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12 Best Night Vision Goggles Worth the Money (2022)

Night vision is a seriously useful tool for a variety of tactical applications as well as outdoor hobbies and activities. Allowing you to see in dark conditions where the human eye can no longer see clearly, night vision is essential for many nighttime sports and activities. Different types of night vision exist, which utilize different technologies to deliver their images. Night vision is often separated into “generations” of technology which range from the weaker and more outdated generation one night vision all the way up to top-of-the-line generation four night vision which is costly and very advanced.

We Recommend

Best Night Vision Goggle

AGM Wolf 7

Best Budget Gen. 3

ATN NVM 14

Best Budget Gen. 2

ATN NVG 7-2

Best Night Vision Goggles

1. AGM Global Vision Wolf-7 Night Vision Goggles

night vision binoculars on a white background

The Wolf 7 by AGM is a night vision bi-ocular tool which comes with the option of gen two or gen three night vision technology to provide crisp clear views under the cover of darkness. Backed by a limited three year warranty, the Wolf 7 is both rugged and reliable.

Convenient to use and to carry, the Wolf 7 is usable by hand but compatible with hands free usage via both head mounting and helmet mounting. Weather resistant and quite lightweight, the Wolf 7 is a very accessible night vision option which is well-suited for a range of hobbies and applications.

The AGM Wolf 7 comes with fully multi-coated optics, an automatic shut-off to protect your eyes from damage in bright conditions, magnification up to 3x, and a wide angle infrared illuminator. Although expensive for a beginner, the Wolf 7 is a fantastic choice for fans of night vision technology in search of a dependable set of goggles.


What we liked

  • Compact but rugged design
  • Excellent for multi-purpose use
  • Very easy to flip and down for quick use
  • All glass multi-coated lenses
  • Adaptive brightness control
  • The automatic bright light cut-off feature saves battery consumption
  • Excellent battery life

What we didn’t like

  • Limited waterproof capabilities

Gen: Generation 2 and Generation 3
Magnification: 1x
Lens diameter: 24mm
Field of view: 40 degrees
Sensor: HD 1080p
Resolution: 54 lines per mm
Battery life: 60 hours
Weight: 14.4 oz

2. ATN NVM-14 Gen. 3 Night Vision Goggle Scope

night vision binoculars on a white background

The ATN NVM-14 is a generation three night vision monocular which can be used as a scope or with a head or helmet mount. The NVM-14 can even be affixed to a gun for hunting and spotting.

Lightweight and easy to operate, the ATN NVM-14 is a strong contender for a middle range night vision scope that strikes an appropriate balance between up-to-date technology and pricing that doesn’t necessarily exclude night vision novices.


What we liked

  • Excellent for a wide range of applications
  • Wide field of view
  • Good for all-weather use
  • Lightweight and compact for easy on-field operation
  • Ruggedly built
  • Comes with a limited lifetime warranty
  • Generation 3 night vision

What we didn’t like

  • Doesn’t come with a high-light auto shut-off
  • Eye relief is not suitable for people who wear glasses
  • The battery runs out rather fast at full power

Gen: Generation 3
Magnification: 1x
Lens diameter: 25mm
Field of view: 40 degrees
Sensor: HD 1080p
Resolution: 74 lines per mm
Battery life: 40 hours
Weight: 11.8 oz

3. ATN NVG7-2/WPTI Night Vision Goggles

night vision binoculars on a white background

Also from ATN, the NVG7 utilizes generation two night vision technology to deliver quality performance in the dark for a very reasonable price. Ruggedly built, with metal parts where other manufacturers might use plastic, the NVG7 is built to handle the demands of the field.

This set of night vision goggles comes with a generation 2 18mm image intensifier tube. Binocular viewing allows the NVG7 to sit comfortably over the eyes with compatibility for both head and helmet mounting. The NVG7 features an inbuilt IR light source for illuminating those dark spaces.

The NVG7 comes with a range of different accessories. Your package includes a goggle kit, along with lens tissue, a soft carrying case as well as head mount assembly. For both civilian and law enforcement purposes, the NVG7 may just be the best value for second generartion night vision on the market.


