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Best Thermal Binoculars Reviewed

last updated Sep 12, 2019

The thing about thermal binoculars is that they’re expensive but as with most things at this level, you’re going to have to shell out some dough to get a really high-quality product that is going to perform to the level you’re looking for. And what you’re looking for here is a commercial product that is going to get you to nearly military-grade thermal imaging. And the closer you get to that level of precision and imaging than the price is going to jump pretty quickly and you’ll find yourself in the ‘conspicuous consumption’ range of buying. So, we’re going to offer our list here, and if you got the money honey, we got the lenses.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 14 hrs of research

icon
Sminiker 30×60
97.2/100 our score
Visibility
97
Durability
97
Battery Life
99
Value
98
Style
95
Sminiker 30×60
Why is it better?

One of the smallest on the list when open or folded

Good solid 7.2 degrees field of view

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Sminiker 30×60
Test Winner: Sminiker 30×60
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Researched Sources
15
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
12500
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
14
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
14
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
Kevin Enochs
By Kevin Enochs:

Thanks for checking back with us. We've got some new snappy writing and some really high-level almost military-grade products if you're looking for the best of the best.

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#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.2
Visibility
97 %
Durability
97 %
Battery Life
99 %
Value
98 %
Style
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$289.99
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96
Visibility
98 %
Durability
96 %
Battery Life
95 %
Value
96 %
Style
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$21.99
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.6
Visibility
96 %
Durability
95 %
Battery Life
93 %
Value
94 %
Style
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$529.99
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94
Visibility
95 %
Durability
94 %
Battery Life
92 %
Value
94 %
Style
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$25.99
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.8
Visibility
94 %
Durability
97 %
Battery Life
91 %
Value
94 %
Style
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$5,495.00
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
Visibility
96 %
Durability
88 %
Battery Life
91 %
Value
92 %
Style
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$29.99
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90
Visibility
88 %
Durability
93 %
Battery Life
90 %
Value
90 %
Style
89 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$35.99
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.2
Visibility
88 %
Durability
86 %
Battery Life
91 %
Value
90 %
Style
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$5,895.00
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.2
Visibility
93 %
Durability
85 %
Battery Life
81 %
Value
80 %
Style
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$599.99
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.6
Visibility
87 %
Durability
85 %
Battery Life
85 %
Value
82 %
Style
84 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.11.19)
Amazon Link
$11.99

10 BEST THERMAL BINOCULARS

1. Sminiker 30×60

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.2
Sminiker 30×60, Best Thermal Binoculars
Amazon Link
Visibility
97
Durability
97
Battery Life
99
Value
98
Style
95
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$289.99
Pros:

One of the smallest on the list when open or folded

Good solid 7.2 degrees field of view

Cons:

At highest focus quality takes a hit

Seeing this Sminiker product so high up on the list might surprise some. But they have proven through great sales and customer service that their product is more than ready to take the top spot.

Compact But Powerful
There are plenty of compact models in the industry, but very few that don’t sacrifice power for size. Even in its small frame, this model manages to squeeze out more quality optics than products twice its size.

Features and Specifications
It features a 90mm objective lens distance that allows you to see clearly for long distances. The metal construction frame is covered in flexible rubber to protect from falls and bumps.

Cost and Value
This product just missed out on being the lowest priced on the list, so it is definitely a top-tier buy. Even as a gift it holds really good value with its compact design. A product this small with such great visual quality deserves the top spot on the list. And with such a low price, it’s a bargain even if you already have a set.

2. Feihe HD

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96
Feihe HD
Amazon Link
Visibility
98
Durability
96
Battery Life
95
Value
96
Style
95
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$21.99
Pros:

Highly configurable per user

Images come in clear even when using the maximum magnification

Cons:

Center focus knob ads unnecessary bulk

Nabbing the #2 spot on the list is a Feihe model, one that has proven to be pretty strong on a couple of other lists since it came out. Besides being a great pair of, they are about as powerful as you can get without added electronic components.

Great Magnification
With up to 10x magnification, you can see further out without compromising the quality of the image. They built these binoculars so that the magnification mechanism is better powered for long distances, and it shows.

