When the sun goes down, you can’t see anything if you don’t have night vision devices. If you are interested in night hunting, you may know how important it is to carry a night vision scope with you.
These night vision gadgets are helping to engage our targets at night and make our hunting enjoyable.
Best night vision scopes are available with different price options that vary based on the model’s features and specifications.
But as a hunter, I believe that a cheap night vision scope must have a durable design, quality, features, and functions that help the hunters to engage their prey.
Otherwise, a talented person has to struggle with a low quality sighting device only because he has a low budget. It will make him frustrated and prevent him from focusing on the game.
Because of this reason, any hunter or one who badly needs a night vision scope for their hunting must spend some time finding a quality night vision scope that comes in low budget at the same time.
Luckily, you are here. We have tested and updated some of the cheap yet quality night vision scopes in the review. Below reviewed products are not less than high-end scopes. These scopes have good quality, required features, and functions. At the same time, these won’t empty your bank balance too.
Top Budget Night Vision Scopes 2020
1. ATN X-Sight II HD 3-14 Smart Riflescope – High Resolution Scope for Day and Night
2. Sightmark Wraith HD 4-32×50 Digital Riflescope – Powerful Scope with IR Illuminator
3. Firefield NVRS 3×42 Gen 1 NV Riflescope – Gen 1 Scope with Starlight Technology
4. Sightmark Photon RT Digital NV Riflescope – Digital NV Scope with CMOS Sensor
5. Night Owl Nightshot Digital NV Scope – Scope with Large Lens for Light Transmission
6. Bushnell 4.5X40 Equinox Z Digital NV Scope – Smart Digital NV Scope Under $500
7. Sightmark Photon 6.5x50S Digital NV Scope – Scope with 30% Less Weight Than Others
Best Cheap Night Vision Scopes
Best Cheap Night Vision Scopes of 2020
1. ATN X-Sight II HD 3-14 Smart Riflescope
ATN X-Sight II HD Riflescope has digital night vision technology. Other tube-based night vision scopes are damaged due to bright light, but this digital night vision has an advantage over it. Also, this ATN X-Sight II HD can be used for both day and night. This scope can be attached to any rifle that has a Picatinny rail easily.
The scope has the Obsidian II Core processor as a core that is powerful and modern.
This ATN scope has 3-14x and 5-20x magnification for long-distance shooting. The 300 meters recognition range is the most acceptable range for most of the hunting. The other modern features of this riflescope are Recoil Activated Video, 30 FPS video recording, ballistic calculator, WiFi, E-pass, Barometer, and, most importantly, 12 hours of battery life.
The scope can be controlled and accessed via a mobile application that is available for both Android and iOs.
As the scope has dual-use, you get benefits of two equipment in a less budget.
The Recoil Activate Video ensures you do not miss any of your hunting victories and adventures to be recorded that you can view back later with your family and friends.
The display resolution of this day and night scope is 1280×720 pixels that guarantee the crystal clear images on any lighting conditions. The video resolution is in 1920×1080, which you can share between your Android and iPhone devices using a mobile application.
Using an SD card, you can record and stream the video of your actions on your phone or scope and other smart devices.
The built-in rangefinder helps to calculate the distance between you and your prey. With the ballistic calculator, you are free from taking reticles and charts with you. By entering the environment data, the calculation is done automatically.
2. Sightmark Wraith HD 4-32×50 Digital Riflescope
Sightmark Wraith HD Riflescope is another digital night vision scope on our list. The wraith scope is designed with a 1920×1080 HD sensor. The magnification range you get from this night vision scope is 4 to 32 x. The diameter of the objective lens used in this scope is 50mm.
The hunter gets the full-color clarity images and videos from this hunting scope. You can switch the scope between day and night mode so easily. With one press at the left arrow, the scope becomes a night vision device. The scope has emerald or black and white viewing options.
This wraith night vision scope has nine color palettes so you can view the image based on your environment and weather conditions.
There are ten different reticle options added to this night vision scope. This scope is best for hunting hog and deer.
The scope is powered by 4 AA batteries that offer almost 5 hours of operation time. You can expand the power options using Micro USB ports.
The scope has an 850nm IR illuminator that is removable. The total range offered by this day and night hunting scope is 200 yards.
The color models it comes with are green or black and white that perfectly suits the daytime shooting.
