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If you want to own the night, there is one thing we can all agree on, you will need a great pair of night vision goggles.
Overall, the best night vision goggles are the ATN NVG7-WPT which have been used by law enforcement and the military. This NVG7 uses White Phosphor Technology (WPT), is a 1X power, has up to 60 hrs battery life and is an affordable option for armed professionals, hunters and civilians.
I understand that not everyone has $2000 or more to spend on night vision goggles though, and you may prefer a different technology.
For this reason, I have also reviewed some other great goggles in cheaper price ranges using Gen 1, Gen 2 and digital technology – I have even included something for the kids!
Our 9 Top Night Vision Goggles
|ATN NVG7-WPT||CHECK PRICE|
|X-Vision Hands Free Night Vision Pro||CHECK PRICE|
|PRG Defense Wolf-7 NL3||CHECK PRICE|
|Yukon Tracker 1X24||CHECK PRICE|
|Spy Gear Ultimate Night Vision Goggles||CHECK PRICE|
|ATN PS15-2||CHECK PRICE|
|ATN PVS7-2||CHECK PRICE|
|Wanney Tracker||CHECK PRICE|
|AGM Kids Night Vision Goggles||CHECK PRICE|
What Are Night Vision Goggles (NVG)?
Technically, any NV (Night Vision) optic that can be mounted to head and helmet gear can constitute as a night vision goggle device.
In our lineup, this includes the best:
Often, the included head mount assembly is called a goggle kit, and when a monocular, for example, is mounted to provide hands-free operation, it's now a complete goggle assembly.
So, what features should you look for in the various types of goggles to determine if it is a goggle or just another night vision binocular or monocular?
- 1x magnification
- 20-29 mm apertures
- Hands-free operation
- Included goggle assembly kit
Who needs NVGs?
Many professions and civilian sports and lifestyles incorporate goggles in one way or another.
- Law enforcement
- Home defense/SHTF preparation
- UFO watching
. . . And the list goes on. With so many uses for NVGs, we took the initiative to provide you with not just the 10 best, but 16 goggles that are ranked and rated to be the best in the commercial market. From under 100 bucks to lip-biting, high-end prices, we have the top-ranking cream of the crop goggles right here.
The 9 Best Night Vision Goggles
1. Best White Phosphor Goggles: ATN NVG7-WPT Review
Looking for law enforcement grade night-vision without the inflated costs of night-vision? The NVG7 series of goggles is intended to provide just that.
- WPT tech
- Adjustable IPD
I think that one of the most attractive features of the NVG7 is the adjustable IPD. Many NVGs don't come with the ability to narrow or widen the eyepieces because of the top mounting design to head and helmet gear. With these, you not only have an adjustable IPD feature, you also have one of the cheapest price tags for NV, and not just any NV, WPT at that.
What is WPT? It's White Phosphor Technology. While it's usually seen in upper Gen 3 tech, it can be used in any Generation class. While this NVG7 has 51-64 lp/mm resolution, a SNR of 16-22, and standard features that includes 1x power, Auto Brightness, and Bright Light Cut-off, it can be comparable to Gen 2 tech.
It takes 1x CR123A battery for up to 60 hours of nighttime exploring and expeditions. It comes with a goggle kit that is necessary for hands-free operation, and its biocular design includes a 26 mm aperture. The multi-purpose NVG7 WPT is one of the lightest goggles we've seen at 1.1 lbs.
Be sure to take care of your water-resistant goggles because the NVG7 is only covered by ATN Corp with a 2-year limited warranty. In my opinion, it's certainly not the best in the industry, and with a possible 15% restocking fee, you'll want to make sure you fully inspect it within 10 days of receiving the NVG.
Designed as a biocular that has been used by law enforcement and the military, the NVG7 are affordable goggles for armed professionals, hunters, and civilians on a budget.
2. Best Digital: X-Vision Hands Free Night Vision Pro Review
- See as far as 200 yards (183 m) in complete darkness or up to 400 yards (366 m) during the day.