Features and Specifications
The BaK-4 prisms and multi-coated optics that are built into these provides you with amazing clarity. It also comes with built-in tripod support that provides amazing stability.

Cost and Value
Sitting at the low-mid-price point, this serves as a suitable all-purpose binocular set as well as a thermal binocular set. Buyers will get double the value if this is what they’re looking for. With great magnification and a lot of customizations, Feihe created a very likable product. It goes beyond what you would normally need and saves you money on repeat purchases.

3. ATN BinoX-HD

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.6
ATN-Binox, Best Thermal Binoculars
ATN-Binox, Best Thermal Binoculars
Amazon Link
Visibility
96
Durability
95
Battery Life
93
Value
94
Style
95
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$529.99
Pros:

Smart Rangefinder

Gyroscope

Compass

E-Zoom

Cons:

Batteries are Expensive

Cables Not Included

This is a nice set for anyone who wants a reasonably priced set. They work in the day or the night, they have nice magnification and a gyroscope and they can talk to your ios or android devices via installed Bluetooth. They also have a nice built-in range finder that will let you know the exact distance from you to your subject.

Smart Rangefinder
This is a nice little feature that lets you hone in your target without carrying any extra range finding equipment. And the distance to your object will show up right in the viewer so you can get an idea exactly how far you are from what you’re looking at.

Gyroscope and Compass
This is pretty cool stuff and it’s important because the built-in gyroscope is going to do a lot to keep your image steady in the scope. And the compass is going to make sure you don’t get locationally disoriented when you’re trying to keep an eye on a moving target. The compass will swing with the viewer so you know exactly the direction you’re looking.

Cost And Value
Not a bad price as thermal imaging binoculars go. Three figures sure but not nearly as much as some of the other entries on this list. As a matter of fact, despite the numbers on these binoculars, they’re downright cheap when compared to some of our other products. So if you’re looking for a cheap but effective entry into the thermal imaging world these might just be the binoculars for you.

4. Green-State BF6060

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94
Green-State BF6060
Amazon Link
Visibility
95
Durability
94
Battery Life
92
Value
94
Style
95
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$25.99
Pros:

Comes with backpack, strap and lens cap

Included instructions are the best on the list

Cons:

A scaled grid on the right lens

With the BF6060 customers can have a quality experience with one of the more superior options in the industry. They’re easy to use and come with the friendliest directions no matter what level you are as a user.

Improved Wide Field Of View
The ultra-wide FOV feature with this model is an improved version of the normal feature available from other brands. The 50mm lens diameter is fully utilized in this setup and gives you the most when trying to make the most of your visuals.

Features and Specifications
With rapid focusing on easy adjustment, this is a great model for beginners and experienced outdoorsmen alike. It features coated optics with a wide-angle view to give you the best visibility possible.

Cost and Value
For a low price, customers can get their hands on a really good pair. The value to the individual customer will come down to how often they use the scaled grid that can’t be removed. There are a couple of extra features included with this model that may change how you feel about the overall purchase. But if the extras line up with your interests, then you’ll be getting a really good deal.

5. FLIR Command 336

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.8
FLIR Command 336, Best Thermal Binoculars
FLIR Command 336, Best Thermal Binoculars
FLIR Command 336, Best Thermal Binoculars
Amazon Link
Visibility
94
Durability
97
Battery Life
91
Value
94
Style
93
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$5,495.00
Pros:

Optical Lens Magnification

24/7 Vision

E-Zoom

Single Wide Lens, Two Eyepieces

Cons:

Expensive

Okay, now we’re getting into the rarified air of military-grade thermal binoculars. This single lens double eyepiece thermal imager has an incredible changeable magnification performance. These things are so powerful they are subject to some export regulations so if you’re looking military-grade thermal then this is going to be pretty close to the best. These things will cut through bad weather to give you a constant clear sharp picture.

Optical Lens Options
50mm, 75mm, and 100mm lens options let you change your view of any subject quickly and accurately from a broad view of a wider range to close up shots from far, far away. There’s also an onboard digital zoom that’s going to let you get an even closer up look.

