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5 Best Monoculars for Bird Watching in 2022: Complete Review & Buyer’s Guide

Monoculars are handhelds, small telescopes that are used for observing distant objects. The monocular has one lens and one eyepiece. The user looks through the eyepiece, which magnifies the image of the object being viewed. Monoculars are used for observing birds, animals, nature, hunting, or shooting.

You can attach your smartphone to most models and take photos or even videos. Monoculars become more and more popular for outdoor activities. Unlike binoculars, monoculars are generally lighter and easier to use. To be always at hand – that’s its purpose! Just imagine: when you hear birds singing in the long distance, you can see the singer and even witness a live bird dialogue.

5 Monoculars for Bird Watching Reviewed

  1. Vortex S136 – Best monocular for bird watching
  2. Vortex SOL-3608-RT – Premium Choice
  3. Gosky 20-60x60 HD – Great value
  4. Adasion MW6 – Best lightweight monocular for bird watching
  5. Wingspan Optics PE-12501

1. Vortex S136

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Vortex Optics Solo Monocular 10x36
918 Reviews
Vortex Optics Solo Monocular 10x36
  • 10x magnification and 36mm objectives lens, the Solo Monocular is a small, lightweight optic with fully multi-coated lenses, increasing the light transmission and resolution giving you the clear, crisp images you want.

As an outdoor enthusiast, you know that having a quality optic is important. With the Vortex S136 Solo Monocular, you can have a great optic close at hand without sacrificing quality. This compact monocular is perfect for those who want to get a closer look at nature. The fully multi-coated glass surfaces on the S136 provide bright and clear images, while the waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof design means that you can use it in any environment.

The adjustable eyecup allows for comfortable viewing with or without glasses, and the included utility clip lets you quickly attach the monocular to your gear or clothing.
With 10x magnification and a 36mm objective lens, the Vortex S136 is a great choice for those who want a small and lightweight optic with great image quality. This is one of the best birdwatching monoculars.

PROS:
  • Durable;
  • Great image quality;
  • Waterproof.
CONS:
  • Short-range of focus.

2. Vortex SOL-3608-RT

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Vortex Optics Solo R/T 8x36 Monocular
917 Reviews
Vortex Optics Solo R/T 8x36 Monocular
  • The Solo Recon Tactical Monocular with 8x magnification and a 36mm objective lens is a great choice for observation and range estimation in a lightweight and compact package
When you need a closer look, the Vortex Solo R/T Tactical Monocular is there to give you a clear, bright image. This monocular is designed to be carried as a standard piece of equipment and is easily accessible when you need it. With the Vortex R/T Ranging Reticle, you can accurately estimate ranges and call shots with ease. The integral utility clip attaches to webbing or other flat surfaces for quick access.

The 36mm Solo Tactical R/T monocular delivers bright images and is easy to handle. It is also constructed to withstand use in any field condition. With o-ring seals and nitrogen purging, the Solo is a fully waterproof and fog-proof monocular. The ranging reticle is based on milliradian measurements and allows for ranging, holdover, and windage corrections. The quick-ranging silhouettes make it easy to range common objects in your vicinity.

The focus ring is designed for quick, single-handed operation. Simply place your thumb and forefinger on the focus wheel and turn to move the lens forward or backward. The Vortex Solo R/T Tactical Monocular is a great choice for anyone who needs a compact, durable, and easy-to-use monocular.

PROS:
  • Clear and bright image;
  • Durable;
  • Hashmarked ranging reticle.
CONS:
  • ocus ring is very stiff;
  • No belt loop on case.

3. Gosky 20-60×60 HD

Gosky 20-60x60 HD Spotting Scope with Tripod, Carrying Bag and Scope Phone Adapter - BAK4 45 Degree Angled Spotter Scope for Target Shooting Hunting Bird Watching Wildlife Scenery
3,027 Reviews
Gosky 20-60x60 HD Spotting Scope with Tripod, Carrying Bag and Scope Phone Adapter - BAK4 45 Degree Angled Spotter Scope for Target Shooting Hunting Bird Watching Wildlife Scenery
  • 【POWERFUL MAGNIFICATION】: Adjustable powerful 20-60x zoom magnification allows you to lock onto your target and zoom in for more detail. Perfect for target shooting, archery, hunting, bird watching, wildlife watching, hiking, camping, scenery, outdoor sporting, astronomical observation etc
Gosky 20-60×60 HD model is a great option for anyone looking for good monocular bird watching. This monocular has a 20-60x zoom magnification, which is perfect for getting a closer look at your target. The retractable eyepiece also blocks out sunlight, so you can see more clearly. The quick focus feature allows you to quickly adjust the focus and bring your target into sharp relief.

The 60mm aperture ensures good light transmission and delivers sharp, crystal clear images. The HD optical system is optimized with superior high-definition glass. This monocular is perfect for target shooting, archery, hunting, bird watching, wildlife watching, hiking, camping, scenery, outdoor sporting, and astronomical observation. The fully multi-coated green film objective lens increases light transmission and delivers bright, clear, high-contrast images even in low-light conditions.

The quality BAK4 Porro prism optics also increase light transmission and deliver clear images. It has a 20-60x zoom magnification, a retractable eyepiece, a quick focus feature, and a 60mm aperture. The HD optical system and the fully multi-coated green film objective lens deliver clear, high-contrast images. The quality BAK4 Porro prism optics also increase light transmission and deliver clear images. This is an excellently balanced monocle for a variety of applications.

PROS:
  • Great build quality;
  • Fantastic HD optical system;
  • 60mm aperture for great light transmission;
  • Fully multi-coated green film objective lens.
CONS:
  • Tripod that comes with the monocular is not the sturdiest.

4. Adasion MW6

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12x56 HD Monocular Telescope with Smartphone Adapter, Upgraded Tripod, Hand Strap - High Power Monocular with Clear Low Light Vision for Star Watching - Lightweight Monocular for Bird Watching Hunting
1,647 Reviews
12x56 HD Monocular Telescope with Smartphone Adapter, Upgraded Tripod, Hand Strap - High Power Monocular with Clear Low Light Vision for Star Watching - Lightweight Monocular for Bird Watching Hunting
  • 【12x56 High Power Monocular, High Definition and Super Bright View, Clear Low Light Vision】 Advanced Fully Multi-Coated monocular with large 18mm BAK4 prism lens provide HD vision, brighter view and clear low light vision. Dielectric coating & phase coating monocular provide clear, high-contrast and color-accurate images. Perfect for bird watching, wildlife, hiking, camping, concerts and sports.
The Adasion MW6 is a high-monocular that is perfect for bird watching, wildlife, hiking, camping, concerts, and sports. The monocular features a large 18mm BAK4 prism lens that provides HD vision and a brighter view. The dielectric coating and phase coating on the lens provides clear, high-contrast, and color-accurate images. The monocular also has a 21mm large eyepiece that provides a more comfortable and larger view.

The Adasion MW6 has a 12x magnification with a 56mm objective diameter wide lens. This provides 325ft/1000yards of a large field of view. The monocular also features a more sturdy tripod that ensures clearer images. The tripod is also compatible with the phone case, making it more portable and stable. The monocular is also lightweight and features a comfortable and portable hand strap.

The Adasion MW6 is also IPX7 Nitrogen-filled waterproof. This provides waterproof, fog-proof, dustproof, and shockproof protection in any weather and any conditions. Overall, the Adasion MW6 is a great choice for those who are looking for a high-quality monocular that is perfect for a variety of activities.

PROS:
  • 12x magnification;
  • Waterproof;
  • Good focus;
  • Lightweight and comfortable.
CONS:
  • Tripod that comes with the monocular is not the sturdiest.

5. Wingspan Optics PE-12501

Wingspan Optics Explorer High Powered 12X50 Monocular. Bright and Clear. Single Hand Focus. Waterproof. Fog Proof. For Bird Watching, or Watching Wildlife. Daytime Use. Formerly Polaris Optics
2,419 Reviews
Wingspan Optics Explorer High Powered 12X50 Monocular. Bright and Clear. Single Hand Focus. Waterproof. Fog Proof. For Bird Watching, or Watching Wildlife. Daytime Use. Formerly Polaris Optics
  • 12X50 MAGNIFICATION - See things 12X closer and Get Clearer and Brighter range of view with 50mm lens - The most powerful hand held monocular available in the market today, that also provides the most pleasant and clear view.
As anyone who spends time outdoors knows, having a good pair of binoculars can make all the difference. But what if you don’t want to lug around a heavy pair of binoculars, or you want something that’s even more powerful? That’s where the Wingspan Optics PE-12501 comes in. Wingspan Optics PE-12501 has a good price/performance ratio.

These monoculars offer 12x magnification and a 50mm lens, making them one of the most powerful hand-held monoculars on the market. And because they’re waterproof and fog-proof, you’ll be able to use them in any weather and any environment.
But the PE-12501 is more than just a powerful birding monocular. It’s also designed for comfort and ease of use, with a single-hand focus that makes it easy to target what you want to see. And because it’s so compact and lightweight, you can take it with you anywhere. Whether you’re hiking, camping, birdwatching, or just exploring your surroundings, the Wingspan Optics PE-12501 will help you see the world in a whole new way.

PROS:
  • 12x magnification;
  • Durable external armor;
  • Good price;
  • Lightweight and comfortable.
CONS:
  • Image quality.

What Are Monoculars Required For?

Monoculars are used for a variety of purposes, including bird watching, hunting, hiking, and stargazing. They are also useful for viewing objects that are too far away to be seen clearly with the naked eye, such as the Moon and planets in the night sky or a dash target. Monoculars are usually compact and lightweight, making them easy to carry with you on your travels. They are an essential piece of equipment for anyone who loves spending time outdoors and exploring the world around them.

Pros and Cons of Monoculars

Monoculars are a great tool for birders and other nature enthusiasts. They are small, lightweight, and easy to carry. But there are some drawbacks to using monoculars. One downside is that they can be difficult to use for extended periods of time. This is because you are using only one eye to look through the lens. This can cause eye fatigue and headaches. Another downside is that monoculars can be hard to keep steady.

This is because you are only using one hand to hold them. If you are looking at something far away, you may need to brace your hand against something to keep the monoculars steady. Overall, monoculars have some pros and cons, and considering them, you can choose the best bird-watching monoculars. But they are still an excellent tool for birders and nature enthusiasts.

Mother and daughter watching birds through a monocle

Monoculars Buying Guide

The choice in favor of one or another model of the device will help to know its basic characteristics. What parameters are worth paying attention to when choosing a monocular? In this guide, we’ll show you what to look for when selecting a monocular and give you some product recommendations and help you choose the best monoculars for bird watching.

Magnification ratio

When choosing a monocular, the first thing to consider is magnification. You’ll want to make sure the monocular you select has the appropriate level of magnification for the task at hand. For example, if you’re using it for bird watching, you’ll need a higher magnification than if you were using it for general observing. This parameter indicates the degree of approximation of the object. For example, a telescope with a magnification of 10 times will make the object seem 10 times closer than it really is.

Field of view

This is the linear size of the area of space seen through the eyepiece. Here you should remember a simple rule: the higher the magnification of the instrument, the smaller its field of view.

Lens diameter

The next thing to consider is the size of the objective lens. Lens diameter (aperture) refers to the size of the front lens of the instrument in millimeters. The bigger the aperture, the less demanding the instrument to ambient light. For daytime use, a lens with a diameter of 25-30 mm is enough, and for observing at dusk, 40-50 mm. However, large objective lenses can make the monoculars heavier and more difficult to hold steady.

Type of prism

Another important consideration is the type of prism used in the monocular. There are two types of prisms—roof and Porro. Roof prisms are typically found in compact monoculars while Porro prisms are found in full-size monoculars. Roof prisms offer the advantage of being more compact, but they can be more expensive. Porro prisms offer a wider field of view and are typically less expensive.

Optics material

a child looking through a monocle on the beach

Material optics of monoculars varies depending on the manufacturer and price category. In brief, there are two types of materials: plastic and glass. Devices with plastic lenses are cheaper, but glass provides a clearer picture.

Other parameters

An important role when choosing a monocular is also played by: the material of the body of the optical device, the water resistance of the model, and the possibility of mounting it on a tripod.

Coatings on the lenses

Finally, you’ll want to consider the coatings on the lenses. These coatings help to reduce glare and improve image quality. The most common coatings are anti-reflective (AR) coatings.

Recommendations

It is more convenient to use the monocle using a tripod. The monocular focus is better on a tripod and produces a sharper image. As a rule, many monoculars come with a tripod, but it is of poor quality and does not give the same effect as a solid, stable tripod. I recommend buying a tripod separately in order to enjoy a stable picture.

If you are looking for a bird-watching monocular, you should use a monocular with high magnification (10x or higher). Such a monocular will allow you to enjoy the view of even the smallest bird species. But a powerful zoom requires great stability of the monocular. With these factors in mind, you will be able to choose the best monocular bird watching.

Monoculars for Bird Watching FAQ

monocle on a tripod

Frequently asked questions about the types of monoculars for bird and their characteristics and use.

What’s better than binoculars or monoculars?

A monocular is a better choice for birding on a long distance trip because it takes up less space. However, binoculars are a good choice if weight is less of a concern or you need a fuller visual picture. It doesn’t matter what you choose binoculars or monoculars for bird watching. The main thing is to be comfortable to use.

Can I use the monocular for bird watching if I wear glasses?

Yes, you can use the monoculars for bird watching if you wear glasses. The eyecup of the monocular can be adjusted to accommodate your glasses, so you will still be able to see through the lens clearly. Additionally, many monoculars come with a neck strap, so you can keep your hands free while you’re bird watching.

What keeps monocles from fogging up?

Monocles don’t fog up because they are filled with an inert gas that prevents condensation from forming on the inner optical surfaces.

How can I clean my monoculars for bird watching?

To clean your monocular for bird watching, you will need a lens cleaning cloth and some lens cleaning solution. First, put a few drops of lens cleaning solution onto the lens cleaning cloth. Then, gently wipe the lens of your monocular with the cloth until it is clean.

What does tenfold magnification mean?

Dad and kid taking pictures of birds on the phone through a monocle

The magnification ratio is the binoculars’ ability to bring the object of observation closer by a certain number of times. For example, a binocular with 10x magnification will show you an object 100 meters in front of you as if it were 10 meters away.

What is the luminosity of a monocular?

The larger the lens, the greater the luminosity of the monocular. But you should understand that a large entrance lens is not always better, because enlarging the aperture makes the monocular heavier. Let us give you some examples: a 10×40 monocular has dimensions about half that of an average binocular, but a 5×15 monocular can be as big as your thumb.

Conclusion

A monocular for bird watching is an optical device used to observe distant objects. A monocular can be compared to a miniature low-power telescope or telescope. This device is held in your hand like binoculars, but you look through it with one eye, like a telescope. The technical characteristics of a monocular are similar to those of binoculars and telescopes, but its dimensions are much smaller.

A monocular is typically smaller and lighter than binoculars, making it easier to carry and hold steady. Many monoculars now come with digital features such as zoom and image stabilization. Monoculars are ideal for bird watching, hiking, nature observation, and other activities where you need to keep both hands free. They are also handy for stargazing, concerts, and other events where binoculars would be too bulky or intrusive. I hope this article has helped you choose the best monocular bird watching.

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