- Battery life consists of long continuous use with 8 hours of performance during the daytime or 5 hours of performance during the nighttime.
You can't beat this if you're on a tight budget. The X-Vision goggles are one of the cheapest you will find in the market that is not a child's toy. It's digital NV, hands-free, and incredibly affordable.
- Day/night use
- Battery life
- Black/white display
- No photo/video recording
Most digital NV devices provide for photo and video recording features, but this model doesn't. It's not always a bad thing since it keeps the price very low. There's more to like about it than not.
I like the rechargeable battery that will last up to 8 hours in daytime and 5 hours at night. This is a long-lasting feature for digital NV. We like the adjustable aperture that allows for use during the day, and of course, at night in the dark.
The 10 degree visual angle will provide a sight picture in black and white. We also like how compact and lightweight the X-Vision Pro is. It's 5.51 x 6.3 x 2.6" in size and weighs a mere 12 ounces. For hands-free operation, it comes with an adjustable head strap.
The digital goggles are advertised to provide up to 300 yards of detection range at night and up to 440 yards during the day. For an entry-level model, low price, and digital resolution of 320 x 240, I think those estimations may be stretching it, but it's certainly possible with the aid of an IR flashlight.
This may not be your ultimate, covert pair of goggles, or even a set you'll want to use to sprint around with, but it is NV in a hands-free design for search and rescue, close-range hunting, and searching the skies - day or night.
3. Best for the Money: PRG Defense Wolf-7 NL3 Review
- Multi-purpose: Hand-held, head-mounted or helmet-mounted
- Comfortable flip-up headgear, Multi-coated all-glass optics
This biocular NVG has Gen 2+ "Level 3" technology. Short story - it's upper Gen 2 technology. The jaw-dropping aspect of why it's in this lineup is its price tag. You get more for less with the Wolf-7 in your shopping cart.
- Auto features
- Young company
Head of PRG Defense? They were formed in 2010, and even though they have a decade under their belt, there's not a lot of buzz in the market about them. Thanks to their high-quality optics sold for less than their competitors, we're giving them a spot in this lineup.
This is a biocular, similar in comparison to the AN/PVS7, which we assume the Wolf-7 was designed after. It has the tell-tale features of a solid goggle setup with its 1x power, 24 mm aperture, and included flip-up headgear.
If you're wondering where it cuts short to accommodate for a low price, you'll be left wondering. It has 0.25 m close focus distance, 40 degree FOV, and 60 hours of use (at 20°C) on a single CR123A or AA battery.
It's the lightest, true NVG biocular in this lineup at 0.9 lbs (14.4 oz), so it will be lightweight, easy to maneuver, and wear with the included head gear. There are no shortcuts taken with any of the automatic features that includes Auto Shut-off, Auto Brightness, and Bright Light Cut-off. True to NVGs, it has a built-in IR illuminator.
From what we see, the Wolf has it all. Are you willing to give them a chance? Law enforcement and the government has. PRG and PRG Defense has multiple services, training, and products that they supply to the Department of Defense, Department of Justice, U.S. Coast Guard Strike Teams, and more local and nationwide governmental departments. If you're not impressed by that (and it's hard not to), remember the price. For under $2000, this might be your best NVG buy yet.
4. Best Under $1000: Yukon Tracker 1X24 Review
There have been many Tracker NVGs that have come and gone, but the 1X24 remains the most popular set that has withstood the tests of trend and time.
- Gen 1
- 1x magnification
- Dual diopter adjustment
- Eclipse Lens Cover System
- Central focusing knob
- Narrow FOV
With 36 lp/mm resolution, minimum focusing distance of 1 meter, and an 80 meter detection range, it's within specs for Gen 1 tech. However, the 30 degree FOV is narrow, which is noticeably restrictive when moving around, exaggerates the flaws of a Gen 1 device - fish-eye lens effect and soft edges.
Combine the dizzying effects of Gen 1 tech with a binocular design, and it can get uncomfortable to wear mounted to head gear for prolonged periods of time. Weighing in at 21 oz and is 6.9" in length, it's definitely a full-size pair of binos.
