Best Thermal Scope Of 2024 – Features, Prices, and Performance

thermal scope for hog hunting

Do you think it’s possible to hit the targets accurately when it’s pitch dark and there is not even a single ray of light around you? Well, it surely is! Thanks to the new age technological advancements, we have modern systems that help shooters become proficient at nighttime shooting.

A thermal scope is your ultimate weapon accessory that works as a ninja and creates an image of the target through the heat coming from it. Oh, and these scopes do not work on the principles followed by the night vision! Rather, they consider the heat signatures and don’t really need even a single ray of heat to be operational.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s jump into the world of thermal scopes and check out the best features offered by the most reliable thermal scopes popular at the moment!

Best Thermal Scope

If you want to level up your nocturnal adventures, it’s high time you got your hands on a thermal optic device. Here are some of the most incredible thermal scopes available in the market:

1. ATN ThOR 4 1.25-5x; The Winner

ATN is famous for providing shooters with a hunch to hit their targets at night and optical devices that augment their ability to aim accurately. The manufacturer offers both night vision scopes and thermal devices, even though they both work using different techniques.

The ATN ThOR 4 1.25-5x is the latest optic that has found its name at the top of the most sought-after thermal scopes among hunters. And rightfully so! This scope is loaded with all the features that a hunter would wish for.

First things first, despite being so technologically advanced, this scope is really affordable. You won’t need to break an arm or a leg to get your hands on it. Rather, when compared to the competitors, it’s quite cost-effective despite offering so many features to the users.

Next, it’s necessary to talk about the ‘view’ that these optics offer the hunters! They showcase them a new perspective of the world that they had never even imagined before. From coyotes to the smallest possible pests, you can witness literally anything when you have this optic attached to your weapon.

Oh, and you don’t necessarily need to use it just during the night! Even when the sun wakes up from slumber and comes back to the party in the sky, you can still use your thermal optical device and make the aim!

ATN ThOR 4 1.25-5x thermal optic comes with an amazing battery life. It can work consistently for as many as 18 Hours, and this is pretty impressive. It means you can use it throughout the night on a single charge and even for the next half of the day. Its ability to serve you for such a long period gives it the potential to turn into your new best friend.

With a rate to refresh of 60 Hz, you can say that this thermal device aids in hitting the prey accurately. With this fast rate, it makes sure there is no distortion in the image created, even when the prey moves. The lower the lag, the better the performance of the scope. It also lets you distinguish between small creatures, and you can hit the one you are actually preying on!

This scope also showcases a great combo of digital magnification and optical magnification. If you want to check out small targets, you need to reduce the magnification power to see it clearly and distinguish it from others.

Different colors signify different hot targets in these thermal devices. As far as it’s about this one it offers varied options, including red hot, green hot, and others. Shooters tend to choose the thermal color according to the color of the reticle and create a good combo.

This scope comes with a $4,799 price tag.

Pros

  • Can record videos and store them in an SD card
  • Built-in 4.5X optical magnification offers a solid performance and zooming power
  • 90 mm of eye relief makes long-range shooting easier
  • Uses 30mm rings for mounting
  • The sharpness of the resolution can be adjusted
  • Controls are easy with four directional buttons
  • Comes with a Ballistic Laser Rangefinder
  • Ideal magnification range of 1.25-5x

Cons

  • Does not come with lens covers

2. Sightmark Wraith 4k Mini; For Great Videos

Are you one of those hunters who love to brag about how well you were able to hit tough prey by showing video evidence of your victory? Well, if this is so, there is no better thermal device better than this one for you! The Sightmark Wraith 4k Mini!

You ask why?

Well, you can shoot your entire hunting activity and then show the videos to those who underestimate your hunting pows!

And this video recording feature is not ordinary!

This scope can record and store AVI-format videos in 1080p, or you can call it the 4K resolution. Combine it with the 8x digital zoom when the day arrives, and you will have just the most heroic videos available to brag about your skills. It’s better than most thermals available when it comes to video quality.

As far as nighttime vision, you can select whatever makes you comfortable from the digital color palettes. You have two options in this regard: black and white or green. Mostly, this choice is made according to the color of the reticle, as it ensures a better level of prey identification.

Thanks to the impressive eye relief, this scope offers a pretty wide field of scope to focus on the aim. Hence, making hits for the long-range target gets easier!

Another thing that really impresses me every time I use this thermal device in my rifle is it’s lightweight! With a meager weight of around 4.9 ounces, this is one of the lightest devices you can get your hands on. Using it in the night gets easier, and so does carrying it around for extensive excursions.

This scope comes with a built-in zeroing feature, and this makes zeroing pretty easy and efficient. If you are someone who has just not gotten the hang of this process, learn how to zero a scopehere!

Battery life of this scope is around three to four hours! The device uses Lithium CR123 batteries, and they run out pretty fast. However, you can replace them easily and with great speed. However, the battery life indicator helps you know there is a need for battery replacement by changing its color.

Pros

  • Uses simple CR123 batteries and works well with a portable power bank
  • Comes with a portable charger and a micro USB cable.
  • Control buttons are easily usable at night
  • The IR illuminator ensures efficient target acquisition
  • Impressively clear image, thanks to the digital CMOS sensor and UHD display resolution

Cons

  • A smaller objective lens
  • Distinguishing between the power button and the video recording button is difficult

3. Pulsar Thermion 2 LRF PRO; Easy Control Buttons

With optics like Pulsar Thermion 2 LRF PRO, one gets to realize how advanced the mechanization of scopes has gotten and how convenient it has made shooting for the sports lover! This Pulsar product is truly smart with its built-in Wi-Fi feature.

With the Stream Vision 2 feature, you can easily connect your smartphone with this app. Whether you use an iOS or an Android, it’s super convenient to transfer images and videos from your scope to the phone directly.

For me, it’s quite an achievement for the company that showcases its out-of-the-box approach.

For hunting enthusiasts, another amazing feature that this Pulsar scope offers is the extreme detection range! As a matter of fact, it is owing to the impressive microbolometer resolution that this scope offers. It aids in offering a clear detection range for as long as 2000 yards, which is nothing less than phenomenal.

The control buttons of this scope are strategically placed and augment your ability to manage the functioning of this optical device. At the top, you’ll find three buttons, and there are some on the sides as well. They are so well-aligned that you will not find any problem in controlling the apparatus, even when it’s pitch dark at night.

The battery performance of this thermal optic device is incredible. It comes with two batteries: a built-in APS3 battery and a removable APS2 battery. When used consistently, it will serve you for as many as four to five hours. Later, you can recharge or replace the battery as per your knowledge.

Want to hunt in the rainy weather but worried about your thermal optic getting ruined by it? Well, worry not! This tool has the capability to withstand all kinds of extreme weather, especially rain. It is IPX7 waterproof, and you can keep it directly in the water for up to thirty minutes, and it won’t be affected.

The detection range of Pulsar Thermion 2 LRF PRO is 1800 meters. For me, this is quite an impressive range as it lets me distinguish between really small animals pretty easily. At low magnification power, this identification gets even easier, and you can focus better!

This scope will most probably come within your budget with the price tag of US$6,599.99.

Pros

  • Durable, shockproof, and Waterproof IPX7
  • Hassle-free video and picture transfer
  • Comes with a rechargeable and internal battery
  • Variable digital magnification
  • Impressive detection range with a resolution of 640×480
  • Comes with 8 color palettes 
  • Easy to mount

Cons

  • The scroll wheel is not very firm

4. Trijicon Teo Reap-IR Mini; Impressive Magnification

Do you prefer a thermal device that would augment the image of the target by zooming it to make it easier for you to hit it? Well, if this is so, the Trijicon Teo Reap- IR Mini is what you need to get your hands on. It zooms into the target and makes it easier for you to hit it!

This is like handing you a bullseye on a silver platter, isn’t it?

Digital zoom is definitely one of the best features this scope has to offer you. With the 2.5x optical zoom possibility, these thermal scopes are surely incredible. But, if you are looking to prey on small animals, it’s better to keep the zooming power to a minimum.

Weighing only 26.5 ounces, this is one of the lightest scopes you can get your hands on. Planning a nocturnal adventure under the stars? If you are going on a camping trip where you will be hitting the animals during the night, grab this thermal optic with you, as it’s super easy to carry.

This scope is easy on the shoulder and super-efficient at night!

Two things that have really impressed me about this thermal optic are the speed and accuracy it offered me during the hunting sessions.

This device easily detects thermal signatures by emitting the infrared signal.

Ruggedized and top-loading is how I would like to define the CR123 3 Volt battery of these Trijicon scopes. While you are shooting in the night, you would love the no more midnight struggles; a simple thumbscrew, and you’re ready to conquer the night with ease.

It, however, runs out pretty fast, and you may find changing the batteries a bit of a hassle, especially when you are competing with friends!

Controlling your rifle and the scope attached to it in the pitch-dark situation may sound tough! However, this scope comes with a thumbstick, which makes the operations easier. As it’s large, you can find it in the dark pretty easily and manage the actions efficiently.

The magnification power of this scope is yet another impressive feature, which makes it worth buying. The 2.5x Optical/8x Digital magnification makes sure you can hit the small objects pretty easily. This scope doesn’t just show you the tiny critters; it practically puts them in your crosshairs.

Oh, and how can we forget the reticle?

It comes with 5 Reticle Options, and you can make a choice at your convenience. These options include an MOA-based reticle, MRAD-based reticle, and bullet drop compensation reticles optimized for .223, .308, and .300 Blackout. With so many options, it surely gets easier for the hunters to pick what they exactly want.

Want to augment your rifle’s capabilities to hit tiny creatures in the night with great efficiency, spend merely $7,999.00 and get your hands on the Trijicon Teo Reap- IR Mini scope.

Pros

  • Thumbstick System Controller makes controlling the scope functions easy
  • The top-loading Battery Compartment is well-rugged
  • Comes with multiple mounting locations
  • Offers 5 reticle options
  • Augmented durability due to the 12 Micron Advancement
  • 12-degree viewing range
  • Accurate distance targeting with the stadia metric range finder

Cons

  • Battery life is around 2 hours only

5. ATN Thor LT 160 3-6X; Budget Option

Tight on the budget but still craving to buy a thermal optic device that would make you a superhero of night-time hunting? Look no further, as the ATN Thor LT 160 3-6X is here for your service. It is comparatively cheaper than other scopes, yet lets you focus on the tiny objects easily and hit them efficiently.

Pay merely $1,199 and get your hands on this incredible thermal optic that would make your nighttime shots super accurate!

Surely a good deal at this price!

On that note, if you are looking for more weapon optics and accessories that are easy on the pockets, check out the Best Budget Red Dot Sights.

If you are someone who usually stays around a 100-yard distance while hunting, the 160×120 17-micron sensor would be at your service, making each of your shots successful.

However, if you go past this range, the sight picture appearing on the lens may be a little murky!

The weight of this shooting optic is also praiseworthy here! The manufacturer has paid special attention to trimming down the weight of this scope and making it easier for the hunter to carry it around literally anywhere.

It’s surely a precision master while being feather-light!

Let’s talk about another impressive feature of this ATN Thor LT 160 3-6X thermal: the refresh rate!

The 60Hz refresh rate of ATN Thor LT 160 3-6X is nothing less than incredible. It reduces the possibility of lag when the image appears on the screen. Your target could be moving, but the scope will show it to you pretty smoothly!

Surely, it is one of the best features of this thermal device!

To mount this scope on your rifle, you would need 30mm Standard Rings. Just a heads up: They are an additional purchase as they are not a part of the package!

Pros

  • Can record quality clips and take good pictures
  • A budget option
  • Comes with a 4X magnification along with an 8X digital magnification
  • One-shot zeroing system
  • 10+ hrs of battery life
  • Light in weight and easy to carry around

Cons

  • The sensor is a bit weak than what competitors have to offer
  • Sight picture gets mushy as distance increases
ATN Thor LT 160 3-6X

Buyer’s Guide: Things to Consider Before Buying a Thermal Scope 

Before you dive into the thermal scopes universe, buckle up and check out these considerations. From heat signatures to magnification wonders, let’s make sure you make just the right choice for yourself!

Glass Clarity 

Just like the traditional scopes, you need to consider that glass clarity is a significant feature while buying a thermal optic device. As a matter of fact, I think the clarity of the lens is more crucial in the case of thermals, no matter if you are shooting objects in the woods or a desert.

Reason?

The thermal scopes ditch the light-gathering activity and rely on their abilities of heat sensors when attached to the gun. They don’t collect light; they’re all about heat! While a big objective lens can add some flair to the image, it’s not the real hero here.

What steals the spotlight? The quality of the lens glass! In the thermal world, Germanium takes center stage – the objective lens isn’t glass; it’s pure Germanium magic!

While getting your hands on thermal device models, make sure they offer the best possible glass clarity and visibility for better target acquisition.

Eye Relief

Another feature to focus on while buying a thermal device is the eye relief it comes with. As the rifle recoils, it may hit you in the eye! Extensive eye relief makes sure you get a wider field of view while protecting your eye from a painful wound.

Also, the possibilities of an eye strain affecting your performance also shrink!

Parallax & Magnification

Digital zoom and optical magnification, together, make it possible for the thermal optical device to let you make accurate shots. With these thermals, the one issue consistently appearing is that if you go beyond 100 yards, you may have to deal with a mushy image.

But worry not!

We have a solution:

You need to set your ranging units, eyeball the target size, and voila – distance is determined in the blink of an eye!

But, if you need more magnification, check out the Best Red Dot Magnifierfor target perfection & clarity and add to your rifle!

Cost

Compared to the traditional sights, thermals are a little costly! And, rightfully so. You get extensive features with these scopes, and the price hike is definitely worth it. You can still look for a budget thermal option and make your final decision considering what you can really afford!

FAQs

A. What is the best thermal scope on the market?

The best thermal scope in the market is the ATN ThOR 4 1.25-5x. Thanks to its germanium lens for glass clarity, duplex reticle, incredible ballistic laser rangefinder, and 3.5” eye relief, this is a great choice to make and worth every penny you spend on having it!

B. Why are thermal scopes so expensive?

Thermal scopes are expensive owing to the new-age technology used in their making and working. Its video recording ability and picture-taking quality make it so expensive.

C. Can I hunt with a thermal scope?

Yes, using a thermal optic on your gun would surely make your nighttime hunts great. They don’t need a single ray of light to work. Rather, even when it’s pitch-dark, they will help you detect the prey and hit it accurately. If you prefer staying within 100-150 miles distances, using a thermal scope is a great idea!

Conclusion

A thermal optic device is a blessing for those who prefer hunting at night. These optic devices are loaded with incredible features and make it possible for shooters to hit even the tinniest prey with great accuracy.

As these scopes are the rock stars of the night, stealing the spotlight in low-light and pitch-black scenarios, you can rely on them, especially if you like staying within a 100-meter range!

Cherry on the top? You can make videos of your heroic hits while you hunt and brag about your skills with your friends.

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