The Monocular vs. The Spotting Scope: Which One is Right for Your Hobby?

The Monocular vs. The Spotting Scope

If you’re looking for a sighting tool, you might find yourself comparing monoculars and spotting scopes. Find out which is best for your hobby and why.

When you’re in the market for a great spotting device, it might be hard to decide what’s going to be best for the job. Take the time to explore all the options that are available to consider what will suit your specific needs. It is important to consider the features of various devices, as well as the pros and cons of the monocular and the spotting scope so that you can decide what is best.  

Below, we will provide reviews of a couple of the best options for monoculars and spotting scopes on the market today, along with some of the most frequently asked questions about both pieces of equipment. This can help you get more information to make a better buying decision.  

We’ll look at a couple of monocular units, and then review a couple of spotting scopes, helping you to see the various features that each has to offer.  

Vortex Optics Solo Monocular 8×25 

The Vortex Optics Solo Monocular offers eight times magnification and a 25mm objective lens, giving you a fair amount of light for crisp images, despite its compact size. It also includes fully multicoated lenses for improved light transmission and better image resolution. Plus, it all comes in a lightweight design.  

This sturdy monocular features a rubberized armor exterior for a slip-free grip and added durability, allowing it to stand up to any of the elements that come your way. It’s also waterproof, and fog-proof, thanks to the O-ring seals and nitrogen purging, and shockproof, as well.  

In this small monocular, you’ll also find a sturdy focus wheel, as well as an adjustable eyecup so that you can enjoy comfortable viewing, even with glasses. It might not look like much from the outside, but this small unit packs in a lot of features.  

This monocular is ideal for bow hunting, backpacking, and a variety of other outdoor activities when you want to see at a distance without having to carry around binoculars, or when you want something that gets better distances.  

Gosky 12×55 High Definition Monocular Telescope and Quick Smartphone Holder 

The Gosky 12×55 HD Monocular Telescope and Quick Smartphone Holder is a unique device that gives you a whole new way to enjoy spotting and sighting out in the field. This monocular from Gosky offers HD imaging with premium lenses and BAK4 prism technology to ensure that you get the best view every single time.  

This monocular features a super-wide 55mm objective lens for optimal light intake, creating brighter, crisper images in every shot. It is a perfect choice for bird watching, hunting, hiking and climbing, sporting events, concerts, and so much more.  

The fully multicoated lenses ensure premium construction and the best anti-glare images at all times. Plus, the entire monocular is made from solid metal with a rubberized armor that helps it hold up to any conditions. Plus, it gives you a better grip, no matter what you’re doing outdoors. The O-ring sealed monocular is also nitrogen purged, which means it is completely waterproof and fog-proof, too.  

In case that’s not enough, this monocular includes a tripod holder and a unique clip-on extension that will hold your smartphone so that you can use it as a viewfinder instead of looking directly through the scope. All this is wrapped up with a lifetime warranty and 24 hours of customer support.  

Huicocy 20-60x60mm Spotting Scope with Quick Smartphone Mount Kit and Tabletop Tripod 

The Huicocy 20-60x60mm Spotting Scope includes everything you need to get started with great targeting and spotting. This scope comes with its own tripod for tabletop mounting and a smartphone mount, allowing you to use your smartphone as the viewfinder. Plus, it has a robust selection of features for a relatively low price.  

First, you get the fully multi-coated optics that you expect from a spotting scope. This scope also includes an adjustable eyepiece and substantial eye relief so that you can use it with or without glasses. Plus, it’s got an impressive 60mm objective lens to give you the best field of view and plenty of light-gathering power.  

Like all great scopes, this model features fog-proof and waterproof elements to make sure that it can go with you in any weather. The powerful magnification and angled eyepiece offer ideal target shooting range and viewing comfort, giving you the chance to get nature (or your target) closer than you ever imagined with crisp clarity in every image.  

The rugged construction and retractable eyepiece continue to increase the perks of this scope, which also features a sunshade that can give you the protection that you need from glare, rain, and other elements. Plus, this spotting scope includes a lifetime guarantee and 100% reliable customer service from Huicocy.  

Vortex Optics Diamondback Spotting Scopes 

The Vortex Optics Diamondback family of spotting scopes delivers superior performance in the field for hunting and other needs. From Vortex, a leader in sports optics, this scope still gives you the lightweight design that you want with all of the features that you demand, including fully multicoated XR lenses for premium light transmission and image clarity.  

The diamondback collection from Vortex also features an adjustable twist-and-lock collar that makes it easy to get the perfect viewing angle. An adjustable eyecup ensures that you can see with or without glasses and create the perfect focus with the included focus wheel. With an eye relief of 20-16.5mm and a built-in sunshade, there’s even more to love.  

