Night vision goggles or night vision devices (NVDs) are optical devices which allow you to see clearly in the dark. Earlier used by soldiers in the military and by other professionals, night vision goggles have become very popular today and are used widely for recreational and other purposes such as nighttime hunting, exploration, sports, observing nature and animals.
Night vision goggles come in varied shapes, sizes and types, which can make buying the right one for you rather confusing and tricky. Not only do you need to know what to buy, you must also understand the one that will function the best for your requirements, whether for tactical purposes or for recreation.
This is where our buying guide can help you. Here, we have reviewed some of the best night vision goggles available on the market and also discussed the features that you should evaluate before buying an NVD.
Best Night Vision Goggles Under $1000
Best Night Vision Goggles Under $500
Best Night Vision Goggles Under $1000
Take a look on our top recommendations for the best night vision goggles under $1000:
Winner: Pulsar Edge Night Vision Goggle
Love the thrill of hunting at night? Then you should definitely consider buying the Pulsar Edge Night Vision Goggle, which is the perfect accessory to have in your arsenal. The Pulsar goggle offers an excellent combination of a binocular and a night vision device, which makes it the perfect device for brush hunting.
The goggle is equipped with a 20 mm diameter lens which gives you a 1x magnification and the wide angular field of view of the Pulsar goggle offers superior depth perception. The goggle is extremely comfortable and offers adequate spatial orientation, which means that lets you estimate the distance between various objects or your distance from an object accurately.
The goggle is equipped with a CF-super image intensifier tube that gives excellent performance and the 5-lens wide-angle eyepiece helps to reduce any distortions.
The Pulsar goggle features an R-contact optical system which offers a very high resolution and it also has lenses that are multi-coated and offer a crystal-clear view. The various controls including the IR power adjustment dial are located conveniently at the top of the goggle.
The night vision goggle has a bright and powerful IR illuminator that conserves energy and allows you to operate the goggle for prolonged periods of time.
The Pulsar goggle runs on 2 AAA batteries and you can also adjust the power of the goggles as per your requirement. You can use the Pulsar goggle as a handheld device or you can mount it on the head mount which comes along with the unit.
The Pulsar night vision goggle has a protection system that stops or reduces the amount of exposure to light automatically when it reaches the threshold level and the special optics gives the best performance in terms of the resolution. The eyepiece of the goggle has rubber caps which increases the wearer’s comfort and also reduces light emissions.
The Pulsar goggle is made of fiberglass, which makes it lightweight and the sealed housing of the goggle makes it water and dustproof, which allows you to use it in any kind of environment.
The goggle makes use of the illuminator and reflects the light from the objects instead of making use of the ambient light around. The Pulsar goggle is perfect for mid-range and close viewing.
The Pulsar Edge is a versatile night vision goggle that is ideal for several applications such as gaming, hunting, navigation, home security, etc. All the features of the device make it the best night vision goggles.
Runner-Up: Armasight Spark-G Night Vision Goggle
Planning on buying night vision goggles for all your nighttime activities? The Armasight goggle from FLIR is an excellent night vision device that is an excellent monocular device that can be used either on your right or left eye.
It offers a resolution of 60-70 lines per millimeter and a 1x magnification. The goggle gives you a 35o wide field view and the focus range of the goggle is a minimum of around 0.25 m.
The Armasight Spark Goggles features the CORE IIT or Ceramic Optical Ruggedized Engine image intensifier tube that produces a high resolution of 60 to 70 lp/mm and over 400 µA/lm sensitivity levels that helps to minimize the distortion of the edges.
The CORE IITs of the Armasight goggle are made by fusing metallic alloys with ceramic compounds, which make them durable and tough, unlike the IITs of Gen 1 devices which are made of glass and are extremely fragile.
The Armasight goggle has elements which are stacked very tightly that makes the image tubes resistant to vibrations and shockproof and this protects the image tubes from any breakages. This also makes the Armasight goggle ergonomically designed and compact.
All these features make the Armasight Spark sturdy, rugged and durable compared to other goggles in this category. The CORE IITs of the goggle is equipped with an LED infrared indicator and an inbuilt IR illuminator, while the goggle runs on a lithium CR123A battery.
The Armasight goggle falls into the Gen 1 category as the CORE of the goggle does not have a microchannel plate. Nevertheless, the goggle offers excellent image quality even in dim light conditions and the advanced features of the Armasight goggle makes it comparable to Gen 2 or Gen 3 night vision devices.
You can use the sleek Armasight Spark as a handsfree device or mount it on your weapon, camera or helmet. The monocular device is lightweight and compact making it ideal for all your outdoor nighttime activities.
