Monocular vs Binoculars- Which One to Use and When?

Monoculars and binoculars, devices that succor you in those hunting trips play a key role in deciding how your session will turn out to be. Hence, having a deep insight into their working and functions is particularly important.

Monoculars and binoculars are very different in their looks. Monoculars are designed to use with one eye, while binoculars are designed to use with both the eyes. No doubt binoculars made it to the list of popularly known devices but due to their specifications, monoculars should not get overlooked.

To decide which one to use and when the first thing that should be done is outlining the different specifications and comparing them. The below factors should be considered while comparing the two devices.

Monocular Vs Binoculars 1


Such an obvious factor but though an important one. You are surely not going to spend thousands of rupees to sit at one place and do the magnification task.

Monoculars and binoculars are meant to travel with and for them to be travel-friendly is very essential. Traveling places and keeping your foot on various rough and unexpected terrains you need something that is light and doesn’t feel a burden in the backpack.

However, both monoculars and binoculars are not that heavy but monoculars are more preferred since they have just lens and thus half the weight of a binocular.

They can be just put in the pocket and you will hardly feel it whereas binoculars need a neck strap to be carried around the neck.

Also, since its very light, it will come handy when you suddenly spot an animal and every second thereafter matters. So, this is a win for the monoculars in terms of portability.

Night vision:

Night vision equipment is very useful especially when you are in the woods for hunting. Whether it’s the animals hunting for prey or you are hunting in either of the cases night vision devices are very useful.

Now coming to what we are here to talk about we have an option to choose between night vision monoculars and night vision binoculars.

But the problem with night vision devices is that while using them they hamper your own night vision and it becomes a problem for some time when you are no longer using that device.

Hence, using night vision monoculars completely eliminates the hassle since it has only one eye lens and the other eye is free to examine the field. Even the military men use these night vision monoculars over binoculars to have an eye on their enemies.     

These night vision monoculars also come with features such as IR illuminators which light up a dark area. This feature can be used in the worst situations to help you out of any danger.

The monoculars again gain a plus point when it comes to night hunt. These can be used for hunting animals that are easily spotted at the dusk or dawn like- an elk or a deer.

Field of view (FOV):

This seems to be a completely win-win situation for binoculars as a field of view is directly proportional to the lens used and binoculars use twice the lenses as monoculars.

A bigger lens size ensures that more light is gathered and the image formation is much more clear, brighter and sharper.

What you must know is that increasing lens size adds to the cost of the device but sit back and relax since the price you are paying is completely worth the image you get to see.

Also, aiming for a larger field of view you will have to compromise with the magnification. An increase in magnification makes the field of view go down and you will see a smaller area with more clarity.

If hunting is your sole purpose why you are buying these binoculars, then it depends on the hunting session you are going for but it is advisable to go for binoculars with the intermediate field of view and magnification to be on the safer side but binoculars must be your choice over monoculars for a wider field of view.


Optical devices are expensive but finding the best deal is what matters and you can get it when it’s between only a pair of binoculars and monoculars. You can surely get these in cheaper prices too but then even if you buy it you will end up not using it hence, investment in such devices is never worthless.

Here, when it comes to investing in binoculars or monoculars the fact is that you can typically get a monocular with higher magnification, lens size, durability, for the same price or even less than what you will pay for an average pair of binoculars.

Also, if you are short on budget and still want a good device to aid in your hunting sessions monoculars are the best option to go for. This doesn’t mean binoculars are not worth the money, but their pricing is completely justified since they use double the components used in the making of a monocular but if you are short of money and still want a good quality optical device go for monoculars without a second thought.

Ease of use:

This is a little unfortunate that there isn’t a clear winner in this category but monoculars somehow manage to take up the lead since binoculars come with two lenses and sometimes it might be difficult to focus at the same time but with monoculars, this is not the case. Moreover, the efforts put in maintaining these devices are also less as you must take care of only one lens and an eyepiece if your model has it.

Now that you have a comparison between the two, depending on your expectations from an optical instrument you can make your call.

You will be glad to know that we also have a comparison made based on activity-specific performance to help you make up your mind better.

  1. Hunting: The better images, the durability, performance in low light conditions, the capability of identifying the details makes binoculars a clear winner in this category. 2.
  2. Birding: A monocular is perfect for the beginner who is just starting off in bird watching and is not sure if he will have the time and patience or enjoy investing in it but if you are a dedicated bird watcher a pair of binoculars is what you will surely need.
  3. Wildlife safari/ photography: A fanatic of wildlife photography cannot do without binoculars but if you are on a safari monoculars will be best. On a safari, what you need is a lightweight and handy device and not a heavy, hard to focus one. There are high probabilities that you will spot an animal ahead and would like to have a closer look at it. For this, monoculars are the best option to go for.
  4. Astronomy: Binoculars and telescopes are the only options available when it comes to astronomy. Monoculars don’t even stand a chance to compete against them.

In a nutshell, it all depends on the user and buyer and his needs. If activity is what you are concerned with then if you are buying these for a hobby or beginning with it, a monocular will do the work but if you are a professional and this is your means of earning you need only the best.

Read: Best Elk Hunting Binoculars


"Smith is an outdoor enthusiast and Just loves everything about binoculars. Since his childhood he has been a fan of optical gadgets & going into the Jungle with his uncle was his favorite pastime. Besides, He loves watching & studying birds & animals. He is a mechanical engineering graduate and New Jersey Resident. He loves to review binoculars and related optical Instruments and loves testing each one of them." When he is not fiddling with one of his binoculars, you can find him playing his favorite sport Pickleball."

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