Best Thermal Monocular for Hunting Under $600 (£/€) 2022 (2022)

Best Thermal Monocular for Hunting Under $600 (£/€) 2022 (1)

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Like many night vision devices especially digital ones, the technology in thermal imaging devices like binoculars, scopes, goggles and monoculars has really advanced over the last few years.

So what was up until quite recently only available to the military and law enforcement sectors is now not only available for civilians, but is becoming much more affordable as the technology spreads and more and more competition comes into the marketplace.

Thermal Devices - Keeping the Cost Down

It was only a shot time ago that you would have no option but to spend thousands of dollars on a thermal imaging device and so whilst I will agree that to most people, anything around the $600 mark would not be considered inexpensive, but if you are serious about purchasing a thermal imaging device, this amount is not astronomical either and I believe if you choose wisely (see advice & recommendations below), you can get a surprisingly good level of performance at this level:

How Thermal Monoculars Work

All objects with a temperature of more than absolute zero emit thermal infrared energy and so in a nutshell these monoculars have detectors inside them are able to convert the energy contained in the infrared wavelength into a visible light display and thus are able to "see" all objects, regardless of the level of visible ambient light. For more details: How Thermal Imaging Works.

1) Resolution
One of the most important aspects to take-away from how thermal imaging works is that each pixel you see in the view requires a separate detector (microbolometer) and thus it is understandable that in order to keep the price down, less expensive thermal imaging devices will use less of these in the array and thus will have a lower resolution than higher-end devices.

2) Monocular vs Binocular
Another way to keep the cost of the thermal imaging device down is to essentially cut it in half. So whilst a thermal binocular will be able to capture twice as much thermal radiation as a monocular, it will also cost substantially more to make. The advantage a monocular has however is that it is far more lightweight and compact. For more: Best Thermal Binoculars ($3000+)

(Video) 5 Best Thermal Monocular for Hunting

So based on this, below are a couple of the best thermal monoculars costing under $600 currently on the market:

AGM Asp-Micro TM160 Thermal Imaging Monocular

Currently costing about $495, this AGM thermal monocular is in many ways is very similar to the more expensive FLIR Scout TK below, yet it blew me away during testing and for me was a real game changer which you can read more about in my full review.

Best Thermal Monocular for Hunting Under $600 (£/€) 2022 (2)

The ease of use, build quality, and the performance are seriously impressive for such a small thermal imager at this price level. Below are some of the main technical details as well as my initial unboxing video that also includes some examples of the first video footage that I captured the first time I used the device. For more, better samples, be sure to take a look at the full review.

Technical Specifications

Built-In Display: 720 x 540, 0.2inch LCOS
Detector: VOx un-cooled Focal Plane Arrays
Resolution: 160 x 120
Angle of View (HxV) 15.6°x11.7°
Zoom: 1x (optical) 2x, 4x (digital)
Start-up Time: approx 5 seconds
Waveband 8 - 14 μm
Video Refresh Rate: 50Hz
Recording: Image (720x576px) & Video (MP4 720x576, 25fps)
Storage: 8 GB (built-in)
Connection USB & Wi-Fi Hotspot
Battery Type Internal Li-Ion Cell
Waterproof Yes: IP-67, Submersible (1m for 30min)

Cost & Where to Buy

The AGM Asp-Micro TM160 Thermal Imaging Monocular currently retails for around $495, which as I say, considering the performance that I have achieved whilst using it thus far, looks to me to be really great value for money and certainly makes it one of, if not the best value thermal monoculars currently on the market:

FLIR Scout TK Thermal Vision Monocular

Whilst not the cheapest option, the FLIR Scout TK is certainly on of the most popular thermal monoculars for hunting currently on the market and yet despite the number of quality components, it still manages to come in under $600:

Best Thermal Monocular for Hunting Under $600 (£/€) 2022 (3)

(Video) 5 Best Thermal Monocular For The Money (2022)

As I am sure you already know, for hunting at night, thermal imaging is in many ways superior to standard night vision as it picks up and highlights body heat, which makes spotting your game so much easier.

