The Best Night Vision Binoculars for the Money 2018 – Buyer’s Guide

(Last Updated On: March 21, 2018)

Night vision binoculars are an optical instrument that amplifies any small amount of existing light before sending it to our eyes to help users to see something in completely dark or in very low light. They were first introduced during Second World War and played a major role during Vietnam War also. Now they are available for civilian users also where they are used for a variety of purpose like hunting, hiking, boating, surveillance after dark.

If you in a search for best night vision binoculars that suits your need, you are at the right place. Here we will discuss the best Night vision binoculars available today. But before that, we need to discuss some basics questions like- How they work? What are the top brands available today? How expensive are they? How much technologically advanced they are from their older version? What to look out for in a night vision binoculars before making a buying decision? Etc.

It will help you to understand the device better. Afterall you are going to invest your hard earned money into it. So, doing some research beforehand can save you some money and it can also help you in the long run.

Let’s get started:-

How does Night Vision work?

Night Vision Device works on the basic principle of capturing any small amount of light then amplifying it. But the problem is there is no technology available today which can amplify light. So what we do we first turn light into electricity, after that we amplify/boost electricity, and then again we turn that amplified electricity into the light.

How it’s done?

  • First, a small amount of light enters into the front
  • Now in the second step, light strikes a photocathode which converts photons (light is made of photons of all colors) into electrons.
  • In the third step, these electrons are amplified with the help of photomultiplier (Microchannel plate).
  • In the last step, those multiplied electrons hit the phosphor screen which creates the tiny flash of light (photon).

Why is the resulted image Green?

You must have noticed in movies or games that view through night vision device is green. Do you know why?

Because our eyes are more sensitive to green light, we can easily look at green screens for more period of time without any problem. That is the reason why in 4th step (above) phosphors on screen are deliberately chosen to make a green picture.

How much technologically advanced they are from their older version?

Over the year, Night vision technology has drastically evolved as Generation1, 2, 3. Each Generation is more advanced than the older one and also more expensive than the other. Here is a quick guide to that,

Generation 1

This is the night vision that was first introduced in Vietnam War. They are the least expensive with some basic technology as compared to Generation 2 and Generation 3. They employ a photo vacuum tube with a photocathode which results in a maximum range of 80yds. They have infrared illuminator built in which works great in the dark area.

The user should take note that, there is two variety of Generation 1 devices available in the market today. Some fake manufacturer uses a low-grade intensifier tube in their night vision device to lower the price of the device, stay away from them. Always look for top brands like Bushnell, Armasight, ATN and Night Owl. They are a massive brand in the field of night vision and thermal imaging. Their device might be little pricier than others but you can be sure you are buying a quality product. Most civilian, hunters, night observer prefer Generation 1 device, they are affordable and have decent quality but if money is not a problem then you can surely look for Gen 2.

Generation 2

These are more advanced than Generation 1 also more expensive. Generation 2 device use microchannel plate (MCP) to amplify the electrons. They are very good in low light condition. They amplify the light more than 20000 times which results in a maximum range of 350yds in a full moon. They have better resolution, longer battery life and life expectancy of about 4500hrs. If you are passionate about your work then these night vision device from Generation 2 is right for you.

Generation 3

Generation 3 devices are the most advanced and most expensive among all three generation. They use a strong chemical known as gallium-arsenide for the photocathode and a microchannel plate. In fact, they are so powerful that in some European countries they are restricted to government departments and military only. Although, they give the best performance, great battery life, and higher resolution all these come at great price. Cheapest night vision Generation 3 device costs more than $5000 today.

Note: – We are not covering any Generation 3rd night vision device in a list given below because they are so expensive that it is against our website policy. Here on “Telescopefever.com”, we review only those device which is easily affordable to common people. If indeed you are searching for Gen 3 device, we highly recommend the ATN brand.

 

Night Vision Device Buying Guide

Here are some tips and features that you must consider before buying your first Night Vision Device.

Size, Weight, Magnification, and Environment.

When it comes to choosing a right night vision device size, weight, magnification and the environment you are going to use the device are the major factors you should take into consideration before making a buying decision. Let’s say you are going to use the device in dense forest where it is impossible to see anything beyond certain distance then there is no need to spend extra money on higher magnification device. Same way, if you are planning to use your device from a static position, then no need to worry about size and weight of the device but if you are planning on being mobile, consider a lightweight and small device which you can carry around comfortably when on the move.

IR Illuminators.   

Let’s say you are in a completely dark area where not even a small source of light is available (ex-cave). There, IR illuminator in your night vision device can help you to see. They project the beam of infrared light which is then picked up by binoculars optics to allow the user to see in the complete darkness.

Review the Gain and Resolution.

Another thing to consider in your night vision device is the gain. Gain is the relative level of light you will see when looking through the device. In common terms also called resolution. Greater the magnification of the lenses, worse resolution or gain you will get. Always go for highest resolution device available in your budget.

Waterproof

If you are planning on using your night vision device on a rainy day or in a bad weather, always look for waterproof binoculars. They have O-ring sealed that prevents any small amount of water or moisture to enter into the device.

Fogproof

Binoculars tend to fog up from inside when moving from one temperature to another. To counter the problem manufactures use gases like Nitrogen or Argon and purge them inside the tube to save the device from internal fogging. Always look for that Fogproof device.

