The 6 Best Night Vision Goggles in 2021

best night vision goggles

Whether you’re interested in viewing game animals around your property or an after-hours game of capture the flag, the best night vision goggles will help. Learn more here.

Do you want to get a better idea of what animals cross your property at night? Maybe you’re an avid hunter and you need to check out footage from game trails near your hunting grounds. Perhaps you’re dealing with a nuisance on your property after dark and need to identify what it is. Whatever the case, you’ll find that the best night vision goggles give you the ability to see in the dark for surprisingly long distances. Some models even allow you to zoom in, take photos, or even record video footage.

Of course, it can be pretty challenging to decide on the best night vision goggles for your needs without any experience using these devices. What are the top options on the market? What features should you look for? Is one brand better than another? There’s good news – our head-to-head ranking will help ensure that you can find the best night vision goggles quickly and easily.

GTHUNDER Night Vision Goggles

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The first option on our list of the best night vision goggles is this pair from GTHUNDER. Featuring a large viewfinder and touch-button functionality, it is both simple to use and powerful. You’ll find that it offers a 2.31-inch TFT screen that is visible at night and in bright sunlight. It is also able to capture pictures up to 1280 x 960 and record video up to 960 P in resolution. That data is stored on the 32 GB memory card (included with purchase).

These infrared goggles feature a built-in 3W infrared LED, 850nm illuminator. That delivers ample illumination in full dark to see up to 1,000 feet away. You can also adjust your performance with seven selectable IR levels.

In terms of range, you’ll find that this unit offers 3x magnification and 4x digital zoom, making it one of the more powerful sets on the market. Many competitors only offer a 2x digital zoom. You will also enjoy a long runtime with this unit. A single set of batteries will provide up to six hours of continuous use with IR on, or 17 hours with IR off. Note that the batteries are not included and the unit requires six AA batteries.

  • 7x magnification total
  • 1,000-foot IR range
  • Six-hour continuous use with IR
  • Does not include batteries
  • Some customers report poor build quality

SHANNISS Night Vision Goggle 

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Looking for a pair of night-vision goggles but worried about keeping your hands free for other things? If so, then the SHANNISS Night Vision Goggle might be just what you need. It’s made with a headpiece that fits over your eyes, which is supported by dual head straps that hold it in place for hands-free operation. 

These are some of the best night vision goggles for a wide range of uses, from hunting to surveillance. They feature fully multicoated optics for light amplification and true color rendering, and the integrated LCD screen delivers great clarity. The built-in IR lamp ensures that even in total darkness you can see what’s around you.

In terms of distance, the IR on this set gives you a range of 328 feet, which is a little less than some other models. However, it also includes a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, so you won’t have to worry about carrying spares with you. You’ll get about 1.5 hours of use with IR on and around six hours of use with IR off.

  • Hands-free design
  • True IR functionality
  • Selectable IR levels
  • Built-in rechargeable batteries
  • 1.5-hour lifespan is shorter than some competitors
  • The range is shorter than some competitors

Nightfox 100V Widescreen Digital Night Vision Infrared Binocular with Zoom

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The next item on our best of list is the Nightfox 100V Widescreen Digital Night Vision Infrared Binocular with Zoom. While it’s not a hands-free design like the SHANNISS model we just looked at, it does offer some interesting innovations. 

One of those is that this is the only pair of night vision goggles to make our list that offers widescreen viewing. Instead of two analog eyepieces or two digital screens, you get one large eyepiece with a wide digital screen. The eyepiece is ergonomically designed for comfort, as well.

In terms of range, you’ll have an IR viewing distance of about 110 yards, which is 330 feet. That’s less than some models but better than others, including the SHANNISS model we reviewed previously. In addition to that, you get 3x fixed magnification and 2x digital zoom capabilities.

Operating these night vision goggles is simple and straightforward. Just touch the function button and you’re done. You also get six hours of usability per set of batteries. Note that these googles require eight AA batteries and they are not included with the purchase. However, it is backed by an 18-month warranty, so there should be some peace of mind.

  • Widescreen viewing
  • The view screen is comfortable even when wearing glasses
  • View up to 110 yards/330 feet
  • Magnification is a little less than some competitors
  • Batteries are not included

X-Vision XANB50 Hands-Free Deluxe Hunting/Camping Infrared Night Vision Binoculars

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The second hands-free model on our best night vision goggles review, the X-Vision XANB50 provides freedom of movement and lots of visibility in low and no light situations. Like the SHANNISS model, the X-Vision goggles use head straps to hold the unit in place. However, there are some pretty stark differences between the two goggles.

The IR lamp offers visibility at night up to 200 yards (600 feet). During daylight hours, you can see up to 400 yards (1200 feet). You can also adjust the level of IR to suit your needs.

