Best Monocular Reviews 2018

Bird watching, landscape viewing and terrain scouting are just a few open-air activities that require the need to magnify objects. When it comes to outdoor optics, monoculars are sometimes preferred to binoculars because they generally have less eye variations, are lightweight and are more portable. There are currently many monoculars by countless brands with different features and specifications, so selecting the best monocular could be a tad confusing. That is why we have narrowed them down to five of the best monocular brands. Please note that these are not the only monoculars by each brand, so feel free to look up others if you aren’t satisfied with any of the featured ones.
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Type
Lens Info
Magnification
Size
Extras
Our Top Choice
Polaris Optics Explorer High Powered Monocular
Polaris Optics produces high-quality bird watching items at affordable prices.
This monocular provides great optics as well as a tight, non-slip grip and sturdy external protection.
It can only be used in the daytime
For bird watching or wildlife 
50 mm
12X50
7.7 x 4.4 x 3.3 inches; 1.4 lbs
Waterproof, fogproof
Best Value
Vortex Optics Solo R/T Monocular
Vortex Optics designs and engineers optical vision equipment with great performance.
The images produced are crisp and clear, and this is a light, small and facile unit. Another bonus is the transferable lifetime warranty.
This monocular doesn’t come with a tripod stand
Accurate range estimation
8 mm
8x36
7 x 3 x 3 inches ; 0.8 lbs
Waterproof, fogproof, shockproof
Leica Waterproof Monovid Monocular
With a long history of focusing on perception, Leica develops innovative instruments that afford a unique optical experience.
It has an excellent range and the focusing is very easy. It is very portable and waterproof.
It is a bit pricey, but you get exactly what you pay for in terms of features.
General use
20 mm
8x20
3.9 x 1.5 x 1.5 inches; 0.25 lbs
Waterproof
Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Monocular
Bushnell is an industry leader in making reliable and affordable sports optics products.
This is a beautifully designed durable monocular that is compact and portable. It’s also waterproof and fogproof.
The image detail at above 300 yards isn’t great
General use
42 mm
10x42
4 x 4.6 x 6.5 inches; 0.65 lbs
Waterproof, fogproof
Celestron Nature 10 x 25 Monocular
Celestron is globally recognized for affordable, superior optics and innovative technology.
It has a clear focus that produces bright images, and the rubber armor finishing allows a good grip while making it durable.
One little downer is that the focus ring is quite stiff, but this improves with use.
General use
25 mm
10x25
3 x 3 x 6 inches; 1lb
Waterproof, fogproof

(Updated )
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How Do I Choose the Best Monocular?

Nature presents you with so many beautiful and exotic creatures that can only be fully appreciated when viewed closely. To get the best view of an eye-catching bird or a striking landscape, you will need an outdoor optical instrument that has the capacity to magnify such images. There are different outdoor optic instruments such as binoculars, telescopes and monoculars, but for the purpose of this review, we would be focusing solely on the monoculars.

Monoculars are portable alternatives to binoculars and telescopes and have a single lens with a compact body. They can be used by both adults and children and are very popular with people that enjoy bird watching, landscape viewing, terrain scouting, concerts and sports events. Because they are comprised of a single lens, they are usually smaller and less bulky than binoculars. Additionally, monoculars also offer less eye variation and distortion when compared to binoculars.

There are several types of monoculars which are distinguishable by their features. These features, such as magnification power, lens diameter, lens coating, size and weight determine its performance level. Moreover, the outdoor activity in which the monocular would be used must also be considered. For example, a monocular for watching exotic birds, like the Golden Pheasant, would not be suitable for scouting a terrain. Temperature is also an important factor in selecting an activity appropriate monocular, as those used in extreme weather conditions must have the proper features that would enhance image regardless of weather type.

Monoculars can easily be held with one hand and, more often than not, do not require a carrying case. Most monoculars come with neck straps, belt clips or hand straps that keep the hands free when not in use. This is important for hikers as they are already carrying their hiking backpack and don’t want to be hampered by additional baggage.

