Australia’s Best Thermal Monoculars 2021
Pulsar Helion 2 XP50 Thermal Monocular
Combining a 50mm germanium lens with Pulsars new <40mK 640px 17 micron sensor, the Pulsar Helion is the perfect tool for the professional looking to get maximum detail at the longest range. As with many of the monoculars on this list the Helion has all of the features you would expect including on-board photo & video recording, Wi-Fi streaming to a phone or tablet, multiple colour palates and a HD AMOLED display screen.
With an impressive 1800 meter detection distance, the Pulsar Helion 2 XP50 has the equal longest detection distance on this list. It is important to remember that detection distance does not tell the full story, and we highly recommend reading our article on Detection, Recognition, Identification (DRI) which goes into further detail of how to understand the numbers listed in specification tables.
The HikMicro OWL OQ35
The HikMicro series has been our most popular model from our release in 2020, and for good reason. The combination of state of the art <35mK sensors, 50Hz refresh rate and unmatched value has had civilians and Law Enforcement alike quickly making it their go-to monocular. Boasting Australia’s most comprehensive warranty of 3 years with service centers based in Australia, HikMicro are standing behind their product in a big way.
The HikMicro OWL OQ35 combines a 640px sensor with a 35mm lens, which gives a great combination of a wide Field Of View (FOV) with a 1300 meter detection distance. This increased FOV has great advantages when scanning large open areas to ensure quick target detection. Coming with all of the standard high end features such as Wi-Fi & On Board Recording, The Wolfcub Explorer 6XL packs all top end features into a great value monocular.
Wondering what Millikelvins (mK) are and how they determine image quality? Look at our article breaking it down here.
FLIR Scion OTM366 Thermal Monocular
FLIR are the worlds largest manufacturer and supplier of thermal imaging equipment, with all manufacturing taking place in the USA. The FLIR Scion OTM series is Australia’s only 640px 12 micron thermal monocular, and also the only American made thermal monocular available for civilian purchase.
The Scion OTM366 has a manually adjustable objective lens, just like both of the other top tier monocular’s on this list. One extremely unique feature the Scion boasts is ‘Lock-Span Mode’, which locks the sensor onto a specific temperature range and is great for quick detection. We go into greater depth of Lock-Span Mode in this article.
BEST PERFORMER: Pulsar Helion 2 XP50
BEST VALUE FOR MONEY: HikMicro Owl OQ35
HikMicro Lynx Pro LH25
With a 25mm manually adjustable objective lens and a 384px <35mK sensor, the HikMicro Lynx Pro LH25 has a lot to like in the mid range thermal monocular price point. The image quality is excellent for a 384px sensor, offering a detection distance over 1.2km, the LH25 can be used in activities from boating, hunting, search & rescue and more. Coming in as nearly the smallest device on this list at only 300 grams, the OWL series is pocket sized and light weight for easy use.
FLIR Scion OTM266 Thermal Monocular
Utilising the same 640px 12 micron sensor as the FLIR Scion OTM366, the OTM266 gives unmatched image quality in the mid-range thermal monocular range. Due to the unique wide FOV of 24°, the Scion OTM266 is designed for scanning large areas opposed to ultra-long distances. The 1x-8x zoom will help identification at longer range while the 640px sensor will maintain image quality over those zoom levels.
Pulsar Helion 2 XQ50 Thermal Monocular
The Helion 2 XQ50 has all of the same features as the Helion 2 XP50, with the major difference being the use of a 384px sensor vs a 640px sensor. This lower resolution sensor will give the unit a higher base magnification than the XP series, with a narrower FOV. The lower resolution sensor will also cause greater quality degradation when zooming compared to a higher resolution sensor. We break down into plain English what the difference between a 640px and 320px sensor is when it comes to zoom here.
BEST PERFORMER: FLIR Scion OTM266
BEST VALUE FOR MONEY: HikMicro Lynx Pro LH25
The FLIR Scout TK is the markets entry level thermal, but that does not mean it is low quality by any means as long as it is used for its intended purpose. With a detection distance of 90 meters, the unit was not designed for long distance detection, but rather short range heat spotting & tracking. The FLIR Scout TK is extremely popular for search & rescue operations due to its compact size, and also for locating missing pets, downed game, or intruders on property.
The FLIR Scout TK has a 640x480px display resolution and the ability to take photo and video recordings.
The HikMicro Lynx LC06 is the entry level into the Lynx range (and thermal monocular range in general), and is the only option on the entry level list with a <35mK sensor, WiFi for streaming and on board recording. The LC06 has a detection distance of 150 meters and a massive 24° FOV to give great wide angle viewing.
The Axion Key 22 is Pulsars entry level monocular and boasts an impressive 950 meter detection distance. The unit is extremely budget and does not have any recording/WIFI features, and uses a 12 micron 320px sensor. The unit is a great budget option for long range viewing, but achieves this by sacrificing the FOV which only sits at 10°
BEST PERFORMER: Pulsar Axion Key XM22
BEST VALUE FOR MONEY: FLIR Scout TK/HikMicro Lynx LC06
The best value for money here is split due to different users having different needs. Some will find the slightly better image quality of the FLIR Scout TK a greater advantage, where as some will look at the WiFi streaming abilities as a big bonus.