Finding inexpensive Night Vision can be challenging, but through my research I discovered that night vision toys use real night vision technology.
Night Vision Toys
I was amazed that some of the night vision toys leveraged real night vision technology. We’re not talking about a pair of binoculars with a flashlight on them. These “toys” have IR illuminators and work in pitch darkness.
I found 2 of them and tested them out. Both of these listed use some minor magnification, but with practice I was able to walk around with them.
Even without practice you’d be able to scout your yard with them, from a fixed location!
Spy Net Night Vision Infrared Stealth Binoculars
I am aware that the Spy Net Night Vision Infrared Stealth Binoculars are considered a toy so my expectations weren’t high. My first impression when I took them out of the box was that they looked surprisingly realistic, keep in mind that they are plastic.
I put these through very same tests that I assume the Military Special Forces use (Take it in the bathroom and turn the lights off). I could see in the dark. I took them off and could see no light from the IR bulbs (on the “high” setting you can see them faintly).
Once it got dark outside I took them out into the night. I was able to see 50-75 feet pretty clearly, even farther once I turned it to the high setting). It does play with your perspective and depth perception (some minor magnification and small viewing area) so I’d be very careful about walking in these (practice makes perfect). If you try to ride a bike, or operate a motor vehicle in these then you will probably die. Do not do that!
These would be fine for stationary night use (guard duty against woodland animals in your yard) and are better than not having any night vision at all. I am hoping to make some head gear to hold it on hands-free.
I prefer the Spy Net Night Vision Infrared Stealth Binoculars over the EyeClops 2.0 due to a much clearer image, considerably larger field of view and less magnification. These are also quite a bit cheaper from most stores.
EyeClops Night Vision Infrared Stealth Binoculars
I’d say that the EyeClops Night Vision Infrared Stealth Binoculars are almost exactly the same type Gen-1 of Night Vision Toy as above. These are pretty good and have a very decent viewing range. On normal power you can’t see the IR lights on Hi-power, you see a creepy red ring of lights. The EyeClops Night Vision Infrared Stealth Binoculars do have a much smaller viewing screen, and the image appears much grainier than the previously mentioned Spy Net Night Vision Infrared Stealth Binoculars. These goggles are better suited for binocular type use, as they have a higher degree of magnification. I did get these more recently though, so I may have some updates after additional testing.
If you only have less than $100 for Night Vision then both of these “toys” are very cool and leverage Gen-1 night vision tech. The clear winner in our books is the Spy Net Night Vision Infrared Stealth Binoculars, but your mileage may vary.
For the person who needs night vision on the cheap either of these would be good. Remember these are toys, but in a pinch would be better than not having night vision. Remember, even though these utilize Gen-1 night vision technology, they are still sold as toys. Keep this in mind. If you find yourself trying to use them in a situation that involves life or death, well that’s your call!