What we liked

  • All-metal body for durability
  • Extremely lightweight to carry
  • Easy to flip up and down for convenient hands-free use
  • Inbuilt infrared illumination for brighter output in darker conditions
  • All-glass fully multi-coated optics 
  • Work well with different lenses with better magnification
  • Long eye relief making them comfortable to use with eyeglasses

What we didn’t like

  • The head harness can be difficult to set-up 
  • Slightly expensive (but completely appropriate for the value)

Gen: Generation 2
Magnification: 1x
Lens diameter: 26mm
Field of view: 40 degrees
Sensor: HD 1080p
Resolution: 39 lines per mm
Battery life: 60 hours
Weight: 17.4 oz

4. Bering Optics PVS-7BE Night Vision Goggles

night vision binoculars on a white background

The PVS-7BE by Bering Optics is an excellent set of night vision goggles which features fully multi-coated optics as well as an inbuilt infrared illuminator.

The PVS-7BE by Bering Optics is available with both generation two and generation three technology. Ideal for field operations, hunting, and surveillance, the PVS-7BE is fantastic general purpose night vision tool.

Helmet mountable and with sixty hours of battery life from just two AA batteries, the PVS-7BE is all about convenience. In addition, with the purchase of the PVS-7BE, comes several accessories including demist shields, a soft carrying case, additional brow pads, headgear, a neck strap, rubber eyecups, and lens covers.


What we liked

  • Lightweight construction 
  • Good battery timing 
  • Pretty close focus range
  • Excellent performance in dim light
  • Comes with a range of accessories
  • Works with different lenses
  • Automatic brightness control keeps battery drainage in-check
  • Gen 3 option available

What we didn’t like

  • Limited weatherproofing

Gen: Generation 2 and Generation 3
Magnification: 1x
Lens diameter: 26mm
Field of view: 40 degrees
Sensor: HD 1080p
Resolution: 39 lines per mm
Battery life: 60 hours
Weight: 17.64 oz

5. ATN PVS14-3 Generation 3 Night Vision Monocular

night vision binoculars on a white background

The PVS14 Generation 3 night vision goggles by ATN is a standard military and law enforcement issue for good reason. These goggles are sturdy, reliable, and deliver crisp bright optics under dark nighttime conditions.

These impressive generation three night vision goggles come with a wide field of view angle and a variety of useful accessories provided by ATN. The The PVS14-3 features long eye relief for maximum comfort and minimal eye strain. These goggles also feature “Proshield” coating to ensure their durability and reliable performance.

Usable by hand, compatible with head and helmet mounting, and relatively lightweight, the PVS14-3 is both user friendly and precise. Furthermore, these goggles are backed by a limited lifetime warranty, demonstrating ATN’s faith in the quality of this product.


What we liked

  • Quality image Gen 3 intensifier tube 
  • Multi-functional with military-grade construction
  • Comes with a 2-year warranty
  • Extremely lightweight to use
  • Straightforward controls and a decent battery life
  • Multiple accessories included
  • Longer eye relief for easy viewing through eyeglasses

What we didn’t like

  • Slightly short battery life
  • Restricted for sale in the state of California

Gen: Generation 3
Magnification: 1x
Lens diameter: 27mm
Field of view: 40 degrees
Sensor: HD 1080p
Resolution: 75 lines per mm
Battery life: 40 hours
Weight: 11.14 oz

6. Armasight Nyx-7 PRO IDi Gen 2+ Night Vision Goggles

night vision binoculars on a white background

The Nyx-7 by Armasight uses generation two night vision technology to deliver bright, sharp, and high contrast images in near-total darkness.

High resolution with automatic shut-off in bright light conditions and automatic brightness control, the Nyx-7 is easy to use and ideal for night vision novices and enthusiasts alike.

Digital controls, a sixty hour battery life, and a built in infrared illuminator means that the Nyx-7 is an overall strong choice with no glaring weaknesses. Better yet, considering the precision of its generation two night vision technology, the Armasight Nyx-7 is shockingly affordable and may represent the best value on the market for high end night vision technology that remains accessible to users of all experience levels.


