Select Page

Reviewed by our gear Geeks:

THE BEST NIGHT VISION BINOCULARS FOR EVERY BUDGET 2021

Z

Our experts at work

We gave our Gear lovers one job:

Test 24 different Night Vision Binoculars and write reviews of the best.

The result is 11 of the best Night Vision Binoculars on the market today.

joao paulo carvalho

Joao Paulo Carvalho

Journalist
A journalist with a passion for gear, photography, traveling and writing.

Bradley Axmith boating & sailing editor

Bradley Axmith

Editor at DIVEIN.com
Loves details and testing gear

If you love fishing, hunting, spotting wildlife, or you just want to keep a watch out for intruders after dark, night vision binoculars or goggles can certainly help you with that – unless you’re Superman, of course. 

Just like ordinary daytime binoculars, night vision goggles allow you to see at a distance, but unlike the first ones, they have a built-in infrared illuminator (IR), which lets you identify targets in total darkness.

Some of them will also let you capture pictures and record videos so you can finally secure the proof of your encounter with Bigfoot.

In this guide, we’ve listed the best Gen-1 night vision binoculars available right now.

Top 10 Best Night Vision Binoculars In 2021

See our quick top 10, or go further down and read our in-depth reviews.

So read on to learn more about our picks as well as what key features you should look out for before buying yours. 

Observe the night creatures as they come out to play with the Night Owl Pro Nexgen. 

The powerful built-in columnated infrared illuminator provides clear and bright viewing in full darkness, while a focusing wheel allows for quick and easy focusing of both objective lenses.

It features an impact-resistant molded thermoplastic lens housings and a soft-touch  rubberized finish for both durability and a secure grip.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Night Owl Pro Nexgen:
Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Magnification: 5x
  • Objective Aperture: 50mm
  • Field of view: 53ft at 200ft
  • Power Supply: (1) 3-volt type-123 lithium battery
  • Built-in columnated infrared illuminator
  • Weight: 1099g
What we like:
  • Great performance in total darkness
  • Durable
What we don’t like:
  • It doesn’t accommodate a tripod
  • Battery is expensive
  • Focusing wheel is inconveniently located

The Bestguarder NV-900 are night vision goggles that provide a decent day and night view with some useful features that will come in handy both during and after sessions.

The updated version of the Bestguarder NV-800 now comes with some new functions including the time-lapse, GPS ID stamped, and the multi-shoot feature, which allows you to take 3 images per trigger, making sure you capture your shot at the right moment.. 

It uses an infrared-sensitive CMOS sensor, it comes with a large 4” viewing screen for easy and comfortable viewing, and it can be powered by a power bank for prolonged monitoring.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Bestguarder NV-900:
Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Magnification: 4.5x
  • Objective Aperture: 40mm
  • Digital Zoom: 5x
  • Viewing distance up to 1300ft
  • Built-in 850nm 3W infrared LED illuminator
  • Power Supply: 8 AA batteries
  • IPX4 water resistance
What we like:
  • Large screen provides comfortable viewing
  • Day and night use
  • Easy to operate
  • Multi-shoot function
  • It comes with a 32GB memory card
What we don’t like:
  • The zoom in/out button requires manually refocusing the objective lens after every use
  • Low quality pictures

See up to 110 yards in complete darkness with the Nightfox Digital Night Vision Goggles without breaking the bank.

This practical, comfortable, and easy-to-use night device works well both in low light and pitch dark. It features 7 levels of infrared illumination along with an innovative widescreen viewing monitor to adjust viewing for specific lighting conditions.

These night goggles might be better suited for a tripod or when lying still, observing game, rather than while hiking or stalking.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Nightfox 100V Widescreen Digital:
Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Magnification: 3x
  • Objective Aperture: 20mm
  • Digital Zoom: 2x
  • Viewing distance up to 300 ft
  • Power Supply: 8 AA batteries
  • Weight: 1.33 lbs
What we like:
  • Great value for the money
  • Easy to operate
  • Comfortable viewing screen even while wearing glasses
What we don’t like:
  • It doesn’t take pictures or record videos
  • Narrow field of view
  • A bit heavy

Turn night into day with the GlassOwl from CreativeXP. 

These night vision binoculars are ideal for night hunters and wildlife watchers. They come with an 850nm infrared illuminator which lets you view animals clearly in total darkness, a 4” screen, and a 1300ft viewing range perfect for day and nighttime.

These goggles can also capture pictures and record videos. These viewers literally reveal everything that otherwise appears black to the naked eye. And housed in a pretty robust military-inspired casing.

