11 Best Night Vision Binoculars In 2023 (Digital, Gen 1, Gen 2 & Gen 3)

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Best Night Vision Binocular Reviews

There's a hefty cost to pay to get into night vision.

To accommodate a range of budgets, I set a flexible criteria for the best night vision binoculars.

I looked for Gen 1 (and better) dual tubes, wide FOVs, and if available, some with magnification for professional and hunting applications.

Don't worry, I cover some cheap NV binoculars with digital tech too!

Our 11 Top Night Vision Binoculars

IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS
tt-table__imageATN PS31-3
  • Technology: Gen 3
  • Ideal For: Professional Surveillance
  • Price Range: Under $8000
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tt-table__imageArmasight BNVD
  • Technology: Gen 3
  • Ideal For: Professionals, Hunters, Civilians
  • Price Range: Under $10,000
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tt-table__imageAGM FoxBat-5 NL2
  • Technology: Gen 2+
  • Ideal For: Armed Professionals
  • Price Range: Under $2500
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tt-table__imageNightstar 2x42
  • Technology: Gen 1
  • Ideal For: Civilians, Hunters
  • Price Range: Under $350
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tt-table__imageATN Binox 4K 4-16X
  • Technology: Digital
  • Ideal For: Hunting
  • Price Range: Under $1000
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tt-table__imageSolomark Digital Night Vision
  • Technology: Digital
  • Ideal For: Recreational Use
  • Price Range: Under $300
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tt-table__imageNightfox 100V Digital 3X20
  • Technology: Digital
  • Ideal For: Recreational Use
  • Price Range: Under $200
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tt-table__imageAGM NVG-40 NL2
  • Technology: Gen 2+
  • Ideal For: Professionals, Hunters, Civilians
  • Price Range: Under $4500
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tt-table__imageGThunder GTU2
  • Technology: Digital
  • Ideal For: Civilians, Hunters
  • Price Range: Under $100
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tt-table__imageBestguarder NV 900
  • Technology: Digital
  • Ideal For: Camera
  • Price Range: Under $400
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tt-table__imageCreative XP GlassOwl
  • Technology: Digital
  • Ideal For: Day & Night Use
  • Price Range: Under $300
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I might sound bitter but buying night vision (NV) almost feels like extortion. It's expensive technology, so price will always be an indicator of quality and whether the device offers passive technology or not.

The best night vision binoculars in my lineup are passive distinguished by their generation class, for example, "Generation 3." 

A trick to see through some false advertising with budget NV is the term "low light night vision binoculars."  These do not offer NV as they function best in daylight with acceptable performance in low light - maybe (I'm giving the benefit of the doubt here).

Night vision is a must-have for legal night hunting on hogs, coyotes, and pests. Using night vision while camping, hiking, and watching wildlife in the dark makes for an enjoyable and safe activity. 

Night vision for home defense, security, and property surveillance provides peace of mind and enhanced protective measures.  Should I go on?  Meh, I think you get the idea.

Why choose a binocular over night vision goggles or monoculars?  Essentially, you have magnification, large apertures, and dual IITs (Image Intensifier Tube) that can give you greater light amplification, detail at longer distances, and longer, more comfortable use. 

But, I'll get into that some more down below.

For now, let's glass over the most dependable and professional night vision binoculars to some low-cost alternatives.

Best Night Vision Binoculars On The Market

1.     ATN PS31-3 Night Vision Binoculars – Best Overall

TFB PS31 Review Helmet mounted PS31
Image Credit: TFB Helmet mounted ATN PS31

The PS15 binoculars have been discontinued and replaced with a new legacy series, the PS31. Designed with input from U.S. Operations, the night vision binos have sharper resolution, are much more ergonomic, and are ultra-compact and lightweight. Unfortunately, they’re still very expensive.  

