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What’s the Best Thermal Monocular? Reviews & Guide

Best Thermal Monocular

Buying a thermal monocular is a big investment, so you have to put enough thought into your every purchase. You can’t just buy the same brand just because you have used it before, even when a new model has been up for sale that offers better features. To help ease your confusion, we have reviewed the best thermal monocular devices for you to choose from.

EDITOR’S CHOICE

Leupold LTO Tracker 2 Thermal Viewer

OUR #2 RATED

FLIR Scout TK Handheld

OUR #3 RATED

AGM Global Vision Asp-Micro

1. Leupold LTO Tracker 2 Thermal Viewer

Why We Picked It: 

We liked the 750-yard detection range and the thermal technology used on this thermal imaging monocular because it gives high resolution despite the distance. The quality of the image is high since it uses Gorilla glass plus its beacon mode allows users to recalibrate quickly during daytime. 

Its monocular thermal scope has all the controls designed very straightforward to give users a better experience. It is highly durable, fog proof, and shockproof. It is 100% waterproof. Therefore, you can bring it on any terrain without fear of dropping it. It is also worth mentioning that the refresh rate of this device is also fairly high.

EDITOR’S CHOICE

Who Should Use It: 

These are great for hunters who hunt at a long distance. Also perfect for authorities who need sturdy but rugged-looking high-end thermal monoculars.

Summary: 

We were looking for a monocular for the money, and we got a better deal. Manufacturers used durable, high-quality material without lowering the level of features. Recalibration is made easy while the resolution is highlighted but still very easy to use.

PROS

CONS

2. FLIR Scout TK Handheld

Why We Picked It: 

These handheld thermal imaging monoculars are perfect for hunting at night since they can detect heat signatures even in total darkness. FLIR Scout TK is designed innovatively with a very durable build that can withstand extreme conditions. Add to that the 1200 yard detection range, which comes in handy if you are outdoor hunting. 

This product is a handheld monocular that has fancy features, which includes video recording. It comes with full accessories from thermal cameras to the lens cap. This product also has a decent refresh rate which can be very helpful to any user on the field.

Who Should Use It: 

FLIR Scout is great for hunters and long-range shooters. These are also the best thermal monoculars for authorities to use day-to-day.

Summary: 

FLIR Scout is a great-looking thermal device that you can use even in total darkness. It has a long detection rate with a good operating temperature range. It has a good refresh rate and is very useful with any activity you use.

PROS

CONS

3. AGM Global Vision Asp-Micro

Why We Picked It: 

The usual features of a thermal imaging monocular are found in this piece, but we were impressed with its capacity to track targets and measure distance simultaneously. It has a 160×120 high sensitivity detector, and it uses infrared light. A common problem with a monocular thermal imaging device is the lifespan of the battery.

AGM designed their thermal imager to have a rechargeable lithium-ion battery which is built-in that has a battery life of 7 hours continuously. The manufacturers of this thermal imager made sure that it is straightforward and full of features but still priced low.

Who Should Use It:

These would be the best thermal imaging monocular scopes for law enforcers patrolling or assigned to drug enforcement and anti-smuggling. Hunters will also benefit from this long-distance range as it has target tracking features. 

Summary: 

These thermal devices offer long battery life with great night vision features at a very low price. It has a compact design with a straightforward approach to all the features it has.

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CONS

4. Pulsar Axion Key XM22

Why We Picked It:

The variable magnification range of 8x more made us decide that this must be part of the list. The display resolution is fairly exceptional, which ranges from 720 pixels to 980 pixels. It also has a high refresh rate of 50Hz, and it has great fields of view despite high magnification on the thermal image.

And with these resolutions, you will surely need a high refreshing rate as well. The price is also noticeable as it is significantly low considering added features like picture in picture digital zoom, and it can record video. Low light condition hunting will not be as challenging as before with this monocular thermal device.

Who Should Use It: 

Hunters would be the best people to benefit from these thermal scopes as they are lightweight and have great variable magnification.

Summary: 

If you are looking for a budget-friendly thermal imaging unit with high magnification and durability, this would be the best pick for those features.

