OUTDOORS

Best Infrared Binoculars: 7 Gadgets That Make Deadpool’s Cable Jealous

Compact binocular review
Dennis Owens
Written by Dennis Owens

Many people agree that the best infrared binoculars are the only way towards an outstanding night vision. And if you’re in the market for a reliable gadget of the such, but don’t know what to choose, we promise we’re here to help.

We’ll start you off with a list of factors that might influence your choice, talking about each one at a time. Then, we’ll let you know which IR device we would recommend, depending on its best use. You can also find a “related” section, which will give you some ideas about other similar products that might work for you.

Product NameMagnificationRangeCoatingPrice
Grandey New Vision Handheld10x100 yardsOptical filmCheck price on Amazon
Yukon Tracker2x150 yardsMulti-coatedCheck price on Amazon
XIKEZAN 16GB Digital4x106 yardsMulti-coatedCheck price on Amazon
Infrared Illuminator Assist5x90 yardsMulti-coatedCheck price on Amazon
Night Owl Explorer Pro5x190 yardsFully coatedCheck price on Amazon
SUNCORE Teloon12x100 yardsTwo-layer broadband multi-coatingCheck price on Amazon
Bushnell LYNX Gen 12.5x90 yardsAR coatedCheck price on Amazon

Things To Consider Before Buying

There’s no easy way to decide, but there are some things to consider that may make the whole process a bit more mathematical.

Magnification

There are bigger and smaller magnifications for infrared binoculars, as there are for every binoculars and monocular out there. The smaller ones, up til 5x, will allow you to see fewer details, but offer a wider field of view, while the bigger ones of over 10x will let you see a lot of details.

But when it comes to IR, things change a bit. For one, you’ll have night vision in complete darkness. Second, there’s this included light that allows you to see a brighter image. So, though a 2.5x would be considered small for usual binoculars, it’s a satisfactory magnification for IR binoculars.

Diameter

The diameter of the lens tells you how much light passes through the lens in order to get a better image. Generally speaking, smaller diameters render a poorer quality picture.

binocular lens

But again, we’re talking about infrared binoculars, which have their own light included, plus the ability to offer perfect night vision. As such, you don’t need a huge diameter unless you’re planning to use these binoculars during the day, or in dim light.

Viewing Range

This is another different measurement than for daytime binoculars or monoculars. Because it’s nighttime, you need to have more realistic expectations. So most of the IR binoculars will offer a perfectly fine 100 yards range of vision.

On the other hand, you’ll see brands that can go as high as 320 yards, like the XIKEZAN. That’s probably because it’s a digital type.

Coating

The clearer the image you want to get, the better coated your binoculars should be. A fully multi-coated item is what we’d call a dream come true. At the opposite end are just the simply coated binoculars.

binoculars on table next to a book

When it comes to infrared night vision, you can settle for a coated binoculars, though. The reason is that you probably won’t be able to see as far as during the day, so an optical film coating, for instance, is ok. Things change if you want to use you binoculars during the day too, at which point you’d need at least a fully coated item.

Package

There might be just the IR binoculars for sale, but we like it when we see more things included. For instance, an SD card if you’re getting digital binoculars. Or, a neck strap for easy carry around the neck and a carrying case for portability reasons.

We also like it when the focus of a certain brand is obviously the user experience. So we’d advise you to get a pair of binoculars that conserve the battery life. These generally include a pulsating system or a type of battery renowned for its long lifespan.

Portability

If you’re going to use these binoculars for hunting or star gazing, you probably need to hold them for quite some time. So it’s best to get an item that’s both lightweight and compact so your hands don’t get tired.

man using binoculars

At the same time, check the materials from which your binoculars is manufactured. A rubber armor build equals a better grip, which, in turn, equals a comfortable hold.

Purpose

A first generation binocular is not that good in complete darkness like a second generation product. That’s because it needs a source of light to work, so you can only use them in nights with moonlight. Gen II devices render a much brighter image, especially at the edges, so your choice here should depend on your needs.

Secondly, a bigger magnification/ bigger diameter/ bigger range/ better coating isn’t always best. For instance, you might want to have a wider field of vision in complete darkness for search and rescue purposes. So choose a device that works for that, not one that’s advertised to be better on some dimension you don’t need.

big magnification infrared binocular

That being said, take a look at some of the binoculars we’ve reviewed below. That will help you understand how all these factors work together to bring out the best product for your needs.

