Last Updated on
Night vision equipment can be fun as well as functional. It’s useful for checking out the local wildlife in your neighborhood at night and can also greatly assist hunts. However, most night vision equipment costs an arm and a leg, and it’s not a hobby many people think they can get into affordably.
However, that’s not the case today. You can get high-quality night vision monoculars on a budget. You just have to know where to look.
We’ve done the hard work for you and have created reviews of some of the top night vision monoculars under $300, weeding out the poor performers and rip-offs along the way. We also created a buyer’s guide, so if this is your first time shopping for night vision equipment, you can gain an idea of what you should be looking for.
|Best Overall||Bushnell Equinox Z||
The Bushnell Equinox Z Digital is a great choice for someone who wants to get into the night vision game without spending an arm and a leg on equipment. Different models in this line come with up to 6x magnification, which can be useful for making out small animals at a long distance. If you’re going to hunt larger game, you may go with the 4.5x magnification model as it has a larger field of view while still having a good zoom. You can also use this model day or night, which means you don’t have to worry about bright light damaging the optics.
You can also record videos with this model, so you can show family and friends what you encountered later. Like many modern models, you can take pictures, but this model has an exceptionally-fast shutter speed, which reduces blur in your shots if you have shaky hands. Our only complaint about this model is that it runs on AA batteries, which drives up the cost of operation over time. Overall, this is a great model for someone who’s not going to want to fuss with technical details.
The Bestguarder 6x50mm WG-50 is the best in class for home security purposes. You could take this model out with you if you’re a hunter, but it’s best features all relate to home security. For one, it’s easy to connect this model to an exterior power supply to run it indefinitely as a security camera. You’ll also find it easy to connect it to a computer to record or monitor the view.
This model, unlike a lot of true night vision cameras, can be used in day or night, so you’re getting the full capacity of an IR camera with the benefit of it being daytime-friendly as well. You can also take pictures or record video if you’re not using it as a security camera, which gives it some flexibility. While this model has great overall value, we’d like to see it be a bit friendlier to going on the road. It burns through batteries quickly, which is unsurprising considering it appears to target the home security market.
Pursue other interesting hobbies with: The top refractometers of the year
The Solomark Night Vision Monocular is a good investment for someone who wants basic night vision options or has a small budget. It is a very compact model, which means it does provide some value if you’re going to have space limitations or want a model that won’t completely dwarf your hands. This model is also tripod-mount ready, which means that if you already own a tripod, you might be good to go on that front.
The very best feature of this model is its price. It’s a discount night vision monocular, but it works well enough for the price. It has a range of about 328 feet, which a good, but not a great distance. It also uses AA batteries, which are more of a pain than a model that comes with a rechargeable battery. Overall, this is a good model, but it provides great value because of its very low price.
Hopefully, our reviews have given you some idea of what kind of equipment you can get for $300. If you’ve never shopped for night vision monoculars before or want a refresher course on what you should be looking for when you shop, you should read this buyer’s guide, which is full of great information about night vision cameras.
In this price range, it’s likely that you’re not going to find a night vision monocular that comes with a rechargeable battery. That’s too bad, but it doesn’t mean that you have no options at all. Most models in this price range run primarily on AA batteries, which can get expensive over time, and doesn’t provide that great of a runtime, though that is something that varies from model-to-model.
Some models have a way of connecting them to a power source to power them that way. In some instances, this is meant for home security purposes, while in others it seems more like a convenient hack. Many models can take power through the mini-USB port that they use to offload picture and videos, which means that you can hack together a portable power supply with a power pack and a USB cable.
While you can find night-vision monoculars with all kinds of zooms on them, in this price range you’re likely to find models that are limited to between 3x and 6x magnification. This zoom level is good for hunting in a lot of circumstances, at it means that you’ll be able to make out ranged detail with more accuracy, but it also means that they’re less useful for home security purposes or other situations where a large field-of-view is useful.
Some models also come with digital zoom over their base zoom, which is static and optically-based. Many people have mixed feelings about digital zoom, as it doesn’t always work well, even on high-end models, and it gets blurry with even the gentlest of shaking, so if you don’t have it mounted on something you may not be able to make anything out at all. Overall, you want to make sure that you balance your magnification needs with your field-of-view needs, and you should be fine.
Many people make the mistake of starting with their budget and then picking the model that most closely matches that. While it’s certainly not the worst thing you could do, it potentially costs you a lot of value. It’s possible that you could spend less money and get a model with which you’re perfectly happy. Or, you might need to spend a bit more to have a good experience. The best way to get a model you’ll love is to figure out what requirements you have for your equipment in advance, and then buy the model that most closely matches those. That way, you get the best value and will likely end up with a model you love.
Other popular monocular guides:
The Bushnell Equinox Z Digital is the best choice for people who need long-range IR, as well as day and night use or excellent video recording and picture taking capabilities. The Bestguarder 6x50mm WG-50 is going to be best for you if you need a home security camera with IR capabilities. The Solomark Night Vision Monocular provides fantastic value, working well enough, but coming at a discount price.
Hopefully, our reviews and our buyer’s guide have given you some idea of which models to consider for your next purchase. Armed with that information, you should be able to find the model that works best for you.
Table of Contents
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.
Compound Vs. Dissecting Microscope: What’s the Difference?
4 Ways to Take Photos Through a Microscope
Magnification vs. Diopter: Understanding the Difference
Hawk vs Eagle: What’s the Difference? (With Pictures)
Mirrorless vs. DSLR Cameras in 2021: What Are the Differences?
Red Dot vs ACOG Sights: Which Is Better?
Red Dot vs Iron Sights: Which is Better?
Vortex Viper vs. Venom Red Dot Sights: Which Is Better?