The best night vision binoculars use some nifty technology to help you see in the dark at night without needing to use headlamps or flashlights. They use an image sensor to gather light and then project it onto an electronic viewfinder that you can see clearly. Some night vision binoculars even collect reflected infrared light, which is usually invisible to humans, and convert it into visible light to show an image of what's around you in the dark.
Night vision binoculars serve a variety of different purposes, from observing wildlife in your backyard without startling them with bright lights to providing a unique perspective for stargazing. They aid in nighttime navigation at campsites to save you the embarrassment of climbing into someone else's tent and are also useful in darkrooms for photo development. Some of the models we've listed in this guide even offer the capability to capture photos and videos for later viewing or sharing with friends.
If night vision is less of a concern and you're more interested in powerful magnification, then be sure to check out our guides to the best binoculars or best telescopes to aid you on your stargazing adventures. We've also reviewed the best headlamps for working hands-free in the dark.
The Quick List
These night vision goggles boast a viewing range of 1640ft / 500m so you can keep your distance and not disturb wildlife. Their minimum focusing distance is just 6.5 feet too, so ideal for backyard nature watching as well.
Best for close-up use
Best for close-up use
You'll struggle to find better value night vision goggles than these. The viewing distance is just 75 yards (70m) so these are really for close-up use — home surveillance, backyard nature spotting and darkroom work.
There's heaps of useful functionality in this model — twin AMOLED displays, a laser rangefinder and high-resolution imaging. There is a 36x digital zoom and a record function. Watch over Wi-Fi or save to a memory card.
Best for long range
Best for long-range
This monocular has an infrared range of a ginormous 3937 ft/ 1200m. The picture-in-picture capability and quick refresh rate make it easy to keep your subject in the center of the frame. This model also acts as a thermal imaging camera, displaying temperature changes as a rainbow gradient. You can record 15GB of video on the device itself too.
Best for bargain hunters
Best for bargain hunters
This highly reviewed pair of night vision binoculars boast impressive specs given their very reasonable price point. They are often on sale too, and you should be able to pick them up for around $130. They feature HD image and video recording, that saves to the provided 32GB SD card.
Best for slo-mo video
Best for slow-mo video
These weather-resistant binos are excellent at shooting high-speed video in the dark. They can share real-time rangefinder information with other people via an app and share videos, storing and playing back footage. The battery life is incredible too.
Load 3 more products ↴
Best for hands-free comfort
Best for hands-free comfort
Most useful for nighttime navigation (rather than magnification) the Bresser NightVision Binocular 1x can view objects up to 230 ft/ 70m away. The rechargeable battery lasts up to eight hours and it comes with everything you need to make it head mountable.
Best for simplicity
Best for simplicity
Back to basics, easy to use and collects 40 times more light than the typical dilated human pupil. They are primarily designed for astronomers as their huge field of vision is enough to view entire constellations without needing expensive binoculars.
Best Night Vision Binoculars we recommend in 2023
Why you can trust Space.com Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test and review products.
The best night vision binoculars overall
✅ You want to see far into the distance: The Creative XP Night Vision Goggles Elite have a huge viewing range of 1640 ft, but they also have a minimum focusing distance of 6.5 ft, meaning you can use them in your backyard too.
✅ You want something that's tripod compatible: For longer spotting sessions you may want to give your arms a break — that's where tripod compatibility comes in handy.
✅ You want to be able to record video: Not only do these binoculars have the ability to record video, but a 128GB memory card is supplied too.
❌ You're just curious about your backyard wildlife: There are plenty of other models that would be perfectly adequate for backyard wildlife spotting that cost a fraction of the price.
🔎 Creative XP Night Vision Goggles Elite: Though fairly expensive, we think these are the best night vision goggles on the market at the moment with their long viewing range, tripod compatibility and video recording capability. ★★★★½
Topping our best night vision binoculars list is the Creative XP Night Vision Elite Goggles, launched in 2021.
The Elite Goggles are versatile, with a minimum focusing distance of 6.5 feet, making them great for indoor sports and observing nature in your backyard, even during nighttime. You can also mount them on a tripod for prolonged use without straining your arms. With an extensive viewing range of 1640 feet (500 meters), you can easily spot wildlife in distant fields without causing any disruptions and potentially scaring them off by moving too close to them.
It appears the company has listened to the feedback from previous Creative NP night vision binoculars, notably introducing a rechargeable battery. Unlike many other models relying on heavy and frequently replaced AA batteries, this offers the unique option to use a power bank or mains power. Not to mention, it saves you from constantly having to repurchase AA batteries, which aren't particularly cheap.