Best Products On Today’S Market

We’ll review seven different IR binoculars. You might simply scan through them, reading just the pros and cons lists, but we encourage you to study their details too, so you can make an informed comparison.

Grandey New Vision Handheld

Grandey New Vision Handheld 

Price: Approximately $12

Weight: 0.43 pounds

Dimensions: 4.25 x 3.5 x 2.4 inches

Specific features: 10x; 7.2° view angle; 3 mm exit pupil diameter; 15 mm exit pupil distance; optical film coating

Best use: Bird watching

The Grandey New Vision Handheld  is a good infrared binocular for the money. It has a 10x magnification, which means you’ll see enough details at a considerable distance. At the same time, the field of view is generous enough. In fact, the view angle is 7.2°.

We like that the exit pupil diameter is 3mm, coupled with an exit pupil distance of 15mm, so you can zoom far enough. The nearest distance you can see clearly at is 3m though. Since the coating is qualitative, made from grade A optical film, you’ll get a crisp picture unless you’re using this in dim light.

The focus system is center coupled with the right eyepiece, so it’s easy to use. However, if you want an HD telescope, you should choose the green-blue or black-blue films. The package is complete too, with the very useful additions of a cleaning cloth and a waterproof carry bag included.

PROS:

  • Complete package
  • Inexpensive
  • Good magnification
  • Light

CONS:

  • Not all films are HD
  • Not clear in dim lighting

Related: For a similarly low price range, we recommend the CAIDU US Army Binoculars. They have a 10x magnification, which is considerably bigger, and they work for both bird watching and star gazing.

Check the price on Amazon

Yukon Tracker

Yukon Tracker 

Price: Approximately $400

Weight: 1.32 pounds

Dimensions: 4 x 7 x 9 inches

Specific features: 2 x 24; carry case and neck strap included; dual eye diopter adjustments; pulse IR system; multi-coated; central focusing; rubber armor build

Best use: Search and rescue

The Yukon Tracker  is a much more expensive item than the Grandey binoculars but is heavier, so it’s less portable. However, its rubber armor build makes it easy to hold, comfortable and ergonomic. Plus, this is a durable material that ensures its long life, seeing as it’s resistant to weather and water drops.

This binocular does a really good job at providing clear images when it’s pitch dark thanks to its infrared light. In fact, this uses a pulsing system, so that the battery doesn’t deplete as fast. We also like the multi-coated optics that are responsible for providing a bright image, free of any blurs around the edges.

The central focusing also contributes in that regard, which is courtesy of the dual eye diopter. We like the cover system for the lens because they’re flip-ups. That means you can easily clip them back and out of your sight, which you can’t do with simple caps. Since they have pin holes, you’ll also be able to use the binoculars during the day.

Apart from that, we’re not really keen on the 2x magnification, that doesn’t let you see very far. The 24mm diameter lens isn’t that amazing either since it doesn’t account for too much light transmission, meaning they’re not so good for dim light vision.

The 30° field of view could be better too, but we appreciate the 150 yards distance for the night vision mode, as well as the lifetime warranty if there are any defects.

PROS:

  • Lifetime warranty
  • Resistant
  • Long battery life

CONS:

  • Difficult to zoom
  • Hard to use in dim light

Related: We recommend this Surefire Battery 123A 3 Volt Lithium Batteries, that has 12 included batteries. TheYukon Tracker only needs one to work, that will hold for approximately 20 hours. That means this set will last you enough time, considering the batteries have a 10 years shelf life. You can always get the 72-pack if you’re planning to use these binoculars more, though.

Check the price on Amazon

XIKEZAN 16GB Digital

XIKEZAN 16GB Digital 

Price: Approximately $400

Weight: 1.72 pounds

Dimensions: 8 x 6.65 x 3.46 inches

Specific features: 4 x 50 mm; 1-5x digital zoom; 5MP CMOS sensor; 980 feet night vision range; 1.5-inch LCD screen; time lapse; GPS; IPX4 water resistance

Best use: Hunting

The XIKEZAN 16GB Digital is another good option for infrared binoculars, seeing as they have an 850nm illuminator. That’s going to enable you to see good details as far as 980 feet in complete darkness. However, as opposed to the previous two binoculars, this one works great in dim light too, as the viewing range is stated as 2meters – infinity in the official specs.

And what’s more, you can use this gadget to record HD pictures and videos, both during the day and during the night. The only issue here is that the night ones won’t be colored, and they’re not as qualitative.

