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Published May 12, 2023 11:38 AM
Night vision binoculars aren’t just for the military. With an explosion in recent years of invasive animals such as wild hogs, coyotes, armadillos, and more, hunting at night has never been more popular—and sometimes necessary. Instead of relying on a nice, moonlit night to make your hunt successful, you should embrace the improvement in night vision binocular technology. The picture quality has gone up, the price has come down, and there’s a pair of night vision binoculars (or even a monocular) on the market that will fit your needs and your budget. Here are the best night vision binoculars you can buy now.
How We Picked the Best Night Vision Binoculars
Not all night vision binoculars are built the same. There’s a wide variety of options available on the market, and they all have specific uses. Undoubtedly there are times when you need the absolute best of the best. Other times, less is more. But no matter the price point or amount of features, one thing almost always holds true: you get what you pay for—at both ends of the spectrum. The following criteria were used to make our picks:
- Build Quality: What materials went into making the night vision binoculars, and how does that translate into the finished product? Do they perform as you’d expect, or does the image quality look like you’re playing on an old-school Nintendo console? The build quality will make or break a pair of night vision binoculars and can be the difference between a great night out hunting or an evening full of missed opportunities.
- Intended Use: Will you be using the night vision binoculars for hog hunting or predator hunting?
- Cost: Do these night vision binoculars provide good value for the money?
Best Night Vision Binoculars: Reviews & Recommendations
Best Overall: Bushnell Nightvision Equinox Z2
- Style: Monocular, not binoculars
- Magnification: 6x
- Objective Lens: 50mm
- No screen involved
- Can be used during the day and at night
- 1080p HD video capabilities
- If you’re dead set on binoculars, then this isn’t for you
Bushnell has been a trusted name in optics for decades, so it only makes sense that people would turn to them for a night vision device when they’re out scouting or hunting. The Bushnell Nightvision Equinox Z2 is a monocular, not a binocular, but that’s not an issue because many night vision binoculars (including others on this list) use a display screen for the image anyway. With a 50mm objective lens and 6x magnification, you’ll be able to easily hone in on animals at night and even capture them in 1080p HD video. Tipping the scales at less than two pounds, you won’t feel weighed down adding night vision to your nighttime hunting setup.
Best Budget: Gthunder GlassOwl True IR Night Vision
- Magnification: 3x optical zoom, 4x digital zoom
- Objective Lens: 25mm
- Screen Size: 3” HD viewing screen
- More than 3,100 4 & 5-star reviews
- IP56 dust and waterproof rating
- Comes with a 32GB memory card
- Can capture video, but without sound
For less than $200, you can dip your toes into the world of night vision binoculars with the Gthunder GlassOwl True IR Night Vision binoculars. You can use these binoculars during the day or at night and view animals easily with the three inch display screen, meaning that you don’t have to put cups up to your eyes and adjust for the perfect view. If you spot something and need a closer look, you can use the 3x optical zoom and then the 4x digital zoom. Once you’ve got the animals in sight, you can easily snap photos or soundless videos on the included 32GB memory card.
Best for Hunting: Nightfox Swift Night Vision Goggles
- Magnification: 1x
- Weight: 12.7 ounces
- Power: Micro USB charging
- Visual Range: 75 yards
- Hands-free head mount included
- Wide 40-degree viewing angle
- Optional helmet mount available
- Magnification fixed at 1x
When you’re hunting hogs or predators at night, you need to stay still and have your hands free for your gun—not encumbered by holding night vision binoculars. Weighing just 12.7 ounces, your head won’t feel heavy either. The Nightfox Swift binos come with a head mount so that you can hunt hands-free. The wide 40-degree field of view out to a distance of 75 yards will ensure that you can see the animals in the field without any issues. Charging is done quickly and easily with a micro USB port and cable, and you can still use the Nightfox even if they’re plugged into an external power bank.