As the rifle scope comes with a weaver rail, it allows the hunters to attach extra accessories that they may need in the future. For exporting and importing the media files, you can use micro USB cables.
The scope has straightforward button mapping to make the operation easier and simpler. The intuitive user interface is easy to access.
3. Firefield NVRS 3×42 Gen 1 Night Vision Riflescope
Firefield night vision scope is the most affordable option on our list. It is a Generation 1 night vision scope, which was called Starlight technology earlier.
It has endless impressive features and abilities regardless of the price. The most remarkable feature we would say about this Firefield scope is its long battery life. It offers 20 hours of reliable performance when using an IR illuminator. Without illuminator usage, the battery life of this night vision scope extends to 50 hours.
The scope has an easy-to-remove mounting system which is convenient to use the optics and use different iron sights by maintaining the return to zero.
The objective lens equipped with this night vision scope is 42mm in diameter. The lens is multi-coated to withstand all the conditions. Also, you get three times enhanced magnification over your target.
The scope comes with a Red duplex reticle with adjustable brightness settings.
The scope is made of Titanium material; thus, the device is robust yet lightweight.
The range of this Firefield night vision scope is up to 100 yards. With this magnification and detection range, this night vision scope is excellent for hog hunting.
You can use this scope only at night as it does not have a digital night vision. It is solely designed for night hunters and shooters, so it the perfect scope for target shooting and hunting at night.
4. Sightmark Photon RT 4.5-9x42S Digital Night Vision Riflescope
Sightmark is the best option if you are looking for the night vision scope with modern technology on a low budget. Sightmark Photon night vision scope comes with a CMOS sensor that has 768×576 pixels resolution, so the night vision images are sharp up to 40%.
Sightmark Photon riflescope has an LED IR Illuminator. The hunter or shooter who uses scope at covered areas with less or no light will benefit from the illuminator because the scope can light up to 280 yards. You can use this as a lighting source also.
Your night hunting activities and adventurers can be recorded or streamed on this scope using videos and audio recording features.
A mobile application named Stream Vision App helps to transfer the captured images and recorded videos to other smart devices wirelessly.
The magnification range offered by this digital night vision scope is from 4.5 to 9x. It shows that the hunter or shooter can see the targets nine times brighter and larger than the actual objective lens. In short, the view is zoomed up to 9 times.
The scope has four color palettes and six reticle options. Based on the environment, weather, and lighting conditions, a hunter can change the color and use a reticle pattern.
5. Night Owl Optics Nightshot Digital Night Vision Scope
Night Owl Optics Nightshot scope has an unconventional design. It has a rectangular part in the front with an IR illuminator. It gained both positive and negative points from the customers.
Night Owl Nightshot scope has a 52mm objective lens and 5.6 degrees of field of view. So high light particles can enter the lens and illuminate the image to a higher level.
Night Owl scope has cover between 100 and 200 yards area with its night vision ability. The night vision scope is designed with a high-quality sensor and 640×480 pixels resolution display. The magnification range offered by the scope is 3x, which means you can zoom in 3 times than the original lens view. So you can have a brighter and more precise view of your target even from a long distance.
The scope has easy elevation and windage adjustments. To get the accurate calculation, a click at windage adjustment is equal to 1/4 at 50 yards wide. With the standard weaver and Picatinny rail, it is easy to mount and demount the scope on any rifle.
The scope is made of Polymer to ensure lightweight design. The overall design is handy and easily storable. The scope is powered up by 4 AA batteries, and the battery life of this digital night vision scope is from 4.5 hours to 17.5 hours.
6. Bushnell 4.5X40 Equinox Z Digital Night Vision Scope
Bushnell 4.5×40 Equinox Z Digital Night Vision Scope is yet another smart night vision scope available under $500. This scope is equipped with Bushnell’s unique Equinox Z Digital Night Vision technology.
The unique part of this night vision scope is that it comes with an adjustable IR illuminator that means the hunter can adjust the illumination based on their need. The adjustable IR illumination can cover 750 feet area, which is a relatively high field of view, among other budget night vision scopes.
The zooming range of this digital scope is between 1 and 4.5 x. With the 40mm objective lens, abundant light enters the scope and illuminates the image brighter.
