The 7 Best Night Vision Goggles 2018: Hunting, Diving, & Sightseeing

night vision goggles in use

Night vision goggles are not only for military use and many people still believe that they will need to spend a ton of cash if they are looking for this piece of military grade equipment. In recent years, many manufacturers have now started to design night vision goggles for commercial use as well and they have done this to make shooting at night and even hunting much easier for any individual.

Being a more effective shooter at night will definitely come down to a few things. We have decided to look a little deeper into the best night vision goggles and find our selection that we believe should be a perfect fit for you on your nightly shooting expeditions. Since these goggles are very intricate, we have also decided to look a little deeper into the makeup of these goggles and find the most important features that you will need to concern yourself with when you are looking for them.

In this article, you will find out exactly which features we have used to judge the top night vision goggles and you will also see our choice and selection for the top night vision goggles that you could buy. We have also included a decent section that will show you exactly how these night vision goggles will work and which benefits they will offer you when you want to be shooting at night.

Top Night Vision Goggles Comparison Chart

Why use night vision goggles?

The human eye is actually really powerful and it has been this way since the first age of man’s existence. As the years has went on, the human eye has slowly become much more adaptive to certain surrounding and certain colors, but even though the eye is one of the most parts of our body, there are as still so many things that we do not yet understand when it comes to the eye.

Unlike animals, humans cannot really see as well in the dark and this has certainly set us back a little bit in terms of the overall spectrum of man vs. wild. Our eyes can still see pretty good, but we do lack in terms of night vision and this is where the night vision goggles will come into play. The night vision goggles will light up and area and give us the same bonus that you will find in many animals. This makes it possible for us to have combat at night and also to hunt better at night.

Night vision goggles will give you clear and high definition sight in the darkness. This will even make your camping and hunting expeditions so much easier. No more losing trails and getting lost in the dark. You will also be able to capture those rare photographs of the nocturnal animals in their own environments.

Key Features to Consider 

Like most other products that you will find, night vision goggles also have those intricate details that will set them apart from each other. We have looked at many of their top features to ensure that we are able to able to make a good judgment on the products and to help you find the best night vision goggles that you could possibly get for your money. Here are the most important features that you should be concerned about when looking for night vision goggles:

Light amplification or thermal imaging

There are two types of night vision goggles that you will need to be concerned about when you are making your decision. The light amplification and the thermal imaging versions work perfectly, but they are very different from one another.

Light Amplification

Light amplification works best when there is limited starlight or moonlight available. The little bit of light that is left will then be amplified to give you the best possible color and image that you could find. This type of night vision goggle generally includes an already built-in infrared light and this light will be enough to give you a decent light source to work with.

Thermal Imaging

Thermal imaging will use the heat of the object to give off a certain light that can only be seen with an infrared light. This light is found at the end of the infrared spectrum and will be visible through the night vision goggles. Thermal imaging will work great when you are in an area with limited heat signatures, but if there are too many things emitting heat, this system might not be as effective

Resolution

The resolution will give an indication of how clearly you will be able to see the image and also distinguish between multiple objects or animals that are in close proximity to one another. The resolution on night vision goggles might also slightly vary from the center to edges and you might find yourself looking at something much better when it has been centered in the goggles.

Magnification

The magnification is also really impressive and you will have to look at the magnification when you are determining the distance that you will need these goggles for. The farther away your target is, the more magnification you will need and this will also greatly increase the overall price tag of the goggles.

Weather Resistance

Depending on when and where you are going to use your night vision goggles, you will also need to keep an eye on the weather resistance capabilities. A lot of times you will need to go through muddy puddles and even work in the rain. This could all have a huge impact on the goggles itself. The more durable the goggles are, the better they will be capable of holding up in nearly any weather condition.

Size and Weight

If you are going to hiking or backpacking with these goggles, the size and weight will also come into play. You will need to ensure that you are capable of carrying it around with you, without having a worry that it might become too much of a burden. If you are using them on a rifle, the size will also play a huge role and you will need to ensure that the scope can perfectly fit on the rifle, without causing any potential complications for you.

Power Source

All night vision goggles will need to have some sort of battery for lighting up the dark. You will need to choose between the standard alkaline batteries or the better lithium batteries. We recommend the lithium batteries due to the fact that they have a longer life and you will not need to replace them as often. Even though the alkaline batteries are much cheaper, they will still require you to replace them much more frequently and this could potentially drive up the costs.

These 6 features will be the most important when you are looking for value and looking to buy a quality night vision goggle. These features will also need to be taken carefully into consideration to ensure that you do get the best possible value for your money.

Top Performance Factors 

Night vision goggles can be solely rated on their performance as well. The better they perform the better success you will have when you are using them. These 5 factors are fundamentally important when it comes to getting the best performing night vision goggles for your journey and for your goals.

