Best Thermal Scopes For Hunting: Buyer’s Guide

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Thermal technology led to the development of thermal scopes from the traditional night vision scopes. These are devices majorly used in military divisions. Research shows that every object, either artificial or natural, out -sends some heat in the form of infrared energy.

Hence, Thermal Scopes uses this fact in its operations. It detects the presence of any object that might be invisible to the human being naked eyes through the detection of any slight temperature differences of any purpose in their view.

Thermal scopes have their application in professions, such as rescue teams, security teams, and law enforcement professions. Law enforcers use thermal scopes in the detection of any suspicious activity larking in the darkness, which would otherwise be invisible to the human eye.

Types of Hunting that Uses Thermal Scopes

Deer Hunting

Sometimes tracking down a wounded deer in the bushy field in the night and raining, might prove difficult. Thermal scope offers the best feeling while hunting deer in the field. When fitted on a rifle, it offers the best target when hitting a deer while hiding in the dark. Nevertheless, with the use of a handheld thermal scope trailing down the blood of a wounded deer or antelope on the leaf trash is easier. The thermal scope detects the temperature difference of the spilt blood, making it easier to track down the animal. I hope you don’t miss our guide on deer hunting with a bow if you’re interested.

Hunting Coyotes

Coyotes belong to the species group of Furbearer found in Northern America. When left to maneuver around freely, these bloody thirsty predators may pose a threat to human life. Hence, have your rifle fitted with a light thermal scope for detecting these predators. Through the use of thermal scopes, these crafty carnivores are well-handled day and night. Other species of Furbearer hunted by the use of a thermal scope device include; bobcat, Crossbows, grey and red fox. 

Turkey Hunting

Turkey hunting happens to be one of the exciting hunting activities. Just like any other animal, turkey birds similarly exuded temperatures off their body. This implication means that the use of a thermal scope would bring effectiveness when targeting them. 

During the spring, when sprouting trees happens, it may be challenging to trace turkey roosting. But with the use of monocular thermal scope temperature differences around the head gives a better edge even at the top of the trees. Thus, a rifle fitted with a thermal scope not only useful for night visions but also daytime visions by bringing clarity contrast serves an impressive task to Turkey hunters. Make sure you read our guide on turkey hunting.

Hunting of Wild Hogs. 

Research shows that the increased number of hogs in the 38 states in America has resulted in fewer native species. These animals cause loss of billions to Americans as their crops get widely destroyed. However, with the help of thermal scopes, compatible with any rifle, the number of feral swine is easily controllable. With that, let’s jump straight into the review. Make sure you read our huge beginners guide to hunting hogs.

The Best Thermal Scopes 

Pulsar Thermion x50

This thermal scope is an advanced and physically restructured device that succeeds Pulsar Trail Line. It offers the best features, which makes it more outstanding. This feature gives the user significant advantages, and its design takes into account the hunting action.

Special Features of the Pulsar Thermion X50

Featuring the Picture-in-Picture increases the device’s accuracy by showing a more enlarged image on the upper side of the display. One-tenth of the display area kept aside for PIP leaves the viewing field almost unblocked to enable viewership of PiP and FOV happening at the same time.

With an In-build Video recording, the internal video recording system ensures that video clips and images are captured and stored internally for retrieval. The video recordings and pictures later get transferred to a laptop through a USB cable or a WIFI hotspot.

Pulsar Thermion X50 has Customized Reticle Options. This means fifteen reticles which are customized improves the clarity of the image displayed. It displays images in the form of different colors which include black, red, green, and white.

It also possesses an AMOLED display. This feature enables Pulsar to develop resistance to frost. Hence, despite how extreme temperature may be, imaging is not affected. Featuring a high image resolution, the Pulsar Thermion x50 image frequency of 50Hz makes it suitable to capture all sorts of images, even in motion. This device possesses up to 3 zeroing profiles that bring out accurate and exact zeroing ability.