The time lapse and GPS functions are great for hunting or surveillance purposes, like the fact that you can mount these binoculars on a tripod.

That way you can capture images at preset intervals, so you can notice any slow movements of your game, without tiring your hands. Plus, the IPX4 water resistance rating renders the XIKEZAN binoculars really tough, regardless the weather.

The optics are great too, but the 4x magnification could be bigger for day use. We’re not complaining about the 50mm objective that accounts for good light transmission and hence, good dim-light vision. We also love the 1-5x digital zoom that’s easy to use and powerful enough for hunting purposes.

What’s more, you’ll get many other things in a quite complete package. Apart from the binoculars and the 16GB micro SD card, you’ll get a cleaning cloth, a shockproof holster, a lanyard and two cables: a USB one and a TV one.

PROS:

  • Lots of functions
  • Resistant
  • Day & dim-light use

CONS:

  • Poor quality night images

Related: Get the 32G Micro SD Card if you want to record more images and videos during your hunt. This card is high-quality and resistant. You won’t have any troubles if you’re exposing it by accident to magnets, shocks, temperature variations, or X-rays. Plus, you don’t necessarily have to use it with these binoculars, as it’s compatible with the majority of microSD card using devices. And if its fast transfer still doesn’t satisfy you, the included lifetime warranty means you can return it anytime, without any questions asked.

Check the price on Amazon

Infrared Illuminator Assist

Infrared Illuminator Assist

Price: Approximately $800

Weight: 3.3 pounds

Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 3 inches

Specific features: 5 x 90 mm; 1-year warranty; on/off proximity sensor; 57-72 resolution; second generation binoculars; all-glass optics; multi-coating

Best use: Camping

The Infrared Illuminator Assist isn’t as generous with its warranty as the Yukon Tracker, but its limited 1-year warranty is still better than nothing. It has compact dimensions, but it’s pretty heavy. And under these circumstances, it would have been great if it were tripod mountable.

Regardless, we like the on/off proximity sensor, and you can see it’s a qualitative, second generation binoculars, as opposed to those reviewed above. It has a pretty good 57-72 resolution, and it can work for 10000 hours, which is quite a lot.

Its all-glass optics are quite outstanding since the lens diameter is 90mm. That assures you of a huge quantity of light transmitted and tells you how effective these binoculars are in a dim light. The magnification is 5x, which is pretty satisfactory for night viewing.

You can also count on the multi-coating to allow very crisp images, without blurred edges. But this is a sturdy gadget too, since it’s resistant to water and fog, and can work at extreme temperatures, between -40 and 50°C. You only need one 3V CR123A battery to work.

PROS:

  • Bright images
  • Weather-resistant
  • Good optics

CONS:

  • Limited warranty
  • Heavy

Related: We recommend these Anti-glare UV400 Protected PolaNight Vision Glasses from Night Vision Glasses ™. If you’re going to do some driving during the night, these glasses will help keep you safe by focusing your eyesight better in bad weather. Plus, your eyes won’t get tired as fast, and you won’t feel drowsy even after long hours driving.

Check the price on Amazon

Night Owl Explorer Pro

Night Owl Explorer Pro 

Price: Approximately $600

Weight: 3.4 pounds

Dimensions: 8 x 10.5 x 5.5 inches

Specific features: 5x; 700 feet field of view; 575 feet range of view; steel stringer system; first gen; 3-V CR123 lithium-ion battery required; low battery indicator

Best use: Beginner astronomers

The Night Owl Explorer Pro  are just as heavy as the previous model we discussed. They also have the same 5x magnification and a wide 700 feet field of view. The range of view is 575 feet, so that’s also quite enough, though not as much as the ones promised by the XIKEZAN binoculars.

Its infrared illuminators enable you to see in complete darkness, and the included steel stringer system is great when it comes to controlling and precision. These binoculars may be the first generation model, but they work both during the night and during the day, rendering qualitative images.

Just like some of the other models we reviewed here, these need a 3-V CR123 lithium-ion battery to work. What’s more, you’ll get an indicator for a low battery, so you can replace it in due time. But even if you don’t have a spare battery at hand, the infrared still works right until the battery’s over.

