9 Best Pulsar Thermal Scopes [2022 Updated Guide & Reviews]

Since their invention, thermal scopes have become inevitable predatory devices. Therefore, it is not surprising to learn that Pulsar, a premium optics brand, and pioneer, has designed the latest technology for their thermal scopes. In this guide, we’ve reviewed the best pulsar thermal scopes available on the market. If you want the best scope from the brand, here is all the clear information and reviews of the best scopes from the pulsar brand.

We all know that hunting at night is quite different from other games. If you want to hit the target precisely, then you must have the best rifle scope. There is no other better option than a thermal scope to beat the dark. Thermal scopes have changed nighttime hunting over the past decade.

When it comes to the pulsar brand, it is one of the trusted brands in the scope industry which provides the best rifle scopes with thermal imaging technology.

Do pulsar thermal scopes offer better performance?

Let’s find out here.

Best Pulsar Thermal Scopes of 2022

Product NamesFeaturesBest for More Info
Trail 2 LRF XP50 The 640 x 480 sensor ensures clarity images
even at long distances
Best high tech thermal scope Check Price
Trail 2 LRF XQ50Built in laser rangefinder
Elegant & ergonomic layout
Best lightweight thermal scope Check Price
Thermion XM50 Durable & rugged construction
IPX7 rating
Best for Short and Long Range Check Price
Thermion 2 XQ50 Upgraded thermal sensor
A wide field of view
Best for Intermediate Shooters Check Price
Thermion XM30 Sturdy aircraft grade aluminum
Inbuilt Video Recorder
Best thermal Technology Check Price
Core RXQ30V High resolution
Germanium coated lens
Best scope for beginners Check Price
Thermion 2 XP50Top notch display
Decent battery life
Best in terms of ease of use Check Price
Thermion 2 XQ38 Clear and crisp display
Rugged construction
Best thermal scope for the money Check Price
Thermion XG50 640 × 480 12 microns BAE sensor thermal core
2,400 yards detection range
Best Premium Pulsar Thermal Scope Check Price

About the Brand 

Pulsar came into effect in 1991 when a few brave engineers decided to engage in wooden spotting scopes. Fast forward a few years later and now the brand is a leading manufacturer and a favorite of hunters and outsiders alike.

If hunting coyotes, pigs, and deer is your thing, you can find reliable optics from Pulsar. It is one of the reputed brands for manufacturing quality thermal scopes at an affordable price.

9 Best Pulsar Thermal Scopes Reviewed 2022

There are dozens of pulsar thermal scopes available in the market today. Among them, choosing the best scope is a daunting task. So that we are here for you. Here we have listed the top 9 best thermal scopes from the pulsar brand. After 48 hours of research and testing, we’ve made this list.

Let’s take a dive into the list.

1. Pulsar Trail 2 LRF XP50 Thermal Riflescope PL76559

Let’s begin with our champion product, Pulsar Trail LRF XP50. If you are searching for a high tech pulsar thermal scope, then don’t forget to check this. The great feature of this scope is it has a thermal sensor with a NETD of over 40mK. It is designed with a top grade display which ensures a bright and clear image. 

When we talk about its durability, it is top notch. Apart from that, you will get a lightweight as well as rugged magnesium alloy housing which is shockproof. In addition, there is IPX7 rated waterproofing. 


  • Finish: Matte
  • Parallax: 100 yards
  • Refresh rate: 50 Hz
  • Magnification: 2 – 16x
  • Tube Diameter: 50 mm
  • Resolution: 640×480 pixels
  • Adjustment Click Value: 1 MOA
  • Battery Type: B-Pack Mini 18650 Li-Ion
  • Water Resistance Level: IPX-7

Why it is Ranked #1?

  • Has a inbuilt laser rangefinder
  • IPX7 fully waterproof construction 
  • Comes with a Highly Sensitive Thermal Imaging NETD

What Makes this Scope as Best?

  • High shock resistance
  • Detection range for up to 1800 meters
  • Mobile friendly and live streaming option
  • Best Pulsar thermal scope for any outdoor enthusiasts

This scope offers three calibration modes that are semi manual, manual and automatic.

Pulsar Trail 2 LRF XP50 Thermal Riflescope
The picture shows the magnified image of the hog.

You know one thing?

