Best Thermal Scopes

Best Overall

Trijicon Reap-IR 35 mm Thermal Riflescope

The perfect thermal scope for long hours of hunting.

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Best Thermal Reflex Sight

Sig Sauer SOEC32001 Echo3 Thermal Reflex Sight

The most user-friendly thermal reflex sight.

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Best for Beginners

Burris BTS 35 Thermal Riflescope

Offers multiple reticles for shooting versatility.

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Best Thermal Scope for the Money

AGM Rattler TS19-256 Thermal Imaging RifleScope

Value for money at its finest.

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Best for Coyote Hunting

ATN Thor 4 Thermal Rifle Scope

Feature-packed and reliable thermal scope.

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Engaging targets at night can be overwhelming especially under undesirable weather. With the best thermal scopes, it doesn’t have to be! But how do you determine which brands are legit in detecting thermal signatures from far away? Let’s find out below!

A Quick Comparison of the Best Thermal Scopes

Trijicon Reap-IR 35 mm Thermal Riflescope
Sig Sauer SOEC32001 Echo3 Thermal Reflex Sight, 2-12X, M1913
Burris BTS 35 1.7-6.8x35mm Thermal Riflescope, Multiple Reticles,...
AGM Rattler TS19-256 Thermal Imaging RifleScope 12um 256x192
ATN ThOR 4 1.25-5x, 384x288, Thermal Rifle Scope w/Ultra Sensitive...
MSRP
$8,239.00
$2,999.99
$1,749.00
$849.15
$1,686.71
Model
Trijicon Reap-IR 35 mm Thermal Riflescope
Sig Sauer SOEC32001 Echo3 Thermal Reflex Sight, 2-12X, M1913
Burris BTS 35 1.7-6.8x35mm Thermal Riflescope, Multiple Reticles,...
AGM Rattler TS19-256 Thermal Imaging RifleScope 12um 256x192
ATN ThOR 4 1.25-5x, 384x288, Thermal Rifle Scope w/Ultra Sensitive...
Magnification
1.75x-8x
1-6x
1.7-6.8x
8x
1.25-5x
Resolution
640×480
320×240
400×300
256×192
384x288
Refresh Rate
60 Hz
30 Hz
50 Hz
25 Hz
60 Hz
Weight
24.7 oz
14.3 oz
4 Pounds
2 Pounds
1.93 Pounds
Trijicon Reap-IR 35 mm Thermal Riflescope
MSRP
$8,239.00
Model
Trijicon Reap-IR 35 mm Thermal Riflescope
Magnification
1.75x-8x
Resolution
640×480
Refresh Rate
60 Hz
Weight
24.7 oz
More Info
Sig Sauer SOEC32001 Echo3 Thermal Reflex Sight, 2-12X, M1913
MSRP
$2,999.99
Model
Sig Sauer SOEC32001 Echo3 Thermal Reflex Sight, 2-12X, M1913
Magnification
1-6x
Resolution
320×240
Refresh Rate
30 Hz
Weight
14.3 oz
More Info
Burris BTS 35 1.7-6.8x35mm Thermal Riflescope, Multiple Reticles,...
MSRP
$1,749.00
Model
Burris BTS 35 1.7-6.8x35mm Thermal Riflescope, Multiple Reticles,...
Magnification
1.7-6.8x
Resolution
400×300
Refresh Rate
50 Hz
Weight
4 Pounds
More Info
AGM Rattler TS19-256 Thermal Imaging RifleScope 12um 256x192
MSRP
$849.15
Model
AGM Rattler TS19-256 Thermal Imaging RifleScope 12um 256x192
Magnification
8x
Resolution
256×192
Refresh Rate
25 Hz
Weight
2 Pounds
More Info
ATN ThOR 4 1.25-5x, 384x288, Thermal Rifle Scope w/Ultra Sensitive...
MSRP
$1,686.71
Model
ATN ThOR 4 1.25-5x, 384x288, Thermal Rifle Scope w/Ultra Sensitive...
Magnification
1.25-5x
Resolution
384x288
Refresh Rate
60 Hz
Weight
1.93 Pounds
More Info

Last update on 2022-11-24 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

How to Choose

You probably want to upgrade to a thermal scope for better results when hunting or shooting at night. Before reading on, be sure that you already checked your state’s law on game night hunting.

Shooting Applications

Thermal optics can be used for range defense and hunting day or night.

Thermal Image

Detection Range

A thermal scope also allows you to stalk your game behind thick bushes without getting detected. The most important factor you’d want to consider first is the thermal sensor’s quality, otherwise getting a thermal scope will be useless. Your scope should be able to detect your prey at a distance that won’t startle the latter.

