The Best Thermal Rifle Scopes Reviewed: How to Choose the Right One for You

In this article, we will discuss what makes a thermal scope unique, and provide reviews for some of the best models on the market. We hope that this information will help you choose the right thermal rifle scope for your needs!

Are you looking for the best thermal rifle scopes on the market?

A thermal rifle scope is a unique device that allows you to see in the dark and under adverse weather conditions. This makes it easier to hit your target, and can also make the hunt more enjoyable.

We have created this comprehensive guide on thermal rifle scopes so that you can find the right model for your needs. In this article, we will discuss what makes a thermal scope unique, and provide reviews for some of the best models on the market. We hope that this information will help you choose the right thermal rifle scope for your needs!

Make sure you check out our top 5 picks for the best thermal rifle scopes and purchase a scope before going out for your next hunting trip.

Selecting The Best Thermal Rifle Scope

Choosing the best thermal scope can be a daunting task, especially if you're not familiar with the terminology or features.

Not all thermal rifle scopes are created equal! You need to make sure you get the right scope for your needs or you could be seriously disappointed with your purchase.

We've done all of the hard work for you and compiled a list of the best thermal scopes on the market. Our list is based on real user reviews, product reliability, price, and features. Plus, we consulted with optic experts so that you can be confident in your purchase.

We know you want the best, so we work hard to provide it. Our team of experts is constantly selecting products for our site that meet high standards and offer great value too! Our opinions are based on independent trials and tests but as an Amazon Associate, we may earn from some qualifying purchases. This helps us to keep the site running without costing anything extra for you.

Best Overall

Pulsar Trail 2 LRF Thermal Riflescope

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Why You Will Love Them

The Pulsar Trail 2 LRF Thermal Riflescope is a high-tech and feature-packed thermal scope that is perfect for any hunter or shooter.

This scope comes with a built-in rangefinder which makes it easier to find your target and make the perfect shot. The scope also has a variety of different reticle options so you can customize your sighting experience.

The Pulsar Trail 2 LRF Thermal scope is also equipped with a shockproof and water-resistant design so you can take it out in any weather conditions.

You will love the Image Detail Boost feature that uses a powerful image processor to clean up the image for any noises or blurry pixels.

Even though it has a state-of-the-art design, it is user-friendly even for a beginner. They come with a 3-year warranty and also have very friendly and helpful customer service.

And if you are serious about hunting and don't mind the price tag this is the best option for you without being too extravagant.

What You Should Know

The Pulsar Trail 2 LRF is one of the best thermal scopes that you can buy right now. It has a durable magnesium alloy body that is built to last against not just all weather elements but is also shock and recoil-proof making them ideal for high calibers.

It is also very easy to use and thanks to its one-shot technology sighting can be done in minutes and you can save the setting thanks to its Freeze features.

The Trail 2 LRF XP50 has 2-16 x variable magnification and a detection range of 1900 yards. You can shoot with precision even at more than 1000 yards if your rifle supports that.

It has video and sound recording capabilities and Wi-Fi connectivity which can stream it with the help of its app.

Some of its key features include a high-resolution NETD 40mk sensor, areas of interest, picture-in-picture, recoil-activated recording, and edge detectors. These features combine to provide the user with clear and concise images, even in low-light conditions.

It has great optics and produces crisp and clear images. The Trail 2 LRF is the perfect combination of powerful hardware and capable software, and its 4 image modes will surely give you the best image quality on all terrains and weather conditions.

They are Rocks (high contrast), Forest (low contrast), Identification (maximum details), and a User mode to customize brightness and contrast parameters.

In addition, the Pulsar Trail 2 LRF Thermal Riflescope is also equipped with a laser rangefinder, which makes it easier to estimate distances for shots.

This makes it one of the best options for those looking for a high-quality thermal scope. The Pulsar Trail 2 LRF Thermal Riflescope also has an impressive battery life, making it a great option for those who want a long-lasting thermal scope.

What Could Have Been Better

The Pulsar Trail 2 LRF Thermal Riflescope is among the most expensive thermal scope models on the market today. It is packed with features that make it a premier choice for serious hunters and shooters.

But if you need the best-in-business scope for your hunting gear collection and don't mind spending a large amount on it, the Pulsar Trail 2 LRF Thermal Riflescope is an excellent option.

Best Value Pick


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Why You Will Love Them

Looking for a top-quality thermal riflescope? Check out the ATN Thor 4! This easy-to-mount thermal scope is perfect for serious shooters, hunters, or even law enforcement officials.

