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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 of some of the best monoculars that 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 for you.
Update: A few of the options below have gone out of stock at Amazon. With just a little searching, you should still be able to find a monocular with similar specs and price, so don’t be discouraged and give up right away.
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.
- 1 Military Grade Night Vision Monocular
- 2 Midrange Monoculars between $100 and $500
- 3 Midrange Night Vision Monoculars
- 4 Best Monoculars under $100
- 5 Low End Monoculars under $50
- 6 Concluding Thoughts on Monocular Choices
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.
Magnification power and field of view can vary widely among these instruments, whether you’re looking at the Zeiss Conquest, the Vortex Recce, the Bushnell Legend, or any of the others. Check the individual reviews for details.
- Leica 8×20 Monovid (Click here for full review)
- Zeiss 10×25 T (Click here for full review)
- Zeiss Conquest 8×20
- Zeiss 5×10 MiniQuick (More info on Zeiss Monos here)
- Vortex Recce Pro 8×32 (Click here for full review)
- Vortex Optic Solo R/T Tactical 8×36 (a best seller)
- Nikon 7394 5×15
- Docter 8×21 (with a unique “S” shape) (Click here for full review)
- Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10×42 (Click here for full review)
- Minox Minoscope 8×25 (Click here for full review)
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.
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.
- Bestguarder 6×50 HD Digital Night Vision
- Bushnell Equinox Z Digital Night Vision 1-3×30 (Click here for full review.)
- FireField 5×50 Nightfall 2 Night Vision
- Night Owl Optics 5x NOXM50 Night Vision
Best Monoculars under $100
The monocular I chose to buy for my personal use is the Wingspan 10×50. This one is so popular that it’s sometimes hard to find (at Amazon). If that’s the case when you go searching, try the Wingspan 12×50 version instead.
You can click to read my full review of the 10×50 model here.
A very similar model is the Gosky Titan 12×50 which you can read all about in this full review.
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.
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). See if one of these is the best monocular in your price range.
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 overall. 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.
Features I didn’t mention, like eye relief, light transmission, image quality, lens coating, and more, you can sometimes find in the individual reviews for a specific monocular, so don’t go away without checking them out.
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.
2 thoughts on “Best Monocular Overview and Review: So Many Options”
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?
The close focus on the Avalon is 16 feet (5 meters).
I have my eye on the Docter shown in this post.
Have you considered that one?