Like the best spotting scopes, the Vortex Diamondback series is nitrogen purged and O-ring sealed for waterproof, fog-proof operation. It also offers a sturdy, rubberized armor that increases your grip and gives you a more durable piece of equipment that will hold up in a variety of conditions.  

This spotting scope is tripod-ready, or it can be mounted to a car window mount. You’ll also enjoy the 100% satisfaction guarantee and lifetime warranty that Vortex is known for.  

Commonly Asked Questions About Monoculars and Spotting Scopes 

Below, we’ve taken the time to compile the most commonly asked questions about monocular devices and spotting scopes to help you figure out what is best. Getting to know more about each of these units and what they offer could help you determine what is going to be more ideally suited to your intended use, and provide you with a wealth of information that can improve other areas of your hobby, as well.  

Is the monocular better than the spotting scope? 

These devices have two completely separate uses. A monocular isn’t designed to sight as far as a spotting scope, and its lightweight profile limits the capability of the lenses, among other things. A monocular is ideal for sighting and ranging to an extent, but when you want to get the maximum distance, a spotting scope is a must. Ultimately, they may both have a place in your equipment lineup, but there is never going to be a clear answer to which is “better” because it will be different for everyone.  

Essentially, the spotting scope is a larger, more powerful version of the monocular, designed to provide people with a better tool for sighting at a longer distance. Scopes are also more likely to be used from fixed locations, while most monocular devices are used on a hike or a hunt where there is a lot of movement.  

Do these devices both look the same? 

Although they may look similar, monocular and spotting scope units are quite different. A monocular will typically look more like a small camcorder, or even like a more oval-shaped handheld tool. A spotting scope looks, essentially, like a telescope. Some models have an angled eyepiece so they will angle at one end, while others are straight scopes. Each has its uses, but they both look fairly similar aside from the variation in the eyepiece.  

What are the biggest drawbacks of a monocular? 

Monoculars are great for many things, but they are not ideal for tracking moving targets or for glassing details. Their optics are more limited, which means that they will not be able to see things as clearly. They also don’t provide the best wide-angle viewing solution and they don’t have the same level of comfort when used for extended periods.  

The monocular is also going to have a lot less power than a spotting scope, as well as a smaller aperture. This means that it will be ideal for shorter ranges and easier shots, while you might want to rely on a scope for things that are further out.  

What are the disadvantages of a spotting scope? 

Spotting scopes are larger and have much higher magnification. Some models might not have a good close focus, meaning that you can’t use them for short-range spotting like you could a monocular. This is another reason why it’s good to consider owning both pieces of equipment. You never know which you’ll need and they both have their place.  

Spotting scopes also have premium optics, making them much more expensive than typical monoculars due to the quality and weight of the glass used for the lenses alone. The entire unit is made to be more durable and is larger, which means that many manufacturers will expect people to pay more due to limited availability.  

What hobbies are better for a monocular versus a spotting scope? 

Hunting is a great example of a place where you can enjoy using a small monocular if you aren’t ready to make a big investment in this purchase. You can also benefit from a monocular with birding and close-range target practice and hunting, although the spotting scope with the angled eyepiece does also offer a comfortable option for overhead sighting.  

A spotting scope is all about the distance, so if you want to do things close to home, you have to find another app to use. If nothing else, you should take the time to explore these two devices and figure out which one will suit your needs. Some people enjoy the monocular, while others are interested in the spotting scope. Ultimately, they probably both have a place in your collection. 

What about the optics? 

There’s a lot that goes into the optics with both of these devices. While you don’t have to become a well-read professional on the subject, you should at least understand how the optics work in a monocular versus a spotting scope so that you get the best tool for the activity that you’re enjoying. Make sure that the lenses feature premium coatings and that they are well-designed. 

Regardless of whether you choose a monocular or a spotting scope, you’ll want durable, protected lenses that will withstand the elements and provide you with high-quality, crisp images in the field. Remember that these two devices have two different purposes, so their optics won’t be the same, but they should be high-quality.  

Choose Your Monocular or Spotting Scope 

Now that you’re more familiar with these two sighting tools and what they have to offer, it should be easy for you to figure out what you’ll want to buy for your current needs. Eventually, you may end up with both of these items in your arsenal of tools, but there is something that you’re looking for specifically right now. That’s what you should be considering when reviewing your options.  

Now that you’ve seen what you can get from various spotting scopes and monoculars that are on the market, as well as what their uses might be, it will be easy for you to narrow down your options. Whether you choose one of the items listed above or you use this information to pick a different product entirely, you’ll be able to trust that you’re getting the right tools for the job when you know what you are looking for.