10 Best Thermal Monoculars in 2021 – [Tested & Updated Picks]

Suppose you are a fan of outdoor activities such as camping, trekking, hiking, and hunting. In that case, you know that some situations and conditions may be encountered outdoors that are not that favorable or expected. 

One of which is doing those activities in the dark or night. Humans’ vision at night or during dark conditions is not that good as it is during the morning when the lighting condition is bright. 

With that said, people need devices that would serve as assistance or support to see better in the darkness for the activity that they are doing. One of the most widely used gadgets or devices is a thermal monocular—this type of device does not need any light source such as moonlight or starlight to function.

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What it needs is the heat energy that is present from different things outdoors. Once thermal monoculars detect heat energy, they turn it into an array of colors that are then formed into an image. 

So, if you are looking forward to having one thermal monocular, we are going to help you find the best ones. Together with their features and design, here are the best thermal monocular 2021 for you to buy and use.

10 BEST THERMAL MONOCULARS in 2021 – REVIEWED

1. Trijicon Electro Optics Thermal Monocular

Trijicon Electro Optics IR Patrol LE100 19mm Thermal Imaging Monocular is a high-end thermal monocular that you would be able to buy at the markets today. 

This thermal monocular has an advanced feature of processing images. With that advanced feature, this monocular is able to produce images that are sharp and detailed.

Trijicon Electro Optics

Thermal Monocular

This is constructed using 6061 aircraft-grade aluminum that is why it is ruggedized and long-lasting. The resolution of the images that can be produced by this thermal monocular is 640 pixels by 480 pixels. 

When this is not in use for different operations, you can keep it in a place with a temperature between -45 degrees Celsius and 75 degrees Celsius. This thermal monocular has a nitrogen filling inside it, that is why it has a fog-proof performance even if it is exposed to rapid changes in the temperature. 

has an included eye guard that would ensure that your eyes are free from any harm and stress. When you want to start this thermal monocular up, you would be able to do it in just five seconds—with this time, you would always be ready in case that there are urgent needs to see in the dark. 

This is incorporated with a Digital Contrast Enhancement Technology—this adds more detail and quality to the view that you are going to see through the lenses. The quality and the performance of this thermal monocular are enough to say that this is among the best thermal imaging monocular that the whole world has ever seen.

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2. Pulsar Helion XP Thermal Monocular

Pulsar Helion XP Thermal Monocular is another high-end thermal monocular that you may consider getting for yourself. This has a magnification range that is fixed at 2.5X, and it has an objective lens with a diameter size of 50 millimeters. The refresh rate of this thermal monocular is at 50 Hertz that is why you are not going to have any trouble when using it even if you are in motion. 

Pulsar Helion XP

Thermal Monocular

It also has the ability to produce clear images and videos even if the targets you are viewing are moving fast. With that ability, this is one of the best thermal monocular for coyote hunting since coyotes are known to have a very fast speed when running. 

The resolution of the images and videos that this thermal monocular can produce is 640 pixels by 480 pixels. This thermal monocular can be used in locations with a temperature between the range of -25 degrees Celsius and 50 degrees Celsius. 

It has an IPX7 rating for its design—this simply means that it has a strong waterproofing to the point that it can even withstand being submerged in water with a depth of 1 meter. This is also fog-proof and fog-proof. 

This has a highly sensitive thermal imaging that you would surely be able to rely on even if the condition in your location has a critical level of lighting. This is also one of the best thermal monoculars for detecting different targets since it has a detection range that reaches up to 2000 yards. The length of this thermal monocular is 12 inches while its weight is 2.45 pounds.

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3. FLIR Breach PTQ136 Thermal Monocular

FLIR Breach PTQ136 Multi-Purpose Thermal Imaging Monocular is an amazing option because it provides seven options for its image palette, these options are white, outdoor alert, hot, arctic, rainbow HC, sepia, and ironbow. The resolution of the view that you are going to see when you look through the lens of this thermal monocular is 320 pixels by 256 pixels.

FLIR Breach

PTQ136 Thermal Monocular

This is a very compact thermal monocular that is perfect for different tactical applications, it just has a length of 5.5 inches, a height of 1.9 inches, and a width of 2.7 inches. With its compact size comes its lightweight of 7.4 ounces only. 

The size and the weight of this thermal monocular make it very easy to carry. Since it has a small size, its objective lens diameter is designed to be small too—it only has a total measurement of 9.1 millimeters. 