Best with a Camera: ATN BinoX 4K 4-16x
- Recording Ability: 4K Ultra HD
- Frames Per Sec: 120
- Video Storage: MicroUSB card up to 64GB
- Night and day modes for versatile use
- Built-in rangefinder and IR illuminator
- Live stream video capabilities
- May be more features than you really need
The ATN BinoX 4K offers stunning video in daylight or with night vision that can be shot and recorded to a microSD card for sharing later or even immediately with live stream capabilities. The 4-16x zoom will get you super close to the animals you’re viewing, plus you can use the 1,000-yard rangefinder for an exact distance and then tag the location to share with friends using the ATN app. These night vision binoculars are truly feature-packed and offer a premium camera experience so that your hunting and glassing memories can last a lifetime and be shared with others in real time even if they can’t make it into the outdoors with you.
Best High-End: Armasight Discovery 5x Gen 2+
- Magnification: 5x
- Weight: 2.9 pounds
- Features: Fog and water resistant
- Easy to mount to a tripod
- Multi-coated glass
- Detachable long range IR illuminator
- Standard, improved, and high definition models available
- Magnification is fixed at 5x
The Armasight Discovery 5x Gen 2+ night vision binoculars let you take your nighttime viewing to the next level with an IR illuminator that you can use with the binos or by itself. Their bi-ocular design uses one large lens to feed light through two viewing lenses, allowing for easier and simpler use. Even though the magnification is fixed at 5x, you’ll get great image quality with the 108mm lens and Gen 2+ night vision technology. These binoculars weigh almost three pounds, but that’s relatively light compared to similar products. If that’s too heavy, the Armasight Discovery 5x Gen 2+ binoculars can be easily mounted to a tripod for longer viewing sessions. You can pick from standard, improved, or high definition models to get the exact viewing clarity that you need without having to overpay for picture quality that you may not need.
Things to Consider When Buying Night Vision Binoculars
Night vision binoculars can be an important tool to successfully hunt hogs and predators like coyotes. Here are some things you should think about before parting with your hard-earned money:
How are you planning on using the binoculars? Will it be for hunting down nuisance hogs or other predator animals at night or mainly for the fun of being able to see at night and do some shooting? While there are plenty of options out there that fill both of those needs, there’s no reason to buy a pair with a whole bunch of bells and whistles that you’ll never use. Buy what you need and save the difference for ammo.
Price isn’t always indicative of quality. There are plenty of overpriced pieces of junk on the market, and there are equal numbers of underpriced overperformers. Figure out your budget and then focus on use and features. This will allow you to find exactly what you need at a price you can accord.
Q: Can I use night vision binoculars during the day?
Well, that depends. If your binoculars are strictly designed for night vision, then no, you cannot use them during the day. Doing so will damage them. If, however, you have a pair of binoculars that are specifically designed for night vision and daytime use, then yes, you can use them during the day as well, so long as you are using the correct settings.
Q: Is night vision legal for civilians?
While many people conjure up images of special ops soldiers using night vision on high-risk missions, the truth is that night vision is perfectly legal for civilians to own and use because its uses are far broader than just the military. Night vision is a great tool for hunters, trappers, and when scouting for game.
Q: What is the difference between thermal imaging and night vision?
Thermal imaging, otherwise called infrared, doesn’t require any light to allow you to be able to see in the dark. Night vision, on the other hand, works by amplifying visible light in the immediate vicinity.
Best Night Vision Binoculars: Final Thoughts
Whether you absolutely need a pair of night vision binoculars or you just want them because they’re cool, we’re not here to judge. The technology is pretty sweet and very effective in the field—any one of these top options will suit you well.
Why Trust Us
For more than 125 years, Field & Stream has been providing readers with honest and authentic coverage of outdoor gear. Our writers and editors eat, sleep, and breathe the outdoors, and that passion comes through in our product reviews. You can count on F&S to keep you up to date on the best new gear. And when we write about a product—whether it’s a bass lure or a backpack—we cover the good and the bad, so you know exactly what to expect before you decide to make a purchase.