This scope is not just easy to mount, but it is very easy to use and provides you with a one-shot zero option to set up your scope without any hassles.

With its advanced thermal sensor, the Thor 4 provides excellent thermal imaging in both day and night conditions. Plus, its rugged construction can withstand the toughest conditions.

It also has excellent battery life. And thanks to its video recording capabilities you can record full HD video at 60 FPS if you wish to film your hunt but somehow forgot to bring a camera! It also has Wi-Fi streaming capabilities.

The Thor 4 uses a high-end sensor that captures great detail, even in low-light conditions. It also has a fast refresh rate, so you won't miss a thing when scanning for targets.

So whether you're hunting in the mountains or tracking game in the forest, the ATN Thor 4 is up for the challenge. So don't miss your chance to get your hands on this top-of-the-line thermal riflescope.

What You Should Know

he Thor 4 thermal scope is a state-of-the-art piece of equipment that provides superior situational awareness in a variety of environments. The Thor 4 sensor is highly sensitive, allowing it to detect even the faintest heat signature.

The built-in ballistic calculator makes it easy to compensate for wind and elevation, making it an ideal choice for long-range shooting.

It has great optics and the germanium lens is capable of producing sharp crystal clear images to see your target even in the darkest conditions.

It features a duplex reticle that provides a clear aiming point, even in low-light conditions. The ballistic laser rangefinder ensures that you can accurately estimate the distance to your target.

In addition, the Thor 4 comes with several advanced features, such as image enhancement, and digital zooming. It also has a recoil-compensated reticle and a wide field of view.

With so much to offer, it's no wonder that the ATN Thor 4 is one of the most popular thermal scopes on the market today.

What Could Have Been Better

ATN Thor 4 is a neat thermal scope that offers a lot of features and advantages for the user. It is expensive just like most other thermal scopes on the market, but it's packed with features that make it worth the price tag. Though it has some software issues, its powerful hardware more than makes up for this.

Despite its high price tag and some software issues, the ATN Thor 4 is a popular and powerful thermal scope and a great value-for-money pick for you.

Best Premium Pick

Trijicon REAP-IR

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Why You Will Love Them

There is no mistaking the brilliance of the Trijicon REAP-IR Thermal Riflescope. There is a reason why Trijicon supplies its scope to the US military. This high-powered scope is beloved by professional shooters for its unrivaled durability and incredible refresh rate.

With three different objective lens sizes to choose from (25mm,35mm, & 60mm), the Trijicon REAP-IR Thermal Riflescope is sure to provide the perfect vantage point for any situation.

Thermal scopes are not soothing for your eyes, especially at night they can be far too bright beyond anyone's comfort level. As a remedy Trijicon developed a cutting-edge "Edge Detect" technology, this scope is perfect for low-light or no-light situations where traditional scopes can become painful.

You will surely appreciate the Edge Detect mode, where only the outline of warm objects shows up in white, reducing overall brightness and protecting your night vision.

Whether you're tracking game in the woods or eyeing targets at the range, the REAP-IR is sure to give you the best possible view. Don't miss a single shot with this top-of-the-line scope!

What You Should Know

The Trijicon REAP-IR thermal scope is a top-of-the-line piece of equipment designed for elite hunters or serious shooters. It is built to Military Standard 810G and can withstand the rigors of combat.

The scope has a high refresh rate, which allows the user to see clearly even in fast-moving situations, without even the slightest frame drop.

It has 3 models with varying objective lenses — 24mm, 35mm, and 60mm.  All these are expensive, and to save some bucks you can pick the 35mm model.

Additionally, the REAP-IR has superior optics and processing power, making it one of the most advanced thermal scopes on the market. It will detect the heat signatures of the games you are hunting even hiding behind thick bushes or dense woods.

The onboard infrared detectors will detect even the slightest change in energy radiated by any object. This signal is then processed and finally send to the OLED screen in the form of a crisp image at 60FPS.

The REAP-IR is an essential piece of gear for anyone who needs to be able to operate in all conditions and environments and is passionate about getting the best scopes.

What Could Have Been Better

The Trijicon REAP-IR thermal scope is a very impressive piece of technology. It is very very pricey, but it is worth the investment for those who can accept the bill without a shock!

The REAP-IR thermal scopes are not for everyone, and if you are a casual shooter or hunter, just don't bother about getting these scopes. But if you can afford it, well you will get one hell of a scope!

Best Budget Thermal Scope


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Why You Will Love Them

Weighing in at only 1.4 lb, the ATN Thor LT Thermal Riflescope is one of the lightest and most compact thermal scopes on the market. Don't let its small size fool you though, this scope packs a serious punch.