The digital night vision scope comes with an ability to be used with a tripod. So, when you are tired of using it as a handheld, you can use it. You just need to focus on the target and hit it. Like others, Bushnell also offers a way to record all the hunting memories that you can playback in the future.
The scope does not often need battery replacement, so it is best for long-range shooting and hunting. The scope is made of high-grade materials that resist different shooting pressures.
7. Sightmark Photon 6.5x50S Digital Night Vision Riflescope
Sightmark SM18009 Photon 6.5x50s digital night vision scope is another high-end model like ATN X-Sight II that can be used at both day and night.
Vert first thing that makes you fall for this night vision scope is its weight, yes the scope is light at below 2 pounds, which is 30% lighter than other Digital NV scopes in the market. So it is easy for anyone to use the scope of a rifle even at rough places.
The night vision scope has six reticle options, such as mil-dot, German #4, duplex, dot-duplex, and xbow-2. Out of these, two are crossbow reticles that allow you to use a crossbow and shoot between 320 and 400 feet per second.
There are two duplex reticles for rifles. Duplex reticles with rifles are great for hog and raccoon hunting.
The magnification range of this night vision scope is between 4.6x to 6.5x. The 60mm objective lens allows more light particles to enter the scope and illuminate the image.
With the 640×480 pixels resolution, the scope can cover up to 200 yards. The on-board 810nm LED IR Illuminator allows the hunter to use the scope even at pitch darkness.
What is Night Vision & How does it work?
Initially, these night vision devices are developed to use in warzones. The US army developed the first night vision device to gain advantages over their enemy soldiers.
During the Second World War, nothing could be beneficial than seeing in the dark. But, now these night vision devices extend their applications and benefits to the next level. Hunters are mostly benefited by these night vision devices nowadays.
These night vision scopes are divided into two main types, such as Active and Passive NV.
Active Night Vision Systems:
Active night vision systems are otherwise called Infrared (IR) Imaging Systems.
Principle: IR imaging systems project IR light using IR illuminator onto the area. This IR illuminated light is invisible to human eyes. After the projection, the scope will convert the area into visual imagery using image conversion technology. The imagery is what later projected back to the viewer to see.
Passive Night Vision Systems:
Passive night vision systems vary a bit from Active systems.
Principle: These Passive night vision systems use any available light like the ambient light, moon, and start light. These systems need only minimal lighting that will be amplified thousands of times. You could see the visual from Passive night vision systems 20 to 50,000 times brighter than what the human eye can view.
Night vision scopes are valuable devices to have during night hunting. These devices work as your eye and give you a vision of what your eye can’t do. In the hunt, these devices are essential because they help you retain your position while you track an animal. Alternative ways to see the things in darkness work by projecting a light beam towards the target. It will alert your prey that it is being monitored for hunting.
Night Vision Vs. Digital Night Vision
Usual night vision scope doesn’t require digital imagery to provide visuals to the viewer. These scopes work with lenses and plates in complex setup to transfer images from one end to another. The light enters the scope front and passes through a range of electrons and protons.
The passed light hits the green phosphor screen, and the interpreted image is delivered via a viewing lens. This process is done without needing digitalization. All the steps in the process are scientific and reactive. The minimal or low light enters in one end of the night vision scope and exists multiple times brighter in either end.
Digital night vision scopes are different and are being called “The Future of Night Vision“. A digital night vision scope processes digital signals instead of amplifying the available light. All the steps in the process are electrical.
The imaging sensors in the scope absorb the light and transmit the image to the viewing screen in the eyepiece. Digital night vision imagery is comparatively simple and more affordable.
Gen 1 Night Vision Vs. Digital Vision
The performance and quality are not so different, but the price is. Digital Night vision is a better choice here.
Gen 2, Gen 3 Vs. Digital Vision
The detection range and image resolution are not commendable in digital night vision when compared to Gen 3 and 3. Though Gen 2 and Gen 3 costs higher, the quality is assured.
On the whole, I would say, digital night vision scopes are the right choice if you need a scope for day and night. The usual night vision scope can’t be used for the day.
Before relying on any of these scopes, first, familiarise with different generations of night vision. It will give a sense of knowledge and understanding and an idea to choose the right.
Why Night Vision Scope?