This device has an integrated precision grade laser rangefinder which lets one time measurement and gives a scanning mode.

You can achieve up to 1 kilometer shooting range. The great feature that we’ve found in this scope is its reticle. There are three reticles available to choose from.


Speaking about the batteries, you will get up to eight hours of battery life as it is powered by the lithium ion battery. When we trace the target by using this scope, we do not face any lags. It also features an image boost technology which lets for creating a crisp image.

Moreover, this XP50 has a picture in picture image which allows the scope for extra zooming. So that you can get superior accuracy and better identification of your long distance target.

In terms of color plates, the pulsar trail XP50 provides eight plates which is one of the greater that you can get from this type of scope.

Video Recording Features

Pulsar Trail 2 LRF XP50 Thermal Riflescope
Just press the REC button to capture all hunting videos.

Besides that, this pulsar thermal scope offers video recording features and 16 GB of internal memory for storage. You can capture your hunting or shooting that can be stored in this scope. After that, transfer the video and images from scope to your personal device like laptop, mobile and share it with your friends and enjoy.

Overall, this Pulsar Trail 2 LRF XP50 Thermal Riflescope is a flagship product. With high grade thermal technology from a reputed pulsar brand, this is worth choosing.



2. Pulsar Trail 2 LRF XQ50 Thermal Riflescope PL76558

The XQ50 is lower on the product list than its sister XP50. The low sensor quality and slightly lower magnification are the primary reasons. Apart from that, it is available at a lower price tag. The whole body is made from sturdy magnesium alloy that ensures durability and longevity and it is also IPX7 rated. 

The highlighting feature of this scope is, this Pulsar trail 2 LRF XQ50 thermal scope is one of the lightest models on our list. Although the Pulsar XQ50 delivers low sensor resolution, the image quality was crisp and clear. On the other hand, there is an image detail boost aspect to provide the sharp contrast. 


  • Parallax: 100 yards
  • Magnification: 3.5 – 14 x, 2 – 16 x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 50 mm
  • Sensor Resolution: 384×288 pixels
  • Battery Type: B-Pack Mini 18650 Li-Ion, Lithium
  • Battery Life: 8 Hours
  • Finish: Matte
  • Fabric/Material: Glass-Nylon Composite

What else?

This pulsar trail 2 LRF XQ50 Thermal Riflescope is integrated with a laser rangefinder which is an excellent feature. It is located on the side of the scopes and is easy to use. It also offers three rangefinder reticles which are supported by the PiP mode.

Its button layout is elegant and ergonomic. On the top, it has four control buttons that can be used for major functions. Even though the dimensions are bigger, handling the device is not a big deal.

When we talk about the color palettes, this device includes eight color palettes. Among them, you can choose anything for your nighttime shooting. Multiple operating modes are perfect for various external environments. It allows you to customize the custom brightness and contrast settings in the user mode.

Overall, this is the high performing thermal scope from the reputed brand undoubtedly. Are you an avid shooter? Then you will definitely love this scope.



3. Pulsar Thermion XM50 Thermal Riflescope

If you would like to buy a short and long range shooting scope, then don’t skip this Pulsar thermion XM50 from pulsar brand. It is ideally suited for both day and night shooting. 

This is the best thermal scope for coyote hunting that is packed with a lot of amazing features to hunt those smart predators. Initially, its aluminum magnesium alloy provides ultimate durability. This lightweight design also comes with an IPX7 rating. Therefore you can shoot rain or snow situations. 


  • Finish: Matte
  • Material: Metal
  • Eye Relief: 50 mm
  • Refresh Rate: 50 Hz
  • Parallax: 100 yds
  • Magnification: 5.5 – 22 x
  • Lens Material: Germanium
  • Tube Diameter: 30 mm
  • Sensor Resolution: 340×240 pixels
  • Reticle Focal Plane: Second Focal Plane (SFP)

One more thing…

The premium lens quality really stands out in this scope. The lens has a germanium coating which delivers a supreme level of clarity. Its display quality and the decent refresh rates both ensure a bright and sharp image.

When we are testing, we have been surprised about one feature that is its hassle free performance and quick start up function. On the other hand, you can get various color palettes to pick from.

Handling this device is easy to process. It is designed with a triple button control mechanism on the eyepiece to perform primary functions. The smooth rolling selector wheel ensures the easy controlling option.

