Monocular, used to magnify objects that are to far away to see with the naked eye. Basically, the same as binoculars but only one half. When using a monocular you only use one eye rather than both, thus explaining “mono” meaning one. The monocular is the modern-day equivalent of a pirate’s spyglass.
The monocular being a low powered telescope is fantastic for more mobile activities. If you are a hunting, shooting, tracking, birding or any other kind of enthusiast then the monocular is perfect for you.
Having covered what a monocular is and can be used for, it is time to have a look at some of your options. In 2020 there are hundreds of variations of monocular on the market. This review aims to aid you in understanding and picking exactly what you are needing.
The 5 Best Hunting Monoculars Reviewed
1. Starscope Monocular
For any wildlife enthusiast seeking an exceptional monocular telescope, the 10×50 Starscope is going to impress. Packed full of outstanding features, you’ll be able to focus in on targets with ease thanks to the 10X zoom FMC lens which boasts fog proof properties and an adjustable focus range ring.
If you’ve had issues in the past with blurriness, the 50mm wide lens on this telescope guarantees a clear view, always. You will be able to fully enjoy observing the landscape afar in full definition wherever you are. Whether you’re atop a foggy mountain or walking through a densely wooded area, the Starscope is as versatile as a monocular telescope gets.
The addition of a built-in compass is welcomed in the great outdoors, assisting with navigation and this telescope is conveniently adjustable on both a tripod and smartphone too. To use with a smartphone, a tripod comes included with the telescope itself offering excellent value for money. You’ll simply need to mount it onto your phone to capture any imagery that you desire.
It boasts a tough ABS plastic construction that’s waterproof for complete peace of mind when braving even the worst weather conditions. To add to this, it also comes with a handy carrying pouch to keep it protected at all times.
Included with the monocular telescope is a cleaning cloth, lens cover, hand strap, and easy-to-follow user manual too. Even beginners can use this Starscope telescope with confidence due to its straightforward controls and adjustable focus.
Providing sharp detail in almost any environment and at a reasonable price point, you will appreciate all that this product has to offer. A must-have for anybody who is seeking a reliable and quality monocular telescope, you won’t regret buying this fantastic Starscope model.
2. Leica 8×20 Waterproof Monocular
The Leica is waterproof and this is always a fantastic trait for any device that you use outdoors to have. This doesn’t mean however that you can go for a dive with the Leica, but the monocular will be able to hold up to almost all bad weather conditions.
The waterproof factor is fantastic when you re using it primarily for outdoor activities, meaning you don’t need to run for cover as soon as clouds appear. This monocular is nitrogen filled, meaning your vision will remain pristine due to the anti-fogging nature.
The leica is really brilliantly tough as monoculars go, but don’t think that is its only stand-out feature. The lens that the leica uses has a coating that means it is water and dirt repellent, another great addition when you are outside and likely to be victim to both.
Toughness may be an important factor in such a device but the leica goes a step further. With 3.9 x 1.5 x 1.5 inches dimensions the leica can easily fit in your pocket, which is very handy. Weighing only 4 ounces you will barely notice it in your pocket, portability is really second to none.
The really brilliant optics provided by this monocular just tops it off as a great product. At the maximum magnification (8x) the image is very crisp and clear.
Not the cheapest product on the market, but the portability, toughness and performance really makes it worth the price. Easy to use even for newbies, small and compact while extremely durable. The Leica is a great product
• Very durable since it’s both waterproof and fog-proof
• Excellent optics even at greater magnifications
• Small enough to fit into your pocket
The only real con being the slightly higher than average price.
3. Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Monocular
If you are looking for a monocular that is slightly larger and perhaps more powerful than most then look no further than the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD. With dimensions of 4 x 4.6 x 6.5 inches the Bushnell is definitely larger than most of its counterparts.
Weighing in at over 10 ounces it certainly isn’t the lightest, though still small enough so as to be portable. The larger size and weight really aren’t a negative, despite what you may think.
The optics are where this monocular shines through, with 10x magnification. The Bushnell surpasses most of its competitors here. The ED glass and fully multi coated optics are clear, crisp and powerful. No matter what your use for the Bushnell it won’t let you down.
As is the same for all higher end monoculars this one is waterproof and fogproof Meaning you are safe to use it in all conditions.
The twist up eye cups are a great addition to this product as it allows for great comfort when using. Bushnell also has a very quick focusing feature, adding extra convenience. As with most monoculars, the use of a tri or bipod can improve your experience of the product, with better stability.
The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Monocular is really difficult to fault, great value, great optics. What more could you ask for in a monocular?
• Very impressive optics for the price
• Both waterproof and fog-proof
• Twist-up eyecups are comfortable
Could be smaller and lighter
4. Gosky Titan 12×50 Monocular – Best Value
As soon as you check the Gosky Titan 12×50 Monocular’s price tag you will see why we have chosen it as our “Best Value” pick. Undoubtedly the best value for money out there and on this list.