Clarity and Resolution

Most rifle scopes deliver bright images even in low-light conditions. The game changes when it comes to thermal scopes, as not all brands can live up to our night shooting needs. Aside from being reliable in detecting thermal signatures, your thermal scope should have an excellent resolution (640×480 resolution for high-end thermal scopes) so you can see crisp images once you’re ready to aim and shoot. That plus a quick refresh rate (or the time it takes for an image to refresh) for lag reduction and better image quality.

Battery Life 

Thermal scopes consume plenty of battery power. So yours should last for at least three to five hours or you can have a backup power source ready. You can also opt for disposable batteries for quick changes in the middle of a hunt.

Magnification

If you’ll be shooting targets of different sizes at varying distances and at multiple locations, it’s best to get a thermal scope with variable zoom with a minimum of 1x magnification. It’s better if the scope allows you to shoot with both eyes open for faster target acquisition. But since we’re talking about thermal optics, that feature will just be a bonus.

Material Construction

It’s inevitable that your gun will get bumped or dropped, especially when chasing a target at night (or during a blizzard). And you want it to hold its zero no matter what. So, your scope should be able to handle hard falls or harsh impacts. Plus, it should be resistant to water and fog as well, so you can make the most out of it.

Price

A thermal scope’s price says a lot about its quality. A high-end thermal scope with a premium thermal sensor and objective lens will cost a fortune, but it will be worth it. If your budget is limited, we picked a budget-friendly but reliable thermal scope below.

Best Overall: Trijicon Reap-IR 35 mm Thermal Riflescope

Last update on 2022-11-24 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Trijicon Reap-IR 35’s thermal sensor is equipped with 12-micron technology, an advanced system that delivers excellent image quality no matter the lighting condition (and at over 100 yards). Plus a 60hz frame rate camera for a smooth real-time image display.

It also has edge detection, a feature that turns your screen black while the edges are white. This helps reduce eye fatigue caused by staring at the screen for a long time. And that’s why the Reap-IR 35 is our best overall pick.

Pros

  • Has edge detection
  • Great resolution
  • Adjustable refresh rate

Cons

  • No automatic calibration
  • Short battery life

What Customers Say

Have had a reap ir (type one) for a month now. I love it , read stories about breaking battery tubes. No issues, first set batteries lasted easily four to five hours, on and off. Stays on zero on and off 10/22. Pricey unit but you own the night.

Lewis Bolman

Best Thermal Reflex Sight: Sig Sauer SOEC32001 Echo3 Thermal Reflex Sight

Last update on 2022-11-24 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Unlike other thermal sights, the Echo3 has an open design, which means you get a direct view of the target instead of being “stuck behind the scope.”

The Sig Echo3 thermal reflex sight has two variations in terms of magnification – 1-6x and 2-12x. They both have 320×240 resolution and 30Hz refresh rate, but the 2-12x variant has a larger objective lens (naturally) of 40 mm, compared to the 1-6x’s 23 mm objective lens. 

Aside from thermal signature detection, the Echo 3 also allows you to capture images and record videos. It’s also equipped with MOTAC (Motion Activated Illumination), a popular feature among Sig optics where the reflex sight automatically shuts down once inactivity is detected and turns back on once you pick the optic up. 

Pros

  • Long battery life
  • Open design
  • Rugged construction

Cons

  • Image gets pixelated at high magnification
  • Expensive

What Customers Say

I’ve had a lot of fun with the ECHO3. It’s compact, I’ve got it mounted on a .300 black out pistol. There are several cool color options and reticle choices. The ECHO3 is easy to set up, menu is intuitive. Has wifi to your phone, can record video or pics. The reason for only 4 stars is the digital magnification, when using magnification the image Read more about I’ve had a lot of fun with the ECHO3.quickly becomes pixelated. You can still clearly see your highlighted target, but it will be chunky with less detail. That being said, I’m really happy to have the ECHO3 as my first thermal sight.

Dale W.

Awesome clarity. Love the display choices. Within 12 hours of receiving my echo3, I already dropped 2 feral hogs!!! Highly recommend this optic for anyone who hunts hogs!

Scott M.

Best for Beginners: Burris BTS 35 1.7-6.8x35mm Thermal Riflescope

Last update on 2022-11-24 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

We chose the Burris BTS thermal riflescope as our entry-level pick because it’s not that expensive but has a 400×300 resolution and a 50Hz refresh rate (specs that are comparable to higher-end thermal scopes).

It comes with 5 color pallets for more detailed heat signature tracking on any kind of weather. 

What we love most about the Burris BTS is the Hot Tracking feature that tags the object with the highest heat signature within the vicinity and sticks to it even as it moves, pretty neat, right!? 