In terms of battery backup, the Pulsar thermion is powered by the dual li-ion battery with an advanced single cell design. Its external battery system provides more life to the device. So that you can use the device without worrying about draining the battery.

It allows you to record 1024×768 videos and images during the hunting session. On the other hand, you can stream live via the StreamVision app. Mounting the scope with the standard 30 mm rings is easy.

Are you searching for reliable performance in your bolt action rifle or AR? This Pulsar Thermion XM50 thermal rifle scope will not disappoint you.



4. Pulsar Thermion 2 XQ50 3.5-14x Thermal Riflescope

Pulsar Thermion 2 XQ50 is the recent thermal imaging scope from Pulsar. This is the best choice for those who are new and intermediate shooters. Firstly, the appearance and design of this scope are excellent. The whole body is made of metal that ensures decent durability. As it comes with a lightweight and compact design, the carrying option will be easy.


  • Refresh Rate: 50 Hz
  • Battery Life: 7 hours
  • Magnification: 3.5 – 14 x
  • Water Resistance Level: IPX-7
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 50 mm
  • Battery Type: Stand Alone Lithium
  • Sensor Resolution: 384×288 pixels

What else?

This device features the latest thermal sensor upgraded by Pulsar. This sensor accurately selects targets beyond 1600 meters even in dark environments. Speaking of image and display details, this XQ50 ranks first among other high-priced scopes.

Like all other Thermion scopes, this scope’s performance is improved with firmware updates.

It is very easy to handle that’s why we suggest this scope for beginners. This 30 mm tube makes the mounting option easier. There are many reticles to select from, so based on your hunting requirements.

You know something…

You can find the internal and external battery packs for the power supply. You will get up to 7 hours of battery life.

It features picture in picture mode on the display that other thermion models have. Like other thermion scopes, it also has many color pallets so that you can choose depending on your preference.

Keep in mind, this thermion 2 lets you capture images and record videos on the hunting field. By this, you can share your hunting moments with your family and friends and enjoy. Along with that, you can get up to 16 GB of internal memory for storage. In the end, Thermion 2 XQ50 3.5-14x Thermal Riflescope is the best choice for long range shooting.



5. Pulsar Thermion XM30 3-13x Thermal Riflescope PL76524

The Pulsar Thermion XM30 is a part of the XM series of the Pulsar scopes. The cutting-edge thermal technology stands out in this scope. The whole body is made rugged and sturdy that can withstand up to 6000 Joules.

After all, Pulsar manufactures its scopes very lightly. This is also one of the lightest models that we have tested.


  • Finish: Matte
  • Eye Relief: 50 mm
  • Parallax: 100 yds
  • Magnification: 3.3 – 13.2 x
  • Battery Life: 5 hours
  • Tube Diameter: 30 mm
  • Refresh Rate: 50 Hz
  • Lens Material: Germanium
  • Sensor Resolution: 320×240 pixels
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 25 mm
  • Battery Type: Li-Ion Battery Pack APS2

The added advantage is the inbuilt rangefinder which comes with a 1000 meter range.

What about the features?

It includes a heavy recoil, IPX7 waterproof-rated construction that can protect the scope from heavy rain, external moisture, snow, and rain. The body is made of sturdy aircraft grade aluminum thus ensuring longevity and reliability.

On the other hand, the image boosting aspect is a great deal. Remember that, it has a picture in picture mode on the display to increase the accuracy.

It is integrated with a video recorder thus helping to capture and record the shooting videos as well as images. Its recoil activated mode is handy.

When we talk about the battery, this device is powered by the Li-Ion Battery Pack APS2 which gives around 5 hours of battery backup.

The generous magnification range, wireless streaming, high resolution AMOLED video display, built in recoil activated recording, a stadiametric rangefinder all are making this scope the best.

Moreover, you will get a Picatinny rail mount thus making it ideal for AR 15 and other modern sporting rifles.



6. Pulsar Core RXQ30V 1.6-6.4x22mm Thermal Imaging Riflescope

Are you looking for a high resolution thermal scope? Then we suggest you go with the Pulsar Core RXQ30 thermal scope. Most hunting enthusiasts prefer this scope, as it has an excellent design and useful features. It ensures the best hunting experience. This is an ideal choice for both professional and novice hunters.

