How to Choose a Monocular (Australia / NZ) 57

[ Skip the details and just show me the best ones ]

Owning a monocular is a great alternative to carrying a pair of binoculars. Being only half the size of binoculars it is significantly more compact, light and portable. The following guide talks about how to choose the best monocular for your budget and needs.


What is a Good Monocular Power?

The first thing to look at when choosing a monocular is its power or magnification. A monocular will typically have a magnification of 6x to 10x – higher magnification will allow you to see further and in more detail. 9x or 10x monoculars will usually cost a bit more than 6x or 8x ones. The good thing about a monocular is that you get the same power of binoculars with only half of their size.

What is the Right Lens Size?

If you look at a monocular’s specs, you will always see two numbers. For example, 8×25. The first number represents its power (8x) and the second number its lens size (25mm).

A monocular will normally have a lens of 20mm to 42mm. A bigger lens will allow you to see a wider view. A bigger lens will also result in a better, brighter image when looking through your monocular. The downside is that the bigger the lens is, the heavier and bulkier your monocular will be.

Monocular Size and Weight

In general, an 8×25 or 10×25 monocular is considered to be a compact/pocket monocular. It will easily fit in your pocket and be very portable. This type of monocular will usually come with a small carrying bag. The pocket monocular works as a cool gadget as it’s easy to carry around everywhere, keep in your car or in your pocket when hiking. Pocket monoculars are cheaper and can also serve as a nice gift to someone.

Remember not to expect too much performance from an 8×25 or 10×25 pocket monocular though! These little monoculars have good power but a very limited view because of their small lens. You will need to first identify your subject and then use the monocular in a “point and shoot” manner. They can also be difficult to use due to their very small eyecup. If you want to enjoy a wider, sharper and brighter image, then you should always opt for a 30mm to 42mm monocular.

Monocular vs. Spotting Scope

A monocular is designed to be very compact and portable. Larger monoculars with more power, bigger lenses and wider views are called spotting scopes. A spotting scope will be significantly bigger and heavier than a monocular. These are often used for hunting, bird watching or spotting subjects from a fixed location. So if you need better performance and don’t mind the size or weight, then you should consider getting a spotting scope.

Our Best All-Around Monocular for 2021

Avalon’s 10×42 WP Monocular has the perfect balance between performance, size and weight. This is not your usual pocket monocular. This is a relatively compact monocular but still allows you to enjoy the power and wide view of a full sized binocular.

At only 320 grams it is very lightweight and can fit in your jacket pocket. The Avalon 10×42 WP Monocular features fully multicoated lenses and provides a high quality image even in low light. It is also 100% waterproof and fog-proof. The rubber armoured body makes this monocular durable and easy to grip.

Another great feature of the Avalon 10×42 WP Monocular is its long eye relief. This means it can be used with or without glasses. You can also twist the eyecup to adjust it for your eye sight. $239 inc. free delivery

Show me all the other monoculars


  1. Am looking to see if you can recommend a monocular scope that can download its images to a mobile phone, I want to use the scope for wildlife watching

    1. We have an adapter which simply helps to align your mobile phone’s camera to the eyepiece of any monocular, spotting scope or binoculars in order to take photos. Details below:

      Adam Murray, Procular
  2. Hi Adam,
    How does the Avalon 10×42 monocular rate against the Vortex solo 10×36 as far as optics and low light go.
    Anything else you wold care to comment on between these two?

    1. The Avalon 10×42 monocular has the same magnification as the Vortex monocular (10x) but a larger objective lens. Although this doesn’t make it much bigger or heavier it does help take in more light resulting in a nicer and brighter image. It is also technically easier to view through. Optics wise they are similar but the Avalon excels in low light and is simply a better product than the Vortex Solo 10×36 all-together.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  3. How does the 4K 10-300X40mm super telephoto zoom monocular telescope rate. The claims just don’t seem real to me.

    1. The claims for this monocular are indeed not real. High magnification like that is either not real or produces a terrible image. Imagine having a bad image to start with at 1x (fuzzy / blurry / not very sharp) and then magnify that image 100 times – it only gets worst.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  4. Hi,
    Ive just lost my right eye due to cancer. I was wondering if you could help me a left eye goggle that i could put my prescription lens into. I live in Collaroy and would appreciate your help in this matter.

