Reviews

Best Night Vision Binoculars: Extend Your Vision In Darkness

Get quick and reliable views in total darkness with these top-quality night vision binoculars.

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BY Lisa Conant / LAST UPDATED ON April 19, 2021

Whether you’re an avid hunter who likes to be out before the break of dawn, an AT thru hiker, tracking BigFoot, or taking part in tactical training maneuvers, having a reliable set of night vision binoculars can really come in handy when you’re trying to assess your surroundings in low light or dark conditions. It also helps that they’re super cool. Remember pretending as kids that you were a superhero with some high tech equipment and impressive powers?

This is one of those times that adulting can be really fun. Now you can actually own a wicked pair of night vision binoculars, instead of just pretending. So, if you’re in the market for a tried and true set of night vision binoculars, we’ve got you covered. Our buying guide and detailed product reviews will help you weed through the surprisingly large selection and ensure that you pick out the perfect pair to suit your needs.

Best Overall
Bestguarder NV-900 4.5X40mm Digital Night Vision Binoculars
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Summary
Summary

These infrared binoculars can be set to automatically record images or videos at a preset time. It has a large 4-inch screen and can take clear shots with a resolution of 2,592 by 1,944 pixels.

Pros
Pros
  • Allows the user to adjust the lighting to match the environment.
  • Can illuminate up to 1,300 feet at night. Displays GPS latitude and longitude on the image. 
Cons
Cons
  • Doesn’t come with batteries
  • Relatively expensive
  • You need a tripod stand to take clear long-distance shots
Best Overall
Bestguarder NV-900 4.5X40mm Digital Night Vision Binoculars
Best Value
Aurosports 10x25
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Summary
Summary

A small and practical pair that offers minimalist low-light night vision perfect for watching an evening concert from afar. The 10x magnification is great for seeing objects much closer. 

Pros
Pros
  • Has a green film that improves brightness and clarity. 
  • Portable bag, dust cover, and cleaning cloth come in handy for storage and maintenance.
  • Able to withstand light water exposure.
Cons
Cons
  • Night vision only works in low-light conditions
  • Can only see up to 362 feet
  • Turn wheel can feel tight, making it harder to focus in during opportune moments

 

Best Value
Aurosports 10x25
Honorable Mention
ATN BinoX Smart HD 4-16X Day/Night Binoculars
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Summary
Summary

These functional and versatile binoculars allow you to see optimally in either day or nighttime lighting. When set in “Total Darkness Mode,” you can see an impressive 100 yards away at night.

Pros
Pros
  • Feature a super smooth all digital zoom capability of 4-16x
  • Can take video or still photos that can be uploaded to your computer for later viewing
Cons
Cons
  • Requires three CR123 batteries, which are sold separately and are not rechargeable 
  • Bulkier than some models
  • A little pricey
Honorable Mention
ATN BinoX Smart HD 4-16X Day/Night Binoculars

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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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 Benefits of Night Vision Binoculars

  • Better visibility in the dark. The biggest benefit of using night vision binoculars is that you can see clearly at night or in ambient light. Everything you see with night vision binoculars is improved by way of infrared or thermal imaging technology.
  • Better accuracy. Night vision binoculars allow you to see at a distance and better identify targets with better clarity, especially if you perform outdoor activities at night or during dusk or dawn.
  • Improved safety. Night vision binoculars are essential for night owls that enjoy outdoor activities after dark. Being able to clearly see where you’re walking, or any potential dangers along the path is important for everyone’s safety. 

Types of Night Vision Binoculars

Generation 1

Generation 1 night vision binoculars were the first generation that was released to consumers and are considered suitable for consistent use. These models are usually the most affordable and common type of night vision binoculars and are best for wildlife observation. While Gen 1 devices offer a decent image at closer ranges, they tend to be limited by lower resolutions and a limited overall visual range of around 75 yards. 

Generation 2

Generation 2 night vision binoculars are some of the more popular options because they are very functional. The clarity is markedly better than Gen 1, making them great for professional use. There’s also the inclusion of a microchannel plate that creates a clearer and brighter image along with better visual ranges around 200 yards.

