Best Pulsar Thermal Monoculars - In Depth Review (2022)

Last updated on July 11, 2021

Thermal imaging is an interesting and practical technology that has evolved quite a lot over recent years. Thermal imaging is used in hunting, inspecting buildings, the military & law enforcement as well as many more areas. Pulsar, a thermal and night vision brand has grown to produce many of the leading edge technology in thermal imaging.

Today, we will dig into their thermal monocular product line. These are monoculars with high-resolution micro-bolometers and high-quality optics that produce some of the clearest thermal images today. You can expect the high end build-quality with waterproof materials to last you a lifetime.

We also look at the significant differences in these monoculars. You will be able to identify which of these monoculars is the best choice for your thermal imaging endeavors.

Pulsar Axion Thermal Monoculars - New Generation

Pulsar AXION XM38 Review

Best Pulsar Thermal Monoculars - In Depth Review (1)

  • Thermal resolution: 320 × 240
  • Refresh rate: 50Hz
  • FOV: 5.8° x 4.3°
  • Optical magnification: 5.5x
  • E-zoom: up to 4x
  • Battery life: 4 hours

This Axion XM38 has the most powerful lens when compared to other models within the range. As a result, it’s also the most expensive option. You’ll enjoy clear imaging if you pick this model which offers a 320 x 240 sensor resolution.

With this unit you can view images from a long distance away thanks to the 1700m detection range. It allows you to magnify images up to 22 times. Since it has a larger lens, the monocular provides a narrower field of view so keep that in mind when you determine if it’s for your specific application.

The unit is powered by a lithium-ion battery which is designed to operate for over four hours. It weighs 270g making it a lightweight unit though it’s the heaviest of all the models in this series.

You’ll get 16GB internal storage to store images and recorded footage. You can connect the unit to Wi-Fi for file transfer.


  • Long detection range
  • Lightweight
  • Clear images


  • Expensive
  • Narrow field of view

Pulsar AXION XM30 Review

Best Pulsar Thermal Monoculars - In Depth Review (2)

  • Thermal resolution: 320 × 240
  • Refresh rate: 50Hz
  • FOV: 7.3° x 5.5°
  • Optical magnification: 4x
  • E-zoom: up to 4x
  • Battery life: 4 hours

Check Price

(Video) Comparing Thermal Monoculars - Which Is The Best Of 2021? (Black Hot Version)

This Axion XM30 thermal monocular has a smaller lens than the other units within this range. But you’ll enjoy a larger field of view if you pick this one.

It’s not the most powerful lens within the range, but it’s worth considering since it won’t cost much to own it. Thanks to the 320 x 240 sensor resolution, you can view clear images with this monocular so it’s still a quality product.

It’s the ideal monocular to pick if you specialize in close range viewing. This is evidenced by the 1200m detection range it allows for. It’s one of the lightest units within the range so handling and carrying it will be hassle free; it only weighs 250g.

You can expect a little over fours hours of battery life which is reasonable for this product range.


  • Great value
  • Compact
  • Clear images


  • Not suitable for extra long range detection

Pulsar AXION KEY XM30 Review

Best Pulsar Thermal Monoculars - In Depth Review (3)

  • Thermal resolution: 320 × 240
  • Refresh rate: 50Hz
  • FOV: 7.3° x 5.5°
  • Optical magnification: 2.5x
  • E-zoom: up to 4x
  • Battery life: 4 hours

This is the cheapest thermal monocular within the Axion range. But note that it also has the lowest thermal resolution. This resolution will still give you clear images just like the Axion XM38 and XM30 models.

It’s the model to pick if you’re looking for a unit to use for close range viewing. Aside from the lower resolution, this model has similar features to the Axion XM30. A good example is the 1200 detection range and 50Hz rate.

A key difference with this model is that it doesn’t come with internal storage. But you’ll be happy to know that it’s IPX7 rated so water won’t easily damage the unit.


