Hunting in the dark and other nighttime activities can be very rewarding when you have the right equipment. Night Vision devices are essential when you are setting off at dusk but they may not be enough. While there has been notable advances in NV technologies, they still come up short during moonless or overcast nights. There is always need to improve their efficiency and Infrared (IR) illuminators are the perfect accompaniments. These devices look much like flashlights but they emit light that is invisible to the eye.
IR Illuminators are great for nighttime activities. They will significantly improve the vision of anyone wearing Night Vision devices. They achieve this by emitting light in the Infrared spectrum, brightening up images in terms of definition and details for only an individual wearing NV devices. This will help hunters see their targets clearly without the targets noticing the light.
Thinking of buying an IR illuminator? We’ve put together a list of top 10 best IR Illuminators you can buy today. Read on.
Top 10 Best IR Illuminators
This is considered one of the most powerful IR illuminators for all forms of nighttime activities. It is a heavy hitting long range illuminator that has all the features you may need when it is paired with a night vision device. It is a handheld illuminator that is very easy to use. You can also attach it to a rifle since it fits to 69100 rail mount (not included). In terms of performance, it has the most impressive stat you can expect from any IR illuminator: the high power LED emits infrared light at a wavelength of 850nm.
With its removable pocket clip, this powerful device is easy to carry about. It weighs just 200 grams, which is significantly lesser than many less powerful illuminators. It is powered by lithium CR123A batteries (included) that guarantees advanced performance. A well-built IR illuminator, the Super TAC is shock proof with an expected 20,000 hours lifespan.
This is another top-of-the-class IR illuminator from Streamlight that will help you have very clear images even in the darkest nights when used with the right NV devices. Like other top quality products in this list, it is a well-built IR torch made from anodized aluminum. It is shockproof and water-resistant, making it perfect for use in different weather conditions. In terms of performance, it delivers excellently, thanks to the C4 LED technology. It has very long range, letting users capture their targets at extended distance.
The Streamlight Protac HL5-X is ideal for use at close range as well as extended distance. It can be powered by either 2 x 18650 batteries or 4 x CR123A batteries. It features three different power modes (high, medium, and low), allowing users to make efficient use of their batteries. It also remembers the last mode used before it was switched off. It is also pocket-friendly.
This powerful device from Streamlight is a little different from the regular IR illuminators. It has a unique design and is not just an IR illuminator. It is one of the most versatile military flashlights with 4 lighting sources including 1/2-Watt white LED, IR LED, red LED, and blue LED. It has several other impressive features that make it perfect for military operations such as tactile battery polarity indication on the body that facilitates battery replacement in the dark. It can be mounted to a rifle, helmet, and tactical vest.
The Streamlight 14000 sidewinder is a very compact and functional flashlight. It features O-ring and gasket sealed opening for waterproof operation. There is also an easy push-button switch for every selected lighting source.
This is a very solid and compact IR illuminator that comes with several impressive features to make your nighttime activities more fulfilling. It is well-built with aircraft grade aluminum, making it a durable and efficient device with very little thermal resistance. It features an OSRAM OSLEN LED with a wavelength of 850 nm which works perfectly at short and long distance. It also has a zoomable lens, unlike most other IR illuminators. This makes it a very versatile NV torch.
The Evolva Future T67 is very easy to use. It can be conveniently used as a handheld unit and also as an IR illuminator. It even comes with a rifle adapter that lets it fit to most rifles. It also comes with two high performance rechargeable batteries and charger, a pressure switch, and a wrist strap. It is also an affordable device, considering the features it offers.
This is a high-end IR illuminator that is widely used for all kinds of nighttime activities including hunting, military, law enforcement, as well as search and rescue operations. It works perfectly even in the darkest nights, providing long range infrared light for anyone that needs it. Manufactured by the legendary ATN, this is a well-built device that will keep kicking even when used in very rough conditions. Despite being a heavy-duty IR illuminator, it is quite user-friendly.
The ATN IR850 Pro Long Range Infrared Illuminator doubles the range of a standard IR illuminator. Users can have 300 meters of effective range even in the darkest of nights. It features an adjustable mount for attachment to any standard weaver rail. It also comes with high-performance battery and charger.
This too is not just an infrared illuminator but a dual-use device that features 440 lumen white light flashlight, as well as secondary red, green and blue LEDs. It is a versatile torch that can be used for military, hunting, direction, and communication application. As an IR illuminator, it performs excellently, providing 1500Mw, 850nm beam that reaches several hundred yards in at very dark night. This will significantly enhance any Night Vision device. Extreme reflector performance is guaranteed, thanks to integrated Precision Digital Optics Technology and second-generation of Crystal Coating Technology.
The Nitecore Chameleon C16 is a handheld unit that can also be attached to a rifle, shotgun, or crossbow with a 1-inch scope rail. Though there are five selectable modes of output, using the device can be very easy. It comes with several accessories including holster, clip, tactical ring, lanyard, spare tail cap, and spare O-ring.
