Monocular Reviews: 10 Best Monoculars for the Money

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We are sure you’ve heard about binoculars before and maybe you even used them once or twice. But, a lesser known but equally effective device called the monocular will blow your socks off! Monoculars are unique in that you can use them to view pretty much anything.

They only require the use of one eye and this can significantly improve your focus towards the object. Monoculars are also an attractive option for those who can only see with one eye due to medical conditions or injuries.

The best part is that they’re so small you can easily fit them into your pant pockets or purse. Monoculars are useful for a wide variety of reasons. People use them to watch the movement of the stars or to hunt quick-footed animals. This makes monoculars the most versatile viewing device.

But, finding the best monocular can be tough when you don’t know much about them. Plus, there just isn’t enough information out there about monoculars to help people make the right purchasing decision.

That’s why we did some research to bring you a guide that’ll give you all the information you need about this nifty device. Read on to find out more about how monoculars work, how to use them, features you should look out for, and the best options on the market available for you to choose from.

PLAN - PRICE

Description

Leica Monovid 8 x 20 Monocular

Offers excellent optical performance

Comes with a stylish leather case

Features an eyepiece cover

Close focus accessory lens

Wingspan Optics Monocular

Easy to operate with one hand

Backed by a lifetime guarantee

Offers a crystal clear view

Elegant and sleek construction

Vortex Optics Solo Monoculars

Well priced

Comes with an unconditional Lifetime Warranty

Offers high-quality resolution and image clarity

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Monocular

Offers great value for money

Backed by a generous warranty

You can mount accessories in the Picatinny rail

Rugged construction

Gosky Titan Prism Monocular

Easy to use

Reasonably priced

Comes with a universal smartphone adapter

Delivers crystal clear imagery

Lightweight and compact

Things to Look for When Shopping for the Best Monocular

Size is probably the most important feature that you need to consider when shopping for a monocular. That’s because this device must be compact and portable enough for you to carry anywhere, but good enough to view anything from afar. You must also consider the purpose you’re buying the monocular for because that’ll contribute to the size as well.

Here’s an overview of the most important features to look out for in a monocular and why they’re important.

Optical Quality

A monocular doesn’t have as many moving parts as a regular binocular. But, there’s still a lot of complicated optical engineering going on there. For example, high-end monoculars typically feature protective external coatings on top of specialized prism coatings and ED/HD elements. At the basic level, a good quality molecular should offer multi-coated optics.

Size

By definition, monoculars are supposed to be small and compact. Even large monoculars are relatively small at just 16 ounces. The smallest models weight just 8 ounces and have a height of 4 to 5 inches.

Eyecups

Eyecups are an essential component of a monocular. That’s because you can’t effectively use a monocular without one. Unfortunately, some manufacturers neglect eyecups in order to cut costs but it doesn’t help to buy a cheap molecular if it doesn’t have eyecups.

Eyecups are important because they’re responsible for keeping you comfortable while looking through the monocular. That way, even if you spend several hours looking through it, your eyes won’t be strained. For the best results, opt for a monocular with twist-up retractable eyecups.

Magnification

The power level of a monocular refers to its ability to expand your vision. A good quality model can magnify your vision by up to 10 or12 times, but it won’t provide you with a good field of view.

However, it’s better than a low power model that can only magnify your vision by 5 to 8 times its normal size. The wide field of view in a 5x to 6x model doesn’t compensate for the small aperture or 18 to 25mm it offers. It has limited use that allows it to operate in indoor applications only.

Field of View

“As far as the eye can see…” That’s what field of view refers to. Most monoculars can give you a field of view of about 1000 m or 1000 yards. Standard models offer a field of view of 100 to 140 yards, while more advanced models have a field of view of 180 yards.

Eye Relief

Eye relief refers to your ability to see the field of view in its entirety. About 20mm is the ideal eye relief you want. But, if you wear glasses, you should aim for 15mm eye relief.

Types of Monoculars

Monoculars come in different types and features. Here are some of the most common types available for you to choose from:

Infrared Monoculars

As the name implies this type of monocular uses infrared technology which enables the user to see at night and in other low light conditions. That’s why most people carry this type of monocular at night.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t use it during the day because you can. You see, some models are designed with an off-switch for the infrared technology so you can use them effectively during the day.