Generation 3

Generation 3 night vision binoculars are considered tactical or military-grade as these are the type used by the U.S. military’s combat armed forces. Gen 3 binoculars provide a better picture, perform better in low light, and feature better battery life. Additionally, these models are the best picks for long-range viewing at distances around 300 yards. 

Generation 4 

Generation 4 night vision binoculars are the ultimate option and are typically reserved for very serious users. While they are the most expensive on the market, they also provide the clearest picture. The Gen 4 category outperforms all of the other generations in low-light scenarios. 

Top Brands

Aurosports

Aurosports is a popular outdoor gear brand that prioritizes its product offerings within the hunting and camping categories. The majority of its gear focuses on night vision binoculars similar to our Best Value, the Aurosports 10x25, as well as other popular items like this night vision monocular telescope.

Bestguarder

Bestguarder brand is a part of the larger company Shenzhen Siyuan Digital Technology Co., Ltd., which was founded in 2005. It specializes in infrared and night vision scopes, binoculars, game cameras, and hunting alarms. Some of its top products include the Bestguarder 6x50mm HD Digital Night Vision Monocular and the Bestguarder NV-900 4.5X40mm Digital Night Vision Binocular with Time Lapse.

ATN

ATN is a California-based company that was founded in 1995. Today it is an industry-leading manufacturer and developer of 4K resolution digital smart optics, as well as smart thermal imaging optics for hardcore nighttime operations. The ATN BinoX Smart HD 4-16X Day/Night Binoculars are perfect for serious hunters, outdoor enthusiasts, military, and law enforcement. 

Night Vision Binoculars Pricing

  • Up to $500: Budget shoppers can find a quality pair of basic night vision binoculars that are made for the casual observer in this price range.
  • $500 to $1,000: More serious outdoor enthusiasts should focus on this price range. These binoculars are better suited for low light activity.
  • $1,000 and up: In this premium price range, you’ll find Gen 3 and Gen 4 models that are designed for tactical-level activities. 

Key Features

Image Quality

Image quality is the single most important factor to consider when shopping for night vision binoculars. Consider why you’re buying this device. If you’re performing tactical missions or hunting for elusive prey, then you want sharp, clear images. For the best results, look for models with very high resolution.

IR Illuminators

Infra-red illuminators are important for shoppers that plan to use these binoculars in low or ambient light. They use the light from the invisible portion of the light spectrum and use it for light amplification of your surroundings. Always confirm that the binoculars you’re planning to buy are designed to work in ambient and low light, as these factors can impact how well your night vision binoculars perform.

Magnification Power and Field of View (FOV)

These two features refer to the “zoom-in” feature and the width of the visible area. Regardless of your activity, if you need to see objects at great distances, you need a pair of night vision binoculars that feature higher magnification powers to help you clearly see objects that are far away. Field of view refers to the total viewing range in front of you when looking through the binoculars. But keep in mind that as you intensify the magnification, the field of view will shrink. 

Focus

In addition to magnification, you want to have the freedom to manually focus the image. This customization is critical to give you the best image clarity for your specific needs. Look for night vision binoculars that feature either a central focusing wheel that controls both barrels simultaneously or diopter rings that allow you to independently adjust each barrel. 

Detection range

This feature will be directly dependent upon how and where you plan to use your night vision binoculars. However, keep in mind from our list of the types of night vision binoculars category above that some binocular generations are more limited in their detection range than others.

Other Considerations

  • Legal Restrictions. While this might sound odd, some state law enforcement agencies limit the use of select night vision instruments, including binoculars. So, before you buy a pair of night vision binoculars, check for any state restrictions. For instance, in California, there are certain military-grade night vision binoculars and monoculars that you cannot buy as a civilian.
  • Intended Purpose. Always consider the activities in which you’ll be using a night vision binocular to find the model that’s most appropriate for your needs. Some people may want a night vision binocular for viewing wildlife while others may need one for nighttime hunting. 
  • Weather-Resistant. If you plan to use night vision binoculars primarily outside, finding a model with a waterproof or water-resistant rating is important. These models will be more durable and will last longer so you won’t need to replace them as often.

