses. Refocus the eyepiece again if needed.
Like its smaller sibling, it has all the great features we like to see in Gen 1 tech: 36 lp/mm resolution, cheap battery types (2x AAA), and long-lasting battery life of 20-72 hours; a built-in 805 nm IR illuminator, light weight of 25 oz, and an IPX3 rating for water-resistance.
It also has a Bright Light Cut-off feature that will instantly power down the device when exposed to bright lights that could damage the tubes. Fortunately, the tubes are covered with Sightmark’s 3-year warranty with a lifetime warranty on the housing.
But, what sets this Ghost Hunter apart from all other models is its higher magnification of 4x and huge apertures of 50 mm. It has a good FOV of 15 degrees or 78 ft at 100 yards, and a great detection range of almost 200 yards. For Gen 1 tech, this is great news, and you know you can always test out for further detection range with a bright moon out or with a more powerful IR.
For a wider FOV, its 2×24 counterpart has the better stats, but for more magnification and longer distances to stay hidden from those coyotes, the 4×50 will be your star performer.
Best Night Vision Binoculars for Wildlife Viewing: Night Owl NOBX-5 Review
- 5x magnification, 700 field of view, 575 range of view
- Built-in infared illuminators for viewing in complete darkness
These are highest power of NVB Night Owl has in production. With 5x magnification paired with Gen 1 IITs, the Night Owl will have you hooting all night long.
- Gen 1
- 5x power
- Adjustable IPD
- 50 mm apertures
- Manual focus
The NOBX-5 has true Generation 1 tubes in each barrel. With large 50 mm apertures, and multi-element fluoride glass coatings, you can expect great light amplification and detail with 35 lp/mm resolution. The industry standard for resolution on Gen 1 devices is around 30 lp/mm.
Getting the best sight picture is easily done with an adjustable IPD range – this feature isn’t always on NVBs and goggles, so that’s a plus. It also allows for manual focusing of the target and distance so you can fine-tune your sight picture for the best image.
However, the angular 15 degree FOV or linear 53 ft at 200 yards is decent for a Gen 1. It’s not the best for binos at around 20 degrees, but it’s better than anything below 10, and believe us, there are some of those out there. For watching wildlife in the dark from a safe distance, the FOV is generous for an NVB.
But, with the large objective lenses, you can expect they tack on some extra weight. Weighing in at 38.8 oz and 7.8 x 5.8 x 2.9″ in size, it’s no lightweight bino. At least that’s all binocular and not battery weight, too. It only takes 1x 123 lithium battery to provide anywhere between 40-80 hours of continuous use depending on how much you will use the IR illuminator.
NVD snobs will always say get Gen 3 or better, but for those on a budget looking for NV for casual use, Gen 1 will fit the bill.
Best Night Vision Binoculars with Camera: Bestguarder NV-900 Review
- LARGE 4 INCH VIEW SCREEN WITH EXCELLETNT IMAGE PERFORMANCE: Built In 2 inch TFT screen, convert to 4 inch large viewing screen by the convex lens; Resolution of...
- OUTSTANDING OPTICAL CLARITY WITH TIME LAPSE FUNCTION: High performance with 4.5X optical magnification, 5X digital zoom and a 40mm objective aperture, wide field of view,...
If you were a fan of the popular NV-800, then you’ll love the new and improved version, the NV-900 model. What are the differences? We’re glad you asked.
- 4″ screen
- Time lapse
- Constant focus adjustments
What are the upgrades from the popular NV-800? Screen resolution was improved to 640 x 840 pixels on the 4″ screen. Its video and photo resolution were upgraded, optical and digital zoom increased, and an included memory card now has 32G of storage.
New features include a redesigned ergonomic build with an easy-grip design. It also has a Time Lapse, Multi-Shoot, GPS ID stamp feature, and more. A built-in 850 nm 3W LED allows 4 illumination levels, but it will drain battery life from 14 to 10 hours. However, users have reported much lower operating times. It’s a good thing then that you can power this with a 5-6V power bank for extra time since carrying around 8x AA batteries at a time may prove to be expensive and bothersome.
