Are you into watching animals at a distance? Maybe you’re a hunter or naturalist heading out onto public land or a National Park for the weekend? A monocular is a great piece of gear to add to the kit you’re taking with you on your trip. The monocular is like a pair of binoculars. However, it only features one lens.

A monocular is ideal for people that can’t seem to get comfortable with using binoculars. The monocular is essentially like half a pair of binoculars. They aren’t as powerful as telescopes, but some come with tripods setups for better image stabilization.

With a monocular, you get to take a stable image of an animal or target, allowing you to guess the wind speed and the distance to target. A monocular is an essential piece of kit for sniper teams. A spotter uses a monocular to locate and pick out a target, feeding critical information back to the snipe rot help them adjust the shot.

Whether you’re hunting wilds pigs on farms in Texas, or Guerillas in Afghanistan, a monocular is a handy piece of gear to have at your side. There are dozens of models to choose from when looking at all the monocular options online.

We decided to help you out and narrow down your options. We selected these ten models for the best monocular reviews. Each of these models has top-tier design and construction, and excellent performance in the field.

Our Top Picks

If you can’t wait to order your monocular and hit the mountains for a weekend of fun, you can skip the rest of the review and rely on our top choices instead. We looked at the best of the best and came up with these three models for our top picks.

Each of these monocular features unique characteristics and design features, setting them apart from the competition. We have three categories to choose, allowing you to find the monocular to suit your needs and budget.

Best Overall Monocular – Vortex Optics Solo

Vortex Optics Solo Monocular 8x36
  • 8x magnification and 36mm objectives lens, the Solo Monocular is a small, lightweight optic with fully multi-coated lenses, increasing the light transmission and resolution giving you the clear, crisp images you want.
  • Nitrogen purged and o-ring sealed, the Solo delivers waterproof and fogproof performance in any environment.
  • The adjustable eyecup allows for comfortable viewing with or without glasses.
  • The 36mm Solo comes with a versatile, multi-position utility clip for quick attachment to your equipment or clothing. Field of View: 393 feet/1000 yards|7.5 degrees
  • Close Focus: 16.4 feet

With a 36mmm objective and 8X magnification, the Vortex Solo wins our top honors for the best overall monocular in this review. The Vortex Solo features an array of advanced modes, settings, and functions found on the top monocular models.

Best Premium Monocular – Bushnell Legend Ultra HD

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 191144 10X42 Tan Monocular Mil-Ret Ed Glass Uwb Box
  • Quality optics with stunning HD clarity
  • 100% quality materials used and tested extensively
  • Beautiful design and durability built to last
  • 10x magnification, 42-millimeter objective compact roof prism monocular
  • Exceptional optics with BaK-4 prisms, fully multi-coated optics, ED Prime Glass, and PC-3 Phase Coated prism

If you’re looking for the ultimate in monocular technology, we recommend going with the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD. This monocular has the best image representation, with real HD quality, and crisp response.

Best Budget Monocular – Wingspan Optics

12x50 Monocular Telescope for Adults, AUCEE HD High Power Bak4 Prism FMC Monocular Compact Waterproof Monocular with Smartphone Adapter Tripod for Bird Watching Hunting Hiking Camping Travelling
  • ▶【12x50 Monocular】AUCEE 12x50 high powered monoculars for adults - a full 12x magnification and 50mm object lens diameter monocular, provides a clearly and bright image. This monocular telescope has large field of view (211ft 1,000Yds), just feel free to enjoy bird watching, hunting, hiking, camping, travelling, wildlife, scenery, etc.
  • ▶【BAK4 Monocular】The hd monocular telescope equipped with BAK-4 prism and fully multi-coated lens, guarantee superior light transmission and brightness and the light transmittance reaches up to 99.5%. The monocular has low-light-level night vision, it could help you see things in low light.
  • ▶【Waterproof Monocular】This HD waterproof, fog-proof, dust-proof, shockproof monocular, built in lens dust cover and o-ring sealed optics could prevent lens from dust/moisture/debris, ensures the living waterproof function, fit for the most weather and environment(note: it can not be used in a heavy rain for a long time or soaked in the water).
  • ▶【Accessories】This portable monocular is easy to hold by one hand. You also could connect your phone with the tripod and smartphone adapter(5.4cm-9cm, compatible with most smartphone in market, like iphone/Samsung, etc). It's very convenient when you watch something for a long time. The compact monocular also come with cleaning cloth, cloth bag, hand strap, user manual.
  • ▶Any problems or not satisfaction with our monocular, please contact us, we will solve the problems for you.