    1. Hi Dean,

      A handheld monocular such as the Avalon 10×42 WP Monocular reviewed above works well with a single eye and you can use it with your left eye only. You can hold it with either your left or right hand. The focus is adjusted by rotating the focus wheel but there are no right hand or left hand specific versions of monoculars as far as we know. Regarding use with a contact lens or even glasses, the monocular already enhances and magnifies the image so in many cases the lens or glasses are not essential. If you do wish to use it with a contact lens or glasses you can adjust the twist out eyecup according to how far you will be holding the monocular from your eye while viewing. Note that delivery is free Australia/NZ wide. You are welcome to order and test the monocular for yourself. From our past experience it is very popular and very effective for people with only a single eye view as well as people who like to use a compact optical device as an alternative to binoculars.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  5. Hi I had a russian ‘spy’ monocular years ago and loved it. Now I’m looking for a replacement – I have some 10×50 Bausch and Lomb binoculars but the nearest focus is about 13 metres. I’m interested in insects and birds but find almost no information on the minimum focus – I’d like a monocular (or Bi) that would focus from 1 metre to 10 or 15.

    The Leica Monovid 8×20 (a minimum focus distance of 1.8 meters) mentioned above would be great but is very expensive. With all the other products there’s no mention of this factor.
    What is the minimum focus distance of the Avalon 10X42 WP? Also can you recommend anything less expensive than the Leica?

    1. If you visit almost any product page on Procular, you can scroll down the page and find a “Specification” tab. This tab includes the “Closest Focusing Distance” spec. For the Avalon 10×42 WP Monocular it is 5 meters but we find that you can often focus from 3-4 meters. We are unaware of any monocular that can focus from 1 meter (even 2 meters is pushing it). You can try the Bushnell 10×42 Legend HD Monocular, it focuses from 1.9m. Details below:×42-legend-hd-monocular/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  6. Hi Adam i am looking for a monocular that is a range finder for archery and targets of varying distances from 20 – 100m i would like to be able to measure the distane to tune the sights in and then see where the arrows went. Do you have a sugestion for this. Thanks

    1. Hi Shane,

      Yes, we have the Vortex monocular range finder which works very well for archery, hunting or golf. It measures distances up to 1000 meters. Details below:

      Adam Murray, Procular
  7. I am lucky to live at the beach and I’d like read the names of the ships on the horizon and what the captain is having for breakfast! From your advices above, I realize something on a tripod may be necessary (is it?) So your recommendations would be valuable to me. Thanks.

    1. Hi Tim,

      Thank you for your comment. We are not sure about what the captain is having for breakfast (maybe Google would be a better tool for that) but the name of the ship can be viewed with very high magnification optics. The strongest device for that would be a spotting scope, mounted on a tripod. Here’s our expert guide on how to choose one:

      Adam Murray, Procular
  8. Hey I need a monocular to look at small number digits in a 3rd level rack in a warehouse as I have bad eye vision for seeing long distance, is the lense clear enough to read when zoomed in ??

    Darryl Puiri
    1. Hi Darryl,

      Yes, the Avalon 10×42 WP Monocular reviewed above would work well for seeing small numbers on the 3rd level racks. You will need to be at least 4-5 meters away in order to achieve perfect focus.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  9. hi I need a monocular by which I can see and know the man from about 5/km distance.

    1. Hi Gulbar,

      As you are watching from such a long distance and need to identify the person, we recommend a very high magnification monocular. The Yukon 30×50 “pirate style” monocular will work well in your case. Being a handheld model it is not easy to stabilise but will allow you to see enough detail to spot and recognise your subject from 5Km. Details below:×50-straight-spotting-scope/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  10. Hi i’ll just found this 40×60 monoc.panda
    I wonder if its a real 40x magnification or it just actually a 10x

    1. Hi Chersii,

      Please note that “Panda” is not a reputable brand and the true magnification of the monocular is more likely just standard (8x or 10x). The image quality of a handheld monocular with anymore than 10x power will not be good. Products which advertise too much magnification are usually false.