  • Cheaper option
  • Large field of view
  • Waterproof


  • No internal storage

Pulsar Helion Thermal Monoculars - Older Generation

Pulsar Helion XP50 Review

Best Pulsar Thermal Monoculars - In Depth Review (4)

  • Thermal resolution: 640 × 480
  • Refresh rate: 50Hz
  • FOV: 12.4° x 9.3°
  • Optical magnification: 2.5x
  • E-zoom: up to 8x
  • Battery life: 8 hours
(Video) Which Pulsar Axion handheld thermal imager is right for you?

Built for outdoor sports and hunting, the Pulsar Helion XP50 has many advanced features. It comes with a 50mm lens which is large and powerful. Combined with a variable magnification from 2.5x to 20x with smooth zoom, you will have very high quality thermal images.

The field of view narrows the higher magnification; however you can still detect a heat signature up to 1800 meters out with the XP50. The uncooled micro-bolometer boasts a resolution of 640 x 480. It gives you highly detailed images that allow you to scan through the darkest environments.

This thermal monocular comes with built-in video recording. The video recorder captures videos and still images, and stores them in the monocular. With 8GB of internal storage, you can save many photos and videos. Better yet, you get to transfer your content to a laptop or computer via USB or Wi-Fi.

What’s more, with the help of Stream Vision technology, you can connect seamlessly to your Android or iOS phone in real time. This allows you to share your videos and images on YouTube, Instagram, and other social media sites.


  • Eight color palettes
  • High 50Hz refresh rate
  • Uncooled sensor reduces noise sensitivity and temperature between calibrations
  • Provides eight hours of battery life from the rechargeable battery power
  • Allows live streaming via the Stream Vision Software
  • IPX7 waterproof rating


  • It is a bit heavy due to the large objective lens, but the lens is interchangeable to suit your specific tasks.

Pulsar Helion XP38 Review

Best Pulsar Thermal Monoculars - In Depth Review (5)

  • Thermal resolution: 640 × 480
  • Refresh rate: 50Hz
  • FOV: 16.3° x 12.3°
  • Optical magnification: 1.9x
  • E-zoom: up to 8x
  • Battery life: 8 hours

The Helion XP38 is similar to the XP50 in many ways except for a few distinct features. First, this model has a 38mm focal length. You will like that you can take it for an adventure whether you are hunting, or viewing animals in dark conditions. You are also able to swap lenses as needed something that you could not in previous Pulsar thermal scopes. This greatly increases the utility of the monoculars.

The Helion XP38 has a 640 x 480 pixels resolution. It is not only crisp, but you get a wider field of view thanks to the lower power magnification from 1.9x to 15.2x. It utilizes a smooth zoom that helps to remove any blurriness that could come as a result of a high magnification.

It still benefits from an uncooled micro-bolometer which comes in handy to give you optimized images that are easy to read. You will be able to recognize subjects and identify what you are looking at up to 1350 meters away.

This thermal monocular works flawlessly with a built in video recorder to store videos and images. With the help of Wi-Fi connectivity, you can transfer your videos and pictures on a PC or laptop for editing as needed. It also supports Stream Vision a technology that allows real-time streaming to iOS and Android devices.


  • Stadiametric rangefinder and accelerometer
  • Fog, dust, and frost proofed OLED display
  • Ergonomically-placed buttons for easy operation
  • 8-hour battery pack
  • Onboard video recording
  • Updatable software


(Video) A quick review of the Pulsar Helion 2 XP50 Pro thermal monocular
  • Isolated complaints about the accuracy of some color palettes

Pulsar Helion XP28 Review

Best Pulsar Thermal Monoculars - In Depth Review (6)

  • Thermal resolution: 640 × 480
  • Refresh rate: 50Hz
  • FOV: 22° x 16.6°
  • Optical magnification: 1.4x
  • E-zoom: up to 8x
  • Battery life: 8 hours

This is the smallest of the Helion line with a 28mm objective lens. It is a handy piece if you want a smather thermal monocular to bring along with heavy equipment like stands and rifles.

