12 Best Monoculars Worth The Money (2021)

Monocular is a lifesaver if you need to go lightweight, but if you want it to be actually useful, pick the one that doesn’t come with poor optical elements.

The best monocular offers at least 8x magnification, is decent in low-light, and durable enough, so you don’t need to think about it. Here are our favorites.

We Recommend

Best price/value ratio

Opticron BGA

Best that money can get

Zeiss Conquest Mono

Best budget option

Vortex Solo

Best Monocular

1. Opticron BGA 8X42 Waterproof Monocular

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The Opticron BGA offers the best price/value ratio. Mainly because of the large 42mm objective lens which allows you see well in low-light conditions while still being lightweight.

It has a long 19mm eye relief which is great for eyeglass wearers. The objective lens of this monocular comes with full multi-coating, so it functions well in different light conditions.

This device also comes with a wider field of view that stands at 330 feet per 1000 yards. The monocular is waterproof up to 9.8 feet and it comes with a close focus of 6.6 feet.

The lens is internally focused and the device is covered under a limited lifetime warranty. This gives you the peace of mind that the company has got your back if in any rare case, the product falters.


What we liked

  • Best value/price ratio
  • Long 19mm eye relief
  • Wider field of view
  • Comfortable to carry all day long
  • Large 42mm objective lens for low light
  • Water and fog proof
  • Anti-glare optical performance
  • Multi-coated optics 

What we didn’t like

  • Not the most rugged option

Prism: Roof prism
Objective lens: 42 mm
Close focus: 6.6 feet
Magnification: 8x
Field of view: 330.0 feet per 1000 yards
Eye relief: 19 mm
Waterproof: Watertight up to 9.8m
Dimensions: 136 mm x 43 mm
Weight: 10.1 oz
Best for: Traveling, short-range hunting

2. Zeiss Conquest Mono 10X25 Monocular

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The Zeiss Mono offers the best image quality you can get from a monocular. It uses T* Anti-Reflective coating which reduces surface reflections, removes flares and ghost images, and as a result gives you a clear and sharp image.

With a 25mm objective lens, it’s the goto lightweight quality monocular for backpacking or every other outdoor activity where you need to pack light.

It does not have the chromatic pop and clarity of the Leica Monovid, but it doesn’t cost as much either (and is way lighter). For a nonoptics nerd, the optical quality is flawless.

Of course, with the higher zoom, you don’t get a better FoV, so this device stays under 300 feet per 1000 yards.

Even without ED glass, the scope can still manage to deliver clear enough images at varying distances. You get a limited lifetime warranty from Zeiss.

But one of the biggest advantages of owning this device is that it is very lightweight in construction and you can comfortably hold it in your hand for long without tiring.


What we liked

  • Best in class Zeiss quality
  • Very lightweight 
  • Clear and bright image
  • Various accessories available
  • More suitable for short-range  
  • Ergonomic design
  • Quick to focus

What we didn’t like

  • Average eye relief
  • Somewhat higher price

Prism: Schmidt-Pechan
Objective lens: 25 mm
Close focus: 6.2 feet
Magnification: 5x
Field of view: 285.0 feet per 1000 yards
Eye relief: 16 mm
Waterproof: Yes
Dimensions: 117 mm x 54.5 mm
Weight: 11.0 oz
Best for: Hiking and camping

3. Vortex Solo 8X36 Monocular

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The Vortex Solo is hands down the best budget monocular you can get today. The 36mm objective lens serves you well on your camping and hiking trips, even in low-light conditions.

This monocular will also prove to be a good lightweight option if you are backpacking light. It weighs less than 6 ounces and comes with o-ring seals. Therefore, no moisture or any other debris can enter the device.

Its barrel is filled with nitrogen gas, so you don’t have to deal with any fogging. The 8x magnification is stable in hand and still provides a close enough image of your target.

The FoV that this monocular has to offer is 393 feet per 1000 yards. The monocular scope comes with lenses that have full multi-coating due to which light transmission stays anti-reflective.

Its rubberized armor makes it very effective against any shocks or impacts. When using this, you definitely don’t need to worry about it’s durability.


