The best night vision binoculars let you see in the dark without flashlights, headlamps, streetlights, or bright moon phases. Whether you're using binoculars, goggles (hands-free binoculars) or night vision monoculars, they all have similar technology inside.
Night vision binoculars work by gathering light using a sensor (with a few exclusions), which is then magnified and projected onto a small screen inside the binoculars. The technology is reminiscent of how mirrorless cameras work — the image sensor captures the light photons, amplifies them and projects them onto the electronic viewfinder for the user to see.
Some binoculars use infrared (IR) illuminators to augment this further. Humans cannot detect infrared light so the binoculars gather the reflected light and shift it up in frequency into the visible light spectrum. We dive into more detail in our 'Night Vision Binoculars: What to look for' section at the bottom of this page.
Read on to find our pick of the best night vision binoculars, monoculars, and goggles at every price point. Not sure if you need night vision binoculars? We also have up-to-date guides on the best binoculars and the best compact binoculars.
Best night vision binoculars deal May 2023
Hexeum night vision binoculars:
was $298, now $161.98 on Amazon
Save $136 on the Hexeum night vision binoculars for a whopping 46% discount. They have multi-coated optics, HD image and video recording and come with a 32GB SD memory card. 3x magnification, 4x zoom and a 24mm aperture all make the Hexeum great value at this price.
Best Night Vision Binoculars 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.
Best Night Vision Binoculars 2023 ranked
Topping our best night vision binoculars list is the Creative XP Night Vision Elite Goggles, launched in 2021. The Elite Goggles have a minimum focusing distance of 6.5 ft, so they can be used for backyard nature spotting or even for indoor games — and they are tripod mountable, so you can sit with them for long hours without tiring your arms. The viewing range is a huge 1640ft / 500m, so you'll be able to spot wildlife from across fields without disturbing them.
Looking at reviews of previous generation Creative XP night vision binoculars, it seems that the company has listened to feedback and made tweaks where appropriate, with the most significant improvement being the introduction of a rechargeable battery and the ability to use a power bank or mains power. This is unique because many models still rely on AA batteries that are heavy and need replacing often.
These goggles are water resistant to IPX4 level, so they will withstand rain, sleet and snow but can't be submerged. The body (you can choose from 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.
- See our top picks for the Best rangefinder binoculars
For less than $200 you can pick up these top-quality Nightfox Swift night vision goggles — you'll struggle to find better value. Amazon are also currently offering an additional $30 off when you apply a coupon at checkout, making them now only $139.
With a viewing distance of just 75 yards (70m), Nightfox doesn't pretend that these binos are for anything other than close-quarters use. Though, given the low cost, the quality and craftsmanship are excellent, and there are various mounting options available. It has a GoPro-style mounting point at the top, allowing you to use any GoPro accessories to mount them wherever you like.
It also comes with a head strap and is also helmet mountable. They're very light compared with all other models on this list, so they should be comfortable to wear for extended periods. You can walk around hands-free while wearing these goggles, but be aware that they could affect your peripheral vision.
We like that there's an integrated 3000mAh rechargeable lithium battery, and, depending on which brightness level (out of seven) you select, the battery life can be as long as three hours. They can also be charged on the move with any USB power bank or device.
- Take a look at the Best monoculars
Luna Optics' entry on this list is a rather curious-looking pair of night vision binoculars, bringing high-quality AMOLED displays and giving a standard binocular-like feel. There's also a laser rangefinder and high-resolution imaging. It captures 16.1 megapixel still images and QHD (also known as 2K) resolution video at 30 frames per second, or 1080p at up to 60FPS.
The LN-G3-B50 has a built-in color filter that modifies the daylight color balance to a more realistic setting so you can use them during the day. The display can be black and white, bright green, or amber for nighttime use. The IR illuminator should be suitable for subjects up to 600m away, while the laser rangefinder reaches up to 700m.
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
The Zeiss DTI 3/35 can be considered as either a thermal imaging camera or a monocular — in use, the distinction makes little difference. As it only has one lens and eyepiece, it isn't a pair of binoculars, but the quality of the optics and the clever additional built-in functions still make it a worthy contender on this list regardless. It offers a picture-in-picture feature that makes it easier to keep a moving subject in the center of the field of view and a fast refresh rate of 50Hz for flicker-free images. Its range is a whopping 1350 yards (1234 m) with 2.5x optical magnification and 4 x digital zoom in 0.5x steps.
It has options to switch between the traditional white and an inverted dark image, place red overheat signatures, or show temperature changes as a rainbow gradient thanks to night vision's four color options.
Quickly identify the warmest object in the frame by placing brackets around heat sources, which is an excellent feature for nature spotting. A variant model, the 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 but also use the ZEISS App to live stream or share data on your phone.