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5. FLIR Breach PTQ136

Why We Picked It: 

The internal electronics with a 1280 x 960 Quad-VGA FLCO display, the good resolution became possible with FLIR Breach thermal monoculars. The high contrast images were even enhanced with the proprietary Digital Detail Enhancement feature of Flir, just like Flir Scout and all other monocular thermal devices from this manufacturer. 

The 1-4x digital zoom and LCD display is just perfect for the users of this device. Also, you can record a video for up to 2.5 hours. You can store videos on its internal memory and extract it later using a type C USB cable on your mobile device or computer.

Who Should Use It: 

Law/peace enforcement will greatly use this to detect heat signatures even in ambient light. It is also great for night hunting.  

Summary: 

This particular piece from Flir is perfect for those users who have a compact yet a lightweight device that has high recognition range and great operating temperature.

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6. FLIR Systems Scout III

Why We Picked It: 

We didn’t pick it because of its higher price tag, but we fully trust the manufacturers that created this thermal monocular. Durability, for one, is a reason why it is on the list. This is not a fragile product since it can withstand rain and shallow waters. Similar to other FLIR systems, FLIR Scout III has a great variable magnification with 320X640 pixels resolution. 

All thanks to its large 35mm objective lens and great operating temperature range. You would be content with its field of view of 18 degrees though it is a little bit of a letdown in its battery life, which is not as impressive as the refresh rate.

Who Should Use It

These thermal monoculars are great for hunters. It provides high resolution even in dark backgrounds. 

Summary: 

This is another high-quality thermal device by Flir Systems. It has a great detection range with a large objective lens.

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7. ATN OTS-HD 384

Why We Picked It:

The thermal imaging of this device is sensational as it gives 384*288 pixel HD resolution, which shows you what you need to see even in total darkness. A built-in rangefinder also measures the distance accurately, something you do not see in thermal monoculars. 

Another impressive feature is the 3D Gyroscope which improves clarity since it reduces natural handshake and adds to the E-Zoom feature that improves focus on long distances. Since this is HD quality, you can also expect a good resolution and exceptional color palettes when recording videos or taking photos. And it has upgradeable firmware.

Who Should Use It:

These thermal monoculars are very fitting for hunters who love to stay in the woods. The imaging is great because it is in high definition.

Summary: 

This is the best product for people who want high resolution with special night vision, especially video recording.

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8. Pulsar Helion XP50

Why We Picked It: 

Like any other thermal monoculars, Pulsar created something that can do video recording and take good images in low-light environments. What makes it different is that they enhanced the quality to surpass all other brands, which is why the price tag is scary. 

This handheld thermal monocular has an impressive 42mm diameter lens with a refresh rate of 50Hz with an Integrated accelerometer and Stadia metric rangefinder. Other than the enhanced features, the battery life is what impressed us tremendously. It has an 8-hour capacity, longer than any thermal vision device there is in the market. 

We have to add the fact that it has an impeccable operating temperature. We also have to mention the 8-color palettes best for hunting scenarios, like white-hot or hot black.

Who Should Use It: 

Hunters will have a blast with this thermal monocular. This is not some cheaply made thermal monocular that has lenses that can reduce the quality of the image. That is why this is also great for surveilling.

Summary: 

If you are in search of top-of-the-line, high-quality optics that can give you good resolution but are also assured to be durable, then this is the best pick for hunters that are always on the go.

PROS

CONS

9. AGM Taipan TM19-384

Why We Picked It: 

This is a handheld device equipped with 384×288 infrared(1) radiation partnered with 1280×960 LCOS display resolution. Manufacturers claim that the built-in high-sensitivity thermal detector will still provide a clear view even in total darkness. The highest heat signatures will be marked as Hot Spot Mark by the device. 

The battery also stays on for 7.5 hours, which is remarkable compared to other high-end thermal monocular devices. The refresh rate of this product is not one of the low ones in the market. It also has added features like taking images that can be stored on your phones and can record video.