With a wide field of view, user-friendly interface, and classic ergonomic design, the Thor LT is perfect for both novice and experienced shooters alike.

Whether you're out hunting hogs or varmints, the Thor LT's clean thermal optics allow you to see your target clearly, even in complete darkness. And with a detection range of more than 900 feet, you'll have no problem taking down your prey from long range.

This is also the most affordable thermal scope ( at least this is what affordable means when you are in the market for thermal scopes!) you can buy. But it does not compromise on features or quality.

Like its bigger bother, the ATN Thor 4, it is also available in multiple color options(including 9 camo options) and also multiple sensors and magnification options.

So if you're looking for a lightweight, budget-friendly thermal scope that won't disappoint, look no further than the ATN Thor LT.

What You Should Know

The ATN Thor LT is a versatile thermal scope that can be easily mounted on virtually any platform with 30 mm standard mount rings. The scope allows for an easy and fast sight-in of your scope, thanks to its One Shot Zero feature.

The ATN Thor LT has a durable aluminum alloy body and simple intuitive controls. The scope is powered by Li-ion batteries that will give you more than 10 hours of battery life even if you use it continuously. The focusing rings will give you the precise shot placement you need to take down your game.

This scope also has a recoil-resistant body and comfortable eye relief. You can also switch between black-hot and white-hot modes depending on your preference and surrounding light.

It comes in 2 sensor options of 160 and 320 and you can pick whatever your budget permits and you won't be disappointed. However, the smaller 160 sensors will give you a somewhat smaller range and lower resolution (19200 pixels) and will come at a lower price than the model with 320 sensors which can produce sharper images with 76800 pixels.

With its HUD levels, zoom button, and brightness and contrast settings, it's easy to find and track your target. The white-hot and black-hot color profiles make it easy to identify your prey.

The ATN Thor LT is a great choice for those who want a thermal scope that is versatile and easy to use without spending a fortune.

What Could Have Been Better

The ATN Thor LT is a great thermal scope for beginners. It's lightweight and easy to use, and it won't break the bank, (apparently). However, if you are used to top-quality thermal sensors, you might find the image produced to have a lot of noise and a bit on the dark side.

But you can good results if you adjust the sensitive focus properly. Overall, if you don't need all the unnecessary bells and whistles of a high-end thermal scope costing several thousand, the ATN Thor LT is the perfect option.

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Worthy Mention

AGM Global Vision Rattler Thermal Scope

AGM Global Vision Rattler Thermal Scope

If you are looking for a versatile and affordable thermal scope and somehow don't like the optics quality of Thor LT, check out the AGM Global Vision Rattler.

This high-sensitivity scope with its superior image processing technology provides clear and concise images. It has a 12ÎĽm pixel pitch.

You can also use it for video recording or snapshotting and store it in its 16GB in-built memory. It also has rangefinder capabilities, so that you'll be able to get an accurate shot every time.

Additionally, the adjustable color palettes allow you to customize your scope to match your environment and situation.

So if you're looking for a thermal scope that won't break the bank, the AGM Global Vision Rattler is another nice choice.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Buying a thermal rifle scope can be a difficult decision because there are so many factors to consider.

Knowing which thermal rifle scope is the best for you can be hard. There are so many different brands and models on the market, and it can be tough to figure out which features you need and which ones you don't.

We have created a comprehensive guide that will help you make the right decision when buying a thermal scope. Our guide covers everything from how thermal scopes work to the different features available on different models.

We have also answered some of the most commonly asked questions about thermal scopes so that you can be sure that you're making an informed purchase.

looking through thermal scopes.
Hunting deer with the help of thermal scopes.

Are thermal scopes worth buying?

There are a few factors to consider when deciding whether or not a thermal scope is worth buying.

The first is what you plan to use it for. If you need your thermal scope for hunting, then you'll want to make sure that the scope you're considering can provide clear images at long range. If you just need something for target practice, then a lower-end scope may suffice.

Another factor to consider is your budget. Thermal scopes can be quite expensive, so if you're on a tight budget, you may want to look at other options. However, if you're willing to invest in a quality scope, then a thermal scope can be worth the money.

Finally, keep in mind that thermal scopes are not legal for use in all states. Before you make a purchase, be sure to check the laws in your state to see if you'll be able to use the scope you're considering.

How does a thermal scope work?

Thermal scopes are target acquisition devices that detect thermal image radiation (just like thermal monoculars or any other thermal devices). The emitted radiation from an object or scene is captured and converted into an electric signal, which is then processed to create visible images on the display.