Let’s start with the resolution. This Pulsar Core RXQ30V 1.6-6.4×22 mm thermal scope delivers the 384×288 resolution thermal image. It ensures a sharp and crisp view of the target and will improve your hunting experience.


  • Parallax: 100 yards
  • Magnification: 1.6 x
  • Refresh Rate: 50 Hz
  • Battery Type: CR123A
  • Battery Life: 4 hours
  • Lens Material: Germanium
  • Sensor Resolution: 384×288 pixels
  • Objective Lens
  • Diameter: 22 mm
  • Tube Diameter: 22 mm

The magnification range is from 1.6x to 6.4x which can help you to focus the target up to 985 yards. You get three digital zooming settings such as 2, 3, and 4x.

Its refreshing rate is 50 Hz, ensuring a clear and sharp view of the target. It also displays the real time image of your target hence you can easily focus your moving target.

Generally, 30 Hz is more than enough for the hunters but the 50 Hz refresh rate will provide the superior quality image of the target.

What about the optical system?

Its glass type lens comes with a germanium coating which ensures bright and crisp images even in the heavy snow and rainfall. Its lens diameter is 22 mm and the field of view is 12.4 degrees. There are multiple imaging modes to choose from. On the other hand, you can get a picture in picture mode on the display that will help you to hit the target accurately.

Its green AMOLED display uses a 640×480 high resolution image of your target. In addition to that, the display comes with the frost resistant aspect hence you get a bright and crystal clear view of the target at all weather conditions.

Don’t forget that you will get the video recording capability along with this device. It lets you capture your hunting and shooting experience in image and video format. You can share it with your friends and family too.

In terms of the power supply, this Pulsar Core RXQ30V 1.6-6.4x22mm Thermal Imaging Riflescope uses a CR123A battery which provides around 4 hours of battery backup. It is slightly low when compared to other scopes on our list. This battery is rechargeable, by using the external power supply and USB cable.



7. Pulsar 2-16x Thermion 2 XP50 Thermal Riflescope

The Thermion 2 XP50 is the recent version of the Pulsar great successful line of Thermion scopes. The highlighting aspect of this scope is its 640 x480 sensor resolution which assures the amazing clarity of the real time images. It is made of high quality aircraft grade metal alloy that ensures sturdy and rugged construction. Moreover, it features an IPX7 rating so that it can withstand any outdoor conditions. 


  • Magnification: 2 – 16 x
  • Tube Diameter: 30 mm
  • Water Resistance Level: IPX-7
  • Battery Type: Stand Alone Lithium
  • Battery Life: 7 hoursLi-Ion

Here is something interesting…

You can find the 1024×768 AMOLED display which does an excellent job delivering sharp images of your target.

When we talk about the power supply, this thermal scope is powered by the Stand Alone Lithium battery which delivers up to 7 hours of battery backup. So that you can carry it for a couple of days hunting or shooting. In terms of the reticle, there are 10 reticles to choose from.

Apart from all, it has a built-in recording with audio and 16 GB internal memory. With this feature, you can stream your hunting videos live. In the end, this Pulsar 2-16x Thermion 2 XP50 Thermal Riflescope is the best scope for hunting.



8. Pulsar Thermion 2 XQ38 2.5-10x Thermal Riflescope

The Thermion 2 XQ38 is the latest edition of the Pulsar Thermion line. It is packed with beneficial features thus making this scope the best in terms of the price. It is best from all angles. The entire body of the scope is made of superior quality material that withstands all outdoor conditions. Its 30 mm ring is easy to mount. We suggest this scope for those who want the best image quality on the hunting field. 


  • Refresh rate: 50 Hz
  • Battery life: 7 hours
  • Magnification: 2.5x – 10x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 35 mm
  • Sensor Resolution: 384×288 pixels
  • Eye Relief: 50 mm
  • Battery Type: Stand Alone Lithium
  • Battery Life: 7 hours 

In terms of the design, it is intuitive and user friendly. Its user interface is easy to use when compared to others. As it features a 1024×768 AMOLED display, you can get crystal clear detailed images. In addition, its 50 Hz refresh rate is more than enough to keep the moving targets too.

And guess what?

In terms of the features, you can get all that you need. It comes with a picture in picture mode on the display, many color palettes, wifi streaming features, and more.

