Night Vision Monocular vs Binoculars: A Comparative Analysis Between Night Vision Binoculars & Night Vision Monoculars

Last Updated on March 9, 2021

Night Vision Monocular vs Binoculars, which one is perfect for you? And why? This question will come to your mind very often whether you are a hiker, a hunter, or an observer. Mostly, when you are trying to figure out the best night vision device for you. Well, this in-depth article is to ease the choice between monoculars and binoculars.

Every tool has some specific purposes that cannot be served by other tools. Whenever it is necessary to see long-distance clearly, binoculars or monocular is the tool that anyone desires for. But the choice will differ since seeing things clear at a distant place is a hobby for some people while a necessity for others.

Monocular vs Binoculars: Which One is Better to Buy?

Both devices are great in some specific applications. You just need to choose according to your necessity. In short, monoculars are great for mobility, lightweight use like bird watching, hiking, golfing, etc. While binoculars are great for better viewing and observing stationary objects like stargazing, watching sports, hunting, etc.

Famous movies and games have played a vital role in popularizing the use of different night vision devices. At the beginning of night vision technology, it was used mainly in warfare and by soldiers. But the situation has changed a lot. Now general people can have access to the latest night vision gears. But one fact to keep in mind all types of top-quality night vision devices like awesome night vision scopes, cool goggles, monoculars, binoculars, etc. do not come in handy for each situation. For example, night vision binoculars or monocular is a must for ship commanders, navigators, and sometimes for hunters, hikers, wildlife observer, etc. while night vision scope is a must for snipers.

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What are Binoculars

What are binoculars

There is hardly any person who hasn’t used binoculars once in life. And binoculars are the most common optic devices in the world. In easy terms, binoculars are dual tube system optic devices with built-in magnification power. Its name also indicates the same meaning. Greek word bi means two or dual and oculus mean eyes.

In general, most of the top quality night vision binoculars are heavy due to their large magnification lenses or dual tube system. And you cannot comfortably use heavy optic devices as a head mount. For head mount usage, top-notch night vision goggles are the best. Actually, most of the binoculars are designed to be used by both hands, yet there are varieties in sizes such as opera glasses, pedestal mounted military models. And for a specific task, you can have several options to choose from binoculars like there are birding binoculars, binoculars for hunting, astronomy binoculars, etc and they are available at various price ranges.

Some Next Level Binocs

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What is a Monocular

What is a monocular

In easy terms, monoculars can be considered just one side of binoculars. That means an optical device that is used for one eye and works as a single tube system. The name is also self-explanatory. Mono means one and you already know what Oculus means.

Monocular in general comes handy wherever binoculars are hard to be used.

Some Next Level Monocular

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Monocular vs Binoculars (Facts You Need to Know)

Below are the key factors you must know before jumping to a decision. On a short note, you should have a clear understanding of the working principle of night vision.

Depth Perception

Depth perception helps you know the position or distance of your target much clearly. So this is one of the most important things while you are trying to observe distant things. In the case of finding targets, monitoring enemy movements, guarding border clear depth perception is a must. For enjoying the wildlife and similar things, a depth perception is a great option.

Since binoculars use two eyes, they provide great vivid and clear images. Your brain needs two eyes to generate a 3-D image. That’s why they offer great depth perception and comfort for both eyes.

On the other hand, a monocular is a one-eye device. They don’t offer depth perception as great as binoculars but they are a great choice for backpackers and hikers.


Weight and Size

Nowadays, night vision devices are getting smaller and lighter than the previous ones. Yet you have to choose your required device wisely, otherwise, you will suffer in the long run. When you are on a long trip, each pound matters. Keep in mind that, ounces=pounds and pounds=pain.

Generally, binoculars are heavier than monoculars. Because binoculars have a dual tube system and monocular has a single tube. For the same reason binoculars are large in size and monocular is smaller. So you can fit a monocular in your bug-out bag and even in your pocket very easily.

Ease of the Eyes

Binoculars require two eyes at the same time. That means you will have the same view at the same time. That’s very normal for the brain to process the view. But you will not be able to monitor the surroundings outside of binoculars.

For monocular, you always have one eye free to observe the surroundings. But most people will find it hard to cope up with the diversified view of two eyes. One eye is using the magnified view and another is viewing normal things. In most cases, you will have a headache after using a monocular for a long period.

NV Monoculars vs NV Binoculars: Versatility of Use


Binoculars are always used handheld. When you are using binoculars, both of your hands are occupied. This situation can be risky in some conditions. For example, while observing wildlife at night, it is better to keep one hand always free.

Monocular is small, lightweight, and compact in all aspects. You can use your monocular with one hand very easily, with a head mount or helmet or strap. All these options are very handy for specific requirements. Even you can fit your monocular night vision on your rifle or other weapons. This weapon mount option can be a key difference. There are some similarities between a monocular and spotting scope in that respect.