24/7 Vision
The great thing about these binoculars is that they’ll operate without the need for any outside light input. They’ll cut through the weather and they’ll cut through any kind of smoke or whatever else might get in the way of you seeing what’s out there.

Cost and Value
Expensive! Really, really expensive, we won’t kid you. But like we said when it comes to thermal gear if you’re a tech-head you’re going to have to pay the price to play. And it’s high. Still, if you want military-style tech and you’re a civvie this is going to be about as close as you can get.

6. YISHU 50×50

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
YISHU 50×50
Amazon Link
Visibility
96
Durability
88
Battery Life
91
Value
92
Style
91
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$29.99
Pros:

Great low light performance

One of the best on the list for long-range viewing

Cons:

Not waterproof or anti-fog

This Yishu model follows the traditional binocular look and crams it full of all kinds of goodies. There is a surprising amount of good things that come from this model, and all without making the product bulky.

Coated Optics Make A Difference
The best images come from products that have coated optics, and this one is no different. Everything comes out crisp and colorful, even when viewing from long distances.

Features and Specifications
It provides the user with amazing viewing distance at 7x magnification with a 50mm objective lens that makes it clear and focused.

Cost and Value
These are priced very well in the mid-range area and comes with the usual assortment of extras. Customers that want superior long-range viewing will be very satisfied with this value. Long-range viewing combined with great optics will always be a good reason to purchase these. This high powered model from Yishu will more than do the work required to warrant a purchase.

7. GuangYing

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90
GuangYing
Amazon Link
Visibility
88
Durability
93
Battery Life
90
Value
90
Style
89
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$35.99
Pros:

Comes with a backpack, strap, lens cap, eyepiece cap, and lens cloth

Rugged and can take a lot of bumps

Cons:

Heavier than other models on the list

    Old and reliable would be the best way to describe these. High performance and used by many worldwide, the price that this model is offered at is unbeatable.

    Balanced Vision During Day And Night
    These are true day/night style, with one mode no better than the other. That balance is furthered through the use of the K9 Porro Prism Design and LLL night vision.

    Features and Specifications
    This features a bright index of 30.25, which allows you to see clearly in conditions where the light is not very good. The insta-focus system makes this a great model for those who are not as experienced as others.

    Cost and Value
    This is the first thermal binocular on the list to hit the mid-range area in price, so maybe a good sweet spot for some. Buyers that want a powerful product but don’t want to pay the Firefield Tracker price will love this model. These binoculars meet a lot of the expectations one would expect from a top-tier model. And with the current price, it handles it without hurting your wallet.

    8. N-Vision Optics Atlas

    The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
    89.2
    N-Vision Optics Atlas, Best Thermal Binoculars
    N-Vision Optics Atlas, Best Thermal Binoculars
    N-Vision Optics Atlas, Best Thermal Binoculars
    Amazon Link
    Visibility
    88
    Durability
    86
    Battery Life
    91
    Value
    90
    Style
    91
    best offer for today
    Amazon Link
    $5,895.00
    Pros:

    N-Vision Optics

    Resolution up to 1.25 miles away

    Digital Zoom

    Easy Photo Ability

    Cons:

    Expensive

    This is an elegant little piece of technology. Two eyepieces and one large optic lens makes takes away the need to bring the images together and brings all kinds of images to life even in total darkness.

    Long Detection Range
    These glasses boast of a detection range in the miles category, Specifically, these glasses should be able to focus up to 1.25 miles away. That’s a fur piece as we used to say back home.

    No-Slip Coating
    We like the way that these are designed to stay in your hands. They’re built to last and they’re built to mold into your hand easily.

    Cost and Value
    Another incredibly expensive pair but also more proof that this tech at this level is going to cost you. Still, if you’re looking for the best of the best well you’ve found it right here.

    9. Firefield 1×24

    The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
    86.2
    Firefield 1×24
    Amazon Link
    Visibility
    93
    Durability
    85
    Battery Life
    81
    Value
    80
    Style
    92
    best offer for today
    Amazon Link
    $599.99
    Pros:

    Offers the best night vision capabilities possible

    Included instructions go in-depth

    Cons:

    One of the most expensive in the industry

    This is going to be the outlier on the list, with Firefield throwing in everything but the kitchen sink with this model. Other than the price, this is about as good a pair that you can get.

