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Night vision goggles are super handy for a multitude of things, and more people have a practical use for them than you might realize.
Anyone who does nighttime observation—hunters, wildlife observers, tactical professionals, search and rescue, security personnel—should have a pair of night vision goggles just to make their lives easier.
They also make nighttime shooting easier, if you have the right equipment. If you want to use your night vision goggles for shooting, it’s best if you use a weapon-mounted infrared laser. Night vision goggles are rather bulky, and usually make it impossible to look through your sights.
In either case, shooting or not shooting, you want the best night vision goggles that fit your budget. Just a heads up, night vision goggles are not a cheap piece of gear.
However, most people don’t need super high-end night vision equipment. The vast majority of people will be happy with a pair of gen 1 or gen 2 goggles, which are the most budget-friendly models.
Our Favorite Choice
Pulsar Challenger Gs Super 1+ 1X20 Night Vision Goggles
With all that out of the way, here’s the meat of this article: the Pulsar Challenger Gs Super 1+ 1X20 Night Vision Goggles are the best buy for just about everybody. They’re affordable, and produce an image that’s clear enough for most civilian uses.
If you’re sticking around for the whole show, we’ll dig into the details of the best night vision goggles of this year.
Top Night Vision Picks Today
Best Night Vision Goggles Reviews
Here they are, starting with the overall best goggles, and moving on in order of price. So, start up front if you’re balling on a budget, or skip to the end if you’re just plain balling.
1. Pulsar Gs Super 1+ 1X20: Best Overall Night Vision Goggles:
Pulsar is one of the global leaders in night vision technology, particularly in the civilian sector. Since most of their products are designed for civilian use, where the budgets tend to be lower, they’ve perfected their gen 1 night vision technology. So Pulsar gear delivers a great bang-to-buck ratio.
The Pulsar Gs Super 1+ 1X20 Night Vision Goggles are Pulsar’s all-purpose night vision goggles. They perform well in just about any context, and come at a reasonable price.
First thing: the form factor. These are actually a monocular, rather than a true goggle. However, many people prefer the monocular style because you can use your naked eye without flipping up your night vision gear if it gets washed out by bright light.
Additionally, the Gs can be mounted on a tripod or a rifle using the integrated mounting socket. However, there are no crosshairs or aiming reticle. So you’ll need an IR laser if you want to shoot with the Gs.
The Gs uses enhanced gen 1 night vision technology. This gives plenty of light amplification, with improved image clarity. Not quite as clear as gen 2 or gen 3. But better than standard gen 1. Which makes this is an excellent option for hunters and wildlife enthusiasts with an ordinary human’s budget.
For use in complete darkness, the Gs includes an integrated IR illuminator. Built-in IR illumination enables you to see even when there’s no light to amplify, without exposing yourself to observation.
The Gs comes with a head hardness for hands-free use, and can be turned on and off with one hand.
Unfortunately, the design does have its limitations. As with any single lens optic, you have no depth perception when you’re looking through the Gs. So, walk carefully.
Also, the field of view is narrower than true binocular night vision goggles, which means you’ll have to turn your head and scan more.
But, even with those limitations, the Gs is still a great buy. You’ll get more performance-per-dollar than with most other night vision models.
- Excellent performance for the price
- Very clear, gen 1 night vision sensor
- Can be easily mounted on tripods and rifles
- Integrated IR illuminator for use in complete darkness
- Hands-free use and one-handed controls
- No depth perception
- Field of view is a bit narrow
2. Sightmark SM15070 Ghost Hunter 1X24: Best Night Vision Goggles Under $500
Sightmark is another night vision manufacturer who has made a solid name for themselves in the civilian night vision market. The Sightmark SM15070 Ghost Hunter 1X24 Night Vision Binoculars are one of the few true binocular night vision goggles that come in under half a grand.