With the poundage of all those batteries, this is no lightweight unit at 32 ounces (2 pounds). Thanks to the included neck strap, you don’t have to tote this thing by hand the entire night. Now that you’ve heard the good, what’s the bad and the ugly?
Between the IR adjustments and the magnification changes, you’ll need to refocus the binos every time to get the best image. There’s also no rail for attachment of an additional IR or flashlight. While there are 8 buttons to move through the various settings, it’s been said they’re difficult to differentiate and you must leave your sight picture to use them.
Bestguarder also boasts that the NV-900 is capable of detection ranges up to 400 meters with the use of the IR in complete darkness. However, users have said it’s good to about 100-300 meters. For the price and the tech, the lower ranges are much more realistic.
All in all, the NV-900 is a good device. Used properly and within its capabilities, you’ll be snapping pics and recording videos of late-night deeds all night long.
Best Day and Night Vision Binoculars: Creative XP GlassOwl Review
- CLEARLY SEE IN 100% DARKNESS - While other night vision spy gear cannot provide high-quality photos & videos without ambient light, drain your batteries within minutes or...
- DON’T LET THE NIGHT STOP YOUR ADVENTURE - If you love SPOTTING WILDLIFE during night, successfully HUNT coyotes & feral hogs, MONITOR your cattle without disturbing...
There’s nothing like a “sold out” sticker that proves popularity status, and the GlassOwl binoculars have done it once but are available and out in production once again. With having just been released to the market, you might want to hop on these quickly – like, right now.
- 4″ screen
- FMC optics
- Lifetime warranty
- Batteries not included
The main feature of the GlassOwl binoculars is its digital features. As such, it can be used both in day and night conditions. It has 3.5-7x optical magnification and 2x digital zoom. With it, you can see your targets in up-close detail on the 4″ display.
It promises 1300 ft (433 yards) of a detection range, but it’s likely this is with use of the built-in 850 nm IR illuminator and with clear skies. With 31 mm objective lenses, FMC (Fully Multi-Coated) optics, manual focus, and 10-30 mm eye relief, the digital binos are at the top of their field.
With its included 32GB micro SD memory card, you can take pictures and video recordings with audio without giving away your position. Thanks to the No Glow IR Illuminator, you can see more while remaining hidden.
The unit will be on the heavy side because of its build and its many batteries it must be powered with. You will need to purchase 8x AA batteries to power this thing, and the bad news is, they’re not included.
The good news is, the cheap NVB are covered with a lifetime warranty. Unlike warranties that only cover components and sensors for a limited time period, such as 2 years, this set is covered for life.
What to Look for in Night Vision Binoculars
When shopping for a night vision binocular, you’ll need to know about the features that sets them apart from daytime and lowlight binoculars. We’ll lay them out for you here.
But, we need to mention a couple things first. We deliberately looked for affordable options that one would realistically spend on a pair of night vision binoculars, so most of our lineup consists of night vision binoculars under $1000. For higher-end models with high-ticket prices from brands such as ATN, Pulsar, and Armasight/FLIR, check out our Night Vision Goggles lineup and guide. We did you a favor by providing as many options as possible by not listing duplicate models here.
Right-ee-o, let’s get to it.
Night Vision Binoculars VS Night Vision Goggles
Goggles and binoculars are terms that are used interchangeably, but there are pivotal features that sets them apart.
Goggle features include:
- 1x magnification
- 20-30 mm apertures
- Included goggle kits/head mount assembly
- Binoculars, bioculars, and monoculars
While goggles may include a variety of different type of head-mountable NV optics, binoculars offer more versatility in their design that includes:
- Higher magnification
- Longer range
- Multiple aperture sizes, generally much larger
- Dual tubes
- Greater depth perception
It gets repeated over and over again that night vision is expensive. Many will tout that anything below Gen 3 is a waste of money, however, Gen 3 is considered the standard for law enforcement and military use. The prices for these optics are upwards of $4000. That’s not always a practical budget for hunters, nighttime wildlife observers, and hiking/camping outdoorsmen.