    Gen 1 Image Resolution
    Not only does it look cool, but the optics on the Firefield Tracker are amazing. For nighttime tracking, there are few that can match it head to head.

    Features and Specifications
    This model has the option of being handheld or head-mountable, which allows for easier mobility. The built-in infrared illumination gives you amazing visuals even in the darkest surroundings.

    Cost and Value
    This is going to be a hard sell for anyone looking for average everyday equipment. As the most expensive model on the list, the value comes from users that want a high-end product. If you have the money to purchase this model, then you’ll be getting an incredibly valuable night accessory. The price is high, but the product is well worth every penny.

    10. Degrees South

    The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
    84.6
    Degrees South
    Amazon Link
    Visibility
    87
    Durability
    85
    Battery Life
    85
    Value
    82
    Style
    84
    best offer for today
    Amazon Link
    $11.99
    Pros:

    Small enough to fit in a pocket

    Premium visuals with good focusing

    Cons:

    Night optics are hit or miss

    33 Degrees South is a top-rated brand and a great choice for anyone looking at optical technology. This compact model works for both hobbyist and professional users looking for something dependable.

    Ready To Travel
    While these binoculars are small enough to fit in your pocket, they still come with a black carrying bag. It’s a nice touch to keep things neat, and there is even room in there for a cleaning cloth.

    Features and Specifications
    The Insta-focus rapid focusing feature is great for when you're quickly trying to catch an animal before it runs away. The red Membrane 30×60 gives you great focus and zoom for the size.

    Cost and Value
    The price is the usual low average, which is something you’ll see a lot. Buyers that travel a lot will get the most value out of these. They work well as your main pair or as a backup and should come in handy during a day/night activity. 33 Degrees South made a dependable set with some good features.

    Criteria Used for Evaluation

    Visibility

    The main thing we looked at was how well the core features of Gen 1 and Gen 2 models were implemented. For Gen 1 we looked for simplicity and image resolution since the latter was something that would be lacking on bad models. Gen 1 devices passed the test if they also included a lot of updated mechanics like foldable design, good zoom, and accessory compatibility. For Gen 2 we focused on the brightness of images in the dark and max zoom. Think of the Gen 2 criteria as a power test, and a great way to weed out weaker thermal binoculars models.

    After tests were done with both generations, we moved on to the next, which was the smoothness of the zoom. Zooming in should be seamless, without any type of stutter or hitch. When using these at night, a hitch in the zooming feature can make you lose the target. Although not as noticeable in the daytime, at night it can make all the difference in the world.

    So our preference for the zoom smoothness was based solely on night usage since it would be the most affected by inferior design. There were a lot of strong winners in this category that moved on, but there were also a lot of good binoculars that didn’t make the cut. This includes some well-known branded models that were known to have slight stutters when zooming in and out.

    Sticking with zoom, we looked at which ones had the highest zoom. While power was king for this criteria, it is important to point out that powerful zoom doesn’t always equal great performance. Some of the models would lose a lot of their image quality at max zoom, while the ones we placed higher on the list would have consistency and sharpness at max levels. This qualifies for both the daytime and night, where zoom levels had varying degrees of quality. In order to stay on the list, they had to excel in both categories.

    Durability

    Up next was durability and resistance against outside elements. Thermal binoculars are not something that customers are going to use indoors only, so they can expect a lot of travel. And with their use at night, there is a good chance they’ll be introduced to a lot of damaging elements. Straight to the top went any model that had water resistance, just off of pure principle.

    These were the models that would last the longest out of the box, and it made sense to put them at the top since they will primarily be used outdoors. Durability is also rated on how well the paint, buttons, and housing holds up against damage. Some of the choices on the list already had a reputation for being strong against drops. All of the models left on the list that weren’t suitable for everyday use were removed in favor of the stronger choices.

