20 Best Monoculars (2019): Buyer’s Guide and Unbiased Reviews

Are you on a quest to find the best monoculars?

Then you’re in the right place. Because I have done the hard work for you and have reviewed dozens of products to bring you the best monoculars.

In addition, I will introduce the following related topics.

  • Product Details (Including advantages and disadvantages) 
  • Monoculars Buyer’s Guide
  • Monoculars Vs. Binoculars
  • Monocular Types

I will also answer some common questions.

  • How to take care of your monocular?
  • What gives a monocular its power?
  • Are monoculars all smart phone adaptable?
  • What is the main difference between focus and zoom?
  • Does a monocular work well at night?
  • What is the purpose of lens coatings?
  • Should a lower magnification ever be used?

Without further ado, let’s begin!

Chief Editor

Brian

Hi! I’m Brian, graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sport Science. I used to be an editor of a sports magazine. I like to read sports and recreation magazines, such as Outdoor Life, Sports Illustrated, ESPN and Runner’s World. I hope that this article can be helpful to you.
Brian

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Top 3 Picks ( In a Hurry? Here are the winners )

Product
Editor’s Choice & Best Seller
Wingspan Optics Explorer High Powered 12X50 Monocular. Bright and Clear. Single Hand Focus. Waterproof. Fog...
Professional's Choice
Vortex Optics VMX-3T Magnifier with Built-in Flip Mount
Best Value
ROXANT High Definition Ultra-Light Mini Monocular Pocket Scope - Carrying case, Neck Strap and Cleaning Cloth...
Image
Wingspan Optics Explorer High Powered 12X50 Monocular. Bright and Clear. Single Hand Focus. Waterproof. Fog...
Vortex Optics VMX-3T Magnifier with Built-in Flip Mount
ROXANT High Definition Ultra-Light Mini Monocular Pocket Scope - Carrying case, Neck Strap and Cleaning Cloth...
Price
$54.92
$195.00
$19.95
Prime
Our Rating
Editor’s Choice & Best Seller
Product
Wingspan Optics Explorer High Powered 12X50 Monocular. Bright and Clear. Single Hand Focus. Waterproof. Fog...
Image
Wingspan Optics Explorer High Powered 12X50 Monocular. Bright and Clear. Single Hand Focus. Waterproof. Fog...
Price
$54.92
Prime
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon
Professional's Choice
Product
Vortex Optics VMX-3T Magnifier with Built-in Flip Mount
Image
Vortex Optics VMX-3T Magnifier with Built-in Flip Mount
Price
$195.00
Prime
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon
Best Value
Product
ROXANT High Definition Ultra-Light Mini Monocular Pocket Scope - Carrying case, Neck Strap and Cleaning Cloth...
Image
ROXANT High Definition Ultra-Light Mini Monocular Pocket Scope - Carrying case, Neck Strap and Cleaning Cloth...
Price
$19.95
Prime
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon

Best Monoculars

Among all viewing devices, monoculars are a truly hidden gem. A lot of attention has been paid to binoculars and small telescopes since people have a tendency to hear about them more frequently. However, monoculars offer a unique and convenient way to view practically anything. Specifically, the fact that they require you to use just one eye serves as a convenient solution for individuals who may not have two eyes that function.

Also, their small size (they can fit in a purse, bag, or pocket) make it very easy to carry anywhere with you. With so many wide-ranging uses from sign watching to hunting, they also are very versatile.

When you learn more about the best monoculars in the marketplace, the most important features to look for, and different kinds of monoculars that you can choose from makes it easier to determine which monocular will work the best for you. The following are some of the best monoculars that are available in today’s marketplace, in addition to an overview of some important information that can help you learn what you need to know about monoculars.

1. Wingspan Optics Explorer High Powered 12X50 Monocular – Editor’s Choice & Best Seller

Sale
Wingspan Optics Explorer High Powered 12X50 Monocular. Bright and Clear. Single Hand Focus. Waterproof. Fog...
  • 12X50 MAGNIFICATION - See things 12X closer and Get Clearer and...
  • DURABLE EXTERNAL ARMOR - Provides a secure, non-slip grip, and durable...
  • WATERPROOF AND FOG PROOF - Prevents moisture, dust, and debris from...
  • SINGLE HAND FOCUS - Ergonomic design helps you focus on your target...
  • THE BRIGHTEST AND CLEAREST VIEW OF ANY MONOCULAR ON THE MARKET TODAY -...

The Wingsman Optics Explorer has been designed for people who need clarity, power, and distance during the day. This is a very good monocular for a person who is in pursuit of a clear and bright field of view, in addition to greater magnification.

The Explorer 12×50 provides a range of view to a maximum of 100 yards. The durable and rugged armor is designed to survive even the roughest weather condition and its weatherproof construction helps to protect the device’s internal components from dust, debris, fog, and moisture.

