Best Night Vision Binoculars 2017: Reviews, Comparisons and Buying Guide
These devices use infrared technology to amplify any available light- starlight, moonlight, or nearby ambient light- into specialized optics and lenses. In this post we will be looking at the best night vision binoculars of 2017.
Table of Contents
- Cheap Night Vision Binoculars for under $500
- Tactical Night Vision Binoculars
- What Are The Best Night Vision Binoculars for the money?
- Which night vision generation to buy?
- The Best Night Vision Binocular Brands
- Learning more about night vision
Decades of innovation and widespread popularity has made night vision gear more useful to law enforcement, the military, hunters, or casual optics enthusiasts.
Everyday consumers shopping through Amazon.com, Cabelas and many other hunting, or home defense outlets have access to gear that not only has the power to enhance light, but also to bring their field of view closer to a subject as well. All this power can vary in affordability, but the old adage of “you get what you pay for” still rings true. Getting this technology that to also utilize binocular vision is a feature that isn’t cheap.
Let’s look at some of the best-rated night vision binoculars available today.
Cheap Night Vision Binoculars for under $500
However, the prices for night vision binoculars are not insurmountable. Amazon.com has great a entry level set made by the Russian company Night Owl. This model, under the product name Pro Nexgen Night Vision Binocular 5X, is basic, using very straight-forward features; everything necessary in magnified night vision binoculars for a less-than $450 price.
As the number in its name indicates- the night vision binoculars magnify 5 times from light entering 50mm lenses. Infrared illuminators turn total darkness viewable using a single 3 volt 123-type lithium battery which will last 40 to 80 hours, depending on IR usage.
Amazon.com customers have given this device a 4 star rating out of 5. Many customer reviews call this “Well worth the money” (by Amazon.com shopper “wolfman”- and that is the screen name of a hunter, if there ever was one). Other reviews point out product faults like the lack of a tripod mount, or difficulty focusing. To summarize this product, these are the perfect option for beginners.
Though that model might be great for those watching coyotes prowl on acres of land in the night, they’re not for defense or protection. Serious home defense enthusiasts and law enforcement officials won’t settle for less- and shouldn’t. Even big game hunters can find themselves needing something with more features and better options in order to not find themselves fumbling with controls or having to hold your nv bins in one hand, and their weapon in the other. You want both hands free. With the risk of losing an object, the hunt, or your life, things becomes less about the money and more about reliability.
Tactical Night Vision Binoculars
Those with the funds to shell out over $700 have the luxury of buying binoculars with specially coated optics, 445 ft viewing range, and let’s not forget, headgear to keep it hands-free. Night Owl has those more serious customers covered with their Tactical Series G1 Night Vision Binocular Goggles (available at Amazon.com).
With defense and tactical applications in mind, this model features a comfortable head mount, and a push button flip-top to raise up the binocs when not in use or the option to detach them completely.
Durable aluminum housing encloses an infrared illuminator for use in complete darkness or to improve target recognition, and is powered by two 1.5 volt Type-N batteries. Users can keep their subjects in sight in total darkness for 40 to 80 hours depending on their IR usage.
One customer noted that its head mount is cumbersome and hard to adjust. Others noted the hard-to-find battery type, as it is a power cell most often used in medical devices and isn’t widely available.
Perhaps the manufacturer wanted to really push the feature of a head mount, but cut back on the comfort, so if that is important to you, skip this set.
What Are The Best Night Vision Binoculars for the money?
Shopping for night vision binoculars can be a lot like shopping for cars; the richer you are, the more you can get. Those on the lookout for the Cadillac in night vision devices need not look any further than the ATN PS15-4 GEN 4 Night Vision Goggle System, made by the ATN Corporation. If features like waterproof construction, intensifier tubes, 40 degree field of view, and resolutions that allow users to read maps in total darkness sound expensive, you are absolutely right.
Sticker shock for these night vision binoculars can raise eyebrows at Amazon.com at just under $8,300. It might go without saying that this set is used mostly by the military and the serious customer that doesn’t play around with home defense. As to be expected, it also includes a head mount with flip top articulation, as well as the option to quickly remove the unit, if needed.
Power demands are kept as simple as most other nv bins, as it only requires 2 1.5-volt AA batteries (which are available anywhere) or 3-volt CR123A type (play it safe and head to Radio Shack for those) which power these night vision binoculars for 40 hours.
Thus far, only a couple of reviews are listed for these optical devices on Amazon.com, 1 of which outlining the “impressive clarity and depth perception”. Despite the high price, one would assume greater expectations from this device that are at the cost of a good used car, but most of the positive boons from the device come from sharp image clarity and near unbreakable durability.
Which night vision generation to buy?
Over the years night vision technology has come on in leaps and bounds. When you are considering any night vision device, it is crucial to take note which generation technology it uses.
You will find that Generation 1 devices are more affordable and lower quality than the later Generations. As you look at Generation 1, 2 and 3 the optical devices will be come more expensive as the technology is more cutting edge delivering better graphics.
This is the night vision that was used in the Vietnam war. Some cheap binoculars and other night vision devices can be found in this category. Keep in mind that this is the most basic technology.
Gen 1+ devices feature a fiber optic plate, which can be either at the front or the end of the tube, which significantly improves the resolution making it easier to spot and identify objects.
Devices classified as Gen 2 night vision comes with a Micro Channel Plate, or MCP in short (visit this link for more information). This makes for excellent amplification, which means you can see objects much clearer and at a much larger distance than the earlier generation devices. Take note, Gen 2 comes at a significant increase in price.