    Battery Life

    Power consumption was something we had to look into, mainly due to the variety of batteries that different models used on the list. There are some significant jumps in how long certain models last, which changed the top of the list immediately. This isn’t entirely based on the batteries used since the built-in power-saving features weren’t always available on the listed models.

    Some do fine without any power-saving features and can last for over a year. But the ones that included power-saving features and used better batteries moved to the top of the list immediately. This criteria caused the biggest gap in the top ten but didn’t knock any of the current favorites out of the running.

    Value

    Something that caught us by surprise was the relevancy of ranking the cost of batteries. With night vision binoculars and scopes, the batteries were standard across the board so were mostly cheap. They were also easy to find, whether online or in a local store. With the battery types being all over the place, we factored in replacement frequency with the actual cost.

    So with each change of the batteries, we looked at how much of a pain it was for the user and whether it was cost-effective. Since only name brand batteries should be used regardless of type, this made things easier to tally. Our rankings based on the cost of the batteries helped out a few binoculars that were idling lower on the list and kept some from being completely dropped off.

    The last thing we looked at was customer service and warranties, which largely left the list unchanged. But the good news on that front is that all ten products on the list have excellent warranty and customer service programs. This was one of the few lists where there was universal praise for all warranties, even from the lesser-known brands. Consider it a great sign that the thermal binocular market is becoming more consumer-friendly.

    Style

    There is a difference between thermal optics and night vision. They are commonly interchanged, however, they function differently. Each has its pros and cons. Both are wonderful tools to use when hunting or dealing with wildlife outdoors, so it will benefit you to understand the pros and cons of each before making your investment. Consider the following for whether thermal optics or night vision are what you need.

    The first thing to note is that thermal optics are not cameras, they are images. What does this mean? Thermal optics detect radiation, so the higher the temperature the more radiation something is giving off. Once something steps into range and emits heat, the radiation shows as an image of the subject. Thermal optics do not require visible light to produce an image because they function from your target’s radiation.

    One drawback is that since you are viewing a thermal image, the image will not be super detailed. It can take a lot of practice to look at a thermal image and determine your proper shot placement. Thermal scopes are also heavier than night vision scopes.

    Where night vision differs is that it does require a light source in order to provide an image. Often, the stars and moon will provide enough light to produce the image that you need. Shadows can make images hard to see, though. A lot of modern night vision comes with an IR Illuminator which can help you out a lot. The IR Illuminator acts a lot like a flashlight, essentially that is what it is.

    Different than thermal optics, night vision tends to produce a more detailed and natural image. However, night vision scopes can only be used at night, as the name implies. Thermal optics can technically be used during the daytime if you need to use it.

    Night vision scopes absorb more recoil and tend to be more rugged. One drawback, however, is that the IR Illuminator designed scopes have tubes that can be easily damaged if they are exposed to too intense of external light. Aside from being unhelpful during daylight, that is another reason why they cannot be used during the day.

    Expert Interviews & Opinions

    Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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    #1
    ico Visibility
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    #2
    ico Durability
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    #3
    ico Battery Life
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    #4
    ico Value
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    #5
    ico Style
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    expert tips icon
    Maintenance and Cleaning Tips

    All of the products listed come with cleaning cloths, so it is pretty self-explanatory on how to manage the cleanliness of them. Keeping the lens caps on when not in use (if provided) is a must, and if they don’t come with caps then purchasing some should be at the top of your list. Most if not all are pretty standard size and should be cheap and easy to find.

    What environment will you be in?

    Know your conditions can only help your decision and benefit you with the correct scope that you need. Are you going to be in thick brush? Will you be in fog? Thermal vision can detect an animal in these hidden conditions. Are you hunting in freezing cold temperatures? Night vision is a better choice here because thermal optics are negatively affected by cold temperatures.

    What is your budget?

    What are you willing to or capable of spending when it comes to a scope? With night vision scopes, even a good one is a fraction of the cost of a good thermal scope. Do you want your thermal scope to display in color? That will cost more as well. These are things to consider.

    Other Factors to Consider

    Compatibility

    With all of the extras available to use, any of the bands that had a large catalog were given preference for the top spots. Compatibility with their other products helped, so users that purchased other equipment from them didn’t have to go back and make separate purchases.