What we liked

  • Best in class VIP warranty
  • Best budget option
  • Large 32mm objective lens
  • A lens with full multi-coating
  • Anti-glare protection
  • All optics are waterproof and fog proof
  • Great for camping and hiking
  • Anti-slip grip and rugged armor

What we didn’t like

  • Not best for eyeglasses wearers

Prism: BaK4
Objective lens: 36 mm
Close focus: 16.4 feet
Magnification: 8x
Field of view: 315.0 feet per 1000 yards
Eye relief: 14.5mm
Waterproof: Watertight up to 2.5m
Dimensions: 112mm x 46mm
Weight: 5.6 oz
Best for: Camping and hiking

4. Vortex RECCE Pro HD 8X32mm Monocular

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The Vortex Pro Recce is the perfect handheld device for quick range estimation and reconnaissance.

The device comes with a fully multi-coated lens along with high-definition prism glass to provide you with crystal clear imaging.

The device is durable for its size and you won’t have to worry if you drop it some time.

But make sure to use it carefully because it still is a delicate monocular that you can just throw around freely.

With o-ring seals, Vortex has purged this monocular with Argon and has externally coated it with ArmorTek layer. Hence, you can use this device in any condition without any worries.

It comes with an FoV of 400 feet per 1000 yards. With these features, you have the best monocular in terms of field of view.

FoV is available at 8x zoom, which makes it an extremely versatile device.


What we liked

  • Unbeatable VIP warranty
  • 8x zoom with 400 feet FoV
  • HD fully multi-coated lens
  • Water and fog proof
  • ArmorTek layering for solid performance
  • Convenient to hold in one hand
  • Argon gas purged

What we didn’t like

  • Rather short eye relief

Prism: BaK4
Objective lens: 32 mm
Close focus: 5 feet
Magnification: 8x
Field of view: 400 feet per 1000 yards
Eye relief: 14.2 mm
Waterproof: Watertight up to 4.0m
Dimensions: 157 mm x 51 mm
Weight: 11.0 oz
Best for: Hiking and target practice

5. Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10X42mm Monocular

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This Bushnell Legend Ultra HD monocular provides you with a magnification of 10x so you can comfortably zoom in on your target at any range.

The top rated monocular features high-quality PC-3 prisms that are phase coated to prevent any glares and ensure exceptional light transmission in any conditions.

The monocular is fog and waterproof; you can enjoy it using a variety of your outdoor excursions.

It has an ergonomic design that allows you to carry it in your palm easily.

There are different accessories available as well by Bushnell that you can add on for optimum use.

With a bigger 42mm objective diameter, it can provide you with good imaging quality in low light situations.

However, as a pro hunter, if you are looking for a reticle, you need to choose separate accessories to work with it.


What we liked

  • Low dispersing prime glass
  • 6.5 feet of close focus
  • Great in low-light
  • Water and fog proof
  • A fully multi-coated lens with PC-3 prism
  • Excellent low light performance
  • Accessories available
  • Superb field of view

What we didn’t like

  • Not the longest eye relief
  • Somewhat higher price

Prism: PC-3
Objective lens: 42 mm
Close focus: 6.5 feet
Magnification: 10x
Field of view: 340.0 feet per 1000 yards
Eye relief: 15.2 mm
Waterproof: Watertight up to 5.0m
Dimensions: 137.2 mm x 61 mm
Weight: 13.2 oz
Best for: Hiking, camping, hunting

6. Vortex Solo Tactical RT 8X36 Tactical Monocular

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The Solo RT Tactical monocular by Vortex functions well as your short-range observation device.

It can also work for long ranges to some extent. It features a 36mm objective lens that works great in low light environments.

With a sharp reticle range, this one-eyed binocular ensures that you can have a clear view through it even without your glasses.

For the best anti-reflective and light transmission performance, you need to bring in this monocular.

The device features fully multicoated lenses with a BaK4 prism. It will provide you with a great optical outdoor experience and work well in twilight conditions.

With good eye relief and fully waterproof construction, you can conveniently use it outdoors. It also comes with some accessories, including a carrying case, utility clip, and a neck lanyard.

It comes with a fixed magnification; therefore, it will work better for long-range focus. This monocular is great for the general purpose of traveling and hunting.


