As useful as night vision devices such as binoculars and monoculars are, there are times when you need both hands free to operate in the dark. This is where night vision goggles, which typically come with comfortable hands-free head gear come in useful. Unlike other night vision devices, which you might only need to survey your surroundings from a static position, night vision goggles are designed for movement. Because they allow you to navigate in the dark you will also more than likely be looking through them for much longer periods than other devices. Because of these factors there are a couple of features that you should be on the lookout for when buying these devices.
Night vision goggles are typically used for navigation and short range observation, so they typically do not feature the magnification levels that you would find on a binocular or monocular. Trying to walk around in the dark with magnified vision is generally not a good idea and would do more harm than good. Some night vision goggles however do allow you to use magnification attachments if the need for long range surveillance of the area is required so if this is something you need, be sure to check if the product you are interested in supports this feature.
Night vision goggles can be used without the head gear, but that would defeat the purpose of the product, so make sure that the device you are interested in is comfortable. There is nothing worse than ill fitting head gear or head gear that is difficult to adjust out in the dark. Find out whether the night vision goggles that you are interested in is comfortable, durable and easy to operate before breaking out your wallet and making the purchase.
You should also keep in mind that not all night vision goggles are created equally and for the cheaper models you will more than likely have to deal with generation 1 technology. While this does not automatically make them bad, it does mean you won’t have to visual clarity you would get from generation 2 or higher tech. The tradeoff is of course price, so unless money is not an issue you are better off buying the best device within your budget instead of overspending.
Take a look at our top three picks for night vision goggles for an overview of what to look out for. If you see any of these night vision goggles for sale and you can afford the price then we heartily recommend you make the purchase as they are the products that impressed us the most.
The Best of Both Worlds: The Yukon – NV 1X24 Goggles
With its multicoated optics, rubber armor protection and modern design, the Yukon NV 1X24 goggles is a quality product at an affordable price. It features comfortable hands-free head gear and a lightweight design that allows you to move around with comfort. Anyone that has used the Yuka Tracker series of night vision binoculars will recognize the design and quality that these goggles bring to the table. The goggles are water and fog resistant, which along with the decent battery life make them a good a good purchase.
These goggles still use generation 1 technology, but it still manages to offer great image quality and visibility with either ambient light or the infrared illuminator switched on. What we like most about the Yukon – NV 1X24 goggles is the price as it offers some great features, but keeps the cost reasonable. It doesn’t feature auto focus and the field of view is rather naorrow, but when it comes for overall features and value for money the Yukon – NV 1X24 is our top pick.
See price at Amazon.com
Can’t Beat That Price: The Armasight Vega Night Vision Goggle Gen 1+
The Armasight Vega is not only one of the most affordable offerings that we have seen in the night vision goggle department, but packs a surprising amount of features for its price. If you are on a tight budget, but don’t want to waste money on a product that won’t live up to your expectations, give the Vega a try. Armasight has a wide range of night vision products on the market so you know that you are in good hands with the Vega.
Despite the price it uses all glass optics with rugged reinforced composite housing. It is also very compact and quite lightweight which in conjunction with the adjustable head gear makes it comfortable to wear. Not only can the goggles be flipped up very easily, but the design allows you to actually choose which eye you want to use for viewing. Durability is also not an issue and the goggles function well in wet or foggy weather conditions. In fact, about the only thing that we can fault about the Vega is that there is a minor fish eye effect around the peripheral of the viewing area, but this is relatively minor and to be expected. There simply isn’t a more affordable set of night vision goggles on the market that features as much as the Armasight Vega Night Vision Goggle Gen1+.
See price at Amazon.com
Taking Things To The Next Level: The Armasight Nyx7-ID Gen2+ Night Vision Goggles
Our third pick is one for folks that are serious about their nocturnal excursions and want only the best. The Nyx7-ID is not a toy which is made abundantly clear by the rather hefty price tag, but despite the large investment it is worth it if you know what you are looking for. The high grade generation 2 image intensifier tubes no doubt chased up the price considerably, but the rest of the goggles are up to specifications as well.
The all glass optics are high grade and multi-coated while the electronics are reliable enough for intense field operations. It features a dual eye viewing system and 40 degrees field of view, which, along with the wide angle infrared illuminator, provides superlative night vision even in complete darkness. Water or fog won’t slow this device down either and the comfortable head gear ensures that fatigue is not a factor. It doesn’t come cheap, but if you can afford it there really is no looking back.
See price at Amazon.com
Make An Informed Choice
When it comes to night vision goggles it is easy to get carried away and buy something because it looks great, but it is the performance that really counts. Purchase a device that offers great vision instead of just looking great because in the dark the former could save your life while the latter won’t matter.