  • Clarity

The clarity is in direct connection with the resolution and since the resolution is measured in millimeters, you will also find that the higher the lines, the better the vision will be for you through the goggles.

  • Range

The range is one of the fundamentally important aspects that you should look at. While night vision technology has not yet reached the level of rifle scopes, you will have to be happy with a few hundred yards of range. The better the range, the more functionality and versatility you will have when it comes to achieving your goals and setting yourself up for success.

  • Ergonomics

The ergonomics factor is also really important and you might sometimes have to sacrifice the better magnification for a smaller size. If you are not concerned about having freedom of movement, you will definitely need to go for the larger size and have the best possible magnification and also the more intricate features to help you.

  • Durability

The more durable the goggles, the better results you will have when using them in almost any conditions. You will definitely need to look a little deeper at a few of the features like waterproofness and the ability to withstand as much of the impact as possible from bumping and falling.

  • Infrared Illuminators

With night vision goggles, you should always try and pay attention to the infrared illuminators and if it does have one inside. This infrared illuminator will definitely make life so much easier for you when you are in total darkness and you are looking to have that small beam of light that the night vision goggles can work with to amplify something that you are looking for through the scope.

These 5 features are the most important performance factors that you will need to keep in mind when you are looking for a really good pair of night vision goggles. The level of these features will also greatly dictate the overall price tag and you could save a few bucks if you are willing to sacrifice a few of these essential features, but like most things in life, you will essentially get what you are paying for.

Night Vision Generation Technology and Why This is Important?

Night Vision goggles are all divided into different generations when you are focusing on the technology that has been used in them. Depending on the quality of this technology and the time of the design, they will give a generation. The newer the generation, the more advanced the goggles will be and the more expensive they will also be. Here are the Generations of night vision goggles that you should know about before purchasing one:

Generation 1

These were basically the first type of night vision goggles that were ever designed. The gen 1 night vision goggles were designed in the 1960s and they were specifically used for the Vietnam War. These goggles each employ 1 vacuum tube with a photosensitivity of 120-280 microamperes per lumen.

They also have a light amplification of 120-900 times the ambient light. While these goggles are now the cheapest goggles of the bunch, they, might not be suitable for taking photos and combat. These goggles will be perfect for those who are backpacking or hiking in the dark to help them stay on the designated route.

Generation 1+ 

These goggles are actually a drastic improvement over the standard Gen 1 night vision goggles and they include a fiber optic plate that has been installed in the front and the back of the tube. The goggles have a photocathode of 300 microamperes per lumen and they have a light amplification of 900-1000 times the ambient light.

Generation 2 

Gen 2 sets are quite different from both of the Gen 1 sets and they feature an electron amplifier that will give you much better amplification of light. As far as generation 2 goes, they have improved sensitivity of 300-320 microamperes per lumen and they also have great amplification of around 20000 to 30000 times the ambient light that you will have around you.

Gen 2 goggles are quite expensive when compared to the Gen 1 goggles and they are mostly supplied to law enforcement by the government.

Generation 2+

Gen 2+ night vision goggles are a little better than the standard Gen 1 goggles and even the Gen 2 goggles. They have improved sensitivity of around 350 microamperes per lumen. Gen 2+ goggles are produced in Russian and they are also mostly used in the country since the US directly jumped from generation 2 to generation 3.

Generation 3 

Gen 3 night vision is designed in the US and it is only used by the US soldiers and marines. The goggles are much better than the standard Gen 2 goggles, but unfortunately, they are not budget friendly. One thing that you will find when it comes to the Gen 3 goggles; is that you will not be able to export them to anywhere outside of the US.

These goggles include ranges of 300 yards or more. They also have the longest life expectancy with an overall estimated lifetime of around 10,000 hours.

Generation 4 


Generation 4 night vision technology is very new to the market and it is not yet really accepted by the military. These goggles have impressive ranges of close to 500 yards, but since the durability and overall effectiveness of the technology are still being tested, it is quite hard to determine when this technology or generation of night vision will officially be introduced and accepted.

 

Night Vision Goggle Reviews

 

ATN PS15-4 GEN 4 Night Vision Goggle System

He ATN PS15-4 GEN 4 Night Vision Goggle system is one of the more advanced binocular systems that you will find on the market today. The system includes the night vision goggle Gen 4 systems. The system includes a decent infrared illuminator and this will work in absolute total darkness to help ensure that you have the ability to see the target or the object in almost total darkness.

The goggles will give you a range of around 500 yards in total darkness and this should be enough for you to see the object or the person that is trying to move. This night vision binocular system is also extremely durable and it is capable of withstanding those stubborn bumps and it is also waterproof. After use, the lenses can easily be covered and this will protect the glasses from getting hurt or even cracking.