 

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the CREATIVE XP Digital:
Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Magnification: 7x
  • Objective Aperture: 31mm
  • Digital Zoom: 2x
  • Viewing distance up to 1300ft
  • Built-in 850nm infrared illuminator
  • Power Supply: 8 AA batteries
  • IPX4 water resistance
What we like:
  • Clear night vision pictures
  • Daytime and nighttime use
  • It comes with a 32GB memory card
  • The bundle (including carrying case) is nice
What we don’t like:
  • Limited zoom function - it’s either near or far, there’s no in between - such function also makes pictures rather grainy
  • Clips on the neck strap are very noisy especially when you’re trying to stay off the radar

From dawn to complete darkness, the SOLOMARK Digital Night Vision goggles is a versatile pair of binoculars ideal for camping, hunting, sailing, and any other outdoor activities. It’s higher magnification (7x) creates daylight between itself and some other models.

It features 3 infrared levels and 3 brightness levels which are adjustable according to the ambient light. Its infrared-sensitive CMOS sensor allows viewing up to 1300ft in absolute darkness, fully multi-coated optic increases light transmission and decreases glare, and you can also take pictures and videos that can be stored on a micro SD card. 

 

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the SOLOMARK 7x31mm Digital :
Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Magnification: 7x
  • Objective Aperture: 31mm
  • Digital Zoom: 2x
  • Viewing distance up to 1300ft
  • Built-in 850nm 3W infrared LED illuminator
  • Power Supply: 8 AA batteries
  • IPX4 water resistance
What we like:
  • It offers sharp clarity at all magnifications
  • Daytime and nighttime use
  • It comes with an 8GB memory card
  • Focus works pretty well
What we don’t like:
  • The flap on the battery compartment seems flimsy
  • Once it’s powered on, the device defaults to video recording mode

Outdoor explorers rejoice! The Binox 4K Smart Goggles from ATN, although not the most affordable set in the market, will surely add plenty of value to your daytime and nighttime expeditions. 

Highly suitable for hunters, their ultra-HD 4K screens make spotting your target a breeze while the built-in laser rangefinder will measure the distance in no time. In addition, they can also communicate with ATN’s night-vision rifle scopes. 

Other features worth mentioning are their interpupillary adjustment, the internal gyroscope and compass for extra information, and the ability to live stream and record videos in HD.

Though it has one of the greater magnification specs in this binocular segment, the image is quite blurred at full zoom.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the ATN Binox 4K Day&Night:
Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Magnification: 16x
  • Objective Aperture: 65mm
  • Field of View: 220ft at 1000yds
  • IP64 water resistance
  • Weight: 1.75 lbs
What we like:
  • Outstanding night vision
  • Video recording pretty decent at shorter ranges
  • High-resolution images
  • Interpupillary adjustment
  • Laser rangefinder
What we don’t like:
  • Blurry images at high magnifications
  • Not waterproof

You might not be able to spot ghosts with the Sightmark Ghost Hunter goggles, but these powerful night vision binoculars will certainly get you close.

Featuring a lightweight, compact, and durable polymer construction, the Ghost Hunter Binoculars come with a high-power infrared illuminator and magnification providing a bright, clear image for short-range targets in low-light conditions or full darkness.

Designed for extended nighttime observations, the device is programmed to automatically shut off the night vision functions once exposed to bright light, saving batteries and prolonging its lifespan.

For a hands-free operation, consider the Ghost Hunter 1×24 night vision binoculars which include a compact head mount.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Sightmark Ghost Hunter:
Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Magnification: 4x
  • Objective Aperture: 50mm
  • Field of View: 788ft at 1,000 yards
  • Power Supply: 2 AAA batteries
  • Weight: 24.7 oz
What we like:
  • Clear image of medium-range targets
  • Includes head mount strap
  • Automatic shutoff function
  • Long battery life
  • It only requires 2 AAA batteries
What we don’t like:
  • Lenses must be focused individually

The ESSLNB Night Vision Goggles are a middle of the pack 1st generation pair of scopes, designed for more rugged outdoor use. These are an affordable tool for birdwatching and wildlife observation.

This set features a 4” large viewing screen for comfortable viewing, 3 infrared levels as well as 3 brightness levels which are adjustable according to the ambient light.