The Gosky Titan 12×50 is a wonderful piece of equipment, no matter what your favoured pass time may be. From birding and hiking to hunting and tracking this monocular has you covered. With the incredible 12x magnification, this monocular sets itself far above most others in this category. The 50mm lens allows for great clear and light images.
Baring in mind the Gosky Titan 12×50 is still classed as an entry level monocular, and shouldn’t be compared to higher price range models.
With this more budget option also comes a number of drawbacks, this monocular is heavier than most at 13.9 ounces and dimensions of 3.4 x 7.1 x 2.8. However, this is more than made up for considering a number of aspects. One of which being the fast alignment smartphone adapter that is compatible with all up to date phones. This means we are able to take photos as well as take footage with this monocular.
The rubber outside frame creates a great level of shock protection, along side the waterproof and dust resistant traits. Overall providing us with the opinion that this monocular is well put together and fairly tough. This means that those of you who are looking for a monocular that will last will be pleased with this one.
The Gosky Titan 12×50 also comes with; a carry bag, eyepiece, lens covers, cloth, straps and the smartphone adapter that was previously mentioned. The extras provided are very much of “stock” quality but non the less should be counted as very positive additions.
• 12x magnification is impressive for the price
• Smartphone adapter for photos and footage
• Solid build with rubber exterior
• Optics aren’t comparable to top quality products
• Included accessories are fairly cheap
5. Roxant Grip Scope
The Roxant Grip Scope is about as cheap as you are going to find on the market, while still maintaining a level of quality. However, cheap doesn’t always mean value.
With a weight of 7.8 ounces and dimensions of 5.5 x 2.2 inches the Roxant Grip Scope is on the more compact and light side. This is great of ease of use and portability, you wont have to make much room for this in your rucksack.
The lens is fully multi-coated and provides decent optic quality, considering the low price. The price really shows when we have a look at the magnification level, sitting at only x6. This may be enough depending on what you are using it for, however 6x is short of most marks.
Roxant Grip Scope has a non-slip grip that is molded for comfortable use. This is great for wetter conditions as you are far less likely to drop and damage it.
The Roxant does indeed have a low price, however there are a number of features that still come as standard. The eyecup on the Roxant is retractable, making it nice and easy to use for those of us who wear glasses. Along with a small number of accessories; carry bag, cloth and strap. Sadly, there are no lens caps for the Roxant so it is likely to suffer scratches when not in use.
Easy to use and newbie friendly, at a low price. What you pay for is what you get and there is nothing wrong with that. The Roxant is a great entry level monocular for the price.
• The grip which is non-slip and comfortable
• Retractable eyecups and good eye relief for glasses wearers
• Easy to use with minimal wobble
• Only offers up to 6x magnification
• No lens caps included with the product
6. Miluo Tech 16×52 Monocular
The 5 Miluo Tech 16×52 Monocular is our budget choice, super cheap and great value. The best entry level monocular we could find. Make sure you know what you are buying though, this is the budget option. That means you need to understand that some features do not come as standard on the Miluo.
The Miluo has good mulit-coated optics that provide a good and bright image. The 16x magnification really sets the Miluo apart from its budget counterparts. 16x magnification is rarer in even higher prices monoculars, and this is super low price.
The image quality is where we find the downgrade, here the low-price shows. Especially as we use the higher levels of magnification the quality severely drops, as well as a serious lack of stability. The miluo does have its great compact features on its side.
With dimensions of 2x2x5.7 inches and a weight of just 3.2 ounces we were really impressed with the fantastic portability of the Miluo. Portability is something you really pay for at higher prices, as it is traded for other aspects.
The unique selling point of the Milou is the dual focus, however we found this to be mainly a useless feature. Easy to use and focus, portable and cheap are all great, however built quality is up there with the most important factors. We cannot compare this budget monocular’s build quality to the higher end options as that is not realistic. Reasonably tough, water and fog-proof. It is hard to ask for much more considering the price.
The Milou is super cheap, 16x magnification, reasonably well built and easy to use. This is our budget pick for the Top 5 Monocular reviews.
• Compact build and therefore very portable
• Multi-coated lens provides brighter images
• Rubber exterior provides excellent grip
• High magnification is actually of poor quality
• Dual focus is something of a gimmick
• Not stated to be waterproof or fog-proof
Our Buying Guide
Having read our top 5 picks for monoculars, we are sure you have found an option right for you. Regardless of what you are planning to use it for from birding to tracking and hunting, our 5 top picks cover all you could need. Now to find out why you would buy a monocular over other types of devices, primarily binoculars.
Monoculars vs Binoculars
Both Monoculars and Binoculars are really good at what they are designed to be used for. Effectively to see things that are far away in greater detail. Both have their draw backs and advantages over the other. So why choose monoculars over binoculars?