What we liked

  • Best in class VIP warranty
  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • BaK4 prism with anti-reflection
  • Decent eye relief 
  • A broad field of view
  • Fog and waterproof
  • Sharp reticle range
  • Excellent light transmission

What we didn’t like

  • Nothing noteworthy

Prism: BaK4
Objective lens: 36 mm
Close focus: 16.4 feet
Magnification: 8x
Field of view: 393.0 feet per 1000 yards
Eye relief: 18 mm
Waterproof: Yes
Dimensions: 137.2 mm x 58.42 mm
Weight: 10.2 oz
Best for: Traveling and hunting

7. Leica Monovid 8X20 Close-Focus Monocular

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The Leica monocular Monovid offers the Best image quality that monocular can offer. It’s very lightweight and comes with an objective lens of 20mm and provides you with a decent eye relief of 15mm.

The roof prism that is installed in this monocular has a phase correction coating on it to ensure better transmission of light in varying conditions.

It can function well as your spotting scope but only at mid to short ranges.

You can view insects and butterflies if you have a thing for them. You can also accessorize your monocular conveniently because there is a range of different add-ons available on the market.

This monocular also boasts 5m waterproofing and you can use it conveniently in et conditions too.

Therefore, being a short-range hunter, this device will be a worthy addition to your arsenal. It only weighs under 6 ounces. The carrying case that comes with it also protects it when you are not using the device.


What we liked

  • Best image quality you can get
  • 8x magnification
  • 12.7 twilight factor for better dim light performance
  • Best for everyday carry
  • AquaDura and HDC lens coatings
  • P40 phase correction prism
  • Ergonomic exterior

What we didn’t like

  • Higher price
  • Only one objective lens option

Prism: P40
Objective lens: 20 mm
Close focus: 6 feet
Magnification: 8x
Field of view: 361 feet per 1000 yards
Eye relief: 15 mm
Waterproof: Watertight up to 5.0m
Dimensions: 98 mm x 36 mm)
Weight: 4.0 oz
Best for: Traveling, close-range viewing

8. Hawke Sport Optics Endurance ED 8X42 Monocular

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The Endurance ED monocular features a 42mm objective lens that works great even in low light environments.

Therefore, it is the best monocular for hunting.

With 8x magnification, this monocular can zoom in on your target and provide you with great details.

The magnification type, however, is fixed and you won’t be able to use it effectively when aiming close-range objects.

This monocular is very lightweight, compact, and comes with a rubberized casing to provide you with an ergonomic and non-slip grip.

The focus knob of this hunting monocular has 2 turns and is convenient to use. It features a BaK4 prism with a fully multi-coated lens.


What we liked

  • Good choice for low light scenarios
  • Stay-on lens covers 
  • BaK4 prism for better light reflection
  • Fully multi-coated lens 
  • Fog and shockproof
  • Extra-low dispersion
  • Compact design

What we didn’t like

  • Short close focus
  • Carrying case is not that durable

Prism: BaK4
Objective lens: 42 mm
Close focus: 6.6 feet
Magnification: 8x
Field of view: 388.0 feet per 1000 yards
Eye relief: 18 mm
Waterproof: Yes
Dimensions: 143 mm x 125 mm
Weight: 23 oz
Best for: Traveling and hunting

9. Vortex Recon 15X50 R/T Tactical Monocular

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The Vortex RT155 Recon long range monocular is a suitable choice for law and enforcement professionals and hunters.

This digital monocular comes with a huge objective lens of 50mm. Hence, a Vortex monocular with camera can gather a good amount of light even in dark conditions.

It is a good device for spy and covert operations. You can also connect this monocular with digital camera for taking pictures.

The best handheld telescope comes with the 15x zoom and is highly capable of both short and long-range imaging with high definition.

Featuring an XD lens, the military monocular is capable of producing high-resolution images, and they also are fully multi-coated to reduce glare.

The exterior of the zoom monocular comes with ArmorTek coating, which makes it compact and shock-resistant. Another feature that makes it the best monocular for surveillance is, hunting, and covert operations along with MRAD reticle.

So focusing on your target becomes much simpler with easily accessible range information. It is the best zoom monocular available on the market.