One thing we really like about these goggles is the fact that they are actually quite small and also very lightweight. The dimensions are 4.7 x 2.7 x 4.5 inches and this will make it much easier to carry around in your backpack and also to simply strap to your belt if you are a law enforcement officer. The one thing we should mention is that you will only be able to detect movement in a range of only 100 yards, but this will still be enough if someone is trying to escape.

This set of night vision goggles is actually quite expensive and military grade technology has been incorporated to make it as effective as it currently is. The goggles are recommended for those in the army and even for professional law enforcement officers to ensure that you do get the best possible way of spotting fleeing enemies or intruders in the dark.

Pros:

  • Extremely durable
  • Very lightweight and small
  • Great clarity
  • Can be used as binoculars as well
  • Decent warranty

Cons:

  • Extremely expensive

 

ATN PVS7-3 Night Vision Goggle

The ATN PVS7-3 Night Vision Goggle is another extremely powerful and very durable night vision goggle that you could buy for commercial use. The goggles have been built from military grade materials and it features a generation 3 image intensifier that will give you great imaging in a wide variety of conditions.

The glass optics have also been multicoated and this will make the goggles that much more efficient in those different light spectrums. To ensure that you have all the comfort in the world, the goggles also include three brow pads. These brow pads will keep the goggles secure and sitting comfortably when you also assemble the 3-piece headgear that it comes with. If you are in the military and you are looking for a hands-free experience, these goggles should be perfect for you.

The goggles have also been combat-tested by the US army and it has passed all of the tests with flying colors. The goggles will require 2 AA batteries and these batteries will make the goggles go into an active mode and start emitting light in even the darkest of conditions. The goggles are also extremely lightweight and should be easy to carry in your back pocket.

In terms of pricing, since this is a generation 3 night vision goggle set, you will basically be able to get them at a reasonably affordable price. The goggles also come with a limited 2-year warranty and this could give you enough time to try out the brand and find out if the brand is perfect for you.

Pros:

  • Extremely durable
  • Very lightweight
  • Provides decent range
  • Can be used hands-free
  • Decent price tag

Cons:

  • The lenses should be covered as they do lack some durability

 

Armasight Nyx7-ID Gen 2+ Night Vision Goggles Improved Definition

The Armasight Nyx7-ID Gen 2+ Night Vision Goggles feature impeccable definition and clarity for their night vision technology that has been included. The goggles feature night vision generation 2+ and this is one of the older set of technology that you could find on the market today. One of the main things that immediately stand out when you look at this set of goggles is the immense magnification it offers. The goggles can be magnified up to 8 times to ensure that you have the best possible vision.

The goggles also come with a headset included and this headset will make a huge difference if you are planning to go hands-free with your goggles. The headset can comfortably mount and there will be no need for you to worry about adjustments as the goggles will automatically adjust and compensate for the current light that is available.

The goggles are also extremely durable and they include a lithium-ion battery that must be recharged. This will definitely save you a few bucks if you are looking long term. The rugged design is also waterproof and will be resistant to shock and any bumps that might happen. We also like the smaller size, which makes it easier to store and keep in your bag.

These goggles are a generation 2 design and this means that they do not command such a high price. The goggles might not have the immense clarity that you might find in many of the top generation 4 night vision goggles, but if you love backpacking and going outdoors, these goggles should be perfect for you.

Pros:

  • Durable and lightweight
  • Includes a rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • Automatically adjusts and compensates for light
  • Can be mounted to your head with ease
  • Reasonably priced

Cons:

  • Lacks range and good clarity

 

PVS-7 3P – Night Vision Goggle Gen 3 High-Performance Thin-Filmed Auto-Gated IIT

The PVS-7 3P – Night Vision Goggle Gen 3 High-Performance Thin-Filmed auto-gated IIT is another really affordable Generation 3 night vision goggle that has been designed by Armasight. This set of night vision goggles is actually really affordable and it is very durable. The rugged design is capable of withstanding tough impact and the outer base is also completely waterproof.

The goggles feature a built-in infrared illuminator and this will compensate for any possible light that has been detected. If no light is present the goggles will also give you, and amplify the little bit of light that is pushed out by the illuminator. If you are looking for the ultimate hands-free experience, these goggles will also ensure that you have a detachable helmet or headgear to mount the light on.

The one downside of this generation 3 night vision goggles will be the lack of magnification. These goggles only have a 1X magnification and this will certainly hinder you from spotting those smaller and more intricate details through the goggles. The goggles can be used with a lithium-ion battery or 2 AA batteries to ensure that you have power all the time. The average battery life on these goggles will be around 40 hours.

