Best Monoculars to Watch the Wildlife

Review & Comparison, Last Update August 28, 2019
Imagine you're in a forest, the wind is still and the air is full of birds twittering. You can hear them but cannot see. Well, that won't be an issue anymore, as with a monocular you will finally find out which bird chirps that song. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2019
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Prism System
Optics (Objective / Eyeglass)
Objective Lens Diameter
Ocular / Eye Lens Diameter
Magnification Ratio
Minimal Focal Length
Field of View
Body Specs
Extras
Size and Weight
Warranty
 
PROS

Protected with the patented RainGuard HD coating that repels water and prevents condensation, the monocular delivers a permanently clear view even in high moisture conditions.

CONS

Some users are not quite happy with the provided neck strap.

OUR VERDICT

If you are going to hunt from dawn till dusk, you need high-quality gear that won't let you down regardless of the lighting conditions. With the Bushnell Legend monocular, you will be able to observe the surrounding environment in any weather, no matter how bright or dim the day is.

detailed parameters
Prism System

ROOF

Optics (Objective / Eyeglass)

Fully multi-coated optical glass / BaK-4

Objective Lens Diameter

42 mm

Ocular / Eye Lens Diameter

4.2 mm

Magnification Ratio

10 x

Minimal Focal Length

6.5 ft

Field of View

340 ft / 1000 yds

Body Specs

Rubberized coating, Waterproof, Fogproof (IPx7)

Extras

Carrying case, Neck strap, Lens protection cover

Size and Weight

4" x 4.6" x 6.5"

13.2 oz

Warranty

Limited Lifetime

PROS

This birding monocular comes in a package with a tripod and has a great light transmitting coefficient, allowing to use it even in dim lighting.

CONS

The tripod is somewhat easy to tip over as the monocular is a little front-heavy.

OUR VERDICT

This Wingspan model is a top rate monocular with weather-resistant qualities and durable body, that shows a bright, crisp picture. A perfect choice for bird watchers and hunters.

detailed parameters
Prism System
ROOF
Optics (Objective / Eyeglass)
Fully multi-coated optical glass / BaK-4
Objective Lens Diameter

50 mm

Ocular / Eye Lens Diameter

4.2 mm

Magnification Ratio

12 x

Minimal Focal Length

6.6 ft

Field of View

246 ft / 1000 yds

Body Specs
Waterproof, Fogproof
Extras
Nylon carrying case, Lens protection covers, Microfiber cloth, Stainless steel tripod
Size and Weight

3.1" x 6.4"

14 oz

Warranty

Limited Lifetime

PROS

The item boasts an exceptional ratio of magnification and lens diameter, providing a bright detailed picture on the objects along the wide field of view.

CONS

It has a bit low magnification power (6x), so you might not be able to observe more distant objects.

OUR VERDICT

This unit offers a balanced combination of decent optics and usability. Due to its light weight, it's great for tourists and mountain climbers.

detailed parameters
Prism System
ROOF
Optics (Objective / Eyeglass)
Fully multi-coated optical glass / BaK-4
Objective Lens Diameter

30 mm

Ocular / Eye Lens Diameter

5 mm

Magnification Ratio

6 x

Minimal Focal Length

N/A

Field of View

250 ft / 1000 yds

Body Specs
Waterproof, Fogproof
Extras
Nylon case, Microfiber cloth, Neck strap
Size and Weight

1.8" x 5.5"

7.8 oz

Warranty

Amazon's 30-day return policy

PROS

Its rubberized housing features a diamond-checkered grip that prevents the monocular from slipping out of your hands even in high humidity.

CONS

Its minimal focal length is pretty long. 

OUR VERDICT

Being a simpler and more compact version of professional models, the Vortex Optics Solo monocular is an excellent choice for avid travelers, bird watchers, and nature lovers seeking astonishing views and hidden wildlife treasures.

detailed parameters
Prism System

ROOF

Optics (Objective / Eyeglass)

Fully multi-coated optical glass / BaK-4

Objective Lens Diameter

25 mm

Ocular / Eye Lens Diameter

2.5 mm

Magnification Ratio

10 x

Minimal Focal Length

16.4 ft

Field of View

315 ft / 1000 yds

Body Specs

Rubberized coating, Waterproof, Fogproof

Extras

Carrying case, Neck strap

Size and Weight

1.8" x 2.2" x 4.4"

5.6 oz

Warranty

Limited Lifetime

PROS

With a Gosky smartphone adapter included in the box, it will be easy to make pictures and videos of far away objects and events. This universal digiscoping adapter is compatible with most smartphone brands.

CONS

This item is a bit heavier than most of its rivals.