- Related: Best compact binoculars
When you think of high-quality optics, HEXEUM isn't a brand that immediately springs to mind, however, these night vision binoculars are quite highly reviewed. They are currently 46% off on Amazon, too, saving you $136.
Even without the discount, these night vision binoculars have some impressive specs. Notable features include fully multi-coated optics to increase light transmission and decrease glare and HD image and video recording which saves to a 32GB SD card (which is included).
They have a CMOS sensor and a 4x digital zoom, and these night vision binoculars can magnify images up to 3x. The aperture is 24mm and they boast a 10-degree angle of view, which is perfect for scanning vast areas without having to move too much.
They also have an impressive continuous runtime of eight hours with adjustable IR or 17 hours without IR, and they'll work in the daytime as well as 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 deal on batteries.
- Don't ruin your night vision — take a look at the Best headlamps for stargazing
If you're looking to shoot high-speed video after dark or in challenging weather conditions, these weather-resistant ATN Binox 4K might be just what you need.
They can share real-time rangefinder information with other people via mobile devices, and send laser tags to help a team move into a position ready to observe or photograph 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. And as they have the ability to record up to 120FPS, you can also create slow-motion effects when you play it back.
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.
- Check out our Celestron Nature DX 12x56 review
This head-mountable unit looks like it could be a prop from a special forces-themed TV show. This handy device from Bresser, a well-known astronomy brand, is more for navigating in the dark than it is for providing useful magnification. Although there is a 2x digital zoom to have a closer look at items before you approach, it doesn't offer magnification beyond the 2x digital zoom.
The IR illuminator should be good for seeing subjects up to 70m away, and the unit comes with a rechargeable battery that lasts up to eight hours, which we much prefer to single-use batteries — much more cost-effective and convenient. It can also be powered up with an external power pack via USB. If you need the ability to record, there's a similar model from the same manufacturer, the Bresser Digital Night Vision Binocular. It's a tad more expensive and isn't head-mounted like this one, but it does boast a 'record to micro-SD' function.
- Check out the Bresser Junior Astro Planetarium Deluxe star projector
Here's something a little different: Ditching light amplifiers and electronic tools for good old-fashioned physics. Binoculars work by gathering light over a larger area than the human eye can manage, then magnifying the result. A pair with larger objective lenses will show a brighter image than those with smaller objectives. So what would happen if you took reasonably large 54mm objectives and applied a magnification of just 2x? That's what the Orion 2x54 does.
They collect more than 40 times more light than a dilated human pupil, allowing users to see subjects that would otherwise be invisible. They are intended mainly for astronomy and the massive 36-degree field of view is wide enough to fit in entire constellations. They are perfect for bridging the gap between what you can see with the naked eye and what you would see via a pair of large binoculars.
They rely on having at least some light available because they don't have batteries or IR illuminators, but the low-tech approach brings its own rewards. We have noticed the price of the Orion 2x54 increasing gradually, which is unusual for most bits of tech, so if you're looking at purchasing them, we'd do it sooner rather than later.
- Discover How to photograph a lunar eclipse
The Nightfox 100V is able to operate in the dark for a whopping six hours, despite its size and resolution. Although they may be designed for beginners and have an entry-level price tag, we can't deny that they do work. If the price wasn't low enough already, at the time of writing there's even an additional $20 off at Amazon when you add a coupon at checkout.
With 100m of IR illumination broken into seven different levels (which allow you to turn down the brightness to save the power of the eight AA batteries), there's 6x magnification too. This 6x magnification, however, is broken into 3x optical and 2x digital, meaning you'll lose quality with max magnification. Still, they're a decent, inexpensive introduction into the world of night vision, and they're easy to operate with no confusing menus. They also come with an 18-month warranty as standard for extra peace of mind should anything bad accidentally happen to them.
How we test the best night vision binoculars
To guarantee you're getting honest, up-to-date recommendations on the best binoculars to buy here at Space.com we make sure to put every binocular through a rigorous review to fully test each instrument. Each telescope is reviewed based on many aspects, from its construction and design, to how well it functions as an optical instrument and its performance 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. For example, comparing a pair of 25x100 mammoth binoculars to a compact pair of 8x25s wouldn’t be appropriate though each binocular might be the best pick in their own class.
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 binoculars, whether you should purchase an instrument or not, making our buying guides and reviews reliable and transparent.
Best night vision binoculars 2023: What to look for
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 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.
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.
As you'll notice after looking at our buying guide, not all night vision binoculars have the option to record and are purely observation devices. Consider whether you'll want or need to watch any footage back after the event has passed.
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.
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 in the future.
Don't forget not all night vision kit 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.