The 50x lens offers a clear view of subjects and up to 12x magnification power. It comes with a durable tripod stand that allows for hands-free viewing. Also, the monocular comes lens protection covers, an eyepiece, and nylon mesh carrying case for convenient transportation and storage.

Pros
  • Fog-proof and waterproof construction
  • Durable armor for external protection and non-slip grip
  • One of the brightest and clearest monoculars available in the market
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons
  • For some users, the tripod is a bit too short

2. ROXANT High Definition Ultra-Light Mini Monocular Pocket Scope – Best Value

Sale
ROXANT High Definition Ultra-Light Mini Monocular Pocket Scope - Carrying case, Neck Strap and Cleaning Cloth...
  • Compact, powerful, 7x 18, durable, low price, high quality, small...
  • Premium, high definition optical glass, multi-coated optics which...
  • Comfort molded grip provides less shake - very easy to hold steady....
  • Ideal for water sports, outdoor activities, bird watching, climbing,...
  • IDEAL For Visually Impaired or Senior Citizens, Warehouse Workers:...

The Roxant 7×18 lens is very powerful and provides outstanding viewing capabilities while also compact for convenient transportation. This compact device comes with extra raised grips set to enable steady composure.

As more monocular users continue to use this type of device for both compaction and visual effectiveness, the Roxant High Definition Mini accomplishes both of these aspects fairly easy. On Amazon, 95% of almost customer reviews felt strongly that this was accomplished.

The Roxant, at sub-5 inches and 2.4 ounces is practically undetectable among the gear inside of a day trip bag and packs amplification capabilities that are substantial. It would hard for you to find a better daily use monocular at this price in today’s market.

Pros
  • At this price point, high performance and value
  • At this performance level, compact and light
  • Grip elaboration compared with higher priced GRIP SCORE
Cons
  • Susceptible to certain atmospheric conditions, like moisture and fogging
  • Lacks lens protection, that come in handy when tossing it around in a bag or purse

3. Authentic ROXANT Grip Scope High Definition Wide View Monocular

Sale
Authentic ROXANT Grip Scope High Definition Wide View Monocular - with Retractable Eyepiece and Fully Multi...
  • NO SLIP COMFORT MOLDED GRIP - Provides Less Shake - Very Easy To Hold...
  • SEE IN HIGH DEFINITION - Don't be fooled by Copycats. If it doesn’t...
  • WIDE VIEW - Our Top of the Line Wide View Monocular Offers True 6 x 30...
  • IDEAL FOR TRAVEL - Concerts, Outdoor Activities, Bird Watching,...
  • SPECIAL FEATURE + ACCESSORIES - Retractable Eyecup For Use With Or...

It has 5.5 x 2 x 2-inch dimensions, making it a fairly compact scope, and weighs 7.8 ounces which makes this monocular a medium weight one. The all glass, fully multi-coated lens provides good options for its price although it only provides up to 6x magnification might be good enough for some individuals. The monocular’s exterior is a no-slip comfort molded grip and that is accurate. It is very comfortable to hold and is unlikely to slip from the hand.

This product, despite its low price, has some special features as well. It comes with a retractable eyecup that makes it a lot easier to use for people who wear glasses. Indeed, it offers a lot of eye relief. It also comes with a couple of accessories including a neck strap, cleaning cloth, and carry pouch. Lens caps is one thing that’s missing. Using this monocular is easy since it isn’t really powerful and therefore, even at its highest magnification doesn’t suffer from wobble. Focusing is also very easy. So if you don’t mind having just 6x magnification, good value is indeed offered by the Roxtant Authentic Grip scope.

Pros
  • Easy to use with only minimal wobble
  • Good eye relief and retractable eyecups for glasses wearers
  • Nice grip that is comfortable and non-slip
Cons
  • No lens caps are included with this product
  • Offers only up to 6x magnification

4. Vortex VMX-3T Magnifier with Flip Mount – Professional’s Choice

Sale
Vortex Optics VMX-3T Magnifier with Built-in Flip Mount
  • The VMX-3T Magnifier and Flip Mount combo adds a 3x magnification to...
  • The lens are fully multi-coated maximizing resolution, light gathering...
  • The VMX-3T does not require any special sight-in. The dot centering...
  • The magnifier is nitrogen purged for reliable waterproof and fogproof...
  • Allows for lower 1/3 or absolute co-witness mounting heights and is...

The Vortex VMX-3T Magnifier weighs just 11.09 ounces and has a 30mm. The device has a flip mount that lets you use its red dot sight without any magnification. All of its components are housed within machined-aluminum hard-coat-anodized armor.

You receive 3x magnification power within red dot sights. Multi-coated optics are integrated by vortex to all for optimal light transmission. Another reason why we love this monocular is that its magnifier is filled internally with nitrogen that provides reliable waterproof and fog-proof performance.

Also, the Vortex VMX-3T comes with waterproof O-rings seals which protect against damage from debris and dust and improves waterproof capabilities. Added durability is provided by the matte black finish and provides the monocular with a classic appearance. Other notable features that it comes with include 38.2′ field of view at 100 yards, 3.25″ eye relief, and the magnifier comes with a VIP warranty.

