Best night vision goggles

Gear

When wearing a pair of night vision goggles, it’s important to remember not to squint but to keep your eyes fully open and relaxed. Squinting will limit your ability to see clearly and detect movement with your goggles on.

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Which night vision goggles are best?

There are many reasons why a pair of night vision goggles is indispensable to you. You could be out hiking, camping or possibly even hunting in the dark and don’t want to disturb the local wildlife. Maybe you just want to take a look around your prosperity at night for peace of mind without blinding yourself. No matter your needs, there’s a great pair of night vision goggles for you.

The best night vision goggles for camping are the JStoon Night Vision Goggles. They aren’t military grade, but the large 1,000-foot range and solid battery life, including the ability to record both video and still images make this pair hard to beat.

What to know before you buy night vision goggles

Types of night vision goggles

Monocular: Night vision monoculars only cover a single eye. They are lightweight and easy to stash away when not in use. They generally offer no magnification, but they can be mounted to a helmet. They are best used on the move.

Binocular: Night vision binoculars use both eyes to view objects at varying distances. They’re usually fairly heavy, which adds to their durability but makes them harder to lug around. They also can’t be mounted on a helmet due to their weight and are best used while stationary.

Full goggles: Night vision goggles mix some of the pros and cons of monoculars and binoculars. They are typically always mounted on a helmet but offer no magnification while using both of your eyes to view the dark area of choice while on the move.

Generation

Night vision goggles currently have four different generational tiers, all of which are in use today. Consumer-grade night vision goggles usually use Generation 1, but some options which use Generation 2 are also available. Professional-grade night vision goggles used by the military and other law enforcement groups use Generation 2 through 4.

Even Generation 1 can amplify light to be hundreds of times brighter than it is, making it more than enough for most consumer use. However, higher generations cost more money, so save some money by sticking to Generation 1 and 2.

Typical uses

It might help to understand which generations are better for which typical consumer uses. For example, Generation 1 is better suited to situations with more light available, like home security or around slightly lit campfires. In contrast, Generation 2 is best for use away from most sources of light.

What to look for in quality night vision goggles

Photosensitivity

Photosensitivity is the minimum amount of light needed for your night vision goggles to work. Generation 1 night vision goggles don’t handle the lowest light levels and can distort images in bright lights, while Generation 2 avoids both of those problems.

System resolution

The resolution of your night vision goggles determines the clarity of the images you see. Generation 1 is fairly clear but functions better with closer objects, whereas Generation 2 can see details at quite far distances.

How much you can expect to spend on night vision goggles

Night vision goggles have a massive range of pricing tiers within which you can find the grade of goggles you require. Monocular versions typically range between $100 and $1,000. Binocular versions typically range between $250 and $2,500. Full-blown night vision goggles range between $275 and a staggering $9,000.

Night vision goggles FAQ

What is the difference between infrared and night vision technologies?

A. Infrared technology is built to read infrared waves emitted by an object’s heat, allowing you to see heat signatures without any light. Night vision takes any available light, no matter how small, and amplifies it to allow you to see in almost any level of darkness.

Can you see great distances away with night vision goggles?

A. It depends on the specific night vision goggles you are using and especially how recent their construction is. More recent goggles tend to have greater detection and observation ranges than older models. Military-grade night vision goggles will have the highest sight ranges.

What are observation and detection ranges?

A. A pair of night vision goggles’ detection range is the maximum distance out you can detect an object’s existence without recognizing what that object is. The observation range is the maximum distance you can confidently discern the details of the object you’re observing.

What are the best night vision goggles to buy?

Top night vision goggles

JStoon Night Vision Goggles

JStoon Night Vision Goggles

What you need to know: Unless you want to go full military grade with your purchase, these night vision goggles are your best option.

What you’ll love: A range just shy of 1,000 feet plus the ability to record images and video round out these night vision goggles’ features.

What you should consider: The digital zoom is poor quality and unclear.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top night vision goggles for the money

Nightfox 110R Widescreen Night Vision Binocular

Nightfox 110R Widescreen Night Vision Binocular

What you need to know: This is a low-cost, simple option that remains quite reliable despite the limited features.

What you’ll love: Lightweight and easy to use in the dark, it records both images and video.

What you should consider: At maximum battery, these night vision goggles only last for three hours.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

ATN NVG7-3 Gen 3 Night Vision Goggles

ATN NVG7-3 Gen 3 Night Vision Goggles

What you need to know: These military-grade night vision goggles are superior in every way to nearly every other option. 

What you’ll love: Able to be mounted on a helmet, it has a massive 60-hour battery life.

What you should consider: The price is incredibly high, well above most other options.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Jordan Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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