Also, CMOS sensor achieves clear view up to 7X magnification and a viewing distance up to 1300ft. While connected to a power bank, the range can be up to 1600ft.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the ESSLNB Night Vision Goggles:
Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Magnification: 7x
  • Objective Aperture: 31mm
  • Digital Zoom: 2x
  • Viewing distance up to 1300 ft
  • Built-in 850nm 3W infrared LED illuminator
  • Power Supply: 8 AA batteries
  • IPX4 water resistance
What we like:
  • Clear pictures and videos
  • Batteries and memory card are included
What we don’t like:
  • The bright red light from the IR gives away your position

Nocturnal wildlife viewing won’t be the same with the Bushnell 260500 Equinox Z Night Vision Goggles.

This set of binoculars from Bushnell, one of the most recognized and reputable sports optics brands in the world, features an easy to hold, heavy-duty, and water-resistant design, a powerful infrared illumination as well as the ability to record pictures and videos. 

Though technically a monocular scope since the left lens is actually the IR lamp, the image in the goggles is sent to both eyes with diopter adjustment just like real binoculars.

Three levels of adjustment allow you to specify how much IR light to release to increase the night vision clarity from high level down to no IR light while in night vision mode.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Bushnell 260500 Equinox Z:
Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Magnification: 2x
  • Objective Aperture: 40mm
  • Power Supply: 4 AA batteries
  • Weight: 2.2 lbs
What we like:
  • It works really well in the dark
  • Resistant to damage from bright light
  • Sturdy construction
What we don’t like:
  • Resolution tends to be grainy
  • Day vision setting leaves a bit to be desired
  • It doesn’t function as only binoculars without batteries

From daytime birdwatching to nighttime hunting, boating, and home security, the uses of this versatile and high-quality ATN BinoX-HD are limitless. The digital (smart) aspects of this product make it more expensive but increase its appeal too. 

It features a rangefinder that allows you to calculate the distance of your target without having to carry additional equipment, a gyroscope for image stabilization, a built-in GPS and a smart e-compass for easy navigation, as well as a geo-tag feature for future explorations. 

The BinoX-HD also comes with a smooth zoom feature, the possibility to choose between black and white or green for nighttime vision, the ability to take pictures and record videos in high-resolution and broadcast to your phone or tablet in real-time through its built-in wireless connectivity and app.

Just remember to remove batteries when not using them to save power. Not so smart that they drain while the unit is not in use.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the ATN BinoX-HD Smart Day & Night:
Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Magnification: 16x
  • Objective Aperture: 65mm
  • Field of View: 220ft at 1000 yards
  • Power Supply: 3 CR123A batteries
  • Weight: 1.75lbs
What we like:
  • Sturdy construction
  • 1080p HD video recording and clear photo resolution
  • Intuitive interface
  • Daytime and nighttime use
  • Wifi connectivity
What we don’t like:
  • Although it does come with batteries, they’re not rechargeable and expensive
  • Despite offering a smooth zoom feature, the zoom is digital and not optical, so the more you zoom in, the more pixelated the image gets

If you’re either a newbie to night vision gear or you just want a simple yet functional pair of night vision binoculars, the X-Vision XANB20 should serve you well. This affordable product will bring light to darkness for both practical applications and novel use.

Highly-suitable for hunting, scouting, camping, and sporting events, these binocs come with an infrared illuminator that lets you see up to 900 feet at night and 1320 feet during the day.

Overall, a decent quality entry-level device that offers decent clarity and good value for the money. 

 

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the X-Vision Night Vision Pro:
Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Magnification: 2x
  • Objective Aperture: 20mm
  • Power Supply: 8 AA batteries
  • Weight: 2lbs
What we like:
  • Clear visibility
  • Simple to use
  • Compact
What we don’t like:
  • Not weather resistant
  • It requires too many batteries
  • It eats through batteries pretty quick

Night Vision Binoculars | Buyer’s Guide

 

When looking for night vision binoculars, there are many details to consider before making your purchase. And if you’re not an expert on the subject, all the technical jargon about magnification, field of view, eye relief, objective aperture might scare you.

But don’t worry! We’ve prepared a guide with the most important things to consider before buying your night vision binoculars. 

Keep in mind that the generation of your device will be the deciding factor in determining how well they perform. A 2nd generation pair of binoculars are far better than the preceding generation, but the cost is also much higher for them. Likely 1st generation scopes will be great for casual wildlife watching, hunting and even sailing into a harbor or cove at night.

That being said, here are the main things you should look out for when hunting for night vision binoculars:

Purpose

What is the goal of your nighttime viewing? Is it for wildlife watching, hunting, or surveillance?

Different nocturnal activities require different night vision binoculars. 

Likewise, consider the environment in which you’ll be using your binocs most of the time. Some models are only useful in low-light conditions while others will work perfectly in total darkness.