Since these are only Generation 3 goggles, they can be quite expensive when you look at the price tag. We would still recommend them if you cannot afford to make the investment in the more advanced Generation 4 goggles. It is also worth mentioning that these goggles will function on the cheaper Generation 2+ technology as well.

Pros:

  • Extremely durable and rugged design
  • Very functional and versatile
  • Can be used with any battery type
  • Automatically adjusts to light

Cons:

  • Really expensive
  • Lacks good magnification

 

Armasight Predator 336 2-8×25 (30 Hz) Thermal Imaging Weapon Sight

The Armasight Predator 336 2-8×25 thermal imaging weapon sight is one of the top weapon sights that you could possibly find on the market today. Hunters love to go hunting the dark and they sometimes get more done when the deer is caught off-guard. This night vision scope makes use of thermal imaging and will detect the heat signatures to give you an indication of your target and the approximate size.

One thing that makes this night vision scope so impressive is the fact that it has 6 different reticles that you could use. This will definitely help with distance and even to spot those tough targets. The OLED display and video output will give you crystal clear imaging and you should not have any troubles when it comes to having a clear line of sight on your target.

The zoom is capable of going up to 4X and this will get you up close and personal with your target. The night vision scope is capable of functioning with standard AA batteries or you can choose to go for the advanced lithium-ion batteries to give you an extended lifetime. We also like the rugged outer design and this will help when it comes to the overall durability of the scope.

In terms of pricing, this scope is quite expensive, but you will definitely need to pay if you are looking for the best possible quality and value for your money. The scope includes a standard 3-year warranty, but a 10-year warranty is included on the more advanced and intricate FLIR detector. We would highly recommend this scope for anyone into hunting and looking to thin out their animals when they become overpopulated.

Pros:

  • Extremely durable and rugged design
  • Waterproof and shockproof
  • Decent magnification
  • Great warranty included

Cons:

  • Quite heavy in terms of ergonomics

 

Superior Tactical PVS-7 Night Vision Goggle Gen 3 Blem Spec

The Superior Tactical PVS-7 Night Vision Goggle Gen 3 Blem spec from Superior Tactical actually features an impressive design that will be great for those in the tactical area and working in tactical combat. This military-grade night vision goggle is designed from some of the toughest materials that you could find on the market today.

These goggles include the Generation 3 night vision technology and this should be enough for those looking to only use in in smaller distances. The goggles have been designed with the 3-tube design and this makes it much clearer when you are looking to seek out a potential threat. The clarity on these goggles is actually quite impressive.

The goggles also use standard batteries and you can choose between adding the AA batteries or the longer lasting lithium ion batteries to ensure that you can have great battery power. The average battery power from a standard battery is around 50 hours, which should be a lot if you are only planning to use the goggles commercially.

In terms of pricing, these goggles are actually quite affordable and will be perfect for those who are looking to get a bargain but still get great value for their money. We would highly recommend these goggles to anyone looking to use them for hiking or backpacking. The size is not that big, but you will need to invest in the headset separately if you are looking to have a hands-free experience.

Pros:

  • Extremely durable and rugged
  • Uses multiple batteries and has a great battery life
  • Really affordable
  • Ergonomically great size

Cons:

  • Headset is not included and needs to be purchased separately

 

Armasight Spark-G Night Vision Goggle

The Armasight Spark-G Night Vision Goggle is one of the only Generation 1 goggles we have included into our list and it is also the most affordable that you wind. The goggle might only feature generation 1 technology, but it also includes an extremely tough and rugged outer design that has been tested for weatherproof efficiency and to resist possible bumps and impact that it might sustain.

These goggles also have a built-in infrared illuminator to ensure that you ar capable of seeing in the darkest conditions, but it will not really be that effective if you are trying to snap a few pictures of the area. The CR-123 lithium battery is included and will give you decent time to use the goggles on your backpacking or hiking expeditions.

In terms of pricing, these goggles are really cheap when compared to many of the other advanced goggles. You will still receive a decent 2-year warranty to test out the goggles and the headset is also included to ensure that you can have a hands-free experience when you are in need of them. Campers and backpackers should get the most out of this goggle set and ensure that they never get lost in the dark.

Pros:

  • Durable design
  • Extremely ergonomic
  • Really affordable
  • Includes a hands-free headset

Cons:

  • Not the best light amplification

 

Final Thoughts & Conclusion

We would like to thank you for reading this article and we certainly do hope that you have managed to find the best goggles for your needs. We can’t simply just recommend one of these goggles and we would like to recommend them all to anyone interested in making the investment when it comes to purchasing night vision goggles for hunting, diving, or your UFO sightseeing adventures.

Please share your thoughts on our selection in the comment section below and let us know if you think we might have missed any of your favorite night vision goggles that you are currently using.

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