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7 Best Budget Night Vision Goggles in 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks

Last Updated on February 22, 2021

man using Night Fox Swift Night Vision Goggles

Did you know night vision goggles used to be called nighttime image enhancers? And contrary to popular belief, it’s actually the Germans who introduced this technology. The whole concept came to be in 1935, but it was not until 1939 that German soldiers began using it.

Here’s another fun fact: The green that you often see on the display is not just some random color. A while ago, scientists revealed that the human eye is more sensitive to green.

Alright, now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about some of the best night vision goggles that the market has to offer. We know narrowing down your options is no easy task, so we thought why not take the lead on this one?


A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
JStoon Night Vision Goggles JStoon Night Vision Goggles
  • Great image quality
  • Views long ranges
  • Waterproof
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Rexing B1 Night Vision Goggles Rexing B1 Night Vision Goggles
  • High water resistance
  • Has a USE 2.0 cable
  • Dual media capture
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Creative XP Digital Night Vision Goggles Creative XP Digital Night Vision Goggles
  • Easy to use
  • Exudes quality
  • Creates clearer images
  • GTHUNDER Night Vision Goggles GTHUNDER Night Vision Goggles
  • Lightweight
  • Comes with a warranty
  • Can be adjusted manually
  • Coolife Night Vision Goggles Coolife Night Vision Goggles
  • Offers value for money
  • Has IR technology
  • Easy to use
  • 7 Best Budget Night Vision Goggles in 2021 – Reviews

    1. JStoon Night Vision Goggles – Best Overall

    JStoon Night Vision Goggles

    We fell in love with this brand for several reasons, but at the top of the list is its infrared-sensitive CMOS image sensor.

    CMOS is an abbreviation for Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor. This image sensor converts light into electrical signals, and is never compromised by blooming or smear. Blooming is the corruption of images, while smear is the vertical white streak that you’d typically find on images that have been taken under a lot of bright light.

    Ensuring that you get a clear vision under the blanket of darkness is not the only reason why this unit is so popular among users. Remember how you kept on wishing you had goggles that could record and store images or videos? Well, the JStoon Night Vision Goggles have a video output port to help you transfer all the collected data to your laptop or desktop.

    The only thing that we didn’t like about this digital gadget was its battery lifespan. It only offers 6 hours with continuous use, and that’s not good enough considering we have units out there that guarantee way more.

    But then again, we think that’s a small compromise to make, taking into account the fact that it also features multi-coated optics that reduce glare while increasing light transmission simultaneously.

    Pros
    • User friendly
    • Great image quality
    • Views long ranges
    • Waterproof
    Cons
    • Relatively short battery life

    2. Rexing B1 Night Vision Goggles – Best Value

    Rexing B1 Night Vision Goggles

    Any time someone talks about the best night goggles for money, this is the first gadget that springs to mind. If all you care about is getting clear visuals, the Rexing B1 Night Vision Goggle is the optical aid you need. Its IR illumination (the light invisible to the human eye), 10x optical zoom, and 4x digital zoom, combine to clearly see objects that are as far as 984 feet away. However, its 25 mm f/1.2 objective lens isn’t quite top-of-the-line—but understandable at this price point.  

    Built-in photo and video modes come with a resolution of 1280 x 960 pixels for the pictures, and 960p at 30 frames per second (fps) for the videos, and all the data collected can be stored in a 32GB memory card found in the slot.

    The Rexing B1 goggle has water resistance of IP56—considerably higher than most gadgets—and a battery life that supports an uninterrupted daylight use of 17 hours. But if you’ll be recording videos the whole time you’re using it, those hours will drop to 6 hours.

    Unlike most goggles, the Rexing B1 Night Vision Goggles don’t ship with SD cards. And in all honesty, that’s a bummer because those cards don’t come cheap. It’s the reason we decided to post it at the second spot.

    Pros
    • Budget friendly
    • High water resistance
    • Has a USE 2.0 cable
    • Dual media capture
    Cons
    • Doesn’t come with an SD card

    3. Creative XP Digital Night Vision Goggles – Premium Choice

    Creative XP Digital Night Vision Goggles

    Creative XP is a top-tier brand with widespread recognition in the world of optics. As its reputation precedes itself, the Creative XP Digital Night Vision Goggles offer intense performance, and can be used for all types of nighttime surveillance.

    ‘Convenience’ is obviously the aspect that the R&D department at Creative XP had in mind during production because you don’t need a manual to understand its interface or how to set it up.

    The images created by this beast are always so clear and detailed, courtesy of the 850nm illuminator and the ambient light technology. You’ll also fall in love with its 4-inch screen, but feel disappointed by the 4-hour battery life. Anytime you hear us talk about the battery life, we’re not referring to the total number of charge cycles, but the run time on full charge. Please note that.

    Why’s the product third on the list? Its price. We know we’re always advised to always invest in quality but…these goggles are just too expensive for an ordinary Joe.