Who Should Use It: 

This is another device that can be very useful during hunting activities and surveillance. They will benefit greatly from the high refresh rate. 

Summary: 

Hunters who are searching for reasonably priced, high-resolution thermal monocular scope will appreciate this product most. It has a straightforward design with a high refresh rate which will come in handy to its user.

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10. Sector Optics Thermal Imager T20x

Why We Picked It: 

The automatic NUC shutter is the first we noticed with this thermal monocular device and the auto-shutdown motion sensor that is very helpful in saving battery power. The thermal sensor resolution is still exceptional despite the size of this thermal monocular plus the out-of-the-ordinary optical zoom that ranges from 3 to 5.5x. 

This can also be mounted on 30mm mounting rings which makes it very convenient. Also, it gives multiple display views: NV green / color, white-hot/black ho, and its refresh rate is also high.

Who Should Use It:

This is another device that can be helpful during a silent operation by law/ peace enforcement. It can also be used during hunting at night, which will be beneficial with its high refresh rate. 

Summary: 

This is a simple device that has exceptional features and a very competitive price. It is very handy if you won’t have much chance of recharging since this is battery-saving itself.

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CONS

Applications of Thermal Monoculars

Applications of Thermal Monoculars

Military

What military individuals would need is a thermal monocular that has great durability. It should be weatherproof, fog-proof, dustproof, and impact-resistant for any situation they may fall under. The thermal sensor resolution should be focused on avoiding surprises during operations.

Law Enforcement

Night vision is necessary for law enforcers to track criminals or offenders who may be hiding. The best thermal monoculars are needed to ensure the safety of cops or other officials assigned to chase an offender in hiding. They can easily detect thermal energy or radiation with a reliable device. 

Hunting 

This is very useful during hunting, especially if the target is obviously far away and can hide well. It also provides safety, considering that wild animals lurk, which can attack you. Still, you can see even in the dark with a thermal monocular.

Types of Thermal Monoculars

Types of Thermal Monoculars

Handheld 

Handheld thermal monocular devices are the most commonly used by wildlife observers and hunters. The main reason is they need a compact and lightweight tool to bring with them wherever work takes them. These are needed to be durable as the user is mostly on the move at all times. 

Head-Mounted

These are the ones that are mounted on the head, headgear, or helmet. This is rather convenient since it will free your hand, which you can use for other activities such as climbing or pulling other items.

Your Guide To Buying

buying guide

Heat Signature

The capability of the thermal scope to detect heat signature accurately is important, especially in the enforcement of the law. This device can be used to identify a recently used car or find a hiding criminal in a secluded area.

Display

This would depend on how much resolution it provides. Choose a thermal sensor that has a prime objective lens that can display higher resolution. You have to note that if your target is at a far distance, a high resolution is necessary to ensure you have the right target.

Power

In this case, it would depend on the length of time your battery would last. Having a low-quality battery will cause you too much inconvenience. All other features are useless without a reliable battery that lasts longer. 

Thermal Sensor Resolution

The higher the resolution, the better quality you will get on the image. This is pretty common for anything that has glass on it. You have to consider the refresh rate on this feature, especially if your target is on the move. 

Refresh Rate (Hz) 

The usual refresh rates in thermal monoculars are 60Hz, 50Hz, 30Hz, and 9Hz. Slower refresh rates cause the image to blur, especially for a fast-moving object. On the contrary, higher refresh rates allow the image to appear smoother on the screen.

Detection Range

Detection range allows you to tell how far you can spot your target using the thermal imager. The detection range is from 100 yards to over 1,000 yards for high-end models.

Operating Temperature

The operating temperature range may depend on the battery limitations, as this is how most electronic devices function. It would be best if you check on the capacity of the thermal monocular that you choose if it can withstand blazing heat or the coldest nights.  

Durability 

This should be the first thing to consider as the weather conditions change and affect your thermal monocular. Add to that stress and other factors that may bring a negative effect to your device.

Battery Life

Whether using the thermal imaging device at work or in recreational activities outside, it is more than an inconvenience if you can only use it for a short period. The best thermal monocular scope should be usable without recharge it until you need to. 

