There is a multitude of applications for thermal imaging goggles, ranging from surveillance through to an accompaniment for riflemen.
When hunting, one common purpose for these goggles is to spot varmints at night. They arguably work better than flashlights, because they won’t startle a target. Then, of course, they are used extensively in tactical combat for nighttime operations.
Whatever reasons you may have for wanting thermal imaging, it’s important to choose your hardware carefully. This is because there is a lot of thermal imaging tech out there that won’t be able to withstand rugged use – and therefore could let you down in the field.
So we’ve chosen some of the best thermal imaging goggles we could find on the market to date. Each product will be reviewed carefully with a summary of the key features, as well as the pros and cons. And, we’ve ensured to include great value for the money options for anyone on a budget.
We should also mention that we’ve included other similar thermal imaging technology that could be of interest.
Best Thermal Imaging Goggles
Thor’s line of LT Thermal Rifle scopes look like traditional scopes, and they mount the same way as well. There are two options you can go with—the 4×8 and 3×6, though there are several aesthetic variations to choose from.
- 60Hz Framerate
- 3×6 and 4×8 options
- Range detection of 475 yards and 625 yards, depending on magnification
- 90mm Eye Relief
- 160-yard Range ID
- 240-yard Range Recognition
- 160 x 120 Resolution
- Low Power Consumption
- One Shot Zero
- Recoil Resistant Machined Aluminum
The One Shot Zero is the standout feature of the Thor LT Thermal Scopes. Once you send your first target round down range, you can adjust the reticle to match your impact point, effectively zeroing the scope in a single shot. As the name implies, it’s a fairly lightweight scope as well.
- Its an affordable thermal scope
- Multiple customization options
- Simplified, scaled-down controls
- Compact and lightweight
- Multiple contrast settings
- White hot vs black hot color profiles
- Includes focusing rings
- Brightness settings
- Larger than most thermal scopes on the market
- Lacks advanced thermal scope features
The Thor LT Thermal Rifle Scope is the perfect step up from a beginner or entry-level thermal imaging scope. If you need something in the mid-range level without blowing up your checking account, this is the perfect thermal scope for you.
ATN’s OTS-XLT Thermal Monocular is a great option if you just need the thermal imagery and zoom without having to drag your rifle up every time. The OTS is also capable of recording, including a rangefinder that marks the distance between yourself and the target.
- 720×576 Resolution
- 8 GB of Internal Storage
- White Hot/Black Hot/Color Modes
- 10hr Battery Life
- 670 to 850 Meters Detection Range
- 335 to 425 Meters Recognition Range
- 170 to 210 Meters ID Range
- USB-C Charging Port
- 2×8 or 2.5×10 Magnification
- IP67 Rating
The 720×576 resolution isn’t going to blow your socks off but it’s a part of what keeps this thermal optic under $1k. It’s water resistant up to 1 meter underwater, so you can use it in heavy rain or even drop it in the mud without losing it. Once fully charged, you can easily get 10 hours of use from it before it requires charging.
- Easily identify small animals and game in the dark
- 4 color modes
- Digital rangefinder
- 50 fps video recording
- 10+ hour battery
- USB-C fast charging capable
- Very affordable option
- Video is a little muddy at long distances
ATN released another, excellent, entry-level scope and if you want to familiarize yourself with the various uses of thermal imaging, this is a good place to start.
The ASP-Micro TM160 is another thermal monocular in the budget-buy arena. It also happens to be an outstanding thermal optic. The LCOS display is more than adequate, and even with a subpar, 25 Hz refresh rate, this monocular more than holds its own weight.
- 1x, 2x, or 3x Magnification Choices
- 25 to 15mm Eye Relief
- 16 x 11.74° Field of View
- 160 x 120 Resolution
- 4-Button Interface
- Lightweight at 0.6 lbs
- 8GB of Storage
- 611 yards Detection
- 153 yards Recognition
- 76 yards ID
While the resolution won’t blow you away (this is an entry-level, thermal monocular, after all), it’s still more than adequate for recreational use and identifying things like rodents or small game at night. It’s also accompanied by an app that makes uploading, viewing, and saving video and picture files a cinch.