What we liked

  • Twilight factor of 27.4
  • Field of view of 215 feet per 1000 yards
  • Comes with several accessories 
  • 15x high magnification
  • 55mm large objective lens 
  • Excellent performance in dark conditions
  • ArmorTek coating

What we didn’t like

  • Not a lightweight option
  • High price tag

Prism: BaK4
Objective lens: 55 mm
Close focus: 12 feet
Magnification: 15x
Field of view: 215.0 feet per 1000 yards
Eye relief: 16 mm
Waterproof: Watertight up to 5.5m
Dimensions: 246 mm x 119 mm
Weight: 31.2 oz
Best for: Law enforcement, professional hunting, covert operations, stargazing

10. Levenhuk Wise PLUS 8X32 Monocular

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The Wise Plus by Levenhuk is practical and comfortable to use for a range of different outdoor adventures.

It can provide you with a full range of your target view. The monoculars come with a full rubberized armor for total protection.

You will get a good grip that is very ergonomic. You can use this monocular conveniently on the move as well.

The rubber cups of this handheld monocular are soft and reduce any external glare.

This device is a good option if you are looking to enjoy some panoramic views. This best pocket monocular can quickly identify your target when you are using it.

The device is one of the ideal single lens binoculars in this price range and features. The Wise Plus comes with an 8x magnification and features BaK4 glass prism for better performance and a clear view. The lens has full multi-coating with a 32mm diameter.

Though this lens is designed to be used in twilight conditions, it still works better in broad daylight.


What we liked

  • Lightweight
  • Ergonomic construction
  • Easy to carry
  • Works better in good light conditions
  • Fully multi-coated lens
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Quick target identification

What we didn’t like

  • Not very useful in dim light conditions
  • No shock resistance
  • Short eye relief

Prism: BaK4
Objective lens: 32mm
Close focus: 9.8 feet
Magnification: 8x
Field of view: 393.9 feet per 1000 yards
Eye relief: 13.6mm
Waterproof: Watertight up to 4m
Dimensions: 140mm x 41mm
Weight: 6.56 oz
Best for: Sight viewing

11. Zeiss 5X10 T MiniQuick Pocket Pen Monocular

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The Zeiss T MIniQuick is a small monocular that is handy to carry with its compact design.

You can place it in your pocket and take it with you anywhere.

Despite being with limited optics, it is the best compact monocular equipped with 5x magnification and a 10mm objective lens.

With such a lens, light transmission becomes extremely efficient.

And with a fully multi-coated lens, you won’t have to deal with any glares.

Even if you wear eyeglasses, you won’t feel any discomfort at all.

You will get a fixed magnification with this pocket monocular, but if you are not a pro hunter or targeting on objects at varying distances, then this monocular will work just fine.

The lightweight feature makes it the best monocular for backpacking.


What we liked

  • Lightweight construction
  • Small and compact design 
  • Better suited for bright conditions
  • Comes with a pretty good field of view
  • Carrying pouch available
  • Great for casual observers
  • 5x magnification

What we didn’t like

  • Not very good low light performance

Prism: Roof prism
Objective lens: 10 mm
Close focus: 13 feet
Magnification: 5x
Field of view: 300.0 feet per 1000 yards
Eye relief: 16.5 mm
Waterproof: No
Dimensions: 113 mm x 20 mm
Weight: 0.8 oz
Best for: Traveling, camping, hiking

12. Nikon 5X15 High-Grade Monocular

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The Nikon 7391 High-Grade monocular comes with 5x magnification, which might not sound a lot, but you do get a high field of view that goes up to 472 feet per 1000 yards.

It also comes with a low, close focus distance. You can easily zoom in on short-range targets.

The objective lens diameter of this monocular is 15 mm, so it will function better on a broad day.

Hence, this monocular is better suited for hiking, camping, and traveling.

You can also make it work for short-range target shooting or small game hunting at close ranges.

This device also provides you with an eye relief of 15.8mm so you can manage it even if you wear power glasses.

It also has great anti-reflective features and with only a 2.8-inch length, you can easily fit it in your pocket and carry it around.


