Best Thermal Scopes for the Money

5 Best Thermal Scopes on the Market for Hog and Predator Hunting

There's a reason hunters who target hogs and predators tend to do so once the sun goes down: the animals are simply more active, presenting more shot opportunities. However, human eyes aren't naturally equipped for hunting in the dark, so we naturally have to lean on technology for assistance, employing night vision or thermal optics on our hunts.

Today we're going to focus on the latter. A good thermal imaging rifle scope will often cost more than night vision, but it will also make zeroing in on your target a whole lot easier. Additionally, a thermal imaging scope will be just as effective during the day, so you can be sure you'll get plenty of use out of it. Not to mention, most of these optics include rangefinder and video recording features, too, giving you plenty of bang for your buck.

We've done the research on the latest in thermal sights and compiled a selection of options you. can't go wrong spending your hard-earned money on.

Products featured on Wide Open Spaces are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Pulsar Core RXQ30v

This 22mm scope offers a detection range that can pick up the heat signatures of animals out to over 900 yards, making it perfect for most hunting applications. It offers a generous field of view and up 10 different electronic reticle options. You can change the viewing mode from white hot to black-hot, depending on your preference in seconds. The 50Hz refresh rate means you'll always be on target with the AMOLED display, which outputs a 640x480 image. This scope gets solid reviews from online users who use it for both hunting and as a hand-held monocular or spotting scope. The Pulsar offers a 2X/4X digital zoom and a 1.6-6.4 magnification to dial in on those remote targets while hog or coyote hunting.

FLIR Scout TK Handheld

The FLIR name is synonymous with seeing through the dark of night. This monocular won't mount on your rifle, but will certainly help you see any form of life across a dark horizon. This high-tech thermal vision system works to detect an animal's heat energy, meaning you'll be able to spot animals much faster than your buddies using night vision devices. A lithium-ion battery pack gives more than 5 hours of life. Most importantly, though, its size makes it the perfect tool for hunts that require you to pack lightly, as it'll fit in most of your pockets, or in any decent-sized pack. It's also significantly cheaper than most mountable scopes, as it's listed on Amazon for only $518.


Finding a budget thermal scope is rather difficult, but this 30mm scope is certainly a good option. These start around the $1,100 mark and go up to about $1,300. The Thor LT supports up to 10 hours of use before it needs recharging. At 1.4 pounds, it is also very manageable in weight when compared to many other thermal night vision scopes on the market. This is for the hunter who wants a simple scope that will get the job done. You can select either white hot or black hot mode and it has ATN's "one shot zero" system to help quickly get it sighted in at long range. This scope gets high praise in user reviews online, as many hunters never thought they'd be able to afford a thermal scope of this caliber.


There is a lot to like about ATN's thermal scopes for the price point. This 1-10X power thermal riflescope gives great clear images that help with quick target recognition, but it offers much more functionality than that. It has a ballistic calculator and a smart rangefinder that will give a distance reading quickly. One less piece of gear to lug afield, you can leave the laser range finder at home. This high-quality scope also uses a recoil activated video system to record all the action for later. Another extra feature is that this scope is also Bluetooth and Wi-Fi compatible. That means you can synch it up to your smartphone to record and store the high-resolution 1080p footage there or on an SD card. You can even live stream your hunt if you so desire! Oh, and the rechargeable battery offers up to 18 hours of use, almost twice that of other brands. The price tag is steep, but the battery life, image quality, color modes and crosshair options make it all worth it.

Trijicon Reap-IR

When it comes to top of the line, this thermal scope is it. It has a huge price tag but is absolutely packed with features. This one is intended more for law enforcement and security specialists, but there's no reason you can't use it for hunting, too. This scope has a 60 Hz frame rate, which Trijicon says makes for better clarity when you're trying to sight down a moving target. That should mean fewer pixels in the image while trying to discern the hide of a hog from the brush in front of it. This unit uses a powerful 12um micro LWIR thermal core for a smaller overall package when compared to other thermal scopes. This scope offers five different reticle patterns and the ability to save the positions of the reticle for each weapon you use it on. That's so you can swap it back and forth between rifles in a pinch.

For more outdoor content from Travis Smola, be sure to follow him on Twitter and check out his Geocaching and Outdoors with Travis YouTube channels