Pros
  • Precise and clear images
  • Very versatile
  • Well-built flip mount
  • Mount is solid and easily locks in place
Cons
  • No lens cover

5. HDE 15x Zoom Compact Monocular 21mm Bright and Clear Single Hand Focus Telescope

No products found.

At this price point, this is one of the bigger lens offerings contrast with having the smallest frame. Viewing clarity of the details and nuances of sporting events, nature, and birds is provided by the HDE 15x Zoom Compact 21mm Objective lens.

The HDE monocular is a feather-like weight of 4 ounces fills the need for simple viewing purposes and is perfect for the beginning user. The shaft has plus/minus symbols provide useful guidance on the zoom feature.

The HDE has the lowest customer review rating with just 60% at 4 stars above, out of all of the monoculars that we have reviewed, which points to the product’s overall quality.

Pros
  • Stylish yet confident profiling
  • Grip sequence facilitates simple operation and is ergonomic
  • Simple and compact to use for various viewing purposes
Cons
  • Monocular lacking structural resilience when dropped and/or jostled
  • With subtle movements, image quality is compromised

6. Gosky Titan 12X50 High Power Prism Monocular and Quick Smartphone Holder – Smart Phone Adaptable

Sale
Gosky Titan 12X50 High Power Prism Monocular and Quick Smartphone Holder - Waterproof Fog- Proof Shockproof...
  • 12X50 High Power Magnification - Have the best view in your outdoor...
  • Comes with a Gosky 2018 newest quick alignment smartphone adapter....
  • Large BAK-4 Prism inside and Fully Multi-coated Lens Coating -...
  • Solid Framework and shock-absorbing Rubber Armor with Stripes -Its...
  • Waterproof, Dust-proof, and Shockproof Design: Nitrogen-filled...

When you find out the price, you will soon understand why we promote the Gosky Titan 12 X 50 as the best value for money. This product is great all-around, for a variety of outdoor adventures from watching wildlife, to hunting, and hiking. What we found even more impressive about these monoculars is the fact that it provides 12 X magnification.

The objective lens is 50mm and provides fairly bright and clear images. Even though the optics on this product are no comparison to the monoculars that are more upmarket, they are great value for the price tag. As you may expect from the budget-friendly monoculars, these are not as light-weight when compared to expensive products. They weigh 13.9 ounces with dimensions of 3.4 X 7 X 2.8.

An interesting feature present with the Gosky Titan is the fast-alignment smartphone adapter, which happens to be compatible with most of the current smartphone models. This feature provides a way to take videos and photos, of things of interest that you have found so, can share them with friends or family. Overall we enjoy how this product has been constructed and it feels rather durable. While the rubber-armor offers a degree of shock-resistance, it is also dustproof and waterproof. For these reasons, this product should last you for a long time. It also comes with a carry bag, smartphone adapter, lens covers and eyepiece, straps and cleaning cloth. While they might not be the best in quality, they come included with the price which is a big bonus.

Pros
  • Smartphone adapter for videos and photos
  • 12 X magnification which is great at this price
  • Rubber-armor exterior and a solid build
Cons
  • The optics cannot be compared to the top-range products
  • The accessories that are included are somewhat cheap

7. Wingspan Optics NatureScope 10X42 Official Bird Watching Monocular

Wingspan Optics NatureScope 10X42 Official Bird Watching Monocular. Love Birding, Wildlife and Scenery? Get...
  • 10X42 MAGNIFICATION - See Birds 10X closer and Get Clearer and...
  • DURABLE ARMOR - Provides a secure, non-slip grip, and durable external...
  • USE WITH OR WITHOUT GLASSES - Adjustable eye-cups twists up and down...
  • COMPLETELY WATERPROOF AND FOGPROOF - Waterproof Optics are sealed with...
  • FREE BONUSES* - Get 4 FREE EXPERT BIRD WATCHER TRAINING EBOOKS to...

These are monoculars that will allow you to view far away places with the 10 X zooming results. In addition, this is a unit that allows you to achieve enhanced and brighter range-of-view with the 42mm included lens. This makes this product compact and extremely powerful monoculars currently available on consumer markets.

The exterior design and durable armor also come with a non-slip grip along with the most secure fit which adds even more convenience. This is a unit that works well for people that use eyeglasses as it also comes with eyecups that are customizable that you can twist-up which will enhance your viewing.

Pros
  • The Polaris Optics offers enhanced images with the 42mm objective lens along with 10 X clearer zooming.
  • Rated as the Best Monocular in 2019, that can be adjusted in order to match the requirements of people that wear eyeglasses.
  • The durable armor offers a secure design and non-slip grip.
Cons
  • It takes a bit of time in order to adjust these eyecups to match up to the user’s visibility needs.

