Best Thermal Binoculars and Bi-Oculars For Hunting – 2024

As an avid hunter who’s spent countless nights in the field, I can tell you firsthand that having the right thermal optics can make or break your hunting experience. Whether you’re tracking elusive prey or scanning vast landscapes, thermal binoculars and bi-oculars have become indispensable tools for the modern hunter. In this guide, I’ll walk you through the top thermal options for 2024, sharing insights from my own experiences to help you choose the perfect gear for your next adventure.

What’s the Difference? Thermal Binoculars vs. Bi-Oculars

Before we dive into the top picks, let’s clear up a common source of confusion. While they may look similar at first glance, thermal binoculars and bi-oculars have some key differences:

Thermal Binoculars: These have two objective lenses, collecting thermal information through both. This provides better depth perception and potentially higher image quality.

Thermal Bi-Oculars: These have a single objective lens but two eyepieces. They’re often lighter and less expensive than true binoculars while still offering comfortable viewing with both eyes.

Both types have their merits, and I’ve included top contenders from each category in this roundup.

Top Thermal Binoculars and Bi-Oculars for 2024

ATN BinoX 4T 384 2-8x Thermal Binocular

Best Overall Thermal Binocular

Having used the ATN BinoX 4T in the field, I can confidently say it’s a game-changer. This true thermal binocular offers an impressive combination of features and performance at a price that won’t break the bank.

Key Features:

  • 384×288 thermal sensor
  • 2-8x magnification
  • 1,000-yard detection range
  • 60 Hz refresh rate
  • Dual-stream video recording
  • Built-in rangefinder and e-compass

What I Love: The image quality on the BinoX 4T is outstanding, especially considering its price point. The dual-stream video feature is a personal favorite – I’ve captured some incredible footage of my hunts while simultaneously streaming to my phone for my hunting buddies to see in real-time.

Potential Drawback: While the 1,000-yard detection range is sufficient for most hunting scenarios, some long-range enthusiasts might prefer even more reach.

Pulsar Accolade XP50 2.5-20×42 Thermal Bi-ocular

Best High-End Thermal Bi-ocular

If you’re willing to invest in top-tier performance, the Pulsar Accolade XP50 is hard to beat. This bi-ocular delivers exceptional image quality and long-range capabilities.

Key Features:

  • 640×480 thermal sensor
  • 2.5-20x magnification
  • 2,000-yard detection range
  • 50 Hz refresh rate
  • IPX7 waterproof rating
  • Picture-in-Picture digital zoom

What I Love: The image clarity on the Accolade XP50 is simply stunning. I’ve used this on several late-night hunts, and its ability to pick up heat signatures at extreme distances has led to some of my most successful outings.

Potential Drawback: The price tag is steep, but for serious hunters and professionals, the performance justifies the investment.

FLIR Command 336 5-20×75 HD Thermal Bi-ocular

Best for Versatility

The FLIR Command 336 offers a great balance of features and performance, making it suitable for a wide range of hunting scenarios.

Key Features:

  • 336×256 thermal sensor
  • 5-20x magnification
  • 2,400-yard detection range
  • Multiple refresh rate options (9 Hz, 30 Hz, 60 Hz)
  • FLIR Tau 2 thermal core
  • Multiple color palettes

What I Love: The versatility of this bi-ocular is impressive. I’ve used it for everything from close-range tracking to long-distance observation. The ability to switch between different refresh rates is particularly useful for adapting to various hunting conditions.

Potential Drawback: The 336×256 resolution, while good, isn’t quite as crisp as some higher-end models.

AGM Global Vision Cobra TB50-336 Thermal Bi-ocular

Best for Long-Range Detection

For hunters who need extreme long-range capabilities, the AGM Cobra TB50-336 is a top contender.

Key Features:

  • 336×256 thermal sensor
  • 2.6x optical magnification (up to 10.4x with digital zoom)
  • 1,800-yard detection range
  • 50 Hz refresh rate
  • Waterproof and fog-resistant

What I Love: The detection range on this bi-ocular is phenomenal. I’ve spotted game from incredible distances, giving me plenty of time to plan my approach. The rugged build quality also instills confidence when I’m out in harsh conditions.

Potential Drawback: The base magnification is relatively low, relying more on digital zoom for closer views.

Armasight (FLIR) Helios BTH 336 3-12×42 Thermal Bi-ocular

Best Lightweight Option

If you’re looking for a thermal bi-ocular that won’t weigh you down on long treks, the Armasight Helios BTH 336 deserves serious consideration.

Key Features:

  • 336×256 thermal sensor
  • 3-12x magnification
  • FLIR Tau 2 thermal core
  • Weighs just 1.8 lbs
  • Waterproof and nitrogen-purged

What I Love: The Helios BTH 336 is a joy to carry on extended hunts. Its lightweight design means I can keep it at the ready without fatigue. Despite its compact size, it still delivers solid thermal performance.

Potential Drawback: The 9 Hz refresh rate on the base model can feel a bit sluggish compared to higher-end options.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Thermal Binoculars or Bi-oculars

Resolution: Higher resolution sensors (like 640×480) provide clearer images but come at a premium. For most hunting applications, 336×256 resolution is sufficient.

Magnification: Consider your typical hunting environment. Higher magnification is great for open areas, while lower magnification can be better in dense forests.

Detection Range: This determines how far you can spot heat signatures. Longer ranges are beneficial but often increase the price.

Refresh Rate: Higher refresh rates (50-60 Hz) provide smoother imaging, especially for moving targets.

Battery Life: Nothing’s worse than your optics dying mid-hunt. Look for models offering at least 4-5 hours of continuous use.

Durability: Hunting can be tough on gear. Waterproof ratings and rugged construction are important for longevity.

Additional Features: Things like built-in rangefinders, GPS, video recording, and Wi-Fi connectivity can enhance your hunting experience.

My Personal Recommendation

After years of field testing various thermal optics, if I had to choose one all-around winner for 2024, it would be the ATN BinoX 4T 384. It offers an exceptional balance of performance, features, and value that’s hard to beat. The image quality is more than sufficient for most hunting scenarios, and the additional features like video recording and rangefinding have proven incredibly useful on my outings.

That said, each hunter’s needs are unique. If you’re primarily focused on extreme long-range observation, the Pulsar Accolade XP50 might be worth the splurge. For those prioritizing portability, the Armasight Helios BTH 336 is a fantastic lightweight option.

Conclusion

Thermal binoculars and bi-oculars have revolutionized night hunting, offering capabilities that would have seemed like science fiction just a few years ago. As technology continues to advance, we’re seeing better image quality, longer detection ranges, and more features packed into these devices.

Remember, the “best” thermal optic is the one that fits your specific hunting style and budget. Consider renting or borrowing different models to test in the field before making a significant investment. And always make sure to familiarize yourself with local hunting regulations regarding the use of thermal imaging devices.

Happy hunting, and may your thermal optics lead you to many successful outings in 2024 and beyond!

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