In addition to acting as a pair of binoculars, these night vision goggles also provide you with the ability to take photos and even capture video footage. The data is stored on a 32 GB SD card that installs directly into the unit. Note that the SD card is not included.

Adjusting the focus is as simple as turning the dial. You also get 3x optical zoom capabilities and 2x digital zoom. It uses rechargeable batteries, too (not included), and offers about five hours of use with IR on. You’ll see about eight hours of use during the day. 

  • Hands-free
  • Excellent IR distance
  • Uses rechargeable batteries
  • Batteries not included
  • SD card not included

SpyX Night Mission Goggles

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Interested in something a bit more minimal than the previous options on our list? Perhaps something that’s a little more fun or kid-friendly? If that sounds like you, then consider the SpyX Night Mission Goggles. These night vision goggles offer ample nighttime vision for playtime and use around the house or yard and promise hours of fun.

This toy uses twin LED lights to provide illumination at night. With a range of 25 feet, they’re great for night games of tag or capture the flag, but probably not well suited to use camping, hiking, or hunting. These night vision goggles are hands-free, though, and they’re also simple to operate. Note that the LED light beams are visible to the naked eye. Note that these goggles do not amplify existing light.

  • Fun for kids
  • Very affordable
  • Ideal for use around the house and yard
  • Not true night vision (uses LEDs)
  • Suitable for children

Creative XP Digital Night Vision Binoculars

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If you’re looking for something that will be of use on the trail, in camp, or out hunting, then the Creative XP Digital Night Vision Binoculars might be exactly what you need. They are powerful enough for almost any use and offer plenty of features and functionality.

First, understand that these are binoculars, not night vision goggles. However, they do offer true night vision functionality with a built-in IR lamp that allows you to see in total darkness. They are also IPX4 rated and completely waterproof, so you can use them even in the rain. 

The fully multicoated optics provide light amplification and true color recreation, and the 7x optical zoom is one of the best on the market. The IR illuminator offers 850nm, and the images are displayed on a four-inch TFT screen for the utmost clarity.

Also, these night vision goggles can capture both photos and video footage and store the data on the 32 GB SD card, which is included with the purchase. You will also find a carry case and other accessories. Note that it requires eight AA batteries to operate, which are not included.

  • Rugged design
  • Excellent magnification
  • 1300 foot viewing range (daylight)
  • 4-inch TFT screen
  • Batteries not included

FAQs about the Best Night Vision Goggles

Now that we’ve run through some of the best night vision goggles on the market, we’re going to explore some of the more commonly asked questions about night vision goggles to help ensure that you’re making an informed purchase.

What Night Vision Goggles Does the Military Use?

The US military uses several different night vision goggle types depending on the branch in question. ITT is the manufacturer for most of these devices. Note that true military-grade night vision goggles are not available for the general public, but many of the systems that are available to you approach the same capabilities as those used by service members. 

Can Civilians Buy Night Vision Goggles?

Yes, civilians have access to a very wide range of night vision goggles. These vary in price and capabilities substantially. Some are budget-options, while others are designed for use by children. Yet others are well-suited to use in camping, hiking, and hunting situations. In our review of the best night vision goggles on the market, we’ve covered options that suit virtually any need or budget.

What Are the Best Night Vision Goggles Under $1,000?

You’ll find the best night vision goggles under $1,000 in our review. Each of these brings something different to the table, whether that’s hands-free operation, widescreen viewing, or something else entirely. However, understand that what works best for you may not be best for someone else. The term “best” here is pretty subjective. Everyone needs to make an informed decision based on the features and functions that matter most to them, as well as their budget, and how they intend to use the googles.

Do Night Vision Goggles Work in Total Darkness?

Yes, true night vision goggles will work in total darkness. They use infrared light, which is invisible to the naked eye, and special optics that allow you to see objects illuminated by IR. However, note that not all products advertised as “night vision” work in total darkness. Some are light amplification devices that allow you to see better in low-light situations but do not work in situations where there is no light.


The best night vision goggles provide you with clear visibility even during no-light situations. Whether you’re camping, hiking, or hunting in low light or at night, these tools will help keep you safe. They’re also handy for a broad range of other activities, including surveillance, security services, security training, and so much more. We’ve covered some of the best options on the market in our review above, but there are many others out there. Technology is also advancing rapidly, and as it is declassified from the military, it becomes available for civilian manufacturers to use, so new setups are coming to market constantly.

If you’re shopping for the best night vision goggles, it’s best to start with your budget. Then determine which capabilities are most important to you. Do you need to capture photos and video? Do you need hands-free operation or would you prefer a binocular-style option? How rugged do you need the unit to be? Do you need it to be waterproof? These are all questions that you will need to answer before buying a pair of goggles.