What we liked

  • Anti-glare features
  • Multi-coated lenses 
  • Excellent light transmission
  • Well suited for bright light environments
  • Clear short-range imaging
  • Good to use with eyeglasses
  • Fits into your pocket with ease

What we didn’t like

  • No ED glass
  • Not best for dark conditions

Prism: BaK4
Objective lens: 15 mm
Close focus: 2 feet
Magnification: 5x
Field of view: 472.0 feet per 1000 yards
Eye relief: 15.8 mm
Waterproof: Yes
Dimensions: 71 mm x 30 mm
Weight: 2.72 oz
Best for: Close range hunting and target shooting

Monoculars vs. binoculars vs. spotting scopes

It has been a long-standing debate among the enthusiasts of optics to compare monoculars with binoculars and spotting scope. First let’s get into the fundamental, 

  • Monocular is a device to view distant targets using one eye. It is suitable for people who are backpacking and need a compact device.
  • Pair of binoculars is an instrument that uses both the eyes to do the same. These devices are best for explorers and farthest backcountry hunters. 
  • Spotting scopes are high powers yet portable telescopes with enhanced optics for spotting targets at a distance. Mostly these are used for stargazing and bird watching. 

If you want to scan an area for long, then choose a pair of binos because you will be using both your eyes to see which will cause less eye strain. Carrying a monocular with you is when you don’t usually need a pair of binos with you. A monocular is focused more on portability and convenience. 

Binoculars provide you with better viewing experiences with less strain on your eyes. Whereas, if you are looking for far more enhanced optics and clear viewing experience, you need to go for a spotting scope. You will have to compromise on portability because, in most cases, you will need a stand to fix your spotting scope for stable viewing. 

Related: 12 Best Compact Spotting Scopes Worth the Money

Types of monoculars

Monoculars range in different varieties. Some of them are compact; others come with different technologies that allow you to see in dim or no light conditions. You need to pick one based on your needs and requirements. 

Regular monocular

There are regular monoculars that come with a traditional size that you can conveniently hold in your hands and hang them conveniently around your neck or waist. You can also find pocket size monoculars designed for better portability. You can easily put them in your pocket and use them with your one hand. They are less powerful than their regular counterparts because they entirely focus on trimming downsize and weight.

Night vision monocular

Night vision monocular is another type of monocular that will allow you to see in the dark. They are very expensive because of the optics used in them. These devices gather light from the surroundings to produce a view and are suitable for close distance sighting only. If you want to see in the dark, then go for infrared monoculars. These devices ensure quality viewing in the dark with micro frequency IR technology.

Thermal monocular

Thermal monocular creates a view by detecting the heat signatures from the target objects. So they will work pretty well in the dark. You can use these monoculars during the day. With a thermal monocular, you’ll see the horizon even on the darkest night. Benign a caver, your thermal imaging monocular would work fantastic to r count bats or see down-tube.

What type of monocular do you need for different activities?

There are various types of monoculars and each of them fills an alternate need. Some of them are more qualified for chasing, while others function admirably for outdoors or climbing exercises. Let’s have a look at what type of monocular is suitable for the following activities. 

Backpacking

For backpacking, you will need to go for lightweight items because you have to carry them on your back along the way. Therefore, you should choose a compact monocular. A 5×10 device will suffice because with better optics, one-eyed binocular gains weight too.

Travel

Again you will pack stuff and be on the move, so lightweight features still count. But you can go for better optics as you won’t be carrying your luggage behind you back. In such a scenario, going for anything around 8×32 will be good enough. 

Birding

Depending on your viewing distance, you will either need a short distance focusing birding monocular or a long-distance device. Again, you can choose an 8×32 monocular, but make sure that you go for variable magnification for more versatility.

Stargazing

As you will see in the dark, going for high-powered optics is mandatory. For better viewing experience, you should choose a powerful monocular with features ranging around 15×55.

Security

In this scenario, you will have to up the ante all the time, whether it’s day or night. So you will need better optics to work in this situation too. Make sure that you go for anything over 8×42 with night vision or IR features. 

Hunting

Choose a monocular that features reticles for better spotting. If you are a long-range shooter, then choose a 10×40 device or anything more powerful based on the size of the target you prefer shooting at. For short distance hunters, 8×32 will work well. 

All-around

For an all-purpose monocular, the best features to have are 8×40 magnification and objective lens diameter with multi-coated lens and IR capabilities. 