A really small and compact thermal imaging monocular, the TK Scout from FLIR is their entry level offering, but one that shares many features as that of their and other much more expensive devices:

Main Highlights

  • Very Compact & Lightweight Size: 6.0" x2"x 2"
  • Lightweight: 6oz / 170g
  • 640 x 480 LCD Display
  • Internal rechargeable Li-Ion battery
  • Super Quick Startup
  • Detection range of up to 100 yards
  • Record up to 4 hours of video
  • Image capture - up to 1000 images


Unlike most optical devices, another real advantage of thermal imaging is that you can "see through" smoke and fog, but I think one of the most important aspects to consider, especially in relation to the type of hunting you do is the range:

According to FLIR, the Scout TK has a detectable range of 100 yards (91m), which is good.

However, keep in mid that if you need to identify an animals horns for example, the actual distance may be a little nearer as just like standard NV, it also depends on a number of environmental factors.

External Features

As well as having a tough rubber armor that is similar to that you will find on your hunting binoculars.

The TK Scout has a IP-67 waterproof rating. This means that it is rated as being impervious to water at a depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes.

So whilst I wouldn't suggest you go swimming with it, it will be fine even in the worst weather conditions.

Best Thermal Monocular for Hunting Under $600 (£/€) 2022 (4)

(Video) Top 7 Best Thermal Monocular To Buy in 2022

Best Thermal Monocular for Hunting Under $600 (£/€) 2022 (5)At the front of the device is rubber lens cover that is tethered to the instrument. Which is ideal, because looking for a lens cap that you dropped on the floor is the last thing you want to be doing in complete darkness!

At the rear is a soft rubber eyecup and near the eye-piece is the small diopter adjuster that enables you to set the image to the correct distance to the viewfinder so as to get the sharpest view possible.

On the top of the device are the main buttons as well as the USB port.

This port is where you plug in the cable to charge the internal Li-Ion battery that lasts for around 5 hours of use.

You also use the included USB cable to access any of the images and video that you may have recorded and which are stored on the camera's internal storage.

I have not yet been able to establish exactly how much storage there is, but I think it is just under 2GB. Whatever the case, FLIR say that it is good for about 1000 images or up tto4 hours of video footage.

From left to right you have the USB port, Power button, image brightness, camera / video recording, color palette selector:

Best Thermal Monocular for Hunting Under $600 (£/€) 2022 (6)

Best Thermal Monocular for Hunting Under $600 (£/€) 2022 (7)Menu
Pressing any of these buttons activates the menu that you can see on the LCD screen in the view finder.

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

It is pretty self explanatory and really simple to navigate.

Color Palettes

The FLIR TK Scout Thermal Monocular comes with an impressive 9 different color palettes that are used to highlight the image in different ways depending on the conditions and what you are hunting for or looking at.

So by simply pressing the button you can access that section of the menu to change the colors that are applied to the image.

Below are two examples that are commonly used for hunting larger game, "White Hot" on the left where the warmest objects are white and is good for when there is low or high contrast between the target and the background. On the right is what FLIR calls "Graded Fire 1" and is where the warmest objects are colored very brightly against a grey background.

Best Thermal Monocular for Hunting Under $600 (£/€) 2022 (8)

Example Video Footage

The video below was captured using the Scout TK, whilst very short, I think it gives you a good understanding of the sort of quality you can expect:

Technical Specifications

Built-In Display: 640 x 480 LCD
Detector: 160 x 120 VOx Microbolometer
Angle of View (HxV) 20°x16°
Start-up Time: approx 5 seconds
Waveband 7.5 - 13.5 μm
Video Refresh Rate: <9Hz
Median Download Micro USB
Battery Type Internal Li-Ion Cell
Waterproof Yes: IP-67, Submersible (1m for 30min)
(Video) Best Thermal Monocular 2022 | Which you should buy Expert Review

Cost & Where to Buy

A the time of writing the FLIR Scout TK has a retail price of $599, which to me looks to be really great value for money and no doubt the best thermal monocular for hunting currently on the market:


What is the best thermal imaging for hunting? ›

The Leupold LTO Tracker 2 is the best thermal imaging for hunting or wildlife viewers. This monocular comes with a Beacon mode with which you can recalibrate the screen according to the different times of the day. It comes with a powerful battery that provides you with a backup that can last over 10 hours.