US manufacturers do not make use of this classification, so when you see a device labeled as Gen 2+, you can be sure it is Russian-made. Manufacturers from the US skipped this classification and went straight to Gen 3.
Gen 3 devices use a very sensitive chemical by the name of gallium arsenide, which makes for a sharper image with even less distortion than earlier generations. In Europe, these devices are restricted to government and military use.
Gen 4 devices has an improved image resolution over earlier generations, and these can also be used in daytime. These units also have less of a halo effect from bright light sources. Expect to pay a few thousand dollars for Gen 4 night vision devices.
The Best Night Vision Binocular Brands
One of the well known binocular brands is Bushnell. This brand offers standard binoculars and night vision versions. This brand has been around for over 65 years which expertise in optics for sporting and outdoor events. The sporting binoculars created by this brand can be used for fishing, golf, stargazing and bird watching. You can even get indoor Bushnell binoculars for watching the opera.
As this company is a giant in the binocular market, they are up to date with all the latest technology. If you are looking for night vision binoculars that you can rely on then, this is the right brand for you. After all, 65 years of binocular making gives them the edge over much of their competition.
If you are looking for a well-known brand in the thermal imaging and night vision market, then you should look at Armasight’s products. This company, based in San Francisco, has been providing the general public with high-quality thermal imaging and night vision technology for years. Depending on what you look for, the products offered by Armasight can vary in price.
This company makes a lot of night vision and thermal imagining technology for the military and law enforcement which ensures that all their products are top notch. When looking at night vision binoculars, you will find some models that cost $12000 while others will only cost $50. It will depend on what you are looking for in your product.
Another large brand in the thermal imaging and night vision market is ATN. The company also has their headquarters in San Francisco and has been providing technology for over two decades. One of the selling points for this manufacturer is that all of their technology and products is proudly made in the United States.
The night vision binoculars they offer are one of the top choices for hunters because they are among the most well-known and they offer the advanced technology. If you want something a bit simpler, this brand will have a model, but if you are looking for something advanced they will also have it. Law enforcement and the military makes use of the technology provided by this company.
Night Owl has decades of experience in creating night vision technology. If you visit the company’s website, you will see that their mission is to produce and provide the best night vision equipment. If you are looking for night vision binoculars, then you will be able to find many great quality models from this company.
A binocular brand that you find at online stores is Aurosports, but it is harder to find information about the company themselves. This brand does provide a range of cheap binoculars with a model for almost any occasion. However, if you are looking for binoculars for serious hunting or law enforcement work, then this may not be the right brand for you. However, if you need binoculars for hunting, traveling or bird watching then you should consider this brand as they offer some of the most inexpensive models on the market.
If you are looking for a hardcore binocular band then the popular options like Bushnell, Armasight, and ATN are the ones for you. Of course, there are other well-known brands that you can consider, but many find these brands to be the best.
If you are looking for binoculars which are reliable with dependable night vision for law enforcement work, then you need to look at Armasight and Bushnell. These brands will offer models that are very expensive and ones that are affordable depending on your budget and needs. You will also be able to find a range of night vision models which come with handy accessories.
Hunters looking for big game such as deer, bears, and hogs should consider looking at Bushnell, ATN, and Armasight. The problem with this type of game is that you can’t get close without alerting them to your presence. When you have night vision binoculars from these brands, it allows you to hunt these animals from a distance without any problems.
If you are hunting smaller game and varmints, then a brand such as Aurosports or Night Owl will provide you with the binoculars that you need. These brands are also easy on the wallet, so you never pay more for what you need. The night vision binoculars provided by these brands are compact and small making them easy to carry around. Of course, you will need to consider that these labels do not include generation technology into their products so if you are looking for Gen 1, 2 or 3 technologies these will not be the brands for you. The best options should be Bushnell, Armasight, and ATN for this technology.
Where to buy night vision binoculars at the best price
If you are searching for night vision binoculars for sale, I recommend you head over to browse Amazon.com’s impressive collection. They regularly offer some of the best prices, and their customer service is excellent. And if you ever need to return a product, they are the best in the business in taking care of customer complaints.
Other options are out there, and features can vary from head straps to image stabilization, but the most well-informed shoppers should always look hard for what their needs require. If you’re a hunter, you’ll need to keep it light and easy, because $400 to $500 is still worth it if you got your prized game trophy.
Those that demand the convenience of hands-free, as well as clarity and sharpness will expect to spend at least 50% more. However, if your life is at stake, you will need all those bells and whistles of durability, depth perception, and even range finding in a set of bins- no matter what the price.
Learning more about night vision
How does it work?
In this post we are going to tell you how night vision binoculars work and also give you some pointers on where to find the best ones at the lowest prices. A good night vision binoculars is a device that has two eyepieces and comes with magnification built-in.
Magnification normally zoom you in a really long way so it is not a good idea to navigate with head mounting.
There designed primarily to magnify images at longer distances while remaining stationary. If your activity involves long-distance viewing or monitoring and you will be staying still at night, then these devices will be the choice for you.
The main thing to remember with these devices is that the more magnification you put on an optic such as the night vision device the dimmer the image will be due to loss of some light.
However if you need to get maximum distance and be able to see an image clearly than a good pair will do the job.
On this website you will say that we have reviewed some of the top night vision binocs on the web. Have a look around at our choices as well as our top pick which we consider to be the best in terms of features and price however we have also included some alternatives if you are looking to save money or you do not require a full on night vision solution.
We have also included a monocular that works a little bit differently but is a good option if you were after a good pair of binoculars but you want to save money. We have also taken into account customer reviews and the feedback of each product so you know you are getting value for money.