But, the upside to having goggles that are more like binoculars is the optical system. It has dual diopter adjustments and a central focusing knob. With this system, you're able to focus your image for your eyes and the target scene to improve vision with this Gen 1 device.
It also comes with the necessary head gear to mount the Tracker, but many users have replaced it for a more comfortable and sturdier goggle kit. The Eclipse Lens Cover System consists of flip-up caps that can be rotated to the side and securely attached to the bino, so you don't lose them.
The detection range is said to be 80 meters. With use of the built-in 805 nm IR illuminator on dark, cloudy nights, you'll reach it. With a quarter moon out, you'll reach 80 meters without use of the IR. On clear, full moon, starry nights, you should be able to push detection range distances out to 200 yards. You can test the limits for yourself with 1x CR123A battery that's supposed to last up to 20 hours with the IR, and 72 hours without it. But, you'll have to buy it yourself since it's not included with the goggles.
The Yukon Tracker 1x24 isn't what you would call a military-grade NVG, but when properly focused, mounted, and used, it's an affordable device for civilian hunting, stalking, and exploring.
5. Best Under $100: Spy Gear Ultimate Night Vision Goggles Review
- Secret Agents can now see in the dark with Spy Gear Night Goggles!
- The bright LED lights and blue tinted lenses drastically enhance night vision.
Adults aren't the only ones who want to play in the dark. Let the kids join in on the fun while night hunting, camping, and exploring. Warning: this product encourages kids to spy!
- 30 ft
- IR attachment
- NV & natural vision
- Digital display
If you want an NVG for an older child that is a notch up from a child's toy, the Spy Gear goggles may end your search for one. It's a pair of goggles pairs with a small infrared attachment to provide night-vision sight in the traditional green display.
The attachment is essentially a small camera that has three micro-sized 840 nm IR lights that provides sight up to 30 feet. Because of the IR lights in the attachment, it does glow red so it's visible to other IR device users.
The camera flips over one eyepiece of the goggles. Hold it up with one hand and you can see with your own natural sight in the dark. As a children's toy, image quality is pixelated but not so much that kids won't enjoy it, if they notice it at all.
With 3x AAA batteries, it might be heavy for small children to wear for long periods of time. By the way, batteries are not included.
For frog hunting, fort raids, and hide-n-seek games, these goggles will intensify nighttime fun for kids of all ages.
6. Best Compact Night Vision Goggles: ATN PS15-2 Review
The PS15 series of goggles have dual tubes and dual lenses in a binocular design for the ultimate NVG experience. This series is the premium line of optics that ATN Corp offers in NVGs.
- Gen 2+
- Dual IITs
- Dual lenses
- Greater depth perception
Although this is the cheapest mode of the PS15 series with its Gen 2+ technology, it's significantly more expensive than the biocular PVS7 with similar features. You're the only one that can determine if spending more than grand is worth it for the binocular goggles.
So, what benefits do you get with dual lenses and dual tubes? With two IITs and two objective lenses, you have greater depth perception to see where you're walking or running to avoid stumbling and fumbling around. The increased light amplification also helps with much-needed tasks in the dark like reading maps and text without removal of the goggles.
However, there's a downside you must know. Because of the built-in features and top mounting system, the goggles do not have an adjustable IPD range.
The PS15-2 has 1x magnification, 27 mm apertures, and the optics have ATN's Proshield Lens Coating system. For a binocular, it's right within weight limits of 1.5 lbs (24 oz), but it's relatively lightweight for its full-size build - 4.7 x 4.5 x 2.7".
The PS15 takes 1x CR123A or 1x AA battery for up to 60 hours of use. It's waterproof, has a built-in IR illuminator, Automatic Brightness Control, and a Bright Light Cut-off feature.
Included with the buy is ATN's goggle kit that allows for flip-up, hands-free use, a soft carrying case, 1x CR123A battery, and necessary paperwork.