      Adam Murray, Procular
      1. I am looking monocular for astronomy
        If you know some good monoc. With affordable prices thank you

        1. In this case, you need to look for monoculars with large objective lenses. These take in more light and are more suitable for night viewing (astronomy). If you need a handheld monocular for astronomy then we can suggest the Yukon 30×50 below:×50-straight-spotting-scope/ it is a “pirate style” monocular with 30x magnification and a 50mm lens. You can use it to see the moon and near planets. Alternatively, you can also use a spotting scope mounted on a tripod. This would be more powerful and provide good views of both the night sky and distant subjects / landscape / ocean views etc. We can recommend the Basra 30-90×100 spotting scope below:×100-wp-spotting-scope-tripod/

          Adam Murray, Procular
  11. I am visually impaired and looking for a monocular to read the chalk board in class. I sit close to the front of the class but still can’t see what the teacher writes. Do you have any suggestions for a good power, it will be used mostly for inside use only.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Valerie,

      The Avalon 10×42 monocular reviewed in this post will be very suitable for reading the chalk board in class. You can test a-bit to see which eye will work best and adjust the twistable eyecup as well. This will make sure you are getting the best possible image on every use. The lightweight and single handed operation of this monocular is also very handy for prolong viewing. The only downside is that you’ll need to sit at least 3 to 4 meters away from the chalk board in order to achieve a focused image. Critical. But this is the same requirement with any other monocular or binoculars. The Avalon 10×42 actually outperforms other models in this sense as you can be only 3-4 meters close to your subject and still focus perfectly. Details of the monocular below:×42-wp-monocular/

      Adam Murray, Procular
      1. Not all monoculars have a minimum focus distance of 3-4 meters. The Leica Monovid 8×20 has a minimum focus distance of 18 meters. I can personally vouch for the great quality of the Monovid. It would be a GREAT classroom monocular.

        1. That should be “1.8 meters”, not “18 meters” in my last post

  12. Hi, looking for a binocular for shooting paper targets at 25 & 50 yards what would be a your suggestion?

  13. We believe that the compact binoculars (Bushnell 8×25 H2O) would work better than the other two monoculars. Especially if you will be spotting the subjects from a moving vehicle (or if their vehicles will be moving). We would definitely not go with the Vortex Solo 8×25 monocular as it is very difficult to locate your subjects with. The view is too narrow. The Vortex Solo 8×36 monocular is an excellent product with a wider view and sharp image – it will work but again, not as effective in your case as the Bushnell 8×25 compact binoculars. We hope this helps. In any case you are very welcome to order, test and return as long as the product remains in a brand new, re-sellable condition with all included accessories and product box unused and in mint condition.

    Adam Murray, Procular
  14. Hi Adam

    I’m a police officer in Victoria.
    While patrolling in the sedan, we like to scan surrounding vehicles for suspect behaviour and individuals. Currently, we need to drive very close to other vehicles in order to see.
    I was wondering would the Avalon 10×42 be the best option to aid me with this task?

    The department will not subsidise this purchase so a Zeiss would be out of the equation.

    Thanks in advance,

  15. Hi there,
    I shoot in a wheelchair with elevating leg rests. I shoot up to 80y and can’t use a normal spotting scope with tripod because of my legs getting in the way. I currently have a Barr & Stroud 10×50 monocular, which struggles to see my arrows as opposed to other people’s. Can you suggest something which might be good? I like the look of the Yukon Scout 30×50 but would it cope with what I want to look at?
    Thanks for your help,

    1. Hi Jane,

      Yes, the Yukon 30×50 spotting scope would be ideal for spotting the arrows while sitting in the wheel chair (no tripod). We cannot think of a better option as the rest of the spotting scopes use a tripod. But the Yukon 30×50 is very powerful (30x magnification) and should definitely do the job! Details below:×50-straight-spotting-scope/

  16. Hi,
    Just looking for a good small monocular for horse races. Big days ie Melbourne Cup days

    1. Hi Lisa,

      The best monocular we can recommend for watching the races (Melbourne Cup or others) would be the Vortex Solo 8×36 Monocular. This is not only a high quality, compact and comfortable monocular but also offers an exceptionally wider field of view. Handy for following the fast moving horses! Details below:×36-monocular/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  17. I’m in the investigative field and often use binoculars for surveillance. I prefer to use a monocular/power scope , one reason due to it’s compactness. Though, there are many brand names and when searching for a 10×30 or higher, there’s more to it than simply picking any brand with those specs. I want durability and clarity to start, but overall something that will last. What are your recommendations for my needs?