What we liked

  • Can be used with a head or a helmet mount
  • HIgh-performance Gen 2 image stabilization
  • Come with a 2-year warranty
  • Durable construction with a rugged design
  • Inbuilt flood lens and IR
  • Suitable for both military and civilian applications
  • User-friendly controls 

What we didn’t like

  • Nothing in particular stands out as a weakness!

Gen: Generation 2
Magnification: 1x
Lens diameter: 27mm
Field of view: 40 degrees
Sensor: HD 1080p
Resolution: 54 lines per mm
Battery life: 60 hours
Weight: 17.6 oz

7. ATN PS-15-WPT Night Vision Goggles

night vision binoculars on a white background

The PS-15-WPT goggles by ATN feature a 27mm objective lens with 1x magnification. These generation three night vision goggles can be used as a scope or can be mounted on the head or helmet.

Backed by a two year warranty, these somewhat pricy goggles are worth it to many enthusiasts because they know that they can count on ATN to stand behind their high end optical products.

These goggles come with White Phosphor technology, which displays the images in black and white with a higher degree of contrast and detail than the typical green night vision display.

With this technology, higher contrast brings clearer, crisper images even in the dark of night. Designed to minimize distortion and haziness, the PS-15-WPT uses cutting edge technology to deliver true-to-life views in high detail. These goggles are rated as waterproof and are operable at a wide range of temperatures so that they can withstand the demands of outdoor activities.


What we liked

  • White Phosphor technology for a clearer viewing experience
  • High lens resolution for better results
  • Lighter yet durable construction
  • Fully weatherproof design
  • Inbuilt infrared illuminator for better nighttime viewing
  • Comfortable to use as flip-up goggles
  • Additional 3x magnification lenses available

What we didn’t like

  • The hard plastic body is not impact resistant
  • Non-variable magnification
  • Higher price tag

Gen: Generation 3
Magnification: 1x
Lens diameter: 27mm
Field of view: 40 degrees
Sensor: HD 1080p
Resolution: 72 lines per mm
Battery life: 40 hours
Weight: 24 oz

8. ATN PVS 7 Night Vision Standard Military Issue Goggles

night vision binoculars on a white background

Yet another offering from ATN, the military-grade PVS 7 by ATN is highly dependable, robust, and high performance. IT is almost immediately obvious why these particular goggles are the favorite choice for several branches of the United States military.

Like many previous entries, these goggles are compatible with both head and helmet mounting, making them a convenient hands-free option. With generation three night vision, the PVS 7 is a favorite amongst hunters, law enforcement, and surveillance professionals.

These goggles are fog and waterproof, so they can withstand harsh outdoor conditions. With a built in infrared illuminator and cutting edge generation three technology, one predictable drawback is that the PVS 7 has a somewhat shorter battery life than its competitors at just thirty hours.


What we liked

  • Generation 3 night vision
  • No rusting or corrosion due to hard plastic armoring
  • Lightweight yet durable
  • Compliant with MIL-spec
  • Comes with IR and battery indicator 
  • Completely weather resistant 
  • Wide-angle field of view

What we didn’t like

  • Battery life is not that great
  • Not suitable for budget hunters or long-range shooters

Gen: Generation 3
Magnification: 1x
Lens diameter: 26mm
Field of view: 40 degrees
Sensor: HD 1080p
Resolution: 64 lines per mm
Battery life: 30 hours
Weight: 17.6 oz

9. AGM Global Vision FoxBat-5 Night Vision Bi-Ocular

night vision binoculars on a white background

The AGM FoxBat NVG is another helmet mounted night vision bi-ocular. The FoxBat is a major standout, though, because it features powerful 5x magnification and a downright massive 108mm objective lens.

Perhaps the single greatest option for long range night vision applications, the FoxBat NVG is fully multi-coated with a detachable infrared illuminator, a focus range of ten meters to infinity, and automatic brightness control.

For a novice with a tight budget, this tool is probably overkill, but for more professional long range applications, the FoxBat cannot be ignored. The FoxBat is slightly heavy, but that is to be expected from a device with such power and such a huge objective lens. Fortunately, the FoxBat is tripod compatible.