My Thoughts On the Pulsar Thermion X50

I have never owned a Pulsar Thermion X50 myself but my father-in-law owns one that we use a lot to go hog hunting with. He is really not to keen on letting me use it as it’s his baby and he is caring for it like he actually gave physical birth to it and nurtured it for 10 years. But the far too few times I actually got to borrow the scope it was a fantastic tool. I have never in my life experienced such crisp resolution in a thermal optics. I hope to give a more in-depth review in the future but I can highly recommend this scope for anyone who wants to get into some serious hog hunting.


  • It is Waterproof
  • Used under different temperatures
  • Easy to use
  • Display-off Mode
  • Mobile friendly


  • Slightly expensive

Here you can read more about the product and see prices on Amazon

Pulsar Trail XP50

With this thermal scope, night hunters carry their hunting activities effectively while in the field. Pulsar Trail XP 50 has well-advanced features. It enables detection of temperature changes at a distance of close to 2000 yards to located objects around your vicinity. It has an internally built video recorder that captures every happening around you and stores in an 8 GB capacity internally built memory. 

With Pulsar Trail XP50, one views a distance of up to 2000 yards. This long-range feature enables night hunters to have excellent clarity of target at far. Featuring a 50HZ image frequency, the pulsar trail xp50 offers night hunters the comfort of seeing various objects in motion.

Features of the Pulsar Trail XP50

This thermal scope possesses a zooming ability of up to 8x that provides a high field of view, which is customized. Also, the Trail model features a video recorder build internally to capture images and any movement simultaneously stored in the internal 8 GB memory. These images get transferred to any PC via a USB cable or WiFi connectivity.

The trail possesses a unique feature of resisting big shocks and the capacity to withstand high recoiling of highly powered firearms.  Also, this thermal scope feature enables the shooter to include an added image area on the screen. 

This image possesses a magnified size that the original one to increase the ability to aim. The additional region one can sit at the top center of the more prominent display. This feature makes it possible to view two images simultaneously.

The IPX7- Waterproof feature enables the trail model suitable for wet and rainy seasons.

My Thoughts On the Pulsar Trail XP50

I have a friend who I often go hunting with who owns a Pulsar Trail XP50 and he is constantly praising how fantastic the product is, so I’ve borrowed it from him on a couple of hunts and I have to admit that it’s freaking awesome! I really appreciate the streaming options for when you are out hunting with a friend. It’s so much more exciting to be the spotter without a weapon if you can follow along what the shooter sees in the scope on your mobile. I can’t really say much about the long term quality of the product but as much as I have been able to try it, it’s fantastic!


  • Smooth transfer of footage to any android.
  • High Magnification
  • Water Proof
  • Possesses 3 Zero profiles


  • Costly to purchase

Here you can read more about the product and see prices on Amazon

Leupold LTO Tracker 2

Any individual in possession of this thermal scope sees more clearly in the dark can participate in rescue missions where lifesaving is the priority, for example, in fire breakouts. Featuring beacon mode makes it possible to make changes to the color displayed on the screen to grey for compelling and clear visions in areas associated with warm weather conditions. 

Best thermal readings are made possible by this feature. Leupold LTO Tracker 2 displays a variety of colors by choosing amongst its color palettes. Therefore, this feature makes it possible to capture a variety of images in any possible to identify objects which are at a longer distance.


  • 100% Water protection
  • Light Aluminum casing 
  • Has the ability to zoom objects from a distance.
  • Day time application


  • The screen does not possess high-resolution power.

Here you can read more about the product and see prices on Amazon

What to Look out for When Buying Thermal Scopes

Refresh Rate

A thermal scope of over 30Hz happens to be suitable and gives a clear and smooth image of the object, hence bringing the details of the target closer for successful hitting. A high refresh rate determines the quality of Thermal scope to a large extent.

