Best Thermal Monocular For Hunting Coyotes & Hogs

Hunting coyotes and hogs typically occurs at low light conditions or during the night. Therefore, any tool that can enhance your hunting capabilities in these lighting conditions is welcome – a thermal monocular is such a device. A thermal monocular is a handy tool to help you spot heat signatures in the dead of night, but they can also be quite expensive. Therefore, buying the right option the first time around is crucial. Luckily, we are here to help by providing you with the best thermal monoculars based on first-hand experience and testing in the field.

5 Best Thermal Monoculars For Hunting

After testing various thermal monoculars, we concluded that the monoculars listed below are the best for hunting coyotes and hogs, of which the Burris Thermal reigns supreme as the best thermal monocular for hunting.

  1. Burris Thermal Handheld Monocular – Best Overall
  2. ATN OTS LT – Best Compact Monocular
  3. AGM Taipan TM15-384 – Best For Dense Brush
  4. FLIR Systems Scout TK Mini – Best Lightweight Monocular
  5. Pulsar 2-8x Axion 2 LRF XQ35 – Best Premium Monocular
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1. Burris Thermal Handheld Monocular

HuntersHalt: #1 Pick
Burris BTH Thermal Hand-held Monocular
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Redefining the boundaries of night hunting, we have the Burris Thermal Handheld Monocular (BTH) – the perfect combination of high-tech features and comfort. The BTH has 5 color palettes and multiple reticles, helping you find the one that best suits your needs.

The BTH has a 4x zoom ratio and 2.3 – 9.2x magnification range, helping you easily detect heat signatures and identify what animal it is. Additionally, the built-in range finder enables you to identify the range to target on the fly.

The monocular is equipped with WI-FI that connects to your smartphone, allowing for easy control and recording of all your coyote and hog hunting. Furthermore, the scope has a 400×300 resolution and a 35 mm objective lens, which enables you to see animals more clearly and increases the target acquisition rate. Burris also makes some of the Best Hunting Thermal Scopes that I’ve tested.

The Lithium Ion battery is another great bonus of the BTH – it has an impressive runtime of 5 hours with easy recharging via a USB-C cable. Finally, the BTH is also as durable as thermal imaging devices get, featuring a robust and durable design.

Burris Thermal Monocular

My Experience With Burris Thermal Handheld Monocular

The BTH is definitely a handy add-on to my night-hunting equipment and one I make sure is always present when hunting hogs or coyotes. Its lightweight, compact design enables me to quickly scout for targets without feeling fatigued in my arms.

Additionally, its thermal sensor is one of the best I’ve encountered – detecting heat signatures that other thermal devices wouldn’t. Overall, the BTH is the best thermal imaging monocular, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants the best value for money thermal imager.


Best Compact Monocular
ATN OTS LT 320 3-6x Thermal Viewer
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Next on our list, we have the ATN OTS LT, which is packed with all the latest and greatest of ATN’s thermal technology. This compact thermal imaging monocular features ATN’s Obsidian LT Core, enabling it to produce crystal clear thermal images in 1280×960 px resolution.

The ATN has a 3-6x magnification range and a 25mm objective lens, allowing for an impressive detection range. It has a field of view (FOV) of 9.1 – 6.2 degrees, which is less than the BTH, but still quite good. It has a very impressive battery life of 10 hours. The lithium-ion battery is also rechargeable with a USB-C type cable. ATN also makes some of the Best Night Vision AR-15 Scopes for hunting as well.

Overall, the OTS LT is a game-changer, featuring a durable waterproof design and perfecting the balance between an ergonomic design and performance.

ATN OTS LT Thermal Monocular

My Experience With ATN OTS LT

The OTS LT has long been my favorite thermal imaging monoculars until I tested the BTH. This thermal device has the ability to detect almost any heat signatures and has a very impressive battery life – two features I found very favorable when I used it in the field.

Overall, coming in at a price point much lower than the BTH, this thermal imaging device is definitely our best-budget thermal monocular.