Night vision scopes are essential devices to have, especially while going for night hunting. Before the development of night vision devices, the hunters used flashlights, lamps, and few other light sources while they went out for night hunting as humans can’t see anything in the dark with naked eyes. But these light sources turned out to be so dangerous to hunters themselves that it awakens the animals and lets them be aware of being monitored by other living beings. It risks the life of hunters.
Thankfully, with technology development, we have night vision devices now. When using night vision scopes, a hunter is benefited from monitoring or tracking an animal without any risks of being caught by them. You can follow the prey being hidden. In this way, these night vision devices make hunting more comfortable and quicker.
Not only night vision scopes, but all the night vision devices went a very long way from the beginning. These devices are continually being improved and enhanced in terms of quality, performance, size, weight, and durability.
Traditional night scopes use ambient light. The light particles that enter to scope are photons that convert into electrons that create an electric current in imagery that is viewed in the lens.
Late night vision scopes use IR light to get multiple times clearer and brighter images. Comparatively, IR scopes are more flexible and affordable than traditional NV scopes.
The Best Night Vision Scope Brands
Different generations of night vision scopes and digital night vision scopes are available with varying features and abilities. This may confuse which brands of products out there are good and how to pick one among them for you. To help you in this, we have given a summary of the best brands of night vision scopes and what they offer to their users here.
American Technologies Network (ATN)
The American Technologies Network is the leading Tech Optics company. ATN is a leading manufacturer and developer of 4K Resolution Digital Smart Optics for Day and Night use and Smart Thermal Imaging optics for ultimate night vision.
ATN has operated in San Francisco, US, and led the tech world since two decades ago. ATN manufactures all of its products in the US, assuring the quality and outcomes from low budget to expensive. Their various scopes, cameras, and sighting devices have been used by Military, Law enforcement, Police, Detective agencies, and other Government departments. Apart from these, hunters and outdoor activists are their regular and happy customers.
Sightmark is a comparatively new brand introduced at SHOT Show 2007 to work for changing needs and growing popularity of the modern shooting market.
In 2011, the opened new headquarters in Mansfield, Texas, of 33,000 square feet. The headquarters combined the corporate offices of the company and a large warehouse to manage the need for sensitive materials and technologies which are being produced.
With this, they got a facility that provides more space for research and development, production, and distribution of defense-related products.
Initially, the company is founded to meet the changing requirements of the outdoor industry and its customers.
Their best-selling products include red dot sights, riflescopes, and chamber laser bore sights.
As of now, more than one million bore sights from Sightmark are in use since their first release.
Sightmark products are well-known for their affordable prices and have Southern hunters as their regular customers. All major retailers have Sightmark products.
Yukon Advanced Optics Worldwide company was founded in 1998. Yukon product lines of the company included day optical devices such as spotting scopes and binoculars.
In 1999, when the requirement of day optics grew, the Yukon started to manufacture first night vision devices. After two years, in 2001, the company launched its first night vision riflescope NVRS.
In 2003, the company initiated the development of digital devices such as Ranger 5×42 and Ranger Pro 5×42.
In 2005, the company’s international market share for Generation 1 night vision devices reached 70%.
Between 2006 and 2008, they held a significant expansion of their range of optical devices that included digital, and building of an extensive line of night vision devices and rifle scopes that created the new trademark called Pulsar.
In the following years, they introduced a range of new products.
2009 – Digital night vision riflescope.
2010 – Laser rangefinders, Daylight optical sights
2011 – Thermal imagers
2012 – Night lens clip-on attachments
2013 – Night vision riflescopes with built-in rangefinders
2014 – Thermal imaging rifle scopes
2015 – Clip-on attachments
If you want cutting edge night vision scopes, you can buy from them, but you should have a deep pocket.
Firefield was founded in 2009 to produce the economical and powerful night vision devices to the hunters. That was the dominant economic downturn, which created tough situations for the hard-working shooters to purchase the night vision optics and accessories that they needed to pursue and continue their passion for shooting and hunting.
After the extensive surveying and targeted observations, Firefield got the point that many gun enthusiasts and shooting beginners were unsatisfied with buying expensive optics and sighting devices of poor quality.
Firefield took it as a challenge and decided to create the best value shooting sports accessories and optics possible at a reasonable price.
With its planned goal and detailed vision, the company gained a name for themself. Firefield is one of the best optics for reliable night vision devices at an affordable price.
