We recently reviewed the best night vision goggles, however, night vision binoculars are easier to come by and are generally more cost-effective.
The only real downside with using binocular versions is that they are not hands-free, but the convenience and value for money more than tip the balance. In this roundup we will try and provide a variety of night vision binoculars at different price points and some with their own niche features.
1. Night Owl Pro Nexgen (Overall Winner)
The Night Owl Pro Nexgen Night Vision binoculars provide a nice balance between cost and functionality. Not the cheapest, but neither the most expensive on the market. For the money, you get 5x magnification, a field of view of 53ft wide at 200ft, IR illuminators, ocular lenses, a minimum focus distance of 6.6 feet, and solid build quality.
The body is covered in a rubberized material and although the focusing knob is initially hard to locate, the two top buttons are large and easy to press. Working in ambient light, the image quality is extremely good and when the IR illuminator is engaged, image quality drops a little, but the range is extended. It’s also got a reasonable battery life of up to 80 hours, making the Night Owl Pro a quality solution.
The Bushnell LYNX Gen 1 night vision binoculars come from a company that has been in business for many decades making quality optics. For a generation one intensifier tube, image quality is extremely good, especially when using the infrared spotlight. Viewing range with these is 750ft, with a magnification of 2.5x, a 40mm f/2.0 lens, and anti-reflection, multicoated glass.
Weighing in at only 17 ounces, this is a lightweight device that won’t burden you when out on night-time explorations. The cost is also reasonable, considering the features and quality.
The Solomark Night Vision binoculars may not be the cheapest units on the list, but they do provide a lot of functionality for the money. Rather than using the traditional binocular format, the viewing area is a large screen with a 3W, 850nm Infrared Illuminator. This provides a viewing distance of up to 1300 ft, which is very impressive for the price point.
These binoculars can also be used in the daytime and provide 7x magnification, plus 2x digital zoom. Other specs include a 31mm lens with anti-reflective multicoating and a high-quality CMOS sensor. This means that stills and video can be recorded onto an SD card and although the recorded footage isn’t great in quality, it’s at least a nice option above other solutions.
The downside is eight AA batteries are needed and the device is quite power-hungry. But, as an all-rounder, one of the best solutions.
The green exterior of the Yukon Tracker makes these binoculars more military looking than the rest, with also a great price point and performance. The build quality is one of the main plus points, with a rubber exterior and rugged design. Battery life is also a plus point, lasting up to 10 hours on one charge. Other features include a 150-yard range, 24 mm lens and a magnification of 2x.
The optics have a multicoating to reduce reflections and the flip-flop lens caps have a pinhole that allows the binoculars to be used in the daytime. Magnification and smaller lens diameters may not be the same as the rest, but the unit is good enough in image quality to be worthy of its price.
Working in both day and night time, the Gemtune Bestguarder WG-80 is great value for money, in a more traditional binocular design. Although this is a generation one design, the built-in IR illuminators produce a 5MP image on a 1.5-inch color LCD screen, with also the option of recording 720p video. Video can also be output via a USB cable and viewed on an external device.
The viewing distance comes in at a healthy 984 ft at night time, with a daytime viewing distance of an impressive 4920 feet, with a close viewing distance of 6.5 ft. A total of 5x magnification is possible, being the best on the list and coupled with a healthy video quality, make this unit a good all-rounder.
6. X-Vision Night Vision Pro (Budget Winner)
These binoculars may look like a retro video game, but they have plenty of features for the night-time viewer and at an affordable price. Featuring a 2x magnification, a field of view of 60ft., plus a sturdy rubberized outer shell wrapped around its bulky form. The IR illuminators can be switched on and off, being able to see objects in near virtual darkness, but with slightly decreased image quality.
The unit is quite heavy on power consumption, lasting roughly 5 to 6 hours and needs a good bunch of AA batteries to keep it going. The f/1.4 aperture multicoated lenses allow for both day and night time viewing and while the price point is good, this is the lightest weight solution on the list. However, it is one of the cheapest.
Picking the Best Night Vision Binoculars
Nightvision binoculars are not so much the specialist items they once were, confirmed by their more affordable prices. Although they may not have the magnification range of traditional binoculars, many examples are usable in both day and night conditions, with some even having the facility to record video.
With plenty of options on the market to choose from, there should be a solution out there to fit both your needs and budget. When evaluating each set of binoculars, take into account the size, ease of operation and weight. Nearly all the examples on this list also use generation one IR illuminators, which means they are the most cost-effective while still providing good image quality.
Resolution and magnification is also a factor depending on the usage, as with adjustable eye relief to make sure viewing is as comfortable as possible. Lastly, even on affordable units, some type of lens coating adds to the image quality, while a weather-resistant build and fog proofing is a must in certain circumstances.
If possible try out the few pairs in person before you buy to make sure all the elements fit your needs.