8. Vortex Optics Solo Monocular 10×25

Vortex Optics Solo Monocular 10x25
  • 10x magnification and 25mm objectives lens, the Solo Monocular is a...
  • The monocular is fully rubber armored providing a non-slip grip to...
  • Nitrogen purged and o-ring sealed, the Solo delivers waterproof and...
  • The adjustable eyecup allows for comfortable viewing with or without...
  • Field of View: 315 feet/1000 yards|6 degrees

While it definitely does not scream “high-end”, this Vortex Optics Solo also does not scream “baby me” either. This unit is encased in more than enough soft rubber and plastic for the right amount of protection from external elements.

The glass is fog-proof and works really well until the temperature drops below -20C/-4F. This unit features fully multi-coated optics which provide for superior light transmission. The air-to-glass surfaces also come with multi anti-reflective coatings.

You can achieve a field-of-view of 31.5 feet from 100 yards, which is regarded as impressive when it comes to a unit that is so compact. The 10 X magnification along with the 25mm objective lens do well to provide clarity. The eyecups are adjustable and offer customized fits if you twist them either down or up. One of the other standout features is its roof-prism design which offers more durability. We think that this unit will make a fantastic addition to all types of gear lists.

Pros
  • Great image quality
  • Lightweight, compact, and durable construction
  • Comes with everything that you will ever need from monoculars
Cons
  • The eyecups are not that great for people that wear glasses

9. Ohuhu 12×50 Waterproof Binocular

Ohuhu 12x50 Waterproof Binocular for Birds Watching/Hunting/Camping/Hiking...
  • Offers an 8x magnification and a 40mm objective diameter
  • This product has dual focus capability (front and back adjustable...
  • Multicoated optics guarantee superior light transmission and...
  • Single hand operation
  • Good for sporting events, concerts, bird watching, camping, fishing,...

Finding 8 X amplification along with a 40mm objective diameter for this price is extremely rare. And added to this value, Ohuhu has provided a dual-focus capability which offers a way to really dial in on your favorite images.

In addition, you can also benefit from the multicoated optics inside a waterproof-encasing, which offers you assurance in every type of viewing environment. Regardless of whether you have plans to attend the Opera or you are tracking a rare species of fish in a stream, Ohuhu offers outstanding value along with viewing capability when it comes to just about any situation.

Pros
  • This device is budget-friendly and offers strong imagery
  • It adapts well to low-light environments
  • Maintenance items and complete protection are included
Cons
  • Weighs close to 10 ounces
  • A bit bulky for intended applications

10. Carson CloseUp 6x18mm Close-Focus Monocular (CF-718)

Carson Closeup 6x18mm Close-Focus Monocular (CF-718)
  • Close focus monocular that can be used for long distance or close...
  • Magnification: 6x Power | Objective Lens Diameter: 18mm | Field of...
  • Extremely Compact and Lightweight Design | Weight: 2.8 ounces
  • Great monocular for low vision reading, sight seeing, travel,...
  • Included Accessories: Soft Pouch, Wrist Strap and Lens Cloth | Backed...

One of the leading suppliers of binoculars, telescopes, and monoculars, Carson introduces this sub-2 ounce monocular that produces resolute images from far away or up close. The Carson CloseUp offers added compaction when it comes to the retracting-lens housing which you can extend and twist to lock in on far away images.

In a similar price range to the other monoculars mentioned, the 7 X amplification offers consistent clarity regardless of the graduation of your focus.

Pros
  • The ideal addition for low-vision needs
  • Performance is consistent when it comes to enhancing images at 10”
  • A durable pouch and lens cloth to protect this investment
Cons
  • The compact size may become prohibitive for long-viewing situations
  • A bit lacking when it comes to consistent clarity for differing light situations

More Products (Our Rating: 4 Stars)

