Best Thermal Monoculars For The Money (2023)

Best Thermal Monoculars Reviews

The use of thermal monoculars nowadays is not only reserved for technical fields, they also lend themselves to wildlife observation enthusiasts, hikers and for hunting.

To all hunters, wildlife and nature lovers, welcome to this page entirely dedicated to your passion.

However, with a large number of models available today and their high prices, choosing the best thermal vision monocular is not always easy. To help you find the rare pearl among all these models of thermal monoculars, we offer you a comparison and a buying guide.

Best Thermal Monoculars in 2022

We’ll show you the best-performing thermal monoculars ranging from the first to the third generation that use digital technology to pierce the darkness.

Comparison Table of the Top 5 Best Thermal Monoculars on the Market:

IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS 

Pulsar Axion 2 Thermal Monocular Best Thermal Monoculars

  • Resolution: 384×288
  • Frame Rate: 50 Hz
  • Item Weight: 0.8 Pounds
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AGM Global Vision Thermal monocular Best Thermal Monoculars

  • Resolution: 160×120
  • Frame Rate: 50 Hz
  • Item Weight: 0.6 Pounds
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FLIR Scout TK Best Thermal Monoculars

  • Resolution: 160×120
  • Frame Rate: 09 Hz
  • Item Weight: 6 Ounces
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ATN OTS LT 320 6 12X 1 Best Thermal Monoculars

  • Resolution: 320×240
  • Frame Rate: 60 Hz
  • Item Weight: 1.2 Pounds
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FLIR Scion Thermal Moncular Best Thermal Monoculars

  • Resolution: 320×256
  • Frame Rate: 60 Hz
  • Item Weight: 572 Grams
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1. Pulsar Axion 2 XQ35 Thermal Monocular – Best Overall

Resolution: 384×288 | Magnification: 2-8x | Frame Rate: 50 Hz | Detection range: 1400 yards | Video & Sound Recorder: Yes | Battery Life: 11 Hours | Item Weight: 0.8 Pounds

Pulsar Axion 2 XQ35

If you are ready to invest in a high-end thermal monocular, Axion 2 XM35 is the best choice for you.  Those who don’t know the Pulsar brand, know that it is actually the manufacturer of ATN, the official manufacturer of thermal vision and night vision devices for the US army.

The image quality is also excellent, with a faithful rendering with finesse and thermal mapping superimposed on the video in real-time. Its high price remains however the small lack to be underlined on this product which is aimed at an essentially professional clientele.

Its magnification of 2X to 8x as well as its core of 384×288 make this device a high-definition optical monocular. Indeed, with this equipment, you are sure to have clear, sharp and bright images.

What further distinguishes this device from others is its light weight (0.8 lbs). It is perfectly designed to be held in one hand or in a standard pocket. The Pulsar Axion 2 is totally waterproof, so you don’t have to worry even if you go hunting or hiking in rainy seasons using it.

At the forefront of technology, this device has strong practical functions such as Wi-Fi connection, real-time video streaming, image and video capture, a frost-proof and damp-proof OLED screen, and a wide choice of palettes for visualizing thermal mapping.

PROS

  • Military quality
  • 100% Waterproof
  • Good performance & features
  • High optical magnification
  • Compact design

CONS

  • Main lens cover isn’t rubber coated

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2. AGM Global Vision Asp-Micro TM160 – Editor’s Choice

Resolution: 160×120 | Magnification: 1-8x | Frame Rate: 50 Hz | Detection range: 125 yards | Video & Sound Recorder: Yes | Battery Life: 10 Hours | Item Weight: 0.6 Pounds

AGM Global Vision Asp-Micro TM160

The Asp-Micro TM-160 model manufactured by the AGM Global Vision brand is the one with the best value for the money. This model is a portable observation thermal monocular which is equipped with a 160×120 infrared detector and a 720×540 Lcos screen.

It has adaptive AGC, DDE and 3D DNR. This device also supports observation, high-temperature target tracking and distance measurement functions. The Asp-Micro short-range thermal monocular realizes the function of distance measurement after marking the top and bottom of the target and grasping the height of the target.

Do not underestimate the material that has satisfactory qualities and performance. With its medium size and lightweight, you can take it with one hand for long hours without getting tired.

