Hunting at night makes it too challenging to spot your prey without any ambient light around you. It’s even harder to sight in your target without your prey knowing it. However, with the use of the best cheap thermal scopes, you’ll have a better hunting trip without wasting any of your ammunition.
If you’re wondering which is the best thermal rifle scope for you, check out some of our favorites below.
Table of Contents
- 1 Top 10 Affordable Thermal Rifle Scopes
- 1.1 1. ATN ThOR-HD 1.5-15x 25 mm Thermal Imaging Rifle Scopes
- 1.2 2. AGM Global Vision Secutor TS25-384
- 1.3 3. ATN ThOR 4 384 1.25-5x Thermal Smart HD Rifle Scope
- 1.4 4. ATN Thermal Rifle Scope
- 1.5 5. FLIR Ocean Scout 640 Handheld Thermal Scope
- 1.6 6. AGM Rattler TS35-384 Compact Medium Range Thermal Imaging Rifle Scope
- 1.7 7. Burris BTS Thermal Riflescope
- 1.8 8. AGM Python TS25-336 Short Range Thermal Imaging Rifle Scope
- 1.9 9. ATN Thermal Rifle Scope w/10+hrs Battery & Ultra-Low Power Consumption
- 1.10 10. AGM Python TS75-336 Long Range Thermal Imaging Rifle Scope
- 2 Things to Consider
- 3 Advantages of Owning Affordable Thermal Scopes
- 4 And Our #1 Budget Thermal Rifle Scope is...
Top 10 Affordable Thermal Rifle Scopes
1. ATN ThOR-HD 1.5-15x 25 mm Thermal Imaging Rifle Scopes
The ATN ThOR-HD 1.5-15x 25 mm Thermal Imaging Rifle Scope is one of the best cheap thermal scopes that features a 640×480 sensor and thermal imaging technology for easy target locking. This digital night vision scope also features a 1.5-15x magnification and an objective lens diameter of 25mm. The ATN digital thermal optic includes wi-fi and GPS for detecting, recognizing, and identifying targets even in low light conditions.
Compared to ATN ThOR 4, this one comes with advanced recording capabilities that can capture your shots even without pressing a button. It features a profile manager feature that saves the shooter’s ballistic and zeroing-in data in the shooting range. Furthermore, it features an integrated gyroscope that stabilizes and smoothens the images you captured.
It has a refresh rate of 50 Hz, eye relief of 65mm, and a viewing angle of 19 – 24 degrees. It has a detection range of 800m and has an eight-meter to infinity focus range. You can mount this device on a standard Picatinny system rail. With its four AA batteries, this optic can last up to more than eight hours.
2. AGM Global Vision Secutor TS25-384
The AGM Global Vision Secutor TS25-384 is a lightweight thermal imaging scope that lasts up to 24 hours of operation, even during adverse weather conditions. This thermal rifle scope is constructed of high-grade materials, making it compact, durable, and weatherproof.
It comes with three objective lenses modifications. You can choose a 25mm lens for short-range shooting, 50mm for medium-range missions, and a 75mm lens for long-range aiming. The AGM scope is powered by two CR123 batteries providing up to 5 hours of continuous work. It also comes with an optional external (5V) battery pack, increasing its total operation time to 44 hours.
3. ATN ThOR 4 384 1.25-5x Thermal Smart HD Rifle Scope
The ATN ThOR 4 384 1.25-5x Thermal Smart HD Rifle Scope is a revolutionary thermal imaging optic that features an ergonomic design with easy-to-use finding controls. It also features recoil-activated video recording, a smart shooting solution, and a one-shot zeroing.
This thermal optic has an integrated laser range finder and a next-generation ultra-sensitive Gen 4 384×288 thermal sensor. With this thermal scope, you can record and watch any image and video recording at the same time. Lastly, it provides a 4.1 Bluetooth compatible with Android and iOS.
4. ATN Thermal Rifle Scope
ATN Thermal Rifle Scope is another cheap thermal riflescope that provides a Smart HD Optics Technology and 384×288 thermal sensor, providing a clear image. This scope is ideal for night hunting as it detects heat energy instead of light.
This thermal imaging scope comes with a Ballistic Calculator calculating your bullet’s trajectory and adjusting your Point of Impact to hit your prey. It also comes with a Built-in Smart Rangefinder that improves your aiming skills. Lastly, it comes with a Smooth Zoom, magnifying your prey without losing what’s in your field of view.
