Once solely used by the military and first responders, thermal imaging is now available to private citizens who need to “see” with no visibility. What’s the best thermal monocular?
Thermal imaging technology has made enormous strides since its strategic inception during the war in Vietnam. As the quality of thermal imaging devices, especially thermal monoculars, has improved, the price of these units has correspondingly declined. Today they’re available and much liked not just by law enforcement and firefighters, but by outdoorsmen, hunters, and adventurers.
Thermal imaging works by gathering infrared light, which can permeate and be detected where there are no visible light waves or where thick smoke, fog, or permeable barriers—like dense undergrowth—prevent normal vision. Infrared can be broken into three basic wave measurements. The most useful of these is “thermal-IR,” which is the basis for the thermal monocular devices we use to find heat signatures.
The most accessible device for thermal imaging is the thermal monocular. This article seeks to describe six of the best thermal monoculars, to review and compare them, and to answer some basic questions to help find the best thermal imaging monocular. It will also allow us to talk a little about TICs—thermal imaging cameras. Thanks to the TIC, we can capture images of creatures we’ll never see in the dark.