Best Flir Thermal Monoculars 

 May 11, 2019

By  Randy Angwin

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Last updated on January 8, 2022

Armasight, based in San Francisco is a provider of top-notch night vision, thermal, and daylight imaging solutions. It was acquired by FLIR Systems Inc. in 2016 to join this global leader in developing, designing, and manufacturing cutting-edge night vision and thermal imaging products. Armasight provides thermal imaging monoculars, night vision monoculars, and digital night vision monoculars. Our focus is on their line of Thermal Imaging Monoculars. This brand goes out of their way to produce only the best products for the sporting, military, and law enforcement markets. Their thermal imaging monoculars are based on two core technologies.

FLIR Tau 2 Core Technology 336 x 256

These are thermal imaging monoculars with the 336 x 256 thermal detector. They deliver over 76,800 pixels which are sixteen times better than a monocular using a 160 x 120 detector. This allows you to be further away from the target object and still get excellent temperature measurement accuracy.

FLIR Tau 2 Core Technology 640 x 480 

Thermal monoculars with 640 x 480 detector achieve a high resolution. They deliver over 307,000 pixels to meet High Definition (HD) resolution standard. With such a sensor, you can be twice the distance of that of the 336 x 256 detector monocular and achieve excellent color fidelity and thermal accuracy.

If you are searching for a thermal imaging monocular, we have picked the latest products introduced by FLIR. These are products based on their latest technologies including the FLIR Tau 2 VOX microbolometer core. You can expect nothing less than optimized performance and a wide array of applications. Whatever you desire to achieve with a thermal imaging monocular, Armasight has got you covered.

FLIR Boson

FLIR's newest thermal sensor the Boson is currently the most power efficient, smallest, and lightweight thermal sensor on the market. In fact the Boson sensor is 50% smaller and twice as powerful as FLIR's TAU 2 sensor. The Boson is built on a 12um pixel architecture which allows for finer details in the thermal images.

The smaller size of the sensor means your scopes and monoculars will also be smaller and the increased efficiency means more time out in the field or woods hunting.

The Boson core is used in FLIR's Scion line of thermal cameras and PTS thermal scopes.

FLIR SCION PTM Professional Series Thermal Monoculars

The SCION PTM Professional Series is ideally suited for law enforcement personnel specializing in superior thermal surveillance. This series is known for its exceptionally high-performance thermal imaging abilities which are packed into a monocular.

The compact handheld monocular allows for easy handling. And it features a rugged design which contributes to the unit’s durability. This series of thermal monoculars are IP67–rated which makes them safe to use in wet conditions without suffering damage.

The SCION series of thermal monoculars are designed to perform a number of functions which include:

  • Instantly streaming encrypted thermal footage
  • Evidence recovery
  • Searching and rescuing effort to the command center via a wireless network

There are three optic options that you can pick from in this series which we’ll discuss below.


  • Thermal resolution: 640 × 512
  • Field of view: 32° x 24°
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz
  • E-zoom: 1x, 2x, 4x, 8x
  • Optical magnification: 0.7x
  • Battery life: 4.5 hours

The PTM 166 model has a 640 × 512 thermal resolution which allows you to view images clearly. You can video stream and transfer files via Wi-Fi with this unit and it also has Bluetooth functionalities.

With a 60Hz. refresh rate .7x optical magnification and 1x, 2x, 4x, 8x digital zoom tracking fast moving targets from moderate distances will not be a problem. The field of view is also decent at 32° x 24°.

Weighing only 572g, you can tell that the device is pretty lightweight. Carrying it from one place to the next will be hassle-free. The monocular is powered by a lithium battery which has an operating life of up to 4.5 hours.

This PTM 166 comes with a 2GB internal storage but you have the option of adding a microSD card to extend the storage up to 128GB.


  • Thermal resolution: 320 × 256
  • Field of view: 9° x 6.5°
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz
  • E-zoom: 1x, 2x, 4x
  • Optical magnification: 2.6x
  • Battery life: 4.5 hours

Thanks to the 320 × 256 thermal resolution, you can also expect pictures in high definition if you pick this model. Like the PTM 166, this model also weighs 572 g which makes it very lightweight. 

The PTM336 also features a 60Hz refresh rate and 2.6x optical magnification.  For moderate range targets the 1z, 2x, and 4x digital zoom help you identify targets.

Like most thermal monoculars within the Scion PTM range, the unit is powered by a lithium battery which can last up to 4.5 hours. You can also enjoy video streaming and file transfer when the device is connected to Wi-Fi. It comes with 2GB internal storage expandable to 128GB if you add a microSD card.

