No one wants to return from a hunting trip without a catch. That is why smart hunters equip themselves properly for their trade.
If you’re a hunter and you want to hit your target every time, you should consider getting the best thermal scope. A thermal scope will help you spot animals easily both in the day and at night.
Gone are the days when a thermal scope used to be exclusively for the military on the battlefield. It helped them with a better vision for long range and night-time shots.
Today, hunters are beginning to appreciate the importance of thermal scopes. It is making their work more productive and effective.
Perhaps, your need might be for surveillance or wildlife observation, this will come in handy. If your problem is choosing the right product for you, this best thermal scope review will surely help you.
10 Best Thermal Scopes Reviews
Below are the 10 best thermal scope products on the market.
1. Pulsar HD19A Quantum Review – Best Thermal Scope For HuntingNo products found.
Step out with great confidence as you enjoy the best of HD quality and clarity. Whether it’s for hunting, law enforcement, or surveillance uses.
Iit delivers maximum heat signature observation with a clear interpretation. From “white hot” to “black hot”, maximum thermal energy is produced in high definition resolution 384 x 288.
With a 640 x 480 LCD display, you can be sure of crisp consistent image results anytime, any day. This is also greatly enhanced by the 30-hertz refresh rate that ensures clarity every time.
Whether it’s a nearby object, or a fast-moving subject from 500 yards away, it cannot escape the zoom power of the Pulsar HD19A Quantum Thermal Imaging Scope. This means you can view animals at night from hundreds of miles away, even when they’re moving very fast.
It is, therefore, a great tool for hunting. Night-time photography will also benefit from this amazing piece of technology. It features 3 operating modes; Forest, City and identification. This means you can clearly see what you’re looking at and decipher what it is.
There are also 3 calibration modes; automatic, semi-automatic, and manual. This gives you much more freedom to easily calibrate the lens in under 2 seconds. You know sighting through a thermal scope largely depends on proper calibration.
- It is extremely lightweight, making it easy to carry and move around.
- Glass-nylon composite housing makes it weather resistant.
- Tripod mount and weaver rail for ease of movement and control.
- Mounting also makes it easy to attach the external power supply.
- Can detect human-size target for up to 515 yards.
- You can easily switch to any calibration mode you desire.
- Might be difficult to mount on a rifle.
- Will also cause some difficulty mounting on your helmet.
2. ATN ThOR HD 384 Review – Best Thermal Scope for The MoneyNo products found.
The first thing I noticed about this product was the price. It is way more expensive than the Pulsar HD19A. I often say that when it comes to such products, more cost usually means more advanced features.
The WiFi, GPS and image stabilization features are just a few of the amazing benefit that this one presents. With this thermal scope, you can actually use your IOS and Android applications.
The thermal sensor 384 x 288 perfectly captures the heat energy from your prey and sends the converted image signals to your HD screen.
One amazing feature of this thermal riflescope is the built-in rangefinder. With this, you can easily calculate the range between you and your target. This ensures that you have a perfect shot and do not need to carry extra gears or equipment.
You should also know that this device allows you to record everything you see. It works as an HD video camera. All you need is an SD card to help you log all your amazing experiences. Whenever you want, you can replay them even on larger screens. This is actually an amazing feature.
If you do want to enjoy an amazing moment every time you go hunting, this might just be for you. It is one of the best thermal imaging scopes on the market. You will realize that it is worth every penny you spend as you don’t need to endure disappointing hunting trips any longer.
- You can easily calculate the range between your rifle and your prey with no extra tool.
- Reliving your hunting experience is possible with this device.
- 20,000 MAh battery pack provides sufficient power for night-long adventures, exceeding 22 hours.
- The battery pack can also power other devices.
- Includes a microphone for sound recording.
- WiFi can work with Android and iOS applications.
- Cannot be mounted on all rifles.
- Long range contrast requires some improvement.
3. ATN ThOR HD 640 ReviewNo products found.
Just when you think you’ve seen it all, the HD 640 Smart Thermal Riflescope makes a grand entry into my review of best thermal scope 2018. With much of the features of HD 384 model and several improvements present here, this thermal scope enjoys a prime position among other products.
It features a smart HD optics technology that gives you much more clarity. The ATN ballistic calculator provides you with amazing and accurate range information that you won’t have a need for charts or complex reticles.
Another amazing factor to consider here is the fact that even first time users will find it really easy. The range calculation is automatic so you can hit your target even with your first attempt.
And just in case you’d like to relive the experience, the HD video recording feature helps you do that. It comes with an SD card that enables you to store your shots without needing a USB cable. Just to enhance your convenience, a remote control is added to this one so you can easily operate the rangefinder, calculator, and so much more.
There’s so much emphasis on quality and automation just to make your life easier. This might cost you something, but doesn’t every good thing cost something?
- Can be easily controlled with the remote access control system.
- Great zooming capacity to bring the action close to you.
- Has an efficient video recording feature.
- HD video quality for unbeatable picture quality.
- Effective thermal sensor for super signal reception and transmission.
- Amazing battery power that lasts up to 22 hours.
- Built in rangefinder for distance calculation.
- It is thermal only and can’t be used as a daytime scope.
- It is quite expensive.
4. Armasight Zeus 336 (30 Hz) Review – Multipurpose Best Thermal ScopeNo products found.
If you’re really familiar with some of the best thermal scope products in the world, you must’ve come across this product. Armasight Zeus 336 3-12×50 (60 Hz) Thermal Imaging Weapon Sight is one of a kind. It stands in its own league, competing with none other, but providing a unique satisfaction.
It is one of the most technologically advanced models in the Zeus collection. Armasight Zeus 336 is a great tool for sport, hunting, military use and law enforcement. It provides reliable help for the simple hunter who desires a catch and the masked man in the heat of battle.
This Zeus Thermal imaging tool was built primarily as a weapon scope. However, its amazing flexibility has made it a top choice for many contemporary users. Furthermore, we all know how important it is to remain discreet even with your scope.
Most thermal scope products feature laser targeting to augment night vision. This lights are visible and might scare off the animals. This product, on the other hand, doesn’t emit any lighting feature but depends on its effective thermal energy detection.
This technology is also not disrupted by snow, fog, smoke, haze or any form of obscuration. It cuts through such atmospheric obscurants to help you detect targets from miles away. If you want a thermal scope that combines class and functionality, you might want to try this out.
- It is very lightweight and easy to carry.
- Combines various color modes for the best image results.
- Comes with a remote control for powering the device.
- Has a limited 3-year warranty.
- Allows you operate discreetly in the dark.
- Great battery power for up to 12 hours.
- FLIR detector has a 10-year warranty.
- Some users have reported technical glitches.
- Recoil might not work on all rifle types.
5. Pulsar Helion XP Review – Best Thermal Imaging ScopeNo products found.
Here comes another Pulsar entry in my review. This just goes to show how much popularity and confidence the brand has gained amongst users. The helion XP Thermal Riflescope is just a perfect companion for a night-time mask man or hunter.
It has a 50 Hz refresh rate, making it lightning quick. In the box, you’ll find a Battery pack charging unit, hand strap, 220-USB plug, USB cable, a user manual for directions, a carry case, a lens cleaning cloth, as well as a warranty card.
The images you get from this device are very clear. The resolution is also superb, up to 17μm 640 x 480px. It has an 8GB onboard storage that ensures that videos you record are stored on the device in case you need to replay them.
This can also serve as a good reference material to see where things went wrong. With such information, you can get better every time. With efficient lightweight heat-detecting convenience, you can’t ask for anything better than this.
- Effective for search and rescue, surveillance, and hunting.
- Produces great image details.
- Can detect heat energy of large subjects up to 1,800 meters away.
- It has waterproof protection for use in wet weather.
- Has a remote control system for convenient operation.
- 7 color variations to depict different conditions.
- It is also quite expensive.
6. Armasight Zeus 336 (30 Hz) Review – Thermal Imaging Weapon SightNo products found.
The Armasight Zeus series comes in another dimension with this entry. This time, Zeus 336 3-12 x 50 Model makes my list of best thermal scope 2018 for so many amazing reasons. Chief among them is the fact that it fits on a couple of guns smoothly, without the need to drill so much.
With this product, you can easily adjust your contrast settings with the Active Contrast Enhancement (ACE) for clearer output.
That’s not all. Even the sharpness level can be easily adjusted with the Digital Detail Enhancement mechanism so that your images will appear more crisp and clearer, even along the edges. This also helps to drastically reduce noise on your images.
Several other Correctional options are available, including the Automatic Gain Control (AGC) and the Smart Scene Optimization (SSO). This is definitely something worth the buy, whether as a beginner or an expert.
- The interface is intuitive and very easy to use.
- The product is lightweight compared to the competition.
- Many enhancement control systems are featured to improve on image results.
- Has a limited 3-year warranty.
- Also, features a shuttered eye guard to maintain light security.
- Great customer support.
- Battery life is quite low.
- Might get grainy images if not properly set.
7. Armasight Zeus 640 (30 Hz) Review – Best Value Thermal ScopeNo products found.
You may be wondering why the Armasight Zeus keeps appearing on my review. It is simple. It is a collection of amazing thermal scope designs that just keeps impressing. This is yet another quite expensive model, but you will soon realize the bundle of awesomeness you’re paying for.
It is a package laced with so much quality and advanced features. Yet, the operation has been simplified for your benefit. One way to prove this is to look at the interface that appears in the easiest form possible. You don’t need to be a tech nerd to figure it out.
This model has much of the features of the Zeus collection which I have reviewed. However, there are some unique features that make it stand out. The reticles appear in 6 onboard digitally controlled patterns, which are Line Dot, Dot for MOA, Cross-Center Dot, Crosshair, Cross, and No Reticle.
This presents the subject heat energy in different color forms to enhance identification. The zoom feature is also extended from 1x, 2x, 4x, to 8x. With this, you can be sure of getting even closer to the action. It is a superior performance riflescope, making it a choice tool for hunters and the military alike.
- Regulated by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).
- Has high definition video recorder to save your images.
- Optional external power supply for increased efficiency.
- Will perfectly mount on a Weaver Rail and a Picatinny MIL-STD 1913.
- It is a FLIR thermal camera.
- Quite pricey.
8. Pulsar Trail XP Review – Best Thermal Imaging Scope For HuntingNo products found.
Another sleek design from Pulsar takes center stage. The world-class 640 x 480px sensor core makes it the envy of all, delivering only top-notch picture quality. You can easily catch a human-sized signal from 1970 yards out.
The popular “white hot”, “black hot” color codes that the XP50 presents, coupled with the 13 digital reticle options and 50 Hz refresh rate to produce only the best image quality that a thermal scope can offer. The built-in video recording is powered by 8GB of internal memory for a live recording on the go.
WiFi compatible stream vision app ensures you can use your smartphone for enhanced delivery. There is also a built-in accelerometer and a rangefinder to help you measure the distance of the target from wherever you are.
You can be sure of hitting the target every single time. Other amazing benefits in the pack include a rechargeable 8-hour battery pack, a wireless remote control, and a carry case. All of these for your viewing pleasure.
- Great field of view with up to 8x zooming capacity.
- Can detect large-size heat from more than 1,800 yards away.
- Efficient rechargeable battery power.
- You can easily record your experience and store it.
- Improved image resolution.
- Not the best battery power.
- Also not the most budget-friendly product.
9. Pulsar LD19A Quantum – Best Thermal Scope For BeginnersNo products found.
So you’re thinking what more Pulsar has to offer. Well, what about a weather resistant tool that gives you the same clarity even in wet weather? What about an LCD 640 x 480 display resolution that offers a crisp and consistent image all the time?
If you think you’ve seen enough, then you should probably see this LD19A Quantum Thermal Imaging Scope. It is essentially great for beginners, offering “white hot” “black hot” heat signature capturing from about 500 yards out.
What’s more, it comes with a tripod mount which gives you the freedom to do anything. You can also connect it to an external power supply as a result. The lens can be calibrated under 2 seconds, whether on automatic, semi-automatic or manual option.
- Great magnification capability.
- LD19A Quantum is quite handy and sturdy.
- It is also water resistant, meaning it will not get destroyed by rain.
- 3 calibration modes make for easier functionality and control.
- 30 Hz means faster refresh for continued imaging.