3. AGM Taipan TM15-384

Best For Dense Brush
AGM Global Vision Taipan TM15-384 Thermal Imaging Monocular
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The AGM Taipan is another great thermal monocular. Its 384 x 288 infrared detector and 1280 x 960 LCOS display make identifying heat signatures a breeze. The Taipan is packed with features, such as highest temperature tracking, distance measurement, Wi-Fi hotspot, etc.

This thermal monocular has an objective lens of 15 mm, a 1-8x zoom, and a 1.5x magnification range, coupled with the 17.5 – 13.1 FOV, which makes it perfect for spotting heat signatures at short to medium ranges. AGM also makes some of the Best Coyote Hunting Scopes that I’ve used as well.

The Taipan has a Lithium battery, which is rated to last up to 8 hours, although mine tends to die around hour 6. It is also much lighter than the ATN, weighing only 0.64 pounds versus the ATN’s 1.21-pound weight.

My Experience With AGM Taipan TM15-384

I’ve used my AGM on many hog and coyote hunts, and in my experience, I find it to work best on hog hunts in dense brush or when calling in coyotes. I found the durability to be lacking a bit. Luckily, the 3-year warranty and great customer service compensate for the average durability.

4. FLIR Systems Scout TK Mini

FLIR Systems Scout TK Mini
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When it comes to lightweight and compact thermal optics, the FLIR Mini holds the crown. But don’t let size fool you. This monocular houses the FLIR Proprietary Digital Detail Enhancement, which makes the night come to life. The Mini is packed with a whopping 8 color palettes, allowing you to adjust the imaging according to your preference and heat detection needs.

The Mini has a resolution of 640 – 480 pixels, a 160-120 VOx microbolometer detector, and a FOV of 20 – 16 degrees. When in optimal conditions, it can detect heat signatures up to 100 yards. Finally, looking at the battery life, the Mini uses a Lithium-ion battery and can last upwards of 5 hours.

My Experience With FLIR Systems Scout TK Mini

My experience with the Scout TK Mini is overall very positive. The 6-ounce weight and holographic-sized body make it the perfect pocket monocular. I mostly use this monocular when stalk-hunting hogs and coyotes, especially hog hunting in corn and other grain fields.

The imaging is average, and you can’t expect much more, considering the size of this tiny monocular. But it’s great for doing a quick survey and identifying close-range targets. Plus, the low price point makes it a great all-around and affordable thermal monocular.

5. Pulsar 2-8x Axion 2 LRF XQ35

Pulsar 2-8x Axion 2 LRF XQ35
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Finally, we have the Pulsar Axion, the perfect thermal monocular for scoping out large areas in a short time span. The Axion has a 384 x 288 microbolometer, a 2-8x magnification, and a 640×400 AMOLED display, which allows it to spot targets up to 1,400 yards away and provide pristine image quality.

Additionally, the monocular has a range finder with a 1,100-yard distance maximum. The Axion has an objective lens of 17mm and a FOV of 10.7 degrees.

Another noteworthy feature is its video capabilities – with the 16 GB memory card and Stream Vision 2 app, you can save as well as stream all your hog and coyote hunting memories. The Axion’s lithium-ion battery has an impressive battery life, capable of lasting up to 11 hours on all 8 different color palettes.

Finally, the durability of this thermal monocular is one of the best I’ve encountered in thermal imagers, boasting a magnesium alloy body with specialized lens coating and an IPX-7 water resistance level.

My Experience With Pulsar 2-8x Axion 2 LRF XQ35

My experience with the Axion 2 LRF is very positive – for a monocular that measures and weights roughly the same as the Scout TK Mini but has so much better performance is really impressive.

Overall, this is, without a doubt, one of the best pocket monoculars money can buy. However, it also comes with a hefty price tag. Therefore, it is rated fifth on our list and not higher.

Buying Guide

When looking at thermal monoculars, or any optic for that matter, it is important that you follow strict guidelines. These guidelines can help you find the perfect optic for your needs. Let’s take a look.

What Is A Thermal Monocular?

A thermal monocular is a handheld device that incorporates thermal imaging technology for the purpose of detecting and displaying heat signatures from objects and living beings.

Pros & Cons Of Using A Thermal Imaging Device

These devices have distinct advantages, but like any technology, they also have their downside.


Here is a list of the main benefits of using a thermal imaging device.