Best Night Vision Binoculars Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
Bestguarder NV-900 4.5X40mm Digital Night Vision Binoculars

Nighttime hunting and fishing become easy with these digital binoculars with a large 4-inch screen for comfortable viewing. It can take clear pictures and has a recording function for taking videos, which are backed in the 3GB memory card that comes with the binoculars. You can pre-set it to start recording at a certain time in case you don’t want your presence to affect the animal's natural behavior.


In full darkness, you can count on its infrared light to illuminate objects 1,300 feet away. What’s more, the infrared brightness level can be manually adjusted to reduce glare for better shooting. You can also turn the infrared off to get the best daytime color. For better image clarity, the unit allows for 5x digital zoom and 4.5x optical magnification. It runs on eight AA alkaline, lithium, or Ni-MH batteries. 


Unfortunately, these binoculars are relatively expensive in comparison to other gadgets in its class. On top of that, the batteries are sold separately. Also, you may have to purchase a tripod stand to get clear images of objects beyond 200 feet.

Best Value
Aurosports 10x25 Folding High Powered Compact Night Vision Binoculars

Budget doesn’t have to be a dirty word. We think you’ll like our Best Value selection, the Aurosports 10 x 25 Folding High Powered Compact Night Vision Binoculars, because of their small price tag. These practical yet compact binoculars are perfect for the minimalist outdoor enthusiast to use in low-light nights for casual observing like bird watching. Plus, the 10x magnification helps you to see items at a distance in better clarity. 


You’ll like that these night vision binoculars feature a green film to improve brightness and clarity outdoors. We also like that this model comes with a portable bag, dust cover, and cleaning cloth to keep your binoculars protected when not in use and to keep them clean. But best of all, we like that these are rated for light water exposure.


However, we did find a few issues with these night vision binoculars. First, the night vision is only rated for use in low-light scenarios, so ambient light settings can be an issue. Also, the maximum viewing distance is 362 feet. And finally, adjusting the center wheel can be difficult.

Premium Pick
ATN BinoX Smart HD 4-16X Day/Night Binoculars

If you’re looking for a pair of binoculars that does it all, check out the ATN BinoX Smart HD 4-16X Day/Night Binoculars. These amazingly functional and versatile binoculars allow you to see optimally in either day or nighttime lighting. When set in “Total Darkness Mode,” you can see an impressive 100 yards away at night. An advanced Obsidian Core processor uses a high resolution 1080p sensor that gives these binoculars power, as well as Wi-Fi capability, digital zoom, and much more.


The all-digital system is super easy to use and gives you the ultimate in smooth electronic 4-16x zoom capability. You can also track your location, travel speed, and altitude. 


A couple of things to note about this particular model: zooming and focusing can be touchy and hard to get exact. These binoculars run on three CR123 batteries, not rechargeable batteries, which seems a little archaic for such a high-tech product. Lastly, these binoculars are a little bulkier than some other options. All in all, they’re still a great product, even if they are a little on the pricier side.

Most Versatile
Barska Night Vision NVX300 Infrared Illuminator Digital Binoculars

When it comes to a well-performing night vision binocular that won’t break your budget, we like the Barska Night Vision NVX300 Infrared Illuminator Digital Binoculars. They’re not the most compact night vision binoculars on the market, but they’re certainly not the bulkiest, either. You can clearly see up to 2x magnification in even the darkest of conditions with these decently powered binoculars.


They feature a strong infrared illuminator that lets you see up to 100 meters, or 328 feet, at night. They’re a great choice for nighttime surveillance, hunting, survival exercises, and more. You can also capture both video and still pictures for later viewing. 


One small drawback is that the viewing screen is a little small compared to some other models, making it difficult to decipher what exactly it is that you're looking at on some occasions. They feature rugged water-resistant housing, but it would be nice if they were fully waterproof for added durability.

Most Durable
Creative XP GlassOwl Digital Infrared Night Vision Binoculars

The Creative XP GlassOwl Digital Infrared Night Vision Binoculars measure up where others fall short. Want a rechargeable battery? No problem. These binoculars can work with any eight rechargeable AA batteries of your choice. Want fully waterproof housing? They’re rated IPX-4 waterproof. This particular model features a large 4-inch viewing screen, which is much more sizable than many other models and lets you easily see objects.