Since it is already mentioned that this thermal monocular is perfect for tactical applications, it is also recognized to be one of the best thermal monoculars for law enforcement. This can be used for almost seven hours of continuous operation, so you will not have a problem with its battery life. 

This thermal monocular FLIR has been manufactured with a free USB cable, a lens cloth, a battery, and a hard-carrying case. This has a mini-rail feature that gives it the design of being pocketable or mounted on a helmet. The magnification of this product is fixed and can only be used at 1X zoom—this magnification makes it perfect for short and medium-range of distances.

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4. FLIR Systems Ocean Scout 240 Thermal Scope

Here is another best thermal monocular from the FLIR brand that provides incredible performance in all conditions. This FLIR Ocean Scout 240 Thermal Scope is one of the excellent choices for those who are looking for the thermal monocular with great accuracy.

It comes with the 180×240 VOx microbolometer to provide high accuracy on the field. With this accuracy, it provides high-resolution thermal images without compromising the quality.

FLIR Systems

Ocean Scout 240 Thermal Scope

It is a compact and rugged thermal monocular that allows you to carry easily wherever you go and provides more convenience while operating. It delivers high-quality images with more clarity when there is no light in your surrounding environment.

The microbolometer present in this thermal monocular detects your target with enough precision to make perfect shots without missing. The refresh rate of this FLIR Ocean Scout is 9 HZ, which is not a high refresh rate when compared to others.

However, it comes with a wide field of view that allows you to view the targets without using the zooming option. This FLIR Ocean Scout Thermal Monocular comes with an excellent brightness adjustment feature that allows you to adjust the brightness levels based on the condition of your environment.

It is built with a high-resolution LCD display that provides you to better aiming of the target in any condition. With this thermal monocular, you can identify the human-sized targets up to 1150 feet away. It comes with a very simple, three-button design that provides you easy access without any complexity.

The objective lens of this monocular is 13mm that provides you with better target images in all lighting conditions. When talking about its construction, it is made with rugged and durable material to ensure solid construction and reliable performance in any condition.

This thermal monocular is water-proof with the rating of IP67, so you can submerge this into the water for up to 1 meter. With this water-proof feature, it has the capacity to withstand all weather conditions.

The FLIR Ocean Scout thermal monocular runs by the rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and it provides 5 hours of continuous operation in the field.

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5. Pulsar Axion Key XM30 Thermal Monocular

Pulsar Axion Key XM30 2.4X-9.6X 24mm Thermal Imaging Monocular is a thermal monocular that can easily spot objects and animals that emit heat energy, so it can be used whether you are on duty or hunting. 

This has a magnesium alloy casing that makes one of the toughest monoculars that you would get. It has a magnification range that starts from 2.4X and reaches for up to 9.6X. Because it has a variable magnification range, it can be used to sight targets and objects in different ranges—may it be from short, medium to long ranges.

Pulsar Axion Key

XM30 Thermal Monocular

Its reliability in detecting heat energy from objects and animals is recognized as one of the best thermal monocular for deer hunting. The resolution it produces is one of the most detailed and clear since with a value of 960 pixels by 720 pixels. 

When this is bought, it comes with some free accessories—these are one USB cable, cleaning cloth, hand strap, and a case. The eye relief that this monocular would provide you has a maximum length of 14 millimeters, and the exit pupil has a measurement of 3 millimeters. 

The type of battery that you need for operating this is APS 3 Lithium-Ion battery. When you use that battery, this thermal monocular can last for up to 4 hours. Its lens is constructed using Germanium, which is why it is durable and reliable at the same time. 

This thermal monocular has a 50-Hertz refresh rate, and it has an IPX7 rating for the way that it is designed. Its refresh rate is fast compared to the other ones that is why it is really suitable for viewing fast-moving deer.

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6. FLIR Scion OTM Thermal Monocular

FLIR Scion OTM 60-Hertz 320 Thermal Imaging Monocular is designed to have a polished user interface that brings convenience when being used. With its design, you would easily be able to navigate with ease, especially when making some adjustments regarding the color palette. This thermal monocular is a high-tech one since it can be connected to a Bluetooth device or Wi-Fi. 

FLIR Scion

OTM Thermal Monocular

Once it is connected, you would view the real-time scenarios outdoors on another eternal device—whether it be a phone, a tablet, a laptop or a computer. This thermal monocular stands out from the others because it has a lot of useful features that cannot be usually found in other thermal monoculars. One of which is that it has a GPS. 

