Our 3 Best Monoculars For Bird Watching [2022 Expert Reviewed]

best monocular for bird watching

When selecting equipment for bird watching, the huge range available can be confusing and if you’re new to this, the choices can be quite overwhelming. Should you buy a pair of binoculars or is a monocular better?

To firstly answer that question, a monocular is far lighter and easier to carry because it has a single barrel and only one lens. Most monoculars are small enough to just pop into your pocket and light enough not to add too much weight to your backpack. They can also be used with just one hand and are great for people who have vision problems and find it hard to see through binoculars.

Another advantage is that, because a monocular only has one objective lens, it can be relatively cheaper than a good pair of binoculars. You’ll also find that you can easily get a monocular with a larger objective lens that is comparable in weight and size to a pair of binoculars that will have smaller lenses. This means that you’ll get a better image quality and more brightness. This is extremely useful if you do a lot of birding in low light conditions.

We’ve decided to test out three of the best monoculars available on the market to give you an idea of their pros and cons and why we liked them. This will cut down your own research time and help you to select the ideal monocular for your bird watching adventures.

So, let’s have a look at each one individually.

1. Gosky High Definition Monocular

Gosky High Definition Monocular
  • 12× Magnification & 55mm Objective Lens: This Gosky monocular is equipped with 12×55 high power magnification, which is the best magnification for distance watching. It provides large field of view (352ft/1,000Yds), extending your adventures to greater possibilities.
  • Premium FMC Lens & BAK-4 Prism: The HD monocular telescope uses 18mm BAK-4 optics prism and FMC (Fully Multi-Coating) lens, which could increase the monocular's light transmittance and unnecessary light reflection, delivering clear and sharp pictures.
  • Lightweight Monocular & IPX7 Waterproof: The comfortable and portable hand strap could prevent the lightweight monocular scope from slipping out your hand. The IPX7 Nitrogen-filled design makes the monocular waterproof, fog-proof, dustproof and shockproof regardless of weather conditions.
  • Comfortable and Intimate Visual Experience: The long eye-relief that comes from the twist-up eyecup provides you with incomparable, comfortable watching experience outdoors.
  • Smartphone Adapter: Comes with a newest-version quick alignment smartphone holder, which is suitable for almost all smartphones on the market. It would help you to get a close HD IMAGEs without shaking during bird watching, hunting, hiking, camping, traveling, wildlife, scenery, etc.
Main Specifications
Power Lens Diameter Prism Eye Relief Field of View
12x 55mm BAK4 20mm 325ft/1000yds

We’ve selected this model because it has excellent magnification and a larger than normal lens. In fact, this monocular has 12x magnification with a 55mm lens. This means that the lens will allow plenty of light in so that you can see images much clearer even in low light conditions.

Here are some of the other key features of this model that we found highly useful.

  • The monocular has a multi-coated green objective lens and a coated blue eyepiece. This means you’ll get a crisper and brighter image.
  • It also has a smartphone adapter. We found this to be a really cool feature because we could easily record the images that we saw onto our phone.
  • The monocular is also tough. It has a completely waterproof casing that is also dust-proof and shock-proof. The lens is completely sealed and filled with nitrogen. This means that it doesn’t fog up and no moisture can get inside to obscure your view.
  • The non-slip rubber armor also makes it easy to get a good comfortable grip of the monocular even if you have slightly wet hands. This is enhanced with the hand straps that will keep the unit firmly in your hand.
  • The tripod mount is also great when you’re stationary and want to capture some clear images on your phone.

Why we liked it:

  • The magnification is excellent and images are clear and bright.
  • The smartphone adapter allowed us to capture the images on our phone.
  • It was easy to grip the monocular securely with the hand strap.
  • It’s a tough and durable unit that is waterproof and shock proof.
  • We found it easy to set the correct focus.
  • Even while wearing glasses, the 20 mm eye relief was comfortable to use because the eye cup could be adjusted up and down.
  • Excellent for using in low-light conditions

Cons:

  • It’s a little heavier than the other models at 15.85 ounces.
  • To get really sharp images, you may have to use a tripod.

2. Wingspan Optics Explorer High Powered 12×50 Monocular

Wingspan Optics Explorer High Powered 12x50 Monocular
  • 12X50 MAGNIFICATION - See things 12X closer and Get Clearer and Brighter range of view with 50mm lens - The most powerful hand held monocular available in the market today, that also provides the most pleasant and clear view.
  • DURABLE EXTERNAL ARMOR - Provides a secure, non-slip grip, and durable external protection.
  • WATERPROOF AND FOG PROOF - Prevents moisture, dust, and debris from getting inside the monocular - designed to inhibit internal fogging. For any weather and any environment.
  • SINGLE HAND FOCUS - Ergonomic design helps you focus on your target quickly and accurately with one hand.
  • THE BRIGHTEST AND CLEAREST VIEW OF ANY MONOCULAR ON THE MARKET TODAY - Allows you to get the best view possible for bird watching, watching wildlife or scenery. And highest-rated on the market with a 12-month promise.
Main Specifications
Power Lens Diameter Prism Eye Relief Field of View
12x 50mm BAK4 14mm 246ft/1000yds

We really like this Wingspan monocular for its durability. It’s completely waterproof, shock-proof and even fog-proof. In fact, it’s almost unbreakable and if it does break, the manufacturer offers a lifetime guarantee.

