Choosing between night vision goggles and binoculars is not an easy task. This is one of the most discussed tops when it comes to night vision optics. Which if these devices are best for you and why? This is a common question among hunters, hikers, and observers. It usually comes to mind when looking for a night vision device.
Are night vision goggles and binoculars identical?
The answer can go both ways. They are sometimes identical and sometimes no. The biggest and main difference between these two is magnification.
Night vision goggles have a magnification of 1x while binoculars have higher magnification and a narrower field of view.
You probably know about binoculars since they are the most used optical device in the world. A binocular is a dual tube optic system with built-in magnification power. However, since we are looking at night vision binoculars, they come powered with a battery source to provide illumination at night.
Most night vision binoculars are a little heavier than normal day binoculars. They are also more expensive. The binoculars feature a large magnification, configuration, and aperture.
Night Vision Goggles
Unlike binoculars, night vision goggles feature a single magnification. They are suitable for viewing targets at a close range as opposed to binoculars. Night vision goggles are lightweight and usually worn over the head using a strap. They come with the straps but some need to be bought separately. You’ve probably seen the police and other law enforcement officers wear night-vision goggles over their heads and helmets.
Night Vision Goggle vs Binoculars: Which One is Better?
There is no clear answer to this question and one must carefully choose one that best suits your needs. We can discuss the suitability of these two devices under the following categories:
Deciding on the best under hunting is pretty difficult because each device has pros and cons. Goggles offer hands-free use. They allow you to walk and scout at the same time. However, you have to get pretty close to see your target.
Binoculars for hunting, on the other hand, are designed for use from a stationary position. They feature magnification and allow you to scout from pretty far ranges. There is no clear winner here as both devices will not enable you to shoot through the scope.
Goggles offer hands-free surveillance in short ranges. They are ideal when you have to use the gun pretty fast. The hands-free operation allows for fast gun deployment.
However, binoculars can see pretty far allowing you to survey without being seen. The clear winner here is the night vision binocular. The device allows you to survey without being detected.
If you’re in a tactical situation where you have to search buildings and engage in rapid movement, the goggles are the best. They allow you to use both hands and move while scanning the area. However, some tactical operations require secret scouting where binoculars come into play. The long observation benefits of binoculars allow you to scout and see what happens from a distance.
There is no clear winner and the ideal choice comes down to the tactical scene itself. The specific tactical application will determine the best device to use.
Size and Weight
Goggles are lightweight and smaller in size than binoculars. This is because they lack magnification. Goggles are easy to wear over the head and use hands-free. If you’re looking to cut on weight and size, then consider choosing night vision goggles.
Field Of View
Do you want a wide field of view or bigger magnification? When seeing with your naked eyes, one can see up to a 190-degree field of view. However, this drastically drops when using goggles to around 40 degrees. The field of view narrows down to around 20 degrees when using binoculars. Night vision goggles are the obvious winners when you want a better field of view.
Goggles only offer a 1x magnification that sees targets at close ranges. However, binoculars can see at pretty long ranges due to 2x to 5x magnifications. If you’re looking to see targets at long ranges, then choosing night vision binoculars is a great idea.
However, there are cons at greater magnifications as the image clarity reduces. You also get a much smaller field of view.
Availability and Price
When it comes to availability, both devices are readily available at varying prices. The prices usually vary with specific features. Goggles tend to be more readily available with multiple choices. There are still view night vision binoculars with most models being for day use.
As you can see, there is no clear winner. The ideal choice between night vision goggles and binoculars comes down to purpose. Goggles are suitable for hands-free use at short ranges where magnification is not required. They are also ideal when running or walking.
However, for long-range scouting, then binoculars are the best pick. They can bring detailed information about targets at long ranges close and clear. Make sure you understand your needs and choose the most suitable night vision device. Alice from OpticsAddict.com also has an informative article for outdoors optics that you might also wanted to check out before your next hunting trips.