Pros

  • Has a Hot Tracking Feature
  • Has a 4 power zoom
  • Affordable 
  • Great resolution and refresh rate

Cons

  • It’s heavy

What Customers Say

Purchased the Burris not really knowing what to expect. There are not many reviews out there for these. So far it is a very good setup for me. I have a thor4 640 res 1-10 and can see the difference in resolution, but for the weight savings and base magnification I really like this one. The battery life is decent but can buy more batteries relatively cheap. Mount was solid and controls are simple. It is missing the built in ability to record but I don’t find that feature as useful as the positive features. Positive: Two button function, PIP is very nice, all sight features you need and non you don’t. I will try to update after some use.

Michael S.

Best thermal scope for the price.

Darell Payne

Best Thermal Scope for the Money: AGM Rattler TS19-256 Thermal Imaging RifleScope

Last update on 2022-11-24 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Our next pick is reliable for short to medium-range shooting. It has a 256×192, 12um thermal detector and a 1024×768 OLED monitor that performs well through all kinds of weather and environmental elements. Aside from being a thermal scope, it can also work as a handheld monocular.

The AGM Rattler is powered by two CR123 batteries and has a backup external 5V battery pack that you can charge through a USB connector. The thermal scope also features a Wi-Fi module so you can upload your videos and photos directly online.

Pros

  • Affordable 
  • Easy to use 
  • Solid build but lightweight 
  • Compact design 

Cons

  • Short battery life 

What Customers Say

There are better for more money but at this price point this is a very compelling option. Works very well for my intended use as a 100yds or less critter scope. Would buy again.

Amazon King

Having compared a great number of these, this one at the price advertised was an excellent price and Seems to be holding up well after several months.

Stoneadventures

Best for Coyote Hunting: ATN Thor 4 Thermal Rifle Scope

Last update on 2022-11-24 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The ATN Thor 4 is an affordable thermal optic that’s packed with high-end features. One feature we like most is the long battery life (when not using photo and video recording). The battery is also rechargeable. Another feature is its durable aluminum alloy construction backed with an impact-resistant internal mechanism. 

The ATN Thor 4 has a wide magnification range (1.25-5x, 2-8x, 4.5-18x, to name a few) but the resolution is only 384×288, so expect low-quality images at higher magnifications. At low magnification, however, this scope offers excellent clarity, thanks to its 60Hz refresh rate.

This thermal scope also comes with a ballistic calculator, a Recoil Activated Video (RAV), and dual-stream video recording.

Pros

  • Excellent refresh rate
  • Long battery life
  • Affordable
  • Packed with features

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Low-quality SD card cover
  • It’s difficult to find a compatible micro SD card

What Customers Say

“Worth it every bit upgraded from IR and this was a big time step up. Did my research and it amounts up to the credit”

Amazon Customer

“I’ve had the Thor thermal scope since June 2021 and absolutely love it. It helps control predictors killing my chickens and ducks. I’ve had to call customer service twice both for things I just didn’t know stuff as calibrating the compass and for an extra cable. Both times it was quick and smooth. Customer support rep My was fantastic and answered my questions. Definitely recommend this product to anyone with thermal and night time needs”

Scott M.

Is night vision or thermal better?

Thermal scopes can be used in any lighting condition, unlike night vision which gets damaged permanently if exposed to bright light. 

Night vision provides better and more-detailed images compared to thermal scopes but since the former needs ambient light to function, the latter has more versatility. Also, a night vision scope is hard to use at extremely low temperatures because it’s affected by ambient temperature. Whereas a thermal scope works better in these situations, which is when coyotes are out and about. Unlike NV scopes, thermal scopes also allow you to see through fog, smoke, and dust.

When it comes to size and weight, night vision scopes are lighter and more compact, but are reliable in recoil absorption. They’re also more affordable. Thermal imaging also consumes a lot of power, so you have to have a backup battery ready. 

Best Night Vision Rifle Scopes

The bottom line is, it all boils down to how you’d be using your optic and your budget, of course. We’ve covered this topic in a separate article – night vision vs. thermal imaging if you want to know more.

FAQs

What is the best thermal scope to buy?

The best thermal scope for us is the Trijicon Reap IR-35 because of its brilliant resolution. Find more reasons to love this optic from our review above!

What thermal scope does the US military use?

The AN/PAS-13B Thermal Weapon Sight is one of the thermal optics developed by the manufacturer Raytheon for the US military. 

Are thermal scopes worth the money?

Definitely! Thermal scopes increase hunting success by giving you an advantage, especially when hunting during a blizzard or similar weather conditions.

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