What is the best thermal vision for the money? ›

The best thermal scopes to give you Predator vision
Best OverallPulsar Thermion 2 XP50CHECK LATEST PRICE
May 26, 2022

Can you use thermal monocular for hunting? ›

The thermal monocular also comes in very handy when trailing or tracking a deer. If you've ever shot a deer right at dark, you know that it can sometimes be challenging to track them. If you made a good shot, then the thermal monocular will likely save you some time.

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.

What is the best thermal scope for coyote hunting? ›

The best thermal sight for coyote hunting reviews: Shooting in the dark
  • ATN ThOR 4 4.5-18x50mm Thermal Smart HD Rifle Scope. ...
  • Armasight Contractor 320 6-24x Thermal Weapon Sight. ...
  • ATN ThOR LT 4-8x50mm Thermal Rifle Scope. ...
  • AGM Global Vision Rattler TS35-384 2.14x35mm Compact Thermal Imaging Rifle Scope.
Aug 3, 2022

How far can you see with a thermal monocular? ›

Range. While it is easy to get caught up in the fact that most thermal monoculars will have ranges exceeding 1,000 yards, most people will want to ensure that they can clearly see a heat-emitting object within 100 yards instead of a blob of heat at 1,000 yards.

Can you see a snake with thermal imaging? ›

Against the background of other objects, humans, animals, or cars have higher temperatures, and they show up more clearly on the device's screen. However, cold-blooded animals like snakes, for example, would be virtually impossible to detect with a thermal imager.

Can you see mice with thermal camera? ›

Question: Can i use it to detect rodents or rats or mice or cats behind walls ? Answer: The thermal imaging camera can be used to locate the area where insulation has been removed from the interior of a wall by rats/mice as long as they give off enough heat to create a heat differential on the wall.

What is the difference between FLIR and thermal? ›

FLIRs make pictures from heat, not visible light. Heat (also called infrared, or thermal, energy) and light are both parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, but a camera that can detect visible light won't see thermal energy, and vice versa.

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.

Which is better 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).

Can you see turkeys with thermal imaging? ›

Admittedly, turkeys are a little more difficult to pinpoint because their heads are usually the only part that shows a sharply contrasting heat signature and during the spring the trees provide them with more cover. Though, the thermal monocular still provides the opportunity to spot them.

Can you use thermal imaging for deer hunting? ›

A thermal imaging camera allows you to scan the field to establish if there are deer around. If there are, it gives you the confidence to wait until it is light enough to approach and take a shot." This heat signature of deer clearly shows up in the thermal image looking through the trees.

Can you use thermal imaging to hunt? ›

When and where legal, you can use thermal imaging to scan a field under the cover of darkness to scout the properties you hunt. You'll be able to see what, or if, deer are in the field you're planning to hunt. You can track movements, numbers, identify bucks or does, entry/exit, and much more.

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 infrared see through clouds? ›

In each case, pilot vision improves, but clouds and fog remain a problem. Water droplets are usually smaller than 100 microns, which is small, but still much larger than the span of an infrared or visible-light wave, so neither infrared light nor visible light can pass easily through clouds.

Who makes the best thermal imaging monocular? ›

Best Thermal Monocular for Coyote Hunting
  • FLIR Breach PTQ136 Multi-Purpose Monocular.
  • Leupold LTO-Tracker HD Thermal Viewer.
  • ATN Thor 4 Thermal Rifle Scope.
  • FLIR Scout Thermal Imaging Monocular.
  • Leupold LTO Quest Thermal Viewer.
  • ATN OTS HD 384 Thermal Monocular.
  • Sector Optics T20x Thermal Imaging Monocular.
Jan 2, 2022

Is thermal or night vision better? ›

While thermal is better for detection, it is definitely pricier than night vision. Thermal imaging is newer and more costly technology to manufacture. Night vision has been around since WWII and is much more available and affordable.

How far can you see with a thermal monocular? ›

Range. While it is easy to get caught up in the fact that most thermal monoculars will have ranges exceeding 1,000 yards, most people will want to ensure that they can clearly see a heat-emitting object within 100 yards instead of a blob of heat at 1,000 yards.

Where are AGM thermal scopes made? ›

AGM Global Vision Thermal Scope Python TS25-640 Short Range Thermal Imaging Rifle Scope 640x512 (30 Hz), 25 mm Lens. Made in USA, Black.


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