    Pros
    • Accessories in bulk
    • Easy to use
    • Exudes quality
    • Creates clearer images
    Cons
    • No depth in vision
    • Short battery life
    • Expensive

    4. GTHUNDER Night Vision Goggles

    GTHUNDER Night Vision Goggles

    One of the features that define the GTHUNDER Night Vision Goggle is its multi-coated lens.

    A multi-coated lens has an anti-reflective coating that allow more light to pass through. Any lens that doesn’t have such a coating will probably lose up to 4% of light being transmitted due to reflections and scattering. But if you’re working with a multi coated lens, that percentage will be significantly reduced to 0.25%. Hence, the reason why the GTHUNDER Night Vision Goggle made our list.

    A quick rundown of the specs include a mid-range host of features: 3x optical zoom, 2.31-inch LCD screen, 6-hour battery life/3-hours in IR mode. Speaking of which, 850nm is industry standard for infrared illumination. The lightweight unit also has seven IR adjustable modes and HD night vision, making it suitable for beginning to intermediate users looking for high performance under extreme dark conditions.

    The package comes with a handful of accessories (carry strap, carry case, and tripod thread), but more importantly, the unit is backed by a 100% money-back guarantee. However, again, this product is geared toward beginner to advanced users, something that’s reflected in many online reviews—users complained that the device has a less-than-professional “feel”. It’s a subjective opinion, of course, but GTHUNDER shouldn’t be criticized for failing to achieve what they didn’t set out to do.

    Pros
    • Lightweight
    • Comes with a warranty
    • Can be adjusted manually
    • Budget friendly
    • Ideal for beginners
    Cons
    • Some buyers find its plastic material a turnoff

    5. Coolife Night Vision Goggles

    Coolife Night Vision Goggles

    The Coolife Night Vision Goggles are somewhat special in a crowded niche for its IR illuminator that allows you to control seven different intensities. With 4x digital zoom and a 3x optical zoom, the specs are slightly above average, but the additional accessories (neck strap, backpack, 32 GB SD card, and a night vision scope) more than make up for any petty quibbling about magnification.

    On the downside, we’re not thrilled with the brightness of the LCD screen, which isn’t adjustable. This could be a strong deterrent to hunters. Otherwise, this is a decent, middle-of-the-road product with same-same features: 2.31-inch LCD, 948 feet of viewing range, and CMOS sensor. Although priced competitively with the Jstoon Night Vision Googles, these two devices aren’t in the same league of quality. So, for this money, you could get our Best Overall choice with excellent specs.

    Pros
    • Offers value for money
    • Has IR technology
    • Easy to use
    Cons
    • Screen is too bright

    6. Night Fox Swift Night Vision Goggles

    Night Fox Swift Night Vision Goggles

    The Night Fox Swift Night Vision Goggle comes with pre-equipped headgear much smaller device profile than others on this list. It’s also the weakest in terms of power: 75 yards viewing range at night, 1x optical magnification and 2x digital zoom. The infrared level is touch-controlled to Level Zero when the LEDs are inactive.

    The good news is, you won’t have to worry much about the screen’s brightness because unlike the previous case, this one actually has the adjustment option. The user interface is also easy to understand and use, so you won’t feel like you’re studying rocket science.

    The only thing that we find weird here is the fact that the Night Fox Swift Night Vision Goggles utilizes the single Li-Ion USB rechargeable batteries. Replaceable batteries might have been a wiser choice. Otherwise, you must consider your needs and your budget before settling on these googles. Again, for the same money, you could get the Jstoon and call it a day.

    Pros
    • It’s lightweight
    • Easy to navigate
    • Budget friendly
    • Comes with an integrated Li-Ion battery
    Cons
    • Low magnification
    • Expensive

    7. Shanniss Night Vision Goggles

    Shanniss Night Vision Goggles

    We’ll be finishing this off by talking about a set that would make you feel like you’re using a VR headset. And that’s a good thing because we don’t want to start depending on gadgets that remind us of dinosaurs or the age of the Vikings.

    The Shanniss Night Vision Goggles have premium multi coated lenses, so you know you’ll be getting clear and detailed visuals. Couple that with the LCD screen and you have yourself a match made in heaven. Other notable features include the rubberized exterior, built-in IR illuminator, and decent magnification power.

    Are they as powerful as other goggles? Yes, and no. It all depends on which goggles you’re comparing it to. The only thing that we can tell you for certain is that it offers a spectacular package at an affordable rate. Also, you’ll be able to enjoy the crisp daylight colors once you switch off the IR, and a 328-feet viewing distance in the dark.

    The only downside? It lacks a recording option. And that’s a big deal to some users.

    Pros
    • Has an adjustable head strap
    • The lenses are multi coated
    • Durable
    • It’s compact
    Cons
    • No recording option

    Buyer’s Guide

    Now that we know which goggles are the best night vision goggles that the market has to offer, it’s time to talk about the key features that you need to look for when shopping. Believe us when we say, the worst feeling on earth is not the feeling of frustration derived from a slow internet. It’s finally coming to the realization that the thing you invested so much money in, won’t help you in any way. 

    But first….

    What Are the Different Types of Goggles?