11. Barska 10x40 Blackhawk Waterproof Monocular
Barska 10x40 Blackhawk Waterproof Monocular
  • Padlocks, Lockout/Tag out & Security Equipment
  • Country of manufacture: United States
  • Manufacturer: BARSKA
  • Stunning Multi-Coated lenses deliver clear and bright images
  • Nitrogen Purged, O-Ring Sealed for 100% waterproof and fog proof...
12. Celestron UpClose G2 10x25 Monocular
Celestron UpClose G2 10x25 Monocular, Black (71213)
  • High quality monocular at an affordable / economical price
  • Multi-coated optics increase light transmission resulting in brighter...
  • Stylish rubber covered aluminum body protects from rough handling
  • Ergonomic thumb indents and finger ridges for extra non-slip comfort...
  • Water resistant
13. ARCHEER 16x52 Monocular Dual Focus Optics Zoom Telescope
16x52 Monocular Dual Focus Optics Zoom Telescope, Day & Low Night Vision, for Birds...
  • 16X52 MAGNIFICATION - See things 16X closer and Get Clearer and...
  • Muilt-coated optics upgraded version of the green AR, Dual focus...
  • Low Night Vision and Easy focusing: With low-light-level night vision...
  • Waterproof and Fogproof: Great for any weather and any environment....
  • What you got: 1x 16x52 Monocular, 1 x Bag, Seller's 40 days money back...
14. MeeQee 10 x 42 Dual Focus Monocular Telescope
Telescope Monocular, 10X42 Dual Focus Monocular Telescope, Prism Film Optics, Tripod Capable, Waterproof,...
  • 10X42 HIGH POWER MAGNIFICATION -To see 10X closer with a clear and...
  • LARGE BAK-4 PRISM AND FULLY MULTI-COATED LENS - guarantee superior...
  • ADJUSTABLE EYE CUPS – Perfect for Eye-Glass Wearers. Adjustable eye...
  • REVOLUTIONARY OPTICAL STRUCTURE PLUS NEW LARGER ONE-HAND FOCUS WHEEL...
  • WATERPROOF, DUST-PROOF, AND SHOCKPROOF DESIGN - Make it the most...
15. Bestguarder 6x50mm HD Digital Night Vision Monocular with 1.5 inch TFT LCD and Camera
Bestguarder 6x50mm HD Digital Night Vision Monocular with 1.5 inch TFT LCD and Camera & Camcorder Function...
  • 1). outstanding optical clarity: 5Mega CMOS sensor; high performance...
  • 2). long viewing distance: built in 850Nm infrared illuminator for up...
  • 3). user friendly interface: built-in 1. 5” TFT screen with setting...
  • 4). MULTIPLE FUNCTION: Night Hunting and Scouting game; Security and...
  • 5). LIFETIME : PX4 water-resistant housing; Tripod mountable (2 tripod...
16. Vortex Optics Solo R/T 8x36 Monocular
Vortex Optics Solo R/T 8x36 Monocular
  • The Solo Recon Tactical Monocular with 8x magnification and a 36mm...
  • Fully multi-coated lenses with anti-reflective coatings, the Solo R/T...
  • A large focus wheel and the smaller reticle focus allow the user to...
  • The Solo R/T comes complete with a utility clip which attaches easily...
  • Textured rubber armor provides added grip and durability. O-ring...
17. Vortex Optics Solo Monocular 10x36
Vortex Optics Solo Monocular 10x36
  • 10x magnification and 36mm objectives lens, the Solo Monocular is a...
  • The monocular is fully rubber armored providing a non-slip grip to...
  • Nitrogen purged and o-ring sealed, the Solo delivers waterproof and...
  • The adjustable eyecup allows for comfortable viewing with or without...
  • The 36mm Solo comes with a versatile, multi-position utility clip for...
18. Vortex Optics Solo Monocular 8x25
Vortex Optics Solo Monocular 8x25
  • 8x magnification and 25mm objectives lens, the Solo Monocular is a...
  • The monocular is fully rubber armored providing a non-slip grip to...
  • Nitrogen purged and o-ring sealed, the Solo delivers waterproof and...
  • The adjustable eyecup allows for comfortable viewing with or without...
19. Monocular Telescope High Power 8x42 Monoculars Scope
Monocular Telescope High Power 8x42 Monoculars Scope Compact Portable Waterproof Fogproof Shockproof with Hand...
  • 【WIDE-ANGLE AND HD VIEW】High quality precision design featuring...
  • 【LIFE-WATERPROOF, FOGPROOF, DUST-PROOF, SHOCKPROOF】Nitrogen-filled...
  • 【High Quality】The 8x42 monocular is made of high quality material....
  • 【Comfortable Convenient】This compact monocular (5.7''x1.9''x1.5'')...
  • 【Wide Application And Satisfaction Warranty】The Easy focusing HD...
20. Barska NVX100 3x Night Vision Monocular with Built in Camera
Barska NVX100 3x Night Vision Monocular with Built in Camera
  • 4 GB micro SD card, mini USB cable, AV cable, neck strap and soft...
  • Exit pupil (mm): 20, minimum Focus range (ft./M): 0.3/1
  • Display images and videos on TV and easily transfer files to computer
  • Lighting System luminance and IR Wavelength: 3W infrared LED and 850nm
  • Video recording Format: that264

Monoculars Vs. Binoculars

The monocular performs the same functions when compared to binoculars, in regards to allowing you to view objects from far away more clearly. In fact, both these devices use similar technology. The series of lenses and prisms work on bouncing light around so that it can be magnified and produce images that are clearer than you can achieve from just eyesight alone.

Yet, the monocular is not identical when compared to binoculars. They instead, offer various benefits which often make these a smarter choice for a variety of users that are interested in observing nature, seeing better, along with engaging in other activities that requires seeing from a distance. Here are a few of the benefits:

Monoculars Are Compact

The drawback of the binoculars usually has to do with their larger size and they are heavier. Even the most compact binoculars can become heavy when used for many hours at a time. In addition, you may need a tripod when you use binoculars for extended periods to prevent arm fatigue. This means you may feel reluctant to use them when you have a hard time seeing something.