The PS15 goggles are night-vision binos without the high magnification of binoculars. For increased stealth and depth perception to get closer to the action without being caught, it seems the jump up in price may be worth it.
7. Best Military Goggles: ATN PVS7-2 Review
Built as an exact replica to the standard military commissioned AN/PVS7, these goggles have been combat proven to be effective in the field. As the entry-level model to ATN's PVS7 series, it puts affordable, military-issued tech in the hands of civilians.
- Gen 2 tech
- Battery life
- Auto features
With 1x magnification, a 27 mm aperture, and a 40 degree FOV, it has industry-standard specs for NVGs. It's built like a tank, and it should be for all the combat time it may see. With a Gen 2+ IIT, it provides 45-54 lp/mm resolution with a 12-20 SNR (Signal-to-Noise Ratio). Obviously, it's not 64-72 lp/mm resolution in Gen 3 gear, but then it doesn't cost Gen 3 prices now does it?
For thermal biocular goggles, it's compact. It's 6.4 x 3 x 6" and this is smaller than FLIR's PVS7 models. It takes 2x AA batteries or a 3V BA-5567/U type battery to power on for 60 hours of use in -40°F to 122°F temperatures. Built with an integrated IR illuminator, it has momentary and continuous use modes for improved vision.
Auto features are standard on this PSV7: Auto Shut-off System, Bright Light Cut-off, and Automatic Brightness Control.
For the price, you get a lot in this package as it's a complete kit to get you night hunting tonight. A day light filter protects the objective lens and filters out excess light. An included demist shield intended for attachment on the eyepiece protects optics from internal fog and condensation. You'll also get a sacrificial window, eye cups, and lens paper; soft carry case, shoulder strap, and medium and thick brow pads. But, the most important goggle feature is the flip-up head mount assembly that allows hands-free operation. You might want to use the included instructional guide for assembly.
For vets, this ATN PVS7 might remind you of past tours. For hunters, this may be overkill. But, for the price, what the heck - just buy it anyway!
8. Best Civilian Night Vision Goggles: Wanney Tracker Review
- Night Vision which enable you to observe target in complete darkness. Ideal for a wide variety of uses such as surveillance, nighttime hunting wildlife observation and...
- With multi-coated glass objectives, high sensitivity sensor, integrated LCD-Screen and IR LED illuminator. You can view in the dark up to 80m（View up to 300m with...
The goggles might look simple, bulky, and something from a Robo Cop movie, but it's no kids toy. The Wanney Tracker night vision goggle is an all-purpose optic for your civilian nighttime needs.
- LCD screen
- Hands-free design
- Adjustable head strap
- 100 m sight
- Black/white display
- Narrow FOV
If you want night-vision tech for recreational use, farming chores, and general surveillance, the Tracker is a cheap option compared to true NV tech.
A high sensitivity sensor, LCD display, and IR LED illuminator is built into the one-piece goggles. It has a simple interface that makes it easy to use with one-hand operation. On top of the goggles, it has a power control that switches from left to right, a micro USB port for recharging the built-in 18650 lithium battery, and a dial that adjusts picture quality.
The adjustment dial for picture quality is actually an adjustment of the built-in IR illuminator. Adjusted all the way up for max visibility in the dark will allow up to 100 meters of sight. Dialed down for stealth and nominal visibility of the LED light, sight range will decrease to 60-80 meters on the LCD display.
However, because of its small, embedded camera on the front of the goggles, field of view is restricted to limit peripheral vision. To have effective sights on potential threats, movement in the distance, or to clearly see the task at hand, you must be intentionally looking in that direction.
The Tracker can fit all head sizes as it has adjustable velcro on the back and adjustable elastic on the sides and top of the head. It also has soft silicone pads that wrap around the cheeks and brows to provide comfort and a tight fit to the face.
With these goggles, you'll be able to stay out for a continuous 1.5 hours or 6 hours of intermittent use before the lights go out. Sounds like plenty of time to put out the feed, go for a run, or scan the property for intruders.