OUR VERDICT

If you are looking for a moderately priced sporting events monocular, this model is the one we would recommend. A 12 x magnification and an impressive field of view will ensure you won't miss a thing even if you don't have the best seats at the stadium.

detailed parameters
Prism System

ROOF

Optics (Objective / Eyeglass)

Fully multi-coated optical glass / BaK-4

Objective Lens Diameter

55 mm

Ocular / Eye Lens Diameter

4.2 mm

Magnification Ratio

12 x

Minimal Focal Length

N/A

Field of View

325 ft / 1000 yds

Body Specs

Rubberized coating, Waterproof, Fogproof

Extras

Digiscoping adapter, Hand strap, Carrying bag, Eyepiece and lens protection cover, Cleaning cloth

Size and Weight

2.2" x 3.25" x 5.45"

14.5 oz

Warranty

Limited Lifetime

Bushnell Legend 10 x 42

For Avid Hunters

The secret of successful hunting is to be well-prepared and equipped with the right gear. With a quality monocular at hand, you will be able to carefully observe the surroundings and spot your quarry before it notices you. Designed to deliver excellent color, contrast, and resolution in any lighting conditions, the Bushnell Legend monocular will become a perfect companion for those who love hunting from the early morning till late at night.

The manufacturer has used ED Prime Glass that provides excellent viewing quality even in a low-light environment. At the same time, a multi-layer anti-reflective coating delivers high-contrast images in any lighting conditions. Moreover, the monocular is protected with a patented water-repelling coating that forces the moisture from condensation, snow, and rain to bead up, so your vision won't be obscured no matter what the weather is like. Featuring a 10x magnification, the model is equally good for hunting and birdwatching; actually, it is so small you can take it on outings, to concerts, sporting events, etc. Boasting a competitive field of view (340 ft. at 1000 yards), it will allow you to enjoy the scenery in all its beauty.

Review of Bushnell Legend 10 x 42 Monocular

Perfection in Everything

You would hardly appreciate hunting equipment that's too bulky or too heavy, yet precision is no less important when it comes to optic tools. Bushnell products are known for a winning combination of high-performance optics and ergonomic design. Equipped with the highest quality optics, their Legend 10 x 42 monocular has a lightweight yet durable body and is very handy in use. This model features twist-up eyecups so the eyepiece is simple to adjust whether you wear glasses or not. Besides, the unit is equipped with a carry clip so you can easily attach it to your belt. It also features a Picatinny rail that can be used to attach a flashlight, pistol grip, and other accessories; for the most convenient use, the item can be easily mounted on a tripod. The housing has soft-touch grip accents, so the monocular is comfy to hold in your hand.

A quality monocular is not the only gear that can help you spot your target. To get a positional advantage when hunting, try using one of these reliable treestands.

Bushnell Legend 10 x 42 Monocular in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Wingspan Optics High Powered Monocular

Rediscover the World

Polaris Explorer monocular will surely show you the world and all of its hidden beauty. When traveling, we often miss tiny but important details of scenery simply because of limitations of our eyes. And with this monocular, you will discover them all. We found it to be of great help for travelers and bird watchers. After taking a closer look, Polaris Optics Explorer shows bright and accurate image due to fully multi-coated glass that transmits a lot of light. One of the most powerful compact monoculars out there, this model has 12 x magnification power. To put it simply, with such zoom, you will see an object from 300 ft. as if it were at 25 ft. from you.

Review of Wingspan Optics High Powered Monocular 12X50, Bright and Clear Range of View, Waterproof

Tested by Nature

Polaris Optics has created a sophisticated, yet easy-to-use monocular. It’s fully waterproof, while the interior is filled with gas to prevent fogging of glass from the inside. That means the lens will always stay clear and dry when the temperature changes rapidly, and can be used under the rain. At mere 14 oz. the monocular comfortably lies in a hand. Besides, it also comes with a pouch for transportation, and a tripod.

Tripod is an awesome inclusion for those of us, who likes bird watching. For example, when you find a beautiful bird sitting in the nest, just mount the monocular on a tripod, point at it and you can share the view with a friend or just gaze at the bird, without tiring your hand by holding a monocular for a long time.

Wingspan Optics High Powered Monocular 12X50, Bright and Clear Range of View, Waterproof in the use

Take Stunning Photos and Videos

You can upgrade your Polaris Explorer monocular to magnifying camera lens for your mobile phone. All you need is a universal cell phone adapter mount that's compatible with your smartphone. After assembling them into one unit, you will be able not only to take photos but also record videos to share them with your friends later.