Pros:

  • Gen 3 Auto-gated/Thin film
  • A-grade 64-72 lp/mm resolution
  • Ultra-wide 50° FOV
  • Flip-up & monocular use
  • Compact/lightweight

Cons:

  • Price

I’m not surprised that the PS31 comes in at almost double the price of the long-gone PS15 binoculars. Granted, the PS31 only dabbles in Gen 3 and better, and there’s a lot to gain with the new models even though these are technically goggles by definition.

Spec Ops Gear Review Testing through PS31
Image Credit: Spec Ops Gear Looking through the PS31

From what I can see, you’re not actually getting any magnification as it’s a 1x dual tube optic – goggles! I’d give up magnification if it meant I had everything else the PS31 offers such as A-grade resolution (everything is clearer and sharper with much more detail), auto-gain to adapt to the conditions, and 60 hours of operation with a CR123 battery. The optional battery pack is expensive but is worth it, in my opinion, since it’s rated to run for 300 hours.

I really like that the dual tubes can be manipulated. This would be really beneficial for armed professionals when moving between weapon-mounted optics and dynamic battlefield conditions.

Spec Ops Gear Review use with red dot and IR illumination off
Image Credit: Spec Ops Gear PS31 used with weapon mounted red dot (left) and IR off in snowy conditions (right)

I personally think that it’s decently outfitted for indoor and outdoor use. Of course, it’s not waterproof, but it is IP65 rated, so it can handle exposure to rain and the like, just don’t let it be submerged. It’s rated to operate in extreme temperatures from -59° to 120° F.

At only 1.27 lbs in weight and 4.5 x 7 x 3.5” in size, it’s made to reduce weight on the neck and head and has been designed for improved center of gravity. For its advantages, I reckon the PS31 is an NVD that’s worth the money for the most serious of us who need A-grade night vision.

2. Armasight BNVD – Best Gen 3

Optics Planet Armasight BNDV40
Image Credit: Optics Planet Armasight BNVD

Armasight is back and on a mission to improve and impress. Though outrageously expensive, the BNVD is an efficacious investment whether it be for professional applications from law enforcement to military engagements and civilian home defense and hunting.

Pros:

  • Gen 3 Pinnacle
  • Single barrel flip-up
  • Compact/lightweight
  • Dual power source option
  • 3-year warranty

Cons:

  • Price

I think there was only ever one way for Armasight to come back strong. And, they did it with manufacturing only high-grade Gen 3 IIT tubes available in green or white phosphor. The BNVD has a slew of high-end features from 64-81 lp/mm resolution, automatic brightness and manual gain to a built-in IR illuminator and Bright-Light Cut-Off.

Like what many NVDs now offer, it can take either a CR123 or AA battery for operation. I approve of this dual power source option as it means you can use what you have on hand is readily available come worst-case-scenario... AAs are everywhere.

Armasight BNVD40 features
Image Credit: Optics Planet Armasight BNVD-40 features

It’s a true-to-form binocular with double eyepieces, double objectives, and double IITs – it’s not a bi-ocular. I really like its conveniently compact size at 5.4 x 2.8 x 4.6”. It weighs 1.4 lbs, and for context, bioculars can get a lot heavier at almost 3 lbs - true story.

I would need to adjust for dioptric correction and focusing; fortunately the BNVD has that. Facilely, flip one barrel up for unassisted vision in one eye for use as a monocular. It’s both fog and water-resistant. With 1x magnification, it’s well-suited for use as goggles and hands-free applications.

As a high-end night vision binocular used as hands-free goggles, it offers a lot of potential for serious hunters and professional applications where maximum situational awareness, navigational mobility, and high-performance IITs are required.

3. AGM Foxbat-5 NL2 - Best Gen 2

AGM Foxbat NL2 models
Image Credit: AGM Foxbat-5 NL2 models

The price for Gen 2 night vision may seem like a giant leap from Gen 1 and that's because it is.  Not only is price significantly higher, quality is too. But I'd say the price is well worth it especially when there's magnification to be gained in the mix.