What we liked

  • High magnification for better zooming
  • Can provide you with brilliant image results 
  • Excellent for long session usage
  • Tripod mountable construction
  • All-weather performance
  • Come with 2-years warranty
  • Durable construction 

What we didn’t like

  • Pretty heavy 
  • Narrow field of view

Gen: Generation 2
Magnification: 5x
Lens diameter: 108mm
Field of view: 9.5 degrees
Sensor: HD 1080p
Resolution: 54 lines per mm
Battery life: 30 hours
Weight: 46.4 oz

10. ATN NVG7-2/WPTI Night Vision Goggles

night vision binoculars on a white background

Yet another offering from ATN, the NVG7 night vision goggles come with 1x magnification, an objective lens of 26mm, and a rugged metal build that is both lightweight and high quality.

This NVG7 comes with a generation two 18mm image intensifier that boasts a pseudo binocular construction for comfortable and convenient operation.

With an appropriately sized 26 millimeter objective lens, the NVG7 is a great civilian night vision tool which marries precision with convenience and user-friendliness.

Like other offerings from ATN, the NVG7 includes several useful accessories so that you can jump right into night vision viewing without the need for peripheral purchases.


What we liked

  • All-metal body for durability
  • Extremely lightweight to carry
  • Easy to flip up and down for convenient hands-free use
  • Inbuilt infrared illumination for brighter output in darker conditions
  • All-glass fully multi-coated optics 
  • Work well with different lenses with better magnification
  • Long eye relief making them comfortable to use with eyeglasses

What we didn’t like

  • The head harness can be difficult to set-up 

Gen: Generation 2
Magnification: 1x
Lens diameter: 26mm
Field of view: 40 degrees
Sensor: HD 1080p
Resolution: 39 lines per mm
Battery life: 60 hours
Weight: 17.4 oz

11. Armasight Discovery 5x Gen 3 Night Vision Biocular

night vision binoculars on a white background

Much like the FoxBat, the Armasight Discovery 5x is a powerful nighttime observation tool which includes 5x magnification and a huge 108 millimeter objective lens. For long range hunting, shooting, spotting, and surveillance, the Discovery is an excellent combination of magnification, precision optics, and generation three night vision technology.

Like the FoxBat, the Armasight Discovery does suffer from a slightly narrow field of view, however this is to be expected of a tool with such high magnification. The Discovery also features a detachable infrared illuminator and comfortable 17 millimeter eye relief. The Discovery is quite heavy and is best operated with a tripod.


What we liked

  • Alpha Grade tubes with military-grade technology
  • Long-range zooming capabilities
  • IR illuminator included 
  • Fully weather-resistant design
  • Optics of these goggles are super quick and highly responsive
  • Better works with tripod mounts
  • 2-years warranty available

What we didn’t like

  • Narrow field of view 
  • Not too handy to carry around in your hands

Gen: Generation 3
Magnification: 5x
Lens diameter: 108mm
Field of view: 9 degrees
Sensor: HD 1080p
Resolution: 72 lines per mm
Battery life: 50 hours
Weight: 46.4 oz

12. NightStar 1x20mm Head Mounted Night Vision Goggles

night vision binoculars on a white background

The NightStar NVG is the cheapest piece of equipment on this list by quite a large margin because it uses inferior generation one night vision technology. Generation one night vision is downright poor in quality when compared to later generations, so the NightStar NVG is most suitable for absolute beginners.

The NightStar NVG is lightweight, with a somewhat impressive range of view of over 450 feet and a focusing range of 40 inches to infinity.

Unfortunately, the NightStar NVG has a somewhat narrow range of operating temperatures from 14 degrees Fahrenheit to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. In icy winter weather or extreme desert heat, the NightStar simply cannot be trusted. For an absolute beginner who wants to avoid spending over 1,000 dollars on night vision, though, the NightStar is an appropriate option.


What we liked

  • Extremely compact and lightweight in construction
  • Good for all-day use
  • Standard head mount gear 
  • Good zoom 
  • Extra-wide field of view
  • Features an infrared illuminator
  • Go hands-free when you need it

What we didn’t like

  • Low magnification
  • Operating temperature range doesn’t allow for extreme weather
  • Gen one is not enough for advanced users

Gen: Generation 1
Magnification: 1x
Lens diameter: 20mm
Field of view: 44 degrees
Sensor: HD 1080p
Resolution: 35 lines per mm
Battery life: 30 hours
Weight: 15.5 oz

Types of night vision goggles

There are two types of night vision goggles that are used for a variety of applications. These are light intensification night vision goggles and thermal night vision goggles. 