Just like regular optical sights, the range of a thermal scope depends on several factors, such as the magnification level, resolution, Refresh Rate (RT), Field of View (FOV), and Eyes-On-Target time; however, there are some unique properties about thermal optic that can significantly affect its range.

For example, because thermal imaging detects differences in temperature instead of light waves reflected off an object like traditional optical sights, it can be used under a wider variety of conditions—including total darkness. Additionally, because thermal imaging is not hindered by atmospheric conditions like dust, smoke, or fog, its range can be much greater than that of optical sights.

What are the benefits of using a thermal scope?

There are many benefits to using a thermal scope. Thermal scopes allow you to see in complete darkness and can even provide clear images through smoke, fog, and other obscurants. They also allow you to see heat signatures, which can be useful for spotting games or tracking targets.

Thermal scopes are also very versatile. Many models come with a variety of features that allow you to customize your experience. For example, some scopes allow you to change the thermal color palette to better suit your needs. Others come with a variety of reticle options so that you can choose the one that's best for you.

What are the different types of thermal scopes?

There are two main types of thermal scopes: stand-alone thermal scopes and clip-on thermal scopes. All the products we mention are stand-alone thermal scopes.

A clip-on thermal scope on the other hand is a device that you attach to your regular day scope to turn it into a thermal scope. The main advantage of a clip-on thermal scope is that you don't have to re-zero your day optic when you attach it, which can save you time and hassle. They are also comparatively cheaper.

Can you use a thermal scope in daylight?

Yes, you can use a thermal scope in daylight. Thermal imaging cameras have a special lens that focuses the heat, or infrared energy given off by an object, onto a detector that is sensitive to heat. So, being that it is unaffected by light, thermal imaging will work just as well in daylight as in complete darkness.

What are the disadvantages of using a thermal scope?

Thermal scopes are great for detecting targets in low-light or no-light conditions, but they do have some disadvantages.

The biggest disadvantage is that thermal scopes are much more expensive than regular scopes.

They also require batteries, which can run out if you're not careful, and they can be quite heavy and bulky.

They have high brightness and can cause sufficient eye strain, especially for your night vision.

They can be harder to look at for inexperienced eyes.

Finally, because thermal images show heat signatures instead of actual visuals, they can be difficult to use in snowy conditions.

What thermal scopes does the military use?

There are a few different types of thermal rifle scopes that the military uses, depending on the specific needs of the mission. For long-range engagements, snipers will often use focal plane array (FPA) scopes, which have very high resolution and can pick up even the smallest heat signatures. 

These scopes are also equipped with advanced features like recoil compensation and target tracking, making them ideal for taking out enemy targets from a distance.

For shorter-range engagements, soldiers may use uncooled microbolometer (UMB) scopes. These scopes don't have quite as high of a resolution as FPA scopes, but they're smaller and lighter, making them easier to carry in the field.

Some of the more popular brands supplying products to the military include FLIR Systems and Trijicon.

What is the effective range of a thermal scope?

In general, most thermal scopes have an effective range of about 500 yards for human-sized targets; however, this range can be significantly increased with the use of a high-quality scope and under ideal conditions.

But for shooting purposes they are effective out to around 1000 to 1500 yards. Beyond that distance, the image becomes too fuzzy to be of much use.

How do you zero a thermal scope?

The process of zeroing a thermal scope is the same as zeroing any other type of optical sight. The main difference is that, because thermal scopes don't use traditional crosshairs, they often have an etched reticle on the display that needs to be aligned with the target.

To zero a thermal scope, first, find a safe place to set up your rifle and scope. Then, using a spotting scope or binoculars, locate your target and make any necessary adjustments to the windage and elevation knobs until the reticle is centered on the target.

Once the reticle is in place, take a shot and see where the bullet hits. If it's not hitting the center of the target, make the necessary adjustments to the scope until it is. It is recommended to shoot 5 times at least, but if you are confident 3 shots should suffice.

When you're finished, make sure to recheck your windage and elevation settings so that they're still correct for the distance to your target.

How is a thermal rifle scope different from a night vision scope?

Thermal rifle scopes are different from night vision scopes because they detect heat instead of light.

Thermal radiation is emitted by all objects based on their temperature. The hotter the object, the more thermal radiation it emits. Thermal radiation is simply invisible infrared light. So a thermal rifle scope can "see" in the dark because it detects this invisible infrared light that is being emitted by everything in view.

Night vision scopes work differently. They detect visible light, which is why they only work during the night or in very low-light conditions. Night vision rifle scopes rely on special image intensifier tubes to amplify any available light so that the image can be seen through the scope.