With a 640 x 480 pixels sensor, it provides the same crisp images the Helion XP line is known for. It couples the sensor with a low magnification power from 1.4x to 11.2x; you get a wide field of view that allows you to see the image and the background clearly.

With the XP28 you can detect heat signatures up to 1000 yards away. This gives you a wide array of activities to perform from hunting to long range shooting as it provides you with a clear line of sight no matter the weather or lighting conditions.From streaming live images and videos to recording and storing of the same images and videos, you have every feature you will need. Pulsars Stream Vision is one of the Helion lines best features. Whether you want to showcase your hunting prowess, or taking shots at spectacular ranges, you can stream all everything directly to your or your friends smartphone or tablet.


  • Distinct night vision potential
  • Integrated Wi-Fi module
  • Interchangeable lens
  • Rapid motion via high-frequency imaging
  • Eight hours of battery life


  • You may lose some detail in long distances because of the lower magnification

Pulsar Helion XQ50 Review

Best Pulsar Thermal Monoculars - In Depth Review (7)

  • Thermal resolution: 384 × 288
  • Refresh rate: 50Hz
  • FOV: 7.5° x 5.6°
  • Optical magnification: 4.1x
  • E-zoom: up to 4x
  • Battery life: 8 hours

The Helion XQ50F is a monocular designed to survive the most adverse conditions. Like its Helion XP cousins, this model is part of a thermal imaging family that can be used day and night since it is not affected by bright light as traditional night vision monoculars are. The biggest difference in the XQ line is the lower thermal resolution of 384 x 288. It is also a fog, dust, and frost proof monocular. From tall grass to thick bushes, branches, etc. this monocular will help you in night hunting, rescue operations, and many other situations where you need clear visibility.

The Helion XQ50F has a 384 x 288 pixel resolution. The sensor is an uncooled micro-bolometer which can detect heat up to ranges of 1800 meters. It is an ideal pick for long-range target shooting in dark environments. It is also a good guide through haze and smoke in rescue operations.

The eight color palettes give you the chance to identify different objects so that you can set the background apart from your subject. It features the popular black hot and white hot that give you detailed images day and night.

You can record and store images on the Helion XQ50F. You can also transfer your recordings to a computer so that you can analyze the photos and videos. It also supports live streaming using the Stream Vision Software. It is mobile friendly as it can connect to your Android or iOS smartphone.

(Video) Pulsar Axion LRF XQ38 Thermal Monocular. Is It The Best Thermal Monocular For The Money?


  • 50Hz image frequency
  • Stadiametric rangefinder
  • AMOLED display works in extreme temperatures
  • Optional wireless remote control for the settings
  • Easy-to-use interface


  • It is a bit pricey

Pulsar Helion XQ38 Review

Best Pulsar Thermal Monoculars - In Depth Review (8)

  • Thermal resolution: 384 × 288
  • Refresh rate: 50Hz
  • FOV: 9.8° x 7.4°
  • Optical magnification: 3.1x
  • E-zoom: up to 4x
  • Battery life: 8 hours

This monocular has all the extra you would expect to have on the Helion line. If you are looking to have a better field of view and high performance but at an affordable price, you are looking at the Helion XQ38F.

With a digital magnification from 3.1x to 12.4x and a 384 x 288 pixel thermal sensor, this monocular is a great choice if you do not need to spot targets or objects as far away. It has eight color palettes and pixel repair function that provides very detailed thermal images. It provides you with a graduated magnification that lets you to adjust the magnification as needed.

It also has a picture-in-picture mode that helps you see the main image alongside its zoomed-in image. It gives you the highlights of the image so that you can make definitive conclusions while still in the field.

As with all the Helion thermal monoculars Stream Vision is the peak feature of this monocular. You can link this device to your iOS and Android phone or tablet via Wi-Fi. Using the Stream Vision App, you will be able to share your adventures with the world.