Detailed review of Wingspan Optics High Powered Monocular 12X50, Bright and Clear Range of View, Waterproof

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


VIDEO
Polaris Optics 12x50 Monocular
 

ROXANT High Definition

World in Your Pocket

The ROXANT monocular has a neat, compact body. At 1.5" x 5.5", it weighs only 7.8 oz. And what’s even more surprising is that at such dimensions it boasts a great 6x magnification and an overall great light transmittance coefficient. What’s more, the ocular lens is made of BaK-4 glass with extra-low dispersion glass. Overall, that means you’ll see a clear picture with bright colors and distinct details. The objective has a lens with a comparatively wide angle of view to capture even more objects into the sight. Field of view here is 250 ft. at 1000 yards. Such an impressive result was achieved due to the precisely calculated ratio of magnification to the diameter of an objective lens diameter.

This universal monocular is excellent for finding your prey while hunting or simple bird watching if you prefer more peaceful activities.

Review of ROXANT High Definition Monocular With Retractable Eyepiece and Fully Multi Coated Optical Glass Lens

Maximum Efficiency

This monocular has a great grip owing to pimples on the sides and antiskid finish. You can take it with you into the field or to the mountains, as it is light, waterproof, shock-resistant, and filled with gas to prevent fogging. A special pouch and neck straps for transportation are supplied too. However, one of the greatest features might be a retractable eyecup for using it with or without eyeglasses. The focusing ring is easy to adjust with a thumb, but at first, it might take some practice. Anyhow, once you've got a focus right, you get a perfect, crisp view on the object.

ROXANT High Definition Monocular With Retractable Eyepiece and Fully Multi Coated Optical Glass Lens in the use

A Win-Win Combination

In order to capture a magnified image from the monocular, you can combine it with your phone camera and shoot photos or record videos of the things that you like. And you can achieve this with the help of width cell phone adapter mount for bino/monocular spotting telescope.

Detailed review of ROXANT High Definition Monocular With Retractable Eyepiece and Fully Multi Coated Optical Glass Lens

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


VIDEO
ROXANT Grip Scope- High Definition WIDE VIEW Monocular
 

Vortex Optics Solo 10x25

For Any Travel Occasion

Planning a hiking trip is an enjoyable and exciting task but it is a high responsibility one as well. You need to bring along all the necessary gear, yet your backpack should not be too heavy. With that in mind, you should turn to the Vortex Optics Solo monocular as it is one of the lightest models on the market.

This monocular is equipped with high-quality optics and features 10 x magnification. To ensure a crystal-clear view, all air-to-glass surfaces have multiple anti-reflective coatings that allow increased light transmission. To provide excellent performance under any conditions, the monocular features reliable O-ring seals that prevent dust, debris, and moisture from getting inside. Moreover, the unit boasts fogproof and waterproof design, excellent external protection, and a secure non-slip grip. Its rubberized housing not only adds to the unit's durability but also it makes the monocular easier to handle in various weather conditions. You won't ever have to worry about it slipping out your hands just as you're standing somewhere high up, admiring the view.

The only drawback of this model is that it has a rather long minimal focal length. However, considering its small size and reliability, it is one of the best monoculars for almost any outdoor activity including backpacking, birding, attending sports events and concerts, and more.

Review of Vortex Optics Solo 10x25 Monocular

Lightweight and Handy

Adjustable eyecups make the unit a good choice for any user, whether you're bespectacled or not. Weighing as little as 5.6 ounces, it takes almost no space in your backpack and can be easily put in your pocket. Or, you can wear it around your neck: the item comes with a lanyard that is easy to attach to the monocular. Alternatively, the rubber housing with a diamond-checkered grip allows the unit to rest securely in your hand. Focusing is very simple, too. On the eyepiece, there is a wheel; just turn it clockwise when you need to focus on more distant objects and counterclockwise when you want to get a clear view of objects not so far away. The monocular comes with a handy soft case so it is easy to carry on the go; besides, it will be protected from dust when not in use.

Summing up, if you are looking for a handy lightweight monocular that can provide a crystal clear view of the world around you, the Vortex Optics Solo is a great choice.

Vortex Optics Solo 10x25 Monocular in the use

 

Gosky 12x55 High Definition

Crisp and Clear View

With this fantastic device, you will be perfectly equipped for bird watching, hiking, hunting, or any other outdoor activity, as well as for watching concerts and sporting events. Not only does it offer a competitive 12 x magnification; the Gosky 12x55 is equipped with a whole bunch of useful features that outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate.

It has a large objective lens that is fully multi-coated to deliver excellent light transmission and provide a clear and bright field of view. Next, the monocular has an upgraded multi-layer eyepiece and high-quality BAK4 prism. Plus, it is equipped with an ergonomic twist-up eyecup and long eye-relief.

