Top Inexpensive Monoculars Reviewed – Buying guide & Comparison for 2018
If you are determined to purchase the best inexpensive monocular for the money, but you are short on time, and you cannot do the research on the topic, this guide can be of help. After assessing the market by reading what previous users and the specialists had to say on the subject, we have reached the conclusion that the Vortex Optics Solo 8×36 is the item that is worthy of your time and consideration. This device has a magnification ratio of 8x and an objective lens that measures 36mm. On top of that, the unit features fully multi-coated lenses that include anti-reflective coatings as well as a flared eyecup that can efficiently block the extraneous light. This choice is also suitable to be used by eyeglass wearers. If the model is unavailable, be sure to take a good look at the Vortex Optics Solo 8×25 as it might also suit your needs.
Finding a good inexpensive monocular is a task that comes with its difficulties. To be of assistance to you, we have prepared a list of features that you should not overlook before placing any orders. So, read ahead and make a decision!
Lens size and magnification ratio
Monoculars usually have lenses that vary in length from 20 to 42mm. A good budget monocular usually has a lens diameter of 25mm. This is the case because products of this kind are easy to transport and use. However, units with small lenses have a limited field of view. Yet, it is worth pointing out that the devices with larger objectives are bulkier and heavier, which is why many avoid investing in them.
When it comes to the magnification ratio of a monocular, it is generally assumed that a product with a magnification ratio of 8x or 10x can cater to one’s needs. These choices are versatile as they can be used for a wide array of tasks, and they have a magnification ratio that is small enough to not affect the FOV of the model.
Size and weight
Another aspect that you should pay attention to before investing in a product of this type is the size of the unit. Generally, 10×25 and 8×25 are considered travel monoculars because they are small in size and effortless to store while on the go. Moreover, most devices of this kind often come provided with useful carrying bags that you can utilize for transportation.
The weight of the model is mainly influenced by the size of the objective lens. Usually, the bigger the lens, the heavier the unit. However, this aspect is also affected by the materials that were used in making the model.
Before you decide on a particular device, you should also consider whether or not the model that you like is weather resistant. If you are interested in quality monoculars, you should select a product that is fog and water resistant, as you will be able to use it no matter the meteorological conditions.
Plus, keep in mind that inexpensive monocular reviews recommend that one invests in a device that has been nitrogen-filled and that features O-rings for extra protection.
Extra features worth thinking about
If you are an eyeglass wearer that is looking for an affordable monocular, you should only check out devices that come fitted with adjustable eyecups. This way, you will be able to use the model without having to take off your glasses every time you decide to do so.
As a plus, before you order that unit that you’ve found for sale, be sure to verify whether or not it has a sturdy construction. In other words, the item that you select should have a sturdy housing, and it should come provided with a rubber, non-slip cover. Therefore, you will have a good grip on the device, and you won’t risk dropping it by mistake.
Additionally, your decision should always be influenced by your personal preferences. For instance, if you are interested in lightweight monoculars, you should only purchase models that have a small objective lens. However, if you need a device that you can use to observe objects that are far away, a model with a 50mm objective might be better suited.
As a plus, if you intend to utilize your new acquisition during the night, it is advisable that you restrict your search and that you start analyzing those night vision monoculars that use infrared technology.
No matter if you are looking for handheld monoculars, or for more sizeable alternatives, we are sure that, if you follow our recommendations, you will be able to select a model that can entirely cater to your needs.
Our 2018 list: Find the right inexpensive monocular for your needs
Purchasing a reliable monocular that is budget-friendly is not easy. To be of help to you, we have put together a short but inclusive list of items that have received positive reviews from both users and the specialists.
Vortex Optics Solo 8×36
This choice is an excellent purchase if you are interested in a product that can be used for range estimation purposes and for wildlife observation. This is possible because the unit has a magnification ratio of 8x and an objective lens that measures 36mm. As a result, the device features a sizeable FOV that will enable the user to get a great view of the surroundings.
According to the seller, this unit includes fully multi-coated lenses that have anti-reflective coatings. Moreover, the Solo R/T lens included in its design has excellent light gathering capability, and it performs well in low light situations. As a plus, the flared eyecup that the unit incorporates is said to block extraneous light and to fold down so that glasses wearers can also comfortably utilize the device.
On top of that, the unit features a large focus wheel and a small reticle focus that you can use whenever you want to adjust the image in accordance with your preferences.
This option comes fitted with a magnification ratio of 8x and with a sizable objective lens that measures 36mm. Consequently, it has a convenient FOV that you will most likely appreciate.
Plus, the optical surfaces of the model have been coated in protective substances so that its owners will be supplied with clear and bright images.
The item features a focus wheel that is simple to use, even by novices.
Finally, this model incorporates a special utility clip that you can use to attach the device to your vest or belt for easy transportation.
Some claimed that this monocular does not deliver consistent results when used at long ranges. Still, most speak highly of it.
It has been noted that the product could be seen as poorly assembled when compared to other similar units. Not many owners agreed with this statement at the time we did our research.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($107.6)
Vortex Optics Solo 8×25
Another option that might catch your attention is the 8×25 model also sold by Vortex Optics. This alternative is lighter in weight and more compact as it has a smaller objective lens that only measures 25mm. What is more, the lens of the model is fully multi-coated so that light transmission is increased.
