Best Thermal Imaging Monocular in 2019. Reviews & Analysis

Last Updated: 19.06.19

 

Top Thermal Imaging Monoculars Reviewed and Compared

 

If you are looking for the best thermal imaging monocular, but you’re in a hurry, and you cannot spare a few minutes to go through our entire buying guide, this short paragraph will offer you the information you need to make an informed decision. The Pulsar Helion XP ranks the highest in consumer reports, sales figures, and social media comments, and that is why we decided to list it as the primary recommendation. Its heat detection goes as far as 1,100 yards, providing you with the means to observe your target from a safe distance. The unit is built with durability in mind, as it is resistant to dust, fog, and water. Due to the Wi-Fi capabilities, you can stream directly from your monocular and transfer information to remote devices. In case you cannot find this model anymore, the ATN OTS-HD 640 is a second great choice that we recommend.

 

 

Comparison table

 

The Good
The Bad
Verdict
Price

 

 

Our top choices

 

Due to the high number of models for sale that you can find on the market, your choice might not be an easy one. For this reason, we decided to select a few options that now garner the interest and praise of those who have tried them. Their features and performance are outstanding.

 

Pulsar Helion XP

 

The Pulsar Helion XP is a model often mentioned by the thermal imaging monocular reviews, as it comes equipped with everything you need in a unit for observing targets based on heat detection. You can use it for hunting, and just as well for surveillance, and even for search and rescue operations, as it manages to detect adult-size targets from distances up to 1,100 yards.

It comes with a video recorder that can display images in 640×480 resolution. You might think that the incorporated add-ons such as this make the unit bulky, but that is not the case. The model is lightweight and easy to handle.

The video recorder will catch the images you want, and then store them on the 8GB memory that comes with the unit. You will be able to use your monocular in a vast variety of situations, as it is built to withstand harsh weather and wear and tear. It has a waterproof rating of IPX7, and it is also dustproof and fog proof.

Even more, its AMOLED display will not get damaged by frost. You can use the unit in temperatures as low as -13F and as high as 122F. The Wi-Fi option will let you stream the video you’re recording and transfer it to other devices.

Pros

Excellent heat detection capabilities put this monocular on the top of the list, as it allows you to observe targets at 1,100 yards.

The unit has a video recorder that you can use to shoot videos in 640×480 resolution, and then store them on the internal memory with a capacity of 8GB.

You can successfully use this unit for hunting, and other operations taking place in inclement weather because it is waterproof, fog proof, and dustproof.

Another thing that puts this model in a league of its own is the optics quality; its variable magnification and solid color palette recommend it.

Easy to use, this monocular is built to be user-friendly, as the buttons are located for convenient access while the user interface is intuitive.

Cons

Most people who have tried this unit seem taken with its features and capabilities, but some say that the app that must be used to access some of the functionalities is buggy and not that user-friendly.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($3499)

 

 

 

 

ATN OTS-HD 640

 

The ATN OTS-HD 640 can be used successfully as a monocular for hunting, due to its outstanding capabilities. Even in total darkness, this unit will be able to detect heat and offer you the possibility to take down your prey even when you cannot observe your surroundings with the naked eye.

The amount of features installed on this monocular is outstanding. First of all, the Smart Rangefinder will tell you everything you need to know about the distance between you and your target. The 3D gyroscope will provide proper image stabilization so that the natural shakiness that happens when holding the monocular in your hand is reduced.

Another feature we should talk about is the E-compass installed on this model. It allows you to find your way around with ease, and even in the dark, you will have an advantage. The E-Zoom is a feature that lets you focus with ease on targets that are located at a fair distance from you.

Other functionalities worth mentioning are the HD video recorder incorporated in the monocular, and the possibilities of streaming your content via Wi-Fi. The smooth operation of the unit adds to its overall value and makes you feel you invested wisely in this piece of equipment.

Pros

Detecting a target is performed with ease when you’re using this thermal monocular that has a high-quality sensor that can tell heat signatures from the rest of the environment, even in the dark.

Use the Smart Rangefinder to adjust your aim, as the unit is capable of telling you how far from you a specific target is.

If you like sharing photos and videos from your adventures, it is easy with this model, because the built-in Wi-Fi will let you stream and transfer the content you record.

The smooth focus is one of the selling points of this particular model and makes it an excellent choice for many hunters.

Equipped with image stabilization technologies, such as a 3D gyroscope, this monocular offers excellent performance.

Cons

Some people complain that the battery drainage happens a bit too fast, so the use of the monocular video recorder may be limited by this particular trait.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($4899)

 

 

 

 

FLIR Systems Scout III

 

When hunting at night, it can be difficult to spot your prey in the dark. This is where a unit like the FLIR Systems Scout III comes into play. Using its high-quality thermal imaging camera, this monocular will help you detect your prey. The good thing is that you can use this while sitting on a ladder tree stand, due to its smooth operation.

The simple design might take you by surprise, seeing how powerful this unit is. You power up the camera with the touch of a button, then you select the color palette you want, and start observing your prey. Adjusting screen brightness is easy, and it also requires just the push of a button.

The maximum distance at which this monocular can detect heat signatures is 1,200 yards. Another thing you will like about this model is the bright display that will let you observe your target in high detail.

Weighing just 12 ounces, it is portable and easy to use. Equipped with a Li-ion battery that lasts for 5 hours without recharging, it provides you with the autonomy you need when you go hunting in the woods.

Pros

The high-quality camera built into the structure of the monocular helps you see your target crisp and clear, even at night.

Buyers highly appreciate the ease of use, and how convenient it is to adjust screen brightness and choose the color palette.

