Human eyes aren’t exactly built for the dark. Luckily, technology can make up for our physical limitations. Night vision binoculars don’t just allow you to see clearly in the pitch-dark of the night; they can also magnify what you see in as much detail as possible. Whether you’re just observing nature or tracking prey, a good set of night vision binoculars can change the game for you.
You may decide to make a trip to your local shop to check them out. When you do, you’ll discover that there are many different options available at some drastically different price points. What makes one worth so much more than another? Which features are the ones you should prioritize most? If you’re feeling like there’s a lot to consider, then the following ten reviews should help you to narrow down the decision. We’ve done the hard work of testing and comparing all the best models available in 2020, and these were our ten favorites.
|Nightfox Widescreen |
|7x + 2x||4.90/5|
|Aurho||3x + 4x||4.00/5|
|SOLOMARK||7x + 2x||3.90/5|
Although affordably priced, the Nightfox 110R widescreen night vision binocular packs an awful lot into its sleek body. Thanks to a 7X optical zoom and a 2X digital zoom, this binocular has a range of over 165 yards. This device is photo and video-capable, and there is a slot for MicroSD storage. At just 1.13 pounds, this is one of the lighter binoculars we tested, which made them much more comfortable for extended viewing.
The Nightfox is powered by four AA batteries that will last for two hours of use on full-power infrared. On low-power infrared, they will last about five hours. The GoPro-style mount is a great addition that allows you to attach the binoculars to a head-mount or tripod. This will give you a lot more freedom to use this device. Altogether, we think the 110R combines the most important features with a more budget-conscious price tag.
With a wide aperture of F1.4, the Sniper XANB20 deluxe night vision binoculars offer a spacious field of view. They’ll only let you see for about 200 feet ahead though. While they may not be the most powerful option, they are one of the most economical. Despite this, they offer excellent value, which makes them our pick for best night vision binoculars for the money. Of course, you can expect a few drawbacks when buying something at such a low price.
When you want to use these binoculars, you’re going to have to come up with eight AA batteries just to get them running. Couple this with a maximum zoom of just 2X and these night vision binoculars are knocked squarely from first-position contention. For the price though, it’s difficult to beat the value offered by the XANB20.
Though the Sightmark SM15073 is priced at a premium, it also provides some incredible features that few other binoculars can match. For instance, even with full infrared active, the battery life on this unit is 20 hours. What’s even more impressive is the fact that it does this on just two AAA batteries. If you turn the infrared off you could enjoy battery life up to 70 hours.
This device has one of the best built-in safety features that we’ve seen. The auto-shutoff will automatically stop the lens when it’s exposed to bright light. This will protect your eyes from having the light magnified and burning your retinas. At 24 ounces, this is not the lightest set of binoculars, but it’s built tough enough for nightly use and abuse.
With pictures and video up to 720p, the Aurho night vision binoculars can see up to 30 meters in full darkness. While this is an impressive stat by any measure, we would like to see some 1080p technology. A MicroSD slot is available for expanding the memory to store pictures and videos. With 3X magnification and 4X digital zoom, you should be able to get some very up-close shots with a lot of detail.
Durability is a key factor out in the field. To that end, the Aurho binoculars are IP-56 rated waterproof. This helps protect them from rain, dew, splashes from crossing a creek, and all moisture you may come across. We weren’t terribly fond of the need for six AA batteries to power this machine. This adds a lot of weight and can multiply in cost very quickly as well. Although it’s one of the better night vision binoculars available, it’s not one that we’d give our highest recommendations. There are higher performing competitors available for similar prices.
One of the standout features of the SOLOMARK night vision binoculars is the impressive range. This is thanks in part to the 7X optical zoom and 2X digital zoom that this device is capable of. In total, this allows for a viewing range of 1,300 feet or 400 meters in full darkness. It can also take day and night photos and videos which it can store on a microSD. These are pretty impressive specs, so why isn’t the SOLOMARK ranked higher on this list?
Well, to start, the image quality leaves something to be desired. It’s not quite up to par with the other night vision binoculars, especially for the high price that this one sells for. Beyond this, the lens covers pop off very easily in transport. If you’re not careful, this could result in expensive damage occurring to the lenses. If all you need is a great range, then the SOLOMARK may fit your needs perfectly. Barring that however, we suggest you pick something with a bit higher viewing quality so you can see what you’re looking at.
With an impressive viewing range of 400 meters, the Bestguarder digital night vision binoculars can help you see far off details clearly, even in the darkest conditions. This is in part thanks to the 7X optical magnification and 2X digital zoom that this device is capable of. Even better, the display is full color so you can clearly see what you’re looking at. For longevity, these binoculars are IPX-4 waterproof to keep them safe from moisture on the trail.
Though filled with impressive features and specs, the Bestguarder has some flaws that hold it back from achieving our higher recommendation. To start, it’s very expensive, which wouldn’t be a problem if it delivered as advertised. While it’s capable of taking photos and videos, the video has a max resolution of 640p at 30fps. This isn’t awful, but we would like to see at least 720p. Moreover, the digital zoom is actually very low-quality and grainy. In fact, we suggest leaving that feature alone. The device takes 8 AA batteries to run, so expect it to be weighed down a bit. Moreover, you’ll be swapping those batteries pretty often, so you’ll want to keep quite a few spares on hand.
