Night vision binoculars are becoming increasingly popular for hunting. They’ve been around for several years as the military has relied on them for one mission after another. With hunting, it gives the hunter a real advantage with allowing them to see their target through the blackened forest. Sometimes, the moonlight just isn’t enough to supply the hunter with needed light. Since many hog and varmint hunts are performed at night, the technology of night vision binoculars is a helpful accessory.
More and more people are turning to night vision goggles for their night vision needs, but there are still some solid binos out there. If you’re shopping for the best night vision binocular, I’m sure that you know there are a wide variety of great brands and offers out there. In fact, you may be reading this article because you’re slightly overwhelmed over what’s on the market!
Whether you’re an expert or a beginner, we are here to help you narrow down the choices in the realm of night vision binoculars. We will supply you with information on some of the best brands, the best products out there right now and the best product for the price and scenario. As for the beginner, we will even cover some of the basics so that you won’t feel blinded in the hunt for the best night vision binocular. Let’s look at the top binos first.
Best Night Vision Binoculars for Hunting
If you’re a hunter, then we know that you’re serious about your equipment. It’s important to have the best equipment that provides you with the best abilities to perform in the outside elements. If you’re shopping for the best hunting binoculars, then we have found just the kind for you.
These Gen 1 binos are a little spendy, but you’ll soon see that quality night vision binoculars typically are. The infrared illuminator enables you to see clearly even in total darkness. These are particularly useful for hunting because they are lightweight and compact. Additionally, the center focus ring is easy to maneuver and there are only two buttons to contend with — one is for turning it on/off, and the other is to activate the infrared illuminator. The ease of use is another big plus for hunters, as you need to be able to catch sight things quickly and quietly. This pair requires one 3-volt Type-123 lithium battery, which is not included. You’ll get a battery life of 40-80 hours depending on how much you use the infrared.
Here are a few of the specs:
- Lens Diameter: 42 mm
- Resolution: 35 lp/mm on center
- Spectral Sensitivity: 400 nm to 900 nm
- Diopter adjustment: +4 to -4
- Interocular distance: adjustable from 57 mm to 73 mm
- Minimum Focal Distance: 6.6 feet (2m)
- Angular FOV: 19 degrees
- FOV at 200 ft. distance: 67 feet wide (61m / 20m)
- Dimensions: 6.65 by 5.85 by 2.70 inches (L x W x H)
- Weight: 29.9 ounces
Best Night Vision Binoculars for Wildlife Viewing
For the avid wildlife viewer and observer, you likely enjoy the hobby at night as well. If you’re searching for serious night vision binoculars, you may want to consider this Night Owl product.
The Night Owl Explorer comes with 5x magnification. That means one thing: a powerful view. To be exact, it has a 700 field of view and a 575 range of view. That’s remarkable for sight seeing and observing. With the built in infrared illuminators, you’re able to view the wildlife animals in absolute, complete darkness. The moon could be hidden from the night sky and you would be able to see what is many yards ahead of you. It has a steel stringer system that gives you additional control and precision over the binoculars.
Here are some of the key specs:
- Lens Diameter: 50 mm
- Resolution: 35 lp/mm on center
- Spectral Sensitivity: 400 nm to 900 nm
- Diopter adjustment: +4 to -4
- Interocular distance: adjustable from 57 mm to 73 mm
- Minimum Focal Distance: 3.6 feet (1.1m)
- Angular FOV: 12.5 degrees
- FOV at 200 ft. distance: 44 feet wide (61m / 13.4m)
- Dimensions: 8.00 by 5.85 by 2.60 inches (L x W x H)
- Weight: 38 oz
Best Night Vision Binoculars for under $500
When you’re shopping for a serious night vision binocular set, sometimes it’s difficult to find the best quality with the highest technology for under a $1,000. However, there are many great binoculars out there that are priced underneath a grand. Let’s take a look at the Bushnell LYNX model.