These goggles are water resistant to an IPX4 standard, so they can survive rain, sleet and snow — just don't fully submerge them. The body (available in black or green) is enveloped in multi-coated shell armor to protect them from bumps and knocks. You'll also get a 128GB memory card to record onto and a protective case.
At the time of writing, you can save $100 on Amazon when you apply a coupon at the checkout, but keep an eye out around Black Friday and Cyber Monday for even more discounts.
- See our top picks for the Best rangefinder binoculars
|Performance||Suitable for various observations.|
Best for close-up use
✅ You want something affordable: These are undoubtedly a budget pair of night vision binoculars. They offer basic night vision functionality for moving about in the dark, backyard/small park wildlife spotting, but nothing beyond that.
✅ You want something lightweight: The Nightfox Swift are very comfortable to wear on your head for extended periods of time, allowing you to explore the dark hands-free.
❌ You're likely to use them in inclement weather: Though they would likely be fine in drizzle or fog, as there isn't an official waterproof rating you might want to err on the side of caution.
❌ You want something that feels premium: In honesty, they feel a little 'toyish' in the hand, and we found that they started to look scruffy fairly quickly, even only with mild use.
❌ You want USB-C charging: Though only a small niggle, the now-dated micro-USB charging port usually means keeping an extra cable around and remembering to take it with you if you're traveling away from home.
🔎 Nightfox Swift: A good budget pair of night vision goggles. They have limited uses but at a relatively low price point, we can't complain too much. ★★★½
We think the Nightfox Swift night vision goggles offer great value for money. While they lack some more premium features like photo and video recording, full waterproofing and higher magnifications, you'll struggle to find a more effective pair for general viewing at this sub-$200 price point.
These night vision binoculars are so lightweight that we found it a little disconcerting in our Nightfox Swift review, but the benefits of this are that they fit easily into one hand and are extremely comfortable for extended viewing sessions. You can use the head mount to attach them to your head and walk around hands-free while barely noticing their weight.
The 3000mAh rechargeable battery allows for about three hours of use. The binoculars charge with micro-USB, although we thought that USB-C charging would be preferable. Also, the labels on the five control buttons are pretty much impossible to see in the dark, so we'd recommend you familiarize yourself with the controls before you take them out at night.
We were pleased with the range of settings on offer here. You can change the backlight for a brighter or dimmer image and adjust the infrared beam intensity for a lighter or darker image. Just be warned that the higher settings may make the infrared beams visible to other people.
The only major downside we found is that the eye guard heavily limits your peripheral vision, making it tricky to navigate unfamiliar environments — though this could be resolved by placing an affordable fisheye lens on the front to increase your field of view. If recording isn't a necessity for you, this pair offers a lot of features for the money.
- Read our full Nightfox Swift night vision binoculars review
|Performance||Peripheral vision dramatically hindered.|
|Functionality||No waterproof rating.|
✅ You'd like a digital binocular for daytime use: Thanks to the special daytime mode, the color filter and the AMOLED screen, you can use these night vision binos as a digital binocular/camera in the daytime as well as at night.
✅ You want to record video: Not all binoculars offer this functionality, but this pair captures photos at 16.1 megapixels and video in 1080p.
❌ You need something for inclement weather: There is no official waterproof rating, so it's probably best to avoid these if you spend a lot of time in the rain.
❌ You're on a tight budget: This pair is pretty expensive because of the tech that is packed in.
🔎 Luna Optics LN-G3-B50: A great choice if you'd like a high-quality pair of binoculars that you can use to record with, and if you'd also make use of digital binoculars in the daytime. ★★★★
Luna Optics' night vision binoculars have a pretty unique design compared to the other binoculars we've listed in this guide, featuring high-quality AMOLED displays and a traditional binocular feel. They're equipped with a laser rangefinder and are capable of capturing 16.1MP still images and QHD (also known as 2K) video at 30FPS or 1080p at up to 60FPS, which is impressive, as not all binoculars offer the functionality to record video.
These binoculars feature a display that switches between black and white, bright green, or amber, making them suitable for nighttime use as well as use during the daytime. They also include a built-in color filter that adjusts the color balance for a more realistic daytime view, effectively functioning as digital binoculars or a daytime camera.
The infrared (IR) illuminator is designed for viewing objects within a range of up to 600m, while the laser rangefinder can measure distances up to 700m. This is handy for wildlife observing without the risk of disturbing them by getting too close and scaring them away.
With a digital zoom of up to 36x (limited to 6x when recording), the viewing options are also decent. You can watch over Wi-Fi, connect to storage through USB or save to a memory card. It comes with a strap, case and all the cables you could ever need.