It also has a built-in magnetic compass and a built-in accelerometer—these are just helpful features, especially outdoors and in unfamiliar places. The eye relief that this thermal monocular provides has a maximum length of 16 millimeters, and the battery type that can be used for operating it is a CR123A Lithium-Ion battery. 

If you use that type of battery, you would be able to enjoy using this thermal monocular for 4.5 hours continuously. The width of this monocular is 2.4 inches while its height is 3 inches. It is constructed to have a Boston Thermal Core and an OLED display that both greatly contribute to having very reliable thermal-detecting properties. 

The total weight that this has is 572 grams including the batteries, and its refresh rate is 60 Hertz. It features the use of a high-definition display with a resolution of 1280 pixels by 960 pixels. This thermal monocular comes with a free lens cloth, batteries, and a USB cable.

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7. FLIR Scout II Thermal Monocular

FLIR Scout II Handheld Thermal Monocular is army green and black in color. With those two colors, it becomes a great tool for hunting since it can easily camouflage. 

This has a magnification range of 2X, and it has a field of view at an angle of 17 degrees. This thermal monocular has a length of 6.7 inches, it has a width of 2.31 inches, and it has a height of 2.44 inches.

FLIR Scout II

Thermal Monocular

Its refresh rate is 9 Hertz, and its weight has a total measurement of 12 ounces. With a size and weight like that, you are going to have a hassle-free experience when it comes to carrying this monocular. 

The display of this monocular would let you see a view with a resolution of 640 pixels by 480 pixels. This thermal monocular has a very amazing detection range that extends to a distance of 1140 meters. 

This distance for its detection range makes it one of the best thermal monoculars for the detection of coyotes. This has a rugged design with a rating of IP67—this rating means that it is protected from exposure to dust and water. The detector type that is used for the design of this thermal monocular is a VOx Microbolometer. 

When this product is bought, the buyer will get a free molle bag, wrist strap, USB cable, and many other useful accessories. With the way that this monocular is designed, both performance and aesthetics are considered and taken into consideration seriously.

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8. Bering Optics 1X19 Prodigy-X 348×288 Thermal Monocular

The Bering Optics 1X19 Prodigy-X 348×288 Thermal Monocular is an excellent option for you if you’re looking for the best thermal monocular with a compact and lightweight design. It is especially for providing convenience for users while operating on the field.

This thermal monocular is combined with advanced thermal technologies and mechanisms to provide incredible performance on the field. It comes with a 348 x 288 VOx Microbolometer that can detect warm or hot animals, objects, and humans through smoke, fog, and other elements.

Bering Optics

1X19 Prodigy-X 348×288 Thermal Monocular

This Bering Optics Prodigy X Thermal monocular can be widely used in various applications, including both professional and semi-professional. It is built with a color LCD display that provides a visible representation of your thermal objects with better quality.

This thermal monocular contains a digital reticle and various color palettes that provide more details to the thermal images. The magnification range of this thermal monocular is 1-4x that allows you to view the close-range targets clearly.

It contains 4 different control buttons that allow you to access the monocular easily. The objective lens of this monocular is 19mm that provides clear thermal images with the high-resolution display.

It comes with the 12 degrees of field of view that provides you a wider view of the target by using the heat sensing technology. With the 348 x 288 pixels sensor resolution of this thermal monocular, you can capture high-quality images and record excellent videos with better quality.

It contains automatic shutter calibration in image processing that helps you during busy hunting schedules. It comes with 3 image color polarity modes such as Black Hot, White Hot, and Red Hot.

This thermal monocular is powered by the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, and it provides 6 hours of continuous usage. The power-saving mode present in this device extends its operation period in the field.

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9. FLIR Scout TK Thermal Monocular

FLIR Scout TK Handheld Thermal Imaging Monocular is a thermal monocular that is affordable yet reliable. This has a simple design that uses four buttons only, so the users would never get confused with a lot of things to push. This is known as a versatile thermal monocular that can be used for different applications such as hunting, security, and many other more.

FLIR Scout TK

Thermal Monocular

It comes with some useful accessories when you buy it, and these accessories are one neck lanyard, one USB cable, and one lens cap. Despite being simple, this has the ability to capture images and videos in completely dark conditions, that is why it is really reliable and useful. 

For all the usefulness it brings despite its low cost, it is surely one of the best thermal monoculars for the money. It has a length of 6 inches while its width and height are both 2 inches. It has a 5-hour battery life, and it has a detection range that reaches 100 yards or 90 meters. 

