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Throughout history, from ship captains to commanders on the battlefield, having the ability to see great distances has been highly valued. These days, around the world, outdoorsmen enjoy being able to see a bit further out.

For hunters, it allows them to scout their prey and determine which is the best. Hikers like being able to take a look at their route and determine if they will need to make any detours for any reason. Finally, birdwatchers, naturalists, and anyone else who likes to get up close and personal with nature enjoys being able to see.

However, when it comes to the battle between the monocular and binoculars, which one will come out on top? Let’s take a closer look.

Definitions of Monocular and Binoculars


First of all, a monocular is a device with a single lens that helps the user to see extreme distances. Typically, these devices are small and compact, meaning they are also very light as well. They are evolved from telescopes and fit most of the same roles of a telescope.

You can find monoculars in a variety of sizes, powers, and price ranges. However, these are not nearly as common as binoculars. The modern military force typically prefers to use night vision monoculars, not the binoculars, as you see in the movies. While the monocular isn’t exactly considered a specialty item, it is chosen by individuals who specifically prefer it.


As the name indicates, binoculars get their name from the fact that they have two lenses instead of one. A good set will use both eyes to look through a dual set of lenses to scout and observe. Binoculars are a lot more common than monoculars and you will find that it’s much easier to find them in a variety of sizes, variations, and price ranges.

Basically, every single one of the major optic companies in the world make binoculars. On one end of the spectrum, you can find binoculars that are cheap and poorly made. On the other end, you can find some amazing options. Binoculars are used by the military as well as a variety of outdoorsmen.

Advantages of Binoculars

If you are going to be using them for an extended period of time, binoculars are going to be much more comfortable. Since your eyes stay rested, you will find that eye fatigue is significantly reduced and users don’t get headaches as often if they use binoculars through the whole day. As mentioned, since there are so many companies that produce binoculars, you can find a variety of sizes and levels of magnification. Everyone likes options, right?

On the other hand, since binoculars are much larger than monoculars, they are going to be much heavier and will not be nearly as compact. Their size also means that you will not likely be able to carry them in your pocket. So, they are going to take up lots of room in your pack. This is one of the main reasons why most people tend to use a tripod with their binoculars, to avoid arm fatigue from holding them up to scout.

Advantages of Monoculars

Of course, there are several advantages to monoculars. The first one is the fact that they are lightweight and compact. This means that you won’t have to take up precious room in your cargo bag and you won’t suffer from eye and/or arm fatigue. Most monoculars actually have the same effective magnification levels you find in binoculars, in half the weight. Finally, monoculars are very high quality and cost less than a set of binoculars.

Which One Should You Choose?

In order to properly answer this question, you must first figure out what your plans are with it. Figure out where it is that you need to use magnification.

If you are planning to go hiking or exploring, you should choose the monocular. This is due to the fact that it’s lightweight and compact, and often, hikers and explorers are moving and changing locations swiftly.

On the other hand, hunters are typically sitting in one spot, watching areas and scouting prey for an extended period of time. This means that the weight of binoculars and a tripod are really not all that much of a hassle.

Of course, there are exceptions to the rule on both sides. Hikers who are also interested in bird watching would benefit from using binoculars instead of a monocular, and hunters who typically hunt birds should be using a monocular instead of binoculars.

Regardless of what type of outdoorsman you are, make sure that you always choose gear that aligns with your objectives and does what it is that you need it to do. You are not very likely to find a universal answer, so don’t expect to find one. What works for one person and their needs may not necessarily work for someone else and their needs. Of course, no matter what you choose, a monocular or a set of binoculars, make sure that you choose the highest quality you can afford. The higher the quality of the tool, the higher the clarity, which is the whole point of an optical tool. See our other article on this subject.


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