It delivers crisp, bright images no matter the weather or time of day. It also has a built-in memory module, which makes it possible to instantly record images or videos. AGM Asp-Micro TM160 thermal monocular for hunting also detects and marks the hot spot of the highest temperature.

However, the very limited number of options remains the small lack that we observed on this product during our test. You can also check out the more advanced AGM Taipan TM25-384.

PROS

  • Military-grade thermal imaging
  • Functional and easy to use
  • Reasonable price
  • Robust design

CONS

  • Works well in declared functions but not for long distances

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3. FLIR Scout TK Handheld Thermal Monocular – Best Value

Resolution: 160×120 | Magnification: N/A | Frame Rate: 9 Hz | Detection range: 100 yards | Video & Sound Recorder: Yes | Battery Life: 5 Hours | Item Weight: 6 Ounces

FLIR Scout TK Thermal Monocular

Are you looking for a powerful and stable thermal monocular for a hunting trip? Then the Scout TK meets all these criteria perfectly. This magnificent monocular developed by the famous brand FLIR promises you a clear and precise image.

The qualities that we appreciate the most about this monocular concern the neutrality of the colors and its thermal cameras. Darkness or weather conditions have no effect on this monocular. You can instantly capture images or videos of animals up to 300 feet away.

Its field of vision is 18° x 14° and its nominal range is 1140m! Yes! This model is fully rechargeable with an average battery life of 5 hours. The onboard display offers excellent display quality worthy of the best professional thermal monoculars.

Long-term observation does not tire the eyes because its refresh rate is 60hz. And to facilitate observation in all conditions, you have the choice of 3 thermal display modes: White hot, Black hot and Install. This last name actually hides the most used visualization mode in the world of thermal imaging.

The Scout TK also has many other functions such as video sequence recording, real-time image capture, Wifi & Bluetooth connection for wireless image transmission, Geotag insertion in the data EXIF images as well as an autonomous period of about 5 hours. If your budget allows it, go for it!

PROS

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Elegant design
  • High quality manufacturing materials
  • Good battery power
  • Very easy to use

CONS

  • Fixed battery
  • No Magnification

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4. ATN OTS LT 320 6-12X Powerful Thermal Monocular

Resolution: 320×240 | Magnification: 6-12x | Frame Rate: 60 Hz | Detection range: 1700 yards | Video & Sound Recorder: Yes | Battery Life: 10 Hours | Item Weight: 1.2 Pounds

ATN OTS LT 320

The ATN OTS-XLT 320 thermal monocular is a first-class instrument that helps you detect thermal signatures. It’s compact, ergonomic and lightweight, so you can take it anywhere. It also has a long-lasting battery of over 10 hours, so you can use it for long periods of time without worrying about recharging.

White Hot/Black Hot or Color modes display moving objects in any color palette you choose. A 60Hz refresh rate sensor provides range performance to help detect heat signatures. The ATN OTS-XLT 320 Thermal Monocular is the best long-range thermal monocular for hunting.

Its mode of operation is different from that of normal night vision, so it does not depend on infrared illuminators or favorable atmospheric conditions to be able to produce a perceptible image. It is also equipment that can be used day and night.

It has 19mm eye relief and comes with 6-12× digital zoom. The detector type of this monocular is an uncooled vanadium oxide focal plane array. The OTS-XLT 320 model is the obvious choice for those who don’t want to compromise the quality of their thermal night vision.

PROS

  • Powerful and weather resistant
  • Good detection range
  • Compact and Ergonomic
  • Simple to control
  • Comes with 3 years warranty

CONS

  • Wide viewing angle isn’t top

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5. FLIR Scion OTM236 Thermal Imaging Monocular

Resolution: 320×256 | Magnification: N/A | Frame Rate: 60 Hz | Detection range: 500 meters | Video & Sound Recorder: Yes | Battery Life: 6 Hours | Item Weight: 572 grams

FLIR Scion OTM236 Thermal Monocular

The exceptional characteristics of the FLIR Scion OTM236 thermal monocular prove that the brand of optical equipment has lost none of its reputation and reliability. Due to the design of durable material, this thermal monocular resists everything.