Best Use of Night Vision Monoculars

Monoculars are the best options when you need to keep your one hand and eye free, you need fast movement flexibility. And you have budget limitations as well. Therefore, you can use monoculars for the following tasks,

  • Bird Watching
  • Hiking
  • Golfing
  • Spotting Objects
  • Night Vision Adventure

Best Use of Night Vision Binoculars

Binoculars allow you to see with both eyes. So you will always have a better depth feeling with them. Binoculars are more weighty and pricey than monoculars. And they are good if you need to observe stationary things. Binoculars are better for,

  • Racing Observations
  • Hunting (Stationary)
  • Stage Performance
  • Tracking


Price is a great key factor while buying anything. Binoculars are dual tube optics while monocular is a single tube system. In general, binoculars cost much than monoculars. But there can be some exceptions in the case of generation and night vision options like the Vortex Razor Scope.


Whether you are looking for binoculars or monoculars it is quite evident that you want a device with magnification. But it is a must to know that stronger magnification is not always the best option for you. What? Yes, you heard right. More magnification or powerful magnification is really hard to keep steady and focus properly. So whatever you choose, choose wisely.

These are the most important facts that you must know if you are finding it difficult to choose between binocular and monocular.

Night Vision Monocular Vs Binoculars

Night Vision Monocular vs Binoculars

While buying an optic device, you should always think about how many options you actually need. If you have enough budget, why not take an upgraded device with many more options?

After knowing above mentioned factors, now you hopefully know whether you need binoculars or a monocular and can confidently face monocular vs binocular challenge. For quality night vision monocular or binoculars, the only difference from regular devices is the night vision option. Once you have decided which device you need between binoculars or monoculars you can easily avail of one with a night vision option.

Now you know the important differences between binocular and monoculars. But you still need to know further decisive factors for monocular night vision and binoculars. For more detailed knowledge, you can go through some forums on night vision.


For night vision, you must know your environment first. Will you be on a pitch-black night? Or there is be enough light? Will you always go out on a full moon? Do you wish to explore on a rainy night? Different weather affects the light and visibility in a different way. For a diverse situation, it’s always better to have a weatherproof device.


In easy terms, gain means the relative light level that your night vision device will encounter. The higher the gain, the brighter the image. So if you are a hunter, you need something better again. But always remember that, though higher gain means a brighter image, a brighter image is not always required in every situation at night. Therefore, choose wisely. It will also help you in shooting targets with ease.


In the journey of night vision technology, so far we have three generations of devices. Gen 1, Gen 2, and Gen 3. Among them, Gen 3 devices are better than the previous two generations. If you have no tight budget, you should go for the latest devices of Gen 3. They are designed to provide better resolution, battery backup, and other things.

Magnification and Movement

You should take a device with lower magnification if you are moving out there at night. During mobility, high magnification will easily throw objects out of view and makes it hard to realize the actual situation. On the contrary, for a stationary position, you can go for a high magnification device. So decide wisely depending on the field of your use.

Some Technical Terms of Night Vision Monoculars and Night Vision Binoculars

Lens & Prisms

Lens and prisms do the main task of monoculars and binoculars. In general, there are three types of prisms. They are,

  • Porro
  • Galilean
  • Roof
Binocular Prisms

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Among them, Galilean prisms were used in the first developed monoculars. Later, while developing the modern binoculars, Porro and Roof prisms were introduced. Galilean prisms are the most basic ones. They have less magnification than others and therefore, cost less. Porro prisms are better in performance than Galilean ones. If you want to cover a small distance, then Porros based optics are good for you. And the Roof prisms are the most advanced ones. They are for heavy-duty performance.

Monoculars are single tube devices, therefore, they require only one lens and prism. On the other hand, binoculars need double of them. So they cost more than monoculars.

Ocular and Objective Lenses

There are two types of lenses on these devices. The nearby lenses of the viewer’s eye are called ocular lenses. The word “Ocular” means of the eye or connected to the eye.

The other set of lenses is placed in front of the device. An easy way to remember is, objective lenses are closer to the object. Good objective lenses are important even in daytime gaming i.e. .22lr squirrel stalking with scopes.

Pair of Numbers

Each device has a pair of numbers. For example, you have a device with 10X42 numbers. The first number 10 means the number of times an object is magnified. If you are looking at a hill, it will appear ten times closer or larger than seeing with the normal eye. The second number is the diameter of objective lenses.

Field of View


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FOV aka field of view indicated the visible area that you can access from the monocular or binoculars. More FOV means more visibility. And with a larger FOV, you will have a better view.  With binoculars, you will always have better visibility since you are seeing with both eyes. But that doesn’t mean binoculars are always the best option for you. You have to choose according to your necessity.

And another important fact is, you have to balance between your necessity and the magnification. Since higher magnification reduces the field of view.

Eye Relief

Eye relief is measured in mm. It denotes the distance from the viewer’s eye to the device’s eyepiece. Eye relief should be at least 10 mm and 15 mm will provide a great result. So you must put your eyes on maintaining a certain distance. If you see from far or from very close to your device, you will fail to have a great view.

Exit Pupil

It is also measured in mm. Exit pupil is the width of the area through which light passes. The more the width, the more the light will pass. Therefore, you will get a clear image.


The key factor to face the night vision monocular vs binoculars dilemma successfully is to know your requirement completely. The nature of the environment, mobility, whether you will hunt or just monitor something, etc. This article will help you know your requirements better and solve the problems in the night vision. I wish you a great night viewing experience!

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