The form factor is a dual-lens design that gives you binocular vision when using these goggles. In short, that means you have depth perception when you look through them, so you’ll fall down less when you’re walking in the woods at night.
These come with a head mount for hands-free use. And the head mount is adjustable, so you can customize the eye relief. The lenses on the goggles themselves also adjust so you get a clear image no matter where you set the eye relief.
The sensor is a standard gen 1 sensor. The light amplification is impressive. However, the image is standard definition.
These work in total darkness with the integrated IR illuminator, which is very bright and faces forward for excellent illumination in the center field of view.
The field of view itself is 30 degrees, which is fairly wide, thanks to the dual lens form factor.
Sadly, these don’t have all the function of binoculars. There’s no magnification.
Also, these aren’t suitable for mounting on a tripod, because there’s no mounting socket. On the bright side, they do come with a helmet mount.
All in all, these are by far the most affordable and highest performing option for those who want true binocular night vision on a reasonable budget.
- Binocular design retains depth perception when using the goggles
- Comes with a head mount and helmet mount
- Excellent integrated IR illuminator
- Adjustable eye relief
- Wide field of view
- Standard definition image
- No magnification
- No tripod mounting socket
3. Yukon NV 1X24: Best Value Night Vision Goggles Under $1000
The Yukon NV 1X24 Night Vision Goggles are designed to give the best image clarity in the in the gen 1 night vision price range. However, this comes with a few downsides. So, hunters and wildlife observers will probably appreciate these goggles the most.
The NV goggles provide dual-lens functionality. So, so you’ll have depth perception while you’re using these goggles.
Additionally, Yukon equipped the NV goggles with image intensifiers in the night vision tube that provide excellent image clarity from the gen 1 night vision technology.
These goggles also work in complete darkness with a built-in IR illuminator. The IR illuminator uses high-frequency pulsing technology to prolong the battery life when using the IR illumination.
And, the NV comes with a head mount for hands-free operation. The head mount and goggles are adjustable. So you get a clear image with any eye relief.
However, these goggles are rather bulky. Bulkier than most of the other models, in fact. So they’re not ideal for shooting, even with a weapon-mounted IR laser.
Additionally, gen 1 night vision means no magnification.
The clear image combined with the form factor make these ideal goggles for pure observation. However, these aren’t great for those who want to shoot with their night vision on.
- Excellent image clarity
- Usable in zero light conditions with IR illumination
- Long battery life, even with IR illumination on
- Adjustable eye relief
- Too bulky for night vision shooting
- No magnification
4. Pulsar PL75095 Edge Gs Super 1+: Tactical Night Vision Goggles
The two most important things for tactical night vision are depth perception and image clarity. The Pulsar PL75095 Edge Gs Super Night Vision 1+ Goggles deliver both of these things without breaking the bank.
Pulsar designed these with a dual lens form factor to give you depth perception while using the goggles.
The night vision sensor is gen 1. However, Pulsar uses proprietary night vision tube technology to enhance the image clarity so that it’s closer to gen 2 clarity, without sacrificing any light amplification.
This model is equipped with a large, forward-facing IR illuminator that offers excellent illumination for the entire field of vision for excellent performance in total darkness.
There’s a head and helmet mount for hands-free operation, and the goggles can be turned on and off with one hand.
The field of view is fairly wide at 36 degrees. It’s a tad narrower than some other models. But only by about 4 degrees or so.
And one last thing: the battery lasts for up to 50 hours, which is a long operating life.
Minor complaints: the eye cups are kind of weak and will allow light in, if you’re not in complete darkness.
Also, you’ll need to purchase one additional piece for mounting to a helmet. The goggles come with the mounting hardware for the goggles. But you’ll need the piece that mounts on the helmet.
However, these are compact enough and have the right performance features for tactical use. Just remember to get your weapon-mounted IR laser.