- Multiple Mounting Options
- USB-C Fast-Charge Option
- 10-Hour Battery
- Stadiametric Rangefinding
- IP67 Water-Resistance
- Live Streaming with T-Vision App
- 3-Year Warranty
- Includes a ¼” – 20 Tripod
- Low Resolution
- Rain, Fog, and Snow, Limitations
If you are looking into thermal optics for the first time, this is an excellent, entry-level scope that won’t break the bank.
The Thor 4 is a rifle scope that comes in four, different styles—ATN Thor 4, 640×480, 1 to 10x, the ATN Thor 4, 640×480, 1.5 to 15x, the ATN Thor 4, 640×480, 2.5 to 25x, and the ATN Thor 4, 640×480, 4 to 40x. All four include 16 hours of battery life, ballistic calculators, and dual-stream video recording.
- 16+ Hours of Battery
- Dual-Stream Video
- Ultra-Low Power Profile
- Ballistic Calculator
- Recoil-Activated Video
- HD Resolution
- Large Operating Temperature Window
- Ultra-Sensitive Sensors
- Before and After Automated Recording
There is a lot to pick through here, but the most important point is that the biggest difference between the four options is the magnification level. Each thermal scope retains most of the features of the others, including the 16+ hours of battery life across the board.
- Quick-Detach Mount
- Scope Covers
- 5-Button Functions
- 2 Operation Modes
- One Shot Zero
- 60Hz Framerate
- Housing Fits Standard 30mm Scope Rings
- Easy to Use and Mount
While this is a pricey scope, it’s easily one of the best thermal scopes on the market today. If you have the cash, it’s well worth the cost.
$169.99 in stock
1 used from $92.83
- Clearly See in 100% Darkness: While other night vision devices can not provide high-quality photos and videos without ambient light, drain your batteries within minutes or they are bulky and hard to control, the Compact Night Vision Binoculars feature a infrared illuminator which allows you to easily view animals in pitch dark without lights for 6 hours.
- 984FT Long Viewing Range – Outstanding optical clarity, high performance digital night vision device, enable you to observe the target in complete darkness and the range up to 984ft/ 300m.
- High Performance Night Vision: The 850NM Infrared Illuminator and 7 gears infrared adjustment allow you to use the night vision scope in both day & night. The IR gear can be change according to ambient light. The higher the infrared light gear is adjusted, the farther and clearer the observation is at night.
- Large Dynamic Wide Screen: This Night Vision Binoculars with 2.31” TFT view screen, convert to 3″ large viewing screen by the convex lens. It has a high resolution for better display the views, also features to takes image 1280x960pixel and @30FPS video in the dark. You can use the USB cable to connect your PC to transmit data and keep precious images/videos that you had taken.
- Free 32GB Card and Carrying bag: Not only provide free memory cards, but also a sturdy case. It is suitable for storing night vision goggles and taking it out. Package include: 1 x Night Vision Scope, 1 x Case, 1 x Neck Strap, 1 x 32G CARD, 1 x Data Cable, 1 x User Manual, 1 x Cleaning Cloth. If you are not satisfied with our night binoculars, please reach us for a 100% refund.
JStoon delivers with these night vision enabled digital infrared binoculars that can take HD Images and 960p Video up to a range of 984 feet in the dark.
- Fully multi-coated optics.
- 31-inch TFT display.
- Captures photos and videos.
- 3x magnification.
- 4x digital zoom.
- 25mm objective lens.
- 7 gears of infrared adjustment.
- 6 hours of continuous runtime.
- 32gb memory.
If you require HD thermal imaging which can be captured in both photo and video formats, this JStoon design does this for a reasonable price. There are numerous adjustments you can make and it has long-range viewing capabilities. As well, the 6 hours continuous runtime is impressive for all the functionality you get in this package.
- 3-inch display option.
- Quick capture technology.
- Day and night use.
- Wide range of infrared adjustments.
- Great clarity.
- 32gb SD card included.
- 17 hour run time without illumination.