  • It can determine the distance of objects using the stadiametric rangefinder
  • Can be operated remotely using your phone
  • Captures and records videos and images
  • It has a display-off mode
  • Icon-driven, easy-to-read, alphanumeric status bar


  • It can be complicated to use for beginners

Final Thoughts:

If you are an outdoor enthusiast or you are in the professional world where you need an excellent thermal imaging monocular, Pulsar is one of the best brands you can chose. This brand provides affordable monoculars with high performance. From the uncooled micro-bolometer to the high resolution, all its thermal imaging monoculars are well made and very technologically advanced.

For the best Pulsar Thermal Imaging Monocular, we recommend the Pulsar Axion XM38. It is the most advanced model with all the features you will need for almost every situation. From hunting to target shooting, law enforcement, and in the military, it proves to be exceptionally versatile.

About the author

Randy Angwin

Randy Angwin holds a master of science degree from University of Florida. He is an expert in infrared and night vision technology. His knowledge helps us staying on top of the latest trends in the thermal industry. When not working, Randy likes to hunt and spend time with his two German shepherds.

(Video) Comparing Thermal Monoculars - Which Is The Best Of 2021? (White Hot Version)


What is the best Pulsar thermal monocular? ›

That is why the Pulsar Helion 2 XP50 PRO – which we now know as the best thermal monocular – has a nearly 2-kilometer detection range, a powerful battery, full protection from water or any other precipitation, and a photo and video recorder to capture all those fantastic moments you are bound to experience with it.

Who makes Pulsar thermal? ›

Pulsar, by Yukon Advanced Optics, specialises in mid to advanced night vision solutions. Their exciting range features only high performance Digital, Gen Super/CF-Super (Super Gen 1+), Gen 2+ and Gen 2 series NV units, all with built-in IR illuminators.

Can you use a pulsar thermal during the day? ›

Whether you are hunting during the day or night, thermal will help. During the day, you will have improved visibility through brush and camouflage, be able to follow a blood trail, and have improved target identification, especially of smaller animals and varmint.

What should I look for when buying a thermal monocular? ›

10 Things To Look For When Buying a Thermal Monocular
  • Resolution.
  • Magnification.
  • Micron Number.
  • Cost-Effectiveness.
  • Field of View.
  • Eye Relief.
  • Durability.
  • Battery Life.
24 Dec 2021

How far can you see with a thermal monocular? ›

Lens Size. The lens of a thermal monocular plays a major in role determining the maximum detection distance of a thermal monocular. Detection distances can vary between 90 meters to over 1.5km! Lens sizes can vary from 9mm up to 100mm and the general rule of thumb is 'Bigger is Better'.

What is the best thermal vision? ›

The 4 Best Thermal Scope

Trijicon Teo Reap-IR Mini Therma: Best for Hog Hunting. Pulsar Trail XP38 1.2-9.6×32: Best Thermal Scope for the Money. Pulsar Digisight Ultra: Best Budget Thermal Scope. ATN ThOR 4 1.25-5x: Best For Coyote Hunting.

Is PULSAR made in China? ›

We proudly carry the Made in Europe flag. The majority of PULSAR advanced devices are developed, designed, manufactured, packed, and sent out to our worldwide distributors from our factories in Europe.

Is PULSAR Made in USA? ›

Pulsar generation 2 and generation 3 optics were produced in Mansfield, Texas, marking a return to US production and expansion after a four-year pause.

How much is a PULSAR thermal? ›

$3,999.99 & FREE Shipping.

Is thermal better than night vision? ›

Thermal is best used to detect the desired game object. Night vision is best used to recognize, identify and harvest the game only if facial recognition is required or for deer depredation. If you have your choice of options, thermal imaging is the best twenty-four hour imaging option.

What is the difference between thermal and infrared? ›

An IR thermometer, also known as a spot pyrometer or a temp gun, gives you a single number—the temperature measurement of a single spot on your target. A thermal imaging camera gives you temperature readings for each pixel of the entire thermal image, and allows you to visualize an entire scene in thermal.