If you have a budget of around $3000, you can find Gen 2 NVB that should be good enough for professional use and hunting. The increased performance and quality in Gen 2 tubes versus Gen 1 is significant. But, again, it’s not always a reality to have a few grand in the pocket to spend on NV.
The goal of our lineup is to provide you with the most affordable binoculars that are worth their salt. Most are under $1000 and are either Gen 1 tubes or digital.
Night Vision Generations
True NV generations include Generation 1, Generation 2, and Generation 3. You will see Gen 4 NVB in the market, but it’s a manufacturer’s term, and not an official industry classification. Upper level Gen 3 and Gen 4 generally means the IIT (Image Intensifier Tube) has either a thin ion barrier film or an un-filmed design which tends to be featured on auto-gated, pinnacle, and manual gain models.
Other night vision systems include WPT (White Phosphor Technology), CORE (Ceramic Optimized Ruggedized Engine) that can be applied to any generation class. Digital binoculars are active systems as they don’t require ambient light to work. These are cheaper, dual-use (both day and night) binoculars that usually have a photo and video recording functions. The latest models can live stream via connection to smart devices.
You won’t see high-powered 10x NVB in the market. The brightness, clarity, and quality needed to see with such high power just isn’t there. Most NVB will be in the range of 2-5x magnification. Digital NVB may offer 2x zoom and attachable oculars may be available to increase the fixed optical magnification, but the higher in power you go, image quality will suffer.
Field of View
Night optics have a significantly narrower FOV versus daytime binoculars. This is the measured distance of a target scene that you can see through the eyepieces at 100 yards. The angular degree is the universal measurement of FOV.
Now, many night vision goggles have a wide FOV of 40 degrees while magnified optics such as binoculars are severely restricted. Anything upwards of 20 degrees is considered very wide, but we usually see 15 degree FOVs as the average. Digital NVB have an even narrower FOV usually always below 10 degrees.
The average weight will be around 1.5-2 lbs with the lightest models coming in around 15 oz and the heaviest topping the scales at 2.5-3 lbs. The advertised weight is usually with the batteries installed, but if it seems to light to be true, assume a heavier weight with the batteries in the device.
The average length is around 7″. 4-5″ lengths are generally more compact binoculars with shorter focal lengths, and longer ones of 8-10″ may generally have larger apertures.
The type of battery and quantity needed to power the NVB plays a major part. Generally, a digital NVB will take 4-8x AA batteries, and remember that this will quickly tack on weight. True NVB may only require 1X CR123 or 1x AA battery. Many models allow for rechargeable batteries and power banks to be used.
On generation NV binos, the industry standard for battery life is 20-60 hours. IR illuminator use will draw more power to operate and is usually associated with the low-end of advertised battery life.
A digital NVB will have significantly shorter battery life that ranges anywhere between 2-10 hours and understandably so with all its digital features.
Most binoculars will come with additional accessories designed to protect, store, carry, and clean your device. A lens cloth, soft carry case, and neck strap, and lens caps are almost always included. However, batteries are one of those things that you may or may not get. The general rule is, if it’s digital, you’ll likely have to buy the many batteries needed separately. True NVB that only require a single battery will probably come with one, but it’s always better to supply it with a new, fresh one anyway.
Free Night Vision Binoculars!
Was “Free” the only word you saw? We knew that would get your attention, but sorry, we don’t have free binoculars to give away. But, what we do hand out is free information about everything there is to know about night vision and buying the best binoculars for you.
If you don’t heed our advice, you’ll likely have buyer’s remorse and will learn the hard way that you can’t buy night vision binoculars on a whim – it’s an expensive lesson to learn.
Yes, all this information comes to you free of charge – you’re so very welcome!