- Looking for a bargain? Check out our Binocular deals hub
|Functionality||Records at the lowest magnification only.|
Best for long range viewing
✅You want to see far into the distance: The Zeiss DTI 3/35 has one of the longest viewing ranges on this list and a huge 3937 ft / 1200m IR range.
❌ You're on a budget: Not only is the viewing distance one of the longest, but, at over $2500, the Zeiss DTI 3/35 is also one of the most expensive models in this guide.
🔎 Zeiss DTI 3/35: The longest viewing range but also one of the highest price tags, this is for someone who will use it on a daily or very regular basis. ★★★★
The Zeiss DTI 3/35 can be thought of as either a thermal imaging camera or a monocular — though when in use, the distinction makes little difference. It isn't a pair of binoculars because it only has one lens and eyepiece, but we think the high quality of the optics and the clever extra built-in features still make it a deserving contender on this list.
Equipped with a picture-in-picture feature and a rapid 50Hz refresh rate, this device ensures fast-moving objects stay centered. With an impressive 1350 yards (1234 meters) range and 2.5x optical magnification, it also provides digital zooming up to 4x in 0.5x increments.
When you're using this device for night vision, you have four color options. You can switch between the regular white view, an inverted dark image, overlay red to highlight heat signatures or finally, display temperature changes with a rainbow gradient.
Placing brackets around heat sources allows you to quickly identify the warmest object in the frame, which is a great feature for detecting wildlife. A variant model, the Zeiss DTI3/25, has a lower magnification but a wider field of view and is a better choice for use in heavily wooded areas to make it easier to spot subjects.
These night vision binoculars can also record up to 15GB of video within the device itself, and it can also use the ZEISS App to live stream or share data on your phone.
- Related: Best compact binoculars
|Design||No memory card slot .|
|Performance||High quality optics.|
|Functionality||Detection up to 1200m.|
Best for bargain hunters
✅ You want something waterproof: The Hexeum Night Vision Goggles are IP66 rated which means they are protected against high-pressure (12.5mm) water jets.
✅ You're a bargain hunter: They're often heavily reduced around busy sales events and they boast decent specs such as video recording, day and night modes, 4x digital zoom and a generous viewing range.
❌ They aren't on offer: The price of this model fluctuates dramatically throughout the year, with the biggest discounts being seen around Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday. Don't pay more than $130 for them.
🔎 Hexeum Night Vision Binoculars: If you can get them at a good price they are worth the purchase, but bear in mind they require six AA batteries which will make them heavier and be an ongoing expense. ★★★★
When you think of high-quality optics, HEXEUM isn't typically a brand that immediately springs to mind, however, these night vision binoculars are quite highly reviewed and have some pretty impressive specs.
Packed with excellent features, these binoculars allow you to capture high-definition images and videos, complete with an included 32GB SD card. Their fully multi-coated lenses ensure optimal light intake and minimize glare.
Equipped with a CMOS sensor, these binoculars feature a 4x digital zoom that magnifies images up to 3 times their original size. With a 24mm aperture and a 10-degree viewing angle, they are ideal for scanning large areas without requiring much movement.
Additionally, they offer a remarkable continuous runtime of 8 hours with adjustable IR (or 17 hours without IR), and they will work both during the day and at night. The IR is adjustable to seven different intensities to view objects at a range of distances.
The biggest downside is that they need 6 x AA batteries, and they don't take rechargeable ones, so be sure to find a good bulk Black Friday or Cyber Monday deal on batteries and be prepared to keep repurchasing them.
- Don't ruin your night vision — take a look at the Best headlamps for stargazing
|Design||IP66 waterproof rating.|
|Performance||Remarkable continuous runtime.|
|Functionality||Requires 6 x AA batteries - not compatible with rechargables.|
Best for slow-motion video
✅ You want to record Ultra HD video, day or night: You can capture excellent 4K video with no loss of resolution up to 10x magnification.
✅ You'd like a built-in laser rangefinder: Share real-time rangefinder information with other mobile phones to notify others of the location of your subject.
❌ You won't utilize all the functionality: If you don't need all of the technical functionality, pick a cheaper pair like the Nightfox Swift.
🔎 ATN Binox 4K: 120FPS recording is the main attraction here, as is the real-time, shareable rangefinder information. ★★★½
For capturing fast-motion videos in the dark or challenging weather conditions, consider the weather-resistant ATN Binox 4K. These binoculars can share real-time rangefinder data with others through mobile devices and send laser tags, which could be incredibly helpful for effective team positioning for observing or photographing wildlife.