This is a Night Vision hunting light that will help make your expeditions more fruitful. It is an affordable IR illuminator that you can rely on to improve your NV device. Featuring Osram Oslon infrared 850nm LED emitter, it performs excellently when used during very dark nights. You can expect extended range illumination as the beams can reach 180 yards. It is also well-built with aviation-grade aluminum and is resistant to strong impacts and scratch. It also has an IPX-6 waterproof rating, meaning you can use it during rainy nights without serious consequences.
This LUMENSHOOTER IR illuminator is quite affordable. It also comes well packed in a small carry case with lanyard, making it very easy to carry. Other accessories you get in the valuable package include the rechargeable 2600mAh 18650 battery, single bay charger, universal scope mount, and user manual.
This is a great valuable kit with an IR illuminator and other accessories a hunter will find very helpful. The Osram IR 850nm LED lightsource provide 4 different color beams including green, red, white, and infrared. Depending on the mode the user chooses, this device can illuminate between 250 yards to 450 yards. It also features the powerful Cree XPE2 LED that allows the light to be focused from a wide flood to a spot beam equipped with glass convex lens.
Like other IR flashlights in this roundup, this device is solidly constructed with aviation-grade aluminum anodized for durability and rainproof. It is also resistant to strong impacts and scratches. It is also very easy to handle and use. Other accessories that are included in the package are 2 x 2600mAh rechargeable 18650 battery, dual bay charger kit for home and car, universal scope mount, remote switch, and instructional book.
This top quality IR illuminator comes in a valuable package that will suit any hunter. It will significantly improve the capability of any Night Vision device and hunting more fun and rewarding. It features an innovative zoom/focus mechanism design. With 4 LED modules, you can see more and do more with this gadget. It is a well-designed gadget that is certainly durable, thanks to the premium type III military hard-anodized finish. It also has IP68 waterproof grade, which means it can be used during rainy nights with no repercussions.
The Odepro KL52Plus IR hunting light is not one of the cheapest options in the market. Considering the fact that it comes with several other accessories, it is still a very good deal. In the package you will get the device with K185 aluminum mount for picatinny rail, POM flashlight mount for scope, 2 x 3000mAh 18650 rechargeable battery, and a charger. They all come in a durable tool box you can use to carry your device.
10. FandyFire 501IR
This is an incredibly cheap infrared light Night Vision adjustable focus LED flashlight that can be valuable for hunting expeditions and other nighttime activities. It emits high power invisible 940nm infrared light that helps NV device users see images with improved definition and details. The head section of this illuminator can be zoomed in and out for different range in the field.
Despite being a very cheap IR illuminator, FandyFire 501IR is well-built with aircraft-grade aluminum alloy with optical convex lens. It also has anti-slip and waterproof design which makes it ideal for use in different conditions and environments. It is powered by a 3.7v rechargeable 18650 battery (not included).
Seeing that there are several IR illuminators in the market, how do you go about getting the best one? We have done the bulk of the work for you by reviewing the best available products. If you are still not convinced about the one to pick, this section will help you make an informed decision.
Factors to Consider When Buying IR Illuminators
If you want to get the best IR illuminator for your Night Vision device and improve its capacity, there are some very important factors you should consider. They include the following:
Wavelength of the LED
All IR illuminators have LEDs that emit the infrared light. The wavelength at which they emit the light in infrared spectrum determines such important things as the illumination and faint glow that is otherwise invisible to the naked eye. The wavelength of IR illuminators generally come between 720 and 950 nanometers (nm). The standard for quality non-military devices is 850nm and that is what you should look for. Anything less may not be too visible and anything more will not be necessary if you are using a normal Night Vision device.
Range of Illumination
The range of illumination is simply how far the gadget can illuminate. While there are some versions that are made for short distance illumination, there are others that offer extended range. Depending on the kind of activities you plan to use the device for, get the right model. There are some that are versatile too.
Weather Rating and Resistance
IR illuminators are outdoor gadgets. The need for resilience and resistance to natural elements cannot be overemphasized. You need an illuminator that you can use during rainy nights without any consequences. Always check the Ingress Protection (IP) rating before buying. IP6 rating or above is okay for IR illuminators.
You don’t need a device that will falter within few months of use. Durability is mostly determined by the material used in building a gadget as well as the manufacturers. Most top quality IR illuminators are made of aircraft-grade aluminum. Being shockproof and weatherproof also contribute to durability.
IR illuminators come with different features that make them unique. Choosing one from the several available models can be difficult. It is doable, however, when you have the right information. Whether you are a first time buyer or have been using IR illuminators for years, this roundup can be very useful. We have equally discussed the most important factors to consider when buying these gadgets. Consider your requirements carefully and make an informed decision.