Pros:

  • Gen 2+
  • 5x magnification
  • Biocular
  • Detachable IR
  • Tripod mountable

Cons:

  • Heavy/bulky

For my top pick of Gen 2 binoculars, I've chosen the Foxbat-5 NL2.  It's a bi-ocular by design and has its own set of benefits to aid in your night time stalking adventures.  This Foxbat has 5x magnification, a huge aperture, and multi-coated, all-glass optics.  I would say without doubt that the potential for incredible light transmission and amplification is there.

AGM Foxbat 5 NL2 and mounted to tripod with IR light
Image Credit: AGM Foxbat-5 NL2 updated model (left) and mounted to tripod with detachable IR light (right)

I get excited about this next part because it's one of those "small details" things that makes a huge difference in the field. Usually seen on a night vision binocular 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 11" (length) and 2.3 lb weight, I strongly recommend mounting it to a tripod. This would be my only legit complaint about - it's heavy and too big to wear mounted and can be cumbersome as a handheld.

AGM Foxbat 5 NL2 and used as a handheld
Image Credit: AGM Foxbat-5 used as a handheld device

The Foxbat also has a dual power source option. Powered with 2x AA batteries, you can expect up to 40-80 hours of continuous operation. Use of the IR will also affect how fast you run out of juice.

I like everything about the Foxbat - even its price tag.  I will go so far as to say that it's good enough for law enforcement, hunting, and professional surveillance use.  For upper level Gen 2 tech with magnification, it doesn't get cheaper than this. To be fair, I'd say for the money, value is found in the AGM Foxbat-5.

4. NightStar 2x42 – Best Gen 1

NightStar 2x42
Image Credit: NightStar

Gen 2 is becoming more affordable as Gen 1 pickings are slim and digital night vision comes in to fill the gap. The NightStar 2x42 binoculars are one of the few optics left in the market with first generation night vision.

Pros:

  • Gen 1
  • Price
  • Battery life & source
  • Good resolution
  • Decent detection range

Cons:

  • Eye relief

Gen 1 is as cheap as it’s ever been and is always a great option as a first-time buy for those who want to experience real night vision without spending over $500. This is perhaps the number one reason why I like the NightStar - it's incredibly affordable for passive night vision.

The NightStar 2x42 binoculars have a Gen 1 tube that lacks a microchannel plate. Ultimately, you still get the photocathode and phosphor screen to get the green intensified night vision image. Though everyone belittles Gen 1 resolution, I think the 32-36 lp/mm resolution is still pretty good. It’s far better than no night vision at all, and it can be more reliable than cheap digital alternatives.

NightStar 1x20 head installation and focusing steps
Image Credit: NightStar Example of 1x20 head mount installation and focusing steps

I assume there is a single IIT in the binoculars though it has double eyepieces. You can adjust for dioptic correction to -/+ 4, focus from 5 yards to infinity, and work with a 15° FOV. The eye relief is 12mm, so it’s very short. I, for one, would want to use the diopter in favor of ditching my glasses so the eye relief is not as bad.

The company boasts a long-ranging 250-yard detection range and that may be true though I doubt it. The identification range will likely be inside 80 yards. Being realistic, expect best performance between 50-100 yards on nights with half-moons.

When it comes to battery life, it has an edge over digital night vision. The NS 2x42 takes a single CR123A battery and provides a runtime of 30 hours. Not bad at all for budget Gen 1 under $500.

5. ATN Binox 4K 4-16X NV Binoculars - Best Digital

Hunting Magazine ATN Binox4K
Image Credit: Myslivost Hunting Magazine ATN Binox4K review

Priced on the higher end for digital night vision, the Binox 4K sets the standard for all digital devices.  Is it worth pulling the trigger on?

Pros:

  • Day/night use
  • Laser rangefinder
  • Ultra HD sensor
  • BIX tech
  • Live stream

Cons:

  • Bulky

It will be hard to find anything better than the Binox 4K.  It has HD optics, can be used in both day and night conditions, and it's smart - maybe too smart for its own good. 

ATN Binox4K BIX in action and tripod mounted
Image Credit: ATN Binox4K BIX in action and tripod mounted

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. Though it all sounds great, I know that I won't be using every single one of those features.

