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 LS-X Handheld Thermal Monocular

FLIR LS – X Handheld Thermal Imaging Monocular can be used for different purposes such as tactical and hunting. This has a magnification range that is fixed with a zooming capability of 4X—with this magnification, it can be used to detect targets or objects that are placed at medium to long ranges of distance. For the maximum distance, it can detect the target up to 570 meters.

FLIR LS-X

Handheld Thermal Monocular

The objective lens of this thermal monocular has an adequate diameter size of 19 millimeters. When you use this thermal monocular, the resolution of the view you will see is 320 pixels by 240 pixels. This has a refresh rate of 60 Hertz, and its angle for the field of view ranges from 13 degrees to 17 degrees. 

The length of this monocular is 6.7 inches, while its weight is only 12 ounces. This has a superior thermal vision design that is a great advantage for hunting animals since it detects hot objects—live animals are known to possess heat energy. 

With that design, this is included in the best thermal monocular for hunting. This has a height of 2.44 inches and a width of 2.31 inches. This also has a red laser pointer that can help you in targeting different animals. 

This compact monocular can fit easily into pouches and pockets. This also has some intuitive controls that contribute to having an easy and smooth operation. This thermal monocular for hunting is convenient and can be operated with or without a pair of gloves on.

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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. FLIR Scout III Thermal Monocular

FLIR 431 – 0008 – 31- 00 Scout III – 240 Thermal Imager Monocular is among the thermal monoculars that can be used for hunting. It detects heat energy up to a distance of 382 yards to 1033 yards. It is used by hunters and considered one of the best thermal monoculars for coon hunting with that capacity.

FLIR Scout III

Thermal Monocular

Another thing that makes it suitable for hunting coons is that it has a high-speed frame rate of 30 Hertz, which would let you see views in real-time because of its sensitivity. This has a weather-tight construction that would surely withstand being used under any situation you encounter out there—whether it be raining or extremely cold. 

This is also resistant to impact, that is why it has the ability to withstand being dropped accidentally or getting bumped into some hard and tough things. The resolution you will see on the display screen while viewing is 640 pixels by 480 pixels. 

This thermal monocular is designed to have very easy buttons and would not give you a hard time. These buttons include the start-up button, the buttons for the color palettes, the e-zoom button, and the button that is used to control the screen brightness. This has a total length of 6.7 inches and a weight of 12 ounces—with its size and weight, it is one of those pocketable thermal monoculars that you can buy. 

This can be operated in places with a temperature that is not colder than -4 degrees Fahrenheit and not hotter than 122 degrees Fahrenheit. This thermal monocular is dustproof and waterproof because it has a rating of IP67 for its very durable and good design.

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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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