If you’re looking for a more portable telescope, a monocular telescope is an excellent choice. There are many to choose from on the market, but which one is the best fit, and what features should you look for?
This buyer’s guide will dive into three of the best monoculars specifically for stargazing.
Here are the top picks:
Night Owl Optics 5-Power
- High quality all-glass optics - objective and ocular lenses. One solid focusing ring. Single hand operation. 500x light amplification.
- Generation: 1, Magnification: 5x, Lens Diameter: 50 mm, Angular Field of View: 15 degrees, Field of View at 200 ft.: 39 ft., Dimensions (inches): 7.75L x 3.79W x 2.48H
- Weight (without batteries): 16 oz, Power Supply (not included): One 3-Volt Lithium Battery, Minimum Focus Range: 5.7 feet, Built-In Infrared: Yes
- The Night Owl NOXM50 with 5X magnification is the most rugged monocular in our line. Features an extended body with protective finish. The unit also comes with a hand strap and robust molded plastic focus ring.
- Uniquely designed for comfort and easy operation of both power and Infrared buttons.
Features & Specifications
- Magnification – 5x
- Aperture – 50mm
- Battery Life – 45 to 100 hours
- Light amplification – 50x
- Weight – 14oz
- Infrared night vision
Excellent In Low Light Conditions
This is a monocular that’s perfect for low-light conditions and can easily enhance your stargazing experience.
The night vision technology provided draws power from a 3-volt battery and is incredibly successful at boosting illumination.
It can increase the light coming in by 50 times, and you can use this monocular with a single hand, which is made possible by a single-knob focuser and the attached safety strap.
In addition, the Night Owl will perform even better in areas with minimal or no light pollution from urban areas.
The monocular body is also designed for optimal endurance.
It boasts a rubberized coating and an impact-resistant construction, making it an ideal mobile telescope.
The NOXM50 delivers greater magnification without adding a lot of extra weight by utilizing the newest generation of optical design technologies.
Unlike prior generation-1 technologies, this current monocular design does not sacrifice proper amplification of light for increased magnification.
It ensures you’ll get the highest quality view possible with the given specs.
This is an excellent telescope option for the whole family.
It won’t break the bank, and it comes with plenty of features to suit simple stargazing needs.
Its provided amplification will provide a much closer look at the endless number of stars in our night sky.
Considering the mobility of this telescope, it’s an excellent choice for many types of excursions or family trips to your favorite viewing locations.
Monocular telescopes may not allow you to see Saturn’s rings in 4k HD, but they will help refine what you can already see in the night sky.
This will enable you to find constellations and even particular celestial events easier.
Aside from the monocular’s most loved features, there have been a fair amount of complaints from customers over the years.
To some extent, there appears to be a problem with the Night Owl monocular telescope’s quality control.
Moreover, there have been several reports of the brand’s monoculars not working as advertised or packages not including all of the parts in the product description.
Furthermore, some have dealt with inconsistencies regarding the telescopes focusing abilities.
Some individuals have reported that they have trouble focusing on the telescope no matter how they adjust the settings.
Moreover, there are similar complaints about the telescope’s infrared technology not holding up to the products claimed potential.
If you happen to have technical issues you can’t solve yourself, getting a hold of customer support seems like somewhat of a stretch.
There are repeated reviews over the years of having no luck with contacting customer support for the telescope.
Although you can get a warranty for the product, many people have trouble finding any direct support from the company.
Even with some of the spotty mechanical issues that have been encountered with this monocular, it’s still a relatively cheap option that’s great for the whole family.
Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Monocular
- ULTRA-CLEAR OPTICS: With our advanced ED Prime glass and Ultra Wide Band Coating, the Legend Monocular delivers stunning clarity, color fidelity, and resolution, even in low light conditions
- VERSATILE MAGNIFICATION: The 10x magnification is ideal for a wide range of activities, from birdwatching and nature observation to hunting and surveillance. The compact size makes it easy to carry in your pocket or backpack
- DURABLE AND WATERPROOF: The Legend Monocular is built to withstand the toughest conditions. The rugged, rubber-armored exterior provides a secure grip, while the O-ring sealed optics are waterproof and fog proof, ensuring clear viewing in any weather
- EASY FOCUSING: The smooth focus knob and fast focus system make it easy to quickly focus on your subject, whether it's a distant bird or a close-up view of a flower
- ADJUSTABLE EYE CUP: The twist-up eyecup adjusts to your personal preference, whether you wear glasses or not, providing comfortable viewing for extended periods
Features & Specifications
- Objective Lens Diameter – 42mm
- Focus Type – Manual
- Prisms – Bak4
- Lens Coating – Fully multi-coated
- Magnification – 10x
- Field of View – 340ft
BaK-4 prisms are used within this Bushnell telescope.