If you’re looking for the best budget model in this review, we recommend the Wingspan Optics monocular. This model comes with many of the same features and specs as the top models in this review. However, with the Wingspans, you get an affordable price tag, making it a top piece of kit that doesn’t break your bank account.

The 12X magnification and 50mm objective make this model a little bulkier than the previous two in our top picks. However, you get a clean and crisp image reproduction in any format, with any viewing experience.

Monocular Reviews

Now that you have an idea of our top models, let’s unpack them in further detail. We’ll also look at some other leading models for your next monocular.

Make sure to read through our buyer’s guide section to select the right monocular for your viewing needs.

Vortex Optics Solo – The Best Overall Monocular

This model wins our top honors for the best monocular system available. With the Vortex Solo, you get an 8x magnification, along with a 36mm lens objective. As a result, you get crystal-clear images in HD quality. This optic system is ideal for hunters. The gas-purged, multi-coated lenses, and roof prism, allow for accurate tracking of moving targets.

With the Vortex solo, you get a monocular system that’s a durable as it looks. This model features a rubberized casing, protecting it from drops and knocks. You get a 393-foot FOV, with up to a 1,000-foot range with this model.

Pros:
  • 8x magnification with a 36mm objective for ranges up to 400-feet
  • Lightweight optic ideal for hunting, shooting, and landscaping viewing
  • High-resolution optics with nitrogen purged lenses
  • Multi-coated lenses for accurate image sourcing and HD images
  • Drop-proof armored rubber housing
Cons:
  • Premium Price

View Details

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD – The Best Premium Monocular

The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD is our top choice for the best overall premium model. If you have the budget to spend, then we recommend splurging on the Bushnell. This model has a desert-tan finish on the chassis, showing its design and construction with real military operators in mind.

The Bushnell Legend Ultra features quality optics providing stunning clarity for your viewing experience. With this model, you get a 10X magnification, with a 42mm lens objective. That’s the perfect lens setup for hunting and a good in-between model for use in wooded areas and open plains.

The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD comes with multi-coated optics and a PC-3 phase-coated prism for enhanced optics. It shows in the performance of this model, earning it our top spot in this review.

Pros:
  • Mil-spec design with desert tan chassis
  • Suitable for hunters and military operators
  • 10X42mm magnification for the 700-foot field of view and 1,250-yard range
  • Superior optics with Bak-4 prisms
  • Multi-coated optics for reflection-free viewing
  • 100% water and fog proof
  • Twist eyecups for additional comfort
Cons:
  • Premium Price

View Details

Aucee Monocular Telescope – The Best Budget Monocular

If you’re heading to the hills for some camping or the beach for some surfing, take along the Aucee.

This model is functional and comes at an affordable price point. With the Aucee, you’re getting all the top advantages of the best monocular optic systems, without the price tag to match.

This model is functional and comes at an affordable price point. With the Aucee, you get all the top advantages of the leading brands in monocular optics at a fraction of the price. It’s our top choice for the best budget model in this review.