If you are an outdoor enthusiast then you’ll understand how vital it is to have a durable, dependable monocular that won’t let you down. So, the next time you’re standing just a few feet away from a beautiful peacock, Paris Louvre masterpiece, monarch butterfly, or Metallica live in concert, do not miss out on a single breathtaking detail and just pull out your trusty monocular. Bring the beauty closer to you without having to move a muscle! Now let’s get to the important details needed to make a right choice of monocular…
Price
There are various types of monoculars with different features, and this plays a big role in their price. The magnification power and lens diameter (specification), coating on the lens, prism count and size are some of the features that affect the prices of monoculars. A fully multi-coated lens with an antiglare property would cost more than a lens that has a partial coating or none at all. In the same manner, a monocular with a higher specification would cost more than one with a lower specification.

From our research, we discovered that a good monocular with sufficient features to ensure a memorable viewing experience costs between $30 and $500. We also discovered some cheap monoculars but we decided not to feature them because a cheap product doesn’t always mean a good product. So, rest assured that all the monoculars we have featured offer a good value for money.
Features
Before purchasing a monocular, it is important to note its features to avoid selecting the wrong one. Apart from wasting your money, the wrong monocular would leave you disappointed and frustrated. There are few important aspects that should be considered when selecting a good monocular and they include:
  • Magnification Power
  • Lens Coating
  • Lens Diameter and Design
  • Size and Weight
  • Type of Use
  • Extras – Night vision, eye protection cover, tripod stand
Let’s now take a look at these features in detail.
Construction and Design
A monocular’s specification is one of its most important features and it is usually indicated by two numbers. An example of a specification is 4x25. In this case, 4x, which is the first number, stands for the monocular’s magnification power while 25, the second number, stands for the lens diameter. The monocular’s magnification power determines how much closer the image viewed would be. In this case, a power of 4 means that the object being viewed would appear 4 times closer than it normally would without using the monocular. This magnification usually ranges from 4x to 25x with 4x being the smallest magnification and 25x being the largest. It is important to note that monoculars with small magnification will produce larger viewing fields while one with a very large magnification will produce a lower viewing field. So, if you are interested in landscape viewing and terrain scouting, a monocular with a large viewing field would be more suitable. But if you intend to view a specific object, such as a small bird or animal, a very high magnification monocular with a small viewing field would be ideal.

The lens diameter is another key feature as this determines the quantity of light that can be gathered by the monocular. Generally, a larger lens diameter would gather more light while a smaller lens diameter would gather less light. If the quantity of light captured is high, it means that the monocular would be suitable for regions with poor light conditions. Also, if the monocular is basically for daytime use or in sunny conditions, a smaller lens diameter would suffice. However, it is important to note that monoculars with larger lens diameter tend to be bulkier and less compact than those with smaller lens diameter. Monoculars with a lens diameter of 35mm or more can be used to view objects in the dark or nighttime conditions.

The degree of coating on the monocular’s lens determines how bright the image viewed would be. A monocular’s lens could be fully multi-coated, multi-coated, fully coated or coated. A fully multi-coated lens with anti-glare and waterproof coatings usually produces the brightest and clearest image. A monocular with a fully multi-coated lens is usually more expensive than one with the other forms of coatings. The multi-coated lens monocular is a less expensive alternative that also produces a higher resolution when compared to monoculars with fully coated and coated lens. Monoculars with fully coated and coated lens have just one coating and the produced image quality is reduced. However, these are affordable monoculars and are suitable for novices.
Performance and Ease of Use
The size and weight of a monocular is what makes it different from binoculars. Because it has a single lens and body, it is smaller and less bulky than binoculars. It comes in different sizes, with some as small as 10 cm in length. Because of its lightweight and compact nature, most monoculars, especially those with lower magnifications are usually portable and can slip into a pocket. They can also be held in one hand and do not require an extra carrying bag. This is important if you intend to purchase one for hunting or hiking purposes.

A monocular would be largely used outside, so it is necessary for it to be durable and able to withstand outdoor conditions. There are certain features that improve the monocular’s performance and durability and they include the fog-proof, waterproof and night vision features. Some monoculars come with an AquaDura coating on all exposed lens surfaces, which helps repel both water and dirt. This is important if you intend to use your monocular near water. There are also monoculars with a neutral pressure nitrogen gas purging which makes them fogproof at any elevation. Monoculars with night vision features allow you to view objects in the dark, however, these extra features usually make these types of monoculars more expensive.

Some monoculars come with a tripod stand for hands-free steady viewing while others have an ergonomically non-slip grip for easy handling. There are several monoculars, especially those with improved magnifications, which come with a nylon mesh carrying case for easy portability. When it comes to cleaning and maintenance, an eyepiece and lens protection cover is necessary as it helps prevent damage to the lens when not in use. Also, a non-abrasive microfiber lens cleaning cloth can be used to clean the lens before and after each use. The external construction of a monocular is also a chief concern as it is the framework that protects the inner lens. To be on the safe side, avoid monoculars made from plastic and go for those with sturdy rubber construction.