Night vision goggles need ambient light to operate. Night vision goggles amplify the light that reflects off of objects until it is strong enough for the human eye to see. Fortunately, true absolute darkness is rare, but light intensification can struggle to produce clear images at long distances depending upon the quality of the technology involved. That’s why some night vision goggles use beams of infrared instead.

Infrared night vision

Infrared is light that the human eye can’t see. Infrared illuminators work like invisible flashlights, lighting up the landscape while maintaining darkness as far as the human eye can detect. Infrared goggles detect this light when it bounces off of objects and conveys that image to your eyes. Infrared night vision is the latest technology and it doesn’t require ambient light to function, only the light provided from this built in illuminator.

Thermal night vision

Thermal night vision technology works just like infrared night vision technology. However, it uses the actual heat that an object releases and not the infrared rays. Thermal vision uses that reflected heat to create an image. It is suitable for use under darkness or in broad daylight and can be used at considerable distances.

Related12 Best Thermal Monoculars That Actually Work

Night vision generations

Night vision technology is categorized by generation with each generation reflecting the quality of the night vision technology in question.

Generation 1

Generation one night vision is entry-level and features low resolutions. This generation is designed to amplify available ambient light thousands of times using tiny glass tubes. 

Typically, generation one night vision has a short battery life and is the least expensive of all four generations. Even beginners may find generation one night vision disappointing as its applications are somewhat limited.

Related12 Cheap Night Vision Goggles Worth the Money

Generation 2

The Generation two night vision goggles are better suited for people who are avid hunters and shooters. Gen two night vision technology features a micro-channel plate that amplifies electrons. 

These plates contain the glass tubes in millions and these tubes can amplify available light significantly more than generation one technology can. Generation two night vision goggles typically come with a viewing range of about 200 yards approximately and they also feature distortion control. 

The jump in quality between generations one and two is significant, however the jump in price is substantial as well.

Generation 3

These night vision goggles are designed for law enforcement personnel and for search and rescue applications. Generation three night vision technology uses Gallium Arsenide, which is a chemical that is used to produce a sharper and brighter image that is even better than what generation two can produce. 

Gen three goggles are military-grade and typically come with a viewing range of 300 yards. Gen three goggles are designed for field operations and may be a bit too expensive for casual hobbyists and beginners.

Generation 4

Anything better than generation three falls into generation four which is usually applied to tactical operations. This generation features autogated or filmless image intensifying tubes. These filmless tubes are better in terms of image noise than generation three.

These goggles produce high-quality and sharp images however they are the most expensive generation by far and are unlikely to be suitable for anyone but professionals.

Night vision goggles essentials

For night vision goggle operations, certain features and accessories can be essential.

Helmets

For extended use, most people tend to find that night vision goggles are not very practical unless they feature some sort of hands-free capability. Many come with head gear, and many are capable of mounting onto helmets. This frees up the users hands and limits the exhaustion of holding up heavy goggles for hours at a time.

Mounting options

For hands-free usage outside of law enforcement, search and rescue, and other tactical applications, headgear mounting is usually sufficient. This involves straps, instead of an entire helmet, which secure your goggles at eye level. Many goggles come with head gear and many more are head gear compatible.

Illuminator

An inbuilt infrared illuminator works like an invisible flashlight to light up an area without giving away your location. This is an essential feature of many night vision goggles and is sometimes removable or replaceable.

IR Laser

Infrared lasers are very useful for targeting a distant object with a light that is invisible to the human eye as it is on the IR spectrum. 

This device is very useful for covert or tactical applications.

Counterbalance

Counterbalance is another essential piece that you may need with your night vision goggles. 

Of course, these goggles have optics that make them heavy and if you don’t have a counterbalance or weight at the back of your head, then that weight may begin to feel like it is tilting your head forwards and straining your neck.