Interesting features on this unit include a real-time clock, a magnetic compass, and an accelerometer.


  • Thermal resolution: 640 × 512
  • Field of view: 18°x 13°
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz
  • E-zoom: 1x, 2x, 4x, 8x
  • Optical magnification: 1.3x

This model comes in black and features a 25mm lens system. You have to adjust the display focus manually but that’s not uncommon with many monoculars.

The PTM 366 monocular is lightweight which allows for easy handling. It’s also powered by a lithium battery which has an operating life of 4.5 hours.

The thermal resolution is 640x512 and has a 1.3x optical magnification in addition to 1x, 2x, 4x, and 8x digital zoom. This monocular is ideal for spotting medium range targets.

The 60Hz refresh rate means you will have not issues with fast moving targets.

You can perform a number of functions with this unit including video and image transfer. It offers you two viewing options namely scouting or picture-in-picture. You can also take a picture while recording with this model.

FLIR SCION OTM  Outdoor Thermal Monoculars - New Generation

The FLIR Scion series of monoculars is known for capturing clear thermal images. It’s also sought after for its intuitive interface. Thanks to the refined user interface, you can easily detect objects in visually impairing situations such as total darkness or glaring lights.

The intuitive controls found on all units within this series allow you to operate the devices single-handedly. This leaves your other hand free to handle other activities.

The units come in either 9Hz or 60Hz refresh rates which allows you to take pictures and capture videos although the quality will be pretty poor on the 9Hz model due to the low refresh rate which causes blurring when quickly panning. Footage and images can be stored & viewed long after they were taken.

You’ll appreciate that the monoculars from this series all feature IP67-rated housing. Brief submersion in water won’t damage the units making them ideal to use in wet conditions.

All OTM models are also powered by FLIR's new Boson thermal core.

There are seven different models in this line which we’ll quickly highlight below.


flir SCION OTM136
  • Thermal resolution: 320 × 256
  • Field of view: 16° × 12°
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz
  • Magnification: 1.5-6x
  • Battery life: 4.5 hours

This model comes in either black or gray housing. It allows you to perform video streaming and file transfer functions when connected to Wi-Fi.

The OTM136 has 1.5 optical magnification and up to 6x digital zoom.

It has 320x256 thermal resolution and a 60Hz. refresh rate so fast moving targets are never an issue. 

The OTM136 also records images and video with geotagging so you will always know the location of them when viewed later.

This monocular is battery operated and can function for 4.5 hours on a single charge. The lens system is 18mm thick which allows you to view images clearly.


flir SCION OTM236
  • Thermal resolution: 320 × 256
  • Field of view: 12° x 9°
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz
  • Magnification: 1.9-7.6x
  • Battery life: 4.5 hours

Here we have a monocular that has a higher magnification rate than most of the other models in this range. The smaller field of view indicates that you can use this unit for close range detection.

The OTM236 has a thermal resolution of 320x256 and fast 60Hz refresh rate.

The optical magnification is 1.9x with digital zoom up to 7.6x allowing you to spot your target from long distances.

Like all the OTM monoculars in this series, this model is powered by lithium batteries which give it a 4.5 operating life.


flir SCION OTM266
  • Thermal resolution: 640 × 512
  • Field of view: 24° x 18°
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz
  • Magnification: 1-8x
  • Battery life: 4.5 hours

This model also falls under the 60Hz version but features a higher thermal resolution. You can expect clear images in high definition if you pick this thermal monocular. It comes in either a green or black housing so you can pick your favorite color or the one that suits your gear or environment you’re working in. Helping you stay camouflaged if necessary.

This unit is slightly more expensive than the other models but for the performance you get, it’s worth the higher price.

The thermal resolution is 640x512 and the optical magnification is 1x with up to 8x digital zoom.

Battery life is consistent here at 4.5 hours as with most OTM models.


flir SCION OTM366
  • Thermal resolution: 640 × 512
  • Field of view: 18° x 13°
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz
  • Magnification: 1.3-10.4x
  • Battery life: 4.5 hours

This is one of the 60Hz versions in this OTM series which features a higher refresh rate allowing for much smoother video recording. The magnification is slightly lower than some of the models but with the higher digital zoom you can still spot far off targets.

Another unique aspect of this model is that the display focus is adjusted manually. You’ll appreciate that it’s relatively cheaper than the models reviewed above.

The 640x512 resolution provides clear images and the 1.3x optical magnification along with up to 10.4x optical zoom is great for far off spotting. Although at higher digital zoom's the image will not be as clear.