With all the bells and whistles, I figure there's going to be quite the learning curve, but a feature I am very familiar with is the rangefinder.  It ranges from 5-1000 yards with +/-1 yard precision.  I've come to love built-in image and video capabilities on an optic. I did this with the AGM Asp-Micro thermal monocular and it was so easy to use. The Binox has 1080P video recording and Dual Stream Video.

ATN Binox4K in action day and night
Image Credit: ATN Binox 4K day and night action

The Binox 4K is a beast at 9.4" long and 2.5 lbs, but it's a camera, laser rangefinder, and night vision binocular in one package. It also has ATN's BIX (Ballistic Information Exchange) technology. It's an exchange of ballistic data between compatible devices: lase a target and the reticle through the scope shows an updated holdover dot. It's very similar to my experience with Sig Sauer's BDX technology that I field-tested.

With dual CORE tech and an Ultra HD sensor to power the 600 lp/mm resolution with a 1280 x 720 x 2 display, you'll have sharp clarity and brightness no matter the time of day. Is the Binox worth the high price tag for digital night vision?  If you want the best, I'd say yes.

6. Solomark Digital Night Vision Binoculars - Best Under $300

Night Vision Binoculars Hunting Binoculars-Digital Infrared Night Vision Hunting...
173 Reviews
Night Vision Binoculars Hunting Binoculars-Digital Infrared Night Vision Hunting...
  • 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 budget digital night vision device. Like so many other popular models like it, it's a winner with the cost-conscious buyer. For the money, it's one of the upper-end for entry-level night vision.

Pros:

  • Price
  • Digital
  • 4" screen
  • 640 x 480 resolution
  • FMC optics

Cons:

  • No batteries included

As seen with digital devices of this caliber, the 8x AA batteries required to power it are not included. I'm also not a fan that it literally needs eight batteries just to work, and battery life is unknown though I suspect it will be limited.

Solomark Night Vision Binoculars
Image Credit: Solomark Wide dynamic display of Solomark NVD

The 2" screen converts to 4" 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 digital zoom of 2x. 

I should drill in that you must keep the IR-filter cap over the left objective lens during daylight use to protect night vision components.  Simply remove the cap when you're ready to stalk at 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. However, I'd caution you to set realistic expectations for about 100 yards at night.

Solomark Digital Night Vision Binoculars
Image Credit: Solomark Objective lenses and side control panel

With FMC optics, 640 x 480 pixel resolution for photo and video recording, and 31 mm apertures, I like that 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.  I really like that it can be mounted to a tripod for extra steady use.  I recommend it for amateur, casual, and recreational use.

For cheap night vision technology on a budget, the Solomark is a digital option that you can play around with in the dark.

7. Nightfox 100V Digital 3X20 NV Binoculars - Best Under $100

NIGHTFOX 100V Handheld Digital Night Vision Goggles | Easy to Use Binocular,...
2,138 Reviews
NIGHTFOX 100V Handheld Digital Night Vision Goggles | Easy to Use Binocular,...
  • EASY TO USE: There are just three buttons for power, infrared and zoom. There's a focus wheel at the front of the device. There are no complex menus to worry about,...
  • THE PERFECT SPOTTER: With 3x optical magnification and 2x digital zoom, the 100V is perfect for spotting animals up to and over 100 yards away. Spot foxes, deer,...

For under $200, you can have night vision - sort of.  No, it's not passive night vision technology as it's digital night vision 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.

Pros:

  • Price
  • Digital
  • Widescreen display
  • Focus wheel
  • Tripod mountable

Cons:

  • No photo or video recording
Andys Range Nightfox 100V Digital NVB
Image Credit: Andy's Range Nightfox 100V Digital NVB review

For a digital binocular, I find it almost strange that it doesn't include photo or video recording features, but I suppose that's what helps to shave costs 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.  I think you'd need the built-in IR illuminator most of the time so that you can see in total darkness. The IR intensity is adjustable with 7 settings. 