Finally, this model features a firm and reliable grip that will prevent the item from slipping down. Even if you occasionally drop its eyepiece, its durable shock absorbing armor will most likely prevent it from damaging. It will also protect the monocular from various weather conditions - the unit is water-, fog-, and dust-proof so you can take it with you wherever you go.

Though this model is somewhat heavier than its competitors, it gets the job done excellently, allowing you to view distant objects with the utmost comfort.

Review of Gosky 12x55 High Definition Monocular

Capture the Beauty

If you want to share the most stunning views with your family and friends, it is easy with this fantastic device. Being perfect for watching distant objects, this powerful monocular will also allow you to shoot photos and videos with your smartphone. Luckily, if you purchase this model, you won't need to buy the necessary equipment additionally: a Gosky smartphone adapter comes with the box. The digiscoping adapter is compatible with most smartphones available on the market.

The purchase also includes a soft nylon carrying bag, a comfy hand strap, protection covers for eyepiece and lens, and a cleaning cloth. You can even adjust the item to a camera tripod (please note that no tripod is included) thanks to a built-in brass screw hole and a tripod threads hole.

All in all, allowing you to watch and capture nature's beauty, this wonderful waterproof monocular will become your reliable companion on any backpacking trip.

Gosky 12x55 High Definition Monocular in the use

 

What Is a Monocular?

Without a doubt, one of the most popular portable optic device for looking into the distance is binoculars. However, such field glasses usually have bigger weight and size than monoculars that share the same working principle but have only one ocular, hence the name. Being lighter in weight, they take twice less space (most models can easily slip into a pocket) even though they don't have a telescopic body. The price is an advantage too. At a cost of one pair of binoculars, you can buy two monoculars for different purposes. They will become very useful for viewing distant objects wherever you go. No wonder monoculars are so widely used for birding, hiking, camping, and hunting.

If you need a more powerful optical device suitable for day-time observation, we recommend you take a look at our selection of binoculars. And if you like observing the wild in the dark, you will certainly need a high-quality night vision device.

What Features to Compare

Optics

We cannot stress enough that the first thing you should look for in any optical device is optics specs. Monoculars are not an exception. As a rule of thumb, the bigger the outer lens is, the more light it collects. The light refracts into the ocular lens, and compressed, magnified picture can be seen through it. There are different magnifying monoculars that have a small zoom – 2-4x, medium – 5-8x, or large – 10-22x. The higher this value is, the closer and bigger a distant object appears.

Another feature in optics is a coating. This refers to layers of anti-reflective coating on an objective lens. The glass itself reflects a lot of light, but with such coating, more light comes through, meaning you are getting more detailed, brighter view of objects. Multi-coated and fully multi-coated lenses are more preferred than single coated. Monoculars can also be assembled in accordance with different prism systems. For instance, ROOF prisms are more compact than PORRO, plus usually somewhat lighter.

The last but not least is the glass type. Usually, it's BK-7 or BaK-4. Those refer to a form of an eyeglass lens. In the case of monoculars, Bak-4 is a preferable choice as it gives a slightly better picture than BK-7 type of glass. The latter has a prism glass in the form of a square, what may create a small chromatic aberration. However, BaK-4 has just a slightly higher refractive index than BK-7, so either way you'll get a great result.

Body Design

Monoculars often come in a body of a tube; therefore they're easy to hold in one hand. Manufacturers come up with different surface materials and finishes for even steadier grip: wavy or knurled, dimpled or pimpled, rubber or plastic, you name it. A high-quality monocular should also have waterproof and dirtproof qualities. And in order to protect the inner side of the glass from fogging, special transparent gas is pumped and sealed inside the body. Among other features, there may be adjusting rings with or without dials for better focusing on a target.

Features

The size and weight of a monocular are also critical parameters, especially, if you are going to climb up a mountain or go camping. Monoculars are often chosen because they are smaller and lighter than binoculars. Therefore, look for lightweight, compact models. Monoculars usually come with a case or a carrying pouch for transportation, neck or wrist straps, protective lens caps, a cleaning cloth, etc. What’s more, the eye lens may have a rangefinder reticle, just like sniper sights, or even a built-in compass that comes in handy if you like camping or fishing on a boat.

Sources:

1. OpticsPlanet Guest Expert Everything You Need To Know About Monoculars, Opticsplanet. July 17, 2015.

2. A. Rohlandt How do I Choose the Best Monocular Scope? Wisegeek. June 20, 2016.

3. Eric Lind A Guide to Birding with Binoculars, National Audubon Society. June 15, 2015.

4. Monocular Buying Guide, eBay. January 27, 2016.

5. How to Choose Binoculars, Ems.

6. Monocular, Wikipedia. June 22, 2016.

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