Top Monoculars Under 100 This Year – Guide & Comparative Analysis
Have you been scouring the internet in search of the best monocular under 100 but you haven’t had a lot of luck up until now? If that’s the case, you’ve ended up in the right place. Following a detailed research process where we looked at hundreds of consumer reports, social media reactions, and the specs of most of the popular choices out there, we reached the conclusion that the model you should consider is the Wingspan Optics Adventure. This unit comes with a 10x magnification and a 50mm objective lens, which in turn means that you will see distant subjects as if they were close and plenty of light will be able to penetrate the optical components of the device. The product is also drop-proof, fog-proof, as well as waterproof, so it’s capable of standing the test of time. If this option is no longer available, check out our next favorite choice, the Vortex Optics Solo.
Finding a good monocular under 100 these days can be more or less challenging, especially since the market is overflowing with alternatives. Many of those we’ve come across are budget-friendly, but before anything else, you have to set your priorities and decide which features matter most to you.
To make it easier for you to decide on a particular product, we’ve put together a guide that comes with all of the essential aspects that you have to mull over when you’re in the market for an optical instrument in this line. We’ve published other articles in the past, so feel free to read our guides on drone goggles or our comparison of microscope kits currently available. You might also find our insight on portable telescopes useful, too.
What do you want to look at?
It’s a good idea to start with your specific requirements because monoculars come in many shapes and sizes and are made for various purposes. Clearly, thermal monoculars under 100 won’t have the same features as those you might want to use for birdwatching during the day.
There are few models that come with two magnification powers. Usually, most of the units we have stumbled upon are depicted using two figures. The first is a symbol of the magnification power and the second is the size of the objective lens.
If you want to use your monocular for wildlife viewing, you have to see what field of view it comes with. With a limited one, you won’t be able to look at birds as they fly, meaning you will find it impossible to track them.
Image shakiness and portability
You’ll see that many reviews of monoculars under 100 recommend going for a lower magnification power so that the image you see isn’t shaky. Everyone’s hands shake to some extent, but it might be difficult for you to stabilize the image at a 10x magnification.
Although a bigger objective lens diameter is always to be preferred as it allows more light to go into the device, and as such, it makes the images clearer and brighter, this feature can make the monocular heavy and cumbersome. It’s just too much of a good thing.
Of course, you can circumvent this issue by using a stabilization system such as a monopod or a tripod, but do consider that these accessories will have to be carried, as well, and they might also take up room in your backpack.
The optical parts in your monocular have to be made of the best materials that you can afford. Don’t ever get an optical device made with plastic lenses because it is virtually good for nothing. Plastic bends and warps easily especially when you expose it to heat or the sun, and the light transmission through plastic lenses is extremely poor, too.
When it comes to the lens coatings, your monocular can have coated, fully coated, multi-coated or fully multi-coated lenses. The first are the cheapest and they lack the same quality as the others while the last are the best and can meet and even exceed your expectations when it comes to image brightness. The vast majority of these high-end models also come with waterproof coatings, so you’ll be able to use your monocular even in unfriendly weather.
Our 2018 List: Find the right monocular under 100 for your needs
Since we can’t make the right decision in your place, we have decided to at least showcase some of our favorite models available for sale these days. Check them out below and you might find something you like. While we’re at it, we’d like to suggest reading our post on magnifying travel mirrors or the guide we put together about tactical goggles.
Wingspan Optics Adventure
Since it’s one of the most popular models developed by Wingspan Optics, this monocular should definitely make it to your list. It comes with a 10x magnification power and a 50mm objective lens diameter, which means that you’ll be able to look at subjects located as far as 1,000 yards from you.
Besides, the 50mm objective will gather quite a bit of light, thereby making the images bright and clear.
If you’re a hardcore hiker and you like to spend plenty of time outdoors, you probably know that the weather can sometimes be unpredictable. Fortunately, this model is both fog-proof and waterproof, which means that you can use it regardless of the meteorological conditions.
Furthermore, it’s worth noting that this unit has been equipped with the brand’s proprietary DuraArmor, which protects the optical instrument both in the harshest terrain and makes it difficult for you to drop it on the floor.
Boasting a drop-proof, fog-proof, and waterproof build, this model is definitely worthy of your consideration if you are looking for a durable alternative.
The 10x magnification power of this option will make it possible for you to look at subjects located as far as 1,000 yards from you.
The 50mm objective lens is capable of capturing more than enough light, so this monocular takes the cake for daytime observation.
Seeing how it’s equipped with the external DuraArmor uniquely designed by Wingspan Optics, you’ll have a really hard time dropping it on the floor.
The 304 ft field of view at 1,000 yards is a great spec if you want to look at birds as they fly.
The only issue we were able to determine in relation to this product is its 10x magnification. While for some, it might be an advantage, the truth is that people with shaky hands can find this monocular hard to use because of this spec.
Click to see the price on Amazon!
Vortex Optics Solo
The Solo is one of the most critically acclaimed lines designed by Vortex Optics, and that shouldn’t come as a surprise considering that these monoculars are affordable, easy to use, and capable of excellent performance. If you get the 8×25 one, you’ll be able to benefit from an 8x magnification power and a compact 25mm objective.