- Need 6 AA batteries to function.
Why they’re recommended: For the money, these are a high-quality pair of heat vision goggles that can be used for a multitude of purposes. They’re simple to use and let you capture your nighttime adventures with ease.
$169.99 in stock
3 used from $119.59
- HD Night Vision Goggles used in complete darkness—This Owl Night Vision Binoculars is equipped with infrared illuminator, which allows you to view animals or other objects for hours without external light.
- Don’t let your adventure be blocked by the dark night: GTHUNDER designed this efficient and useful digital night vision binoculars for you. Imagine how cool it is to capture HD photos & videos (without sound) in total darkness. All those files will be saved on 32g memory card included. You can also transfer them to your computer later.
- Easy to use for beginners: Thanks to the rugged & durable rubber housing, the Owl Night Vision Scanner has been developed to withstand any harsh environment. Also, it is comfortable to hold and use.
- A perfect gift with 3-inch TFT screen: It is easy to view photos instantly on the 3-inch TFT screen. And you can even track targets 986 feet away by using the 4X digital zoom. Besides, you can get the clear viewing via its fully multi-coated 24mm objective.
- Free 32GB Card and Package: Not only provide free memory cards, but also a sturdy case. It is suitable for storing night vision goggles and taking it out. Package include: 1 x Night Vision Scope, 1 x Case, 1 x Neck Strap, 1 x 32G CARD, 1 x Data Cable, 1 x User Manual, 1 x Cleaning Cloth.
Made to function in total darkness, these GThunder Goggles utilize infrared technology and come with a large viewing screen.
- Infrared illuminator
- 32gb memory card included
- HD video and photo capture
- 3-inch TFT screen
- 4x digital zoom
- Multi-coated 24mm objective lenses
- 986 feet tracking distance
GThunder has made thermal imaging goggles that are both comfortable and for rugged use in harsh environments. They allow you to track targets for hours without any external light. Plus, with a wide field of view and excellent zoom capability, the overall functionality of these goggles is very impressive.
- Intuitive functionality
- Record viewing
- Large video storage
- Hours of thermal imaging
- Can handle rugged use
- Protective case included
- Large viewing screen
- Sound is not recorded in video footage
Why they’re recommended: For anyone that requires a simple to use and durable pair of thermal imaging goggles, GThunder offers a great value choice.
$79.99 in stock
- The Nightfox Advantage: Join over 75,000 Nightfox customers around the world trusting our helpful UK-based team to deliver the best experience of night vision gadgets and infrared goggles.
- Easy to use: These Nightfox night vision binoculars have are just three buttons for power, infrared and zoom, making it perfect for kids and adults of all technical abilities. Just remove the lens cap, switch on and own the night!
- Spot animals at night: With 3x optical magnification and 2x digital zoom, the 100V is perfect for spotting animals up to and over 100 yards away. Spot foxes, deer, hedgehogs, badgers, birds and more. Security applications include property and land surveillance.
- Just add batteries: The 100V infrared binoculars require 8x AA batteries (not included). You’ll get around six hours of constant use. The battery life will vary depending on your chosen level of infrared brightness.
- How does it work? The Nightfox 100V emits infrared using an LED. A digital night vision camera picks up infrared light and displays the image on a screen inside the viewfinder. Unlike a traditional night vision device with an intensifier tube, the Nightfox can’t be damaged by sunlight and its display is colour during the day, black and white at night.
Selecting heat vision goggles on a budget can be quite tricky. But, the Nightfox 100V won’t disappoint.
- Impressive widescreen monitor
- 110-yard viewing range in darkness
- 3x fixed magnification
- 2x digital zoom
- Quick response operation
- 6 hours of battery life
- Ergonomic focus wheel
Expect clear and crisp 2-eye viewing with this binocular design, which can easily be used when wearing glasses.
With all zoom functions added up, there’s the benefit of a 6x total magnification. It does require eight AA batteries, which provide you with the 6 hours of battery life.