What is the Best Monocular?

To get the best viewing experience from bird watching, hunting and even concerts, you will need the finest monocular available. You may not necessarily need to dish out top dollar for top quality, there’s plenty of excellent models to choose from that won’t break the bank. But, to find the ideal one for your viewing needs, you’ll have to consider several factors, such as magnification, lense, diameter, size and weight. If you’ve carefully gone through this buying guide, you should be able to select the monocular that delivers the exact features you need. Now let’s take a look at individual products and brands.
Our Top Choice
The Polaris Optics Explorer High Powered Monocular magnifies up to 12 times the original size of the image. It is waterproof and fogproof and comes with a tripod stand for hands-free steady viewing. If you are looking for a similar powerful monocular with great focus, but with an easy access strap slot, the Polaris Optics Titan will likely be a great fit for you.
Polaris Optics Explorer 12X50 Monocular - Bright and Clear with Single Hand Focus, Waterproof & Fogproof for Bird or Wildlife Watching

Polaris Optics Monocular PE-125001


Features
Polaris Optics designs and manufactures very high-quality, sturdy and affordable binoculars and monoculars for the best bird watching experience. No wonder it's a favorite amongst wild life seekers and bird watchers.

The Polaris Optics Explorer High Powered Monocular ($100 - Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) has a field view of 246 feet and up to 1000 yards away. With an objective lens diameter of 50 millimeters, it can be magnified to see things 12 times closer. The external armor is pretty durable, and it has a stainless steel tripod stand for a stable hands-free view.

This waterproof and fogproof monocular can be used in any weather conditions. It comes with a nylon mesh carrying case for easy portability. An eyepiece and lens protection cover prevent damage to the lens when not in use. It can be cleaned with a non-abrasive, microfiber lens cleaning cloth that is also enclosed in the package.

Here are some other features of this monocular:
  • Close focusing distance of 2.5 meters
  • Twist-up eye cup
  • Dimensions(in): 3.1 (L) x 1.9 (W) x 6.4 (H)
  • Prism Type: Bak-4
  • Item weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Fully multi-coated lens coating
There is a lifetime warranty on all Polaris Optics products.
Best Value
The Vortex Optics Solo R/T Monocular utilizes a roof prism and a 8x magnification. It also has a ranging reticle with focus to determine ranges and holdovers accurately. Looking for a monocular with an adjustable eyecup? Check out the Vortex Solo 10x36 mm Monocular, which costs less and produces equally clear images.
Vortex Optics Solo R/T Tactical Monocular with MRAD Ranging Reticle

Vortex Optics Monocular SOL-3608-RT


Features
Vortex Optics designs and engineers a complete product line of high-grade monoculars, binoculars, spotting scopes, riflescopes and accessories. It is a top brand amongst lovers of outdoor activities such as camping, traveling, tracking, and bird watching.

The Vortex Optics Solo R/T Monocular ($118.99 - Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) has an eye relief adjustment of 18 millimeters. This lets you obtain the whole field of view without vignetting. It has a close focus distance of 16.4’’. It also features a ranging reticle that allows accurate range estimation, with a reticle focus that ensures a distinct reticle image at all distances. This monocular has a field view of up to 1000 yards away with a degree of 7.5°. The fully multi-coated lenses improve light transmittance and image brightness. The monocular is sealed with O-rings, to prevent debris and moisture from getting inside it. It also has a neutral pressure nitrogen gas purging that makes it fogproof at any elevation. Here are some other features of this sturdy monocular:
  • Flared eyecup that prevents any stray light
  • Utility clip allows for multiple attachment points
  • Ultra-compact and lightweight
  • Rubber armor that provides a secure, non-slip grip
  • Durable external protection
  • Length: 5.4’’
  • Unlimited lifetime warranty
The Leica Waterproof Monovid Monocular magnifies the view by eight times while producing high contrast and sharp images. It has an AquaDura lens coating that repels both water and dirt.. The Leica Monovid Red also magnifies the view by eight times and is waterproof up to 16 feet. If you want a monocular with case, check it out.
Leica 8 x 20 Monovid Monocular – Waterproof with an AquaDura Lens Coating

Leica Monocular 40390


Features
Leica stands for visual enjoyment and long-lasting value. Its product line includes an impressive range of cameras, sport optics such as high-aperture and laser rangefinder binoculars, monoculars and spotting scopes. Leica products are constructed from the ground up as tools for creating completely distinctive visual experiences. This makes its optical instruments ideal companions for those interested in outdoor activities and photography.