NightFox Digital NVB in action
Image Credit: NightFox Digital NVB in action

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, but I still appreciate that it even has this feature.

NightFox Digital NVB battery installation and button interface
Image Credit: NightFox Digital NVB installing batteries (left) and button interface (right)

I'm always happy to see that devices, including the Nightfox, can be tripod mounted. 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 night vision tubes.

NightFox Digital NV Binoculars in action with digital zoom
Image Credit: NightFox Digital NV Binoculars in action with context pic (left) and digital zoom through the NightFox (right)

The Nightfox is an entry-level, digital night vision binocular, and it's priced as such.  But, what surprises me is the 18-month warranty on the binoculars.  For a budget optic, I'm impressed that it even comes with a warranty. 

If you're looking to spend as little as possible for the most simplistic night vision gadget that works, the Nightfox is your best pick.

8. AGM NVG-40 NL2 – Best for Hunting

AGM NVG 40 NL2 dove tail mount and objective lenses
Image Credit: AGM NVG 40 NL2 dove tail mount (left) and objective lenses (right)

Overall, the AGM NVG-40 are binocular goggles. It has 1x magnification for hands-free navigational use and is suited to hunting and law enforcement applications. It can be head or helmet mounted for hands-free use. With dual IITs, the NVG-40 offers binocular vision with night vision goggle benefits.

Pros:

  • Binocular/goggles
  • Dual IITs
  • Manual gain
  • Bright light cut-off
  • Compact/lightweight

Cons:

  • Mounting difficulties

AGM has had a track record of comments here and there regarding mounting difficulties for various NVDs. It’s not that there are problems per se, there’s just more involved than you might initially think. But, I've personally scoured AGM manuals and mounting instructions myself, and they do provide thorough steps, optional part numbers, and diagrams to aid in the process. Once that’s figured out, the NVG-40 works with irreproachable performance.

AGM NVG 40 NL2 in use and head mounted
Image Credit: AGM NVG-40 NL-2 flipped-up for weapon-mounted optic use (left) and head mounted (right)

Additionally, they preinstall an interface shoe for dovetail systems and include in the box an interface shoe for bayonet (horn) systems. I appreciate that because my helmet mount has the bayonet interface. The less I need to spend on adapters, the better!

Worth pointing out is its price point that is significantly cheaper than other dual IIT binocular goggles. Granted, it’s a Gen 2+ “Level 2” IIT and not Gen 3, but it’s almost half the price of Gen 3 alternatives.

AGM states the binoculars have a redundant dual-tube design. It’s plausible to interpret this as each barrel has its own IIT tube and the configuration allows for continued performance even if one goes out.

AGM NVG 40 NL2 flipped up and in flipped down
Image Credit: AGM NVG40 NL2 flipped-up and out of the way (left) and flipped down in use (right)

Features include 45-57 lp/mm resolution, manual gain, bright-light cut-off, and automatic shut-off. Standard specs include a 40° FOV, 25mm eye relief, and 27mm lens. It’s also powered the same as comparable alternatives with the dual battery option of either a CR123A or AA battery for 20 hours of operation. I like that it weighs 1.42 lbs and comes in more compact than alternatives at 4.5 x 4.6 x 2.9”.

For the money, I find the the quality and performance to be fair and well matched. The stereoscopic vision for mobility whether you’re in the hunt or on duty is worth the investment.

9. GThunder GTU2 Digital Night Vision – Best for Wildlife Viewing

GThunder Digital NVD green edition
Image Credit: GThunder Digital NVD green edition

The GThunder are likely the best night vision binoculars you will get for under $200. It’s a budget alternative to more expensive digital alternatives, but it performs adequately for close-range observation of what’s roaming after dark.

Pros:

  • Day/night use
  • 3x magnification
  • Digital zoom
  • Video/image capture
  • Warranty

Cons:

  • Battery life

Digital night vision is safe to use during the day, so this NVB can be pulled out regardless of the conditions. I feel like the GThunder has an upper hand against similar alternatives because the GThunder has image and video recording. Not all budget NVDs have it.