    Monocular Goggles

    E.T Dragon PVS-14 Digital Night Vision Goggle IR Night Vision Monocular

    Whether you’re a beginner, an intermediate user, or you consider yourself a pro in the field, you’ll always find this variation useful. As the name suggests, the monocular night vision goggle doesn’t cover both eyes but one. It’s been designed with a single night vision tube, but that shouldn’t be a deterrent. You’ll eventually get the hang of it.

    Monocular goggles can be substituted for a multipurpose monocular. So, if you were wondering why anyone would invest in a single-night tube instead of other goggles, now you know. In fact, we’ve seen hunters and wildlife photographers mount their mono goggles on weapons and cameras during their adventures.

    Bi-Ocular Goggles

    AGM Global Vision FoxBat 5 NL2 Gen 2+Level 2 Night Vision Bi-Ocular

    Any type of goggle that can be used by both civilians and military personnel obviously falls under the gold standard category. Saying that bi-ocular goggles offer the best of both worlds kind of sounds like an understatement. These units have dual oculars that have been designed for users who mostly prefer switching between two-night vision and one-night vision tubes.  

    You can easily mount it on your tripod, but it’s not to be used on a weapon. Achieving maximum efficiency while using it on a weapon of any kind is virtually impossible.

    By the way, bi-ocular goggles come with optional magnification lenses for those who’d prefer working with long-range optical aids.

    Binocular Goggle

    Coolife Night Vision Goggles Binoculars

    These are not the goggles to go for if you’re working with a budget. They’re ridiculously expensive, and we think the two-night vision tubes found in each set should be blamed for that. Users who invest in binocular goggles are those who yearn for a wider field of view—A key feature thanks to the dual tubes. 

    The option of using a single tube whenever the other one burns out is not a benefit. We’ve heard some users are adding this to their pros, but we just don’t see it that way. Who would seriously want to invest all their hard-earned money in such an expensive piece once that thought crosses their mind?

    The Generations of Night Vision Goggles

    Gen 1

    These were the first goggles introduced to us. And now that we’ve thought about it, they’re probably the most common goggle generation. They have an interface that’s easier to understand, and are not as costly as the other goggles.

    Even though we’ve always been in love with Gen 1 goggles, we cannot fail to mention the fact that they only cover a range of 75 yards or less, and have a slightly lower resolution.

    Gen 2

    The technology applied in the production of this model borrowed a lot of ideas from the Gen 1 model. The image quality is way better than the one created by the Gen 1 because of the micro channel plate added into it, but they do cost more. You’ll be working with a viewing range of 200 yards, and that’s a definite plus.

    Gen 3

    You’ll for sure raise some eyebrows if you walk into a store and ask for a Gen 3 goggle. The level of technology here is tactical or military-grade, and mostly applicable in intense situations. With the Gen 3 goggles you’ll also get an image of better clarity, but the difference being, you won’t have to worry much about its battery life or the availability of light. To top that off, you’ll be able to cover approximately 300 yards.

    Gen 4

    This model is only reserved for experienced users, and it often outperforms all the above generations. You’ll definitely love it but before you get your hands on one, you’ll have to break the bank.

    Key Features to Take into Account

    Size

    If it’s something that’s going to impede your ability to hunt or even clear your line of sight then maybe you should think about a different goggle. Only go for a larger goggle if you absolutely have to, and even then, you should consider something retractable.

    Weight

    You’ll most likely be wearing them for an extended period of time, and that’s why the weight is a factor here. And this especially applies to users who opt for optical aids that can be worn on the head or the kind that comes with a helmet mount. Excessive weight is hazardous to your physical health, as it strains the neck muscle. Anything that weighs 20 pounds or less is ideal. But that also means you’ll have to invest in a unit that doesn’t have military-grade technology, or feature more lenses.

    Durability

    Night vision goggles are designed to be used outside, and not indoors. And we all know there are days you’ll have to work under harsh weather conditions. So, if you ever decide to get yourself some cool goggles, we would recommend models made of aluminium. Be wary of anything that’s cheap or made of plastics, if you want to avoid disappointment on day one. Also, ensure your lenses are glass lenses.

    man wearing Night Fox Swift Night Vision Goggles

    Gain

    No, we’re not talking about an increase in your body mass. We’re referring to the optical aid’s ability to compensate for various light levels in any dark environment. Your images will appear detailed and clear, even in minimal light, if you’re viewing objects using goggles that have better gains.

    Magnification

    “Oh, that’s easy. Always bet on goggles that have a high magnification power, right?”

    Higher magnification powers are only great if you’re not moving around or working with something like the telescope. The situation is very different out there. You’ll be walking, sometimes running, and operating other equipment.


    Conclusion

    Let’s go over this one more time before signing out. We’ve said from our experience, the best night vision goggle in the market right now is the JStoon Night Vision Goggle. The one that will offer you the best value for money is Rexing B1 Night Vision Goggle, but the Creative XP Digital Night Vision Goggle is considered the premium brand. And with that in mind, we hope we’ve made your task a tad bit easier.

    About the Author Robert Sparks

    Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.