Are Binoculars Better than Monoculars?

January 16, 2020 0 Comments



If you love optics like me and plan to get one I would be happy to share my experience and knowledge so you can get the right and best best optical instrument for your needs.

Each of these optical devices have its advantages though binoculars outperform monoculars in almost all respects in my opinion.

I will talk about it further in this post and explain why I think so.



Advantages of Monoculars

  • You can hold it with one hand
  • It’s lighter than binocular
  • Cheap price
  • It’s good for one-eyed people
  • Some advanced features



Disadvantages of Monoculars

  • Very narrow field of view
  • Not suitable for long viewing sessions
  • Not Three-dimensional image
  • Not good for tracking moving objects



Advantages of Binoculars

  • Three-dimensional image
  • It’s way more comfortable
  • Wide field of view
  • Natural for human eye
  • Lightweight
  • Suitable for long viewing sessions
  • Best for tracking moving objects



Disadvantages of Binoculars

  • A little bit more expensive than monoculars






Binoculars have natural 3d image when you look through it. It’s natural for human eyes. It’s very comfortable when looking through it.

They have two barrels, for each eye separately. When you look through it, you see one whole image like you look naturally without binoculars.

Binocular has central focus mechanism and a diopter on the right eye for adjusting the vision.

Binoculars are much easier to find because major optics companies make binoculars of almost every size and magnification power.

You can buy both cheap optical instrument and expensive one depending on your budget.






Monoculars have one barrel and focus mechanism. You can hold it with one hand and look through it. Monocular has one objective lens and one exit pupil.

Monoculars always outperform binoculars when it comes to weight.

But binoculars always outperform monoculars when it comes to image quality, ease of use and comfort.

Monoculars are not so easy to find like binoculars but still you can find the right one that will satisfy your needs.

You can buy monoculars from Vortex, Nikon, Bushnell, Barska, Celestron.





What is the Difference Between Binoculars and Monoculars?

The main difference between binoculars and monoculars is in the image quality. When you look through binoculars it’s like watching TV.

You see true 3d image and can look through optical instrument for a long time. When you look through monocular you use only one eye which is very uncomfortable.

It’s like watching TV with one eye. This also impacts the magnification power of the binocular.

For example, if your binocular magnification power is 10x and you look through it, you will feel full power of your optical instrument.

If you look through monocular with the same magnification power you will feel only half of its power.

It will be like looking through binoculars with magnification 5x or 6x. That’s why it’s always recommended to buy binoculars instead of monoculars.





Do you Really Need a Monocular and When?

I think there are two reasons you may need a monocular.


Eye Issue

If you have only one eye because your second eye was damaged. In this case you don’t need binocular. You won’t be able to see full 3d image that you can see only through binocular.



You feel comfortable looking through monocular. For some people it may not make any difference which is totally fine.


Tight Budget

You may be on a very tight budget and want to buy an optical instrument for a low price.

Two optical instruments with same specifications, such as binocular and monocular will have different prices.

In fact, monocular It is one-half of a binocular because it has only one barrel.



Sometimes people think that monocular is lighter than binocular which is not always 100% true.

Today you can easily find binoculars at a very low price and super lightweight. Especially binoculars that have objective size 25-30mm.

Such binoculars are very lightweight.

When you travel whatever you take for your trip it matters a lot. No one wants to take bulky things when traveling.

If you need more powerful optical instrument then of course monocular will be always lighter compared to binoculars because monoculars has only one barrel (one objective lens and one exit pupil).

For example, if you plan to buy compact binoculars then as Celestron Outland 8×25 it will be 296g.

If you buy monocular 8×25 Vortex solo it will be 158g. It’s half of the binoculars’ weight.

Or if you choose compact binoculars 10×25 Celestron Outland 10×25, it will be 312g while monocular Vortex solo 10×25 will be again 158g.

From this comparison we see that monocular will be always a winner.

Because monocular has one objective lens, one exit pupil and one barrel.

Binoculars has two objective lenses, two exit pupils and two barrels.



So, monoculars are recommended when you need an optical instrument that is

  • Super compact
  • Super lightweight
  • You have one eye only (second eye damaged)

Also, sometimes people think monocular is better than binoculars because you can look through monocular with one eye while keep your second eye free and observe other things around you especially when hunting.

In practice though it’s very difficult to do both at at the same time. I believe this advantage of monoculars is not so important.

Also, keep in mind one important thing. As I said, one of the main advantages of monocular is it being super lightweight.

If so, you need to choose a monocular with objective size maximum 25mm.

In tho case your monocular weight will be around 158g like in the example above ( Vortex Solo monocular 8×25 or 10×25).

If optical instrument being compact is not so important for you then choosing binocular would be more advisable.

Because the main idea and advantage of monocular is the weight. If weight is not critical then binocular will satisfy your needs in a much better way than any monocular.


Advanced Features

Some monoculars have some advanced features, such as

  • Zoom feature
  • Rangefinder
  • Night vision
  • Image stabilizer

Most of the time these features are important for hunters. If so then monocular would be suitable for your needs.