The Bushnell LYNX Gen 1 Night Vision Binocular is available in the classic black color. It’s priced at under $500, but these binoculars aren’t for simple star gazing. They are powerful and work fantastically for the skilled hunter or law enforcement officer.
The Bushnell LYNX is a Gen 1 night vision binocular that has a 2.5 magnification with 40mm objective lenses. The lenses are AR coated and very resilient. As for visibility, it has a built in infrared illuminator that enables you to see from a long distance of 90 yards. Since these binoculars are high tech and equipped with the Gen 1 abilities, everything is seen in spectacular HD quality. If you’re needing to survey an area for long periods of time, the Bushnell LYNX is remarkably comfortable to use. These binos are weather-resistant and durable.
Here are a few of the technical specs available from the manufacturer:
- Lens Diameter: 40 mm
- FOV: 94′ @ 1000 yards
- Built in Infrared Illuminator for long distance viewing up to 90 yards
- AR coated glass lenses
- Dimensions: 6.5″ x 6.3″ x 3″
- Weight: 17 oz
Or, check out these ones, also under $500:
While less well known than some other brands, Firefield is becoming more popular in the world of optics, and these night vision binos are a good example of why. Coming in at under $450, the Gen 1 Tracker LT is an affordable and solid pair of waterproof binos. They provide 2x magnification with a wide-angle field of view. These feature multicoated lenses and Firefield’s proprietary Pulse IR illumination system, making them an excellent contender in this category.
Here are some of the key technical specs:
- Lens Diameter: 24 mm
- Resolution: 36 lp/mm
- Dioptric Correction ±5
- Angular FOV: 30 degrees
- Linear FOV: 158′ @ 100 yd (53 @ 100 m)
- Dimensions: 7 x 4.8 x 2.8″ (175 x 123 x 72 mm)
- Weight: 21 oz
The Best Brands
Bushnell is a well-known name in the binocular market. Even better? They have spectacular night vision binoculars! This company has been in business for over 65 years. Their expertise is in providing the best optics products for any outdoor or sporting occasion. These excursions include fishing, hunting, stargazing, golf, bird watching, the study of nature and much more. They even create binoculars for indoor activities such as viewing the opera or watching the car race.
Since their company is all about binoculars, they have stayed up to date with the latest optical technologies through the years. After all, 65 years is a long time to be in the binocular business. Bushnell is a brand that you can rely on in offering durable and reliable night vision binoculars. See all Bushnell products.
Armasight is another well-known name in the night vision and thermal imaging technological markets. With their main headquarters located in San Francisco, California, they have spent many years in providing the public with high quality, night vision, and thermal imaging optic technologies. The company offers many optical products for a variety of prices. Some items are very pricey while others are not. Because Armasight makes many night vision and thermal imaging products for the military and law enforcement communities, many of their products are the absolute top notch. You can find night vision binoculars at the high cost of $12,000.00 to the low cost of $50.00. It depends on what you’re looking for with this brand and product and what you are willing to spend. See all Armasight products.
ATN is a massive brand in the night vision and thermal imaging technological field. In case you’re interested, the letters, “ATN” stand for “American Technologies Network”. The company is headquartered in San Francisco, California, like the company Armasight, and has been in operation for over two decades. The company proudly states that all of their products and technological equipment is created and produced in the United States. Many hunters choose much of their night vision equipment from ATN and Armasight merely because they’re two huge brands that offer the most advanced products for a broad range of prices. If you want something simplistic, ATN has it. If you need something very developed with the high tech Gen 3 details, ATN has it. ATN’s products and cutting edge technologies are often used by the military, law enforcement communities, and hunters. See all ATN products.
4. Night Owl
The company, Night Owl, has decades of experience in the night vision technology. When you visit their website, it’s clear that their mission is devoted to producing solely night vision equipment. It’s a guarantee that you will find great quality binoculars from Night Owl. See all Night Owl optics products.