GThunder NVD Installing batteries and TF card
Image Credit: GThunder Battery installation (left) and inserting TF card (right)

It offers 3x optical magnification with 4x digital zoom. To power the electronics, it’s a hog-hungry digital binocular that requires 6x AA batteries, and at least that's better than the 8 required of alternatives. I like that rechargeable batteries can be used, and you will want extras as the built-in IR illuminator will use most of that juice. Batteries are not included.

Speaking of the IR, you will need it to gain any decent range, but I expect that the resolution is decent from 50-80 yards for identification. The detection and recognition range is likely inside 150 yards on average wildlife sizes such as horses and cattle.

GTHUNDER 4x digital zoom and level 3 brightness
Image Credit: GThunder 4x digital zoom and level 3 brightness day (left) and night (right) examples

Some have quality control issues that mostly involves units not working correctly or no night vision detection past 10 yards. I'd recommend purchasing one of the multi-year protection plans that offer returns, refunds, and/or replacement eligibilities.

For the money, I acknowledge that it's a budget option for a first-time NV device to see what’s digging holes in the backyard or what’s stalking your chicken coop.

10. Bestguarder NV-900 - Best with Camera

Bestguarder NV-900 4.5-22.5X40mm Digital Night Vision Goggles Binocular with...
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Bestguarder NV-900 4.5-22.5X40mm Digital Night Vision Goggles Binocular with...
  • HIGH QUAILTY IMAGE & VIDEO AND RESOLUTION WITH 4” GLASS VIEWING SCREEN**: Built In 2 inch TFT screen, convert to 4 inch large viewing screen by the convex lens,...
  • UPDATED VERSION AND POWERFUL NIGHT VISION WITH OUTSTANDING OPTICAL CLARITY**: High power built-in 850NM 3W no-glow infrared illumination for up to 1300ft/400m viewing...

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?  I'm glad you asked.

Pros:

  • Price
  • Digital
  • 4" screen
  • Time lapse
  • Waterproof

Cons:

  • 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.  Video and photo resolution were upgraded, optical and digital zoom increased, and an included memory card now has 32G of storage.

BESGUARDER NVD and control panel and textured armor
Image Credit: Bestguarder NVD (left) and control panel and textured armor (right)

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. I don't think I'd use all of that, but the capabilities are there and adds value. A built-in 850 nm 3W LED allows 4 illumination levels, but it will drain battery life from 14 to 10 hours. To be able to see in the dark, I'd use the IR even with the compromise of the battery life.

Alternatively, 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. I don't think it's lightweight when it weights 32 ounces (2 pounds).  Thanks to the included neck strap, I'd recommend wearing it.

Bestguarder Digital NVD and lenses
Image Credit: Bestguarder Digital NVD (left) and objective lenses (right)

I've discovered that between the IR adjustments and 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 boasts that the NV-900 is capable of detection ranges up to 400 meters with the use of the IR in complete darkness.  I'd say realistic ranges are about 100-300 meters given the price and the digital tech. 

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.

11. Creative XP GlassOwl - Best Day & Night

CREATIVE XP Night Vision Goggles - GlassCondor Pro - Digital Military Binoculars...
3,799 Reviews
CREATIVE XP Night Vision Goggles - GlassCondor Pro - Digital Military Binoculars...
  • SEE IN TOTAL DARKNESS - Unlike other night vision binoculars that can't give you high-quality visibility without ambient light, our goggles feature an infrared...
  • VIEWING SCREEN - These binoculars for hunting and security feature a 4" TFT screen with a 2x digital zoom, allowing you to view crystal-clear photos and videos in an...

There's nothing like a "sold out" sticker that proves popularity status, and the GlassOwl binoculars have done it once and are available and in production once again.  With having just been released to the market, you might want to hop on these quickly - like, right now.