- Easy viewing
- Widescreen visuals
- Work with eyeglasses
- 7 infrared levels
- 3 simple buttons operate
- Fluid focus wheel
- 18-month warranty
- Eight AA batteries needed
Why it’s recommended: Users that are in search of a widescreen handheld thermal imaging device that can be used with eyeglasses have a strong option here. Although it needs quite a few batteries, it makes up for this with simple functionality and great night time visuals.
- ★★★Large Dynamic Wide Screen Brings You Full View And Eyes’ Comfort: 2″ TFT display Screen, convert to 4″ large viewing screen by the convex lens. built in excellent ALL-OPTICAL BINOCULAR SYSTEM with a video camera. The 320*240 resolution color wide LCD screen Display provide you easy to watch, quick capture the perfect photo or high definition video.
- ★★★HIGH PERFORMANCE NIGHT VISION: Night Vision Binocular with 1300feet/400M night vision range, bulit in 2″ TFT LCD screen. 5mp photo & 640p Video Recorder Camcorder.
- ★Patented filter makes OUTSTANDING OPTICAL CLARITY: with 7X magnification, 2 digital zoom and a 31mm objective lens, takes picture in darken night (640*480pixel) and 640*480@30FPS video. Built in 850NM Infrared Illuminator for up to 1300 ft/400m viewing distance in full darkness; Day and night used; Date/time can be stampted on photo or video.
- ★For: hunting&scouting game / security and surveillance / search and rescue / camping fun&exploring caves / nighttime navigation / night fishing and boating / wildlife observation, etc.
- ★DATA STORAGE AND VIDEO PUTOUT Capability: Rechargeable Battery(not included): 8 *AA, lithium, alkaline or NI-MH Battery; provides SD card slot and the maximum capacity is 32G(no included, include a 4G Micro SD Card). Can be used as a live Infrared surveillance camera connecting TV with TV cable.
Ideal for hunters, these night vision binoculars feature a 2-inch TFT LCD HD Infrared IR Camera & Camcorder and a 1300 feet viewing range in complete darkness.
- Widescreen TFT display
- 1300 feet night vision range
- 850NM Infrared Illuminator
- Patented filter and 7x magnification
- 32gb recording capacity
- Can be used as a surveillance camera
- 31mm objective lenses
It must also be said that these night vision binoculars can be used for security, surveillance, search, and rescue, as well as a variety of nighttime activities.
They provide exceptional optical clarity and can capture high-quality images and video recordings. Batteries can be recharged and an SD card with a maximum of 32gb can be utilized.
- Provides exceptional visuals
- Easy viewing
- 7x magnification
- Work very well for hunters
- Plenty of storage
- Reasonably priced
- Rechargeable batteries not included
- 32gb SD card not included
Why they’re recommended: As a very versatile thermal imaging solution, you can even set this up to record as a stand-alone video camera for night time security purposes. It should also be great for spotting varmints at night in a hunting context.
FLIR Scout II
$2,783.70 in stock
- RELIABLE 24/7 VISION: Thermal imaging reveals humans and animals in complete darkness or glaring light, offering reliable detection at any time of day
- GRAB AND GO SIMPLICITY: Scout II starts up in seconds and requires no training to use
- COMPACT AND RUGGED: Scout II’s rugged, weather-tight shell can withstand hard drops and shallow water
- BUILT-IN DISPLAY: 640 × 480 LCD Display
- PACKAGE INCLUDES: Handheld Thermal Camera, USB Power Adapter/Charger, Wrist strap, Custom Video out cable (320 & 640 versions), USB Cable, Quick Start Guide, Molle bag
The FLIR Scout II is a handheld and compact thermal imaging monocular and camera that is especially suited for tactical work out in the field.
- Day and night suitability
- In-built camera for photo/video
- USB powered with adapter/charger
- Weather sealed
- Durable construction
- 640×480 LCD display
- Uses VOx Microbolometer detection
- Lightweight at 12 ounces
Created for outdoor enthusiasts and hunters, this is a very simplistic design that allows you to gain your bearings in low light or complete darkness.
It’s perfect for anyone that doesn’t want an overcomplicated way of seeing their surroundings. Plus, you can take snapshots and even videos out on a trail or in the wild.