Generations

If you’ve ever shopped for night vision gear, you might have seen they’re divided into generations. This classification has a tremendous impact on the performance, image quality, lifespan, and obviously, price of your binoculars. 

These are the main differences between night vision generations:

Gen 1 

These are widely available, affordable and user-friendly night vision goggles. First generation binos increase existing or residual light by 1000 times. These will range in price from around $120 to $400, with the quality of the glass and housing dictating the difference.

As our list includes these models, the following specs for Gen 1 scopes will be familiar:

  • The most common and basic type of night vision
  • Budget-friendly
  • Performs best at close ranges
  • Maximum visual range is around 75 yards depending on the night
  • It offers low resolution images
  • Small field of view
  • It needs an IR illuminator on most nights
  • Short battery life
  • Short lifespan (about 1500 hours)

Gen 2

Being more advanced than earlier, more affordable models, this generation of night goggles were developed for more professional purposes like security or military operations. There is a micro-channel plate (MCP), consisting of millions of short parallel glass tubes, just being the photocathode to increase electron emissions through the lens. 

These ones will run you anywhere from $900 to $2500, depending on the build quality. Read the list characteristics typical of gen 2 goggles:

  • Image is clearer and brighter than the ones from a Gen 1 night vision device 
  • Visual range is around 200 yards
  • It allows you to operate without the necessity of IR illumination
  • Full field of view
  • Longer battery life
  • Lifespan is about 5000 hours

Gen 3 

A pair of 3rd generation night vision binoculars are going to be more expensive. But they are going to be so much better too. Images are much sharper because of the greater photoelectric effect generated by the gallium arsenide in the photocathode. These binoculars aren’t so easy to acquire.

Get ready to fork out at least 3 grand for a set of these. Most will be helmet-mounted or a monocular scope meant to attach to a rifle or hardball gun. These binoculars have the following characteristics:

  • Used by the U.S. military’s combat armed forces
  • Visual range is around 300 yards
  • Compared to the previous ones, it offers a better picture, better battery life, and performs better in low light
  • IR illuminator is rarely needed 
  • Lifespan is about 10,000 hours

Magnification 

This tells you the degree to which the subject observed is enlarged. In other words, how many times the target is closer to you. 

It corresponds to the first number you see in the NV binoculars model. For example, the SOLOMARK 7x31mm Digital Night Vision Binoculars. So that means these binoculars make an object appear 7 times closer than when viewed by the naked eye.

While it might seem that the more magnification the better, high magnification for night vision devices is neither useful nor needed. The higher you go, the dimmer and unclear the image will be due to light loss. Additionally, the view becomes more unstable creating shakiness. 

Typically, magnification below 5x works well for night vision binoculars. 

Objective Aperture 

The second number you’ll see on your night vision binoculars model is the diameter (in millimeters) of the objective lenses.

This determines how physically big your binoculars are and how much light they can gather. The wider the diameter, the brighter the image because of how much light they let in.

Weather-Resistant

Since you’ll be using your night gadget mainly outdoors, it is essential that they are solidly built and can withstand different weather conditions such as rain and fog.

Now that we’ve presented you with the best night vision binoculars for every budget, we’d like to hear from you. 

Do you have a favorite pair? If so, why?

Let us know in the comments below!

FAQ – Frequently asked questions about night vision binoculars

  • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
    ❓ How far can night vision binoculars see?

    There isn’t a simple answer to this question once many variables need to be taken into consideration – such as how big is the object you’re looking for? is it an animal, a person, or a house?

    The average detection of both a person and an animal is around 300 yards away, additional details start at about 150 yards away. 

    Another important factor to take into account is the amount of light available. The brighter the night, the farther you’ll see.

    Lastly, the generation of your night vision binoculars, as previously discussed, will deeply affect your viewing range.

  • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
    🤓 Can you use night vision binoculars during the day?

    Night vision binoculars were primarily designed for nighttime use. However, some models will also work during the day. 

    The digital night vision binoculars are not equipped with intensifier tubes. Such tubes when in contact with bright light sources can severely damage both your equipment and your eyes. 

    So make sure you read your device’s manual guide thoroughly.

  • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
    💡 How do night vision binoculars work?

    When dim lights enter the lenses, they go through a photocathode, which converts light particles into pieces of electrons. From there, the electrons increase their speed and hit a phosphor screen that turns into the image we see.

  • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
    🧐 Can you see IR illuminators?

    Infrared illuminators (IR) project out infrared light to help us see during low-light and full darkness conditions. 

    Although infrared light is invisible to the human eye, the IR illuminator does make the user visible to others with night vision.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *