Which Is Better Monocular Or Binocular?

Humans are innovative creatures. Ever since we were civilized, we have always found ways to improve our quality of living. Even our human senses are consistently improved with the power of technology and science. A clear example of this is visual-aiding devices such as lenses and scopes.

In this article, we will take at which is better, monocular or binocular. This should give you a clear idea of what to use depending on your situation. By the end, you should have a clear idea of what to purchase on your next trip to the gear store.

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Monoculars can be seen as the younger brother of telescopes. They are devices with one lens but are a lot smaller and lightweight. The main purpose of a monocular optical device is to see clearly, as it has magnification power depending on your needs. Furthermore, it is a known favorite by adventurers, hunters, and military personnel men due to its portability

A monocular has 5 main parts, and these are the ocular lens, objective lens, focus wheel, eyecup, and grip. They serve their purpose, and different models even have add-on modules for additional features. These are half a binocular.


If you are curious what modern binoculars look like, they are similar to two telescopes placed beside each other. However, they are much smaller and can be brought around wherever you want. In addition, the two lenses are made for viewing both eyes, bringing about a sense of balance and symmetry for the user.

Furthermore, it is famous as a traditional favorite. Many seafarers and navigators have used binoculars to validate their findings and locate new places throughout history. It has 5 parts, the diopter, eyecup, ocular lens, and objective lens. These serve different purposes and have varied features depending on the brand.

Here’s the guide for you on How to Choose Binoculars

Two hunters are watching an eagle with binocular

Key differences


There is a huge difference between monoculars and binoculars when it comes to price. It is easily observed through the number of lenses used. A monocular has only one viewing port. This means that there lesser number of parts that are used, and this causes fewer expenses.

On the other hand, a binocular can be seen as two different monoculars attached. You get roughly double the necessary parts, scopes, lenses, and adjusters. With more raw materials and longer processes to do, it is clear that monoculars will cost more.


In terms of magnification, the battle with binocular vs. monocular is a draw. This is because the common magnifications are generalized among lenses. However, there are specific effects when viewing through one lens or two lenses. Therefore, when considering the capabilities of either a binocular or monocular to have proper magnification features, it is an essential factor.

Suppose you want to find devices with better magnification. In that case, you’ll have more luck in selecting different brands and models at various price points compared to sticking to choose between monoculars vs. binoculars.

Field of View

In terms of field of view, binoculars have the advantage over monoculars. This is because binoculars use two lenses, which means a larger view of the whole scenario in front of you. On the other hand, a monocular is limited by just one line of sight, and it is your duty whether you want to prioritize left-side or right-side viewing.

Also, monoculars can be seen as very similar to telescopes in terms of perspectives. It follows a smaller view than the human eye, as a lens bounds you with a specific length and diameter. However, this should not be a concern, especially for hunting adventures where you are fixed to a certain target.


In comfort in terms of ergonomics, both products have features that render them great to use and fit on the palm. However, the main difference comes when you use them for night vision. You see, monoculars only have one lens, which means that most of the strain is placed upon one eye only. In prolonged use, this may cause discomfort, especially when looking at very distant objects.

The same scenario can not be seen in binoculars, as it offers a very balanced view of things. Instead of putting strain on one side, a binocular has an equal usage of the eyes, and this means that it is similar to wearing a set of eyeglasses for enhanced vision.

When used for long hunts or journeys, binoculars truly shine as they reduce eye fatigue. However, make sure that you are getting eye relief once you use them, especially for optic users.

A hunter is standing in the jungle with a thermal scope in his hand

What to know before buying?

Like any device, binoculars and monoculars have specifications that render them effective for use. Here are the three main ones:


In a binocular or monocular, you will always see the numbers 10×20, 10×50, 15×70, etc. The first part of this number is the magnification, and this means the total multiplier in which it can see compared to the naked eye. So, for example, having a 10×20 lens implies that you can see 10x more than you normally could.

This differs from product to product or brand to brand. However, it is a rule of thumb that higher magnifications will be much more expensive compared to lower ones.

Objective Lens Size

If the first part of numbers such as 10×50 is the magnification, the second part is the size of the lens in mm. In 10×50, it means that you get 10x zoom and a 50 mm objective lens. The objective lens is responsible for letting the light in the whole system. Thus, having larger ones will result in brighter, clearer, and more quality image-enhanced views.

Similar to magnification, objective lens varies directly with price. The bigger the lens, the more expensive it will be. Think of it as similar to the total resolution of a camera with better image quality.

Housing type

If you are a person who always wears eyeglasses, you will realize that fog is unavoidable, especially in cold or hot weather conditions. The same case happens in monoculars or binoculars. There will always be a possibility of fog when things get too extreme. Thus, special housing or coating is applied to binoculars to improve the quality of life.

Sometimes, nitrogen application is employed by companies so the lenses won’t be blurry. Also, night vision monocular devices are available.

When should you use a monocular vs. binoculars comparison?

Here are some activities where the use of monoculars and binoculars are highly recommended.


Bird-sighting relies on far and accurate viewing of small creatures. Thus, having a smaller field of vision to focus on the beautiful birds is recommended.


In rifling, monoculars are commonly used since they are lightweight and more portable compared to their twin-lens counterparts. One can see them as compact binoculars. Also, you need to focus on single targets, so field-of-view is not that necessary.


Spotting peaks for hiking do not need prolonged viewing that will cause strain. Thus, monoculars will be more than enough as you will only need quick peeks towards your destination.

Night hunts

I recommend night vision monoculars or those with thermal sensors embedded in them in night hunts. This is because binoculars will cause a lot more, especially because specialized systems of night viewing are very expensive.

In-place hunts

If you are hunting in one place and you need to expand your vantage point, a binocular will perform better. This is because there might be a possibility of prolonged lens use, which will lead to eye fatigue if you use monoculars.


When looking for tracks of trails of prey, it is better to rely on binoculars rather than monoculars. This is due to the extended periods and hours where you will be zooming in different objects to determine if there’s a creature lurking beyond.

Hunter is trying to find his prey with a monocular


What are monoculars good for?

Monoculars are good for lightweight journeys and adventures. This is because they are half the size and weight of monoculars which use two lenses. Also, monoculars are great for activities that require fixed focus and precise viewing.

How far can you see with a monocular?

It depends on the product that you use. There are many types of magnification, such as 10x, 20x, 30x, or even 50x. These are all multipliers with what you see with the naked eye. Thus, they will help you see very far into whatever you are looking at.

Is a monocular better than a telescope?

Telescope optical devices will always have an advantage in terms of the total range covered. However, the portability and lightweight build of monoculars help them shine compared to telescopes. As you can see, it is impossible to carry bulky telescopes around for daily use. But, this is not true for monoculars as you can even fit them in your pocket.

Final Thoughts

The question of which product is better is on a case-to-case basis. There are fields and activities where the monocular shines, while there are also other events where binoculars perform a lot better. With this in mind, the best choice is to purchase both of them if you have the budget. In the end, it will be your preference that will matter. Always choose the most appropriate ones based on your hobby and lifestyle. After all, if you purchase from a respected brand, it will always work fine.

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