If you want the best pulsar thermal scopes for coyote hunting, then this one’s for you. Even if you are a beginner, you will love this. 



9. Pulsar Thermion XG50 Thermal Riflescope

The Pulsar Thermion XG50 Thermal Rifle Scope is the recent release of the Pulsar in the year 2020. It is the recent high tech thermal riflescope of the year, and its launch has made shock waves in the thermal hunting industry.

The Pulsar Thermion XG50 3-24x Thermal Riflescope comes with a high-speed 640 × 480 12 microns BAE sensor thermal core. The new Pulsar Thermion XG50 has been successful in incorporating many features that other thermal scopes have missed.


  • Eye Relief: 2 in
  • Magnification: 3 – 24 x
  • Refresh Rate: 50 Hz
  • Lens Material: Germanium
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42 mm
  • Sensor Resolution: 640×480 pixels

The Thermion XG50 3-24x is the first scope to combine BAE sensor, internal recording, and multi-color palette. Pulsar’s new high-end thermal scope has succeeded in bringing together 640 × 480 microbolometer strength and 12-micron pixel details, allowing hunters to find the thermal signatures of games up to 2,400 yards.

The other specialties of this thermion XG50 thermal scope are one shot zero, onboard recording, picture in picture, rechargeable battery, one shot zero, and more. Not only these features are impressive but it is a great advantage for the hunter.

All the recent version in the Thermion series has the Firmware features which find in the Pulsar Trail such as new color reticles, new top turret, 30 mm scope rings. The great benefit of this scope is it’s 30 mm rings are easy to mount when compared to others.

It is integrated with a 640×480 uncooled microbolometer. It delivers you highly detailed imaging up to 2400 yards detection range. When it comes to the magnification range, it starts from 3x to 24x. The 8x digital zoom is available in this scope which offers a truly optimum, customized field of view.

Pulsar has integrated 50 Hz high refresh rate image frequency that ensures comfortable viewing via dynamic and rapid motion. It has an exceptionally high shock resistance, that can able to handle high powered firearm recoil up to .375 cal. It is compatible with all firearms includes smoothbore, airsoft, and 12 gauge shotguns. This is the best scope for varmint hunting.



What is the Thermal Scope?

Thermal scope or thermal imaging scope is equipment that enhances sighting. It is the combo of the aiming reticle and a thermographic camera. It is one of the compact gadgets which mounts on various types of firearms and weapons.

These scopes are using thermal imaging technology which works in any light condition. So that the hunter can shoot flexibly in different applications.

How Does Thermal Imaging Works?

Everything releases a certain amount of heat energy. In general, humans and animals emit more heat when compared to their immediate surroundings. Generally, thermal imaging technology uses this variant in temperature to make patterns that let you view both in day and night times with a thermal scope.

Accurate, high-tech details about how thermal imaging works can be avoided. The simplest and most important thing to understand is that thermal imaging devices read the object’s head signatures and convert them into visible images, regarding the light conditions.

Benefits and Applications of the Thermal Scopes

Best Pulsar Thermal Scope
The picture shows the thermal view of the hog at night.

Thermal scopes are the best choice for every application from tactical shooting to hunting in the nighttime. Moreover, all the thermal scopes from the Pulsar in this article are ideal choices. However, some of the scopes offer better results for certain applications. 

If you are planning for the long range shooting, then you should consider the Pulsar Thermion XP50. You can go with the Pulsar Thermion 2 XP50 if you plan for hog hunting. 

The great thing about these thermal scopes is they can easily mount on any device such as shotguns, rifles, handguns as well as crossbows

Therefore you should find ample use for a thermal imaging scope whether you’re planning to hunt deer, coyotes, hogs, or any predator. No matter, whatever your interest is tactical shooting or shooting competition, thermal scopes are really done their job well. 