It’s worth noting here that infrared monoculars are cheaper yet more visible than other models. But, some models may not be ideal for hunting and similar activities because they come with a noticeable red light that flashes in the dark.

Night Vision Monoculars

As the name implies, a night vision monocular is created for use at night. It’s very useful for hunting applications because it makes it easier to see moving targets in the dark.

This type of monocular comes in the form of an imaging monocular or an infrared monocular, both of which have been described above. Depending on the manufacturer, you might be able to use your night vision monocular equally well during the day.

Thermal Imaging Monoculars

This type of monocular also comes with night vision. It has sensors that come on whenever they sense heat emitted by animals, objects, and people. Since this monocular can automatically switch between daylight and nighttime mode, it’s the most convenient one to use for both times.

Compact Monoculars

Most monoculars are small and compact which is why some people prefer them over bulky binoculars. But, not all monoculars are created equal. Some are smaller than others, as is the case with compact monoculars. These are even tinier than regular sized models and will fit snugly into your jean pocket or coin purse.

Best Monocular in the Marketplace

A monocular is a nifty little device that you can use to see objects from afar without pulling out your large binoculars. Some monocular models can be used at night while others are suitable for both daytime and nighttime applications.

Now that you know what to look for in a monocular, it’s time to find out what types of options are available out there for you. Read on for some comprehensive reviews of the best monocular models on the market.

1 – Leica Monovid 8 x 20 Monocular

The Leica brand is not one to do things in small measures and this monocular is proof of that. With a magnification power of 8×20, it’s one of the best models on the market when it comes to the construction, quality and looks.

It comes with a high-resolution lens that guarantees a clear picture with no peripheral distortion. You’ll also find that it focuses easily on an object without much back and forth, and its field of view is impressive.

This lightweight model weighs only 112 grams which means it can fit in your pocket, and it comes with aluminum, red or black case. It’s elegant but rugged enough for outdoor applications as well. Thanks to its macro potential, you can see every fine detail with this monocular.

But, if you want an even closer look, simply attach the accessory lens and get up-close-and-personal with insects and plants. If you like, you can also use the Leica Monovid as a macroscope or mini-telescope.

Not only does it come in an elegant case, but it also features a handmade leather case with a tiny pocket to fit your accessory lens and magnetic closure for extra storage. It’s also worth noting that this monocular is backed by a 3-year, non-transferable warranty

Pros:

Offers excellent optical performance
Comes with a stylish leather case
Features an eyepiece cover
Close focus accessory lens
Versatile for indoor and outdoor use
Great gift idea

Cons:

Limited front lens diameter
This is a pricey model

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2 – Wingspan Optics Explorer High Powered 12X50 Monocular

This Wingspan Optics monocular is made for the modern-day explorer. It offers super bright imagery and gives you a crystal clear picture. Although small, this monocular is jam-packed with awesome features and it’s well-made from durable materials.

Some of its notable features include a 12x magnification zoom, a 50mm objective lens for low light viewing, and a pair of adjustable “Opticomfort” eyecups. When we say “adjustable” we mean that you can twist these eyecups up or down so you can increase the device’s viewing capabilities. This feature will come in handy for people that wear glasses. You’ll be able to view objects clearly even if you’re not wearing glasses.

This model comes with a larger turning focus wheel which you can operate with one hand, and you can even mount it on a tripod if you like. The package comes with a neck strap, a carrying pouch, lens covers, and cleaning fabric. All told, the Wingspan Optics monocular is ideal for beginners and seasoned explorers alike.

Pros:

Easy to operate with one hand
Backed by a lifetime guarantee
Offers a crystal clear view
Elegant and sleek construction
Well priced

Cons:

The carrying pouch is a smidge tight
Only offers a 50-yard viewing detail

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3 – Vortex Optics Solo Monoculars

The Vortex Optics Solo monocular is a 10×36 mm model that’s made tough for versatile applications. It comes with polycarbonate casing and it’s designed according to ergonomic design principles for ease of use. This lightweight model also features an attachment clip so you can keep it close to you at all times.

It’s coated with shock-absorbing and anti-slipping rubber. It’s completely resistant to dust and debris and it’s also waterproof on account of the o-ring seals. This means you can carry it in the desert or in the ocean without worrying about dust or fog covering the picture.