9. Best Night Vision Goggles for Kids: AGM Kids Night Vision Goggles Review
- 【 Just Throw Away Uncomfortable Goggle ! 】We know you're searching a comfortable but cool goggles for your kids.AGM spy night vision goggles is your choice.This night...
- 【 See In The Dark 25 Feet ! 】This spy night vision goggle can pop out lights that beam a cool blue light, let you see up to 25 feet away in the dark. Amazing night...
Going camping and leaving the electronics behind? Keep the kids interested in the woods for less than 20 bucks. With a pair of NVGs, they'll see camping as a new, fun experience.
- LED lights
- 25 ft
- Wide vision
Okay, so these aren't true NVGs as they have LED lights that illuminate the path ahead. Flip-out lights on either side of the ears pop out and stream blue light that provides up to 25 feet of sight in the dark.
It should be noted that these goggles are not suitable for hunting, stealth covert missions, or any activity where an adult may need night-vision. With visible LED emissions of light, you will be seen. This is a child's toy that enhances visibility in the dark for nighttime games of fun.
The glasses have green-tinted, etched graphics that glow in the dark when the lights have been activated. A one-piece lens allows for wide vision, and it also provides durability and eye protection. They're windproof, dustproof, and will hold up to reasonable abuse of mishandling by children.
While they're designed with an ergonomic fit with a nose pad and adjustable elastic band, they can be heavy after installing 4x AAA batteries. With the weight, they're not ideal for long-term use on a child. But, for 20 minutes of fun exploring the dark woods (supervision recommended), the AGM goggles will provide a special kind of camping experience they'll never forget.
These days, it's hard to limit screen time and pull the kids away from electronics. With the AGM goggles, you don't have to leave all the electronics at home.
What to Look for in Night Vision Goggles
The primary features to look for will always be the aspects that makes it a good goggle optic. This not only includes included accessories and body type, but it must also include the features that makes it a good night vision optic. Here's the gist. If you have more questions about night vision in general, see our FAQs on it here.
You'll have to save more than a pretty penny if you want true NVGs for professional use. A budget with a minimum of $3000-$4000 can land you Gen 2 gear. But, if you're on a tight budget, we've got you covered. We have a few Gen 2 NVGs in the $2000 range, and anything below that will be Gen 1.
NV is expensive. You must determine how much you're willing to spend on it and if your needs demand and justify having the tech, otherwise, you might have some explaining to do when it shows up on your credit card statement.
Keeping magnification low and at 1x has its benefits. It provides for more natural vision that allows you move freely in the dark to creep, run, and even fly helicopters. It also allows for reading text and graphics without removal of the device and using artificial light that could give your position away. 1x magnification is the standard for NVGs.
However, the drawback is not being able to see detail at long-range distances. But, with NV gear, long-range is a subjectable term. Other factors like generation technology and resolution play a larger part in detection, identification, and long-range sight.
Night Vision Generations
The military equips their soldiers with Generation 3 and higher-end tubes. The detail, resolution, and quality needed for their operations demand the absolute best when they often face life-or-death encounters. However, Gen 3 tubes and higher easily start at $4000.
Gen 2 tubes start at $3000, and Gen 1 can be found for around $1000. Many NVD users know the difference in quality between Gen 1 and upper level tubes, however, it's not always the practical option for the civilian to buy Gen 3 tech.
At the time of writing, our recommendation is to buy upper level Gen 2 and Gen 3 if you intend to use NVGs for law enforcement and professional use. Gen 1 with its detection range of 50-300 yards is suitable for the hunter, avid outdoorsman, and civilian using NV for recreational use.
If you need more info about NV Generation technology, we have a detailed explanation on all its types.
A must-have when buying NVGs are head mount kits. Without it, you won't have hands-free operation and essentially you've just bought a regular NVD. Most goggles will come with a standard head mount that includes for adjustable straps and a chin rest. It's important to look at the information about the head mount for horizontal and vertical adjustments to achieve the proper fit for your head. The type of mount connection will also tell you if the NVG will be easily attachable and removable or compatible with other gear.
