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Best thermal monocular

Best thermal monocular
(Image credit: AGM Global Vision)

A thermal monocular enables you to capture vivid thermal images, even at unbelievably long distances and in dark conditions. These nifty devices translate heat signatures given off by animals, people, or cars into images so you can keep up with your surroundings. As such, a thermal monocular is an important gadget for home security, birdwatchers, hikers, hunters, or even search and rescue teams. Wondering which one is right for you? Here are a few of our favorite options.   

Staff pick

FLIR Scout TK thermal monocular

(Image credit: Teledyne FLIR )

FLIR Scout TK thermal monocular

A nifty monocular with a rugged and water-resistant shell

The FLIR Scout TK is super compact but houses an incredibly long detection range. You can slide it into your pocket and bring it along when hiking or hunting. By far, it's the least expensive and the lightest monocular in the FLIR Scout series, making it perfect for shoppers on a budget. It quickly detects people and wildlife from distances of up to 100 yards and has the ability to create stills and video recordings. Extras include a neck lanyard, lens cap, and a USB cable.

WiFi hotspot

AGM Global Vision Asp-Micro TM160

(Image credit: AGM Global Vision)

AGM Global Vision Asp-Micro TM160 short-range thermal imaging monocular

A slightly rugged monocular for short-range detection

The AGM Asp-Micro TM160 comes with an impressive array of features and a decent price tag. You get a monocular with a super-sensitive, 160-by-120 infrared detector coupled with a 720-by-540 LCOS display for a clear view even in total darkness. You can connect the monocular to a computer via the provided USB cable or to your phone via Wi-Fi and an app. The underside has a recess to loop a carrying strap and a threaded insert for mounting onto a tripod. Also, the inbuilt rechargeable battery clocks a whopping seven hours of continuous runtime.

Impressive magnification

Pulsar Axion Key XM22 thermal monocular

(Image credit: Pulsar)

Pulsar Axion Key thermal monocular

A miniature monocular that packs a punch

While this monocular carries a hefty price tag, it offers a myriad of impressive features, and it can see through total darkness. The housing shell is crafted from a lightweight magnesium alloy for enhanced structural rigidity and ergonomics. This little monocular supports impressive optical magnification and up to 4x digital zoom. To achieve a 1,000-yard identification range, Axion Key combines a powerful objective lens with a pro-grade thermal imaging sensor. The inbuilt video recorder and 16 GB internal storage are some of this model's additional flexes.

Stay aware, stay safe

Thermal monoculars don't come cheap. However, their uses and benefits are worth the hefty price tag. The best thermal monoculars make it easy to see subjects with clarity, even in total darkness. Our top pick, the FLIR Scout TK thermal monocular, has a friendly price tag making thermal imaging accessible to everyone. Besides, it carries phenomenal features in a convenient, pocket-sized format.

For a long detection range, the Pulsar Axion Key thermal monocular is a great pick. It packs the highest magnification in the class of compact thermal monoculars. All this power is packed into a rugged but lightweight aluminum alloy body.