They also offer a 2x digital zoom and a 3.5-7x optical zoom, which allows you to see objects up to 1,300 feet away, although image resolution does not increase as you zoom. Captured video and images are of excellent quality, and the 850NM infrared illuminator is strong enough to illuminate animals and objects well in even pitch dark situations. 


These binoculars come with a comfortable neck strap, but the attachments to the binoculars are constructed from metal, which can sometimes clank or make noise during use. This makes it harder to be stealthy or move about silently.

Honorable Mention
EEEkit Digital Night Vision Binoculars

The EEEkit Digital Night Vision Binoculars are a great mid-level option that will be suitable for most occasional use. They feature a strong 850NM 3W infrared illuminator that is capable of reliably capturing animals, people, and objects in total and complete darkness from up to 984 feet away. We also like their substantial IP56 waterproof and dustproof rating, which makes them considerably more durable than some other models.


They have a disappointingly small 2.31-inch LCD viewing screen, which can make it difficult to decipher exactly what you’re looking at. However, they do offer a respectable 4x digital zoom and up to 7x magnification with adjustable clarity, which helps to bring objects into sharper focus. 


You’ll also need to buy your own micro SD card since this kit doesn’t include one. These binoculars run on six AA batteries, so you can use rechargeable ones of your choice if you like. They come with a protective cloth bag, but no lens caps, which seems kind of odd for such a sensitive device.

Honorable Mention
JStoon Night Vision Binoculars

There’s a lot to like about the JStoon Night Vision Binoculars. They offer an impressive six-hour continuous recording time that runs on just six AA batteries of your choice. That’s great for nighttime surveillance around your home or for keeping an eye on your herd or other farm animals. They have a small 2.31-inch TFT viewing screen, but that can be converted to an easier to see 3-inch screen thanks to the included convex lens. An 850NM infrared illuminator lets you capture high-resolution 1280p images from up to 984 feet away. 


3x magnification and 4x digital zoom are par for the course in this price range. We like that this particular model comes with a 32G memory card included, as well as a customer satisfaction guarantee that promises a full refund if you’re not satisfied. They feature an IP56 waterproof and dustproof rating and get high marks for being a user-friendly, well-priced option for occasional hunting and nighttime excursions.


However, some users were not impressed with these binoculars. Some couldn’t see more than 10 yards in front of them. For others, the binoculars would not turn on or work at all.

Tips

  • The image quality of night vision devices ranks across six generations. The most affordable versions, generation 1 and 1+, work best in close range. The higher the generation, the more night vision binoculars tend to cost.
  • Know what your needs are for night vision binoculars. Some offer rugged protection ideal for hunting. Others have higher magnification for home defense. If you just want a pair to observe wildlife activity at night, they tend to run the cheapest.
  • Read the manual before operating your night vision binoculars. It will not only teach you how to use the device properly but can also provide important safety measures.
  • Be sure to read online user reviews regarding quality and any issues prior to choosing your night vision binoculars. These can quickly help you narrow your choices.

FAQs

Q: How do night vision binoculars work?

When a dim light enters the lens, it goes through a photocathode, which converts light particles into electrons. From there, the electrons accelerate and hit a phosphor screen that turns into an image you can see.

Q: What does an IR illuminator do? 

An infrared illuminator device comes in handy when you’re in complete darkness. It emits an infrared light on objects that are hard to see, which in turn reflects back into the binocular's lenses. IR illuminators are available on many, but not all, night vision binoculars.

Q: Can I use night vision binoculars during the day? 

You can use many digital night vision binoculars during the daytime. Non-digital versions often have intensifier tubes that can become damaged when exposed to bright lights. It’s always a good idea to consult the manual to avoid any damage to you or the binoculars.  

Final Thoughts

When it comes to a reliable, user-friendly, rugged pair of night vision binoculars that is offered at a decent price point, our top pick is the Bestguarder NV900 Night Vision Binoculars 4.5-22.5×40. They feature a substantial viewing screen, high-resolution images, and the capability to illuminate objects from up to 1,300 feet away.

For one that costs less and still gets the job done, pick up the Aurosports 10x25.