- Dual lens design gives depth perception
- Excellent image quality from gen 1 night vision
- Head and helmet mount compatible
- Long battery life
- Eye cups aren’t that great
- Field of view is just slightly narrower than some competing models
- Need to purchase an additional part for mounting on a helmet
5. Armasight Nyx7 Gen 2+: Gen 2 Night Vision Goggles
Gen 2 night vision optics are ideal for those who need more clarity than Gen 1 night vision offers, without getting crazy on the price. The Armasight Nyx7 Gen 2+ Night Vision Goggles are the best option in the field of affordable gen 2 night vision.
These goggles come in three configurations:
All three models come with head harnesses, and are compatible with most helmet mounts. However, you must purchase your own helmet mount.
All three also come with built-in IR illuminators for operation in total darkness.
All three can be turned on and off and adjusted with one hand.
Lastly, all three use a gen 2 night vision tube for improved image clarity.
Where they differ is in the display.
The standard definition model uses a plain, gen 2 night vision tube. The image is clearer than gen 1 night vision. But there’s no image enhancement to bring the clarity closer to gen 3 crispness.
The standard definition model is best for those who need a clearer image, but don’t need gen 3 prices. This one is best for hunters and wildlife observers.
The high definition model adds image enhancement to the standard gen 2 night vision tube, for a brighter, crisper image.
The high definition model is best for professionals that need more brightness and clarity than standard gen 2 technology offers, but may be too limited by their budget to spring for gen 3 optics. Tactical professionals and those who may need to drive with their night vision goggles should consider this model.
The white phosphor model uses gen 2 night vision technology with white phosphor in the tube to generate a black and white image, rather than a green image.
The image is just as clear as the standard definition model, but is easier to use for extended periods of time because the grayscale image is easier on your eyes. Best for professionals who must wear their night vision for hours on end.
The main downside with all three models is that they use a single objective lens. So there’s no depth perception while using these night vision goggles.
Also, they stick out rather far in front of your face. So they can be tricky to shoot with, although it’s entirely possible.
All three of these models offer an exceptional compromise between price and performance that any professional who must purchase their own equipment for work will appreciate. However, the price point might be a little high for hunters and wildlife observers.
- Gen 2 image clarity
- Built-in IR illuminator for use in complete darkness.
- Hands-free operation with head harness
- One-handed operation
- Excellent price and options for gen 2 night vision
- No included helmet mount
- Single objective lens means no depth perception
- A bit bulky
6. Armasight PVS7-3: Gen 3 Night Vision Goggles
The Armasight PVS7-3 Gen 3 Night Vision Goggles are essentially the Nyx7 goggles with a gen 3 night vision tube.
The main selling point here is the gen 3 night vision optics. This produces the absolute clearest image you can get with night vision technology.
Additionally, Armasight added a built-in infrared spotting laser to these goggles, in addition to the standard illuminator. So these goggles function in total darkness, and you can use them to point things out to anyone else who also has night vision without giving away your position.
These are head and helmet mountable, and offer one-handed operation. However, they do not come with a head harness or a helmet mount.
The field of view is 40 degrees, which is considered to be the standard for night vision goggles of this caliber.
The main downside to these goggles is the price. Wow, are they expensive. They’re most viable for professionals who need absolute image clarity for critical operations like driving or flying.
- Excellent, gen 3 night vision image clarity
- Integrated IR spotting laser and IR illuminator
- Head and helmet mountable
- One-handed operation
- 40 degree field of view
- Very expensive
- No included head harness or helmet mount
Turning Out the Lights
Night vision goggles can give you an edge whenever you’re heading out into the dark, whether that’s for hunting and animal observation, or tactical operations.
There are a lot of options and huge variations in price.
However, if you want the best overall night vision goggles—taking price into consideration—get the Pulsar Challenger Gs Super 1+ 1X20 Night Vision Goggles. They’re affordable and offer enough performance for most civilian applications.
Now that you’re informed, grab yourself some night vision gear so you can get out there and do your thing, day or night.