In the market for some night vision technology? You’ll be happy to know that there are a ton of excellent night vision goggle/binocular options available, and you won’t need to break the bank in order to get something worth your while.
However, there are many factors to consider when choosing which night vision technology is best for you, and without a guide to simplify things, you can quickly become overwhelmed. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the best night vision goggles/binoculars on the market.
Let’s cut to the chase before getting into any of the finer details. If all you want to know is which night vision goggles we think are the best money can buy, then here’s our answer:
If quality is your number one concern and cost is not a significant factor, the ATN PVS7-3 is the choice for you. These night-vision goggles are military-grade. In fact, they are the primary option for the U.S. military, homeland security, and the FBI, so you know you’re getting the best product money can buy with these.
These lightweight, water-resistant goggles use advanced infrared technology to give you superior clarity no matter how much or how little light you’re working with. They bring quite a bit of versatility with their multiple mounting options. Battery life is another big plus, with the ATN PS7-3 getting around 60 hours per two AAs.
Creative XP Digital Night Vision Binoculars
If you saw the price tag on our top pick and started sweating, don’t worry. You don’t need to empty your bank account to get your hands on some high-quality night vision technology. In fact, we don’t recommend casual or first-time users to go broke buying a pair of night-vision goggles/binoculars. Some of the products on the budget end of the spectrum are perfectly capable of getting the job done. For example, these:
Does that price tag seem a bit more reasonable to you? It’s certainly more affordable than the ATN PVS7-3, but amazingly enough, there is not a significant difference in quality between the two.
Don’t get us wrong. There’s a considerable difference between digital and traditional light amplification devices. However, you are likely to be more than pleased with what you get from the Creative XP Digital Night Vision Binoculars at its price point.
These devices are lightweight, easy to use, and come with all the accessories you’re going to need, including a neck strap, USB cable, SD card, and card reader. They get excellent battery life, as well, but they do require eight AAs to run. For that reason, we recommend that you purchase rechargeable batteries.
How Night Vision Works
The invention of night vision technology was a brilliant one that solved the problem our ancestors certainly would have loved to do away with: Seeing when it’s dark outside. You may think that humans can’t see at night because there’s simply no light, but that’s not true. There’s still plenty of available light at night; it’s just a smaller amount than the human eye is capable of taking in.
Some animals essentially have their own version of night vision built into their bodies. Cats, for example, are capable of seeing clearly with only one-sixth of the amount of light that humans require. This is because they have huge lenses in their eyes, and their pupils can dilate to enormous sizes to take in as much light as possible. What a cat’s eye does naturally is more or less what night vision technology does, although it has become far more complicated than that over the years.
Night vision devices are designed to take in every bit of moon and starlight they can get so that even in the darkest areas on the darkest nights, you can still see clearly. With the use of infrared, or heat radiation, technology, your night vision devices can help you see in even lower levels of light.
Digital technology has now made night vision cheaper and more accessible to those who aren’t looking to commit to powerful and pricy night vision tech. Although it does come with a drop-off in quality, more affordable devices are terrific starting points for those interested in seeing what’s out there in the night.
Generations of Night Vision Technology
When you start learning about different night vision devices, you’ll quickly find that its generation categorizes each one. The generation of a particular night vision device is a reference to both the quality of the device and the chronological order in which the technology it incorporates was invented. There are currently four generations of night vision devices: Gen. 1 through Gen. 4. The higher the number, the higher the quality.
Uses of Night Vision
When most people think of night vision, they may envision some Hollywood depiction of a covert military operation. While the military most certainly takes advantage of night vision tech, there are plenty of reasons that the average civilian might be interested in using it for themselves.
There’s a whole society of nocturnal wildlife out there roaming the world while you’re sound asleep. If you’ve ever been curious to know what goes on after the sun goes down, night vision technology is a great way to find out. You can stay up to do the watching yourself, or you can purchase a device with the ability to capture images and video for you to review in the morning.
Night vision opens up a whole realm of possibilities for hunters. With the capability to hunt after dark, you can more easily remain stealthy and unseen. With zoom capabilities, you’ll also be able to cover far greater distances when scanning for prey.
Anglers can catch only certain fish species at night, and to do that, you may require the aid of night vision technology. No need for a ton of bells and whistles to get this job done, either. Anything that will help enhance your vision in a low-light situation should do the trick.
I personally live in a fairly isolated part of the country, and while I hate to admit it some noises at night can be scary. Occasionally I’ll grab a flashlight and try to jam it against the window to see what’s outside, but that doesn’t work very well. Night vision goggles would allow ease of mind.
Top Night Vision Goggles/Binoculars: Quick Reviews
Now, since you’re all brushed up on the ins and outs of night vision technology, let’s take a look at the best devices on the market.
1. ATN PVS7-3
This is the top choice of several organizations, including the FBI, Homeland Security, and the U.S. military. If that’s not a ringing endorsement, what is?
Perfect for: Anyone looking for the highest quality product regardless of price.
2. SOLOMARK Digital Infrared Night Vision Binocular
These digital binoculars are a great budget pick. A notable advantage is their ability to capture HD quality video, and a minor drawback is that they require eight AA batteries.
Perfect for: Recreational users and first-timers.
3. Sightmark SM15071 Ghost Hunter 2×24
These night vision binoculars do not come cheap, but they are among the best products on the market. They get excellent battery life, with a pair of AAAs going for 72 hours. They can also magnify 2x—which makes items appear twice as large—and boast incredible comfort.
Perfect for: Committed hunters who don’t mind a hefty price tag.
4. Nyte Vu Digital Night Vision Goggle
This hands-free night vision device is convenient and pretty cool-looking. It may not have magnification capabilities, but a rechargeable battery and video capturing capabilities make it an enticing purchase.
Perfect for: Night fishing and wildlife watching.
5. Nightfox 100V Widescreen Digital Night Vision Infrared Binocular
These are a great entry-level selection, and they’re the most affordable night vision device on this list. Six hours of battery life and multiple zoom levels and infrared levels are not so bad for the price tag.
Perfect for: Anyone looking to get their feet wet.
6. Nightstar 1×20 Night Vision Goggles
If you’re looking for an excellent middle-of-the-road purchase, you can’t go wrong with these head-mounted, built-in infrared illuminators.
Perfect for: When you want to take a step up from budget quality but remain a few steps below breaking the bank.
7. Creative XP Digital Night Vision Binoculars
Yes, you will find cheaper picks on this list that still offer decent quality. The combination of affordability and quality is most balanced with the Creative XP Digital Night Vision Binoculars.
Perfect for: Wildlife-watching and exploring the possibilities of night vision.
8. ATN PS31-3W
Our last pick is only for the seriously committed. It comes with an eye-popping price tag compared to the other choices on this list, but with that price tag comes excellent quality.
Perfect for: Serious hunters who want or need to see in the darkest conditions.
Here are some frequently asked questions about night vision technology.
How Far Can You See with a Night Vision Device?
The answer to this question depends on the device you’re using and the conditions in which you’re using it. Most night vision devices allow you to see clearly up to hundreds or sometimes even thousands of yards away.
How Much Should I Spend on Night Vision Goggles/Binoculars?
How much you spend on goggles or binoculars depends on your budget and what you’re looking to achieve with your night vision technology. There are plenty of devices that won’t run you more than $300 and will do a great job of letting you see at night. Still, more often than not, the highest quality products are not the most affordable.
How Long Do Night Vision Devices Typically Last?
Night vision goggles/binoculars are electronic devices, after all, which means they won’t last forever. That said, if you care for them, you can use them for thousands and thousands of hours before needing to consider a replacement.