    We felt that buying a stand from one company should make it useful for all of their associated products. It would be unfair to attach this requirement to a brand to brand scenario, so at the very least extras within a single brand were expected to have universal usage. When you look at the order of the list, it was ultimately determined by these criteria the most.

    Brand

    Our criteria for evaluation was tough on both Gen 1 and 2 models on the list. We didn’t show favoritism to either generation and instead focused on what they provided as an overall package. You’ll find at the top some of the best choices in the entire industry, with recognizable names and technologies. Without taking price into account, we ordered the list in the best way possible.

    When it comes to the thermal binocular industry, no one is really king. The technology is still being perfect for binoculars, and it is either high end like the electronics in the Firefield Tracker or it is low end and more manual use like the others on the list. Customers will have to use their own discretion when deciding on a brand to stick within this industry.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    q: Are All of these Expensive?

    a:

    No- it just depends on the type of thermal technology the binoculars use. The high end will always mean a higher price, while manual will always mean a low price. Manual does not mean cheap and is still considered a high-end product.

    q: How Hard Are The Adjustments To Make On The Fly?

    a:

    Most of the equipment on the list have easy to reach controls so that you never have to take your eyes off of the target. If you’re left-handed, it would be a good idea to make note of where the adjustments are on the product.

    q: Can You Modify Them?

    a:

    There is a large movement where users modify low priced models and add the same features to them that are found on binoculars that cost thousands of dollars. The low priced on the list are some of the starting products used before the modifications are made. Savvy users can save an unlimited amount of money if they are willing to experiment with modifications.

    q: How Does The Technology Work?

    a:

    Thermal imaging uses heat from objects to detect things that would otherwise be invisible to a normal human. This is for both living and non-living things, so the usefulness of the application comes down to how well the technology is implemented.

    When the hardware is spot on, you can see in complete darkness, even in bad weather conditions. Because of the different levels of heat in objects, thermal technology is better able to show you the differences between your targets or the objects you want to avoid. For users that lay down a lot of traps and hunt at night, this can be a true lifesaver for their hunt.

    q: What Are The Differences In Generations?

    a:

    There are two main generations that consumers should pay attention to; Gen 1 and Gen 2. The obvious advantages of going to Gen 2 will be improved mechanics, inside and out. But that comes at a cost since Gen 2 can sometimes be twice as much as the previous builds.

    You have to make a decision on what benefits you want from each Gen, and then move forward with a thermal binocular purchase. As a side note, Gen 2 is more for professional use in tactical situations. Gen 1 by all accounts isn’t obsolete and is used every day by consumers and professionals.

    q: Are Thermal Binoculars Better Than Scopes?

    a:

    When you want more control over your viewing, then yes, thermal binoculars beat out night vision scopes. The two are really in different categories since you’ll have your scope mounted and in position. The binoculars will be useful for scouting, tracking, and other long-distance activities.

    Even if using a scope has similar benefits, you’ll miss out on a lot of the image quality. And buyers that don’t have a gun scope mounted at all will appreciate the distance they can plan out with the help of binoculars. Having both is ideal, so if possible try to use your binoculars at a distance and then seal the deal once closer with your scope.

    q: How Long Do The Batteries Last?

    a:

    Depending on the type of batteries, you will get different levels of power usage. In fact, the amount of power you’ll get out of them is related more to the type of batteries than the time of usage. This is due to the thermal technology using less power than normal and is on par with the power usage of red/green dots in scopes. So at the very least, you should expect a year of usage on average.

    Now if it turns out the model you purchase uses regular AA or AAA batteries, then that same power average will drop somewhat. Night vision scopes usually take CR123A, CR123 or other compatible batteries. They are smaller and built to retain a charge longer. For ones that use AAA or AA, the power loss is more noticeable over time if they don’t use top branded batteries.

    q: Should You Choose A Monocular Over Binoculars?

    a:

    Even if space requirements point you in the direction of thermal monocular, binoculars have an advantage. They come in all sizes, and in many cases can be as compact as monocular. The only advantage for a monocular is that they use less power while using thermal technology, but that is debatable.