The resolution of the view that you are going to see when you use this is 640 pixels by 480 pixels. This has a weight of 6 ounces only, so it would surely not prevent you from moving fast while being outdoors. This is a thermal monocular that is resistant to both water and dust—this just explains why it has an IP67 rating for its holistic design. 

It has some thermal palettes that you can choose from in order to experience more comfort in your eyes while viewing. To give you an idea about what those palette options are, they are the following: black hot, graded fire, white-hot, arctic, instalert, lava, rainbow, and iron.

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10. AGM Asp-Micro TM160 Thermal Monocular

AGM ASP – Micro TM160 Short Range Thermal Imaging Monocular is a cheap thermal monocular that is just sold for a very low-price range. But when it comes to performance, it is definitely not the least since it has a lot of amazing features. One of the useful features that this thermal monocular has is that it can measure the distance of a target or an object that you are viewing through its lenses.

AGM Asp-Micro

TM160 Thermal Monocular

It would even give you an estimated measurement for the height of that object or target. This also has the ability to easily mark spots with very high temperatures, and it has built-in memory storage that would allow you to record videos and capture photos. 

This can be used in places with a temperature of not less than -20 degrees Celsius and not greater than 55 degrees Celsius. Its refresh rate is 25 Hertz, and you are given two options for the resolution of the view that you are going to see—those two options are 160 pixels by 120 pixels and 384 pixels by 288 pixels. 

This has a maximum battery life of 7 hours, and you just need the usual lithium batteries in order to make it functional. The total length of this monocular is 6.3 inches, its width is 2.4 inches, and its height is 2.2 inches. Its weight has a total measurement of 270 grams.

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What is A Heat Signature?

According to Layman, a heat signature is the visible representation of the exterior temperature of a person or an object or within a space. With the help of heat signatures, you can recognize several spots of low and high temperatures based upon the current temperature patterns within a space. 

When you direct a thermal imager onto a scene or object, the thermal imager absorbs only infrared radiation from the light source and converts it into heat. The heat thus transferred causes a change within the electrical resistance of the thermal imager device, and with the measurement of that change in resistance, a heat-based image is formed. This is known as a thermal image of thermal signatures. 

Generally, a well qualified thermal imaging monocular has the potential to detect the heat signatures from the range of -50C to 2000C. Thermal monoculars are very useful to firefighters for rescuing the injured people in the debris and it is very beneficial for people who love to hunt in the forest. 

The main reason why hunters often miss prey hiding in the forest and distant animals is the lack of monocular with sharp vision. With the help of monocular with unique construction and precise targeting, you can even protect your property from random animal invasion. 

Not only for firefighters and hunters thermal monoculars are frequently used in military, energy assessment projects, surveillance, weather satellite imaging, and so on. Importantly, all these individual fields are connected with heat signatures and people with this field are working in unsightly locations.

How Important is Thermal Monocular? 

Like other thermal devices, thermal monoculars use the thermal signature of an object to detect the minute variations that occur in them. 

Generally, the process of detecting the heat signature of an object is called thermal imaging technology. All objects in the world, both natural and man-made, emit heat in the form of infrared radiations. The thermal imaging monocular uses an infrared sensor to detect the wavelengths of this infrared light. 

Such infrared sensors produce a thermal image of different colors. Thus the thermal image generated by the sensor is called a “Thermogram”. Infrared sensors in a thermal monocular accurately and clearly capture the temperature gradient of any object. Each of these temperatures is distinguished by the shade of a color. 

That is, they facilitate vision by distinguishing the hottest places in 3 different colors and the coldest places in the other three colors. Not only the infrared sensor, but this thermal monocular also comes with an ordinary lens to capture visual images. In conclusion, these two images are exaggerated and create a detailed thermal image on the screen. 

Such comprehensive technology is also utilized in thermal cameras used by officers serving in the military and police. Typically, a normal thermal monocular is capable of detecting thermal radiation from -50 C to 2000. C. Thermal monocular with such capability is a very useful device for firefighters. Firefighters use thermal monocolers heavily to check if injured people are lying under debris, doors, or damaged walls. 

This is the fastest way to find the injured and recover the lost. Not only that, but these devices can be very effective in protecting our farms from the onslaught of giant deer, coyote, wild boar, and pigs. More so, a standard thermal monocular is widely utilized in energy analysis, military, surveillance, and Other fields including weather reporting, satellite imaging, and various rescue operations.