Battery Life

The majority of the people may develop a tendency to assume this consideration. However, a good battery with a longer battery life should be a serious consideration. Averagely, a scope possessing not less than 5hrs battery life rendered quality scope.


Generally, reticle classification takes three major groups, namely, mil-dot, Duplex, and BDC. Duplex, the seemingly popular reticle, possesses a midpoint which at the center is thin but increases to widen up towards the outside of the midpoint. Mil-dot, an enhancement of the original design, helps in the determination of the target range. Bullet –drop compensator (BDC) gives room for accurate shooting over different distances without changing your elevation.

Are They Necessary: Importance of Thermal Scopes


Thermal scopes enable us to survey distinct objects at any moment. For instance, a recently parked car in the parking can easily get identified using a thermal scope device because using a thermal scope it will be hotter than the one parked some hours back.

Home Usage and Mechanical Scrutiny

Overheating parts of any mechanical and automotive gadgets through the use of thermal scope can easily be identified. Similarly, hot water vents in the homestead get easily monitored by the thermal scope device. Generally, we can say at any instance where objects that emit temperature, thermal scopes can be applied. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How to sight in a thermal scope?

First, you need to understand the working of a scope that the reticle adjustments are digital. Secondly, insight into how bullet drop happens and bullet drop varies in various aspects such as velocity.

Then, get the right target of the thermal optic by identifying the heat of the object. The fourth step is to get a steady and comfortable position to reduce your zeroing.

Initiate the zeroing process by firing just three bullets, after which you unload your gun and confirm your target. Do both vertical and horizontal calculations by identifying where the bullet lands and jot down your measurements.

Lastly, adjust your reticle by the measurements taken if the process fails and keep on making adjustments until it becomes a success.

Can thermal scopes see-through glass?

The thermal scope cannot see through Glass. Glass acts as a hindrance to infrared rays from reaching infrared-detectors elements.

Can thermal scopes see-through walls?

Similar to glass, a thermal scope cannot see through a wall, especially a concrete wall. Infrared rays get blocked from reaching the thermal scope device.

Can thermal scopes see-through fog?

The possibility of a thermal scope seeing through fog depends on the density of the fog. For very dense fog, a thermal scope device cannot see an object through as the scattering of the infrared radiation provides not sufficient clarity. However, for less thick fog, an object can easily get identified.

Can thermal scopes see-through Smoke?

Yes, a thermal scope can see through Smoke easily detect an object. Smoke is less dense, so a thermal-scope device can quickly identify an object’s temperature changes. For this reason, they are suitable for a rescue mission in case of a fire breakout.

Pulsar Thermion XP50 or Pulsar Trail XP50: Which is better?

The Pulsar Thermion XP50, due to its upgraded features, possesses better night vision than the Pulsar Trail XP50 producing a white and black image whose contrast and brightness can easily be adjusted. Read also the Best Night Vision Scopes.

Both models of thermion and trail XP50 cannot see through the glass because of the hindered infrared rays because glass reflects radiations instead of allowing in them.

Just like any other Thermal Scope trail, XP50 and thermion XP50 cannot see through the walls. However, an exception exists when an object in a room with high temperatures emit infrared radiations, the thermal scope shows its image displayed on the wall.

Just like any other thermal scope, Thermion XP50 and Trail XP50 can see through the fog. Nevertheless, the dense fog infrared radiation that enables the thermal scope device to make a clear image may be interrupted.

Both Thermion XP50 and Trail XP50 possess the ability to see through the Smoke like any other thermal scope in the market. 


To sum up, out of the above thermal scopes, Pulsar Thermion XP50 stands out to be the best. It possesses many physical upgraded features to enable the shooter to aim to target correctly. 

However, when making a purchase, consider the Battery life, Reticles, and Refresh rate as this determines the quality of a thermal scope. I recommend anyone seeking to purchase a thermal scope device to consider, Pulsar Thermion XP50. With that, it is with due hope that you enjoyed the review, and it would be diligent of you to share with your fellow hunters. 

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