You can share videos too, recording at 1080p and live streaming at 720p with an IR illuminator boasting a range of 1km. You can stream video simultaneously as you record it over Wi-Fi, to an Apple or Android device running the ATN Obsidian 4 app. From here, you can save, playback and share your content. You can also create slow-motion effects when you play it back, as they have the ability to record up to 120FPS.
The ATN Binox 4K offers extremely low power consumption, with an internal battery that can last up to 15 hours and a USB-C charging port. A micro SD card is needed for storage, and you will need to supply your own as it doesn't come with one included.
- Check out our Celestron Nature DX 12x56 review
|Performance||Long battery life.|
|Functionality||Extremely low power consumption.|
Best for hands-free comfort
✅ You have a fairly limited budget: These Bresser binos sit at the budget end of the market but still offer good value for money.
✅ You have a dark room for developing photos: These head-mountable binos could be useful for certain operations (e.g. changing films) in your dark room.
❌ You want to be able to record or share your videos: If you want a model that records video, opt for the Bresser Digital Night Vision Binocular (which is a little more expensive) instead.
🔎 Bresser NightVision Binocular 1x: A good value for money, basic pair of night vision binoculars. Best for close-up monitoring or for finding your way around without using a torch. ★★★½
If you're on a budget and need hands-free night vision, consider the Bresser NightVision Binoculars. With a user-friendly head strap, these binoculars offer an impressive eight-hour battery life, rechargeable via micro-USB. Plus, you can use them while charging with a portable power bank for added convenience when you forget to charge them beforehand.
While the only magnification on offer here is a 2x digital zoom, the infrared illumination allows you to view objects up to 70m away with a 32.57-degree field of view, meaning you'll be able to cover a fairly large area when out in the backyard. We think this would certainly make a good, inexpensive pair of binos for observing local wildlife.
If you're looking for the ability to record video, Bresser also offer a Digital Night Vision Binocular 3x20 that can record onto a micro-SD card. That model comes with a higher magnification (3x optical plus 2x digital) and a greater infrared illumination range of up to 120m, but it is a little more expensive and doesn't come with the same convenient head mount that this model does.
- Check out the Bresser Junior Astro Planetarium Deluxe star projector
|Performance||Limited to 2x magnification.|
|Functionality||Rechargeable battery that lasts up to 8 hours.|
Best for simplicity
✅ You are a stargazer: The huge field of vision is enough to view entire constellations without needing expensive binoculars. They collect 40 times more light than a typical human pupil.
❌ You need to be able to see in the pitch black: Unlike traditional night vision binoculars, these don't include infrared beams so there needs to be at least some light for you to be able to see.
🔎 Orion 2x54 Ultra Wide Angle Binoculars: View entire constellations with the massive 36-degree field of vision. They aren't night vision binoculars as such, but they are ideal for star gazing. ★★★½
The Orion 2x54 binoculars take a unique approach, using large 54mm objective lenses and a 2x magnification to create a brighter image than binoculars with smaller lenses. Unlike the more modern gadgets, they rely on traditional optics for a clear view.
Regular binoculars work by collecting light from a wider area than our eyes can, and then they make the image bigger. If you have binoculars with larger front lenses (called objective lenses), they'll show a brighter image compared to ones with smaller objective lenses. Now, imagine taking reasonably large 54mm objective lenses and magnifying the image only by 2 times — that's precisely what the Orion 2x54 does.
Designed for astronomy, these binoculars gather over 40 times more light than the human pupil, revealing otherwise invisible objects. With a vast 36-degree field of vision, they bridge the gap between what you can see with the naked eye and what you'd see through larger binoculars.
These binoculars need some available light as they lack batteries or IR illuminators, but their low-tech design offers unique advantages. We've noticed the price of the Orion 2x54 has been gradually increasing, which is a rare trend in tech, so we'd advise you to make your purchase sooner rather than later.
- Discover How to photograph a lunar eclipse
|Performance||Easy to use.|
|Functionality||36-degree field of vision.|
Best budget binos
✅ You want a no-frills, affordable pair: The Nightfox 100V are some of the most basic night vision binoculars, but they do work. They lack the sophisticated features of more expensive models.
✅ You like to set yourself up for a stationary viewing session: These are convenient to mount on a tripod if you're intending to stay in one place like a bird hide or backyard.
❌ You don't want to use batteries: Eight AA batteries are significant in expense and weight. If you do choose this pair, make sure you have a charger and rechargeable batteries — this is better for the environment, too.
