The 17th century marked the invention of the telescope. Using the same design, binoculars were developed to help exploration but during that time, binoculars were still not available. Explorers used something closer to telescopes in terms of design. They used monoculars.
Monoculars are quite similar to telescopes. They are mainly designed to be used as a replacement for binoculars but unlike telescopes, the magnification is significantly smaller than with a telescope. The most common monoculars have a straight optical path using prisms.
Today, monoculars are used for various types of activities such as hunting, hiking, sightseeing and pretty much in every circumstance in which a pair of binoculars might be used. Today we will have a quick look at 10 different monoculars selected out of hundreds of models. The main focus has been on reliability, clarity and a balanced price tag. Here are the top 10 best monoculars.
Best Monoculars in 2018
Table of Contents
- 10. METALBAY High Power Monocular Telescope
- 9. Vortex Optics Solo R/T 8×36 Monocular
- 8. Celestron UpClose G2 10×25 Monocular
- 7. Gosky Titan 12X50 High Power Prism Monocular
- 6. Miluo Tech 16×52 Dual Focus Monocular Telescope
- 5. Vortex Optics Solo Monocular 10×25
- 4. COSBITY Monocular Telescopes 12×50
- 3. Roxant Grip Scope High Definition Monocular 6×30
- 2. Roxant Pocket Mini Monocular 7×18
- 1. Wingspan Optics Explorer High Powered Monocular 12X50
- Things to keep in mind when looking for the best monoculars
10. METALBAY High Power Monocular Telescope
METAL BY monocular is a great little tool to have around when watching wildlife, fishing, sightseeing or even when going out for a hike. It is also not that expensive and quite compact. The monocular was also designed to be compatible with most smartphones to enable hands-free viewing.
From a practical perspective, the monocular was built with a rubberized enclosure to ensure that it does not slip when holding it. The eye cups can be adjusted so that it provides optimal viewing angles while the center focus knob can be used with just one hand.
As for magnification, it is a 12X monocular with a 50mm lens diameter. It has a large field of view of 131M/1000M. The device itself was made to be waterproof and usable in any weather conditions.
- 12X magnification
- Waterproof can be used in any weather conditions
- Can be used with a smartphone
- Rubberized coating, providing better grip for the user
9. Vortex Optics Solo R/T 8×36 Monocular
Vortex Optics Solo R/T monocular is one of the few premium models that managed to get picked for our list. The higher price tag translates into better build quality and attention to detail. The lens is of higher quality and the monocular itself is built to last.
The Solo R/T offers an 8X magnification with 36mm lens. It has a wide viewing angle and delivers high clarity with its multi-coated glass surfaces. Adjusting the focus is very precise.
To block unwanted light from interfering, the monocular is fitted with an adjustable eyecup. It also has a small clip attached to make it easy to carry. The body of the monocular is coated with a rubber material and the construction makes it water resistant and shockproof.
- Water resistant and shockproof
- 8X magnification with 36mm lens
- Flared adjustable eyecup
- Compact, lightweight and durable
8. Celestron UpClose G2 10×25 Monocular
Celestron UpClose G2 monocular is a great pick for the ones that are on a limited budget. It is a small but useful gadget that can be used for a wide range of activities. Even if it is so inexpensive it managed to still be useful.
The monocular offers 10X magnification and 25mm lens. Its lens is multi-coated to increase light levels for sharper images and better contrast levels. The monocular is also well protected against shocks with a durable enclosure.
For the monocular, several accessories were included. The kit contains a soft carrying case and a small strap. The body of the monocular is made to be water resistant and survive in any type of weather conditions.
- Comes with a carrying case and strap
- Water resistant body
- 10X magnification and 25mm lens
- Inexpensive and durable
7. Gosky Titan 12X50 High Power Prism Monocular
The Gosky Titan monocular is a good pick for the ones that are looking for something premium. It is an advanced monocular with 12X magnification and 50mm lens which help it deliver accurately and clear image even at long distances.
Unlike other monoculars, the Gosky comes as a kit that includes a small adapter which helps it align with a smartphone camera. It is compatible with several popular smartphone models, showing the image on their display.
As far as durability goes, the monocular is made using a solid framework and shock absorbing enclosure with the aid of a rubber coating. It is waterproof, dust-proof and shockproof.
- Water resistant, dust-proof and shockproof
- 12X magnification and 50mm lens
- Includes an adapter for smartphones
- Superior light transmission, crisp images
6. Miluo Tech 16×52 Dual Focus Monocular Telescope
Miluo Tech makes an inexpensive monocular that will prove to be excellent for a beginner. It does not have all the rings and bells of the more expensive models but it is functional and works just well.
The monocular offers 16X magnification with the aid of 52mm lens. Its field of view measures 98m/8000m. It is quite large but very easy to use. Adjusting the focus can be done with just one hand by twisting until the perfect image is obtained.
To make it more resilient, the monocular is made with a rubberized body that can help absorb impacts and prevent damage to the lens. It is waterproof and can be used in all weather conditions.
- Inexpensive but durable and reliable
- 16X magnification and 52mm lens
- Rubberized body
- Waterproof construction
5. Vortex Optics Solo Monocular 10×25
Vortex Optics Solo monocular is one of the more popular picks mainly for the quality it offers. It is a mid-range monocular with a solid construction that delivers crisp clear images without costing too much.