5. FLIR Ocean Scout 640 Handheld Thermal Scope
The FLIR Ocean Scout 640 Handheld Thermal Scope is another thermal riflescope with a high-resolution FLIR tau thermal core with 640 x 480 LCD. It lets shooters see floating debris, vessels, buoys, and landmarks in complete darkness. It also has a built-in LED Task-Light that automatically enables when the unit is powered off.
Ocean Scout also provides an image and video recording output enabling that lets shooters view their thermal images on any monitor, TV, or any composite video Input. This riflescope is rugged, water-safe, has a wide field of view, and perfect for long-range performances.
6. AGM Rattler TS35-384 Compact Medium Range Thermal Imaging Rifle Scope
The AGM Rattler TS35-384 Compact Medium Range Thermal Imaging Scope is a thermal imaging optic featuring a 35mm lens model, excellent for medium-range missions. Its battery life lasts up to 24 hours even when used with extreme weather conditions, whether you’re patrolling or hunting. It also comes with a 384×288 display resolution.
Furthermore, this optic has a 1024×768 OLED monitor, providing a clear image under extreme environmental conditions like fog, darkness, rain, smoke, wood, dust, camouflage, and snow. It also comes with a high-resolution 8x digital zoom and a high sensitivity 384×288 thermal detector.
7. Burris BTS Thermal Riflescope
The Burris BTS Thermal Riflescope is also the best cheap thermal weapon sight that mounts on a Picatinny rail and can be operated with one hand. It features ten reticle options and seven color palettes that pick the perfect combination for all your current hunting needs and environment.
This thermal riflescope also comes with a hot track technology that moves the tracking box to the highest temperature reading range. This technology dramatically increases your chance of locking in that target. Burris BTS also features an integrated stadiametric rangefinding providing accurate distances to distant targets. You can also adjust the contrast and brightness for clear views when using this riflescope.
8. AGM Python TS25-336 Short Range Thermal Imaging Rifle Scope
The AGM Python TS25-336 Short Range Thermal Imaging Scope is a cheap thermal imaging riflescope that features a FLIR Tau 2 17μm pitch thermal sensor. It also comes with multiple color palettes, a real-time display, an adjustable eyepiece, and an objective lens.
This thermal optic offers 1x, 2x, 4x Digital zoom, wireless remote control, and an external wi-fi module. This package also boasts optional accessories like Integral MIL-STD-1913 rails, lens cloth, and soft carrying case. Two standard CR123A batteries power this cheap thermal device.
9. ATN Thermal Rifle Scope w/10+hrs Battery & Ultra-Low Power Consumption
ATN Thermal Riflescope w/10+hrs Battery & Ultra-Low Power Consumption is a cheap and lightweight thermal scope with a traditional design and a one-shot zero function. Its advanced heat detection sensor allows shooters to see in total darkness.
This cheap thermal scope also features a 30mm tube optic constructed of hardened aluminum alloy. It is also recoil resistant, so it can cater to higher caliber weapons with ease. This ATN Thermal riflescope is powered by an internal Li-Ion battery that lasts more than 10 hours.
10. AGM Python TS75-336 Long Range Thermal Imaging Rifle Scope
The AGM Python TS75-336 Long Range Thermal Riflescope is a budget thermal scope that features a large lens for long-distance range. It also comes with a 336×256 display resolution and FLIR Tau 2 17μm pitch thermal sensor for easy target tracking.
This AGM thermal riflescope comes with a high-resolution 75mm Lens and a 5x Optical Magnification. It has a 4.3°x3.3° field of view and 10mm exit pupil diameter key. It also has 1x, 2x, and 4x digital zoom, a waterproof external, and a 10m to infinity focus range.
Things to Consider
Generally, when it comes to night vision vs thermal imaging, the best thermal scopes feature a higher price tag than night vision goggles because it has more advanced features. Even if your budget is tight, you shouldn’t settle with thermal riflescopes with lower resolution, fewer features, and limited range.
There are various ways to find the best features that your hunting escapades need, like checking every thermal scope’s price tag online. You’ll find several thermal scopes below $2000. You may also try having a clip-on thermal riflescope.
If you hunt frequently, your rifle and scope’s condition might become worn out, so you might need to zero it now and then. Otherwise, it would break and ruin your hunting experience. Surely, high-quality riflescopes may last for years without needing any adjustments.
However, it’s risky even to take the risk of having a barely recognizable difference in zero. After all, every shooter aims for that most accurate target placement. Adjusting your optic from time to time would only bring you too much hassle. Therefore, you need to find a rifle scope that doesn’t give you this hassle by featuring an easy one-zero shot.
If you plan to get a thermal scope, make sure to get one that provides easy use of the zeroing feature. It would help you lock your target and get more accurate shots. Without this feature, it would be challenging to get accurate and continuous shots. Having this feature is the easiest way for a shooter to sight in his target.