You can magnify the 36 mm lens by up to 10x and it’s suitable for use in heavily shaded situations and low light conditions alike. In fact, this is an ideal monocular for outdoor use thanks to the multi-coated lens which adds an element of protection from the elements while magnifying your view.

This lens is also helpful at improving light transmission when viewing images. The adjustable eyecup comes with intermediate settings so you can really customize the monocular according to your preferences.

Pros:

Well priced
Comes with an unconditional Lifetime Warranty
Intermediate eyecup settings are easy to adjust
Offers high-quality resolution and image clarity
Rugged enough for outdoor use

Cons:

Eye relief only measures 15mm
Doesn’t come with a lens cover

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4 – Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Monocular

If you’re looking for a tactically designed monocular with rugged construction, this one is for you. It comes with an accessory mount and a tripod mount to help free up your hands while you’re aiming at your target. It’s so tiny that you can easily wear it around your neck or clip it onto your pocket.

It comes with 10x magnification for detailed long distance viewing and spectacular resolution. It also comes with anti-fog multi-coated lenses and BaK-4 Prisms for added clarity. This is in addition to the “RainGuard HD Coating” which gives the device permanent waterproofing. That means you can use this monocular in the rain and snow without experiencing any viewing distortion.

The manufacturer also used “ED Prime” glass, a feature that diminishes the monocular’s color dispersion. This means you’ll be able to make out colors clearly no matter how far or near the object is. This device has a focus distance of 6.5 feet which is pretty decent, and you can count on the objective lens to provide you with enough light transmission to see in daylight and lowlight conditions alike.

The Bushnell Legend’s field of view is out of this world, at a distance of 1000 yards or 340 feet. There’s also a focus wheel atop the monocular which means you can operate it with just one hand.

This monocular is coated with rubber to prevent damage due to shocks and bumps, and it’s available in a black matte vision. But you could always purchase the sand colored version. According to night vision monocular reviews, this works even better than the best compact binoculars.

It also features nitrogen gas purging to prevent it from fogging up, a “Picatinny” rail, utility clip and a carrying pouch for convenience. Plus, it’s backed by a 100% money back guarantee.

Pros:

Offers great value for money
Backed by a generous warranty
You can mount accessories in the Picatinny rail
Rugged construction to protect from the elements
Best night vision monocular

Cons:

You may notice creases in the rubber coating due to the hard plastic lens
Carrying case is too big

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5 – Gosky Titan 12X50 High Power Prism Monocular

The Gosky Titan is one of the most versatile and high-powered models on this list. Not only does it come with a special smartphone holder, but it’s equipped with green coated 50 mm diameter lens.

This enables higher light transmission while the 12×50 magnification power is something to marvel at. This is in addition to a center focus system (CFS) that allows you to operate this device with one hand and its field of view is at 289 feet or 1000 yards.

You’ll be glad to know that it comes with 17mm exit relief as well as an internal Bak-4 Prism and multi-coated lens for protection. This monocular is so powerful that many hunters swear by its ability to magnify their sight and it delivers crisp, clear images.

Since you’ll most likely be using this monocular for outdoor applications, it’s nice to know that it’s built tough to handle rough terrain. It comes with an O-ring seal to protect against dust, debris, dirt, humidity, moisture, and water. Thanks to the striped rubber there’s no chance of this monocular slipping by accident. It also comes with adjustable eyecups so you can wear this monocular over your glasses.

Another unique feature of this monocular is the fact that it comes with a universal adapter so you can attach it to any smartphone, regardless of the brand. This feature will come in handy when you’re bird watching, camping or hunting.

You can operate it hands-free or hook it up to a tripod and capture the beauty of nature. In addition to the smartphone adapter, this monocular also comes with protective covers for the lens an eyepiece, some cleaning fabric, a strap, and a carrying case.

Pros:

Easy to use
Reasonably priced
Comes with a universal smartphone adapter
Delivers crystal clear imagery
Lightweight and compact

Cons:

There are a few complaints about the smartphone holder’s inability to adapt to iPhone smartphones
The adapter gets loose too easily

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6 – Xgazer Optics 8X42 Point View High Powered Monocular

The Xgazer Point View monocular is available in different configurations including 12×50, 10×50, 10×42 and 8×42. It offers great value for money when you consider its quality construction and the several great features it comes with.