Pros:
  • Affordable monocular with exceptional performance
  • 211-foot field of view with 1,000-yard range
  • Bak-4 prism with a multi-coated lens for ultimate image rendering
  • Comes with a tripod and cellphone adaptor for mobile use
  • O-ring sealed monocular
Cons:
  • Slightly heavy for carrying long distance

View Details

Wingspan Optics Explorer

The Wingspan Optics Explorer provides you with an exceptional 12X magnification with a 50mm lens objective. With this model, you get a 400-foot FOV, with a range of up to 1,000-yards. The high-power zoom functionality of this model makes it a top choice for hunting and bird-watching.

You get gas-sealed lens chambers, featuring Bak-4 prisms and multi-coated lenses. The lightweight design makes it a top choice for long-day trips when every ounce of your gear matters. You get an excellent image reproduction, with HD quality, and superior light transmission for a brighter image.

Pros:
  • 12X50mm magnification and an objective lens for excellent FOV and range up to 1,250-feet
  • Water, fog, and rainproof with O-ring sealed lens
  • Comes with lens protection covers
  • Comes with a nylon mesh carry case
  • An external rubberized case for shock resistance
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons:
  • FOV a little narrow

View Details

Celestron Nature

The Celestron Nature is for nature enthusiasts that want a lightweight monocular that’s easy to carry. This model weighs 6-oz, and its compact design makes it easy to slide into the pockets of your jeans. You get a comfortable eyecup to reduce viewing fatigue and ergonomic housing for excellent grip and control over the monocular.

With the Celestron Nature, you get a 10x25mm magnification and objective. This setup is ideal for close-range viewing, with a field of view up to 304-feet at a range of 1,000-yards. There’s a 14mm eye relief, making it suitable for people who wear glasses, and it has a waterproof rating to ensure your monocular never fogs.

Pros:
  • Multi-coated lenses for clear and feature-rich images
  • Water and fog proof
  • Rubberized chassis for drop protection
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Ergonomic housing for easy grip
  • Compact and lightweight
Cons:
  • Might be underpowered for hunting on wide spaces

View Details

Gosky Titan

This high-power monocular offers 12X magnification with a 50mm objective lens. The result is a slightly bigger and heavier monocular, with plenty of viewing power. This optical system features multi-coated lenses and Bak-4 prism for excellent image rendering in HD quality.

This model is suitable for cellphone integration with most leading model smartphones from Apple, Samsung, LG, Sony, and HTZ. The rubber coating on the chassis of this model ensures drop protection and shockproof design.

Pros:
  • 12x50mm magnification and objective lens
  • A good choice for bird-watching, hunting, sports watching and more
  • Bak-4 Prism for crisp images in HD
  • Rubberized coating on chassis for supreme shock absorption
  • Multi-coated lenses for superior light transmission and anti-reflection
  • Compatible with smartphones
  • Affordable
Cons:
  • 12x50mm is a little grainy at distances beyond 700-yards

View Details

Vivreal High Power Monocular

The Vivreal monocular is an interesting design, with an unusual 12X55mm sizing. This model gives you accurate zoom with up to 12X magnification through the 55mm objective. The BAk-4 prism gives you excellent image quality, with a 360-foot FOV at a range of 1,000-yards. The Vivreal features multi-coated lenses for anti-reflective use in the field.

The nitrogen-filled lens chambers ensure you get a waterproof and fog proof monocular, which performs under the most demanding conditions. The Rubberized coating provides plenty of shock absorption on a drop.

Pros:
  • 360-foot Field of View and range up to 1,000-yards
  • All-glass optics
  • Bak-4 prism with multi-layer green film
  • Dust, water, and fog proof
  • IPX7 nitrogen-filled optics
  • Compatible with most makes and models of smartphones
Cons:
  • 12x55mm magnification and the objective lens is slightly grainy at 700-foot

View Details

Emarth High Power Zoom Monocular Telescope

The Emarth high-power zoom monoucular is an example of a powerful and effective model that suitable for general viewing activities. With the Emarth, you get a Bak-4 prism with a 10X to 30X magnification. This model offers you an IPX7 water-resistant rating, with nitrogen-purged lenses. As a result, the lens will never fog.