A reliable battery is sold with the package; it is a Li-ion rechargeable model that holds for 5 hours of use until the next recharge.

Many like the ergonomic design, and it must be mentioned that the watertight construction ensures that bad weather will not affect it as much as you would expect.

Detecting heat signatures at 1,200 yards, this model is more efficient than others on the market and can make you a redoubtable hunter.

Cons

Some buyers talk about the fact that no zoom functionality is available, something that reduces the possibilities to use the camera as they see fit.

Click to see the price on Amazon!

 

 

 

 

FLIR Scout TK Pocket-Sized

 

Portability is always a factor to bear in mind when you are shopping for an optical unit to carry with you on your trips to the great outdoors. Just like a hunting binocular with rangefinder should be lightweight, this thermal monocular is built with the ease of moving it around in mind. Because it is, indeed, pocket-sized, you will always find a place for it in your luggage to move it around.

When dealing with new equipment, the learning curve is always essential. In this case, you have nothing to worry about. Once you turn it on, the unit starts, and its operation is intuitive so that no additional training is needed. You can spot prey at night, or you can use it for home security.

The range performance, as expected from a unit this small, is considerably lower compared to other models, but still notable. It will be able to detect a human being at 100 yards. It also means that hogs and pests that make a mess of your garden will be easy to spot.

Some extras, such as a neck lanyard, a lens cap, and a USB cable, are supplied with your purchase. You can use it to shoot videos or take pictures.

Pros

Equipped with a good quality thermal imaging camera, this monocular will help you spot animals and people in the dark with great ease.

As it has a waterproof rating of IP67, that means that it can be submerged in water without suffering severe damage; using it in inclement weather is not an issue.

You can use this monocular with thermal imaging for hunting down small prey and protecting your garden against pests, or you can use it for home security and surveillance.

Due to its small size, it can be carried around in your pocket, and it weighs little, so it will not be an issue to add it to your equipment.

There’s no training needed to operate the camera, and it starts up fast, so that battery life is preserved.

Cons

The battery is internal, and not user replaceable, which is considered quite the downside by some users who have mentioned this aspect.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($499)

 

 

 

 

Pulsar Trail XQ

 

Some people get video cameras for hunting and for detecting movement in their backyard, but some prefer a more hands-on approach. For them, a unit like the Pulsar Trail XQ can come in handy. Bringing objects at far distances close to you is easy when you have this unit by your side. Its variable magnification helps with the detecting of heat signatures at various distances.

You can pick between the white hot and the black hot modes, and you will also notice that the imaging capabilities are outstanding. Users are encouraged to choose from 13 options for the digital reticle, and the excellent 50Hz refresh rate will allow you to observe everything in smooth motion.

There’s nothing to worry about if you take this model with you on your trips to the great outdoors. The unit is waterproof, with a rating of IPX7, and it is also resistant to dust and fog. Its performance doesn’t suffer in cold and hot temperatures, as it can withstand temperatures as low as -13F, and as high as 122F.

Equipped with 8GB of memory, and an AMOLED screen resistant to frost, it is a capable model that will not let you down, no matter how severe the conditions.

Pros

The beautiful 640×480 AMOLED screen offers a crisp image that will not leave room for interpretation when trying to spot your prey.

Built with durability in mind, this model has a waterproof rating of IPX7, and it is also a good option for anyone who wants a monocular with thermal imaging that can take some wear and tear.

Due to the built-in video recorder, you will be able to document your trips to the wild and your hunting adventures.

With the help of the Stream Vision app, you will be able to connect your monocular to other devices and stream the videos you’re recording with your unit.

You can count on long battery life, as a single charge keeps the camera going for 8 hours continuously.

Cons

This is quite an expensive model, but seeing that it is equipped with a gamut of options and features, such as an accelerometer and stadiametric rangefinder, it justifies the price tag.

Click to see the price on Amazon!

 

 

 

 

Buying guide

 

A lot of people search for cheap thermal imaging monoculars, as they need such units for their hunting trips, surveillance work, or search and rescue operations. Such units do exist, and some are even equipped with extra features. To find out what to look for when you’re shopping for this particular type of monocular, see our buying guide below.

Range and optics quality

A thermal imaging monocular works by detecting heat, so this is the first thing you should check when you compare various models. A good thermal imaging monocular will offer the possibility to observe and detect heat at large distances. The quality of optics provided should be superior, too, if you want to use the monocular when hunting, and not only.

A variable magnification helps to increase the usability of the monocular, as it allows you to bring objects closer. The color palettes offered should render a clear image and having several to choose from helps, as well.

 

Video recording capabilities

A built-in video recorder makes an imaging monocular more than just a simple unit. See what resolution is used for the videos you are going to record, and don’t forget to check the Wi-Fi capabilities, too. You should be able to record and transfer your videos to other devices with ease. Some models come with a dedicated app that allows you to stream the videos you’re recording.

Take a look at the internal storage of the unit. That will give you a rough idea about how much video content you can record. Next time you go hunting, don’t forget your essential equipment, such as shooting glasses and your monocular that can document your adventures in the wild.

Resistance to harsh weather conditions

To face inclement weather, hunters and anglers take care of choosing the right clothes, like hunting waders and other waterproof equipment. To make sure that the monocular you are going to use will be capable of remaining undamaged even in harsh climate conditions, pick one that is waterproof.

It also serves to get a model that is dustproof and fog proof. The water resistance capabilities are one thing, but to keep the image clear, you will have to count on a unit that does not let particles of dust in or allow the fog to transform into water droplets on the lenses. Your hunting or fishing adventure should be perfect, so ensure your gutting knife and all the other equipment are kept in waterproof cases, just like your monocular.

 

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