Best Thermal Scope For Hunting

Graphic of hunter and his rifle with a Pulsar thermal scope attached to it. The title reads best thermal scope for hunting.

Superior detection capabilities in total darkness. Hunters pride themselves on their thermal scope when they are hunting at night – better thermal scopes enable them to see and track targets at night – during low light or pitch darkness, and also acts as a tactical scope for pinpointing targets. These night vision devices come with all different specs and sizes, new functionality, and there is a variety of different brands available in the consumer market. Therefore, it can be challenging to rank which is the best thermal scope for hunting when there is complex and frequently changing technlology and specs, across all the brands, and across the world. This blog aims to help you deduce which thermal scope is the best on the market in March 2024. The scopes will be categorised and judged based on different needs: Best Overall Thermal Scope for Hunting, Best Budget ThScope and Best Clip-On Scope.

Jump to our findings

Best Overall Scope
Best Budget Scope
Best Clip-On Scope


When judging the best scope for each category, we will analyse the following criteria.

Sensor Resolution: The sensor resolution determines the clarity and sharpness of the device’s images. A greater resolution results in a clearer and sharper image.

NETD: Noise Equivalent Temperature Differentiation. It measures the device’s thermal sensitivity by highlighting the smallest temperature difference. It is measured in millikelvins eg. NETD <25mK. The smaller the number, the better the sensor is at producing clear detailed images.

Pixel Pitch: The distance between the centres of two pixels, measured in micrometres (µm). The smaller the distance between the pixels, the better the image quality will be.

Frame Rate: The rate at which the pixels of a thermal imager refreshes per second. The higher the frame rate the smoother the images will be.

Detection Range: Refers to the distance at which the scope can pick up heat signatures. Thermal scopes generally have long detection ranges.

Field of View: Describes the width of the visual field achievable. A wide FOV is ideal for maximum detection.

Protection Level: This is how durable the thermal scope is. These devices need to be shockproof, waterproof and have the ability to hand recoil from high calibre rounds.

Display: The quality of the display screen for viewing the thermal image. LCD and OLED screens offer the best contrast and clarity.

Colour Palettes: Thermal scopes include different colour palettes for user preferences. Hunters can also use specific colour palettes for varying tasks.

Battery Life: The operational time of the device

Special Features: Any features that elevate the performance of the scope.

Best Overall Thermal Scope

 HikMicro Thunder Zoom 2.0 TQ60Z 2.0 Thermal ScopePulsar Thermion LRF 2 XL50 Thermal ScopeHikMicro Panther LRF 2.0 PQ50L Thermal ScopeInfiRay TH50 V2 Thermal Scope
Sensor Resolution640×5121024×768640×512640×512
Pixel Pitch12 µm12 µm12 µm12 µm
Frame Rate50Hz50Hz50Hz50Hz
Detection Range2600m2300m2600m2600m
FOV10.5°x7.9°/18.4mx13.8m; 5.3°x4.0°/9.2mx6.9m14ºx10.5º/24.6×18.48.8°x7.0°/15.4mx12.2m8.8ºx7.0º/15.4×12.3
Protection LevelIP67 WaterproofIPX7 WaterproofIP67 WaterproofIP67 Waterproof
Display1024×768, 0.39 inch, OLED1024×768, 0.39 inch, AMOLED1024×768, 0.39 inch, OLED2560×2560 AMOLED
Colour Palettes4 colour palettes8 colour palettes4 colour palettes5 colour palettes
Battery Life8.5 hours7 hours5 hours8.5 hours
Special FeaturesDual FOV, One-time and separate zeroingLarge thermal sensor, 10 zeroing profiles, LRFBuilt-in ballistics calculator, LRFLarge display screen resolution
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Winner: Pulsar Thermion 2 LRF XL50 Thermal Scope

The Pulsar Thermion 2 LRF XL50 Thermal Scope clinches the top spot in this category, albeit with a narrow margin. What sets this Pulsar thermal scope apart is its formidable sensor resolution. It boasts an impressive 1024×768 pixels compared to the competing sensors with 640×512 pixels. This ultra-high-definition sensor excels at producing highly detailed and contrast-rich images. It maintains a remarkable amount of image quality during the magnification process. Consequently, it significantly enhances object identification capabilities at extended distances. Therefore, making it ideal for hunting.

This thermal night vision device has specific features that sets it apart from its competitors. It has a built-in LRF that can pinpoint the distances of target up to 800 meters away. Hunters can feed information gathered from the LRF to the built-in ballistics calculator. This allows the internal ballistics algorithm to calculate the point of aim. Now hunters can shoot accurately. Moreover, the large sensor of the makes way for the to have an extra wide field of view. This allows for comfortable viewing at long distances, even when the image is magnified.


The Pulsar Thermion 2 LRF XL50 thermal scope also include valuable attributes that assists hunters greatly.

Simple mounting process: This thermal scope has a classic tube style design. It comes in a 30mm aluminium housing, which means hunters can use their own tube ring to mount the scope. No special equipment required.

Recoil ready: Able to handle recoil from high calibres. These include 9.3×64, .30-06, .300, .375H&H and more.

Flexible zeroing: Comes with 10 zero profiles for different types of rifles and cartridges.

Customisable reticles: Pulsar spoils hunters with 10 reticle shapes in 9 colours.

Picture-in-picture mode: Displays a magnified images of the target object in the top center 10% of the screen. This allows hunters to get a closer analysis of the target while observing the entire field of view.

8 colour palettes: White Hot, Black Hot, Red Hot, Rainbow, Ultramarine, Red Monochrome, Violet and Sepia.

Efficient battery system: 2 replaceable and rechargeable batteries power this device. The dual battery system allows for 10 hours of continued use.