  • If you are planning to invest in a thermal scope, then the following benefits will help you determine whether the equipment is what you require to up your hunting or shooting pursuits.
  • The fading is very difficult on the thermal scopes because they can take a slight change in temperature and can be seen through fog, smoke, camouflage, and brush. It is a highly sensitive unit that can be viewed even with light covers, thus making evasion tricks almost useless.
  • Thermal imaging scopes are not only used to find the exact location of the target but also to sense residual heat. This is because, the thermal scope can pick up traces of heat signatures, even after the object has left that space. This can be very useful to detect the blood of a recently shot animal or to define if the trail is still fresh.
  • Although the night vision scopes are great equipment, they come with many limitations, which makes the inability to use them in bright and day light conditions. This major disadvantage is not applied for the thermal scopes because instead of ambient light they use temperature. So that you don’t have the chances of swapping optics and possibly lose your zero. You can aim and hit the target at any time of day.

Thermal Scope Vs Night Vision Scope Vs Flir Vs Infrared 

Night Vision Scope and Thermal Scope
Pictures were taken by Night Vision Scope and Thermal Scope

As we mentioned earlier, some ambient light or IR illuminators should function optimally for night vision scope. More than 70 years of presence, the night vision scopes have reached the peak of their development with their recent 3rd or 4th generation devices, demonstrating the gold benchmark in current technology.

Night vision units need some light to amplify, but even with the use of Starlight traditional night vision scopes deliver more clear images when compared to thermal scopes. In addition, night vision scopes are inexpensive and harder when compared to thermal scopes.

On the other hand, night vision technology has some restrictions concerning external factors such as weather or physical barriers. Infrared imagers or cameras can not view an object via the thick bush, while smoke, dust, or fog obscure the view, rendering the NV device virtually useless.

In contrast to night vision units, light is not required to see through a thermal scope because thermal imagers let the objects in the dark be seen by the heat it radiates. The thermal devices operated by an internal system in the thermogram form convey temperature information.

FLIR stands for Forward Looking Infrared sensors are the systems that most thermal nightvision scopes use. Although the conventional infrared scopes are designed to enhance light spectrum in the 700-1,000nm range, the best rated thermal scopes can work from 8,000 to 15000nm part of the spectrum.

How To Sight A Thermal Scope?

In fact, as an advanced device, thermal scopes are more complex and far removed from standard daytime rifles. While the thermal scopes are very different, it demands a fairly identical method to the visual process.

Being an optoelectronic unit, thermal imagers do not have turrets to make changes, while retical is digital. You can adjust the windage, reticle, and elevation by pressing the buttons.

The initial step is to read the instruction manual carefully. It helps to understand thermal scope functions and how to make the adjustments. By this, you can save your money and time at the range.

Now, an important tip is that unique purpose targets for zero in thermal scope are required. These targets glow under the thermal optic, but they are expensive. On the other hand, you can apply a hand warmer from Walmart to the standard paper target or black “Shoot-N-See” sticky dots with aluminum tape. The aluminum foil can also be stapled to a wide area of cardboard or plywood . It will help a lot because you have to tilt the whole target a little to catch the sun.

If you want a steady shooting situation, then you have mounted the scope properly by using the sandbags, bipod or shooting rest.

For perfect sighting or zeroing most professional hunters suggest a range of no more than 50 yards.

Like another day scope, start the sight by fire for up to three rounds into the target and measure the middle shot from the center. After approximately measuring the horizontal and vertical range to the bull’s eye, indicate the center strike with another bit of foil.

Now correct both directions through moving the crosshairs to the second piece of foil – shoot another string with the point of impact and three rounds, noting where the three rounds landed.

You should almost be the eye of the bull. If not exactly. If you are satisfied, shoot one round out of three shots and check it again.

Now, once you get your close range zero, go 100 yards and check your zero with some shots.

Most hunters will usually zero their thermal scopes to 100 yards or so whatever you need at night.

How to Buy the Best Thermal Scope – Buyer’s Guide

Are you confused about picking the best scope?

There are dozens of models available in the market when it comes to the thermal scope so choosing the best can be a daunting task.

Here are some essential tips that you have to know when you are planning to buy a thermal scope.


Magnification is the ability of a thermal scope to magnify a distant object and let the user view it up close. Magnification has its advantages and disadvantages. If you want to use a thermal scope to view objects from a long distance, you must have a thermal scope that provides good magnification.

Some scopes don’t have any magnification while some others offer up to 16 x or more. The magnification level you want is based on your shooting preference. The magnification will be either digital or optical.

When purchasing the pulsar thermal scope for hunting, you have to look at the magnification range. This is the essential factor that decides whether your scope can display at a long distance.