Using 25mm lens makes it a bit more compact and easier to use. It is small enough to fit in a small pocket. Magnification is also decent and can go up to 10X. Because it has such a compact form factor and decent magnification, the monocular can be used for pretty much any type of activity.
To make it as durable as possible, the monocular is nitrogen purged and uses o-rings to seal it completely, making it waterproof, fog resistant and dust resistant. This allows it to survive in all types of environments.
- 10X magnification and 25mm lens
- O-ring sealed, waterproof and dustproof
- Adjustable eyecup with or without glasses
- Available in multiple magnifications and lens options
4. COSBITY Monocular Telescopes 12×50
CSOBITY monocular telescope is a great accessory for every individual that enjoys hiking, fishing, hunting or just spending time out in the wilderness. It is a simple and compact device with a premium build quality and excellent precision.
The model is made using 50mm lens that provides a magnification of 12X. It has minimal image distortion and low light reflection for brighter images and improved contrast. Adjusting the focus can be done with one hand and with just one focus wheel.
Inside the kit, the manufacturers included a small tripod. They also added a special phone clip that allows the user to record and view the image on the smartphone screen. The eyecups are adjustable and the rubber coating protects the monocular from physical damage.
- Includes a smartphone clip and a tripod
- Rubber finish for shock absorption
- 12X magnification and 50mm lens
- Improved image clarity during the night
3. Roxant Grip Scope High Definition Monocular 6×30
Roxant Grip Scope high definition monocular offers great value for the money. Even if it only offers a 6X magnification, the build quality, image sharpness and the amount of accuracy and control makes it a great option for pretty much anyone looking for a monocular.
A special feature of the monocular is the fact that the eyecup is retractable and can be used with or without eyeglasses. It includes a small carry pouch, cleaning cloth and a bonus neck strap.
In terms of construction, the rubberized finish helps improve grip and reduces damage from shocks and impacts. It is also waterproof and dust resistant. The monocular is extremely durable and suitable for all types of activities and weather conditions.
- No slip rubber coating
- Retractable eyecup
- Includes a carry pouch, cleaning cloth and neck strap
- 6X magnification and 30mm lens
2. Roxant Pocket Mini Monocular 7×18
Roxant pocket mini monocular is exactly what the name states. It was designed to be portable, easy to use and durable. The monocular can fit in a small pocket or purse but because it has a rubberized finish, it offers decent grip and it does not slip from the hand.
According to the manufacturers, the lens used for their monocular are premium and multi-coated to improve optics. They allow better light transmission and improved brightness. The focus can be adjusted by just turning a simple focus wheel.
As far as construction goes, the body of the monocular is fairly rigid and sturdy. It is suitable for activities such as water sports, bird watching, hunting, hiking, boating and many more. The kit includes a small pouch, cleaning cloth and even a neck strap.
- 7X magnification and 18mm lens
- Very compact but sturdy and durable
- Includes a pouch, neck strap and cleaning cloth
- Multi-coated optics for improved light transmission
1. Wingspan Optics Explorer High Powered Monocular 12X50
Wingspan Optics monocular is one of the best-selling models for a good reason. It is inexpensive, has a very reliable construction and uses premium optics to deliver the most pleasant and clear view.
The monocular offers 12X magnification using the 50mm lens. Adjusting the focus of the monocular is done extremely easy and with great precision while the finish provides a good grip and great protection.
Speaking of protection, the body of the monocular has a non-slip rubberized finish that protects the lens from shocks and impacts. It is completely sealed and waterproof. The sealing also inhibits internal fogging and protects it from any environment.
- Premium construction
- Protected against fogging, water, dust and debris
- Accurate single hand focus
- 12X magnification and 50mm lens
Things to keep in mind when looking for the best monoculars
A monocular is usually a simple device. It is much easier to build than a binocular and thus the price is significantly lower. They usually do the same thing as a binocular but they are much more convenient to carry around and because of their construction, they are a bit more durable.
Picking a monocular is not that confusing since there are only a few things worth looking at. As the engineering behind is the same, only certain specifications need to be considered. Here are some key pointers to think about.
- Magnification. The magnification of a monocular usually ranges from 6X to 15X depending on the model. There is no direct correlation between the price of a model and the magnification. Only the quality of the lens influence pricing.
- Construction. There is not much to question here. The vast majority of monoculars are made with a rubberized enclosure and they are sealed so that air or water cannot get inside.
- Lens quality. This is something difficult to test. A poorly designed monocular can have a blurry image even if the focus is properly adjusted. It all depends on the quality of the lends. Usually, the reviews of the ones that already tested a model should provide some sort of feedback regarding the quality of the lens.
Getting a decent monocular is not that confusing since they are all made using the same optical design. As with any other type of product, the models at the bottom of the price range should be avoided since they use a poor lens and the image can be a bit blurry.
On the upside, monoculars are not that expensive, even the models that are considered premium. It is worth spending a bit extra in order to be sure that you are getting something functional that actually does what is supposed to do. Not all the cheap monoculars are bad but the more expensive ones are usually more reliable.