The prisms, made of Barium Crown glass, provide remarkable clarity and optimal transmission of light for the best possible view.
The prism’s form also broadens the field of view instead of narrowing it as the standard square design usually would.
It may seem like a slight change in design, but the shape of the prism can make a significant difference in your view quality.
Bushnell brings one of the most essential qualities to the telescope industry; they always do their best to never pass up on a quality design.
The monocular is made of durable plastic, and the interior parts are entirely sealed, making the telescope fog and water-resistant.
Peforms In All Weathers
Rain, snow, and sleet bead up on the lens and scatter less light, giving you a crisp view even in snowy or wet weather conditions, thanks to the company’s proprietary coating for permanent moisture repellant.
A chemical coating called PC-3 is added to the prism and improves resolution and contrast.
Maximal Light Transmission
In addition, the company’s patented Ultra Wide Band Coating maximizes light in your FOV, increasing the brightness that the monocular telescope provides.
Prime fluorite glass with extra-low dispersion offers exceptional color clarity while nearly eliminating chromatic aberration and color-fringing to show the clearest view in environments with very little light.
An excellent all-around monocular, the Bushnell Legend is great for a wide range of outdoor activities.
Of course, the solid magnification of this telescope will give a clear and detailed view for a night of stargazing.
The quality of its optics allows you to get a closer look at your favorite stars and constellations with minimal distortion.
Furthermore, if you have a steady enough hand, you can track slow-moving objects in the night sky.
This monocular could quickly become a lifelong companion for your stargazing adventures as long as you keep up with a bit of cleaning and maintenance over time.
Requires Frequent Cleaning
To ensure the Bushnell Legend monocular stays in good working order, you should clean it gently from time to time.
Depending on how frequently you want to use your telescope, it’s recommended to clean it about twice per year, and if you travel with it on a frequent basis, you may want to clean it more often.
In addition, repeatedly cleaning the monocular could result in the eyecup cracking from repeated washing.
You can avoid this by lubricating the eyecup, so the material doesn’t get too dry.
Rubber Lens Cap
Many people aren’t a big fan of the lens cap as it’s hard rubber.
In many cases, a hard plastic lens cap is preferred as rubber can become messy and become a hassle to remove and put back on.
Aside from that, many individuals have issues with the eyepiece cap falling off.
Unfortunately, it seems this particular piece isn’t the most secure on the monocular.
Considering the issues mentioned above, some are finding the price of the Bushnell Legend telescope to be hard to justify.
Although the cons of this monocular are minuscule, many people feel these issues shouldn’t exist with a nearly $200 price tag.
You’ll find there are many monocular telescopes in this price range, but with additional research, you’ll find that not all have the build quality to back up the company’s claims.
So, it’s always essential to do your research on the specs before you buy, such as the ones provided in this guide.
Poorly Made Components
The specifications of this monocular come with a suitable magnification for stargazing, but it seems some components of the telescope are cheaply made and could distract from your viewing experience.
Overall, it seems this telescope doesn’t hold up to the company’s claims in quite a few areas, which leads some to think the purchase may not be worth the price.
VIVREAL 12×55 Monocular Telescope
- 【12X55 High Power Magnification】With full 12x magnification and 55mm object lens diameter, monocular for adults & kids offer a full 360ft (1, 000yds) viewing scope, for crystal clear image, enjoy the magnified view for all sorts of outdoor adventures: bird watching, hunting, hiking, camping, traveling, wildlife, scenery, etc.
- 【High Contrast And Resolution Images】High quality precision design featuring all glass high end optics, (BAK4 Prism & Multi-layer Green Film), this high power monocular telescope allows more light transmission and brightness and the light transmittance forming clear and colorful image.
- 【 Dust-Proof, Waterproof, Fog Proof】 IPX7 Nitrogen-Filled Waterproof, this monocular built-in lens dust cover can prevent lens from dust/moisture/debris to keep it clear all the time, and fog-resistant coating and O-ring sealed optics makes it usable to withstand the tough weather conditions
- 【Comfortable & Ergonomic Design】Ergonomic design helps you focus on your target quickly and accurately with one hand. And the durable rubber armor with grain makes it comfortable for use, non-slip grip, and durable external protection from your hand.
- 【Widely Compatible With Smartphone】Comes with quick alignment smartphone holder, tripods, and remote control. Compatible with iPhone 8/8 Plus, 7/7 Plus, 6/6s Plus, Samsung GALAXY S9/S9 Edge, S8/S8 Edge, S7/S7 Edge, LG, HTC Sony, and almost all other smartphones on the market. Easy to install, remote control monocular, provide HD images to share with your friends.
