Nowadays, it’s so easy to find a cheap night vision scope for the situations when the sun goes down.
If you do night hunting, then you can attest to how important a night vision scope is. These gadgets not only make engaging our targets at night easy, but they also make it much more enjoyable.
Let’s get started with top cheap scopes below
Table of Contents
- Cheap Night Vision Scopes - Top 3 Editor's Choices
- Best Cheap Night Vision Scope - Our Reviews
- #1 - American Technologies Network DGWSXS314Z X-Sight II Riflescope - Best of the bunch, but with a noticeable flaw
- #2 - Sightmark SM18009 Photon 6.5x50S Digital Night Vision Riflescope - Great Overall, If You Don’t Receive A Defect Unit
- #3 - Night Owl Optics NightShot Digital Night Vision Riflescope with IR illuminator, Black, NIGHTSHOT - Great Value Model, With Minor Flaws
- #4 - Armasight ORION 5X Gen 1+ Night Vision Rifle Scope - A Bulky, Highly Durable Scope That Lasts
- #5 – Yukon Nvrs Titanium 2.5X50 Varmint Hunter - Decent to a some point
- Things to Consider
- The Differences Between Scope Generations
- The Best Night Vision Scope Brands
Cheap Night Vision Scopes - Top 3 Editor's Choices
Best Cheap Night Vision Scope - Our Reviews
After the discontinuation of the X-Sight 5-18 Riflescope, hunters have yet another reason to celebrate thanks to American Technologies Network X-Sight II.
This unit is a step up from the X-Sight. It comes loaded with numerous features that aim at making the hunter’s life easier than ever before.
To begin with, this scope is so easy to switch between any rifle that have a Picatinny rail.
This is impressive if you don’t want to spend a few hundred bucks on a scope for each of your hunting rifles. On this note, the X-Sight II features a profile manager. This feature allows you to save each rifle’s ballistic and zeroing-in data.
But what makes it a really good deal is its super powerful Obsidian II Core processing chip.
Simply put, this is a cutting-edge processing architecture that includes top performance cores and image sensors.
The Obsidian II technology powers a Smart rangefinder that handles most of the vital calculations for you. For instance, it estimates the distance from you and the target in 2 simple steps.
After ranging, the scope automatically adjusts its point of impact to allow you clean shots each time.
Importantly, it allows you to use the scope for hunting coyotes and hogs at night and white deer during the day. This eliminates the need for hauling several scopes for different light conditions.
Among its great operation features include 3-14x magnification power, 160lp/mm, and a good night vision range of around 300 meters
Importantly, ATN X-Sight II has E-Zoom technology that allows you to zoom your target without losing it in your FOV.
It also has a gyroscope to keep the images steady and blur-free and records images and videos for playback later.
It’s not all sunshine & rainbows, though. This scope is one of the biggest battery drainers of the reviewed four. If you plan on bringing it to the woods for an extended hunting season, make sure you’re covered with a plethora of spare batteries, or external power source which won’t let you down.
Make sure to consider this while deciding on what to purchase.
Sightmark SM18009 Photon is yet another night vision scope that you’d never go wrong with.
Like Ant X-Sight II above, this scope allows you to use it both for daytime and nighttime hunting.
What we like about this scope is that it’s light at below 2 pounds. So you’ll be able to manipulate your rifle easily for those surefire shots.
Sightmark SM18009 Photon is an incredibly versatile scope that you’ll be able to use in a wide array of applications.
First, it features six digital reticle options available in white, green, and red. Of these reticle options, you get two crossbow reticles that allow you to use this scope with crossbows that shoot anywhere between 320 and 400 feet per second.
You also get two duplex reticles for rifles. These two will prove their real worth when hunting down hogs and raccoons.
Its reticles aside, this scope offers you 4.6x magnification power. Paired with its 42mm lens and a resolution of 640x480 gives you excellent clarity to a range of up to 120 yards. Yup, you’ve read it right - don’t expect it to be perfect on 200 yards and more. It’s a cheap night scope, so don’t expect premium features out of it.
This tool also has an on-board 810nm LED IR illuminator. This makes it possible to use the scope even in pitch dark conditions.
Also worth mentioning is that Sightmark Photon is shockproof and resistant to weather elements. So if you want a scope that you’ll use for years, this might be the way to go.
Lastly, we also like that the Sightmark SM18009 also records clear images of your hunting adventures during the day or night.
This scope received quite a bad feedback from some people, who claimed they received defective units from Amazon. If you receive a normal, working unit, you’ll have a great scope on your rifle. But, beware of defects, inspect your scope thoroughly and don’t hesitate to call customer support if you find out anything suspicious.
From a reputable brand on the market, comes an interesting night vision riflescope as our #4 contestant for the title of the best cheap night vision scope.
First and foremost, you can’t but notice the unconventional design. This scope boasts a rectangular shape with a big addition on front top (the infrared illuminator), which some might consider as a flaw, some might like it - the ultimate decision is up to you.