  • Detection Capabilities – Unlike night vision devices, thermal devices can detect heat signatures in total darkness as well as penetrate obscurants such as fog and smoke. This makes them perfect for nocturnal applications such as hunting.
  • Fast and Efficient – Thermal imaging devices can scan multiple people and objects at once, making them a fast and efficient tool for screening a large area.
  • Non-Invasive – Using thermal imaging devices prevents the need for physical contact with the object scanned, making it perfect for detecting living creatures in various conditions and settings, even if they are camouflaged.


Here is a list of the main downsides of using a thermal imaging device.

  • Cost – Thermal imaging devices are much more expensive than night vision devices, with prices ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
  • Limitations – Thermal imaging devices cannot detect through certain materials, such as glass or plastic, as well as thick walls or barriers.
  • Lack of Detail – Thermal cameras tend to provide less detailed images than night vision devices. Therefore, identifying specific details or individuals can be challenging.
  • Reliance on Heat – If the heat signature is very similar to its environment, it can be difficult to distinguish the target effectively.

Most Common Use Cases For A Handheld Thermal Monocular

The most common use cases for handheld thermal monoculars include the following:

  • Outdoor activities
  • Hunting
  • Search and rescue
  • Security and surveillance
  • Home and property inspection
  • Wildlife observation and research
  • Marine and navigation
  • Firefighting
  • Electrical and mechanical inspections
  • Pest control
  • Personal safety

We have already covered how thermal monoculars can be used for hunting, but now you know there are many different applications for thermal devices. Just be sure you are in compliance with local laws!

How We Rate Products Like This

As a consumer, we are always looking for the best value-for-money products – providing the perfect balance between performance and cost. Therefore, we created a set of guidelines called the “HuntersHalt standard,” which we use to rate monoculars & other products like this.

Image Quality

The most important parameter is image quality – if the imaging device can’t produce an easy-to-interpret image, then it is rendered ineffective. We look at the resolution, clarity of the image, performance in different weather and light conditions as well as the different color palettes.

User Friendliness

A good product should be user-friendly. We assess how intuitive the controls are, the learning curve for operating the device, and how comfortably it fits in your hand.

Quality and Design

Durability and ruggedness are two vital product characteristics. We check how waterproof, shockproof, and dirt resistant the product is. The overall design, including size and weight, is also very important, especially in a handheld device.

Battery Life

The longer the battery life, the better we rate the device. We test how long the device operates without needing a recharge, whether it, in fact, has a rechargeable battery, and how easy it is to replace the battery if it isn’t rechargeable.


Additional features that add value to a product are always good. This includes features such as WI-FI connectivity, recording, rangefinder, and image enhancement technology.

Price and Value

Finally, we evaluate the cost of the device and whether the features offered provide good value for the price of the device. We also check that it is priced competitively with the rest of the market – not too expensive and not too cheap.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much do thermal monoculars cost?

Thermal monoculars can cost anywhere between $400 and several thousand dollars.

What Is the size of a thermal monocular?

A thermal monocular is typically small and capable of comfortably fitting in your jacket pocket or around your neck.

How do thermal monoculars help when hunting?

Thermal monoculars are the perfect addition to your night hunting equipment. They help you quickly identify a hiding or distant target by using heat signatures.

Is night vision & thermal the same thing?

No, night vision devices produce images by using existing light and amplifying them. In comparison, thermal devices use the heat signatures of an object to produce an image.

What animals can you see with thermal monoculars?

You can see any animal that emits a heat signature, such as game, varmints, snakes, and any other heat-emitting animal.

The Bottom Line

Thermal imaging monoculars can considerably help you hunt hogs and coyotes at night. The advantageous compact size of these devices enables you to effortlessly scope out an area and identify potential targets. The thermal monocular that is best equipped for the job is the Burris BTH. This monocular offers the best value for money and achieves the highest rating according to our rating standards. Ultimately, the right monocular for you will depend on your budget, needs, and preferences, but opting for any of these monoculars featured on this list will surely leave you satisfied. Happy varminting!

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About the author

Patrick Howard

I have been working as a gunsmith for 20 years. Rain, fog, moisture, high temperature, or even snow are all the things a product must withstand in order to be recommended by me.

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