Monoculars are compact and lightweight. With many models that weigh under a pound. The mini versions are even lighter. You can easily use these devices for longer periods without any discomfort, even when you use a tripod. Monoculars also fit easily into a pocket or a bag. Due to the compact size, it is easier to carry your monoculars wherever you may be going.

Monoculars Are Convenient

The binoculars can become inconvenient when you need to carry them around with you. Due to their size, many models are heavy and often require a carrying case. If you are traveling light you may not want to bring a pair of binoculars with. In addition, binoculars will often need a tripod if you plan to use them for extended periods, and they take up more effort and time to use especially for a concert or casual trips.

The monoculars, on the other hand, are convenient to travel with. As previously mentioned, many users don’t mind carrying their monoculars at all times. They are easy to use, for reading signs, identifying hunting targets, or spotting a bird. Once you are done it is easy to slip back into your pocket or bag. You do not need a tripod or have to worry about a complicated set-up or the need to haul around additional equipment.

Monoculars Only Require That You Use One Eye

Binoculars need you to use both of your eyes in order to view images. In some cases, certain uses struggle to obtain a focus that is clear when using both eyes. Other users only have 1 eye which is working properly, which makes it impossible or very difficult to use a pair of binoculars.

The monoculars only need one eye to work. Due to this benefit, these are the ideal products for people with a vision impairment or people that struggle to focus when using both eyes. This also makes them more compact and easier to transport with you.

Monocular Types

Monoculars are divided into various types according to their features. Here is a list of the more common monocular types.

1. Infrared Monoculars

These monoculars use a wavelength that is different from light in order to illuminate objects you would like to view when it is dark. These are generally used as a type of night-vision monocular. In most cases, this type of technology can be either turned off or on, which means you can use this device for both night and daytime use. The infrared monoculars are usually affordable and just about invisible. Some of these monoculars do come with red lights which are visible which may disturb the animals or birds that you are observing or hunting.

2. Thermal Imaging Monoculars

This is another night-vision monocular which work on detecting heat which is emitted by animals, people or other types of objects. They use the heat to then develop pictures of these objects at night. This type of monocular can be used at night and during the daytime without the need to switch the modes like you would with the infrared monocular.

These monoculars make it easy to find animals in foliage while you are hunting which makes it one of the top choices for night-vision monoculars. The absence of a red light also makes them less visible and in certain ways a better choice over the infrared monoculars.

3. Compact Monoculars

Just about every monocular is compact and this is one of the main advantages over binoculars. Yet, certain models are even more compact. These viewing devices that are ultra-small are very convenient to travel with and typically a few inches smaller when compared to the normal models. This means they will fit easily into a purse or a pocket.

Most of the compact models come with lens diameters and magnifications that are also smaller. While these specs translate into optics that are less powerful, they can still offer clear views for the everyday activities for viewing such as sign reading, concerts and more. They also are usually cheaper than the normal sized models.

4. Night Vision Monoculars

These models are mainly used at night. They are usually a popular choice for hunting, for spotting targets when it is dark. These monoculars typically feature thermal imaging or infrared. This means you have a choice in your preferred technology when you decide to invest in a pair of night-vision monoculars. Depending on the brand you might be able to use these models during the day as well.

Buying Guide: Important Things To Consider Before You Buy Monoculars

Monoculars are a compromise that is between a binocular and a telescope. They offer excellent magnification and also are more portable and compact. Just like other optical devices, there are important things you need to know before purchasing a monocular.

Magnification

A monocular’s basic designation, similar to binoculars, is represented by two main numbers – the first one represents its magnification while the second one is the lens diameter. As you might have thought, the magnifying power describes how much an image is enlarged. Smaller magnification power enables for greater fields of views, and high magnification power allows you to see objects from far distances.

Lens Coating

A monocular’s lenses are made out of special kinds of optical glass that, in a majority of cases, refracts part of the light, and then, in turn, produces a darker image. In order to improve the brightness of the image, the lenses are coated by the manufacturers with special chemicals to improve the optical capabilities of the lens. A monocular lens coating may be a single coating offering reduct or glare or maybe multi-coated for the transmission of improved light, or completely multicoated for a brighter image and maximum light transition.

A majority of low-end monocular has coated optics, while a majority of high-end monoculars come with fully multicoated lenses. It also is important to know that the lens coating protects the lenses from scratches and water as well.

Prism

Monoculars, just like binoculars, have prisms for magnifying the image. There are three kinds of prisms, and they are all used in monoculars: Galilean prisms, Roof Prisms, and Porro prisms. By far, the Porro prism system is the most popular type for monoculars. In most high magnification ones, it is usually the roof prism system. A Galilean prism system provides lesser magnification and also has a field of view that is similar, and that is why you won’t many monocular that have this specific system.

Exit Pupil Size

This represents the ratio between the power of magnification and the diameter of the lens. The exit pupil size is what determines how much light reaches your eye. Therefore, a larger exit pupil size produces a better light transmission that results in a sharper, brighter image even when there are low light conditions.