It shows excellent performance in all circumstances. And with this device, you are sure to have a good and resistant ally for a long time. This model is particularly effective for night hunts. Its thermal camera with the intuitive Ergo Control operating concept allows you to identify your target with precision.

The quality of this thermal vision monocular also lies in its ability to maintain images in a vivid and sharp manner. Its high-definition screen faithfully reproduces the natural colors of your landscape (objects, animals, etc.).

The FLIR Scion OTM236 starts up in seconds and requires no training to use. You can see in the dark and detect heat signatures of people or animals in complete darkness or bright light. It offers a smooth 30-60Hz frame rate for crisp thermal images and comes in rugged weatherproof housing.

The 640×480 LCD screen makes it easy to see what you’re watching. It weighs just 572 grams but can withstand hard drops and shallow water. The small lack that we can highlight on this product concerns its price a little high. But that’s what the high-end costs.

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • Smart user interface
  • Excellent thermal detection
  • Sturdy carry case

CONS

  • Small resolution
  • No attachment for a lanyard

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How to choose the best thermal monocular?

The best thermal monocular is the model that suits your needs and expectations. To find the best device, it is important to take into account certain essential details.

Price

The budget to allocate to the purchase of your thermal monocular is an important criterion. The price varies according to the brands and the features offered on the models. Whether in an online store or in a store, it is possible to find a thermal monocular for less than 100 dollars.

However, with this type of device, the quality may be lacking. To buy a top-of-the-range thermal monocular, you need to plan no less than 1000 dollars.

Magnification

After the price, the magnification is an element not to be taken lightly. The reason is quite simple: if you buy a monocular with inadequate magnification, you risk having blurry and imprecise images.

A monocular with high magnification (between 6 and 10) is generally recommended for hunting or hiking.

Lens diameter

For hunting or hiking, we recommend a lens between 30 to 50 mm in diameter. This type of device will allow you to see sharper details at dusk or at night, even in the most extreme weather conditions. It also improves visual comfort while providing bright images.

Processing software

When choosing a thermal monocular, it is important to give preference to the model that has high-end processing software. This will significantly increase your target accuracy while displaying small details in the field of view.

Power of thermal vision

This is one of the most important details to consider when buying this type of device. Indeed, a monocular with high thermal vision power offers a clear view, even in total darkness.

Accessories: tripod and carrying bag

Some accessories are as important as a good thermal monocular. Indeed, the tripod for example is an accessory that can ensure your comfort when you view with your thermal monocular.

On the market, some monocular models come with a tripod. Also, choose the model that contains a cover for storage. Additionally, a model that comes with an optical cleaning wipe might also be worth your attention.

Ease to carry

Portability and comfort of use are also among the features to be favored photo of a person holding a thermal vision monocular in their hand for your use, a hunting thermal camera must be easy to carry and offer ergonomics that do not tire you out with prolonged use.

FAQs

What are the differences between thermal and infrared vision?

Night vision refers to the ability to identify the different elements present in an environment at night without the need for external lighting. Although infrared and thermal optics monoculars are based on a similar operating principle, they differ in certain points.

To produce images, the first monocular model necessarily uses Infrared Light, associated with artificial or natural lighting. However, the thermal night vision monocular detects radiation or heat emitted by the animal or objects within the camera’s field of view. Then, the device produces images based only on these radiations emitted by the animal or the object without any lighting necessary.

What type of thermal monoculars to choose for hunting and observation?

When you are a nature lover and want to acquire a monocular capable of providing a perfect image even in low light conditions or even total night, go for a product equipped with a first-generation tube (GEN1 ) or a digital device. Thanks to a perfect mastery of image analysis software, these work like the Night Shot system and manufacturers have become masters in this field.

Conclusion

Talent alone is not enough to make a hunter the best in his field. To demonstrate your talent, you must be well-equipped. Among them, the thermal monocular occupies an important place. In all cases, we have made this selection with rigor and without making the slightest concession. These models offer the best visibility for hunting.

If you cannot decide, do not hesitate to leave a comment and we will answer you with great pleasure.

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Liam Dean is a Professional Blogger and Outdoor Enthusiast. He completed Masters in Sports Sciences and spend all of his free time doing sports and other outdoor activities. During vacations, he goes hunting, fishing and mountaineering.

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