It has a simple, low-key design which it makes up for by being available in two different colors; black and green. There’s a shock-absorbent and grip-friendly rubberized surface for comfortable handling. This monocular is also resistant to fog and water which makes it appropriate for outdoor conditions.

There’s a very accurate focus knob included that makes it even easier to make adjustments and use this monocular. You’ll be able to enjoy 6.5 feet focus while its eye relief measures at an impressive 18.6mm. The only downside with this monocular is that it doesn’t come with a tripod mount, but you could try the bottom mount for this purpose.

This monocular also comes with the type of multicoated optics that you’d expect from a high-end model. Of course, there’s an internal BAK4 Prism which further improves your sight in long-distance applications, as well as impressive optics.

Pros:

Easy to use
Safe to carry no matter where you are
Superb clarity
Great viewing experience

Cons:

Unfortunately this monocular isn’t suitable for everyday use

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7 – Orion 10-25×42 Zoom Waterproof Monocular

This waterproof monocular from Orion expands your magnification factor which makes for a much more versatile device. It won’t necessarily affect its optical performance but it’ll increase the zoom factor if you feel you need to zoom into a particular object.

The best part about the Orion 10-25x42mm monocular is that is so small and compact that it can easily fit into your jeans pockets. It’s worth mentioning here that this monocular stands out in a number of other departments as well. For example, its frame is flanked by two rings that are designed to adjust zoom and focus.

The elegant black frame is coated with a rubberized surface to prevent slippage. It’s also resistant to water damage and it won’t shake or distort your view when you magnify it further.

The manufacturer doesn’t say anything about this monocular being fog resistant but it is resistant to most other weather conditions. You should still avoid using this monocular in extreme weather conditions because you don’t know how it’ll react.

Pros:

Comes with a nylon carrying case
Tiny at less than 7 inches
Features a multi-coated 42mm objective lens
Waterproof

Cons:

There have been some complaints about this monocular device’s lack of focus

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8 – Carl Zeiss Optical Inc Monocular

You’re probably familiar with Carl Zeiss as one of the most prominent optics manufacturers in the world. To say this company knows what they’re doing is an understatement. Carl Zeiss typically manufactures optical products for professional photographers and adventurers. Their products don’t come cheap but when you consider the level of craftsmanship, quality and performance they offer, it’s understandable.

The Mono T monocular is one of the best products in this list which is why we decided to include it in this list despite its high price tag. In terms of its appearance, this monocular is quite similar to the Leica model but it’s even smaller.

In fact, it only weighs 2.7 oz which means it’ll easily fit into your pants pocket or even in a tiny coin purse. Although small, Carl Zeiss has managed to pack a lot of different features in this monocular.

Its features include a focus ring and diopter adjustment which unfortunately requires both hands to operate. But, these features are essential to the operation of this monocular because they enable you to go from -4 to +4 easily through customization.

It also comes with a 15mm eye relief which means you can leave your glasses at home and still enjoy a clear picture. This device has a minimum focusing distance of 15 feet and less, which perfectly complements the magnification factor.

The only downside to this monocular is that it’s not exactly designed for indoor use and is mainly designed for outdoor use. The Zeiss Mono T is resistant to water and weather damage which means you can pretty much use it in any weather condition.

The manufacturer promises that this model has anti-fog properties as well, which makes it ideal to take it with you in those early morning hunting trips and it’ll work equally well in humid and high moisture conditions as well without distorting your view of the object. All in all, we’re thoroughly impressed with this monocular and its price tag is definitely justified.

Pros:

Easy focus access
Lightweight and easy to carry
Offers decent optics
Rugged construction

Cons:

Unfortunately, this monocular is not waterproof

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9 – MSDXA Monocular Telescope

This MSDXA monocular is another decent option worth considering. This one is particularly unique because it’s so compact and easily adaptable to a regular smartphone that many people use it to capture super refined images.

This model is very well-designed especially when you compare it to other phone compatible monoculars in this list; it stands head over shoulders above the rest.