Here are some of the other key features of this monocular:

  • The lens has 12x magnification and is 50 mm in diameter. This ensures nice, bright images even if you’re some distance away.
  • The armor on this unit is tough and durable. It can withstand even the occasional drop while you’re hiking over some rough ground. Plus, being waterproof means that you don’t have to worry if you’re caught in the rain.
  • We also really liked the single hand focus. This means you don’t need to use both hands to aim and focus the unit. After all, one of the major advantages of using a monocular is that you can use it single handed.
  • It has a range of up to 1000 yards which is great when you’re trying to spot birds high up in the trees or you see an eagle circling above.

Why we liked it:

  • We really liked the durability of this unit.
  • The magnification is great at 12x.
  • The lens is very easy to focus using just one hand.
  • It’s a reasonably lightweight unit weighing only 11 ounces.

Cons:

  • The eyepiece is a little short at only 14mm. This could make it difficult for people who wear glasses.
  • It does not have a hand strap.

3. Vortex Optic Solo Monocular

Sale
Vortex Optic Solo Monocular
  • 10x magnification and 25mm objectives lens, the Solo Monocular is a small, lightweight optic with fully multi-coated lenses, increasing the light transmission and resolution giving you the clear, crisp images you want.
  • The monocular is fully rubber armored providing a non-slip grip to the user and making it extremely durable.
  • Nitrogen purged and o-ring sealed, the Solo delivers waterproof and fogproof performance in any environment.
  • The adjustable eyecup allows for comfortable viewing with or without glasses.
  • Field of View: 315 feet/1000 yards|6 degrees
Main Specifications
Power Lens Diameter Prism Eye Relief Field of View
10x 25mm BAK4 14.5mm 315ft/1000yds

We really liked the value for money that this monocular offered. Although the magnification is not as great at the other two units, we can still get a nice, clear image with this unit. At the price, it’s the perfect starter unit if you haven’t used a monocular before.

Here are some of the other features that we particularly liked:

  • This unit is nice and compact and only weighs around 8.8 ounces. Therefore, it’s easy to carry around when you’re just going for a walk to do some bird spotting.
  • The rubber armor makes it really easy to get a good, tight grip on the unit, making it less likely that you’ll drop it.
  • The lenses are multi-coated which helps to increase the light transmission. This is another advantage if you want nice, crisp images.
  • We also appreciated the fact that this monocular has a hole on the side so that you can attach a lanyard. This makes it really easy to carry the monocular around your neck thereby keeping it close at hand when you’re out hiking or going to a walk.
  • The eye piece can also be adjusted up or down so that it’s suitable for using while wearing glasses.
  • We also like the fact that this unit comes with a lifetime guarantee. Essentially, this means that this monocular is built tough and can withstand some rugged handling.
  • Like the other units in our review, this monocular is both waterproof and fog-proof.

Why we liked it:

  • It’s a lightweight unit that’s easy to carry around.
  • The unit is great value for money for the features that it includes.
  • You get nice, crisp and clear images with the multi-coated lenses.
  • The rubber armor provides a tough casing for the monocular and is easy to grip.
  • The focus is easy enough to adjust using just one hand.
  • You can attach a lanyard for easy carrying.

Cons:

  • The unit does not come with a lens cap
  • The eye relief is a little short.

Our Verdict

We found that all three monoculars that we tested were easy to use and provided nice, clear images. If you’re just starting out, the Vortex Optic Solo would be a good one to try, especially at the price point. It’s quite small and lightweight and has the added advantage of being able to attach a lanyard to it to make it easier to carry around.

For middle of the road, we would suggest trying the Wingspan Optics Explorer. It has excellent magnification and is extremely robust and durable. Plus, it comes with a lifetime guarantee. So, if you like hiking over rough terrain or you’re a bit on the clumsy side, you’ll find it extremely difficult to break this great little unit.

At the higher end, we can’t go past the Gosky High Definition Monocular. It has excellent magnification and is also quite robust and durable. We particularly like the fact that you can mount your smartphone onto the unit and then, record what you see on your phone. Plus, this unit can easily be mounted onto a tripod for when you want to get some great still shots of the local bird population.

We hope that these reviews have been helpful in choosing a monocular for your bird watching adventures. Like any piece of equipment that you purchase, it’s always good to get the best that you can afford. All of these monoculars are good value for money and their durability means that they’re going to last you for many happy years of bird watching.

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