With the Emarth, you get a rugged, rubberized chassis for good grip and drop protection. This model offers the best balance for general viewing activity.

Pros:
  • Portable zoom monocular
  • 10x to 30x magnification makes it easy to zoom in on your target
  • Bak-4 crystal prism for optimal light transmission and clear images
  • IPX7 water-resistant rating
  • Nitrogen purged lenses
  • Rugged rubberized chassis
Cons:
  • A bit bulky thanks to the 30x50mm design

View Details

Gosky Newest 20-60×80 Dual Focusing Spotting Scope

If you’re looking for the best model for hunting spotting, the Gosky Scope is a top choice. This model comes with HD optics and zoom capability, with a 105-52-foot FOV at a range of 1,000-yards.

The zoom capability on this model is tremendous, with a large smartphone digiscoping adapter included in the package.

Pros:
  • Suitable for use in sniping and firearms-related spotting
  • Dual speed focusing for sharp pictures and shots
  • 105-52-foot field of view with 1,00-foot range
  • Bak-4 Porro prism with 20x to 60x magnification
  • Nitrogen filled lenses with waterproof and fog-proofing
  • Rubberized casing for shock resistance
  • Adjustable eye cups for superior user comfort
Cons:
  • A little heavy

View Details

Other Best Selling Options

SaleBestseller No. 1
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  • 【Incredible Clear Vision】Super Clear, The fully coated optics, meanwhile, ensure superior light transmission and brightness, helping you see just about any target, whether you're searching for birds or trying to get a better view of the stage.
  • 【High Contrast and Resolution Images】:See things 16X closer and Get Clearer and Brighter with 52MM Objective lens and 18.5mm eye lens.The larger the objective lens, the more light that enters the binocular, and the brighter the image.Prism material,BAK4, clear image without black bars,it makes Super Clear and Sharp Images.
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Monocular Buyer’s Guide

A monocular is a versatile telescopic device providing clear, up-close images of objects at a distance. Some people think of a monocular as merely half a binocular, but they have distinct advantages over other optical devices.

The monocular is the preferred viewing platform for a variety of popular activities. Whether you’re into bird watching, sports viewing, hunting, stargazing, or even surveillance work, a monocular is a compact, lightweight, and easy to transport.

The monocular comes from the same linage of optical devices, like magnifying glasses. The 17th century saw the invention of the first refractor telescopes. Hans Lippershey, a spectacle-maker, takes the credit for patenting the design for the world’s first telescope.

The 19th century saw the introduction of the binoculars, with technology in optical systems like binoculars experiencing a quantum leap over the last century. The modern monocular is the result of a combined effort between Jean Georges Hofmann and Ignazio Porro in 1854.

Today, leading monocular brands like Carl Zeiss, Wingspan, and Bushnell rely on this same prism optical setup. However, the last several decades brought innovations in optical technology, with military companies taking an interest in optics to drive weapons systems.

As a result, modern optics developed amazing tech-leaps, with multi-coated lenses to eliminate reflection, and gas-purged lenses to prevent water league and fogging of the lenses in humid or wet conditions.

The monocular came a long way since its inception and continues to be one of the best viewing platforms available. Regardless of your viewing activity, the monocular gives you a clean, sharp image, with proper resolution and light transmission.

Selecting the Right Monocular

When people think about optics for hunting and viewing activities, most imagine a pair of binoculars. That’s okay; it’s what we would expect. However, the reality is a monocular provides as a rich viewing experience as a pair of binoculars.,

With a monocular system, you get easier range finding and movement tracking. There are plenty of advantages to using a monocular over a binocular system. With a monocular, you get a compact and lightweight viewing platform for any camping trip, day hike, bird-watching session, or track day.

The monocular is a misunderstood platform and deserves attention when planning your next activity trip. It’s challenging settling on the right monocular when you think of the hundreds of models out there.