    Thank you

    1. Hi Steve,

      We assume you are after a compact handheld monocular and not a spotting scope (i.e. tripod mounted but more powerful). If this is the case then there are a few good options. The MOST important thing to know is that there are a-lot of compact monoculars out there that are nearly impossible to use. Even if the specs look good they might have an objective sense that is too small or even worst a too narrow field of view. This makes them very hard to locate your subject with and achieve a clear image. Most 8×25 or 10×25 monoculars are simply too small for surveillance. Even 10×30 will also be too small for this. You should opt for at least 10×36 or 10×42 monoculars. This size of objective lens (36mm or 42mm) gives you a much better view than any 10×30 monocular. Note that these monoculars will still be compact, just feature a slightly larger lens. This does makes a big difference. The Avalon 10×42 monocular reviewed in the post above is a very good one as it has good power (10x) and a nice 42mm lens. It is still compact, lightweight and very durable. Details below:×42-wp-monocular/

      Within the high end of monoculars we also recommend the Vortex Solo 10×36 Monocular. It is a professional hunting / birdwatching monocular so very durable and comfortable. It is great for frequent use during surveillance as it is more convenient to hold. Details below:×36-monocular/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  18. I don’t have reliable bifocal vision. Sometimes I wish my lazy eye would just turn off but it has the annoying habit of turning on when I look into binoculars. I have tried using them with the cap on that side of the binoculars but then the peripheral vision will come into play and I end up with double vision.My good eye trying to use the binocular and my stupid eye looking to the side. I get tired keeping it closed and have tried and eye patch. I end up looking silly and my eye looking at the inside of the eye patch. I am a bird watcher and have an excellent scope but I want something smaller. So could you recommend 1) the best lightest widest field of vision – no budget limits and 2) the compromise one – best value for money. Thank you.

    1. Hi Annie,

      A monocular will indeed work well in your case. The best one we can recommend for bird watching would be the Bushnell Legend HD 10×42 monocular. It features an outstanding image quality, excellent brightness and a wide field of view. Details below:×42-legend-hd-monocular/

      This would be our favourite monocular no doubt. It is also durable, waterproof and fog proof, very intuitive to use, has a long eye-relief for use with glasses and focuses from as close as 2 meters. An excellent product by Bushnell we believe. As a more economic one, with best value for money we would recommend the Avalon 10×42 monocular which is reviewed in this post. It is a compact monocular and very light yet offers a very sharp image. Details below:×42-wp-monocular/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  19. Out for the Avalon 10×42, bushnell10x40 legend, or the vortex 8×36 would you recommend and why. Cheers

    1. Hi Rob,

      Regarding the three monoculars at hand, it depends on your intended use. The Avalon 10×42 monocular is more compact than the other two. It is more of a pocket monocular style and weighs only 320 grams. This monocular is durable and offers a good image for its price. It is suitable if size is your main concern and if your intended use is only general viewing. A good one to keep in your car, bag or jacket pocket. Details below:×42-wp-monocular/

      If you need a monocular for more extended use such as regular hunting, bird watching or outdoors then the Vortex or Bushnell Legend Hd offers better features than the other monoculars. If you don’t mind a little extra size and weight (374 g) then the Bushnell Legend HD 10×42 would be the best choice. It has the sharpest, brightest image out of the three thanks to its better lenses. This means seeing a more detailed image, nicer colours and better low-light performance when used early mornings, at dusk, fog etc. It also has a wide field of view (6.5 wide angle) which helps spotting your subject faster and simply seeing more. Details below:×42-legend-hd-monocular/

      The Vortex 8×36 is a medium sized monocular, it has a better image quality than the Avalon 10×42 but not as bright as the Bushnell Legend HD 10×42. Some viewers find its lower magnification (8x) easier to stabilise. But for most users this is not an issue unless you have very shaky hands. This monocular would be a compromise between the two others in terms of both size and image brightness. Details below:×36-monocular/

      All three monoculars are waterproofed, fog-proof and durable. We hope this helps.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  20. What the first two numbers with a minus sign refer to? For example, 20-60×80. I know what 80 means, but I am confused about 20-60x. Anyone can help?

    1. Hi Rani,

      Binoculars usually have a fixed magnification, for example 10x or 20x. Spotting scopes (monoculars) normally have variable magnification. So 20-60x for example means 20x to 60x magnification. This means you can adjust the magnifiction when viewing. Just like you would do with a photographic camera or video camera.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  21. Hi hope you can help? I am on the market for monocular or binoculars , but am unsure which to get. They will be used for game spotting . I have only 30% vision in left eye , so monocular may be the way to go. Light weight as well. Any advice appreciated. Thanks , John

    1. Hi John,

      As you only have 30% vision a monocular would probably work better. (you can use binoculars but they will be difficult to adjust to your vision). The best monocular we can recommend for to spot game would be the Avalon 10×42 WP. It is designed for the outdoors and very durable . It also has an excellent image quality. Details below:×42-wp-monocular/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  22. Can you suggest a suitable monocular for carrying around in my handbag?
    I have trouble seeing the numbers on approaching buses even though I have spectacles.