In terms of image performance, thermal sensor resolution is the essential factor.

Unlike other traditional scopes, thermal scopes use digital technology to make a viewable image. Screen resolution is the most crucial thing in deciding how crisp the images will be shown. The thermal sensor resolution is different when compared to the thermal scope. High resolution lets you zoom the target without losing the quality of the image.

Initially, entry level sensors have 384×288 resolution while the most expensive sensors come with 640×480 or 640×512 resolution. It delivers more clarity of image with high definition. If you want to do long range shooting, then we suggest you go with a high quality sensor. The overall image quality is based on the sensor resolution and the scope.

If the scope’s resolution and sensor both are the same, then its image quality is not good.

Color Options

Thermal scopes offer monochrome or color options. The monochrome thermal scope shows the heat graph in gray.

Based on the settings of a monochrome scope, it may show a warmer object brighter than the surrounding environment.

One color thermal scope can show temperature differences by different colors, providing a color thermal map.

Both scopes are very efficient, however, if you are looking for the absolute best option, the color scope will help you to go more accurately in the dark, smoke, or fog.

The advantage of monochrome scope is that although it is almost effective, its cost is considerably lower.

Most modern scopes offer vibrantly colored images, while some feature black and white options.


Every thermal scope comes with different reticle options. The reticle is a crosshair pointer that helps precisely close a target. Some of the scopes have a four line standard reticle while other scopes come with a single dot reticle for pinpoint accuracy.

In the end, the reticle choice is based on your requirements and preferences. If you are using the thermal scope for night hunting, then the crosshair four line reticle will be the best choice.

Detection Range

The detection range means the distance it provides a crystal clear image. Each thermal sensor comes with a range that fails to collect the required data. The high quality scope can provide clear images up to 4,000 yards away. Naturally, they come with a higher price range.

On the other hand, entry level scopes offer a detection range of 1,000 yards. If you are new to the hunting world, there is a great way to choose the entry-level objective that comes at an affordable price.


Generally, thermal imaging optics are more pricey when compared to night vision goggles. You can get night vision goggles for under $500 but thermal scopes range from $1000 to $2000. These are just entry level scopes that come with a limited detection range, lower resolution, and a few high tech aspects.

If you want a professional grade thermal scope with higher resolution, many cool features such as a built in rangefinder, video recorder, and long detection range, then you have to spend $2500 to $5000.

Between $5000 to $10000, you can get high end thermal scopes. These provide great imaging performance as it has a high refresh rate and high resolution.

Spending money on the thermal scope is based on your needs and budget. If you are a newbie or beginner to the hunting world, then it is better to spend little money. On the other hand, if you are an avid hunter, you can choose a more expensive scope that will offer more precision and accuracy.

Refresh Rate

The refresh rate of the scope decides the entire viewing experience through it. It is based on the processor capability that powers the scope.

Most thermal scopes have a 30 Hz or 60 Hz refresh rate. You can choose them based on your requirements. If you are using the thermal scope for stable vision by moving target objects slowly, a 30 Hz refresh rate would be fine.

However, if you are using the scope to see fast moving objects or you are going to use the scope when you move, the 60 Hz refresh rate will give you a much clearer result.

Diameter of the Lens

The next essential factor is the lens diameter of the rifle scope.

A large objective lens not only lets more light come in but also enhances overall vision. In hunting, a better field of view is very essential to hit the prey accurately. They also ensure excellent low light performance.

The objective lens is specified in the lens specifications. For instance, in a 4-12 × 50 mm lens, the first two digits mention the magnification. Therefore the lens supports zooming from 4x to 12x. The diameter of the objective lens is 50 millimeters.

Remember that the large objective lenses make the rifle or gun heavier.

Battery Life

Like all sensors, the thermal sensor also requires power to run. If you are planning for a couple of days of outdoor hunting, then good battery life is very essential.

If you hunt frequently at night, it is crucial to look for the best thermal scope that lasts at least eight hours. Therefore, we recommend looking for optics with Li-Ion battery packs, as they usually last about eight hours, enough for night hunting. Most of the thermal scopes are powered by Li ion batteries.

These batteries are rechargeable and offer more advantages when compared to the optics that use standard and cost-effective AA batteries. It is better to choose the scope that lets a USB-rechargeable battery. It is very convenient to use in outdoor activities.