What's better for hunting thermal or night vision? ›

Thermal scopes can easily detect animals or moving objects from a long distance whether it is day or night. Their detection is better than night vision scopes. Even in the roughest weather, they can help you see (except in extreme cold).

What is the best resolution for a monocular? ›

Most monoculars have a magnification between 5 and 10. 5-8 is great for normal use and will give you a wider field of view, but if you'll be looking at things really far away, you'll want to go for 9 or 10 times magnification.

What magnification is needed for thermal scope? ›

Portable thermal imagers have optical magnification parameters of no more than 5 and magnification during digital processing - up to 8. Some devices claim up to 20. But, remember that fantastic numbers are usually realized by lowering the quality of the final image.

What is a good resolution for a thermal scope? ›

The better the thermal core, the better your optic will perform. The best cores in high-end optics now provide 640×480 resolution while the less expensive, but very good optics provide a 320×240 or similar resolution. Generally speaking, the higher the resolution, the better the image quality.

Can thermal see through walls? ›

Thermal imaging devices can't “see” through walls. But pointing a thermal camera at a building still reveals sensitive information about what's going on inside. Thermal cameras read the heat radiating off of an object.

Can you see at night with thermal? ›

Night vision is impaired by conditions like dust, smoke, overcast nights, rain, and fog. Thermal imaging is not impaired by these conditions and can see in complete darkness. Night vision is an outdated technology that, while it still has its uses, is cheaper but lower quality than other options.

What is the highest resolution thermal camera? ›

Using UltraMax, thermal images captured with a 640 x 480 resolution Tsc-Series thermal camera can be turned into an ultra-sharp image with up to 1280 x 960 pixels.

What should I look for when buying a thermal imaging camera? ›

10 things you need to know about thermal imagers
  • Resolution. Detector resolution indicates the number of detector pixels on the camera. ...
  • Focus. ...
  • Temperature range. ...
  • Lens options. ...
  • Saving images and additional data. ...
  • Color palettes. ...
  • Color alarms. ...
  • Emissivity and reflected temperatures.

Can I use my phone as a thermal camera? ›

This accessory turns your phone into a thermal camera - YouTube

Which country made PULSAR? ›

The Bajaj Pulsar is a range of motorcycles manufactured by Bajaj Auto in India. It was developed by the product engineering division of Bajaj Auto in association with Tokyo R&D, and later with motorcycle designer Glynn Kerr.

What is UG4 in PULSAR? ›

Pulsar 150 DTSi UG4 is the fourth generation of the Pulsar series, the "wolf eyed head lamp" and the tail assembly is being carry forwarded from its former third generation sibling. The 150cc DTS-si engine is further tweaked to produce 15.06 Ps of power at 9000 Rpm.

Is PULSAR as 200 discontinued? ›

Bajaj has retired the Pulsar AS 200 from the Indian market due to poor sales. To make its re-entry as a more purposeful brand. Bajaj Auto has discontinued the Pulsar AS 200 in India. The Pune-based manufacturer has recently launched the 2017 versions of Pulsar RS 200 and Pulsar 200 NS.

Who makes Pulsar equipment? ›

Pulsar Products, Inc.

What year was the Pulsar made? ›

The North American Pulsar NX was offered in two trim levels: the XE (1.6-liter E16i in 1987–1988 and 1.6-liter GA16i in 1989–1990) and the twin-cam, SE (1.6-liter CA16DE in 1987 and 1.8-liter CA18DE in 1988–1989). The EXA/Pulsar NX was replaced in 1991 with the Nissan NX coupé.

When was Pulsar founded? ›

February 1968: The Discovery of Pulsars Announced. In 1967, when Jocelyn Bell, then a graduate student in astronomy, noticed a strange “bit of scruff” in the data coming from her radio telescope, she and her advisor Anthony Hewish initially thought they might have detected a signal from an extraterrestrial civilization ...