But keep in mind that all these features can be found in binoculars as well. But monoculars will be lighter in any case.

That’s why if weight of optical instrument is your main point and you plan to buy super lightweight optical instrument with all above mentioned features then monocular is your best choice.




When you Need Binoculars?

If you are looking for an optical instrument with high quality fully 3d image then your choice will be always in favor of binoculars.

When you look through binoculars you feel full depth and distance between objects. As I said, it’s like watching full colored TV.

When it comes to image quality binoculars is unmatched. Monocular never comes close to binoculars quality.

If you plan to use binoculars for long sessions you definitely need binoculars. Especially optical instruments of standard size, such as:

  • 4×25
  • 7×25
  • 8×25
  • 10×25
  • 8×30
  • 10×30
  • 8×42
  • 10×42
  • 10×50
  • 12×50

If you plan to buy an optical instrument for hunting, bird watching, for stadiums, nature observation monocular is not the best option.

Binoculars should be your choice because you need an optical instrument with a wide field of view which is achievable only with binoculars.

With monoculars it’s extremely hard to watch for targets or any other moving objects. Though you can buy a monocular with a night vision if you need this feature.

It’s extremely uncomfortable to look through monoculars for long periods of time because it causes eye strain. With binoculars it’s way more comfortable.

If you need an optical instrument that will allow you to comfortably view every small aspect of objects especially those that are far from you then binocular is the best option. Monoculars are way less effective in that respect.




Who is the Winner?

Now let’s see how each type of optics performs in different conditions.

For this we must understand the main purpose of getting optical instrument for each specific field.

1.Hunting – Requires tracking of moving objects – Winner: Binocular

2.Stadium – Used for long periods of time – Winner: Binocular

3.Trip – Used both for long and short periods of time – Winner: both

4.Bird watching – Used for long periods of time – Winner: Binocular

5.Astronomy – Powerful monocular or telescope required – Winner: Monocular/Telescope

6.General use – Used for long periods of time – Winner: Binocular

7.Sea trip – Used both for long and short periods of time – Winner: both

8.Nature observation – Used for long periods of time – Winner: Binocular

9.Safari/Hiking – Used both for long and short periods of time – Winner: both


Initial score:

  • Binocular Score: Absolute winner in 5 out of 9 fields
  • Monocular Score: Absolute winner in 1 out of 9 fields
  • Common fields: 3


Final score:

  • Binocular Score: Winner in 8 out of 9 fields
  • Monocular Score: Winner in 4 out of 9 fields


As you can see from this comparison, Binocular is the absolute winner in almost all fields of use. Monocular is the absolute winner in one field which is astronomy.

Here I more mean telescope rather than monocular. In fact, telescope is a monocular but a powerful monocular.

Because if you need to see Moon in details or Saturn rings or star constellations you need a powerful monocular/telescope.

Even with powerful binoculars with magnification 20x or 25x you won’t be able to see any of the above with the exception of the Moon.

To see the Moon in details or any other sky object you need al least magnification 50x or higher which can be found only in telescopes.

I still believe binocular is the best choice in almost all respects. It simply outperforms monoculars.

Monoculars are recommended for very specific fields like Astronomy (telescopes) or if you need a super lightweight optical instrument to use it with one hand while keeping the other hand free.

It’s a very specific need. In all other instances I highly recommend binoculars.

I had a monocular and got rid of it to be honest. My recommendation would be binoculars.



     Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10×42

  • Magnification power: 10x
  • Waterproof /Fog-proof
  • ED Prime Glass
  • Fully multi-coated optics
  • BaK-4 prisms
  • Weight: 374g
  • Eye relief: 15.2mm
  • Price: $174


Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10x42






     Vortex Optics Solo Monocular 10×36

  • Magnification power: 10x
  • Waterproof /Fog-proof
  • Fully multi-coated optics
  • BaK-4 prisms
  • Weight: 274g
  • Field of view: 6.2 degrees
  • Eye relief: 15mm
  • Price: $109


Vortex Optics Solo Monocular 10x36








     Wingspan Optics Titan 12X50 High Powered Monocular

  • Magnification power: 12x
  • Waterproof /Fog-proof
  • Fully multi-coated optics
  • BaK-4 prisms
  • Weight: 396g
  • Field of view: 4.7 degrees
  • Eye relief: 14mm
  • Price: $58

Wingspan Optics Titan 12X50 High Powered Monocular


4,9 score







     Bushnell Equinox Z Digital Night Vision Monocular 4.5 x 40mm

  • Magnification power: 4.5x
  • Weatherproof
  • Multicoated glass objectives
  • Tripod adaptable
  • BaK-4 prisms
  • Weight: 623g
  • Zoom:5-13.5x digital zoom
  • Operates on 4 AA batteries
  • Memory: micro-SD card slot, up to 32 GB
  • Price: $243

Bushnell Equinox Z Digital Night Vision Monocular 4.5 x 40mm




About the Author:

We review and recommend quality binoculars so you don't waste your money on useless ones.

Leave a Reply