Based on its usability, NIGHTSHOT is somewhat strange. Even though it mounting process is straightforward, there is a significant flaw - when you want to replace the batteries, you have to demount the scope!
The scope uses 4 standard AA batteries, which are easy to put in, but having to remove the scope from the gun to change the batteries (the scope among higher consumption models) is something you can’t leave unnoticed.
On the good side, the scope performs very good on low-light situations, even when the moonlight isn’t strong. The scope features 52mm lens, on a 5.6 degrees field view, which is standard. The aperture is F 1.3, which means a lot of light can enter the lens and illuminate your image.
You get the choice of three illuminated reticles, in a monocolor environment, on a sensor with 640x480 resolution, all for less than $500. There’s three brightness settings for different situations as well.
Zoomed to 3x (max that the model offers) the blur and pixelation is evident, but not as much that would impact your performance. This is a cheap scope, and for the price it brings quite enough value. The fact that the scope features an infrared illuminator, a windage adjustment and that it can focus from 3 meters to infinity is well worth the price alone.
Are you looking for the most affordable night vision scope for long range shooting?
Well, you might want to consider Armasight Orion. It’s one of the most reliable models that we found for you.
It’s water resistant
As a hunter, you never know when the conditions will change, especially when you’re deep in the bush. So you’ll want a unit that won’t give in to mere rain showers, spills, and splashes, right?
That’s where Armasight Orion edges out its competition. That said, you’ll want to consider this if you want a night vision scope for winter hunting.
On the same note, this riflescope has a rugged body construction for durability.
Its body has rubber for firm grips in wet conditions. You’ll also want it if you sweat much. The bad part is its mounting design - it goes way back, forcing you to have your cheek almost at the shoulder rest. It can be quite inconvenient depending on what type of gun you’re mounting it on. If your gun has a strong recoil, you might hurt yourself at the beginning, so have that in mind.
Performance-wise, Armasight Orion features 5x magnification doubled by a resolution of between 30 and 40 lp/mm. This is sufficient power to give you tactical efficiency whether you are hunting down elusive rodents or deer.
We also like that this scope comes with a detachable IR810 infrared illuminator. This addition makes it possible to use the scope in low light to dark conditions.
But the most impressive feature about Armasight Orion is its 40-hour battery life. As you may know, nothing is so disgusting than seeing your scope’s battery die out when you are in the middle of the action. This battery did have to take some space and add to the bulkiness and weight of the scope. Yes, it is very heavy.
Update: This scope is currently on 50% discount, but we won’t consider this as it is a manufacturer-controlled promotion which will expire. We base our review on its full price.
This is one of the best night vision scopes that you can get for such a low price and it comes from a highly reputable company, usually known for cutting-edge, expensive scopes.
The body is made out of highly resistant titanium and it can withstand most blows without a problem. It’s also quite sleek and lightweight, so it is great for hunters who are always on the move.
An active pulse infrared illumination device is attached to it, enhancing the brightness of the image in low-light conditions and the 50mm lens offers a quite good field of view and sharp viewing. The sensor of this scope provides 32 to 36 lp/mm which isn’t on the highest performance, but it will help you spot your mark in most situations.
It will fit well on most rifles, even bolt-action ones. The mount mechanism is similar to several scopes we reviewed today - pulled to the back. Prepare to have your cheek on the shoulder rest.
The recognition range is 120 yards – quite good for a Gen1 scope. Gen2 is better, but it can’t be classified as a contender for the title of the best cheap night scope. When compared to others on this list, it’s decent enough.
However, it’s not all good. While the clarity it provides is great in the center of the FOV, the edges will tend to be a bit more blurry, so your peripheral vision will suffer. This is especially problematic when hunting fast-moving game, like rabbits.
Furthermore, the 2.5 magnification the manufacturer advertises isn’t on point. In real use, it’s more like 1.5, which is almost unusable. It also tends to overheat a bit, especially in warmer climates, so be careful when using it.
Things to Consider
Needless to mention, you don’t want to blow off your money on something that won’t pay for itself, right?
On this note, check out your ideal scope’s construction design. Consider whether it’s waterproof or dust-proof depending on your intended location of use.
The materials it’s made of should also be of concern to you, especially if you’re looking to buy a cheap scope. Also, check the country it’s made in – Chinese scopes are usually of poorer construction than US or European scopes.
It also pays to go for a unit with a good deal on the warranty. Again, read what other verified purchasers have to say about the scope.
This refers to the resolution of the scope. It’s measured in LP/MM (lines per millimeter). Usually, the higher it is, the greater the clarity. Cheap scopes might boast of their high range, but without good resolution, everything will be blurry and no matter how much range it has it won’t be useful if everything you can see are enlarged blobs of color. Make sure to pay attention to both when purchasing.
You have no business with a scope that won’t let you see beyond 10 feet in darkness. However what matters most isn’t how far you can see but how easily you can recognize your target. A higher recognition range means that your scope can absorb more light during the night and allow you to see better and clearer at longer ranges.
So, remember to consider the model’s recognition range depending on different light conditions; starlight only, quarter moon, half moon, and full moon.