The 8x magnification power is an advantage in itself as you’ll find it far easier to stabilize the image than you would if you were to use a 10x model. Even though the objective lens is rather small compared to others, it still gathers enough light and best of all, it makes the unit very portable.
The rubber armor boasted by this device’s exterior is another reason you should consider it. It’s also nitrogen purged and o-ring sealed, and it’s capable of putting up with a lot of abuse from a wide array of environments and weather conditions.
You can use this monocular whether you wear glasses or not since it is outfitted with an adjustable eyecup.
The 8x magnification and the 25mm objective lens are two great features as the first will render clear and crips images that are anything but shaky and the second will allow for plenty of light to go into the device.
Since this unit is waterproof as well as fog-proof, you can use it in virtually any type of weather without worrying about affecting its durability.
Even though it is quite compact, the Vortex Optics Solo boasts fully multi-coated lenses, so the light transmission and the resolution of the images will always be on par.
Some customers have declared themselves dissatisfied with the quality of the eye relief.
Using the focus can be a nuisance due to the adjustment ring tension.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($49)
Another portable monocular you might want to give a shot to is this one from Orion. It comes with a 10x magnification and a 42mm objective lens, which means that while it is capable of increasing the size of the subjects so that you see them like they’re up-close, you won’t find the build and size of the device to be too bulky or heavy.
Given that this unit boasts a waterproof rubber-armored construction, it’s rather clear that you can use it any any type of weather. However, submerging it completely underwater is not recommended, so do keep that in mind.
Another aspect you might be interested in is that this model comes with fully multi-coated lenses, so the resolution and the light transmission will be on par. You’ll be able to look at clear and bright images without even as much as squinting. Furthermore, this unit comes with a close focus of just 20 inches.
Since it is both compact and easy to carry around, you’ll undoubtedly get the most out of this optical instrument whether you’re a frequent traveler or not.
The fully multi-coated optical components are a benefit in themselves as they will ensure that all of the images you will look at are crisp and clear, as well as bright.
The model weighs in at just eleven ounces and it measures only 6.1 inches in length, so that means that it is even easy to pack in your bag or backpack.
The 10x magnification boasted by this model is more powerful than that of similarly sized models, so that’s another thing to mull over.
Because it is waterproof, it can be used in inclement weather, too.
You should keep your expectations low if you plan on using this device for stargazing. You will only be able to look at the Moon as it is incapable of allowing you to visualize the stars or other planets in detail.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($49.99)
Opticron T3 Trailfinder
This item is available in two magnification powers, so right off the bat, we suggest picking the one that you need the most. The 8x model works best when used for outdoor activities such as birdwatching or wildlife viewing in general, and the 10x one does the same under these circumstances, but you might also want to employ it for basic stargazing.
Both of these come with a 25mm objective lens diameter, so this device is capable of capturing a little less light compared to some of the others we’ve mentioned in this selection. However, the Opticron unit does come with a series of pros, all of which need to be considered.
For example, it boasts fully multi coated optics and it comes with a long eye relief that allows even eyeglass wearers to use the item conveniently. Also, the nitrogen gas filled waterproof build renders it durable and fogproof, too.
This model is a great alternative for birding and other similar outdoor activities, both because it is waterproof and fogproof and because its magnification power recommends it for this purpose.
The eye relief is comfortable to use, making this device a great alternative for people who wear or don’t wear eyeglasses just as well.
Easy one hand operation is made possible thanks to the slide bar focusing that this unit comes with.
On top of everything, the optical components of this product are fully multi-coated, so you’ll benefit from plenty of image brightness and clarity.
A strap, a case, as well as a cleaning cloth are provided in the box.
Despite being very good, the optics of this device are not Zeiss or Leica level, so keep your expectations realistic.
It is not as affordable as similar models, such as one by Vortex we’ve also described here.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($63)
It might seem a little counterintuitive for us to have added this device to the list, and that’s because it doesn’t come with the same magnification power of some of the others we’ve discussed. The Vixen choice has a 6x magnification power, so to a certain extent, it is less suitable for various outdoor applications such as wildlife viewing.
On top of everything, the model is outfitted with a 16mm objective lens, which practically means that it cannot gather the same amount of light as those that come with a 25mm objective. However, it is lightweight, compact, and highly portable, and it can also be used as a magnifier.
It proves its worth in situations where you want to look at pieces of art in a museum, for example, and you are not allowed to get too close to the exhibits. The near-focus of this unit is as short as 10 inches. You can also look at birds outside your window.
The optics of this model make it worthy of your consideration as they’re said to be of top-notch quality.
The 6x magnification and 16mm objective lens diameter make this device a great choice if you want to look at pieces of art in museums, for example.
Also, you can utilize it to look at animals that are closer than those you might encounter in the forest or when you’re hiking.
It comes with a cap for both of its ends, and that’s another advantage you need to consider since many models don’t come with a cap at all.
A carry pouch is also part of the deal with this alternative.
We do not recommend this item for uses such as long-distance hunting or wildlife viewing because its magnification power might not be enough for such applications.
If you enjoyed reading this article, perhaps you might want to have a look at the one we wrote about trail cameras.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($92.63)