Monocular vs Binocular: Which is Right for You?

Monocular vs Binocular_ Which is Right for You_

Are you trying to decide whether to buy a monocular vs binoculars? Use this article to help you decide whether a monocular vs binocular is right for you!

Whether you like to hunt, birdwatch, or simply look at pretty things from far away, there are plenty of optical devices out there to help you see everything that you need to see. A common decision with which people are faced regarding optical devices is the question of monocular vs binocular. Which is better? When you are hunting, it helps to be able to survey the terrain and pick up all of the contextual clues that you possibly can to track down that perfect spot to set up your blind or tree stand. Once you get set up, you will need to be able to keep a close watch on your surroundings to ensure that you are ready when that big moment comes. The trick is, you will probably need a little help from an optical device to see as far as the range on your weapon will allow you to shoot. This way you can maximize your range and be sure not to miss the moment when your target saunters into view.

If you are into birdwatching, you will know all too well that the hobby requires more than slapping a bird feeder outside of your kitchen window. Oftentimes, the bird that you so desperately want to see will flit and fly just far enough away that it will be hard to distinguish with the naked eye. With an optical device such as a monocular or binoculars, you can bring the bird up close without having to get too close.

Let’s take a look at some key differences regarding a monocular vs binoculars and some examples of each to see which is right for you.


Using a Monocular

There are a few ‘elemental’ differences between a pair of binoculars and a monocular. The first is fairly obvious. A monocular only has one eyepiece and one objective lens. This makes for a very compact tool that can be easily packed up and carried around. Most of the time, a monocular can fit right into your pocket. This is a handy feature inherent to a monocular that will make travel a little easier and should cut back on the time it takes to spot what you are looking for. The magnification of a monocular is typically comparable to that of a pair of binoculars. Just be sure that when you are comparing, you pay attention to the magnification so that you can get something that will magnify to your expectations. Something else to keep in mind is that a good monocular will be less expensive than a good pair of binoculars because a monocular uses only half of the materials that a comparable pair of binoculars would be made of. The field of view is typically quite smaller through a monocular as well. Another drawback to using a monocular is that a monocular can tend to produce ‘sidelight’. This shows up in the view as bright ‘washes’ that can appear to emanate from the edges of the image. This and the fact that only one eye is to be used can cause rapid eye fatigue. A monocular is typically purchased for quick use or short-term applications such as a glance around to survey the area or to spot a deer and possibly measure distances.

  • Lighter in weight
  • Smaller and more compact
  • Magnification is comparable to that of binoculars
  • Good for quick use (easy to grab)
  • Less expensive
  • Causes eye fatigue
  • A smaller field of view
  • Prone to ‘sidelight’ effect
  • Not good for longer viewing times

A Few Examples of a Good Monocular

Using Binoculars

Although binoculars can be a little bit heavy and require a little more effort to pack in and out, the magnification is just the same as a monocular and the focus can be a bit more refined. A pair of binoculars has two eyepieces and two objective lenses. This means that a pair of binoculars will most likely have more total surface area of the objective lenses. This might seem like a small issue, but it means that more light will likely enter a pair of binoculars than will enter a monocular. More light means a brighter image and the ability to use the binoculars in low light conditions more effectively. With a wider field of view, binoculars are also inherently better for viewing moving targets. Binoculars are typically used for longer viewing applications since they are not as prone to cause eye fatigue very quickly. One of the downsides to binoculars is the cost. Since more materials like lenses and coatings are used, they are usually more expensive. Binoculars are much better for bird watching than a monocular, however.

  • Better focusing capabilities
  • Has more objective lens area
  • Brighter images and better viewing at low light
  • Wider field of view
  • Not prone to causing eye fatigue
  • No ‘sidelight’ issues
  • Better for longer viewing time
  • Better for moving targets
  • More expensive
  • Can be cumbersome
  • Not as easily accessed
  • Heavier
  • Focus can take longer

A Few Examples of Good Binoculars

The Nitty-Gritty About Monocular Vs. Binocular


At the end of the day, it will all come down to your expectations and preferences. The four products listed above make for a great starting point when choosing your monocular or binoculars. Be sure that you also consider issues like waterproofing and durability. The last thing that you would want to do is to take your new optical device on your next hunting trip, only to get rained on and discover that your new gadget has been rendered useless. When in doubt, it helps to make a checklist of what it is that you want your binoculars or monoculars to do. Hopefully, you have found this article on monocular vs binoculars to be useful in deciding on your next optical device. Happy viewing!

Related Article:

[contact-form-7 id="448" title="newsletter"]