 

Best Night vision Binoculars Reviews 2017

 

1) Bushnell Equinox Series 6L Night Vision Z Digital Binocular

Price: $397.95*

Magnification: 4x

Objective Lens: 50mm

Tripod Mount: Yes

IR Illuminator: Yes

Battery Type: 4x AA

Dimensions: 6.9 x 6.4 x 2.9in

Bushnell is a well-known brand in the field of making high-quality optical instruments such as binoculars and Monoculars. Equinox Series 6L Night Vision Z Digital Binocular is also one such top-notch device from the Bushnell factory.  4×50 Equinox Z Digital Night Vision Binocular features a bigger 50mm objective lens that allows it to capture more light than the average device which results in increased brightness in images and videos. The device also features a 4x magnification that works great for daytime viewing where light is sufficient but during night at full 4x magnification quality seriously degrade and image resolution gets poorer, up to 2x its OK. In our opinion 4x at night is just a marketing gimmick.

Equinox Series 6L also boasts a unique design where the right objective aperture is dedicated for binocular viewing whereas left objective aperture house a built-in infrared illuminator. Always turn on your infrared illuminators during the night to increase clarity and visibility of target and don’t forget to turn it off during daytime to save some battery.

Unlike some other products on the market this Equinox Series 6L Night Vision Z Digital Binocular does feature a digital night vision sensor and adjustable brightness sensor to protect the intensifier tubes from light damage. Addition features like video output and adjustable digital coarse focus add to the versatility of the device.

In addition to great optics, this NVB also has a great build quality. The body of the Bushnell Equinox Series 6L contoured housing with a rubberized covering which provides comfortable and non-slippery grip. Menu buttons are positioned on top of the device within reach of fingertips for comfortable handheld operation. The eyecups are fully rubberized which prevents any external light entering into eyes and provide comfortable viewing to users for the longer duration of time.

Bushnell has taken all the minute details into consideration before making this NVB more secure and comfortable to its users, tripod mount, neck strap and AA batteries are such minute feature that Bushnell has provided with this device. If you plan on using the device from a stationary position, you can always attach a tripod to it with its in-built tripod mount. Otherwise, if you are moving around a lot use a neck strap to carry the device.

The Bushnell 260501 Equinox Night Vision is powered by 4 AA batteries which run the device for approximately 3 hours. The best part about these batteries is they are easily & cheaply available in the market.

That said, here is one satisfied owner take on this scope,

“I considered these for a couple of months. Finally took the plunge and glad I did. For a Generation 1, they really do work well. While not comparable to military grade night vision, they do the job. The infrared illuminator really helps”

 

Pros Cons
Inbuilt Tripod Mount. Poor image quality at full 4x magnification.
Use of AA batteries which is easily available in the market.
Inbuilt Infrared illuminator
Great optics
Generation 1 image intensifier tube.
Video output

 

Take a look at more features and the best price on Amazon right now!!!

 


2) Night Owl Pro Nexgen Night Vision Binocular

Price: $526.74*

Magnification: 5x

Objective lens: 50mm

Dimensions: 7.8″L x 5.8″W x 2.9″H

Weight (without batteries): 38.8 oz

Infrared Illuminator, built in: Yes

Battery Life: 40 to 80 hours, depending on infrared usage

Next night vision binocular (NVB) device that makes it to our list of value for money binoculars is Pro Nexgen Night Vision Binocular from Night Owl. Priced around $520 this device boast same features as Bushnell Equinox (mentioned above) and also some additional advanced features that make it full value for money. This night vision binocular also comes with 50 mm objective lens and with 5x magnification and unlike other device mentioned in the list, 5x magnification actually works. In fact, it is so powerful user have reported being able to view up to 650ft with 15A° angular field of view. In addition to great magnification and bigger objective lens device also comes with two high-quality generation-1 image intensifier tubes and a built-in columnated infrared illuminator that drastically improves the target recognition of image in any environment. Images with 35 lp/mm (lp = line pairs) resolution with 400nm to 900nm spectral sensitivity. In simple term, it gives high-resolution image.

Remember, when the IR is off you get more details and less range whereas turning on IR will increase your range but quality will surely deteriorate.

In addition to great optics device also boasts a great build quality. Binocular has a soft-touch rubberized finish which makes it quite comfortable to hold. Eyecups and end caps are rubberized as well as lens housing is made from impact resistant molded thermoplastic which protects the product from possible damage. So no need to worry about the durability of the device.

As for the battery operation, it runs on one 3-volt Type-123 lithium battery that gives 40 to 80 hours of battery life depending on how much you use IR. Overall a great product for a great price.

Here is one satisfied owner take on this scope,

“For the price, you can’t go wrong! Works great for peering into the night. When I bought them I was hesitant spending the money, but after I got them they are worth every penny.”

 

Pros Cons
5X Magnification No Tripod Adapter- you cannot attach your tripod with this binocular.
Double Generation-1 image intensifier tube. Battery not included in package- Although the batteries are not expensive.

You can buy from here (affiliate link).

50mm objective lens.
Long battery life
Low battery indicator
IR illuminator

 

Take a look at more features and the best price on Amazon right now!!!

 

Why we featured only two-night vision binoculars on this list?

We apologize, there are a lot of other night vision binocular out there we wanted to feature in this list but one common problem with them was their price. Some were priced above $1000 (it is against our policy to feature expensive products) whereas some were cheap but seriously lack quality. We are going to keep adding more products to the list whenever we found a worthy product till that those were the two-night vision binoculars that we found to be a deserving product to be featured in our “the best night vision binoculars for the money” list.

 

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