Some scopes come with 3 to 4 hours of battery life which is enough for a short period of hunting. If 8 hours of battery life is not enough for you, you can get an external battery that provides around 22 hours of continuous battery backup.


There are a lot of materials used in the thermal scope construction, especially in terms of the lens material. Generally, glass lenses are not used in thermal scope because glass is an insulator material that doesn’t allow the passage of heat.

The common material used in the thermal scope lenses is a Germanium. It is used to make transparent glass which allows thermal information. Generally, germanium is pricey when compared to glass, that’s why most of the thermal scopes are expensive.

Video Recording Feature

If that scope allows you to capture the hunting videos, then will be a great deal for you. By this, you can view the hunting videos later or share them with your family and friends.

Before you going to purchase the scope, ensure that your scope has the recoil or shot activated video. It assures that you do not forget to record your hunting moments. The recorder will store your moments during and after a shot automatically.

In addition, it will check the storage the scope provides. Some people use a removable SD card which makes the transfer option easier.

Most of the modern thermal scopes come with video recordings that provide live streaming through the smartphone or tablet. This is the big deal for those who like to share their adventures moments on social media.

If the scope doesn’t have a video recording feature, ensure that the scope has a video out port. This lets you connect an external DVR to record video.

Other Features

If you pay a thousand dollars or more for the heat sensor scope, it should have some extra features that will enhance its performance.

Select models that provide extra performance and convenient features such as Wi-Fi connectivity for streaming videos, GPS location, and digital compass.

Some models also feature options for Recoil activated video recording, ballistic calculators, and laser rangefinders.

The main feature is to select the model with better resolution, magnification options, and impressive additional features.

Frequently Asked Questions 

This is wrong information because most of the entry level thermal scopes are available at a reasonable price. If you want more advanced features, then you can go with some expensive models. 

For example, most of the advanced units come with Bluetooth connectivity, multiple color mods, Wifi, and ballistic assistance. All of these features make your hunting more simple and easier but also have an effect on pricing.

In our consideration, that would be the Pulsar Trail 2 LRF XP50 Thermal Riflescope. The scope features calibration mode, laser rangefinder, picture in picture mode, eight color pallets, video recording feature, solid build quality. What’s even better is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to get it.

Pulsar thermal scopes are manufactured in Heritage Mansfield, Texas, USA. This is where Pulsar is headquartered. All of their high quality optics are manufactured here. Although they ceased to manufacture the best thermal optics in the United States, Pulsar returned to U.S. production and expansion four years later after a rapid pause.

In our honest opinion, the Pulsar Thermion XM50 Thermal Riflescope is the best for the money. It is packed with many beneficial features for the price.

Pulsar thermal scopes can be used in bright light situations without any hassles. It is recommended not to point the scope directly at the sun or any other bright energy source. This may affect the overall accuracy of the device. Moreover, don’t use the unit at very high temperatures above 50 degrees centigrade. This can have a negative effect on performance.

The durability is based on the scope you have and how you use it. 

In general, modern thermal scopes can hit pretty 10000 hours of glitch free performance. 

Getting a thermal scope with IP certification and a high quality rechargeable battery is always a better choice. They will last for a long period. 

Generally, the Pulsar scopes are classified into three major categories. That are Trail 2 LRF range, Trail LRF range and Thermion range. 

Trail 2 LRF range is the latest one which has the two models. 

Trail LRF range has four different models. (Remember, the LRF stands for a laser rangefinder. It means every scopes has inbuilt rangefinder)

Thermion range includes the high quality scopes which has the four different models scopes.

Final Words

Thermal imaging scopes are the best tools to focus the live targets, particularly at night. These high tech devices provide you a tactical advantage on the hunting field which helps you to hit the target precisely.

Pulsar manufactures a lot of products in different price ranges. So no matter whichever type of shooter you are, you will get something from them.

To sum up, if you want the best high end scope, choose the Pulsar Trail 2 LRF XP 50 thermal scope. We have the Pulsar Thermion XM%o as the best value for the money. Finally, the Pulsar Thermion XP50 is the best all rounder on our list.

At the end of the day, the choice is yours.

We hope this information about the best pulsar thermal scopes article helps you more.

We wish you successful, safe and happy night hunting!

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