When it comes to exit pupil size, one interesting fact is that it closely relates to the user’s eye condition and age. The condition Presbyopia is when the eye pupil, with age, loses its dilation, so when you are selecting a monocular we recommend that you consider your vision capabilities.

Field of View

This represents the width of an area when standing a distance of 1000 yards away. It relates closely to the magnification of power, which means that the field of view increases as magnification decreases and vice versa.

There are many comments that can be found on the internet that states that binoculars offer a wider field of view compared to monoculars. However, that is not true because basically, monoculars are half of a binocular. A pair of binoculars and a monocular from the same manufacturer have the same field of view, with the only difference being that when you look through a monocular you will not be able to perceive depth.

Eye Relief

With any type of optical device, one of the most essential parameters is eye relief, particularly if you wear glasses. This relief represents what the maximum distance is from where you can hold your monocular away from your eye and be able to see the whole image still. We recommend that if you wear glasses that you don’t both having a monocular that has a less than 15 millimeter of eye relief. You will have a difficult time being able to see anything through it.

Night Vision

Monoculars that have night vision capabilities are the type that is the most prevalent in the marketplace. Night vision monoculars enable you to use infrared technology to see at night. They are mainly used by the military and police for scouting and surveillance.

Night Vision Monoculars, compared to regular monoculars, are more cumbersome since they need to have batteries to operate. Compared to night vision binoculars, they are still a little less expensive, so they can make a good stepping stone into using night vision optics later.

Focusing Mechanism

The focusing system is one of the more important features that monoculars have. Although a central focusing system is used by binoculars, monoculars have a wide range of various focusing systems. Those different focusing systems have both advantages and disadvantages.

There is a big knurled focusing ring on some monocular bodies, while on others there is a small focusing ring near the eyepiece. Other types of focusing systems are a focusing lever, a sliding focusing button, and others.

A knurled focusing ring that is around the body is the most common focusing system used in monoculars since it allows the unit to be more compact, but the trade-off is you need to use both of your hands to use it. The small focusing ring near the eyepiece also need both hands to operate it but is also less convenient. However, both focusing systems are very fast, since a majority of the time you can go from the minimum up to the maximum focus in just one turn of its focusing wheel.

Budget monoculars mainly come with an external focusing wheel, in addition to some high-end ones. This system provides smooth and one-handed fast focusing, which in some cases is important, but having extra weight is the trade-off. Other kinds of focusing system are fairly rare, s we won’t be discussing them here.

Accessories and Build Quality

When buying any device to use outdoors, pay close attention to the quality of its build. Similar to the chassis of binoculars, high-end monocular chassis is made out of magnesium, and there are low-end ones that are made out of hard plastics. Monoculars, like binoculars, have rubber armoring with a non-slip grip surface.

Fog proofing and waterproofing are other important features. High-end monoculars come with waterproofing sealed rings to protect it against water damage, including total submersion. A majority of high-end monoculars and even some of the low-end ones come with a nitrogen internal atmosphere which prevents fogging of the interior when they are exposed to fast temperature changes.

In terms of accessories, lens caps come with all monoculars. Some lens caps are integrated into the body, and others come with removable ones. For improved image stability, many models may be mounted onto a tripod. There are some models that have a tripod mount, but at times those are very flimsy, and so we recommend you check out the reviews before you choose one. At a minimum, most monoculars have a tripod mount or an option for having an adapter.

How To Take Care Of Your Monocular

Basically, monoculars are low maintenance instruments. Now that you have invested in one, or are going to, you will want your new device to last. The following are some tips that will help you keep your monocular in top condition for a long time into the future.

  • When you buy a monocular, it comes with an instruction manual that tells you how to clean it correctly. Always carefully read the instructions and then follow them. The manufacturer will provide you with the best ways of keeping the monocular in top condition while you are cleaning it and afterward.
  • Use a case. It is very important to protect your monocular whenever you are not using it. Having a good case will help to protect it from moisture, dust, grime, and dirt.
  • When cleaning, use a lint-free soft cloth. A cloth will usually come with your monocular. Don’t just use any rag or towel, and also wash your monocular cloth anytime it looks dirty.
  • After your monocular is used outdoors, wipe the lens clean. You might want to add a few drops of rubbing alcohol in order to remove dirt and smudges from the lens.
  • Store your monocular in a place that is dry. Moisture and chemical may corrode your monocular. Even if the device is waterproof, make sure it is kept in a dry location in order to avoid damage and corrosion.

A little maintenance can help to guarantee your monocular will last a long time. Cleaning it on a regular basis will also enhance your outdoor viewing experience makes it more enjoyable.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What gives a monocular its power?

A: That is a great question that not too many know the answer to. In the world that we live in, it seems that everything we have needs to be plugged into something or charge – you may be wondering, how are monoculars powered? Truthfully, many monoculars are simple optical instruments. There isn’t anything needed, including batteries, in order for these basic machines to work. The only thing that you need to is to point the monocular, focus it and then look through its lens.