Features & Specifications
- Magnification – 12x
- Aperture – 55mm
- Prism – Bak4
- Waterproofing – IPX7
- Field of View – 360ft
- Smartphone Adapter
This telescope’s 12X magnification is ideal for observing the night sky.
While it is not the most powerful optical instrument available on the market, it does put you a bit closer to the galaxy and celestial events.
Because of nitrogen purging, this monocular is waterproof with an IPX7 rating.
It has a 360-foot field of vision.
You also receive a tripod to set it up for more stability and an adapter for your cellphone that enables you to capture photos with your smartphone through the powerful monocular lens.
This VIVREAL monocular is a high-powered monocular that fits in your palm and is smartphone compatible.
Furthermore, you can easily connect your phone and increase your camera’s capabilities with the 12 x 55 zoom.
The durability of tiny monoculars is a significant problem for many brands.
While other monocular models seem to break and crumble at the slightest hint of moisture, this monocular isn’t affected by regular everyday use or wet weather conditions.
This monocular telescope’s high-quality precision design, which includes all high-end glass optics, allows for more extraordinary light transmission, as well as light transmittance, resulting in a crisp and colorful view.
The ergonomic build of the telescope helps you focus on your target with the best possible accuracy with only one hand.
Furthermore, the strong rubber makes it easy to hold, with a non-slip grip and long-lasting exterior protection from your hand and any wear and tear.
This monocular is an excellent choice for any family member and will last you many years to come with proper care.
Visual Quality Issues
Unfortunately, this device’s visual quality isn’t the greatest.
Except for the center of the lens, images are a little blurry and never seem to be entirely in focus.
It’s advertised as having a 12x magnification, and even though that may be true, this particular monocular has an issue with holding a clear focus.
This can be a big issue for stargazers as celestial moments can pass in a blink of an eye.
It may be a good option for star gazing, but you’ll also need to rely on a pretty clear night without a lot of light pollution, considering its persistent issues with holding a clear focus.
No Hand Or Neck Strap
This may be a minuscule issue, but the telescope doesn’t come with a hand or neck strap, which can be a convenience issue for some.
In addition, the rear cover of the monocular separates from the unit entirely, which could lead to the item getting lost during mobile viewing sessions.
Moreover, the small carrying case included with the handheld telescope isn’t big enough to hold all of the unit’s parts, which is a portability issue for many.
Having the best possible stargazing experience does come with a few requirements and a handful of favorable weather and environmental conditions, but that doesn’t mean monocular telescopes can’t enhance the quality of your view.
Sure, with this type of telescope, you can expect some limitations compared to larger telescope options.
Still, when it comes to portability and ease of use, monoculars can’t be beaten.
Monocular Telescope Buyer’s Guide
Are Monoculars Good For Stargazing?
Monocular telescopes are excellent for stargazing due to their portability. The night sky offers many different celestial events all throughout the evening, and they tend to pass in mere seconds.
Monocular telescopes are excellent for adjusting your view as fast as possible, and some even offer tripods for additional stability while providing the least weight possible.
How To Choose A Monocular Telescope For Stargazing?
If you’re looking for a monocular telescope that’s right for you, make sure to take a look at the provided magnification, fog/water resistance rating, build quality, and of course, the price. The quality of the monocular and its components must equate to the quality of your viewing experience.
There are many different monocular telescopes to choose from on the market, but you want to ensure the features and specifications they provide will suit your day-to-day needs.
Whether you’re an astronomy enthusiast or a casual stargazer, the construction of a monocular telescope can easily be your travel companion for life, allowing you to catch the most beautiful celestial moments.
In addition, it won’t be hard to find a monocular telescope that fits your needs as many are compatible with a wide range of accessories.
Whether you’re looking for a secure strap, smartphone compatibility, or a tripod, there’s a monocular out there just for you.
Lastly, the monocular telescopes provided in this buyer’s guide are suitable for any age and can be used for many different outdoor activities in addition to many nights of stargazing.
But if I had to choose one and only one, the Night Owl Optics 5-Power is the one I’d recommend buying from Amazon 👇
Hey, my name is Chris. I’m a passionate and seasoned astronomer who loves nothing more than observing the night sky. I also love researching, learning, and writing all things Space and the Universe. I created Astronomy Scope to share my knowledge, experience, suggestions, and recommendations of what I have learned along the way while helping anyone to get into and maximize their enjoyment of the hobby.