Battery life is also good at 4.5 hours before need to change or recharge the batteries.


flir SCION OTM130
  • Thermal resolution: 320 × 256
  • Field of view: 16° x 12°
  • Refresh rate: 9Hz
  • Magnification: 1.5-4x
  • Battery life: 4.5 hours

This OTM130 model is the entry level thermal monocular in this line. It features a 320x256 thermal resolution and 9Hz refresh rate.

While note suited for fast moving targets this is a great first thermal monocular if you want to see what all the fuss is about.

The optical magnification is 1.5x with up to 4x digital zoom. The field of view is good at 16° x 12°.

You can also store and record images and videos that are geotagged so you will know where you were when viewing later.

You can operate this unit for just over four hours on a single charge using lithium batteries.


flir SCION OTM230
  • Thermal resolution: 320 × 256
  • Field of view: 12° x 9°
  • Refresh rate: 9Hz
  • Magnification: 1.9-7.6x
  • Battery life: 4.5 hours

The OTM230 has a higher optical magnification than the OTM130 making it better for you if your interested in spotting targets farther out.

The OTM230 has a 320x256 thermal resolution sensor and 1.9 optical magnification along with up to 7.6x digital zoom. The field of view is 12° x 9°

While the 9Hz refresh rate is not good for tracking moving targets if you will mostly be looking for stationary or slow moving objects you will have no problems.

It needs six lithium batteries to operate which also have a 4.5 hour operating time frame.


  • Thermal resolution: 640 × 512
  • Field of view: 24° x 18°
  • Refresh rate: 9Hz
  • Magnification: 1-8x
  • Battery life: 4.5 hours

The OTM 260 has a higher thermal resolution that the other OTM models which means that your will get clearer thermal images.

The 640x512 resolution is twice what you will get on the other models which will help you more easily identify targets especially if they are farther away.

The optical magnification is 1x with up to 8x digital magnification. The higher resolution of the OTM260 helps if you plan on using the digital zoom a lot as images will be clearer.

The 9Hz refresh rate is again not the best but adequate if your not trying to spot fast moving targets.

The filed of view is 24° x 18° and battery life is the same as other OTM models with 4.5 hours of run time before needing to change or recharge the batteries.

FLIR Scout III Series - Previous Generation

The Scout III series is the one to consider if you’re looking for monoculars that capture sharp thermal imaging at a fast frame rate. The end result is a smooth clear vision especially on moving objects and running targets.

These monoculars are specifically designed to increase situational awareness. You can use them at any time of day or night and you’re still guaranteed high definition images. With these monoculars, you can detect humans, objects or animals even in complete darkness or in glaring light.

The units have IP67-rated housing so they can withstand harsh weather and wet conditions. Hunters, law enforcement personnel and outdoor enthusiasts will find monoculars in this series handy.

The series offers three different optic options that we’ll highlight briefly below.

FLIR Scout III 240

flir SCOUT III 240
  • Thermal resolution: 240 × 180
  • Field of view: 24° × 18°
  • Refresh rate: 30Hz
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Battery life: 5 hours

This monocular features a 640 x 480 LCD display screen that allows you to view images with ease. However note that the thermal resolution is only 240x180 which is quite low.

Thanks to the IP67-rating, Flir Scout III 240 can be submerged in water and won’t suffer damage.

The 30Hz refresh rate is good for tracking all but the fastest moving targets.

The magnification is not great at 1x and there is no digital zoom.

The Scout III requires an internal lithium-ion cell to function and has a battery operating life of just under five hours depending on usage. You’ll be impressed by the less than 1.5 second startup time.

If you’re working on a budget you’ll appreciate that it’s the cheapest of the three models within the Scout III series.

FLIR Scout III 320

flir SCOUT III 320
  • Thermal resolution: 336 × 256
  • Field of view: 17° × 13°
  • Refresh rate: 30 Hz / 60 Hz
  • Magnification: 1.1-2.2x
  • Battery life: 5 hours

Within the Scout III series, you’ll find the FLIR Scout III 320 model which is slightly more expensive than the 240 reviewed above. It comes with a higher refresh rate (optional 60Hz) compared to the other models while having an impressive range performance of 600 yards. You can detect moving objects clearly from a distance.

The thermal resolution is 336x256 and optical magnification is 1.1x with a 2.2x digital zoom. The field of view is 17° × 13°.

It also comes with a 640 × 480 LCD display screen which is the standard size for monoculars in this series. It’s also powered by lithium-ion battery cells and operates for a little under five hours on a charge.