On top of that, this monocular comes with an armor that is made of rubber that can provide you with a non-slip grip. Besides, the item has been nitrogen-purged, and it features an O-ring seal. Consequently, this device is waterproof and fog proof and it can deliver consistent results no matter the type of weather.
This choice also includes an adjustable eyecup that allows for a comfortable viewing, no matter if the user wears glasses or not. Technically speaking, this model has a linear FOV of 378 feet at 1000 yards and an angular field of view of 7.2 degrees.
This item is particularly easy to transport as it has a total weight of 5.6 ounces, which is less than most available alternatives.
Moreover, the choice measures 4.4 inches in length, and it is, therefore, perceived as small enough to fit in one’s pocket easily.
According to the seller, this product is likely to stand the test of time as it has a solid body that is shockproof.
Because it has a magnification of 8x and an objective lens diameter of 25mm, this option has a field of view of 378 feet at 1000 yards, which is more than sufficient for most buyers.
One owner claimed that the case of the device is not necessarily sturdy as it features a weak snap on the belt loop as well as loud Velcro straps.
Some have claimed that this choice is not necessarily easy to use with just one hand as the focus ring incorporated into its construction is not that easy to operate.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($49)
Celestron Nature 10×25
This device has optics that have been multi-coated for maximum resolution and high-contrast views. As a plus, the unit is waterproof and fog proof and, thus, it can be used in a wide array of meteorological conditions, including in damp environments.
For extra protection, the body of the monocular is covered in a rubber coating that makes it easy to grip. The seller of the unit points out that this choice is a good fit for many uses, including bird watching, sporting events, and concerts.
The soft rubber eyecup that the item includes makes it highly comfortable and easy to use by those that have to wear glasses on a regular basis. Moreover, because it is light in weight and rather small in size, this option can easily fit into your pocket.
Plus, when shipped, the item comes provided with a lanyard, a secure belt case as well as a practical cleaning cloth.
This model only weighs 6 oz. and it is small in size. As a result, it can easily be carried around in one’s back pocket. So, it is the right purchase if you are always on the go.
Because it comes supplied with the necessary accessories, you won’t have to make any additional investments.
The multi-coated optics that the monocular includes can increase the light transmission ratio and, hence, it can supply you with bright and sharp images.
The sturdy armor that the choice features makes it quite durable and likely to pass the test of time.
One drawback that some users noted is that this device has a rather small FOV, especially when compared to the models with larger objective lenses.
Some buyers were not happy that this unit does not come fitted with more high-end features. Still, given its budget-friendly price, most agree that this monocular is worth the money.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($29.99)
Carson BlackWave WM-025
Another waterproof alternative that you might want to take a look at is the Carson BlackWave WM-025. This model features a magnification ratio of 10x and a lens size of 25mm. Because of this, the product has a rather narrow field of view. In fact, the field of view of the model is of 273 feet at 1,000 yards.
Even more so, this device has a rugged waterproof design that makes it a great fit when used outdoors. Also, the item includes a BK-7 prism and a close focus feature of just 4 feet. The overall weight of the model is of 4.4 oz. For extra convenience when used in difficult meteorological conditions, this choice has nitrogen filled compartments so that buyers can appreciate a fog-free performance.
A 12 mm eye relief is also incorporated in the construction of the product so that this monocular can easily be used by glasses wearers.
This alternative comes shipped with a practical pouch, a strap and a lens cloth that you are prone to find useful.
According to the manufacturer, this item is backed by a warranty policy that can prove practical in case you receive a defective model.
Because this model has a magnification ratio of 10x and a lens size of 25mm, it features a field of view of 273 feet at 1,000 yards.
Given its rugged design and sturdy construction, this model is ideal when used in the outdoors, which is just what most users are looking for in an item like this.
One drawback that many have noted when it came to this unit is that its optics cannot deliver quality results. This might have something to do with the fact that the device has a somewhat small objective lens given its magnification ratio.
There have been buyers that claimed that this choice is a tad expensive given the minimalistic features that it comes fitted with.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($24.99)
Orion 10×42 Waterproof
If you need a device that you can use when bird watching, this might be the choice for you. This unit is compact, and it can be easily hand-held when analyzing birds or when studying the scenery.
Even more so, this item is waterproof as it has a rubber-armored construction. Consequently, you can use this monocular for a perfect viewing experience no matter the weather. However, the manufacturer advises that one does not submerge it in water during scuba diving expeditions.
At just a 6.1-inch length, this device is small in size and convenient to carry around as it only weighs 11 ounces. Furthermore, the 42mm lens that this monocular features has been fully multi-coated and it is said to ensure maximum light transmission.
As a plus, this model has a close focus of just 20 inches, which is why many prefer to use it for observation purposes.
This choice is quite powerful as it has a magnification ratio of 10x and an objective lens that measures 42 mm. As a result, it has quite a sizeable FOV.
Furthermore, the optics of the model have been covered in a special substance that optimizes how much light can pass through the lens.
Although it has a large lens diameter, this model is significantly light in weight as it only measures 11 ounces. So, you can carry it around effortlessly.
The model is compact in size, and it is said to fit in one’s pocket easily. As a plus, this option stands out because it is weatherproof.
There have been users that were quick to note that this alternative comes equipped with optics that are a tad too powerful for hand holding.
Besides, one owner was disappointed when he realized that the threads that are incorporated in the mount of the model are made of soft plastic. Hence, they won’t last long.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($49.99)