Pros:

  • Price
  • Digital
  • 4" screen
  • FMC optics
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons:

  • Batteries not included
CreativeXP Digital NVD video recording example
Image Credit: Creative XP Digital NVD video recording example

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 I advise that this is only likely with use of the built-in 850 nm IR illuminator and with clear night skies.  With 31 mm objective lens, FMC (Fully Multi-Coated) optics, manual focus, and 10-30 mm eye relief, I reckon the budget digital binoculars are at the top of their field.

Creative XP in use and installing batteries
Image Credit: Creative XP NVD in use (left) and battery installation (right)

With its included 32GB micro SD memory card, you can take pictures and video recordings with audio without giving away your position.  I really like the No Glow IR Illuminator, so that you can see more while remaining hidden.

Though I don't like it, the power source is not included. This is a standard downside of most budget NVBs. You will need to purchase 8x AA batteries to power it. You read that right, 8x batteries - that's standard too.

CREATIVEXP Glass Owl NVD getting water tested
Image Credit: CreativeXP Glass Owl NVD water testing

The good news is, the cheap night vision binoculars 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. In my opinion, this adds a whole lot of value to the GlassOwl NVBs.

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.  I'll lay out those differences for you here.

First, I 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, check out our Night Vision Goggles guide

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 night vision 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

Price/Budget

ProductNV GenerationPrice Range
ATN PS31-3Gen 3Under $8000
Armasight BNVDGen 3Under $10,000
AGM FoxBat-5 NL3Gen 2+Under $2500
NightstarGen 1Under $350
ATN Binox 4K 4-16xDigitalUnder $1000
Solomark Digital Night VisionDigitalUnder $300
Nightfox 100V Digital 3x20DigitalUnder $200
AGM NVG-40 NL2Gen 2+Under $4500
GThunder GTU2DigitalUnder $200
Bestguarder NV 900DigitalUnder $400
Creative XP GlassOwlDigitalUnder $300
Product, NV Generation & Price Range Comparison

It gets repeated over again that night vision is expensive.  Many will say that anything below Generation 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. Well, since I fall into this category, I don't think it's a practical budget.

If you have around $3000, you can find Gen 2 night vision binoculars that should be good enough for professional use and hunting at night.  The increased performance and quality in Gen 2 tubes versus Gen 1 is significant. 

The goal of my lineup is to provide you with the most affordable binoculars that are worth it.  Most are under $1000 and are either Gen 1 or digital.

Night Vision Generations

True night vision generations include Generation 1, Generation 2, and Generation 3 that are passive devices.  You will see Gen 4 night vision binoculars 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) and 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.  They are more affordable and dual-use (both day and night) binoculars that usually have photo and video recording functions.  The latest models can live stream via connection to smart devices.

Magnification

ProductMagnificationAngle of View
ATN PS31-31x50°
Armasight BNVD1x40°
AGM FoxBat-5 NL35x9.5°
Nightstar 2x422x15°
ATN Binox 4K 4-16x4-16xUndisclosed
Solomark Digital Night Vision3.5-7x
Nightfox 100V Digital 3x203x12°
AGM NVG-40 NL21x40°
GThunder GTU23xUndisclosed
Bestguarder NV 9004.5x
Creative XP GlassOwl3.5-7xUndisclosed
Product, Magnification & Angle of View Comparison

You won't see high-powered 10x night vision binoculars in the market.  The brightness, clarity, and quality needed to see with magnification just isn't there.  Most will be in the range of 2-5x magnification. 

Digital night vision binoculars may offer 2x zoom and attachable oculars may be available to increase the fixed optical magnification. However, the higher in power you go, image quality will suffer.

I recommend compromising on high magnification and opt for better resolution especially if the device has a digital system.

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 night vision devices have an even narrower FOV usually always below 10 degrees.

Size/Weight

ProductWeight
ATN PS31-31.27 lbs
Armasight BNVD1.4 lbs
AGM FoxBat-5 NL32.9 lbs
Nightstar 2x422.0 lbs
ATN Binox 4K 4-16x2.5 lbs
Solomark Digital Night VisionUnknown
Nightfox 100V Digital 3x201.32 lbs
AGM NVG-40 NL21.4 lbs
GThunder GTU21.6 lbs (with batteries)
Bestguarder NV 9001.98 lbs
Creative XP GlassOwl1.67 lbs
Product & Weight Comparison

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 too light to be true, assume a heavier weight with the batteries in the device.