    There are more binocular types made for thermal use, and they went to a higher generation quicker than the monocular. Buyers will have their own personal preferences based on what they’re used to, so there really is no wrong answer. Yet choosing anything but binoculars in the current industry would be taking a step back if you’re into recent technology trends.

    q: Can You See Clearly During All Times?

    a:

    This is going to be brand and model dependent, based on quality. There are some that are excellent during the daytime but average during the night. Then there are others that excel both during the day and nighttime cycles.

    The quality of the image can be HD in quality even on Gen 1 devices, so it isn’t tied to a specific generation. And since these are heat dependent, they’re very reliable in all conditions at making objects visible, even if it isn’t a top of the line model. Checking out the history of optics with the company will paint a much richer picture.

    q: How Far Can You See?

    a:

    Regular binoculars were built to see long distances without compromising the quality of the image. A good pair of binoculars can make an object from 200 yards away seem like it was only 30 ft. away. The same applies to thermal versions, which use the same mechanics.

    They just so happen to also have the ability to see in the dark, making them much more valuable to the average consumer. You aren’t losing anything by getting them since they are such a great deal. Buyers can even save a little bit of money by making the choice early to purchase a thermal style over the regular. It is the best of both worlds without any major cons to speak of.

    q: Will Batteries Make the Product Heavier?

    a:

    Yes, but not in a way where you will notice on extended use. Even if you’re holding the binoculars steady for minutes at a time, batteries won’t really make a difference in how much weight is added to the product.

    The only instance where you may notice it on extended use is if the product uses two AA batteries. This isn’t the norm, but there are some products that do take advantage of a pair of AAs for thermal production. Just like with a remote or game controller, buyers will feel a little bit of heft as they’re raising or lowering the product.

    q: Are There Stands For Thermal Binoculars?

    a:

    There are a lot of extras, and the best thing about it is that they’re compatible with a range of products. One of the most popular extras are stands which are used to steady you at various heights. This can be useful in a number of ways and lowers the fatigue factor of holding binoculars at eye height for long periods of time.

    Consumers that don’t have steady hands can also benefit from the stands. And if you happen to own a cheap pair of binoculars with flaky zoom settings, a stand could be the product saver you’re looking for.

    q: How Useful Are The Kid-Friendly Options?

    a:

    Kid-friendly models are available, although they lack a lot of power compared to their grown-up counterparts. The kid-friendly version has acceptable thermal use and benefits from being easier to use and having a low weight.

    For obvious reasons, the price is low for this type of product so you won’t have to worry about them getting damaged. Adults shouldn’t use the kid-friendly versions if they are serious about getting a powerful product. Even beginners will find the options on the kids' models to sorely be lacking in what they need, personally and professionally.

    q: Can You See In Complete Darkness?

    a:

    This is where thermal technology beats out night vision. You will get a gray and white (or black) image of the objects you’re focusing on. The heat that they give off makes it easier to spot them in complete darkness, even when there is no light available.

    So while the daytime functions of the binoculars depend on how well they gather light, at night time no light is needed for the product to function properly. The technology has been refined since they were used professionally during old wars, so even the consumer version has a lot of power behind it.

    q: Are There Any Dangers To Thermal Binoculars?

    a:

    You won’t hurt your eyes with these, so the only danger to worry about is user-dependent. Buyers shouldn’t use them like they would night vision goggles, moving around constantly in that mode is expected.

    They are more for spotting and tactical rather than keeping them at eye length and moving. Having a mixture of the two is helpful, as both technologies tend to have their best moments when they are used together.

    q: Is It Important To Have A Weather Resistant Model?

    a:

    You don’t have to buy a weather-resistant model, but it is highly recommended. You never know when you’re going to get hit by a big storm, or even when you’re going to drop your binoculars. Weather resistance most often equals ruggedness with the housing of the product. So buyers that want the toughest version will want to focus their priorities on weather-resistant models. Even if you don’t need that much protection now, later on, it will pay for itself with above-average durability.

    Sources

    1. Todd Davis, Wide Open Spaces, Hunting Site