How to choose the best monocular?

Monoculars come in shapes and sizes and with development in technologies, the modern ones come more equipped than ever. But with more technologies, the devices become very expensive to own. 

Therefore, for the best bag of your buck, you need to be sure you are choosing the right products that meet all your needs and requirements. In this monocular buying guide, we are highlighting some important features that you must consider before buying the best monocular for your outdoor activities.  

Objective lens

The diameter of the objective lens of a monocular will tell you a lot about its power. Larger objective lenses are better because they can gather more light from the surroundings to create a clearer image. 

But larger optics are delicate and expensive and if the size is your concern, then you will have to compromise on that too. For better image clarity, choose an object lens of 42mm or more. Anything less than that will be cheaper, more compact, and less delicate but at the expense of image clarity. 

Magnification

Some people consider it to be a rule of thumb to go for higher magnification when choosing different viewing devices. Higher magnification doesn’t guarantee better optics. For better clarity, you need to focus on optics more than magnification. But that doesn’t mean magnification is not important. 

The ability to zoom in on your target and have clear sight is a must-have feature for most outdoor excursions. Therefore, higher magnification is better. But with higher magnification, you will have to compromise on a narrower field of view. So it’s better to balance it out between the two. 8x magnification works pretty well for most outdoor activities.

Field of view (FOV)

A better field of view is equally important because if you can zoom in high, then you can quickly lose track of the field that you are looking at. Therefore, high magnification means lower FoV and vice versa. So balancing them, both are the better option. For monoculars with 8x or 10x magnification, the FoV needs to be around 250 feet to 350 feet per 1000 yards. 

Prism

There are different types of prisms that different manufacturers use in their devices. But most commonly, you will find a BaK4 roof prism because it is durable and ensures better light transmission. It is also less expensive than the other option, which is phase coated Porro prism. It offers good image clarity but is delicate too. 

Lens coatings

Again, there are different types of lens coatings available. There are multi-coatings, fully multi-coatings, anti-glare coatings, and a range of others. Fully multi-coatings and anti-glare coatings are suitable for most outdoor purposes. Water-resistance coating options are available too. 

Inert gas filled optics

Active people, when using monoculars, have to deal with fogging due to moisture entering these viewing devices. For better water and fog proofing, manufacturers use o-rings and fill the barrel with inert gas, mostly nitrogen or argon. With this feature, you won’t have to deal with any fogging on the optics of your monocular. 

Waterproofing

Waterproofing is not limited to the optics of a device. Its exterior needs to be waterproof as well. If you will use your monocular in wet conditions or areas where there is a lot of rain, this feature is a must-have. 

Eye relief

Eye-relief is an important feature for anyone who wears eyeglasses. With the features even with your glasses on, you won’t have to deal with a smaller field of view. It is better to go with an eye relief of at least 17mm or more. 

Frequently asked questions

What is the best monocular?

The best monocular is the Bushnell Legend HD as it is an 8×42 monocular that is well equipped to take on any outdoor activity. 

What is the most powerful monocular?

Consider going for the Vortex Recon RT155 which is a high power monocular. It is the most powerful monocular and is an excellent choice for professional hunting, law enforcement, and observational activities. It is the best monocular telescope for its size and performance. 

What is the best magnification for a monocular?

The ideally suitable magnification for a monocular to take care of a range of different outdoor jobs ranges between 8x and 10x.

What does 12×50 mean on a monocular?

12x refers to the magnification of a monocular while 50 (50mm) means the diameter of the objective lens of that monocular.

How do I choose a good monocular?

Make sure that you understand what your needs are and make a choice accordingly. Always go for better optics regardless of what magnification is on offer. 

Which is better: binoculars or monoculars?

Binoculars are always better because you are using both your eyes for lesser strain. Monocular is suitable when portability and single-hand operation are the most important aspects for you. 

What is the best night vision monocular for the money?

The ATN PVS-14 Gen 3 is the best choice. It is a 1×27 monocular that emphasizes on image clarity more than anything else. It is by far the best monocular for the money.

How far can you see with a monocular?

With a high powered monocular you can easily see up to 1000 meters even in the dark. But you need to have the best optics to see this far. 



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