Depending on your preferred usage, your thermal scope should have a low power consumption feature to ensure longer-lasting battery life.
Thermal optics rely on their battery when you’re on the battlefield, so purchasing a thermal scope that has a long battery life is wiser.
You may opt to find a thermal riflescope with standard batteries like AA or AAA. However, some scopes offer Li-Ion batteries that provide longer life. Some scopes also offer power-saving features like auto-shutoff timers, shake-to-wake technology, and others.
Since thermal scopes are considered extra accessories for your rifles or weapons, it needs to be lightweight and compact to maintain your balance and speed. Thermal scopes have advanced features, so it sometimes uses delicate materials for its lenses and internal hardware.
However, these scopes’ bodies must be constructed with hardened materials, so there’s a big chance that it would add more weight to the device. This is where you should be careful. Find a thermal riflescope that’s durable but also lightweight.
While weight is an essential factor, so is durability. It would be best if you didn’t sacrifice your thermal scope’s durability with weight alone. Durability is one of the greatest factors that determine your scope’s life span aside from its batteries.
If you frequently hunt, even during extreme weather conditions, having a durable thermal riflescope is inevitable. We suggest that you buy a thermal riflescope constructed from aluminum alloys and other sturdy materials to protect your device from accidental falls and mishandling.
It is also suggested that you buy a thermal scope that offers a ballistic calculator to help you find your targets easier. It will convert environmental data and target information into a trajectory correction every shooter uses to hit a long-range target.
It also calculates the needed correction for your bullet’s trajectory, wind deflection, and air resistance. It influences your bullet’s air travel, helping you with long-range shootings.
IR wireless uses wireless technology in devices or systems that convey data through infrared (IR) radiation. Some engineers consider IR technology to be a sub-specialty of optical technology. IR wireless is used for short- and medium-range communications and control. Some systems operate in line-of-sight mode; this means that there must be a visually unobstructed straight line through space between the transmitter (source) and receiver (destination). 
To make you understand this better, IR technology makes your devices capable of allowing you to see in the dark using your environment’s ambient light. It would be easier to find your targets with infrared light, making your shots more precise. Take note that even entry-level thermal scopes have this technology.
Another important factor that helps you make accurate shots are your scope’s reticles. Having more reticle options makes it much easier for the shooter to adjust your shot’s distance and focus range.
You may opt for different reticle shapes like dot, crosshairs, or dotted cross. Some thermal imaging scopes offer two to ten various reticles. However, some thermal imaging scopes don’t offer anything at all, so always be on the lookout. You may also consider the reticle colors of your choice, as they let you improve your reticle visibility even in different environments.
Finding the right magnification for your thermal night vision hunting scope is an excellent choice if you hunt or shoot long distances. Magnification zooms in and closes up the view of your target as if making it look like you’re nearby. The best thermal scope must offer a high magnification.
However, it would be best to be careful because high magnification power doesn’t always mean it will help you see more clearly. Too much magnification power may result in distorted images, too. The best magnification depends on the kind of hunting you do and the scope’s capability.
Advantages of Owning Affordable Thermal Scopes
Thermal imaging scopes work to provide better visibility in total darkness, allowing you to see through smoke, trees, light rain, bushes, and fog. These sighting devices can also give you passive operation and at a lesser price, of course.
Your prey would find it harder to detect your presence because thermal scopes don’t give off any signal or light from your end. These scopes can also be one of the best alternatives for your standard daytime optic because you can use them day and night. Finally, the essential advantage of a cheap thermal optic is improving your shots’ accuracy.
And Our #1 Budget Thermal Rifle Scope is...
Our team unanimously chose the ATN ThOR-HD 1.5-15x 25 mm Thermal Imaging Rifle Scopes as the best budget thermal scope after this research-intensive review. It makes target locking easier with its 640×480 sensor. It also features wi-fi and GPS, making it geotagging capable, keeping track of your every hunting escapade.
It is capable of detecting, recognizing, and identifying targets even in low light conditions. Its recoil-activated video feature captures your shots even without pressing a button. And lastly, it has a profile manager that saves your ballistic and zeroing-in data.
Our #1 Recommendation
ATN ThOR-HDThermal Imaging Rifle Scopes
- Determining the Range of a 9mm Bullet – What Factors Affect It? - July 9, 2021
- Sighting In Your AR-15 – Simple Steps, Tricks & Tips - July 9, 2021
- Minute of Angle (MOA) vs Milliradian (MIL/MRAD)- Which is Better? - July 9, 2021