Color Palettes

It is important to have multiple color palettes, even in a cheap monocular device. The right color represents each situation.

Magnification

A reliable thermal imaging device should feature a clear digital zoom, allowing the user to have a close-up view of your target. Higher magnification converts to more zoom; however, it can affect image quality. Choose the one that offers optimal zooming capabilities, but it can be expensive.

Ease of Operation

Complexity is not something a user is in search of. The easier it is to maneuver, the better it is. You can enhance designs and their features, but it should never be something that would take a genius to operate. 

Budget & Warranty

It is understandable that if you search for high-quality materials, you should expect a correspondingly high amount. However, some manufacturers still manage to pull down its cost but do not lessen the quality.

Extra Features To Look For

Lunde Studio Key Features

Rangefinder

This is a common feature of a monocular scope these days, but the best thermal scope would automatically calculate the distance from the target. 

Wifi & Bluetooth

The advancement of technology greatly helps in using these devices. Once connected to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, they can see what object they see from their mobile devices. 

Compass

It will provide the angle observation accurately with a reliable built-in compass. This is important, especially if you are on a hunting expedition in the woods that is unfamiliar to you. 

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Zoom

The digital zoom can either be smooth zoom or fixed. This is provided with the latest types of thermal monocular devices. Finding a good image will allow you to record a video of your target with no problem at all. 

Handy & Recordable

Ease of transport is what everyone wants. Who would want to use something that is very bulky and heavy? Also, recording capability is now enhanced, especially in the enforcement of the law. It is already a struggle for them to change irresponsible individuals; an added weight can be eliminated from the picture

Our Team's Selection Process

selection process

Overall Performance

We always see to it that the product we include has all the functionalities and features working as it claims to be. Our selection is not based on which is the best cheap thermal monocular scope but on how it provides answers to the users’ needs.

Weapon Compatibility

These accessories can be easily mounted on a rifle, either in front of the scope or behind it. Regular monoculars mostly work better behind the scope, while clip-ons work better in front of it. 

Product Quality 

We also check on materials and processes upon creating the device as there are too many claims made, yet the products are not made efficiently. One way to verify these manufacturers’ claims is to see how customers reacted to their purchases.

FAQs

Law enforcement uses thermal monocular technology when observing their targets at a distance to build their case on whatever they record during their observation. It could be used as evidence if anything was done illegally to confirm doubts on the target, as shown on the recording.

Thermal monoculars are expensive because of the double screens or a whole system of lenses used, which is relatively costly. If a manufacturer uses a higher quality of lenses, then that would increase the price more.

You can hide heat from thermal imaging in monoculars by covering yourself with Mylar foil or “space blanket”. You can also stay in locations or spots where there is a higher temperature, like ventilators, or you can submerge yourself in water and breathe under it.

A thermal monocular can see up to a detection range of 14,000 nm (or 14 µm), provided it is a reliable monocular scope that is not cheaply made with substandard materials. The functionality of each device differs depending on its materials and design. As it goes further, it can reduce the image quality as well.

Somehow, a thermal monocular can see through the fog. However, atmospheric conditions will affect its ability to see through, such as light rain or fog. Thermal vision also depends on the heat signatures. With these conditions mentioned, it will not be possible to get accurate data.

Yes, a thermal monocular is better than night vision optics if we are talking about useful features. This is an enhanced version of the other, considering it has more capabilities than just seeing in the dark. Other than that, the detection range is also higher if you put the two in comparison.

And Our #1 Thermal Monocular is…

Our best thermal monocular scope is Leupold LTO Tracker 2 Thermal Viewer. We considered so many factors, but we were impressed with the capability and features applied to this device. We have to start with the price that is very reasonable considering how it bested the others.

The feedback coming from customers who were very satisfied with the product delivered made us decide on them. The detection range is far superior if we based it on what the customers said. These products are also built for safety, whether the users are simply hunting or from law/peace enforcement.

EDITOR’S CHOICE

Our #1 Recommendation

Leupold LTO Tracker 2 Thermal Viewer

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