Thermal scopes are adored by gun enthusiasts from around the world. If you are considering giving your favorite gun a handy accessory to improve your shot, you cannot go wrong with a proven thermal scope. By attaching the scope to your gun, you can have increased vision and a more accurate shot in situations that might be hard to line up the shot. In today’s article, we’re taking a closer look at some of the best thermal scopes for the money you can buy today.
5 Best Thermal Scopes for the Money
|Ranking||Preview||Product Name||Our Rating|
Firefield FF16001 NVRS 3x42 Night Vision...
By Green Supply
|216 Reviews||View Product|
ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20 Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope...
|710 Reviews||View Product|
ATN Thor 4 1.25-5x, 384x288, Thermal Rifle Scope...
By American Technology Corp (ATN)
|36 Reviews||View Product|
ATN ThOR-HD 384 1.25-5x, 384x288, 19 mm, Thermal...
|127 Reviews||View Product|
ATN ThOR-HD 640 2.5-25x, 640x480, 50 mm, Thermal...
|44 Reviews||View Product|
Thermal Scope Shopping Guide
A thermal scope is fast becoming an essential tool in a hunter’s arsenal. With technology becoming better with each year, thermal scopes are no longer only available to military personnel or law enforcement. The cost of producing these thermal scopes are greatly reducing with each technological advancement, meaning that the cost to buy one is also coming down allowing keen huntsmen to enjoy the benefits that they provide.
These days, hunting by night is no longer dependent on the use and effectiveness of night vision devices or high powered spotlights, which might not be as effective as could be. Coyote, fox and hog hunting is a common game which benefits from the use of thermal imaging scopes. A multitude of features are available, each designed to benefit and assist in different scenarios which can become overwhelming and expensive should you not know what to look for. As technological advancements continue, benefits such as compact sensors reduce the costs and longer battery life benefits all users.
There are a few certain factors that you should consider when looking for the best thermal scope for the money. We will go over a few of these in closer detail so that you are able to make an informed choice when looking to buy your thermal imaging scope. Before we take a look at each of these individually, let’s make sure that we understand what thermal imaging does and why it is so beneficial to night hunting certain game.
What is thermal imaging?
Rather than using night vision that essentially only perfects an image in low light conditions, thermal imaging enables one to see a body otherwise unseen through the warmth that it emits. The animal shows up in a rifle scope because its body temperature is hotter than the colder surroundings. It is a much more productive and effective method of night hunting as prey is unable to be camouflaged by shadow or cover.
How does thermal imaging work?
The technology detects infrared energy that heat releases. It can detect the difference between the heat releasing object and the cooler environmental surroundings providing a target for the huntsmen to focus on. Nearly all rifle scopes use a forward-looking infrared system (FLIR) which directs incoming infrared light to a sensor. The benefits of this technology are plainly seen during adverse weather conditions as you are still able to determine the position of the target regardless of any potential interference.
What should you consider when purchasing a thermal scope?
- Resolution refers to the quality of the image when viewing through your screen. A high-resolution image will be clear and crisp whereas a low-resolution image will be blurred with greater pixilation on the border between the target and background. The best advice we can give is to try to find a thermal scope with the highest resolution within your budget. This will offer you greater opportunity for successful shots while on the hunt.
- A refresh rate of over 30 hertz will provide you with an image on your screen that you can hone in on. The larger the refresh rate is, the more lifelike the image will be, so again, choose the highest that you can afford.
- Color scopes are generally more expensive to buy and the difference between color and monotone simply boil down to preference. Of course, color options will provide you with a more detailed understanding of the amount of heat emitted from a target; you can essentially differentiate between target and background with both color and monochrome scopes.
- Two different styles of zoom are available on most thermal scopes, digital and optical. Optical zoom scopes work better than digital zoom scopes as they focus on a target using the built-in optics rather than only relying on computer software to focus on an area. The best thermal scopes rely on a mixture of both processes but it is essential to understand the difference between them.
- Expect a quality scope to survive up to 8 hours utilizing lithium-ion batteries. However you can customize your scope to suit your personal needs, perhaps you would rather an hour charger or to simply have spare batteries. Make sure to check what your chosen brand has available so that you are not caught short.
- Extra features such as GPS tracking, image stabilization or Wi-Fi connectivity might be essential for your needs and many thermal scopes come equipped with a multitude of useful functions designed to attract all sorts of users.
Best thermal scopes for the money
We have listed some of the best thermal scopes that you can buy that are on the market today. Whether you have an unlimited budget or looking for a cheap option that doesn’t compromise on quality, be sure to check here for some of our top picks for 2019.
The Trijicon IR Hunter Mk III is perhaps the highest quality thermal scope on the market today. With a 60-hertz refresh rate, you can expect a vibrant and lifelike image which you can dial back to 30 hertz should you wish to save battery. For the average huntsman, a battery life of 3.5 hours is suitable, however, with up to 5 hours on battery saving modes. If cost is not an issue, at $7,500 the long-range view optic with 2.5x magnification has to be seen to be believed.
For a more respectable $2000, the ATN Thor HD 384 Smart offers plenty of extras such as image stabilization, Wi-Fi, GPS tracking, built-in range finder and ballistic calculator to improve your shot and plenty more. Simple enough for anyone who can operate a smartphone to use, this high-tech smart thermal riflescope offers great bang for your buck for any tech-savvy huntsman.
For a modest 4,500, quality isn’t compromised with the Armasight by FLIR Zeus 640 2-16x50mm Thermal Imaging Rifle Scope with Tau 2 640×512 17 microns 30Hz Core. A three-year warranty and optional external power supply are some of the additional features this quality heavy product provides.