Monoculars are indeed less powerful than their equivalent binocular counterpart but are far more portable. In almost all situations being lighter and more portable is a huge advantage. Taking up an unnecessary amount of space is just no use for outdoor activities.
Being able to put a monocular in your pocket versus carrying or needing to store binoculars is just far more handy. Convenience and comfort are key on long hikes, after a bad experience next time you just won’t pack it.
Monoculars are also far easier and comfier to use, cheaper to buy and the value for money is night and day. We would always recommend monoculars over binoculars for outdoor activities.
The level of magnification you are looking for will, of course, weigh on your choice of monocular. The thing is, it is not always the best idea to buy the monocular with the highest magnification. As shown in our reviews, the highest level of magnification definitely does not translate to the best image quality. The cheapest option we could find actually had the best magnification.
At most x15 is all you need, otherwise control becomes difficult. Most outdoor activities really only need around x12 anyway. For the best image quality, you should be aiming for around X8 in magnification. As you use the zoom more, the field of view becomes hugely reduced. This means with greater zooms you could actually see less.
So, don’t skimp on magnification, but don’t make it the sole deciding factor.
Lens Coating for monoculars is hugely important as it effectively enhances the image quality. Lens coating quality is really highlighted in darker conditions, be it over night or earlier in the morning.
Multi-coated lenses are now basically standard across even the lower end of price ranges. While the quality of this may vary, with the best of the best sporting fully multi coated lenses.
The coating of the lens provides a waterproof barrier to protect the lens, as well as an anti-reflective aspect. Basically, the coating prolongs the life of your lens. If you make sure that a good coating is n your lens then you are already in a good place.
The more value level products will have a multi coated lens, this is slightly lower quality. Paying more does tend to get you higher quality but be sure not to over pay. At a minimum we would recommend that you aim for multi coated lenses for the best performance.
Lenses come in a wide range of sizes, from 20mm to over 50mm. The lens size will allow for a great field of view and a clearer and brighter image. In this case size does matter.
Smaller lenses can struggle to get the image you are aiming for.
They do however have their benefits, being smaller, means lighter and more portable. It is also important to remember that a bigger lens does not mean better image quality. Some top of the range monoculars that have a smaller lens are of a better quality then bigger lenses that are cheaper.
As is the same with everything it is a balancing act between all the various components, unless you are able to spend a lot. Weigh up, portability and ease of use vs size of the lens. Different monoculars are of different sizes for a reason. There is a size and style to fit all possible activities and budgets. Consider what you value in your monocular and choose on those factors.
Size and Weight
The monocular has one huge advantage over binoculars, being that it is considerably smaller and more portable. You do of course have large monoculars, but they are still much handier than their binocular equivalent.
Are you aiming to have and use a backpack or are you looking for the smallest and most portable monocular? There are options in every size you can imagine so choose a size that suits your use.
Portability isn’t everything however as many products come with carry bags that you can use if necessary. A number of users also opt for using a tripod for ease of use, however this does add extra weight. A huge number of accessories can also add extra weight so pack what you need.
The lens diameter is where the size of your monocular is really decided. If you really care about portability then aim for smaller lenses. This does also mean the product will be slightly cheaper, if you are happy with the smaller lens.
The area between the monocular and your eye is what is known as eye relief. This is really important for uses who wear glasses.
If you wear glasses then you want to aim for around 14mm of eye relief as the minimum. This allows space for your glasses and also means you can use your monocular fully. Meaning you can still see the entire image. Monoculars with little to no eye relief are often on the cheaper side, however make this a thing to check before you buy.
If you don’t wear glasses then you shouldn’t need to worry so much in this area. However, many products come with an eyecup as standard, automatically applying eye relief. Eyecups provide an, often, adjustable and comfortable place for the monocular to sit. The eye cup lets the user be comfortable using the monocular over extended period of time.
All monoculars have different extras that come with them, always check what you are buying.
Things to consider
You might want to consider a night vision monocular, particularly useful when hunting or birding at night. The night vision function is rarer and you won’t find it as standard on many products, so its good to look for if you particularly need it.
Dust and waterproof are usually standard but we consider both to be essential when trying to extend the life of your monocular. It is better to have a lower quality product that will last than an expensive one that you can easily break.
Like in any purchase we would 100% suggest that you shop around, bargains are everywhere if you just look. Many products come with lots of accessories, getting you more bang for your buck. These accessories can also totally change your experience with your monocular.
Having been giving all the information you could possibly need on your next monocular purchase, we hope you are able to find the right one for you. Make sure you have another look at our top 5 picks for monoculars.
In today’s market these are our picks that cover any and all uses. If you don’t find what you are looking for there, then remember to come ack to our 5 key features section to help you find what you need. Decide on what you need most, portability and ease of use or power and high quality.
There are thousands of monoculars on the market that cover all bases, and there are plenty you can find on a budget. As more and more products come on the market, prices are getting lower and lower. We are sure you will find the monocular you want in no time.