    1. Hi Joyce,

      The Avalon 10×42 will work perfectly in your case. It is small enough to fit in a handbag and very lightweight.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  23. Hi, thanks for yr reply Adam. you provide a very helpful info for me. thankyou very much

  24. Hi, Actually im new to this. i found that Bushnell 16x52mm Monocular is quite value of money and it is also quite powerful specs that have 16x zoom on 52mm. but when i searched on the bushnell website,the monocular did not exist anymore. is it because of the model is too old? i could not find much information on this binocular and asking for some advice. thankyou

    1. Hi Max,

      We are not familiar with this specific model but it is very likely that it was discontinued by Bushnell. This happens every year or two with optics. Right now they tend to do monoculars with power no greater than 10x. Because it is extremely difficult to achieve a stable image with a hand-held monocular stronger than that. The great magnifications were “moved” to the spotting scope products over the years. A spotting scope is normally mounted on a tripod or a table-top tripod so there is no issue with high magnifications. We only know binoculars (not monoculars) that are 16×50. The Nikon one for example:×50-cf-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  25. I have a monocular – Carton – 8X30 Field 7.5 and wondered if I should upgrade to observe animals and birds on an African Safari. The tour leader suggests that we look at binoculars no less than 8X42. I like using a monocular so am happy to keep to that. I look forward to hearing from you. With many thanks

    Betty Simpson
    1. Hi Betty, a monocular is a great little tool when you need to inspect something at a distance. As it is compact and easy to carry around everywhere + it can provide the same power as binoculars (8x in your case which is standard magnification). Other people have difficulties looking through both eyes so a monocular works well for them. The downside with a monocular though is that it has a significatly narrower field of view than binoculars – because it only has one lens of course. So if you are on an African Safari you will benefit MUCH more from using a pair of binoculars. Because there is a-lot to see in the field. On a Safari trip, or during any wildlife or birdwatching observation for that matter, you are not always pointing at a specific subject. Many times you will need to first find the subject and follow it. For that reason binoculars work best. As your tour leader suggested 8×42 would be ideal for Safari. You can read more about choosing Safari binoculars and see our most recommended models here:

      Adam Murray, Procular
  26. I have no idea where to start, but have been looking at the Yukon Newton 4×50 N/Vis Monocular, I assume this has an in built camera…I want this item to use for security purposes on my property because of on going vandalism. Could you please advise

    1. Hi Laine,

      Night vision monoculars and binoculars typically have 1x to 5x magnification in order to keep reletivly less graininess in terms of the image you will see at night. A night vision monocular is a good idea for security purposes and can come in handy to spot the going vandalism. If you wish to also record it you will need a digital NV monocular (or binocular). The Yukon Newton 4×50 does not come with a built in camera. You can see all the digital night vision options here:

      Obviously due to the technology involved, digital night vision monoculars are not cheap. The most affordable one that will work in your case is the Pulsar Recon 4×50. Details below:×50-digital-night-vision-monocular/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  27. I am looking at buying something for pest contro;l needs. I have a termite nest up a tree about 20 meters high and need to look closely at it to see if any termites come out of shell when broken, What instruments will do this for me. I was looking at a Avalon monocular 10×42 which looks suitable.. Something small and rugged would be good as I can then take it into subfloors also.

    1. Yes, a monocular would definitely work in this case. You do not need to much magnification for looking up a tree and since you are looking at a very small area (termite nest) you would benefit from a monocular’s narrower field of view. The Avalon 10×42 is a good choice as it is compact, very rugged and has a-lot of light intake due to its larger 42mm lens.

      Adam Murray, Procular
      1. Hi , Can i see the space/sky using Monocular, i am new to this subject , can you please advice

        1. Hi Rikaz,

          With a good compact monocular you can see the moon for example (40mm to 50mm lens is enough to look at the moon). So the Avalon 10×42 monocular discussed above works. BUT, if your main interest is star gazing then a compact monocular would not be the best tool for the job. You will be best off either using astronomy binoculars or a telescope. Have a look at our other buyer guides on Procular for choosing astronomy binoculars below:

          or for choosing a telescope below:

          If you do choose to get a monocular, mainly for easy transport, and you want one that works good for star gazing, then we recommend the Yukon 30×50 monocular. It has more power and a larger lens to achieve brighter images at night. Details below:


          Adam Murray, Procular
          1. Thanks , this helps a lot

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