- Might be a little heavy on an average rifle.
- Capturing range is quite short.
10. Armasight Predator 336 Review – Best Budget Thermal ScopeNo products found.
This is one of the cheapest thermal scopes of this quality that you can find on the market. It is a FLIR device, further emphasizing the quality and prestige that Armasight brings to the market. This amazing tool serves as an indispensable gear when you go hunting or you’re on the battlefield.
With 30Hz refresh action, there is relative speed with this device. This is one of the very good scopes that you can use during the day and at night without taking off the sight.
The operational control system of this device is extremely easy. Most of them require just a click of a button and you’re good to go. Furthermore, the device does not give your position away as it doesn’t need laser light to track animals.
This can spook them and result in great hunting loss. For high-level target accuracy, maximum reticle contrast, and boresight retention, you might want to consider this product.
- Lightweight thermal scope for easy movement.
- Multiple digital zooms for varying options.
- Optional external power supply enhances operation time.
- Tactical operations made easy with remote control.
- Also, comes with a quick-release mount for comfort.
- Improvement on image quality is required.
Everything You Need To Know About The Thermal Scope
Hunting games is an undertaking that is best carried out at night. This is due to the fact that most games are nocturnal. This means they stay inactive during the day and roam out at night. Given that the human eye is not adapted to nighttime visions, a handy piece of equipment is required.
This is the role that the thermal scope is designed to discharge. We are going to explore this piece of equipment in finer details in the discussions that follow.
1. How Thermal Scope Work?
Thermal scopes utilize two main technologies to generate the images in times of low visibility. These are thermal imaging and image enhancement technologies respectively.
Its thermal imaging capability captures the upper portions of the infrared light spectrum. This portion of the spectrum comprises heat rather than reflected light. Hotter objects emit more of these than cooler objects. Most thermal scopes operate within the temperature range of -20°C to 2,000°C.
Once the heat has reached the lens of the camera, the lens focuses the infrared radiation. It uses a vast array of infrared detector elements to do this. The thermal scope subsequently creates a temperature pattern called a thermogram. It translates this thermogram into electric impulses and then data for subsequent display. At this stage, the image displays various colors depending on the intensity of the infrared.
The second stage is the image enhancement stage. In this stage, the scope collects tiny amounts of light including lower portions of the infrared light spectrum and amplifies it. It uses photocathode to convert photons into electrons and high voltage to amplify these electrons in a micro-channel plate (MCP).
It relays them to a screen that is coated with Phosphorus thereafter. Throughout this stage, the electrons stay in the same alignments as the original photons. As they hit the screens, their energy excites the Phosphorus thus releasing photons. This results in green images that appear visible to the human eye.
2. Thermal Imaging VS Night Vision
Thermal imaging requires the complete detection of infrared radiation. Night vision, on the other hand, requires some ambient light to generate the images. For this reason, those devices that operate purely on the thermal imaging technology can detect and display images in pitch darkness. They are hence more reliable.
Generally speaking, thermal imaging technology is more efficient than night vision. This is for the simple reason that it is able to capture the minutest details well. This, as stated, is because they are able to operate well in complete darkness. Night vision technology, on the other hand, is not so able to capture as much detail as possible.
overall, thermal scopes have a longer range than their night vision counterparts. This is because the infrared radiation on which they operate travel much longer than visible light. Considering this, the devices that are based on the technology are more reliable for seeing objects that are located farther away.
Thermal imaging technology is more applicable or is utilized by many kinds of devices compared to the night vision technology. It is mainly used in rifles, scopes, and goggles that are used for detection, hunting, and surveillance. Night vision, on the other hand, is limited to goggles that are used for seeing in areas of low visibility.
3. What Makes The Best Thermal Scope?
The best thermal scope ought to be as durable as possible. It has to be manufactured using only the toughest materials and structural components. This is to free you from the need to constantly repair and maintain it. It is also to guarantee you long-term reliability.
To further save you a great deal of stress, the best thermal scope for your consideration ought to be very cheap. It has to cost the least amount of money possible. It should ideally be accompanied by hot discounts, generous manufacturer’s warranty, and robust after-sale-services.