Although it’s hard to find company information on Aurosports, there’s no doubt that this brand name of binoculars can be found all over the internet in online shopping websites such as Amazon. They provide very inexpensive yet convenient binoculars for nearly any occasion. However, if you’re into serious hunting or work in law enforcement, this may not be the best brand for you to go with. However, for pure hunting, sightseeing, traveling, bird watching and so on, this brand would be great. They offer some of the most inexpensive binoculars on the market.
The hardcore brands in night vision binoculars are Bushnell, ATN and Armasight. (There are much more, but since we will be providing product examples from the five brands listed at the beginning of this article, we will only discuss and compare those five brands.)
If you work in law enforcement and need safe, reliable and dependable night vision binoculars, Bushnell and Armasight is the brand for you. From inexpensive to expensive, they offer what you need. You can find night vision binoculars in any generation, and many come with other convenient accessories.
If you’re a hunter that hunts big game such as hogs, bears, deer, elk, moose, etc., then Bushnell ATN AND Armasight are for you. Many times, you can’t get very close to these animals without them getting away. When you have night vision binoculars with Gen 1, 2, or 3, it empowers you to track them from greater distances without them noticing you.
If you’re a hunter that hunts smaller game and varmints, then brands like Night Owl and Aurosports will provide you with what you need and go easy on the wallet. Typically, the night vision binoculars from these brands are small and compact and allow you to carry them in your pocket. Keep in mind that most night vision binoculars from these two brands don’t typically incorporate the generation technology into their products. If you’re searching for binoculars with the Gen 1, 2, or 3 technologies, then you should browse through the Bushnell, ATN and Armasight brands.
What to Look for When Shopping
If you’re a pro at shopping, then you will already know that it’s important to know what you’re looking for. So, what should you look for when shopping for night vision binoculars?
- Make sure that you don’t accidentally purchase regular binoculars! Unfortunately, this has happened to many customers, especially the beginners. Some binoculars are misleading with statements like “visibility in low light,” even though they aren’t actual night vision binoculars. Many times, the night vision binoculars don’t look any different from the regular binoculars. However, when you’re browsing through Amazon, always ensure that the binoculars you choose say that they are created specifically with night vision.
- The higher the price, doesn’t always mean that it’s better. Yes, it’s a general rule that if something is more expensive than a similar product, the more expensive is likely to be of better quality. However, this isn’t always the case. When you’re calculating your budget, be sure to notate what you need in good night vision binoculars. This will help you to narrow down the necessities and keep you from spending more for something that you can get for cheaper at the same quality.
- Determine your needs in night vision binoculars. This is very important. Why do you need it? If you want a pair of night vision binoculars for night time bird watching, perhaps you will be satisfied with binoculars from the Night Owl brand or the Aurosports brand. If you’re a serious hog hunter and need something sturdy, weatherproof and equipped with the latest technology, then perhaps you will find satisfaction with binoculars from the Armasight, ATN or Bushnell brands.
- Determine your budget. Once you’ve figured out what you need in binoculars, this will pave the way for you to determine a budget. You can find wildlife viewing night vision binoculars for much cheaper than you can the serious, tech savvy, night vision binoculars.
Finally, you want to find the best product for the money. When it comes to shopping, you want to find a good deal. Plain and straightforward. Shopping is all about finding the bargain and walking away with what you need without your wallet crying in agony.
Night Vision Generations
While shopping for the best night vision binoculars, it’s always good to have some knowledge of the generations 1, 2, and 3. These determine the amount of power and strength that resides in your binoculars. Naturally, the higher the age you go, the higher the price tag. Why? Each generation is more advanced than the previous. Here’s a little lesson for each generation.
Gen 1 is the most simplistic of all of the generations. It’s the most inexpensive and also the slowest when it comes to advancement. This is the case since it was the very first of its kind. It was invented during the early 1960s when the world was emerging as a technological sphere. The Space Age was active and growing as well as military technology and advancements. The Gen 1 night vision technology isn’t as thorough as the Gen 2 and Gen 3, but it supplies enough options for most people. Here are some general facts about the Gen 1 devices in comparison to Gen 2 and Gen 3.