Featuring 10X magnification, the BIAL HD binoculars can see up to 1,000 yards during the day. However, this model doesn’t feature infrared, so its night vision capabilities are not very impressive. That said, this is one of the most affordable models we tested and is best suited for only light occasional use instead of for serious spotting.
We also noticed that the BIAL binoculars are very large, feeling much bigger than some of the other models we reviewed. This meant they were less comfortable and more of a nuisance to try to carry around. Though solid and cheap for day watching, we’d suggest something with real infrared abilities for serious night vision.
It’s pretty hard to miss the sky-high price that the Night Owl NOXB-5 night vision binoculars go for. They are many times more expensive than other very capable models, and we just don’t think they quite live up to the exorbitant price tag. We noticed the first problem as soon as we unboxed them. These binoculars require a special type-123 lithium battery. Unfortunately, the battery is not included! You’re going to have to hunt down and purchase the battery separately. This prevented us from even being able to use ours for several days after we received it. For the crazy price that these sell for, we’d expect them to include everything you need to get them working. The 5X magnification is nice, though far from the best that we tested. While these are well-working binoculars, we think they’re overpriced for the value they provide.
Priced at a premium, we expected quite a bit from the Yukon Tracker 25028 night vision binoculars. We were pretty disappointed in their performance though. Right off the bat, we realized that no battery was included. This device is powered by a 3V battery, so be aware of that before purchasing. Thanks to the three focusing knobs, you can dial in an excellent picture with great clarity, but it takes a bit of time and precision to get it there.
The lack of photo or video capabilities is one major drawback. Even at a fraction of the price, most of the other products we tested included this important feature. Altogether, we think this is a very overpriced set of binoculars considering what you get.
As soon as we opened the ATN BinoX-HD, we realized that it doesn’t come with any cables. For maximum functionality, you’ll need to purchase several. Moreover, this binocular uses specialty batteries. Three CR123A batteries are necessary to run it, and they do not last long. In our experience, you’re not getting more than 30 minutes on a set of batteries.
At the high price this unit sells for, we expected much higher quality. When we took it out of our bag, multiple pieces had started coming apart. The longevity of this binocular is very poor, but the price tag is very high. Overall, we can’t recommend this as one of our top picks when such higher-quality units are available for less.
You’ve read about our ten favorite night vision binoculars and now you might be ready to run out and pick up a pair so you can start sighting tonight. However, we suggest taking a quick read through this short buyer’s guide just to refresh yourself on which features and functions are available and which ones you should be prioritizing.
If your binoculars only allow you to see a few feet in front of you, they’re not going to be very useful. Luckily, most binoculars list their viewing abilities so you know exactly what you’re getting. Some of the best ones have 400-meter viewing capabilities in full dark. On the other end of the spectrum, some lower-end models may have a viewing range under 100 yards. You’ll need to think about what you plan to use your binoculars for the most and purchase a set that has abilities to match your needs.
While looking through your binoculars to see your targets is all well and good, what if you want to see it all again later? Many of the top models we reviewed have photo and video capabilities. These devices will have a MicroSD slot for external storage to store your media on. While this may not be the most pressing feature for everyone, most wildlife observers will appreciate this handy feature.
Since they are wireless electronic devices, these binoculars are battery-powered. Some may run on just two AAA batteries, while others may require eight AA batteries. Specialty batteries are even required for certain models but pay close attention because they often do not include them. This means you’ll need to find that specialty battery type before you can even test your new binoculars.
Aside from how many and what type of batteries your binoculars use, you should also consider how long those batteries will last before they must be charged or replaced. Some models only have 1-2 hours of battery life on full infrared. Others may have as much as 20 hours of run time on a single set of batteries. If your binoculars die in the field, you’ll certainly be regretting not spending the extra on some improved battery life.
There are two main types of magnification that the night vision binoculars come equipped with. Optical magnification uses glass lenses to magnify the image and offers a crisp, clear quality that doesn’t introduce much distortion. On the other hand, digital zoom is magnified digitally as the name implies. This usually introduces noticeable blurring and pixelation which can greatly distort the picture. We recommend looking for a device with as much optical magnification as possible. In our experience, the digital zoom is simply too grainy and distorted to be of much use.
At this point, you should feel prepared to pick a pair of binoculars that will accompany you outdoors in the dead of night. We’ve discussed which traits you should keep in mind, and we’ve also compared our ten favorites in our reviews. We think the Nightfox 110R widescreen night vision binocular is the best overall, packing in a 7X optical zoom, photo and video capability, and a Go-Pro style mount into an affordable and lightweight package.
If you’re looking for the absolute best bang for your buck, we suggest checking out the Sniper XANB20 deluxe night vision binoculars. The wide F1.4 aperture lens gives a wide field of view and the 2X zoom helps you see clearly at a distance. We think it’s the best value which is why it’s earned our number two spot on this list. If you want the best there is and don’t mind spending the extra money, we believe the Sightmark SM15073 night vision binoculars are the top premium choice. With eye saving auto-shutoff in bright life, an incredible 20-hour runtime on just 2 AAA batteries on full infrared, and a head-mountable design, it’s easy to see why it’s earned our recommendation. We feel confident that all three of these binoculars will be a great choice that won’t let you down in the dead of night.
Featured Image: Night Vision Binocular/Nightfox/110R, Amazon
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