But, we were a bit disappointed with the design of the tripod mount because there have been a lot of complaints from customers about this particular feature that it doesn’t work as advertised. The MSDXA monocular telescope doesn’t come with multi-coated optics either which can be a problem for people that wear glasses.

They could’ve done better in terms of construction here because it’s obviously made from inferior, cheap materials. But, we must commend MSDXA for the sleek, low profile design as this device is small enough to fit into the tiniest of pant pockets.

Plus, the included eyecup is small enough to accommodate the phone mount so that you can easily use your phone as a conduit for when you don’t feel like looking through it with your eyes.

It’s important to note here that the phone mount isn’t a screw-on but rather a friction fit so you might encounter some issues when trying to mount your phone. There’s even a risk that it might slip off.

With that said, the MSDXA is still a great budget option for anyone that wants a decent, no-fuss monocular without spending Carl Zeiss money.

Pros:

Smartphone compatible
Lightweight and slim
Small and compact
Wide application
Comes with adjustable eyecups

Cons:

Low quality built

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10 – Authentic ROXANT Grip Scope High Definition Wide View Monocular

When it comes to real value for money, ROXANT is a name you can trust. Their grip scope, high-definition, wide view molecular is proof of this. If you look at online monocular reviews, you’ll find hundreds of happy customers who praise this well-priced monocular for its amazing performance on the field.

Although it’s affordably priced, this monocular is a real bargain when you consider the features it comes with and how well-constructed it is. Although small, this monocular has a lot to offer if you know how to use it.

It’s perfect for bird watching, camping, hunting, and any other outdoor exploration activities. This is an entry-level monocular but it comes with all the features you’d expect from a high-quality model.

For one, this is a 6×30 foldable monocular which means you can easily pop it into your pocket whenever you feel like getting out and exploring the nature around you. This monocular gives you high-quality, eye-level viewing without the need to use glasses and this is all thanks to the twist-up eyecup. It also has an eye relief of 20mm which is pretty decent.

This is complemented by BaK-4 glass multi-coated air-to-glass surfaces. These features greatly compensate for the prism assembly so we won’t even mention that (see what we did there?) There’s also an adjustable focus ring which is designed to deliver crisp, accurate images.

The Roxant monocular comes with a wide field of view of about 180m at 1000m. With that said, you may come across some issues with this monocular if you’re not using it properly, especially when it comes to focusing it.

If you’re not familiar with fold-up monoculars, you’ll do well to study the instruction manual that comes with this Roxant monocular. This monocular offers great value for money. It’s thoughtfully designed, compact, and definitely one of the best monocular devices on the market.

Pros:

Comes with a retractable eyecup
Compact and easy to travel with
Wide view lens
Comfort molded grip for easy carrying

Cons:

Has very little magnification

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Conclusion

PLAN - PRICE

Description

Xgazer Optics High Powered Monocular

Easy to use

Safe to carry no matter where you are

Superb clarity

Great viewing experience

Orion 10-25x42 Zoom Monocular

Comes with a nylon carrying case

Tiny at less than 7 inches

Features a multi-coated 42mm objective lens

Waterproof

Carl Zeiss Optical Inc Monocular

Easy focus access

Lightweight and easy to carry

Offers decent optics

Rugged construction

MSDXA Monocular Telescope

Smartphone compatible

Lightweight and slim

Small and compact

Wide application

Comes with adjustable eyecups

ROXANT Grip Wide View Monocular

Comes with a retractable eyecup

Compact and easy to travel with

Wide view lens

Comfort molded grip

The monocular is a nice device to have for anyone that enjoys outdoor sports and activities, but you can also use them to get a close-up view at the opera, major sports games or music concerts. It doesn’t matter how far the object is, a monocular can help to bring it closer through features like high optic quality, a wide field of view, eyecups and eye relief.

If you’re still feeling a bit confused about which option to choose, we highly recommend the ROXANT Grip Scope High Definition Wide View Monocular.

We chose this monocular because it’s versatile, easy to use and offers great value for money. Some of its most notable features include a wide view lens, an adjustable focus ring and BaK-4 glass multi-coated air-to-glass surfaces. It’s well-made and performs as expected.

According to the thermal monocular reviews, it’s one of the best thermal monocular devices around and we totally agree.

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