Night vision goggles have been around dating back to WWII during their inception as a scouting device to gain a tactical advantage during nighttime skirmishes. They have been used and developed by the military, police and the FBI ever since, to enhance vision up to 200 yards in nearly total darkness. As technology has advanced, night vision goggles have become available to the public in various price ranges for a variety of uses ranging from night tracking for serious hunters to recreational fun for kids wanting to feel like James Bond at sleepovers. 

How Does Night Vision Work?

Night vision is made possible through image enhancement technology, bringing focus to objects that would otherwise appear blurry or blend into darkness over long distances. Night vision devices have a structure known as an image intensifier tube that works by collecting and amplifying infrared light. Infrared light has longer wavelengths than visible light and cannot be detected by the naked eye. More advanced devices also contain thermal imaging systems that detect infrared light from heat, including body heat. So, if a hunter is tracking a deer at night, they can follow the deer at a great distance from the light emitted from its body heat. 

BrandSpyNetNight OwlEyeclopsYukon
TitleSpy Net Ultra Night Vision GogglesNight Owl Optics 5-Power NOXM50 Night Vision MonocularEyeClops Night Vision Infrared Stealth GogglesYukon Nvmt 4X50 Night Vision Monocular
Rating0 out of 5 stars4.2 out of 5 stars3.6 out of 5 stars3.5 out of 5 stars
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What Are Different Styles Of Night Vision Goggles?

  • Binoculars: Classic night goggles are worn like binoculars and usually attached to a headpiece so that the user can go hands free. They are most useful for those who want to maintain constant night vision while being able to do other tasks at the same time.
  •   Scopes: Scopes are monocular with only one eye piece. They are generally handheld, however some can be mounted on a rifle for hunting purposes. They are ideal for people that want to switch between night vision and natural vision without having to remove a headpiece. 

What Are Some Common Uses For Night Vision Goggles?

Beyond the basic differences between binocular and monocular night vision devices, there are a variety of night vision goggle models that are custom made for specific purposes and budgets. Here is a list of five uses for night vision goggles and examples of goggles from each category that have high customer satisfaction ratings.

1. Hunting/Tracking

With gogglYukon - NV 1x24 Goggleses or a mounted scope, hunters have an immediate advantage over their targets since they can see much farther and more clearly than the animals they are tracking. Since natural predators come out to hunt in the dark, night hunters will often use sound signals to simulate prey and lure their targets. Yukon’s NV-24 retails for about $500 and is one of the most highly regarded models of night vision goggles available. For hunters on a budget, Yukon also offers more basic options in the $200 range.

2. Wildlife Observation

For those who wish to peacefully view animals in their natural habitats at night, there are handheld night vision binoculars that are specifically designed for wildlife observation. Like hunting ATN Night Scout Night Vision Binocularsgoggles, the best rated models run upwards of $500, however they would be ideal for researchers, birdwatchers, or anyone who is serious about studying nocturnal animals. The Night Scout by ATN is recommended and used by Boy Scouts of America, the American Camping Association and the American Birding Association.

3. Hiking/Camping

Spy Net Ultra Night Vision GogglesIf you want to have improved vision at night for casual hiking and camping yet don’t require the advanced technology and viewing range necessary for hunting or wildlife observation, there are many less expensive options available. These goggles will allow you to see up to 50 feet and generally cost less than $100. Spy Net Ultra Vision Night Goggles only cost $69 and includes a built-in camera that can take up to 2000 photos and record up to 20 minutes of video of your nocturnal adventures.

4. Surveillance

If you are concerned about overnight security for your home or business, consider a night vision device as a precautionary measure. There are weatherproof, indoor/outdoor security cameras that have excellent night vision systems. Most popular options like this Sony CCD cost between $30 and $100 online.

5. Fun

Night vision goggles are essential for survival in certain military contexts, however they can also be used for fun. Like spy night vision glasses, some versions are designed as toys, and while they certainly won’t help anyone Spy Gear Night Gogglestrack an elk or see an owl in the trees at night, they can offer hours of nonstop entertainment. Spy Gear night goggles is ideal for a late night game of manhunt or hide and seek in the woods. These goggles can turn a frightening power outage into a fun adventure for your kids. For less than $25, you can see up to 25 feet away and have a great time.

Don’t Forget To Check The Legislature

If you’re interested in a more advanced set of night goggles, be sure to check your state’s legislature before making a purchase. In some states (like California), night goggles that use an infrared light source and can be used to accessorize a firearm are illegal or require a permit. If you intend to use your goggles for hunting purposes, check your local hunting laws regardless, since night hunting can be illegal or heavily regulated in many states.