FLIR Scout III 640

flir SCOUT III 640
  • Thermal resolution: 640 × 512
  • Field of view: 18° × 14°
  • Refresh rate: 30Hz
  • Magnification: 1.1-4.4x
  • Battery life: 5 hours

This is the most expensive model in the Scout line. It allows for long-range detection thanks to the 1,246 yard range performance. You can zoom in on images with the digital zoom to get a better view of the objects.

The thermal resolution is 640x512 ensuring high quality thermal images and the 30Hz refresh rate is allows for tracking of moving targets. The optical magnification is 1x with digital zoom of up to 4x. The field of view is 18° × 14°.

It also has a battery operating life of under five hours, but this will depend on the frequency of usage.

While more expensive than the other models if your  looking for the highest thermal resolution FLIR Scout III 640 could be the best one for your money.

FLIR Breach PTQ136 New Generation

flir FLIR Breach PTQ136
  • Thermal resolution: 320 × 256
  • Field of view: 24° × 19°
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz
  • Magnification: 1-4x
  • Battery life: 1.5 hours

Weighing only 210g, this has to be one of the lightest thermal imaging monoculars on the market. You’ll appreciate its compact design that allows easy handling and carrying. Its small size makes it easy to conceal in a pocket or mount on a helmet with the aid of its mini-rail feature.

FLIR Breach PTQ136 is ideally suited for law enforcement personnel because it’s designed to accurately spot the heat of suspects even in total darkness. Thanks to its light design it won’t be adding much weight to an officer’s heavy gear and you can chase suspects with ease.

The thermal resolution is 320x256 and the fast 60Hz refresh means you will have no problems tracking fast moving targets.

It comes with a few additional features you’ll appreciate including the onboard recording functionality. This feature allows you to detect suspects quickly even in complete darkness. You can store up to 1000 pictures and 2.5 hours of video footage thanks to the sizeable internal memory.

You’ll find that it’s on the expensive side, but with the performance the device offers, it’ll be money well spent.

This FLIR monocular has a 90-minute battery life which isn’t very long. A benefit is that it only needs one lithium battery to function.

The device comes with easy to control panel buttons that are simple to use. With these buttons, you can control screen brightness, image palette, zoom and general navigation of the menu.

Startup is quick and easy; you’ll have the device ready in less than two seconds. You’ll be happy to know that the monocular comes with a hard case for storing and protecting the device.

This product comes with a standard two-year warranty. If you register the product with the manufacturer you’ll enjoy a three-year limited warranty.

  • Lightweight
  • Stealth design
  • Compact
  • Spots objects in complete darkness
  • Short battery life
  • Expensive

FLIR Scout TK Older Generation

Flir Scout TK
  • Thermal resolution: 160 × 120
  • Field of view: 20° × 16°
  • Refresh rate: 9Hz
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Battery life: 5 hours

Are you looking for an inexpensive thermal monocular? Consider the FLIR Scout TK model which is the cheapest model on our list. For such a low priced unit, it comes with some impressive features you’ll appreciate such as its pocket-size design. It’s small enough to comfortably fit into your pocket for easy transportation.

You can use the monocular to explore outdoors at night and it allows you to detect objects & images in low-light conditions. One of the device’s major selling points is that it’s very easy to use.

It comes with the necessary functions you need for effective thermal imaging including still image and video recording.

You’ll need a lithium-ion cell to power this unit and it has a battery operating life of less than five hours. The startup time is very quick as you’ll have the unit up and running in less than five seconds.

You’ll be happy to know that the housing is IP67-rated, so you can safely use it in wet conditions without worrying about damaging the device.

Unfortunately, you can only use it at close ranges because of its 100-yard range performance.

  • Lightweight
  • Long battery life
  • Quick startup time
  • Cheap
  • Older generation technology
  • Doesn’t zoom in on images

Final Thoughts:

We have covered many different thermal monoculars from FLIR from their newest SCION line to their Scout series that have proven reliable and durable. 

Ultimately, it comes down to what your looking for and what you will be using your thermal monocular for.

The SCION PTM 336 or FLIR Breach is ideal for law enforcement or professional use. On the other hand if your looking for thermal monocular for hunting or spotting the OTM236 is probably going to be your best bet. Finally, if your looking to save money by purchasing a previous generation thermal monocular or just want to buy your first one the FLIR Scout III 240 could be a good choice.

If you still can't decide which monocular is best for you check out our real-time monocular finder page that allows you to select what you want and shows you in real-time what monocular would be best for you.

About the author 

Randy Angwin

Randy Angwin holds a master of science degree from University of Florida. He is an expert in infrared and night vision technology. His knowledge helps us staying on top of the latest trends in the thermal industry. When not working, Randy likes to hunt and spend time with his two German shepherds.

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