🔎 Nightfox 100V: Cheap and cheerful, great if you just want to keep a pair to hand for home surveillance or the occasional wildlife-watching trip in your local park. ★★★
This affordable entry from Nightfox offers some impressive night vision for the price point. It's around half the price of the Nightfox Swift that we reviewed above, so it could make a neat gift for a child or any beginner who wants to explore night vision for the first time.
There are some major differences between the Nightfox 100V and the Nigthtfox Swift binoculars. The Nigthtfox 100V pair are significantly bigger and heavier, weighing in at 1.95 lbs (889g) after the batteries are inserted. In our Nightfox 100V review we found them quite heavy and cumbersome to hold for long periods of time, so we'd recommend making use of the hoops to attach a neck strap to them or using the screw thread to mount them on a tripod. Given the weight, it's not surprising that these don't come with a head mount like the Nightfox Swift.
The night vision is reliable, and the controls are fairly simple, featuring adjustable infrared settings. However, we weren't keen on the placement of the focus wheel under the front of the binoculars, rather than in the usual top center, which may be inconvenient. This pair also offers 3x optical zoom and 2x digital zoom, making it ideal for capturing close-ups of wildlife without disturbing them and potentially scaring them away.
The biggest downside we found was that they require 8x AA batteries to operate and the battery indicator seemed quite unreliable in our testing. If you choose this pair, then we'd definitely recommend using rechargeable batteries to save on long-term costs and reduce waste.
- Read our full Nightfox 100V night vision binoculars review
|Design||Designed for beginners.|
|Performance||Easy to use.|
|Functionality||No recording function.|
Best night vision binoculars: Frequently Asked Questions
Are night vision binoculars reliable?
There is a vast range of options available to buy online. Unfortunately, many of these turn out to be either poor quality, leaking light into the human visual range and thus ruining natural night vision or they tend to be quickly discontinued, making it near impossible to replace or repair if they go wrong. It's best to buy something reputable that comes with a warranty.
What magnification night vision binoculars should I buy?
When considering which night vision binoculars to choose, decide how much magnification you want them to have. Home surveillance for example doesn't require as much magnification as someone who is going wildlife watching on safari or a security professional covering a vast area.
A wider field of view will allow you to see more of your surroundings at once, helpful if you're worried about someone sneaking up on you, or if you're searching large areas of land to spot elusive animals.
Can night vision binoculars record video?
Yes they can. But as you'll notice after looking at our buying guide, not all night vision binoculars have the option to record and are purely meant to be observation devices. Consider whether you'll want or need to watch any footage back after the event has passed.
Can all night vision binoculars see in the dark?
Lots of devices labeled as night vision binoculars are not binoculars at all. They typically have two lenses at the front, one for the camera and one for the infrared illuminator. In other words, a night vision monocular is the same as many 'binoculars,' with a smaller display for a single eye. Some binoculars are referred to as 'night vision goggles.' These are generally hands-free devices that allow you to move around in the dark while carrying other equipment.
What are the best budget night vision binoculars?
Modern night vision equipment can be affordable, powerful, and versatile, but not necessarily all three together. Be wary if you're thinking of buying a discontinued item (and there are many of these right now) as to save a few dollars, you take on the risk of not being able to troubleshoot or repair it should things go wrong.
What is the best budget night vision binocular?
What is the best value night vision binocular I can buy but still get a quality pair?
The Nightfox Swift night vision binoculars which we've tested are the best value night vision binoculars that are also one of the least expensive in this guide.
Are night vision binoculars legal?
Not all night vision gear is legal in all countries. Laws vary. In the USA, they can even vary from state to state, which is understandable considering the potential uses for night vision binoculars. If in doubt, check with a local retailer or club who can advise you if you are unsure so you don't land yourself in trouble.
How we test the best night vision binoculars
To guarantee you're getting honest, up-to-date recommendations on the best night vision binoculars to buy here at Space.com we make sure to do a thorough and rigorous review to fully test each instrument. Each pair of night vision binoculars is reviewed based on many aspects, from its construction and design, to how well it functions as an optical instrument and performs in the field.
Each pair of binoculars is carefully tested by either our expert staff or knowledgeable freelance contributors who know their subject areas in depth. This ensures fair reviewing is backed by personal, hands-on experience with each binocular and is judged based on its price point, class and destined use.
We look at how easy they are to operate, whether eye relief can be adjusted for spectacles wearer if a binocular comes with appropriate accessories or carry bags and also make suggestions if a particular set of binos would benefit from any additional kit to give you the best viewing experience possible.
With complete editorial independence, we at Space.com are here to ensure you get the best buying advice on night vision binoculars and whether you should purchase a specific model or not, making our buying guides and reviews reliable and transparent.