Though you can make counterbalances yourself, for more effective results it is better to buy one. Counterbalance pouches are very convenient to use and they come with their own weights. You can also add your own weights into those pouches for balancing the weight of the goggles.

How to choose the right night vision goggles?

There are different types of night vision goggles available and each of them is designed to meet a specific set of requirements. 

Night vision is often more expensive than people expect, but be sure not to cheap out. Choose night vision goggles that have all of the features that you need for your chosen application.

Auto Gating

Auto gating is a feature that allows a night vision device to automatically adjust the light settings in case of sudden light from things like muzzle flashes or traffic lights.

With the gain feature, you can manually control these settings for a better imaging experience in varying light conditions. This feature is especially be helpful in case you move from pitch black conditions to moonlight.

Resolution

The resolution of a night vision device effectively refers to the tube resolutions. Resolution is measured in ip/mm. This resolution also works in the same manner as a conventional screen resolution. 

Most of generation one devices come with a resolution ranging from 20 to 39 ip/mm. Gen two devices have a resolution of up to 54 ip/mm while gen three night vision goggles and gen four devices have a resolution over 70 ip/mm. 

Higher resolution means clearer images but it usually means a higher price tag too.

Related12 Best Night Vision Binoculars Worth the Money

Range

The maximum distance in front of you that a night vision device can cover and provide you with a clear view of everything in sight is the range of that device. Gen one devices come with a range that is under 100 yards.

Gen two devices come with a range that is approximately 200 yards. Short range hunters and shooters will find it useful. 

Generation three devices have a visual range of 300 yards which is suitable for long range shooting as well as hunting. 

Anything above that falls into the category of gen four technology. This type of night vision is military grade and is suitable for brighter, sharper images in the dark and is suitable for law enforcement and search and rescue operations. 

Weatherproof

Most night vision usages take place outdoors or in harsh conditions. Night vision is precision equipment and should be handled with care as much as possible. That said, harsh conditions are inevitable and a good night vision tool should be able to withstand them. Check your night vision goggles for waterproofing as well as operating temperature range to be sure that they can handle the weather.

Autogaging

The automatic gaging feature displays the exact distance between you and your target, and as you pan across the screen the distance changes. For long-distance shooters and hunters, it is an important feature that works like a rangefinder operating in the dark. 

Integral illuminator

An integral illuminator is a built in infrared flashlight that illuminates the dark without giving away your position since only infrared sensors can detect it.

Battery

Battery lie is an important consideration to keep in mind. Earlier generations tend to have worse battery life, however the many features that accompany later gens can also drain batteries quite quickly.

Weight

Weight is critical because, with heavier optics your night time goggles will become heavier themselves. Lightweight scopes are comfortable to hold in hand. But if your goggles are slightly heavy then you may have an increased need to look into hands-free options like head mounting.

For even heavier goggles, it is better for you to use them with tripods for better performance. Anything around one pound is going to be fine, but with more weight your head will have to bear more and you will get tired. For heavier goggles, tripods are a must.

Frequently asked questions

Do night vision goggles work in total darkness?

No, night vision goggles won’t work in total darkness unless they feature IR or thermal capabilities. Night vision goggles need ambient light to amplify.

What are the best night vision goggles?

If you are looking for a budget-friendly option then go for NightStar 1x20mm, although this is generation one equipment and is best suited for beginners. For professionals and enthusiasts, I recommend the Armasight Discovery.

Can night vision damage your eyes?

Night vision doesn’t hurt you but it does cloud your eye lens over time. The first symptom of this is bad night vision as your cataracts distort. Overusing night vision can mean that you might end up seeing halos around lights and blurry vision at night.

Can civilians own NVGS?

Yes, civilians can own night vision goggles. In fact, a number of military-grade NVGs are available for civilian access as well. 

How long do night vision goggles last?

Night vision systems have a lifespan because the tubes come with a special kind of coating which degrades over time. Therefore, generation two goggles can last for up to 5000 hours and generation three devices can last up to 12000 hours. A gen four device can last up to 15000 hours. 

Can you wear night vision goggles with glasses?

Yes, you can use them with the help of wrap-around glasses. Just make sure that you go for night vision goggles that feature long eye relief to minimize discomfort and eye strain.

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