In this review, we narrow it down to 10 platforms, making your choice easier. However, even with a limited range, you’re probably having a tough time nailing down the right system for your trip.

That’s’ okay; in this section, we’ll unpack everything you need to know about selecting the right monocular system for your viewing experience.

What are Your Requirements?

Before you rush ahead and check out with your new monocular, take the time to understand the features and functionality you get from this optic system. It’s essential to match the monocular to a task-specific function, such as hunting or stargazing.

You get monocular models that specialize in catering to specific functions. The first question most people ask when presented with the option of a monocular is -why don’t I just get a pair of binoculars? There are several reasons why you might want to consider a monocular over the traditional binocular optic system.

  • The monocular is suitable for use with people who are dealing with eye problems.
  • The monocular is suitable for use with one eye, making it easier for night vision purposes.
  • The monocular gives better tracking in open-field operations where you need to measure speed and distance while tracking a target.
  • The monocular is compact and lightweight, at literally half the size and weight of a pair of binoculars. They take up less room in your day pack or belt and less exertion on your energy levels during your carry.
  • The single-eye focus adjustment on a monocular makes it easy to stabilize an image quickly.

Choosing the Objective Lens and Magnification

The monocular comes with a numeric value explaining its optical value. For instance, you might have a monocular with a 12X50mm reading. This reading means that there is a 12X magnification on offer from the monocular.

This optic also has a 50mm objective lens. The objective is responsible for the quality of the image, but it also contributes extra weight to the monocular design. Larger objectives allow for better light transmission, allowing more light into the image. As a result of this setup, you get a brighter image, even in low-light conditions.

Is the Lens Coating Important to MY Monocular?

The lens is the most important part of your monocular. It’s the crux of the optic system, and along with the prism, it’s where you want to look for quality build components.

Make sure you’re choosing a model with porro or roof prism, and multi-coated lenses. The prism gives a better image with sharper HD clarity, and the coating reduces reflection – something that critical for hunting monocular.

The multi-coating on the lens adds to waterproofing and fog proofing of the monocular. However, it also enhances the brightness and clarity of the image, adding to your optic system’s total package.

What Is the Field of View (FOV)?

The field-of-view (FOV), refers to the image diameter you can see downrange, regardless of the magnification. Most monocular systems feature around 20-feet and 20X magnification. If that’s the case, you can expect a decrease in the field of view as you increase magnification.

It’s important to note that the objective lens size, along with the prism type, and the monocular construction, play a significant role in this issue.

Therefore, the high-zoom, premium-brand lenses feature a better FOV at higher zoom. Cheaper models tend to suffer the further you get out with the magnification.

What are Monocular Prisms?

What is it that makes monocular optics work? The monocular relies on the prism to produce a crystal-clear image, in full HD, with brightness and color in all light conditions. The prism is the center of the monocular, and there are three types available.

The roof prism – A good choice for close-range viewing under 1,000-yards. The preferred platform for the monocular.

The Porro prism – A good choice for viewing activities and mid to long-range. However, no the best choice for the monocular.

The Galilean monocular – Operates on a simple concept. Excels at close-range viewing, but not suitable for use in the monocular.

The Best Models Feature Purged Inert Gas Optics

When assessing your monocular model, look for purged inert-gas models. This technology fills and seals the lens chamber with gasses like nitrogen.

As a result, there’s no way for dust, dirt, or water to enter the gas chamber. The gasses can’t escape, thanks to the addition of O-ring seals keeping an air-tight grip on the lenses.

As a result, you get a fog proof and waterproof setup that works un the most demanding environments. The gasses also help to prevent any refraction in light that diminishes the quality of your image.

Is Waterproof Rating Important to You?

Waterproofing is a concern for all outdoors people. If it rains, you want to know that your equipment won’t let you down in damp and humid conditions. If water enters the lens chamber, it ruins your monocular or binoculars.