What are pulsar devices? ›

At Pulsar, we make various thermal vision (or thermal night vision, if you like this name better) devices for hunters and nature enthusiasts. These include thermal vision scopes, rifle scopes, binoculars, attachments (or clip-ons), and so on.

What is the best thermal scope for hog hunting? ›

The 4 Best Scope For Hog Hunting

Leupold FX-II Ultralight 2.5×20: Best Hog Hunting Scope. Trijicon ACOG 3.5×35: Best Scope for Fast Target Acquisition. ATN X-Sight 4K Pro 5-20x: Best Night Vision Scope for Hog Hunting. Pulsar Trail 2 LRF XP50 Thermal Riflescope: Best Thermal Scope for Hog Hunting.

Who makes Hogster thermal scopes? ›

The Bering Optics HOGSTER C™ VOx 384x288 Thermal Clip-on is unique with no rival. Aimed at the growing feral swine market, the product is exceptionally lightweight and compact, also perfect for predator hunting.

What's the difference between night vision and thermal? ›

Night vision works by amplifying visible light in the immediate vicinity. Thermal imaging uses infrared sensors to detect temperature differences between objects in its line of sight.

What is the best thermal imaging for coon hunting? ›

AGM Global Vision Taipan TM15-384. For hunters who want a device that can identify prey up to 200 meters in the dark, fog, or haze, this is the best thermal imaging for hunting monocular of 2022 for the money.

How does a thermal monocular work? ›

How it Works: A special lens focuses the infrared light emitted by all of the objects in the view. The focused light is scanned by a phased array of infrared-detector elements. The detector elements create a very detailed temperature pattern called a thermogram.

Can thermal see through walls? ›

Thermal imaging devices can't “see” through walls. But pointing a thermal camera at a building still reveals sensitive information about what's going on inside. Thermal cameras read the heat radiating off of an object.

Can you see a snake with a thermal scope? ›

Modern thermal imaging cameras for hunting allow you to detect a thermal target in all light conditions. Grass and bushes are not significant obstacles. However, a thermal imaging camera will not be enough for snake detection.

How far away does thermal imaging work? ›

A typical application for thermal imaging is border security, where most threats occur at night. Watchtowers spaced at 4km intervals or more have to be able to detect threats at ranges up to 2km or more to guarantee full coverage of the border.

What are the three different types of thermal imaging technology? ›

Infrared cameras come in three basic types: short wavelength, mid-wavelength, and long wavelength. Each type has its own place in facilities maintenance, depending on use and operation.

What is the longest range thermal scope? ›

Scope Detection Range

A very high-quality thermal scope will allow you to positively identify the target at up to 4,000 yards, while an entry-level scope can limit you to 1,000 yards or less.

How do you camouflage against thermal? ›

How Can You Hide From Thermal Imaging Technology?
  1. Glass. One of the most effective methods to block IR is to conceal behind glass; if you are okay with carrying around a pane of glass, great! ...
  2. "Space blanket" ...
  3. Woolen blanket. ...
  4. Choose the right background. ...
  5. Warm clothes. ...
  6. Burn it out. ...
  7. Thick Netting.

Can you hunt with a thermal scope during the day? ›

Thermal scopes, on the other hand, can be used at any time of day since they don't need light to operate.

Can you see at night with thermal? ›

Night vision is impaired by conditions like dust, smoke, overcast nights, rain, and fog. Thermal imaging is not impaired by these conditions and can see in complete darkness. Night vision is an outdated technology that, while it still has its uses, is cheaper but lower quality than other options.

Which is better infrared or night vision? ›

Infrared goggles can be used with even in total darkness. The biggest advantage between the usual night vision and infrared goggles is that the latter is much better at spotting at objects that are partially or totally hidden.

Does thermal work at night? ›

Thermal imaging detects minute differences in heat when detecting game. Thermal scopes detect radiation and do not require any visible light to produce an image. Thermal imaging devices can be used equally well day and night.


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