Q: Are monoculars all smart phone adaptable?

A: No, truthfully, smartphone adaptive features are very new to the industry. Throughout the article, if you have noticed, there are just a couple of product that has specifically stated the ability or use to connect with a smartphone. Unless previously mention, assume that you cannot. If you are interested in a monocular with smartphone capabilities then we strongly suggest the product that is on this list.

Q: What is the main difference between focus and zoom?

A: When it comes to the binocular or monocular word, there are some terminologies that are misunderstood quite often. Focus and zoom are two of the most common terms. In order to help you, we will break this down for you.

Whenever a monocular brand is discussing zoom features, this one is distinct and enables a person to use the telescope for scanning an area of land across various distances. For instance, if there was a rare and special bird a couple of miles away, a person could use a monocular for gaining better sight of the bird. On the other hand, the focus feature allows the consumers to make their image that they are viewing clearer after zooming.

Typically this is a simple wheel or button.

Q: Does a monocular work well at night?

A: Many different monoculars work for a broad range of uses. These monoculars are best for bird watchers and hikers, and then there are monoculars for those who like to use them at nighttime. A regular monocular typically will underperform at night, which makes it hard to operate them. So, if you would like a monocular that works during the night, then you will need to buy a monocular that is formulated specifically with night vision.

Q: What is the purpose of lens coatings?

A: Simply put, they cut down the glare that may be entering into your monocular along with images you want to be able to see more closely. Lens coatings cut down on extraneous light and will prevent it from getting inside your eye. In general, there are three different types of coating. The first one is coated, and this is the lowest end type of coating and only should be used whenever you are looking at something where there is no direct light on the lens. The next level is fully coated, and they are coated with a complete material layer. They are good but should not be used when you are in direct sunlight. The final two, multi-coated and multi-coated are where all of the action is. If you have a monocular with one of the last two designations then you will be receiving a product that will stand up to almost anything other than pointing at the sun (something you shouldn’t ever do).

Q: Should a lower magnification ever be used?

A: Yes, actually there is. The higher that the magnification is, the lower that the field of view is, and the more difficult it is getting a good image since every movement you make are magnified as much as the image is. So if you are considering photography, then you should consider a lens with lower magnification, maybe 8, 6 or 5x magnification. When it comes to the field of view, the smaller the amount of ground you will see, the higher that the magnification is. That can be discouraging and force you to look from your monocular in order to get your bearings before you look into the lens again. It really depends on what you want to use a monocular for, but just don’t decide that the highest magnification is the best automatically or that one size fits all.

Conclusion

You now have all of the most important information available, hopefully, you can now find the best monocular for your needs. Make sure to consider everything ranging from lens size to magnification and think about what features are most important to you. So whether you choose portability or power might depend on what you are using your monocular for.

As you are narrowing the options down and then make your final decision, then take into consideration our buying guide and monocular reviews. It is great seeing so many products that are available in today’s market to suit every budget level. Also, while quality and competition are increasing, prices continue to get lower. As a result, we are confident that you will be able to find a good monocular.

References

Best Monoculars ( Top 3 Picks )

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Wingspan Optics Explorer High Powered 12X50 Monocular. Bright and Clear. Single Hand Focus. Waterproof. Fog...
Professional's Choice
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ROXANT High Definition Ultra-Light Mini Monocular Pocket Scope - Carrying case, Neck Strap and Cleaning Cloth...
Image
Wingspan Optics Explorer High Powered 12X50 Monocular. Bright and Clear. Single Hand Focus. Waterproof. Fog...
Vortex Optics VMX-3T Magnifier with Built-in Flip Mount
ROXANT High Definition Ultra-Light Mini Monocular Pocket Scope - Carrying case, Neck Strap and Cleaning Cloth...
Price
$54.92
$195.00
$19.95
Prime
Our Rating
Editor’s Choice & Best Seller
Product
Wingspan Optics Explorer High Powered 12X50 Monocular. Bright and Clear. Single Hand Focus. Waterproof. Fog...
Image
Wingspan Optics Explorer High Powered 12X50 Monocular. Bright and Clear. Single Hand Focus. Waterproof. Fog...
Price
$54.92
Prime
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon
Professional's Choice
Product
Vortex Optics VMX-3T Magnifier with Built-in Flip Mount
Image
Vortex Optics VMX-3T Magnifier with Built-in Flip Mount
Price
$195.00
Prime
Our Rating
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View on Amazon
Best Value
Product
ROXANT High Definition Ultra-Light Mini Monocular Pocket Scope - Carrying case, Neck Strap and Cleaning Cloth...
Image
ROXANT High Definition Ultra-Light Mini Monocular Pocket Scope - Carrying case, Neck Strap and Cleaning Cloth...
Price
$19.95
Prime
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon

Last update on 2019-11-07 / Rating by Author / Affiliate links, Images, Descriptions & Price from Amazon Product Advertising API

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