PROS:

  • Good field of view
  • Quality construction
  • Precise

CONS:

  • Heavy
  • Expensive

Related: If you like nighttime activities, you might also consider star gazing as a serious pastime. At this point, we encourage you to get this easy-to-handle and inexpensive Celestron 21035 70mm Travel Scope. The optics are all coated, so they render bright images, plus the tripod and telescope are easy to set up without any tools. And they’re compact enough to fit in your backpack, so they win points for portability too.

Check the price on Amazon

SUNCORE Teloon

SUNCORE Teloon 

Price: Approximately $70

Weight: 1.2 pounds

Dimensions: 5.7 x 2.2 x 4.9 inches

Specific features: 12 x 42 mm; HD vision;  two-layer broadband multi-coating; large eyepiece; non-slip; water, moisture, dust and mould-proof design

Best use: Bird watching

The SUNCORE Teloon are really some of the best binoculars for night vision, especially for a medium-low price range. The truth is they do what they advertise, and that’s providing military-grade and HD night vision.

That’s because they use quality optics and have a good craftsmanship. The 12x magnification is the biggest one in our reviews here, meaning they’ll enable you to see minute details at considerably far, but minimize the field of view.

The large 42mm diameter is another plus, and we like it because it equals more light transmission, and therefore better images in low light.

The multi-coating is two-layer broadband, so you’ll get bright images even if it’s not fully multi-coated. The large eyepiece is another advantage and proves the user-oriented SUNCORE experience because it has a non-slip design. Plus, the binoculars are proof to a lot of things, like water, moisture, dust and mold.

PROS:

  • Inexpensive
  • Quality optics
  • Non-slip

CONS:

  • A small field of view
  • Not fully multi-coated

Related: If you like the SUNCORE brand, we recommend this Spotting Scope. It’s perfect for bird watching too, but during the day. And apart from being waterproof, it comes with an included tripod, which is even better because that won’t tire out your hands.

Check the price on Amazon

Bushnell LYNX Gen 1

Bushnell LYNX Gen 1 

Price: Approximately $420

Weight: 1.1 pounds

Dimensions: 6.5 x 6.3 x 3 inches

Specific features: HD image; 2.5 x 40 mm; AR coated lenses; weather-resistant; 2 AAA batteries

Best use: Camping

The Bushnell LYNX Gen 1 is a qualitative binocular that proves its effectiveness with every HD image you’ll get. That’s because it’s made from good materials, and it’s been tested over and over to make sure it has a sturdy construction. But it also looks pretty classy.

The LYNX has a 2.5x magnification, and that one really could be higher, considering it’s 5 times smaller than the SUNCORE binoculars. But their field of vision is definitely bigger, although the distance level isn’t the greatest on Earth.

Still, they work as night vision binoculars for when you’re camping, since you can see as far as 90 yards. That almost four times less than what the XIKEZAN binoculars have to offer.

On the other hand, we like the big, 40mm diameter. That accounts for more light transmission so you’re at least sure the Bushnell binoculars can be used flawlessly in a faint light. For instance, you can use them for bird-watching, or even sight-seeing at this point.

We’re not really fans of the AR coating either, though it provides crisp night-time images. During the day, though, this coating doesn’t help much. On the other hand, these binoculars are intended for night vision.

It’s also a hassle when it comes to focusing it correctly, so we wouldn’t recommend these binoculars if precision is your top priority. But they’re really good on the user-experience department because they’re durable, resistant to bad weather, and provide a comfortable grip.

Plus, they only need two AAA batteries to work, which are inexpensive and can be found easily.

PROS:

  • Quality
  • Durable
  • Good in a faint

CONS:

  • Blurry day images
  • Hassle with focusing
  • Small magnification

Related: Isn’t it great when you can just reach quick and grab your binoculars to scope the horizon? With the stock strap, that might be a bit hard, but if you want a fast access binocular harness, Think Ergo Binocular Harness Strap is just the one for you.

Check the price on Amazon

What will it be?

We’ve discussed various IR binoculars here. Some offer an impressive range of view and are better suited for hunting, while others have a wider field of view, which renders them better for search and rescue. You’ve seen binoculars from different price ranges, and with different abilities, including comprehensive packages.

So the ball is in your court. Which gadget do you like best? Which one would you get and why? The comments are right below!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dennis Owens
Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens is a graduate of National Camping School and REI Outdoor School. He knows everything about what gear to take with you, how to plan your trip to stay safe and what to do if you get lost in the mountains. We are lucky to have Dennis with us as he is a ‘walking encyclopedia’ when it comes to the wilderness.

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