The Leica Waterproof Monovid Monocular ($100 - Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) is fully waterproof to a depth of 16.5 feet. It magnifies up to eight times the original size, and has an objective lens of 20 millimeters, which ensures the images viewed are bright, clear and crisp. There is an AquaDura coating on all exposed lens surfaces, which helps repel both water and dirt. It is filled with nitrogen to prevent internal fogging at any elevation.

At 112 grams, it is lightweight and compact and can easily be slipped into your pocket. It is extremely versatile and can be used to watch birds and plants. It can also be used in concerts and sport centers. This monocular has a magnetic clasp, which gives the case a strong and secure finish. There is a three-year passport warranty that provides repair or replacement for any issue that prevents the proper optical or mechanical function of the monocular. There is also an added lifetime warranty that is applied at the conclusion of the passport warranty period.
The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Monocular produces very ultra HD clear images, 10 times the size. It has a fully multi-coated lens that results in very bright images. The Legend Ultra HD Monocular with Mil-Hash Reticle is another 10x42 millimeter monocular by Bushnell. It has comfortable twist-up eyecups and includes a rail and carry clip.
Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Monocular in Black - 10 x 42-mm

Bushnell Monocular 191142


Features
Vista Outdoor designs, manufactures and markets products for shooting and outdoor sports globally. It has more than 30 popular brands, and Bushnell is one of them. Bushnell provides customers with a range of high-caliber and novel products in the sport optics category.

The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Monocular ($186.69 - Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) is a 10x42 millimeter powered viewing companion that can be used in any weather conditions, as it is both waterproof and fogproof. It has an ED prime glass that results in an impressive color resolution and contrast. The ultra-wide band coating has a function of maximizing color and radiance. The lens is fully multi-coated, which improves light transmittance and image brightness.

The BaK-4 glass prism allows a pleasant round exit pupil and prevents distortion around its edge. It also consists of a twist-up eyecup with an eye relief of 15.2 millimeters for spectacle wearers and a picatinny rail mount. This monocular has a "No Questions Asked Lifetime Warranty Promise." This means that Bushnell promises to repair or replace this monocular in case of any defect or accidental damage and ship it back to you at zero charge.
The Celestron Nature 10 x 25 Monocular is multi-coated for maximum resolution and high contrast views. It has an apparent field view of 5.8 °and an eye relief of 14 millimeters. Size-wise, it is light and fits the hand. The UpClose G2 Monocular is another 10x25 millimeter optic by Celestron that is affordable. It is water-resistant and has a soft carrying case and strap.
Celestron Nature 10 x 25 Black Multi Coated Monocular

Celestron Monocular 71210


Features
Celestron has been an industry trailblazer in optic products for several decades, especially after its founder, Tom Johnson, unleashed the C8. The company has continued to improve his legacy by developing affordable, quality products with the use of novel technology.

The Celestron Nature 10 x 25 Monocular ($29.99 - Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) has a multi-coated lens that increases transmittance of light for peak resolution and prime contrast views. It is waterproof and fogproof and can be used in in damp and elevated environments. The rubber covering serves as protection from wear and tear and also increases its grip. It can magnify any image up to 10 times the original size, and has an objective lens diameter of 25 millimeters (0.98 inches). Other features of this sleek monocular include:
  • Apparent field of view of 5.8 °
  • Linear field of view (@1000 yds.): 304 feet
  • Linear field of view (@1000 m): 331 feet
  • Exit pupil (mm): 2.5 millimeters
  • Eye relief of 14 millimeters
  • BaK-4 prism
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Get the Best Monocular of 2018!

Did you see the brand that has all you need in a monocular? Now that you’ve read our review of various monoculars from top brands, we hope you have enough information to confidently purchase that monocular that will give you the best viewing experience.

Our Top Choice
Polaris Optics Explorer High Powered Monocular
Best Value
Vortex Optics Solo R/T Monocular
Leica Waterproof Monovid Monocular
Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Monocular
Celestron Nature 10 x 25 Monocular