Hunters quickly accepted their products and started using them. With satisfied customers, Firefield is always sustaining in this market until today.
For the cheap night vision scopes at a reasonable price, you should consider Firefield on your list.
Buying Considerations: Budget Night Vision Scope
Night vision scopes vary in shapes, prices, sizes, features, models, brands, and specifications, so it is hard for the beginners to start with. Experienced hunters know that all the expensive night vision scopes will not perform, and all the budget night vision scopes are not of poor quality.
Though the price is one of the vital buying criteria, it does not guarantee its performance. There are specific affordable night vision devices out in the market that helps beginning shooters do well in their game.
To sort out of these confusions, we have drawn out specific buying criteria that you should consider before purchasing a cheap night vision scope.
The image resolution of the night vision scope is referred to as Clarity. It is measured in LP/MM (Lines per millimeter). The higher this value, the greater Clarity and crispier images you will get. Usually, cheap night vision scope has a high range, but if the Clarity is less, there is no use of the range. You will still get enlarged and blurred images if the Clarity is less even if the range is high.
The range is not how far you can see, but how quickly you can recognize the target. So if the night vision scope has a higher recognition range, you can see the target and recognize it. Always look for the log optic scopes because they absorb more light and allow you to see clearly and brighter.
Budget night vision scopes come with limited magnification, so the range of scope plays a significant role in this case. It can increase or decrease the Clarity of the image also.
Most of the night vision scopes in the market have a recognition range of 100 yards. So, check the recognition range of the scopes based on the light conditions such as start light only, quarter moonlight, half moonlight, and full moonlight.
Night vision scopes operated by rechargeable batteries. So the size and type of the battery is also a significant concern as it can affect the operation time of the scope.
AA batteries are always the most recommended battery type for the outdoor industry, as these are readily available and replaceable. So consider the scope has a high-grade AA battery.
You can have Lithium-ion batteries as another choice. These are also rechargeable and durable.
Always remember to carry a spare battery to hunt.
Optics is the major part of any sighting device, one that collects light that needs to process. So the quality of the image is directly related to optics. The optics with durable coating protect the scope from shock and accidental drops. Choose a scope with high-quality optics.
There are three popular choices available in scope technologies, such as Traditional scopes, Digital scopes, and IR scopes.
Apart from these major technology choices, scopes are varied with different night vision Generations(Gen 1, Gen 2, Gen 3, Gen 4).
Gen 1 and Gen 2 are most familiar in the industry. Reliable performance is the reason why most beginners choose Gen 1 and Gen 2.
Gen 3 and Gen 4 are the most advanced, improved, and expensive options.
Reticles are nothing but the crosshairs that help to aim the targets. It increases accuracy. Based on your gaming and scope type, you look for reticles.
BDC is the most accurate reticle type. But it is expensive and quite rare.
If you need basic reticle scopes, then Red dot and Simple duplex are good choices for beginners.
Hunting is a rough game, whether it is day or night. It would help if you had a durable scope to handle all the situations in the game.
Choose the scope that has high-quality materials that can withstand all weather conditions and resists shock and water.
Lightweight scope models are best for good performance. Of course, you don’t choose a scope that weighs like a brick and which is bigger than your weapon or rifle. As the magnification is high in the scope, the weight also increases.
The heavier the scope, the harder to use and handle. For stationary hunters, heavier might not be a problem. But if you keep moving all the time, a compact and lighter scope is suitable for you.
For Day and Night
Today’s modern night vision scopes have come with dual-use features, which means you can have the same scope for both day and night hunting.
These dual-use models are heavy and big but are cost-effective. Dual-use scopes come with manual use and automatic. The manual model is a bit difficult to operate. If you are looking to buy a dual-use NV scope, consider buying automatic dual scopes.
Night hunting needs camouflage. A scope with matt finish is the right choice as it blends well with nature and does not get much attention from animals. Don’t choose scopes that are shining outside as it may scare and alert your prey.
Hunting raccoons, hogs, and coyotes are only possible at night. You can’t track these animals with your flashlight or lamp.
Luckily, we have night vision devices that make it possible for hunters to see their prey at night even from long distances.
Start with comparing your needs and options with available product features and specifications.
I hope the above review and buying guide for choosing the right budget night vision scope leave you more informed about the scopes than before.