Not all thermal scopes are equal. Indeed, different brands offer different levels of reliability. Considering this, you should also consider the reputation of the various brands before settling for one. As of the year 2018, the IR, ATN, Zeus, and Pulsar are the top brands. Give them the topmost priority while searching for the right thermal scope.
Minimal Storage Space Requirements
Because these devices are utilized less frequently, they are stored for a large part of their lives. This means you will have to set aside some space permanently to safeguard them. A good scope based on this consideration ought to demand as minimal storage space as possible.
Things To Consider Before Buying a Thermal Scope
This refers to the ability to enlarge the size an image several times its actual size. It is the number one trait that determines the quality of the final image. This trait also determines to a great extent the applicability of the scopes as a whole. That is because, the higher the magnification, the more applicable the particular instrument is and vice versa.
A good scope based on this consideration ought to have the largest possible magnification. You definitely want to obtain the clearest and most visible images possible. You also want to eliminate all forms of ambiguity that may naturally arise in the process.
Resolution refers to the number of dots (pixels) contained in a square inch of an image. It is designated in dots per square inch. There is a direct correlation between the resolution and the quality of an image. Higher resolutions produce sharper and clearer images whereas fewer dots per inch generate images that are blurred and poorer in quality.
It, therefore, goes without saying that the best scope must possess higher resolutions. Be sure to ascertain the resolution rating that is indicated on the camera’s specifications. You should also figure out the intended purpose of the camera. This too has a bearing on the resolution needed.
Color modes are the way the constituent colors of the images are combined to produce the final output. There are several color modes. These are the RGB (red, green, and blue), grayscale, CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, key), indexed, and bitmap, among others. These modes operate optimally under different circumstances or photography conditions.
Because you just never know under what circumstance you will utilize your scope, you have to acquire a universal scope. This is basically a thermal scope that can accommodate preferably all the various color modes. If such is not available, you should settle for one that can accommodate a combination of two or more.
Reticles are intersecting lines that are engraved on the eyepiece of the thermal scopes. They serve the same role of the longitudes and latitudes. This is to say that they aid you the hunter in locating a target or prey accurately. They do so by revealing to you the precise locations of the targeted prey to a certain degree of accuracy.
Their points of intersection also denote the exact location a bullet or missile will heat when engaged. They, therefore, spare you from making errors of judgment and other problems that may naturally arise with missed targets. Be sure that these patterns are legible enough to avoid any ambiguities.
30 or 60 Hertz Refresh Rate
The refresh rate is the frequency or the number of times the image is changed or altered on a screen. It is designated in terms of Hertz or simply the number of images per second. Most thermal scopes operate on either the 30 or the 60 Hertz. This means they beam 30 or 60 images per second.
As a rule, the scope with the higher refresh rate is the better option. This is because they generate images that are clearer and sharper. Their edges are devoid of any blurs and are hence breathtaking to behold.
Optical or Digital Zoom
The primary role of these scopes, as has already been explained is to aid you in seeing objects that are located far off. This happens in two ways. For one, these gadgets magnify the images and make them appear larger than usual. They also zoom or pull the images closer to you the user. In so doing, they allow you to capture so much more details than you would ordinarily do.
It, therefore, follows that the best scope must have an excellent and reliable optical or digital zoom. This is to assure you of utmost reliability at all times.
While capturing images, the scope utilizes the lenses. These captures and direct the ray of light or infrared radiation to a screen as explained above. There are two types of lenses. The objective lens and the zoom lens, respectively.
Of these two, the objective lenses are the most significant. That is because they are the ones that form the images of the objects. A good scope must possess powerful objective lenses. Its magnification power ought to be as high as possibly can be. This is to enable you to obtain sharper and crisper images.
These gadgets are utilized in remote locations. They are therefore powered by batteries. This is because the batteries are portable to allow you to carry the scope around unhindered. The lifespan of the batteries, therefore, determines to a large extent the ease with which you will utilize the item.
A good scope must have longer battery life. This is to ensure that you will enjoy the accompanying benefits with ease. Such a lifespan shall also absolve you from unnecessary inconveniences that may arise in times of use. It also reduces your operational expenses to the lowest possible levels.
