Best Monocular Overview and Review: So Many Options

Leica 8x20 Monovid
Leica 8×20 Monovid

Note: I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

There are literally hundreds of monoculars in the market today. In this article, I’ll try to help you find the best monocular for your needs, one that is worth the money and is one you will want to use virtually every time you go outside.

The list I have collected below is actually much too long. For that I apologize. But it does give you some idea of what is available. There are many more (mostly cheap, toy-like) monoculars you can get, but to list all of them would be ridiculous and futile.

I will try to give you some direction so that you can narrow your choice to just a handful or so. From there you should be able to pick one that you think will be the best monocular for you.

You can click a link in the box below to go directly to that section of the article, but in this case I would suggest you just scan the entire overview from top to bottom.

Military Grade Night Vision Monocular

Armasight (now a division of FLIR) makes the monocular you need, if you are looking for a military grade night vision unit.

The Armasight NYX-14 SD (Standard Definition) monocular is a Gen 2+ device that has just 1x power by default, but you can optionally get 3x, 5x, and even 8x lenses for it.

You can mount the NYX-14 on your head or helmet with the appropriate gear. You can also mount it on a rifle and use it just like any other riflescope.

There are several other versions of the NYX-14 available that are even higher quality (and therefore more expensive). You can see most of them at Amazon here.

You can also read more about them first here.

Armasight (FLIR) NYX-14 SD Gen2+ (at Amazon)

Midrange Monoculars between $100 and $500

Normally I would only include about five models of a product in a list like this. But there are so many good monoculars in the market that I just had to add a few more in this case, so you can pick out the best monocular for your needs.

There are seven brands shown below and a total of ten models. You might want to pick out just one of the choices from each brand. Perhaps the magnification and objective lens size will be enough for you to decide which one(s) to look at.

You have magnification powers of 5x, 8x, and 10x from which to choose. Objective lens sizes vary from a mere 10 millimeters to a generous 42 millimeters (the same as found in many binoculars), with several stops in between.

Midrange Night Vision Monoculars

If you need night vision capabilities in your monocular, you’ll want to investigate the possibility of owning one of the following units.

Bestguarder 6x50 HD Night Vision monocular
Bestguarder 6×50 HD Night Vision monocular

Here you can choose either 5x or 6x magnification or a 1x to 3x zoom model. Most objective lenses are 50 millimeters in diameter, but the zoom model is just 30mm. The larger the objective lens, the more light the monocular can gather which gives you a better picture of your target.

Low End Monoculars under $50

A cheap monocular will obviously save you some money, but don’t expect the performance you get from those listed above. If you don’t need to look very far or see a great deal of detail, one of these low end monoculars may still work for you.

ROXANT Grip Scope
ROXANT Grip Scope

Even among just three models, you get a wide range of magnification (6x, 7x, or 10x) and an equally diverse spread of objective lens sizes (18, 30, or 40 millimeters).

Concluding Thoughts on Monocular Choices

As you can see from the many choices above, there is pretty much an embarrassment of riches when it comes to finding the best monocular. It’s actually fairly difficult to make a bad choice.

You have to know your needs; that is, how you plan to use your monocular most often in order to make a wise decision when shopping. Once you pin down those factors, you can try to match them with the specifications of a particular monocular.

If you find that the one you first chose doesn’t really perform the way you want it to, there is always the option of returning it. Hopefully that will never be necessary, but it is a possibility, especially when you make a purchase via Amazon.

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Gary is a bird watcher and amateur astronomer. This means he's set up several bird feeders in his backyard and likes looking at the night sky when the weather is warm. To those ends, he uses optics appropriate for those avocations.

10 thoughts on “Best Monocular Overview and Review: So Many Options”

  1. monocular – I had a russian ‘spy’ monocular years ago and loved it. Now I’m looking for a replacement – I have some 10×50 Bausch and Lomb binoculars but the nearest focus is about 13 metres. I’m interested in insects and birds but find almost no information on the minimum focus – I’d like a monocular (or Bi) that would focus from 1 metre to 10 or 15.

    The Leica Monovid 8×20 (a minimum focus distance of 1.8 meters) mentioned above would be great but is very expensive. With all the other products there’s no mention of this factor.
    What is the minimum focus distance of the Avalon 10X42 WP? Also can you recommend anything less expensive than the Leica?

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