The Top 10 best night vision scopes to buy
Night vision scopes have come a long way over the years. When I was younger, they were either too expensive, or they were utter crap.
That is not the case nowadays, as there is a huge range of night vision scopes of good quality which provide value for money at various price points.
Top 10 best night vision scopes: the ranking
I have used many night vision scopes over the years, and here is my top 10 but just remember everyone’s opinions will differ as people will use the night vision scopes in different ways and in different places.
1. The Winner – NiteSite Wolf RTEK
For me this is the best quality scope overall because it provides the best value for money for what you get. You can buy it without audio or video recording for a cheaper price, but I believe that is a mistake.
I believe you should buy the full version of it, if that is too much for your budget, then look for another scope within your price range that has everything you need.
What I like about it is that it attaches to your day scope, so you are not having to keep swapping them over and having to store them. Setting up the night scope takes less than 2 minutes.
The night scope screen attaches to the top of the scope, the camera fixes to the ocular lens, and there is a battery with leads that provides power to everything. All the attachments are easy to use, sturdy, and robust.
It sounds like a fiddly process, but it is harder to try to explain in writing than it is to actually do. The instructions that come with it are excellent, but honestly it is a really easy set up procedure.
The NiteSite Wolf RTEK has a range of 300 metres in the dark, which is more than enough depending on what you are hunting of course. I use it mainly to hunt rabbits on my own land, and I have seen and hit rabbits at 300 metres.
It isn’t just for rabbits though, and I have used it for other hunts. In fact, I can’t think of a type of hunt it wouldn’t be suitable for.
It uses your day scope to produce a high quality and clear view through the darkness.
The infrared will illuminate the area in front of where the scope is pointing, and of course infrared is invisible to you and the animals which is why you need the viewing screen.
Everything is easily adjustable, including the infrared level and the reticle is super easy to bring into focus.
I have found some scopes do not come with enough usable options, and some come with a load of features I would never need to use.
The NiteSite Wolf RTEK is the best night scope in my opinion because you have just the right amount of usable and adjustable features whilst coming in at a very reasonable price.
If it is within your budget, then I would highly recommend the NiteSite Wolf RTEK.
- Battery and battery charger
- Infrared beamer/screen
- Micro SD card 4GB and a SD card reader
- Viewing screen 3.5 inches
- Can be used on any calibre
- Display screen is 3.5 inches
- In dark range of 300 metres
- Infrared frequency is 850nm
- Infrared has 3 LEDs
- Operation temperature is between -4F and 140F or -20C and 60C
- Run time of 6.5 hours when operational with IR power set to half
- Water resistant but not waterproof
- Weight of 588g
2. Yukon Photon RT 6×50 S
Yukon have a brand name you can trust when it comes to night-time hunting equipment. The Yukon Photon RT 6×50 S is an excellent budget option, that can easily hang with its more expensive rivals.
It has an in dark range of 280 metres which is decent and has an adjustable 850nm beam which can be easily adjusted. It also has a magnification range of 6x – 12x, which makes it useful in a range of situations.
The 8GB memory is more than enough, and it also comes with WiFi connectivity, a remote control, and the ability to do live streaming which I didn’t think I would get at the price point it is sold at.
The biggest drawback is that it uses AA batteries rather than having a rechargeable battery. This means you will likely have to carry spare batteries, as the AA batteries will only last you 3.5 hours at most.
This is a bit of a pain in my opinion, but I guess some people might find it a bonus as after all we have plenty of other things in our life we need to charge.
Finally, because it is at the budget end of the scale, their must be some savings they are making along the way.
This seems to manifest itself in the weight, it weights nearly 1kg which is quite a lot but to be fair it does not feel too heavy when mounted and you can get good shots with it.
3. ATN X-Sight 4K
If you like your features then this is probably the best night scope for you, it comes with a huge range of extras.
Which quite frankly I would never use, but this is a high-end scope that boasts things like: having a ballistic computer, an excellent rangefinder, a compass, an accurate GPS, recordable audio, and video, 14x magnification which surpasses the average 12x magnification of most scopes, which it can get away with because as the name suggests it has a 4k viewing screen.
I do start getting nervous when scopes have too much technology because it means there more things to go wrong and fail on a hunt. Especially if you hunt a lot in the cold and wet.