This refers to the overall size of the gadgets. This is the length, the width, the height, and the depth or thickness of the gadgets. The dimensions of the gadgets determine several other pertinent issues. These include the amount of storage space required, the ease with which you can carry it around, and how likely it is to blend well with other items in your possession.
To save yourself from unnecessary stress, you should look for a gadget that is as compact in size as possible. You should also ascertain the amount of storage space at your disposal to guarantee their storage while not in use.
The kind of material that is used to make up the scope determines several pertinent issues related to the gadgets. The most outstanding of these issues is the durability of the gadgets and the maintenance costs. Tougher materials like stainless steel and Nickel Alloy are more likely to yield durable scopes that will last you if can be.
Such materials will also see to it that you spend an as little amount of money as possible to maintain the scopes in the long run. This is because the scopes of such kind shall less likely break down or sustain damages.
This is the measure of how heavy or how light the scopes are. In most instances, the scopes are weighed in terms of ounces or pounds. These gadgets are intended for use in remote locations as already stated and explained. It, therefore, follows that they must be as light as possible.
Lower weight will free you from unnecessary strains. It will also allow you to use the gadget for the longest duration of time without feeling fatigued. This is also not to mention the more accurate shots you will be able to capture.
Whether or not you will eventually acquire a scope is largely determined by the price of that particular scope. These gadgets are ordinarily very expensive. They will usually require you to dig deeper in your pocket.
You definitely do not want to spend too much of your income in purchasing the right scope. For this reason, look for the scope that is as cheap as possible without compromising the quality of course.
To be certain of this lower price, time your purchase at such a time that prices are as low as possible. Moments before or during the Christmas and New Year festivities are particularly strongly recommended.
The following are some of the top brands of thermal scopes as of the year 2018:
Armasight is a San Francisco-based manufacturer of precision optical instruments. It is primarily leading to the provision of cutting-edge night vision equipment, advanced infrared thermal imaging solutions, and direct view binoculars. Its thermal scopes are famed for their durability and precision in capturing images.
ATN (American Technologies Network Corporation)
This company manufactures high-end night vision devices. These also include the military/LE binoculars, thermal imaging devices, and duty/tactical flashlights. Its thermal scopes have a very long range and higher magnifying power. They are thus suited for nighttime hunting.
Pulsar is a reputable brand for thermal imaging devices. They have a large detection range and are also made of high-quality materials. They are mainly used for outdoor applications. This brand is, however, cheaper than most of the leading brands discussed. It thus confers to you the benefits of a high-end product but at the cost of the low end one.
5. Types Of Thermal Imaging Systems
The following are the three main types of thermal imaging systems:
This technology basically enables people to view objects in pitch darkness, as has been stated. The technology, therefore, finds a wide range of applicability in all nighttime vision instruments. It basically generates images by use of the infrared technology as opposed to the visible light as is the case with most other night vision technologies.
In this system, a device that can detect near infrared radiation is used alongside infrared illuminator. It can be integrated with video motion detection gadgets to carry out surveillance. They also augment or strengthen scenes of lowlight to generate images of higher quality. The technology is thus great for hunting at night.
Low-light imaging utilizes ambient light to generate the desired images. It simply amplifies any light that is available. In so doing, it generates images that have higher brightness and more visible than the objects they are derived from. The technology is mainly applicable in times of low visibility but not in pitch darkness.
Infrared Thermography (IRT)
Infrared Thermography (IRT) uses radiation that ranks below the red color in the electromagnetic spectrum. These radiations have longer wavelengths than the ones for visible light. The system captures these radiations and transforms them into electronic signals. It also eliminates the need for direct contact with the objects that are viewed.
Well, it is our hope that you have found the discussions above insightful. Thermal scopes are very handy pieces of equipment. Their roles in enhancing hunting and nighttime vision cannot be ignored or downplayed. We now urge you to proceed and acquire a thermal scope soonest possible. You do not want to wait for too long before enjoying the accompanying benefits.
So if you’ve been looking for a way to aid your night vision when you hunt, you’ve stumbled on the right page. I have presented the best Thermal Scope in 2018, using 10 of the best products on the market. You can make a choice of any of these imaging devices based on your budget, style, and preference. Now you can truly get your targets as often as you want with this device.