Obviously, you don’t want a scope as heavy as a brick nor do you want a unit that beats your rifle in size. As you’ll find out, these units get bigger with an increase in magnification.
As you can easily guess, heavy scopes are hard to use. They may also affect the ease of manipulating the rifle.
If you’re mainly a stationary hunter, you might be able to get away with a larger and heavier scope. If you’re someone who’s on the move all the time, a lighter and smaller scope will be better suited for you, even if you have to sacrifice some range.
The Differences Between Scope Generations
You might have heard people mention different generations when talking about night vision scopes. If you never knew what that meant, I’m going to tell you all about it and why it’s important.
Night vision scopes have evolved over time and each huge leap in their efficiency or a large paradigm change in the way they work has been called a new generation.
Of course, older generations don’t completely fall out of use when new ones come around, so generation 1 scopes are still product and sit on shelves right beside generation 4 scopes.
Technically speaking, newer generations of night vision scopes aren’t always better than older ones – some older generations have certain advantages due to the way they’re made.
Here’s a bit of info about each generation and what separates them from one another.
Generation 1 Scopes
These scopes utilize a passive infrared system to provide you with proper night vision. They gather the ambient light and increase the amount of infrared light that’s reflected from the surroundings.
Needless to say, they work a bit better in conditions where some ambient light is already present. Their average sight range tends to be around 75 yards, though it varies based on the amount of ambient lighting.
You can expect that a scope like this will work for at least 1500 hours and they are among the cheapest NV scopes available.
Generation 2 Scopes
Scopes like these ones are more reliable and not so dependent on ambient lighting as generation 1 scopes are. They work well in extremely low-light conditions and have a less distorted image, due to their advanced micro-electronics.
Their life expectancy is usually between 4000 and 5000 hours, while the average sight range is 200 yards and varies less than in gen 1 scopes.
Generation 3 Scopes
What these scopes boast is an increased amount of sensitivity compared to their gen 2 counterparts.
The unique mechanism they use is based on gallium arsenide placed on their photo cathode which allows them to convert any photons they capture to electrons and produce a digital image of your surroundings.
They can last for up to 10000 hours of continuous operation and have an average sight range of 300 yards. They are currently used by the US army.
Generation 4 Scopes
Strictly speaking, these scopes are still considered to be generation 3 scopes, but with a key improvement that allows them to function better in low-light environments.
This is achieved with an automated gated power supply which allows the scope to instantly react to any light changes, which also stops sudden bursts of light like lightning from blinding you. They are sometimes called 'filmless' or 'unfilmed gen 3' scopes.
The higher the generation ,the higher the cost of the scopes in question. You can still find cheap gen 2 and even gen 3 scopes, but they are more likely to be of less quality compared to cheap gen 1 scopes.
The Best Night Vision Scope Brands
If you’re a bit confused by all the different night scope brands out there and don’t know how to pick the best one for you, here’s a quick summary of the best ones and what they can offer to you.
The American Technologies Network specializes in night vision technology as well as thermal imaging. They operate out of San Francisco and have existed for more than two decades.
All of their products are made in the US, ensuring quality. You can find both cheap and expensive scopes among their offerings and their products are used by military and law enforcement alike.
They’re also a favorite among hunters as a company that provides reliable and durable scopes.
Another huge name in the night vision and thermal imaging industry, this company has been around for a long time and they invented a lot of new technologies that are widely used today. They offer a wide range of different products and varying price ranges and they are trusted the world over.
This is a relatively new brand but it’s been going strong since 2007. Operating out of Mansfield, Texas, they’re well-known for their affordable prices and are a favorite of southern hunters. Their products can be found at all major retailers.
If you want scopes that are on the cutting edge, this is the company you need to be looking at. It’s an incredibly popular brand and they can offer almost everything you want – except low prices. If you want to shop with them, you’re going to have to pay up.
This is a recently established brand – they only appeared in 2009, less than 10 years ago. They quickly made a name for themselves and they’re the best when it comes to affordable but reliable night vision scopes.
Because of this their products caught on quickly and they’re still going strong to this day. If you want a good, cheap night vision scope, this is one of the best companies out there.
As a hunter, you must know that certain game including raccoons, coyote, and hogs can only be found at night.
The problem with these animals is that you can’t track them down with your flashlight or other traditional lights.
Fortunately, the advancement in night vision technology has made it possible to get a cheap night vision scope that won’t cost you the earth.
- Use Day & Night in HD resolution - our HD technology gives you crystal clear vision whenever required
- Day & Night Vision in Millions of Colors - best hunting optic that fits the situation at hand!
- Ballistic Calculator - shifts Point of Impact on the fly letting you quickly calculate ballistics for any shooter's needs. Easily determine exact ballistics for expert long-range and angled shots
- Smart Range Finder - identifies the range to your target with two clicks. Once distance is determined automatically adjusts your Point of Impact
- 3-14 Magnification - Smooth Zoom offers fine tune adjustments for your perfect magnification every time