Best Monoculars to Watch the Wildlife

Review & Comparison, Last Update September 13, 2018
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 2018
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 yards

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
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
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 yards
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
Has 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
A balanced combination of decent optics and usability. Due to 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 yards
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 yards

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

Equipped with a large ergonomic focusing wheel, the unit allows hassle-free one hand focusing.

CONS

The item has no rubberized grip on its body.

OUR VERDICT

Boasting a large field of view (388 ft. at 1000 yards), this monocular provides a more panoramic view, allowing you to watch exciting sporting events without missing a thing.

detailed parameters
Prism System

ROOF

Optics (Objective / Eyeglass)

Fully multi-coated optical glass / BaK-4

Objective Lens Diameter

42 mm

Ocular / Eye Lens Diameter

5.2 mm

Magnification Ratio

8 x

Minimal Focal Length

6.6 ft

Field of View

388 ft / 1000 yards

Body Specs

Waterproof, Fogproof

Extras

Carrying case, Lens cover, Lens cleaning cloth, Neck strap

Size and Weight

2.1" x 2.9" x 5.3"

11.6 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

User Manual     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

More Products to Consider

You can upgrade your Polaris Explorer monocular to magnifying camera lens for your mobile phone. All you need is this Gosky universal cell phone adapter mount that's compatible with almost any 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

More Products to Consider

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

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Wingspan Optics Tracker 8X42

For Birdwatchers and Sports Fans

It is amazing how quality optics can make the world around us so much brighter. The Wingspan Optics Wide View monocular makes a great difference not only compared to a naked eye, but also to many of its competitors. Featuring an 8x magnification (just perfect for birding), it is equipped with 42m lens diameter and provides a competitively wide field of view for such a portable device. In other words, not only will you be able to watch distant objects, but you will also be able to admire the most beautiful nature views and see in detail what is going on on the field during the deciding game. Besides, the monocular is both waterproof and fog proof, so it can become your reliable companion during outings and long trips, in any weather.

We'd also like to highlight that this model comes with a lifetime limited warranty so you can be sure it is well protected from dust, debris, and drops. And sure, the monocular might be not as compact as some other models out there. However, as we have shown above, it has great optical characteristics, and at the same time, it is pretty lightweight. Storing it in your camping gear or putting it in your pocket shouldn't be an issue.

Review of Wingspan Optics Tracker 8X42 Compact Wide View Monocular with Advanced Optics

Designed to Help You Create Good Memories

Comfort is important wherever you go, so let's talk about the unit's ergonomics. According to the consumers' feedback, the item is easy to hold still and focus as the large wheel on the top makes it super simple. Even if you need to observe several objects at various distances, you will be able to refocus the monocular in a breeze. Moreover, it can be used on a tripod for more comfortable and prolonged wildlife watching.

The monocular is equipped with an adjustable eyecup allowing you to enjoy watching the scenery longer whether you wear glasses or not; besides, it takes no time to twist it up and down. The box arrives with a carrying case, lens cover, cleaning cloth, and a carrying strap. Though the unit has no rubberized grip, its textured plastic body is quite handy; besides, it is likely to prove even more durable (compared to rubberized counterparts) in the long run.

In a nutshell, if you are looking for a reasonably-priced, user-friendly, and durable birding monocular, this Wingspan Optics model is probably the best choice.

Wingspan Optics Tracker 8X42 Compact Wide View Monocular with Advanced Optics in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

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 a massive weight and size. The monoculars solve this problem as they share the same working principle but have only one ocular, hence the name. They are lighter, take twice less space but, unlike spy-glass, they don't have a telescopic body. Not to mention the price. At a cost of one pair of binoculars, you can buy two monoculars for different purposes!

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. Tamia Nelson Focusing on Monoculars, Verloren Hoop Productions, October 9, 2012

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

6. How to Choose Binoculars, Ems.

7. Monocular, Wikipedia, June 22, 2016.

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