What is the Best Thermal Monocular? – Complete Guide with FAQs, Tips, & More

There are a lot of questions people ask about monoculars.

One of them is, “What is the best thermal monocular?”

Let’s find out!

What Is the Best Thermal Monocular?

The best thermal monoculars include 

  • AGM TM10-256
  • Pulsar Axion 2 XQ35

Thermal Monocular – Buying Guide

When choosing between different units, the most important thing to consider is the thermal sensor, magnification power, and cost.

These devices are used for outdoor applications such as patrol, law enforcement, searching and rescuing, drug enforcement, anti-smuggling, traveling, and hunting. They’re also really cool and a lot of FUN!

Thermal Sensor

A handheld thermal monocle has two main parts: the lens and the temperature sensors.

These determine the overall quality of the camera. The higher the number of pixels in the sensor, the better the image quality you will be able to achieve.

Here are the common pixel densities

  • entry-level: 160×120
  • mid-range: 384×288
  • high-end: 640×480


One thing to keep in mind when choosing a thermal monocle is its zoom range. For example, if you’re using a thermal monocle for predatory purposes, you might not need a wide zoom range.

If you’re looking for something with a longer zoom lens, then you might want one with a wider angle of view. However, regardless of your needs, having a longer zoom lens is always a good thing.


It’s going to be the biggest factor for almost everyone. If you’re looking for the best thermal monoculars, you’ll need to spend some money.

If you think you could save some money by buying an older version, go ahead and buy one. However, if you’re not sure which unit to choose, wait until you’ve saved enough money to afford the best option.

Best Thermal Monoculars

AGM TM10-256

One of the best entry-level handheld monoculars is the AGM TM10-256

Infrared Detector

The TM10-240 handheld thermal imaging camera has a 240×160 resolution and an LCD screen.


It supports observation functions, highest temperature target tracking, distance measurement, and a Wi-Fi hotspot.


The magnifying power can be adjusted from 1X to 8X with a resolution of 256 x 192 pixels which isn’t too bad for a thermal monocle in this price range.

Battery Life

It has an eight-hour continuous run time and uses a single recharge­able lithium-ion batter­y with the Type-C cord. It also has a refresher frequency of 25 Hz.

Thermal Detector

The high-sensitivity built-in thermal detector provides a clear view even in total darkness.


A WiFi camera app is useful because a person can see what you’re seeing without needing two eyes.


This thermal monocular is only good out to about 75 to 100 yards. Anything past that becomes indistinguishable.


If you’re looking for an affordable way to get started with thermal imaging, this is a good option. It’s not perfect but it does its job well enough.


  • Manufacturer: AGM Global Vision
  • Color: Black
  • Magnification: 1 – 8 x
  • Resolution: 256×192 pixels
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 10 mm
  • Battery Type: Lithium Ion
  • Battery Life: 8 hours
  • Length: 6.23 in
  • Width: 2.4 in
  • Height: 2.2 in
  • Refresh Rate: 25 Hz
  • Water Resistance Level: IP67
  • Battery Quantity: 1
  • Focus Range: 458 m
  • Diopter Adjustment Range: -6 – 4 dpt

Other Features

  • 256×192 resolution, high-sensitivity detector
  • Adaptive AGC, DDE, 3D DNR
  • 720×540 LCOS display
  • Built-in rechargeable Lithium battery
  • Up to 8 hours continuous running (with Wi-Fi hotspot function off)
  • ‘Auto Power Off’ and ‘Sleep’ modes
  • Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Type-C interface
  • Limited 3-year warranty


Another good entry-level thermal monocular is the ATN OTS-XLT.


It has a lower-resolution camera and a smaller thermal imaging camera than its predecessor, but it has an improved zoom range (2.5x – 10x). Even with the improved zoom, identifying targets at longer ranges may be more challenging.

It doesn’t really matter if you’re shooting at a human target or a game animal. You will be able to see the outline of the animal.

Sensor and Lens

You get a 17-micrometer sensor (most are only 10), and a 25-millimeter lens, which is huge compared to the device’s cost.

The camera has a smaller pixel volume than others, but its larger pixels mean that the digital zooming can compensate when viewing from a distance.


It’s a monocular and not a single lens, so it’s more suited for distance rather than image quality.

There are many settings to choose from, and you can focus both the lens and the UI on getting everything right. The frame is nice and rubberized also.


It has a rechargeable battery and lasts for ten hours.

Heat Signatures

The ATN OTS-XLT is ideal for scanning heat signatures and using a scope for identification.


For the cost, you receive a great package and the capability to see during the day and through the trees.


  • Manufacturer: ATN
  • Color: Black
  • Magnification: 2.5 – 10 x
  • Additional Features: ATN Obsidian Core LT
  • Resolution: 160×120 pixels
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 25 mm
  • Field of View, Angle: 4.9 – 6.9 degrees
  • Battery Type: Lithium Ion
  • Battery Life: 10 hours
  • Length: 6.85 in
  • Width: 2.63 in
  • Height: 2.08 in
  • Refresh Rate: 50 Hz
  • Operating Temperature: -4 – 131 Fahrenheit
  • Weight: 370 g
  • Water Resistance Level: IP67
  • Sensor Resolution: 160×120 pixels
what is the best thermal monocular

What is the Best Thermal Monocular?

Pulsar Axion 2 XQ35

Now stepping up to the mid-tier thermal monoculars, this is a much better device than the first two mentioned on this list.


It has a powerful 384×288 microbolometer that detects heat signatures over 1400 yards away. This is an excellent device for scoping large areas and locating prey.


It then transmits these images to a 640×400 AMOLED display, giving the user a crisp image of their target.


With 2-8x magnification, built-in photo and video recording, Wi-Fi connectivity, and a 16GB memory card, the Axion 2 XQ35 is feature packed.


The Axion 2 is also supported by the Stream Vision 2 app, enabling shooters to record and preserve all their precious shooting memories.


Weighing a mere 0.6lbs, the Axion 2 XQ35 is a high-quality reinforced magnesium alloy that boasts IPX7 protection and operates in temperatures between -13F to 122F.


Utilizing a lithium-ion battery, the Axion 2 operates for up to 11 hours.


  • Manufacturer: Pulsar
  • Color: Black
  • Finish: Matte
  • Magnification: 2 – 8 x
  • Resolution: 384×288 pixels
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 17 mm
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 5 ft
  • Field of View, Angle: 10.7 degrees
  • Eye Relief: 14 mm
  • Battery Type: APS 5 (Li-Ion)
  • Battery Life: 11 hours
  • Lens Material: Germanium
  • Length: 152 mm
  • Width: 50 mm
  • Height: 74 mm
  • Refresh Rate: 50 Hz
  • Operating Temperature: -25 – 40 Celsius
  • Weight: 0.3 kg
  • Range of Detection: 1300 yds
  • Battery Quantity: 1
  • Shockproof: Yes
  • Optical Coating: Multi-Coated
  • Fabric/Material: Magnesium Alloy


Thermal cameras are expensive, but there are cheaper alternatives. You can get a thermal monocular for about $500 or less.

If you have any questions feel free to comment below.



  • Sarah Wilson

    Sarah is a content consultant at The Outdoor Stores where she is ready to guide you through the features of a good firearm for your outdoor activities and hunting hobbies. Her expert knowledge and intellectual skills have helped The Outdoor Stores greatly.

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