- Simple to use
- Tough and resilient construction
- Can be dropped into shallow water
- No training needed
- Wrist strap operation
- Easy USB charging
- Molle bag included
- Not a hands-free design
- Limited in some functionality
Why it’s recommended: This has to be considered a reliable and useful tool for hunters, outdoor enthusiasts, and for anyone that knows they will need to navigate through low visibility conditions in harsh environments.
- Product Type: Battery
- Package Dimensions: 31.496 L X 18.796 W X 18.542 H (Centimeters)
- Package Weight: 3.15 Pounds
- Country Of Origin: United States
As a standard military issue product, the ATN PVS7-3 gives you hands-free tactical awareness in complete darkness.
- Multi-purpose for flexibility
- Lightweight design
- Infrared illumination
- Continuous/momentary IR switch
- Fully adjustable head strap
- Low battery indicator displays internally.
- Combat proven design
Used as standard issue equipment by US troops, this option can be helmet-mounted, head-mounted, or used as a handheld device.
It’s therefore extremely adaptable and is built to mil-spec standards for high performance in tough conditions.
- Automatic brightness adjustment
- Automatic shut-off system in place
- Water and fog-resistant
- Made for harsh climates
- Proshield Lens Coating
- 60-hour battery life
- No photo or video capabilities
Why it’s recommended: If the US-military has adopted this hardware for use with their infantrymen, then it must have passed some very rigorous tests and requirements. The goggle is made for tactical shooters that need reliability, first and foremost.
- ★The built-in 3W infrared LED with 850nm infrared illumination allows viewing up to 400m away in total darkness. Ultra-large display prevents the eyes from being overworked even after a long observation.
- ★Excellent optical clarity, powerful digital night vision binoculars, up to 7x magnification in the dark,3.5x digital zoom, and 31mm lens aperture; Use the supplied AV cable to view your pictures on a TV, or transfer the files to your computer with the supplied USB cable.
- ★Fully multi-coated optics increase light transmission and reduce glare. The digital night vision binocular camera is perfect for hunting, reconnaissance, security, surveillance, camping, exploring caves, nighttime navigation, night fishing and boating, wildlife watching, search and rescue.
- ★In the dark, the digital night vision device works up to 6 hours. Storage capacity up to 32GB TF card(include);You can use the Micro USB2.0 cable to connect the computer and transfer data to avoid data loss.
- ★Language: English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese and Arabic; It requires 6 x AA lithium, alkaline or Ni-MH batteries (not included).
The T-Eagle offer both day and night visuals to a high level and allow viewing up to 400 meters away.
- Ultra-large display
- 3W infrared LED
- 850nm infrared illumination
- 7x magnification in darkness
- 2x digital zoom
- 31mm lens aperture
- Fully multi-coated optics
- 6 hour run time
This is a serious thermal imaging set-up for hunters, security surveyors, and night time navigators – to name a few. It gives you a massive 400 meters of clear viewing distance and there’s an 8G TF card included in this package. It’s also tripod mountable and can be utilized as a live infrared surveillance camera, connected to a TV, with a cable provided.
- Excellent long-range performance
- Strong day and night visuals
- Impressive magnification and zoom
- Easy to view display
- Multi-purpose design
- High spec infrared technology
- Great value for the money
- Battery life could be better
$749.00 in stock
- THE MOST ADVANCED COLOR NIGHT VISION CAMERA: The SiOnyx Aurora uses ultra low-light IR sensor technology to provide peerless night vision hunting performance. Use Aurora IR monocular before or after rifle scope, or as a trail camera for remote viewing.
- ACCESSORIES: Custom Aurora Picatinny rail mount, a 940nm IR illuminator with Picatinny rail mount, rechargeable batteries & external battery charger, 2 Aurora batteries, a carry case, external battery charger, 1 microSD card (32GB), a lanyard & USB cable.
- WATERPROOF CARRYING CASE: This durable & portable carrying case is large enough to hold all of your Aurora equipment. It includes slots for each accessory for compact, neat storage and it’s cushioned interior provides ultimate protection for your gear.
