Best Monoculars

Review & Comparison, Last Update December 30, 2016
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 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Magnification Ratio
Minimal Focal Length
Objective Lens Diameter
Field of View
Optics (Objective / Eyeglass)
Body Specs
Extras
Dimensions
Weight
Ocular / Eye Lens Diameter
Prism System
 
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 has a gravity center closer to the front.
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
Magnification Ratio
12x
Minimal Focal Length
6.6 ft.
Objective Lens Diameter
50mm
Field of View
246 ft / 1000 yards
Optics (Objective / Eyeglass)
Fully multi-coated optical glass / BaK-4
Body Specs
Waterproof, Fogproof
Extras
Nylon carrying case, Lens protection covers, Microfiber cloth, Stainless steel tripod
Dimensions
3.1" x 6.4"
Weight
14 oz
Ocular / Eye Lens Diameter
4.2mm
Prism System
ROOF
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
Has no lens caps, however, the lenses are sunk into the body.
OUR VERDICT
A balanced combination of decent optics and usability. Due to light weight, it's great for tourists and mountain climbers.
detailed parameters
Magnification Ratio
6x
Minimal Focal Length
No
Objective Lens Diameter
30mm
Field of View
250 ft / 1000 yards
Optics (Objective / Eyeglass)
Fully multi-coated optical glass / BaK-4
Body Specs
Waterproof, Fogproof
Extras
Nylon case, Microfiber cloth, Neck strap
Dimensions
1.8" x 5.5"
Weight
7.8 oz
Ocular / Eye Lens Diameter
5mm
Prism System
ROOF
PROS
Two focusing rings allow users to perfectly adjust and aim at a target. Has a great price, as well.
CONS
There's a slightly visible chromatic aberration near the edges of the ocular lens.
OUR VERDICT
A compact and affordable monocular for bird watching, camping or even concert viewing.
detailed parameters
Magnification Ratio
8x
Minimal Focal Length
4 ft.
Objective Lens Diameter
40mm
Field of View
213 ft / 875 yards
Optics (Objective / Eyeglass)
Multi-coated optical glass / BK-7
Body Specs
Waterproof, Fogproof
Extras
Pouch, Cleaning cloth, Neck strap
Dimensions
2" x 6.3"
Weight
8.5 oz
Ocular / Eye Lens Diameter
5mm
Prism System
ROOF
PROS
You can carry the monocular around on a wrist with the included strap.
CONS
The optics is not fully multi-coated.
OUR VERDICT
This TOMO monocular has great magnification and multi-coated optics that both provide a bright picture in almost any situation.
detailed parameters
Magnification Ratio
16x
Minimal Focal Length
3.2 ft.
Objective Lens Diameter
52mm
Field of View
216 ft / 8749 yards
Optics (Objective / Eyeglass)
Multi-coated optical glass / BaK-4
Body Specs
Dust-resistant
Extras
Pouch, Cleaning cloth, Lens caps, Hand strap
Dimensions
2.2" x 5.8"
Weight
11 oz
Ocular / Eye Lens Diameter
4mm
Prism System
ROOF
PROS
Fully multi-coated objective lens shows great results at dusk.
CONS
Detachable lens caps are small and can be lost.
OUR VERDICT
A great choice for both wildlife and city surveillance that showed nice results even in dim lighting.
detailed parameters
Magnification Ratio
12x
Minimal Focal Length
6.6 ft.
Objective Lens Diameter
42mm
Field of View
216 ft / 8749 yards
Optics (Objective / Eyeglass)
Fully multi-coated optical glass / BaK-4
Body Specs
Waterproof, Fogproof
Extras
Pouch, Lens caps, Cleaning cloth, Neck strap
Dimensions
1.6" x 6.4"
Weight
11 oz
Ocular / Eye Lens Diameter
5mm
Prism System
ROOF

What Is It

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 also need an more powerfull optical device for a day-time observation, we recommend you to take a look at Best Binoculars.

Did you know that night vision devices come not only in a form of goggles? Check them out in our review of the Best Night Vision Devices.

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 in both cases 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, protection lens caps, a cleaning cloth, etc. What’s more, the eye lens may have a rangefinder reticle, just like a sniper sights, or even a built-in compass that comes in handy if you like camping or fishing on a boat.

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Review of Polaris Optics High Powered Monocular Bright and Clear Range of View, Waterproof

Polaris Optics High Powered Monocular

Polaris 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. This model has 12x 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 Polaris Optics High Powered Monocular 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.

Polaris Optics High Powered Monocular 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.

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


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

ROXANT High Definition

ROXANT High Definition

World in Your Pocket

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.

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


ROXANT High Definition
ROXANT High Definition
 
Review of Ohuhu Dual Focus Monocular Telescope / Monocular Scope for Hunting, Camping, Surveillance

Ohuhu Dual Focus

Ohuhu Dual Focus

A Little Monocular Will Go a Long Way

At a comparatively small size, this monocular shows great productivity. The waterproof body performs its duty just right even in harsh weather conditions. The interior is filled with fully transparent nitrogen and then sealed in order to prevent fogging of the lenses from inner sides. What’s more, it’s pretty durable thanks to rubber finish. This monocular can withstand the fall on a hard surface unless it falls on its glass. Still, try not to bounce it around as there are no protective lens caps. The rubber layer also helps get a better hold of the device and to aim it at the target right away.  Ohuhu made not one, but two focusing rings in this monocular, and both of them can be adjusted with the holding hand. Speaking about adjusting, the rings move a bit sturdy, but that’s actually a good thing, as you can adjust them more precisely, and not scroll them by mistake.