Waterproofing is a critical aspect of any optics system. We recommend you go with a model offering IPX rating against water damage. The following IP ratings are optimal for your monocular system. You’re looking for a rating above 4. The scale can go as high as IPX7, meaning total water resistance and submersion.

What Is the Eye Relief?

The eye relief describes the distance of your eye to the rear lens on the monocular. This relief provides the ideal image for viewing. People who use glasses often need extra distance to the rear lens to accommodate their eyewear.

You’ll need to look for a monocular with an eye-relief of around 15mm+ if you want to accommodate your glasses.

Can I use a Monocular for My Cellphone?

The latest innovation in monocular optics is the introduction of systems compatible with leading cellphones. With these monocular models, you set up your cellphone at the rear, viewing less. The device attaches to the monocular using a specialized harness included with your monocular.

After setting up the cellphone and monocular correctly, you see the monocular image on your phone screen. This setup makes it easy for recording your viewing experience, turning your cellphone into a high-powered video-recording device.

However, there are many systems out there, offering this integration with your cellphone. Make sure you choose a model that has a good reputation. Some user reviews point to poor image quality when using the cellphone attachment. Fortunately, all the models we tested for this review proved to provide exceptional image quality.

Having this functionality available for your monocular enhances your game and wildlife viewing experience in the field. With the cellphone displaying the picture, it makes it easier to track animals for live imaging on the move, something that’s challenging when using a monocular with just your eye.

Monocular FAQs

Can I use my monocular as a rifle scope?

Snipers rely on “spotters” to help them gauge the parameters of a rifle shot. However, with these monocular models, you need protected chassis and specialized lenses to absorb the shockwave from firing rounds. Using a standard monocular for this task results in damage to the unit, as the shockwaves slowly damage the objective and prism, moving them out of place.

Are there thermal and night vision monocular models?

Yes, there are thermal and night vision monocular models available. However, a thermal imaging system can cost a considerable stack of cash, boosting your monocular price into thousands of dollars. Specialized monocular models are excellent for purpose-built tasks when hunting at night. However, prepare yourself to pay a fortune for one of these models.

What’s the best size for a pocket monocular?

If you want to carry your monocular as an EDC unit, you’ll need to purchase a pocket version for easy carry and lightweight functionality. Most pocket monocular models come with lens objectives of 15mm to 25mm, and magnifications up to 8X.

Where’s the best place to buy a Monocular?

We recommend you purchase your monocular from Amazon. Amazon Prime members get fast priority shipping to your door and buyer’s protection from Amazon. If there’s something wrong with your monocular, Amazon will replace it or issue a refund, making it a risk-free transaction.

Most monocular models come with a standard warranty, but it doesn’t cover wear and tear or abuse. Therefore, it’s good to have a buyer backup guarantee with Amazon when purchasing your monocular.

The Verdict – The Best Monocular

By now, you should have a good idea of the right monocular to meet your needs. If you’re still scratching your head trying to decide on the right model for you, why not rely on our top picks?

We have three models representing the best monocular choices available. The Vortex Optics Solo wins our top award for the best overall monocular. This model represents the best balance between price and function, with 8X magnification and a 36mm objective. It’s lightweight and easy to carry on any hike.

The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD wins our award for the best premium monocular. This model comes with a mil-spec tan finish on the chassis, multi-coated lenses, and a roof prism for optimal image quality. The Bushnell is the top choice of hunters and military personnel, giving you accurate, sharp images, you can rely on for your hunting or tactical needs.

If you don’t have the budget for the Vortex or the Bushnell, we recommend you look at the Aucee Monocular Telescope. This model has everything you need, with powerful 12X magnification and a 50mm objective lens. It’s a bit heavier than the other two models, but you get fantastic image reproduction up to 1,250-feet.


Flashlight
Mike Gardner
Author

Mike is an explorer and fan of outdoor pursuits such as bird watching, hiking & camping. He is our main editor and product reviewer here at Today's Cacher. Contact mike@todayscacher.com