The average length is around 7". More compact binoculars are generally 4-5" long with shorter focal lengths, and longer ones of 8-10" may have larger apertures.

Battery Life

ProductBattery TypeBattery Life
ATN PS31-31 x 3V (CR123A)60 hrs
Armasight BNVD1 x 3V (CR123A) or 1 x 1.5V (AA type battery)20 hrs (3V) / 12 hrs (1.5V)
AGM FoxBat-5 NL31 x 1.5V AA type or 1 x 3V CR123A type battery60 hrs (3V) / 30 hrs (1.5V)
Nightstar 2x421 x CR123A30 hrs
ATN Binox 4K 4-16xInternal Lithium Ion15+ hrs
Solomark Digital Night Vision8 x AA BatteriesUnknown
Nightfox 100V Digital 3x208 x AA Batteries6 hrs
AGM NVG-40 NL21 x 1.5V AA type or 1 x 3V CR123A type batteryUp to 20 hrs @ 20°C (68°F)
GThunder GTU26 x AA Batteries17 hrs (without IR), 6 hrs (with IR)
Bestguarder NV 9008 x AA Batteries10 hrs (with IR) 14 hrs (without IR)
Creative XP GlassOwl8 x AA BatteriesUnknown
Product, Battery Type & Battery Life Comparison

The type of battery and quantity needed to power the device plays a major role.  Generally, a digital night vision binocular will take 4-8x AA batteries, and remember that this will quickly tack on weight.  Passive night vision devices may only require 1X CR123 or 1x AA battery.  Many models allow for rechargeable batteries and power banks to be used.

On passive night vision binoculars, 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 binocular will have significantly shorter battery life that ranges anywhere between 2-10 hours and understandably so with all its digital features.

Accessories

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.  Passive night vision devices that only require a single battery will like have one included in the box, but it's always better to supply it with a new, fresh one anyway.

FAQ’s

Which Night Vision Binoculars are the Best?

The best night vision binoculars are the ones that best serve the purpose and that fits budgetary constraints. The ATN PS31-3 night vision binoculars are some of the best available, however they are not recommended to a beginner hunter with a small budget.

How Far Can You See with Night Vision Binoculars?

There are multiple factors that affect how far one can see with night vision binoculars such as Figure of Merit, Signal-to-Noise Ratio, and Resolution. Budget options have 50-100 yards of decent viewing while 100-300 yards is the norm. The best binoculars in great conditions can view even further.

Can Night Vision Binoculars be Used in Daylight?

As a general rule, night vision binoculars cannot be used in daylight. Exposure to bright light can damage the image intensifier tubes. However, digital night vision binoculars like the ATN 4K Binox are also considered dual day/night binoculars and can be used safely during the day.

Are Night Vision Binoculars Worth it?

There is no denying that night vision binoculars are costly, but no vision in the dark is ineffectual. Being able to see further with improved clarity and target identification for security, law enforcement, hunting, and other nighttime applications is invaluable.

What’s the Difference Between Night Vision Goggles and Night Vision Binoculars?

The main difference between night vision goggles and night vision binoculars is the magnification. Goggles have 1x magnification for improved mobility/navigation, reading text/maps, and hands-free operation. Binoculars have high magnification with small field of views for magnified vision.

Great Night Vision Binoculars! 

I've provided great night vision binoculars from a wide range of budgets. As you can see, they vary widely in not only cost but also in quality, performance, and night vision systems.

Avoid buyer's remorse from learning the hard way - you can't buy night vision on a whim. It's an expensive lesson to learn.

Be smart and look to our FAQs on night vision to see if we can answer any more questions you may have.  We also provide more details about night vision generations so you know exactly what you're buying.

Yes, all this information comes to you free of charge - you're so very welcome!

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