4. Firefield NVRS 3×42 Gen 1 Night Vision Riflescope
This is a great option for beginners who want an easy-to-use night scope when first starting out with night hunts.
Be warned though this is an excellent scope for hunting medium sized animals like hogs and coyotes at a short range, but it is not so good for hunting smaller animals like rabbits because you will not be able to get close enough to them because the night scope range is only 68 metres.
I do like how the scope is water resistant and is more bombproof than other scopes, and I don’t mind been a little rough with it.
I find I feel like I need to handle the more expensive night scopes with kid gloves, but with the Firefield NVRS 3×42 I feel like it is robust and usable in the field.
5. Sightmark Photon XT Night Vision Scope
If you only ever intend to buy one night scope for life, then this might be your best shot.
I believe it is the most robust night vision scope you can buy, in fact the makers themselves state it is waterproof and shockproof which can be very handy.
It doesn’t have all the features of some of the other night scopes available but what it does boast works very well.
This scope concentrates on doing the simple things very well, rather than trying to bamboozle you with a huge list of features. If you regularly hunt at under the 118-metre limit, then this scope is hard to beat.
6. Night Owl Optics Nightshot Digital Night Vision Riflescope
If varmint hunting is your game, then this could be a great option for you. It looks bulky and a bit retro in my opinion and I was reluctant to try it because of that.
However, I was suitably impressed, it is very lightweight, it is durable, and there are not many things that can go wrong.
It also handles extreme weather conditions better than most other scopes, especially other ones in its very reasonable price bracket.
There are not a lot of bells and whistles, but it does come with a large field of range digital optic, limited but effective 3x magnification, and is really good up to 90 metres.
If you have a rat or rabbit problem on your property, you could do worse than buying the NightShot Digital Night Vision Scope.
7. Bushnell Equinox
I prefer rechargeable batteries for scopes, and this is one of the night scopes where you have to use AA batteries.
However, in this case it is an advantage. It is a minimalist scope with very few extras, and it is great for people who just want to point and shoot.
This means the scope isn’t riddled with enough technology that it makes your iPhone look a brick, so the batteries will actually last you for a night’s hunt give or take.
Like I said the scope doesn’t do all that much, but what it does do it does very well, this means it is cheap but also very effective. It is excellent for beginners.
8. Pulsar Phantom Gen 3 4x60mm Night Vision Rifle Scope
Probably for more experienced shooters, who know they are going to get good use our of it. It is a premium night scope that has a premium price tag.
If money is no obstacle then the Pulsar Phantom Gen 3 4x60mm has incredible image resolution, brightness, and a tremendous viewing range. So, it is not a product that relies on a brand name, it actually does give you value for money.
There are almost too many features to mention, but whilst I knew I was carrying a serious piece of kit I didn’t feel like I needed to be extra careful with it.
I treated it like a budget scope, and it proved to be just as robust and should be more reliable in the long-term.
9. Armasight Orion 5x Gen1+
This is a night scope for you if you want a more tactical or military slant to your scopes. This scope is military grade and brings its own issues with availability, distribution, and travel.
Nowadays you can get civilian night scopes that are just as good if not better than military grade ones. However, as you would expect I find the military grade scopes to be a lot hardier and more robust.
So, if you are clumsy, careless, or not very good at looking after things then the Armasight Orion 5x Gen 1+ could be the best scope for you.
10. Pulsar Trail LRF XQ Thermal Rifle Scope
This scope is for people who prefer to hunt with thermal imaging, aka Predator style where you see the heat signature of the animal.
You need scopes like this when hunting in thick bush or woodland, where part of the animal might be obscured. You can see heat signatures upwards of 1200 metres away, so if you need more than that you are a better hunter than I am!
As with a lot of Pulsar scopes this isn’t cheap, but if you can afford it then it will do everything you want from it and it will last. It also comes with a huge range of reticle options, so you can really tailor the hunt to how you like to operate.
As with many hunting purchases what is the best product for you depends on what you are doing and where you are doing it.
Your goal is to find a product that has everything you need within your price range. Note… I said everything you need not everything you want!
As with anything relating to hunting once you have bought the product you should thoroughly test it out before taking it on a proper hunting trip.