A monocular is a great alternative to binoculars as it is literally half the size, half the weight and so much easier to carry.
With the latest advances in technology, they’ve become infinitely lighter, compact and portable all the while improving in optical quality and magnification. Our team of professionals have reviewed the best monoculars based on power, weight, quality and value for money.
They are lightweight, easy to carry and fit in almost any pocket with ease. (Some people feel that using only one eye leads to fatigue but this complaint isn’t too common.) Mostly, people who use a monocular love their simplicity.
Since there’s only one scope, you can also opt for a larger, higher quality lens without compromising on weight. In fact, you may even find that many models outperform a lot of their dual-scope counterparts. This is because it’s a lot easier to quickly focus one eye perfectly, than to struggle with focus and eye-spacing on binocs.
Related Article: Best Binoculars for Whale Watching
Wingspan Optics Explorer 12×50 Waterproof Monocular
Our firm favorite at number one is the Wingspan Optics Explorer.
This impressive 12X50 magnification are the most powerful and best monoculars on the market at this time. (The 12×50 indicates that you view objects 12x closer and the 50mm lens provides a wider, brighter and clearer range of view).
As if that wasn’t enough, this manual focus model have a non-slip finish giving you a secure grip even in the wet, rain conditions. Rainy and dusty environments are also not a problem as the designers of the Wingspan Explorer have made it waterproof and dust proof. This guy is absolutely ideal in all weather and conditions.
The only drawback is it can get tiring to hold with one hand for extended periods. Oh wait, Wingspan has included a Tripod so there are 100% zero drawbacks to owning this impressive instrument.
This is by far the best option if you are a keen bird or wildlife watcher. It you are looking to invest in a piece of technology that is practical, durable and excellent quality, the Wingspan will suit your bird watching needs for years to come.
Although not designed for the main purpose of stargazing, the 50mm lens allows in enough light enable you to use it in low light. So if you have brought them along on a camping trip, they will keep you entertained into the early evening.
Roxant Grip Scope Wide View 6×30
The number 2 selection and is the brilliantly price Roxant Lightweight 6X30 pocket monocular.
Don’t be fooled by the small size of this impressive piece of technology. It has a high definition, all glass, multi coated optical lens. This guarantees excellent light and brightness for a crisp and clear view.
We just love the wide view of this compact, high quality gadget. It has a retractable eyecup ideal for use if you wear glasses. Additionally, it is durable with a non-slip grip making it easy to hold steady in one hand.
The lens unfortunately does not come with a cap but Roxant conveniently provides a carry pouch, cleaning cloth and neck strap so you can keep it clean and protected.
It’s a must for hiking, hunting, camping and nature watching. This is also the perfect tool for outdoorsmen and sportsmen. It can be used in a variety of activities including archery, target shooting and water sports.
It’s also very well priced making it ideal as a gift and for use by scouts and young teenager who enjoys exploring the outdoors. The wide lens also offers diversity in that it can be used for star and moon gazing around a campfire.
Vortex Optics Solo 10×25 Waterproof
The Vortex Optics Solo 12X25 is lightweight, compact, is coated in an easy to grip rubber armor and has the added bonus of being waterproof.
It is durable and shockproof so ideal for taking along on hikes and carrying in your pocket. It has as adjustable eyecup for comfortable viewing both with and without glasses.
You may find there is a bit of shake with the 25 lens. This is to be expected on the larger lenses but can easily be remedied by supporting yourself against a tree or solid object.
It allows in excellent light and delivers a clear, crisp view.
This product is well suited for you if you wear glasses and are looking for a compact, durable, waterproof viewer that you can simply pull out and use in any conditions. This product is also backed by the Vortex warranty so you can simply have your monocular fixed or replaced should it take any damage.
Best Night Vision Monoculars Firefield 5×50 Nightfall 2
The night vision Firefield 5X50 Nightfall 2 provides a high quality, high resolution image, being one of the largest objective lenses available.
It’s battery powered (2 AA batteries required) and has an easy grip design. It is compact, lightweight, durable and weather resistant. The Firefield Nightfall’s are also infrared, which you can turn on when needed. What more could you ask for in such a neat little package.
You will need to make adjustments on both the front and back lenses to get your vision in focus. You may find the lens adjustment a bit stiff. Once set however, your focus settings should remain the same and only need slight adjustment.
They have a wide range of uses but are well suited if you are looking for a lightweight and compact option for night hunting, surveillance, stargazing or even neighborhood watch.
Roxant 7×18 for Kids
Roxant also offers a smaller and more compact high definition Mini Pocket Scope if you looking for something inexpensive. Although less powerful than the Authentic ROXANT Grip Scope reviewed above, the 7×18 performs perfectly and will not break the bank. It is also surprisingly durable and solid so will easily handle a little rough handling.
It offers all the features of its bigger cousin, only the magnification and view area is slightly less powerful. Although the ideal price and size for children, this is by no means a toy.
The 7×18 High Definition Mini Pocket Scope is also perfectly suited for sportsmen, target practice, hunting and camping trips.
We recommend it for children as it is small, light and will not add much weight to a backpack. It is perfect for closer viewing and easy to use so will give children hours of entertainment as well as the feeling of pride and responsibility that comes with owning such a cool gadget.
Monoculars have increased in popularity in the bird and nature communities as they are half the weight of binoculars and encase equal power and performance. Many people battle to use and focus with binoculars.
They are incredibly easy and convenient to pop in your pocket on a hike and pull them out whenever needed. Being as lightweight as they are, they do not add to your pack weight which is a great benefit if you prefer to travel light.
Some Extra Reasons You’d Buy a Monocular
2 Key Factors to Consider When Buying
When looking at the products description you will see two numbers, 12×50. The “12x” is the magnification power and the “50” represents the lens size. The larger the lens is, the wider and brighter your view will be.
Size and Weight
Keep in mind that the bigger the lens, the heavier the overall device becomes.
For a lightweight pocket option, you should generally be looking at about a 8×25 or 10×25. These have adequate power but because the lens is small, your view is limited and the eye-cap for viewing is generally quite small. For a sharper and wider view, look at a 30mm lens and up.
Smaller models are easier to hold and keep steady. The larger the magnification, the more shake you will have so it would be best to use larger lenses with a tripod.
Video Review of the Night Vision Capabilities of the Nightfall 2
We hope you have found our review helpful and informative. If you have anything to add or would like to share how this little device has improved your hiking or animal watching experiences, please share in the comments below. Enjoy the view.