Review of Ohuhu Dual Focus Monocular Telescope / Monocular Scope for Hunting, Camping, Surveillance

A Great Monocular for the Right Price

Ohuhu monocular comes with a less expensive BK-7 eyeglass lens which has shown a picture with a subtle blue hue at the edges, because of chromatic aberration. 40mm objective lens collects a lot of light and at an 8x magnification this monocular shows you a bright view in a pretty wide angle – 213 ft. at 875 yards. The larger lens has a multi-coating, that will provide you with a sharp image. This monocular comes with all the necessary things for watching the birds or your favorite baseball team at the stadium. The package includes a transportation pouch, that can be attached to the belt, a cleaning cloth and a long strap, to wear it around the neck. The pouch will provide the necessary protection for your device. It has a hook-and-loop fastener to hold the monocular inside.

Ohuhu Dual Focus Monocular Telescope / Monocular Scope for Hunting, Camping, Surveillance in the use

More Products to Consider

For a better navigation during traveling on land or on the water, such device as a compass is a must. Unlike navigators, they don’t require batteries. And we can recommend you this Professional Portable Compass right off the bat. It works perfectly even in extreme situations and is very comfortable to use and to carry.


VIDEO
Ohuhu 8x40 Dual Focus Monocular Telescope Review, High Quality at an Affordable Price
Ohuhu Dual Focus
Ohuhu Dual Focus
 
Review of TOMO 16 X 52 Dual Focus High Powered Monocular Telescope with Lens Dust Covers

TOMO 16 X 52

TOMO 16 X 52

A Great Picture in Any Light

Some animals are so timid or easy to scare, that they run away at the first sound or even slightest smell of human being, and there are birds that can see you coming from great distances. But with TOMO monocular you’ll be able to safely watch them from afar, as it claims to show objects with up to 16x magnification. Huge 52mm objective lens with multi-coated glass will provide you with a perfectly detailed picture. And the high-quality BaK-4 eyeglass collects the light into the small beam, meaning you get a brighter image compared to the naked eye view. Therefore, it’s great to use it in daylight and dusk. As for the focus, it comes with two focusing rings to get a crisp image.

Review of TOMO 16 X 52 Dual Focus High Powered Monocular Telescope with Lens Dust Covers

Balanced and Versatile

Despite a comparatively big size (2" x 5.8") this monocular firmly lies in a hand owing to a non-slip grip. Of course, such big lens needs additional protection, so it has two lens caps on both sides to keep the glass clean and unscratched during transportation. The focusing rings have dials for even more precise adjusting. It comes with a carrying pouch, a cleaning cloth and also a strap to carry the monocular around. That way, you can safely take it with you to a sports game as a fan to keep an eye on your favorite players as they hit the score, or go out into the field to watch wild animals.

TOMO 16 X 52 Dual Focus High Powered Monocular Telescope with Lens Dust Covers in the use

More Products to Consider

Bird watchers will surely appreciate such a book as this National Geographic Guide to the Birds of North America. This is an encyclopedia with colored illustration and thorough descriptions, interesting tips and facts about 150 birds that nest near humans. An awesome book as a gift or for your home collection.


TOMO 16 X 52
TOMO 16 X 52
 
Review of Aurosports 30X50 Compact Pocket-Sized High-Powered Monocular Telescope Binoculars

Aurosports 30X50

Aurosports 30X50

What’s in the Name?

First of all, we’d like to state that the name of this Aurosports monocular is somewhat misleading. Numbers like 30x50 are usually referred to a magnification ratio next to the objective lens diameter. However, the real magnification here is more like 10-12x. As a matter of fact, the lens diameter's 42mm. The field of view also appears wider than it's stated by the manufacturer, but this one is actually a good thing. Not to mention the 'binoculars' as the last word in its name. Of course, it’s a monocular! Nevertheless, it's proved to be a decent aid for anyone who likes hunting or watching the wildlife. Let's take a closer look at it.

Review of Aurosports 30X50 Compact Pocket-Sized High-Powered Monocular Telescope Binoculars

With Attention to Details

This Aurosports monocular was assembled with a high-value BaK-4 eyeglass and a fully multi-coated objective lens that provide a bright picture from dawn to dusk. As we’ve said, the field of view appears to be pretty wide, and you get to see more objects through it, making searching and aiming a simple task. The interior is filled with gas to prevent fogging when the temperature suddenly changes. The body is also sealed, making it water- and dustproof. The ribbed rubber sides allow you to get a tight grip, while the lens caps prevent them from getting scratched during transportation. A single focusing ring can be easily adjusted with a thumb of a holding hand. You can also attach a strap to wear it around your neck. All of this combined with an attractive price makes it a great choice as a monocular for open field activities.

Aurosports 30X50 Compact Pocket-Sized High-Powered Monocular Telescope Binoculars in the use

More Products to Consider

In the woods or swamps, waiting in an ambush for a bird or an animal to appear can be a tiresome task, as you usually get swarmed by insects. Bug repellent is an obvious noway, as the animal’s sense of smell is much better than ours, so they will run away from you even before you see them. That’s why you will appreciate this Coghlan's Bug Jacket. It gives you a full body protection from insects and spiders while you can still use a monocular.

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


Aurosports 30X50
Aurosports 30X50
 

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. Monoculars Zeiss.

7. How to Choose Binoculars, Ems.

8. Monocular, Wikipedia, June 22, 2016.