Compared to the Gen 2 and Gen 3, Gen 1 has:
- Lower resolution imagery.
- It has the shortest battery life span.
- The overall life expectancy is 1500 hours of use.
- Usually, the operator is exposed to light during the use of the Gen 1. This can cause potential dysfunction with making the operator visible.
- The median useful sight range for Gen 1 is rounded to 75 yards.
Gen 2 is a huge step above Gen 1. It comes with more conveniences and sharper technology. However, it’s always more costly than any Gen 1 device since it has more advanced technology and capabilities. Let’s take a look at some of its details in comparison to Gen 1.
Compared to Gen 1, Gen 2 has:
- It has a longer battery life than Gen 1.
- Great resolution for imagery.
- The overall life expectancy is a whopping 4500 hours!
- The median useful sight range is around 200 yards. (Remember that the Gen 1 sight range is generally around 75 yards.)
- It doesn’t need the IR illumination capability.
Gen 3 is the greatest when it comes to the three generations of night vision technology. It’s certainly no laughing matter. It’s real and powerful. In fact, this form of night vision technology is so advanced that it’s the United States Military’s choice of night vision equipment. All of their binoculars and other night vision equipment are infused with the Gen 3 technology. Every passionate hunter, marksman, and law enforcement officer prefer the Gen 3 if it agrees with their wallet. Yes, the Gen 3 night vision technology is not cheap. In fact, there are some Gen 3 binoculars that are worth thousands of dollars. If this does indeed agree with your wallet, then the Gen 3 is worth every penny.
Here are the details on the Gen 3 technology in comparison to the others:
- It has the best resolution for images by providing intricately detailed pictures.
- It has the longest battery life.
- It offers the best low light performance.
- It has the longest life expectancy with an astounding 10,000 hours of operation!
- The advanced imagery technology lets it work in all light shades and conditions.
- The median useful sight range is an incredible 300 yards.
When it comes to shopping for the best night vision binoculars, you really need to know what you need. In order to figure this out, ask yourself, “What am I going to be using them for? How much is my budget? The lighter, the better? What will be my typical observation range?” Once you can answer these questions, then you can best determine what brand and price will best suit your needs. It always makes for easier shopping when you know exactly what you are searching for.
In all honesty, Armasight is probably the best-known brand for the night vision and thermal imaging products and equipment. However, they usually have the highest in prices since they generally have the highest in quality. This brand is often found in the United States Military and in the hands of many law enforcement officers.
The brands of ATN and Bushnell follow closely behind the Armasight brand. They also produce the tough, hardcore night vision equipment thus making some of the best night vision binoculars for the serious hunter or observer.
The brands of Night Owl and Aurosports create great night vision binoculars for customers that enjoy wildlife observation, small game hunting, and more. Keep in mind that Night Owl has been in the night vision business for a very long time and that their prices will be higher than that of Aurosports. However, the quality differences are there between the two brands.
Although we didn’t cover any night vision binoculars that are infused with the Gen 3 technology, it’s important to understand and have the knowledge of all the generations before purchasing a night vision device. The Gen technology enables you to see longer distances and wider ranges than the typical night vision binocular set. If you’re a novice or beginner to this sort of technology, just remember that with each generation, the strength and power rise as well as the price. You will never see a Gen 3 night vision model be priced the same as a Gen 1 night vision model. Why? Simply because there is a huge difference in technological advances between the two.
If indeed you are searching for a Gen 3 night vision binocular set, we highly recommend the Armasight brand. They produce many night vision devices and equipment that are infused with the Gen 3 technology.
At last, we hope that this has been an informative guide for you in shopping for the best night vision binoculars. From the brands to the scenarios to the night vision binoculars, it’s been our intent to provide every small detail and advice given on the subject. Happy shopping for the best night vision binoculars!