Is night vision or thermal better?

Night vision monoculars and scopes use an amplifier to make low levels of light visible. This makes them ideal for hunting or tactical applications in near-darkness. However, they can also be used in daylight, though the image will not be as crisp as it would be with a traditional scope.

Night vision optical devices are less expensive than thermal optics, but they also have a shorter range and may require the use of an infrared illuminator to function properly.

Thermal imaging devices, on the other hand, use infrared technology to detect the heat signature of an object. This makes them ideal for use in low-light or no-light conditions, and even in broad daylight. It is great for spotting games that are hiding behind brush or leaves, though it can be difficult for untrained eyes.

Generally speaking, thermal devices are more expensive than night vision devices, but they offer a longer range and do not require the use of an infrared illuminator. They also have much better optics than night vision scopes.

If you need a scope for hunting in near-darkness or for tactical applications, a night vision scope is a good choice, but remember you will need a light source whether in-built or an external one. If you need a scope for spotting games in low light or dial-in on your target at long ranges thermal scopes are the better choice.

But many professional hunters use both these technologies together to get the best results

Looking through Night Vision (left) & thermal scope (right).
Looking through Night Vision (left) & thermal scope (right)

What makes a good thermal scope?

A lot of things come into play when considering what makes a good thermal rifle scope.

Size & Weight

The scope should be lightweight and compact, so it is easy to carry with you on long hunts or hikes.

Build Quality

Most aluminum or magnesium alloys are used to build a thermal scope. Whatever you pick, it should have a strong and durable build quality that can withstand years of use in the woods, and also protect the costly inner electronics.

Battery Life

Finally, the scope should have a long battery life, so you don't have to worry about running out of power in the middle of a hunt.

Image Quality

The quality of the image produced by the scope should be crisp to distinguish your main target from the surroundings.

Different objects emit different amounts of infrared light, so the scope must be able to filter out background noise and produce a clear image.

Recoil Resistance

Additionally, recoil from firing a rifle can cause problems for thermal imaging cameras, so the scope must be rugged and well-built to withstand repeated use and withstand recoil thrust.

Optics Quality

The optics of the scope are also important. The lenses must be high quality and free of distortion to produce a clear image.

Field of View

It is also an important consideration. A wider field of view makes it easier to find and track targets, while a narrower field of view provides more detail but can be more difficult to use.


The scope must be able to detect objects at the distances you plan to use it. Thermal scopes can have a range of anywhere from 100 yards to 2,000 yards, so it is important to choose a scope with a range that meets your needs.


Additionally, the scope should have enough magnification to allow you to see your target clearly. Most thermal scopes have an optical zoom between 4x and 6x, while a digital zoom of 8x to even 20x is common.

Refresh Rate

The refresh rate is how often the scope updates the image. The faster the refresh rate, the smoother the image will be. Thermal scopes usually have a refresh rate of 30 Hz or 60 Hz. Some high-end models can have a refresh rate of up to 120 Hz, but these are much more expensive.

Scope Resolution

The resolution of the scope is how many pixels the sensor has. The more pixels, the more detail the image will have. Thermal scopes usually have a resolution of 640x480 or 1280x960. Some high-end models can have resolutions of up to 1920x1080, but these are much more expensive.

Ease of Use

The scope should be easy-to-mount, and easy to use, with controls that are intuitive and easy to understand. The display should be easy to read, even in low light or in broad daylight.


Of course, price is always an important factor, but this is the weakness of a thermal scope. As you cannot find a good thermal scope at a reasonably low price and the best scopes will cost several thousands of dollars!

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Finally, What Is The Best Thermal Scope For Your  Rifle

Thermal rifle scopes are for the elites of hunting. With the ability to see in complete darkness, they give hunters an unparalleled advantage when it comes to taking down prey.

That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide on the best thermal scopes so that you can make an informed purchase and get yourself the best scope for your needs.

For your reference, they are :

Best Overall - Pulsar Trail 2 LRF Thermal Riflescope

Best Value Pick - ATN THOR 4

Best Premium Scope - Trijicon REAP-IR

Best Budget Thermal Scope - ATN Thor LT

Another Great Budget Pick - AGM Global Vision Thermal Scope Rattler

Whether you’re a seasoned hunter looking for an edge over the competition or just starting out, our selection of the best thermal scopes on the market will have something perfect for you.

So don’t wait any longer – just click on the 'Check Price on Amazon' buttons and add them to your cart!

You need the best thermal rifle scopes for a great hunting experience.

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