IPX7 rated: The Thermion 2 LRF XL50 is waterproof. It is able to perform in high humidity and heavy rain conditions.

On-board recording: Take photos and videos of your experiences and store is on the 64GB of memory. Hunters can also stream live footage to a smart device via the Stream Vision 2 app.

Best Budget Scope

Pulsar Talion XQ35 Pro Thermal Scope Guide TU431 Thermal ScopeHikMicro Thunder 2.0 TE25 Thermal Scope
Sensor Resolution384×288400×300256×192
Pixel Pitch17µm12μm12μm
Frame Rate50Hz50Hz50Hz
Detection Range1350m1000m1200m
FOV10.7°х8°7.8°×5.9°9.2° × 6.9°
Protection LevelIPX7IP67IP67
DisplayAMOLED 1024×7680.39’’ AMOLED 1440×10801024×768, 0.39 inch, OLED
Colour Palettes8 colour palettes 6 colour palettes4 colour palettes
Battery Life9 hours 12 hours10.5 hours
Special Features 4 mounting options PureIR algorithm, large displayExtremely low NETD
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Winner: HikMicro Thunder 2.0 TE25 Thermal Scope

The HikMicro Thunder 2.0 TE25 Thermal Scope takes the cake in this category with a clear win over its counterparts on value for money. So, although it has a weaker sensor than the others it makes up for it in affordability and other areas. Firstly, it has a extremely sensitive NETD <20mK sensor which is better than its competitors. This leads to images with more detailed characteristics of an object. It will also be better at picking up minute heat emissions even in heavy rain or dense fog. Not only does it have a 1200m detection range, this thermal scope has a compact design. This means hunters can use it as a monocular as well.


Apart from having a competitive price at $1999, the HikMicro Thunder 2.0 TE25 comes with some impressive features. These attributes aim to streamline the hunting experience.

Recoil-activated-recording: Records 7 seconds before and 7 second after the shot has been taken. Creates a 14 second video which is stored in the internal memory.

Robust: The magnesium housing allows the Thunder 2.0 TE25 to withstand recoil from high calibre rounds. These include .375HH and 12-gauge.

Upgraded battery system: Comes with 2 replaceable and rechargeable batteries. You can charge the batteries within the device or externally. This device has a 10 hour battery life.

Picture-in-picture mode: Magnified image will appear at the top-center of the display for accurate observing.

IP67 protected: This thermal scope is waterproof. It can operate seamlessly in heavy rain and high temperatures.

Best Thermal Clip-On Scope

A clip-on thermal scope is a device that attaches to the front of a traditional day scope. It turns the day optics into a thermal device with the same abilities and features. Here are the candidates for Best Thermal Clip-On Scope for Hunting.

Leica Calonox 2 Sight LRF Thermal Clip-OnPulsar Krypton 2 FXG50 Thermal Clip-OnHikMicro Thunder 2.0 TQ50CR Thermal Clip-OnInfiRay Mate MAH50 Thermal Clip-On
Sensor Resolution640×480 640×480 640×512640×512
Pixel Pitch12µm12µm12µm12µm
Frame Rate60Hz50Hz50Hz50Hz
Detection Range2210m 2300m2600m2597m
FOV10.3°x7.7° 8.8°x6.6°8.8°x7.0°8.8°x7.0°
DisplayOLED 1280×960 AMOLED 1920×1080OLED 1024×768OLED 1024×768
Colour Palettes4 colour palettes8 colour palettes 4 colour palettes5 colour palettes
Battery Life 6 hours11 hours 8.5 hours 7 hours
Special Features Built-in LRF, LIO featureBluetooth remote control compatibilityNew focus knob, extremely sensitive NETDRemoveable buttons
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Winner: Leica Calonox 2 Sight LRF

The Leica Calonox 2 Sight LRF delivers outstanding image quality and a functional sleek design. This German made thermal clip-on utilises a state-of-the-art LYNRED 640×480 senor. It works together with the Leica Image Optimisation system to generate sharp images with rich contrast and thorough detail. Likewise, this clip-on boasts a large 1280×960 OLED display which has a frame rate of 60Hz. This will allow hunters to confidently identify target objects in complete darkness with minimal image lag.

The Calonox 2 is an ideal tool for hunting. Its intricate design ensures that individual calibration is no longer necessary. This means it is ready to use out of the box and can be seamlessly swapped between rifles. The point of aim does not change. Moreover, this device has a built-in LRF that is capable of sighting out targets up to 1200 meters away. This ensures hunters can shoot accurately .


Long detection range: 2210 meter detection range, 770 meter recognition range and 390 meter identification range.

4 colour palettes: White Hot, Black Hot, Red Hot and Rainbow.

On-board recording: Take photos and videos of your experiences and save it on the 32GB of internal memory. Stream videos on to a smart device via the Calonox Sight app.

Recoil resistant: Handles recoil rounds up to .50 calibre

IP67 protected: This device is waterproof and can operate in high temperatures and heavy rain. It is also nitrogen-filled which renders it fog proof.

Prices and more information to be announced upon release.


Here are the top picks of the best thermal scope for hunting in each category. The best overall scope is the Pulsar Thermion 2 LRF XL50. The best budget scope is the HikMicro Thunder 2.0 TE25. Finally, the best thermal clip-on scope is the Leica Calonox 2 Sight LRF.

These are the best thermal scopes in each respective category. However, there may be other options to suit your needs and budget. To find the best thermal scope for you, click here to shop our entire range of thermal scopes. Prices as advertised may be subject to change. Make sure to consult our website for the latest pricing and stock availability. Optics Central – Australia’s Optics Superstore – Thermal Scopes Australia

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