- MOUNTABLE IR ILLUMINATOR: The SiOnyx Aurora functions peerlessly in ultra low-light conditions, but when immersed in total darkness, use the 940nm infrared (IR) light illuminator to light your path to give your Aurora the boost it needs to pick up color.
- ENHANCE YOUR NIGHT HUNTING: Target prey in vivid color deep into the night. Mount quickly and easily to your weapon-of-choice with the camera’s 1/4”-20 standard mount & a Picatinny rail mount and record your shot with recoil-activated capture.
Here’s a full kit that works with AR-rifle platforms, which includes an Aurora Color Night Vision Camera, 940nm IR illuminator, Picatinny rail mounts, and a waterproof case.
- Night vision kit for hunters
- Custom Picatinny mount
- 940nm IR Illuminator
- Durable/waterproof carry case
- Rechargeable batteries included
- Battery charger
- 32gb microSD card
With such power and technology built into this device, you will be able to see color through the night vision camera in dark environments.
Conveniently, it can be simply mounted before or after a scope on a hunting rifle. As a whole, this is a very alluring all-in-one package offered by SiOnyx for hunters and tactical shooters.
- Flexible mounting options
- Color vision in the dark
- Compact and easy to carry
- Cushioned carry case interior
- Record your nighttime shooting
- Camera can be used as a handheld device
Why it’s recommended: Hunters have a strong all-in-one solution to consider with this digital night vision kit. It allows for quick mounting and for you to get out in the field in no time at all.
Thermal Vision Vs Night Vision
As you may have noticed, there seems to be a lot of mention of night vision, thermal vision, and infrared related technology throughout this article.
To clarify things, night vision works by amplifying available light that bounces from objects. If goggles are used with only night vision in place, they may not gain enough light in very dark environments.
However, with an IR illuminator built-in to a night vision based set-up, things change. The IR illuminator works as a flashlight to illuminate the night vision to work more effectively.
If a purely infrared thermal scope is being used, no light is required at all because this technology relies on the natural infrared light emitted by objects, which can be traced in the dark.
How to Choose Thermal Imaging Goggles
This article deals with a wide range of thermal imaging hardware to suit various needs.
Anyone wishing to carry out general surveillance will be generally happy with a handheld device. If this device is to be used in a static location, portability and weight shouldn’t be such an issue. Therefore a device with a large TFT display would be a great choice.
Monoculars are also good for surveillance and work much better as portable options for hunters, hikers, and outdoor activities where you are on the move.
Then we have the over the eyes hands-free night vision goggles which really are meant for tactical use in a professional context – such as the military. They also work well for hunters that want to carry out close-range targeting with their goggles on, in combination with iron or red dot sights.
What Are Thermal Goggles Used For?
We mentioned at the very start of the article that there are multiple applications for the use of thermal goggles. These applications commonly include:
- Varmint hunting.
- Security and Surveillance.
- Nighttime hiking.
- Bird watching.
- Tactical training.
Although, these are just a few examples of how they can be used in both a professional or personal context.
In conclusion, it’s important to find the right thermal imaging goggles, binoculars, monoculars, or cameras to fit your specific needs. We made sure to include a wide variety in this article so that you may find the right solution, for the right price too.
Things that should always be checked out are what’s actually included in the package. Do you need to buy extra gear such as batteries, a case, and mounts for example? Also, you should question whether you want your system to work both in the day and nighttime environments.
Lastly, it’s a good idea to consider the goggles, or similar hardware that you purchase as a way of finding the general location of your targets – if you are hunting. This is because you’ll most likely have a very wide field of view. Then you’ll be able to position your rifle accordingly and make use of a good thermal imaging scope to acquire a target.
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Best Thermal Imaging Goggles
Choosing the best night vision goggles for your needs is easy with our detailed reviews and ratings.
- ATN Thor LT
- ATN OTS XLT
- AGM Global Vision
- ATN Thor 4
- Nightfox 100V
- Best Guarder
- FLIR Scout II
- ATN PVS7-3
- SiOnyx Aurora