Best Night Vision Goggles Under $500
Here are our top picks for this category:
Winner: Tracker Night Vision Goggle
The Tracker Night Vision Goggle is an excellent device to buy if you enjoy nighttime activities such as observing wildlife, surveillance, exploring caves, hunting, etc. The advanced IR technology of the Tracker goggle lets you see up to 100m in the dark.
The Tracker goggle features a high sensitivity sensor, and IR LED illuminator and an integrated LCD screen. The IR illuminator can be adjusted which enables you to see easily in the dark and also allows maximum stealth.
The goggle consumes very less energy and has an inbuilt battery which gives you around 6 hours of life and around 1.5 hours when you use the goggles for a long period of time continuously.
You can turn on the Tracker goggles very easily by just sliding the power switch on. You can fix the goggle onto your head by adjusting the soft rubber straps that are provided at the top and sides of the device once the screen display of the night goggle gets illuminated on the inner portion of the right eyepiece.
You can opt between the 2 modes available on the Tracker night goggle. You can either use the goggle in the stealth mode that allows you to be completely invisible when you are exploring the landscape around you or you can choose the maximum surveillance mode that lets you see up to 100 meters.
However, in the surveillance mode, a red LED light appears around the eyepiece, which is not really noticeable.
The Tracker night vision goggle is lightweight and compact and the ergonomic, sleek design makes this best night vision goggles for kids and allows you to have fantastic nighttime adventures. The Tracker goggle is a perfect accessory that is sure to make your sleepovers and overnight camping trips super exciting!
Runner-Up: Solomark Night Vision Goggle
If you’re looking for a high-quality night vision goggle that won’t break your bank, then surely, the Solomark Night Vision Goggle is the best affordable night vision goggle and an excellent device for night hunting, exploring caves, fishing and observing wildlife in the dark.
The fantastic part about the Solomark goggle is that not only does it let you view your targets when it is completely dark, you can use the goggle to take photos and record videos too.
The Solomark goggle is equipped with a blue-infrared illuminator and has other features such as a multi-coated glass objective and an integrated color LCD screen that lets you view the images clearly. The Solomark night vision goggle provides excellent brightness, which lets you view your targets up to 100 m in complete darkness.
The goggle has a 7-level LED infrared illuminator which lets you adjust the level of illumination required to get the required level of brightness, which enables you to view targets up to 328 feet. You can also use the Solomark goggle in extremely dim light conditions without making use of the infrared illuminator and get usable images.
Another useful feature of the Solomark goggle is that it offers AV and USB functions that allow you to transfer the recorded photos and videos to your computer. This also allows you to share all your files very easily so that you can share your exciting adventures with your family and friends.
The Solomark goggle has a zoom control feature which lets you adjust the size of the image. The device is equipped with a rubber outer covering that allows you to handle it safely without slipping while being used.
The goggle is sleek and compact, which makes it very convenient to hold the device for long periods of time and you can also use it by mounting it on a tripod or attaching the device to a harness conveniently.
The Solomark night vision goggle is an excellent and high-quality monocular that allows you to take photos and videos. So, if you’re looking for a versatile night vision device that is also extremely affordable, which offers plenty of features and true-to-life details, then the Solomark goggle is definitely the best night vision goggles for the price.
Alternative: Bestguarder Night Vision Binocular/Scope
The Bestguarder night vision binocular/scope is a versatile and feature-packed night vision binocular that offers so much in a single device. The device offers excellent performance and superior optical clarity which gives you sharper and clearer images with the right contrast.
The Bestguarder is equipped with an inbuilt 2-inch TFT display screen which is converted to a large-sized 4-inch view screen by the convex lens which offers excellent image clarity even at night. The high-resolution screen comprises 320 x 240 pixels and is extremely comfortable for viewing.
The Bestguarder night vision binoculars are equipped with a CMOS sensor and offer excellent optical clarity with a 2x digital zoom, 7x magnification and 31 mm objective. The device gives you a wide field of view.
The inbuilt 850 nm infrared illuminator of the night vision binocular allows you a long view distance range and can illuminate a viewing distance of up to 400 meters in complete darkness.
The Bestguarder goggle runs on 8 AA batteries or a power bank and gives you a runtime of around 6 hours with the use of the IR illuminator and gives a runtime of 14 hours without the IR illuminator. The binocular is extremely easy to use for various types of daytime or nighttime activities.
You can convert the binocular into a surveillance camera by simply turning on the IR light and you can connect the device to a television or a computer. The Bestguarder goggle also allows you to take photographs that comes along with the time and date and also use the device for video recordings.
The device has a very easy-to-use and user-friendly interface with an inbuilt menu offering 11 languages. It is very easy to view your photos and the device also has a replay function. The Bestguarder binocular is water resistant and can be mounted on a tripod.