Types of Thermal Monoculars

Thermal monoculars that primarily work with thermal signatures include two types of thermal monoculars; the handheld thermal monocular and the helmet-mounted thermal monocular. 

Handheld Thermal Monoculars

The handheld thermal monocular is the most common and popular type of thermal monocular. Previously, it was very popularly used only by wildlife watchers, but now it is also used extensively by day and night hunters. The main reason these achievements are so popular is their lightweight, portability, and compactness. Built with high durability, these devices are available at very affordable prices. 

You will not feel any tiredness even if you keep it in your hand throughout the day as these are designed to be a very lightweight device that will not cause any inconvenience to the user. The highlight of these monoculars is that you can hang them around your neck or in your pocket when you don’t need to use them.

Helmet-Mounted Thermal Monoculars

Helmet-Mounted Thermal Monoculars are specially designed for some people who don’t want to hold the monoculars all day long. You can always carry this on your head with your helmet. Your hands will be free when using the device with the helmet, that allowing you to climb, hold your weapon, or use it or many other activities. You can get quality, clear, and consistent thermal images by using this helmet-mounted monocular. 

And since you already have this device safe in your helmet, you do not need to save any more. Helmet-mounted monoculars are slightly more expensive than handheld thermal monoculars. Although these devices are expensive, they transform quality data. Choosing a monocular that fits your budget will pay off best.

How To Choose The Best Thermal Monocular

1. Magnification

Thermal monoculars usually do not have impressive zooming properties because their magnification is limited only. But there are still some of them that can be used for zooming in or zooming out to have a better view. With that said, you have to check whether the thermal monocular that you are going to get has that property. 

Magnification helps people have a better view of different ranges—short, medium, or long. For short ranges, you are just going to need a simple thermal monocular even without powerful magnification. But if you want to excel and see better within medium to long ranges, then that is the time that you must consider getting a higher magnification. 

There are some thermal monoculars mentioned above that have an impressive magnification range and there are some that are just perfect for short ranges, so try to check them out. 

If you want to have a thermal monocular with powerful magnification, you can also check Leupold’s LTO Tracker 2 Thermal Viewer. This Leupold thermal monocular has a magnification power that features the use of 7x digital zoom.

2. Weather Resistance

When you are outdoors, you are going to need a thermal monocular that has the strength to resist being exposed to extreme weather conditions such as heavy rains, drizzles, and many more. Being outdoors is sometimes unexpected, so you have to be ready with a thermal monocular that would surely not break once the unfavorable situations happen. 

Some of the properties that you must look for is waterproofing, dust proofing, and fog-proofing. For the waterproofing, it is already mentioned that there might be some heavy rains outdoors or there are just locations with a moist temperature. With that, you are going to need to have a monocular that can withstand being exposed to that. 

For the dust proofing, there are some weathers that involve having strong winds and sometimes dust is carried in the wind that is why it is important that you also have this feature. For the fog-proofing, you have to consider some rapid temperature changes that might happen in some locations and might cause fogging on the lenses.

3. Convenience

Convenience should be one of the first things that you must check when buying a thermal monocular. There would sometimes be that you are going to outdoor activities for a very long time, and picking a monocular that is convenient to use during those hours may cause a lot of stress on your eyes, on your hands, and on you. 

With that said, only choose a thermal monocular that has a simple interface so your fingers would easily be able to press the right buttons. Also, consider having some options for the color palette for your eyes to have some comfort once it gets tired of using a specific palette. 

In addition, convenience also includes having a compact size and a lightweight since you are going to have an easier carrying experience if you have those properties. Convenience impacts your experience a lot, so take it seriously.

Takeaway

The thermal monoculars that we have featured for you are truly the best ones that can be found in the markets nowadays. They have proven that they have their own unique strengths that make them useful and effective even in the darkest situations that might be encountered outdoors or indoors. 

Remember that the thermal monocular you must buy should suit your needs and the applications you will use it for. If you do not choose a thermal monocular that is ideal and suitable for your needs and applications, you are just wasting your time. 

In addition, choose a thermal monocular that you think would not give you a hard time when viewing and making some adjustments because you might get stressed out due to some issues. Be smart in choosing because many things depend on the thermal monocular you are going to buy. 

We wish that you have more fun and enjoyable outdoor experiences with the use of the devices that we have recommended for you to use.

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