You may want NVGs that allow for extra mounting of accessories for things like an additional IR illuminator or IR flashlight. Some NVGs will have an integrated rail on the body just for this purpose.
Best White Phosphor Goggles: ATN NVG7-WPT
Best Digital: X-Vision Hands Free Night Vision Pro
Best for the Money: PRG Defense Wolf-7 NL3
Best Under $1000: Yukon Tracker 1x24
Best Under $100: Spy Gear Ultimate Night Vision Goggles
Best Compact Night Vision Goggles: ATN PS15-2
Best Military Goggles: ATN PVS7-2
Best Civilian Night Vision Goggles: Wanney Tracker
Best Night Vision Goggles for Kids: AGM Kids Night Vision Goggles
There are no legal issues preventing ownership of night vision goggles for citizens in the United States. Without an exclusive license, it is illegal to export and import night vision gear (NVG) and to travel outside the U.S. with them. There are state-specific laws regarding use of NVG for hunting.
Night vision goggles cannot see in pitch black. They amplify ambient light from the moon, stars, streetlights, etc. Although image quality is affected in almost pitch-black conditions, you would need to be in true darkness like a blacked-out building for NVG to be rendered useless.
A good pair of night vision goggles can cost $2000-$4000. The best Gen 1 night vision goggles will start at $1000 and a great mil-spec Gen 2 pair like the ATN PVS7-2 costs approximately $2000. Quality night vision goggles are expensive.
As a general rule, you should look for specific features in night vision goggles before you buy. These include 1x, hands-free operation, and compatible mounting assemblies. You should look for image intensifier specs, goggle design, and price to determine what is best for you.
The term "goggles" in night-vision, is somewhat of a catch-all term that includes bioculars, binoculars, and monoculars. When mounted to head or helmet gear for hands-free use, it's now used as goggles. This is why you'll see binoculars and goggles used interchangeably in the industry. However, bioculars have a single tube design easily distinguished from binoculars with their two eyepieces and single objective lens body.
The AN/PVS-7 is a night vision biocular, and all PVS-7 models from various manufacturers design their NV goggles after this military issued night vision single tube device. It is by far the most popular NV type of goggles available, and consequently, it's one of the cheaper models.
As you know, binoculars, with night-vision or without, often come with much higher magnification. For hands-free operation and moving in the dark, you need 1x power for the utmost stealth and natural vision.
As mentioned earlier, 1x power, smaller apertures, and included head gear are the iconic features of what separates goggles from ordinary monoculars and binoculars.
Night Vision Goggles VS Night Vision Monoculars
The AN/PVS-14 is a night vision monocular, and all PVS-14 models from various manufacturers design their night vision monoculars after this military issued night vision device (MNVD). The PVS-14 is another popular NV device often used as goggles for hands-free operation.
They're obviously more compact and lighter in weight than binoculars and bioculars, and they allow for one eye use of NV and one eye use in natural light without NV.
Again, for monoculars to be effectively used as goggles, it must have goggle features that includes head mount assemblies, small apertures, and low magnification.
Goggle for Great Night Vision Goggles!
To goggle means to stare or to be wide-eyed in amazement, and with these great NVGs, you will be the very definition of it.
Goggles will allow you to goggle at the open skies and spark of heavenly bodies, spot varmints that you'd normally be blind to, and see potential threats before they have the chance to do you harm. All NV, regardless of generation, will help you see better in the dark.
When dark is the cover for illicit behavior, it's also a cover for you to correct it. When the dark means bedtime for everyone else, it means a fun night of UFO watching, the best game of hide 'n seek outdoors, and wildlife observation like never seen before. With NV, it's better in the dark.
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Simon is an avid outdoor enthusiast and the owner of Target Tamers. He is passionate about bringing you the most up to date, accurate & understandable information on sports optics of all kinds and for all applications. When not glassing the local wildlife, you can find him in the garden with his German Shepherd.