So, if you want a high-quality digital night vision viewing device, then you can definitely consider the Bestguarder Night Vision Binocular/Scope that can be used for hunting, fishing, camping, cave explorations, stargazing, paintball adventures and security surveillance, among other things.
It also allows you to take photographs and record videos in light conditions that change continually making Bestguarder the perfect ally for all your adventures.
What Features To Look Out For
There are many night vision goggles out there, several types and so many generations that offer varying features and benefits. So, it is a good idea to check out some of the features of the night vision device before you buy one.
Clarity Of The Image
The clarity of the image is basically associated with the resolution of the device that is usually measured in terms of the line pairs per millimeter.
Clarity of the night vision goggle is the capability of being able to differentiate between the objects which are at close proximity to each other and clarity is an extremely important factor that is not only vital to practical applications but tactical ones too.
Typically, the higher the resolution of the night vision device, the greater the clarity the device offers. Also, in some of the night vision devices, especially the ones belonging to the lower generations such as Gen 1, the resolution of the images may not be uniform and may vary at the center and at the edges.
Type Of Night Vision Technology
When buying a night vision goggle, it is important to determine the generation to which the NVD belongs to. The clarity and resolution offered by the device generally depend on the generation of the device and this also decides the pricing of the night vision device. Look for the generation of the device and the features it offers before making your buying decision.
These are usually suitable for beginners and good for casual observation. Gen 1 devices usually have a low detection and recognition range. These are usually quite inexpensive and give you the feel of night vision devices.
These night vision devices are meant for more serious types of applications such as the study of nocturnal animals, nighttime hunting, etc. The detection and recognition range of Gen 2 devices are generally longer compared to Gen 1 devices. In terms of price, Gen 2 devices fall in the mid-range.
Gen 3 night vision devices are usually the choice of professional hunters and are suitable for hunting over long range. These are a great choice for professionals who work in fields such as night security. Offers the best images in terms of clarity and are also quite expensive compared to the Gen 1 and 2 devices.
Range And Field Of View
A very important factor when choosing a night vision device is the range i.e. the recognition range. Today, most Gen 3 night vision devices offer up to a range of around 300+ yards. The range of the device also depends to a very large extent on the amount of ambient light that is available.
And, as the amount of light decreases, the range also decreases. Today, many manufacturers give various ranges for the night vision devices such as the quarter moon, full moon, overcast conditions, starlight, etc.
How Long Does The Battery Last?
The intensifier tubes of most of the night vision devices are powered by batteries. Cheaper models of night vision goggles use the common alkaline batteries which are more affordable and also easier to buy. The high-end models usually use NiMH, or lithium batteries which have a longer life. Before you buy the batteries for your NVD, check the life of the batteries.
Typically, a type-123 lithium-ion battery should last around 40-80 hours, while an AA alkaline battery may last for just a few minutes with continuous use.
The ergonomics of the night vision device is an important factor as the device must be easy to operate and comfortable to handle.
The night vision goggle also must be comfortable to wear for long periods of time, especially if you are moving around a lot because if you are not comfortable with the goggle, then you will not be able to use the device effectively and it will not be of any benefit to you.
Also, the night vision device should have the various controls and switches positioned conveniently so that they can be adjusted very easily.
Weight And Size
The weight and the size of the night vision device are very important when deciding on which device to buy. If the device is bulky and heavy, then it may be quite cumbersome to carry and move around.
Night vision devices usually are quite large because of technology and as the magnification of the device increases, the size of the device also increases. And, the devices belonging to a lower generation are usually bulkier than the higher generation devices.
So, if you move around a lot, then it is a good idea to choose a device that is compact and lightweight. It should be compact to fit in your hand and lightweight so that you can mount it on your headgear, helmet or onto your weapons. However, if the device is compact and lightweight, then check out the clarity and resolution before buying it.
If you are going to be using the night vision device from a stationary position, then you could look at a larger model. Look for a night vision device that allows you to see objects from around 1,000 ft away and allows you to track the targets from a distance.
Before you actually set out to shop for your night vision goggle, you should set a budget, so that you can buy the best model that is available within your budget. You can buy NVDs in the market from as low as $10 to ones that cost over $5,000.
However, buying an expensive goggle is always not the best decision. Choose a night vision device that fits your requirements the best. Also, it is a good idea to check out the warranty offered by the manufacturers of the products, which will ensure the quality of the product and also ensure that your investment is safe.
Today, NVDs are being used widely both by professionals, as well as civilians. However, some states prohibit the use of night vision devices. So, it is a good idea to check the usability of these devices in your state and choose one after evaluating the various features and buy one that suits your requirements the best.