If you are choosing the best IR illuminator for night vision, it is best to consider their wavelength, range of illumination, and weather rating. With these in mind, I listed my favorite products below. So keep on reading to learn if they are essential or not.
Security cameras can help me and countless families feel secure by keeping an eye on the surroundings of our homes. They are especially handy at night when burglars or other unwanted visitors usually snoop around the property. However, some models may fall short when it comes to night vision, despite claiming to have excellent performance.
Fortunately, you do not have to spend money on another camera again. Instead, consider investing in an IR illuminator. This device emits light on the infrared spectrum, which helps your security cameras “see” in the dark.
With this in mind, I decided to scour the web to determine the best IR illuminator for night vision. This article will walk you through our top picks, which include a detailed review as well as pros and cons.
There is also a buying guide below to help you make a wise purchasing decision. And if you are curious about anything regarding IR illuminators, an FAQ section sheds light (no pun intended!) on some topics.
Without further ado, let’s get on with the article!
What is an IR Illuminator?
Before we discuss our top picks, we would first like to talk about the definition and importance of an IR light illuminator.
An IR illuminator produces infrared light, which is invisible to the human eye.
Now, you are probably thinking if you still need this illuminator, considering that you are using a night vision device. Well, frankly speaking, most night vision cameras still rely on light—even just a little—to help them see in pitch dark conditions.
So, yes, you might still need an IR illuminator to improve the clarity of the image from your device, whether it is a security surveillance camera or binoculars.
Additionally, this night vision device is an excellent alternative to floodlights, which can blind neighbors. Since it emits invisible infrared or IR light, it keeps the camera hidden from view, but it can still reach longer distances. Ultimately, it delivers brighter and clearer night vision images.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2022
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5 Best IR Illuminators for Night Vision
Below are our top picks for the best IR illuminator for night vision. Each one offers a wavelength of 850nm, which is compatible with most home security cameras.
1. Tendelux 80ft IR Illuminator – Editor’s Pick
The Tendelux IR Illuminator features high-power 850nm LEDs. Thus, it can cast infrared light up to 80 feet away, ideal for surveillance purposes.
Additionally, this night vision device includes an IR bandpass filter to spread light more evenly. It can also prevent hotspots and overexposure of subjects closer to the light.
Meanwhile, a 90-degree floodlight spread enables you to adjust the head according to your needs. So feel free to direct it at any angle to capture a wider or narrower scene.
Furthermore, compatibility and safety are not issues on this IR illuminator. Tendelux can connect to home security cameras with 2.8/3.6/4 mm lenses. Plus, a solid power adapter has built-in short circuit protection, which delivers stable and efficient light. It can even be used on other home appliances.
On top of all these benefits, it has an IP65 weather rating to ensure durability in outdoor conditions. It is also extremely low-maintenance, owing to the built-in photocell sensor with an automatic day and night switch.
Finally, the package already includes a 12VDC 0.5 Amp power supply and a set of screws and fixings. These make it easier to install and use the IR illuminator right away.
Overall, it is one of the best IR illuminators for night vision, especially for its price.
However, before buying this product, it is best to know its downsides.
First, some users said that it is not as water-resistant as advertised—moisture can accumulate at the back of your lens. Second, a few noticed that it does not reach the 80ft distance. That is pretty easy to fix, though, as you might need to adjust the angle of the head.
- Up to 80ft effective range
- IR bandpass filter ensures even illumination
- Adjustable 90-degree spread
- Premium build quality with IP65 rating
- Automatic day and night switch to save power
- Some users noticed moisture accumulating at the back of the lens
- It requires angle adjustment to achieve the advertised effective range
2. Tendelux 120ft IR Illuminator – Runner-Up
It offers eight pieces of high-powered LEDs—each with the same wavelength of 850nm—to illuminate a wide scene. Together with the 90-degree flood spread, this IR illuminator can cover areas up to 120ft.
There is also an anti-UV IR pass filter to guarantee even illumination within a scene. It does this by effectively reducing foreground object overexposure and hot spots.
Furthermore, this IR illuminator has a robust IP66 weatherproof rating. Thus, it is suitable for indoor and outdoor environments.
Other notable features include the built-in photocell sensor, automatic day and night switch, and U-bracket for easy installation.
Most reviews for this product were positive. However, some users noticed uneven illumination, despite the built-in IR pass filter. They said the video is too bright and washed out at the center. Also, it is noticeably larger and heavier than the 80ft version.
For this reason, we deemed the Tendelux 120ft IR Illuminator as the runner-up in this list of the best IR illuminators for night vision.
- Eight LEDs cast light up to 120ft away
- IP66 weatherproof rating makes it suitable for indoor and outdoor applications
- 90-degree flood spread for flexibility
- Easy to install
- Automatic day and night switch
- Some users noticed the light is too bright at the center of the image
- Larger and more expensive IR illuminator
3. CMVision IR110-114 LED IR Illuminator – Best for Long Reach
Do you need to illuminate a large area? If so, the CMVision IR110-114 LED IR Illuminator might be the right product for you.
It has 114 pieces of high-power infrared LEDs with a wavelength of 850nm. Thus, this IR illuminator can cast light up to 200 or 300ft, which is equivalent to 80-100 meters.
Additionally, there is an IR projecting angle ranging from 30 to 45 degrees. Feel free to mount this device anywhere in your home and position the head towards the desired subject.
What’s more, the image sensor automatically turns on and off when the available light is under 10 lux. Therefore, it can keep your operating costs low, ideal for those who are saving on electricity.
Finally, this IR illuminator is made of high-quality aluminum. It even includes weatherproof housing with an IP rating of 66 to ensure durability in outdoor conditions.
Despite these advantages, some users were disappointed with the narrow dispersion of light since the device only allows slight adjustment. A few also shared that the included plug adapter is not suitable for outdoor use, unlike the illuminator itself.
Nevertheless, the CMVision IR110-114 LED IR Illuminator is still worth considering, especially for its wide range of illumination.
- 114 LEDs can deliver a powerful infrared range of up to 300 feet
- 850nm standard wavelength ensures compatibility with other security cameras
- Auto-switch for low operating costs
- IP66 weatherproof aluminum case
- Narrow light dispersion
- The included plug adapter is not suitable for outdoor use
The Univivi Infrared Illuminator 850nm 6 LEDs is another excellent product to consider for your night vision needs.
It comes with six built-in high-power LEDs to help your CCTV camera see in pitch dark settings. This IR illuminator can reach distances of up to 65ft, which is shorter than other products in this list. Nevertheless, it might still be enough to illuminate a small backyard or parking spot.
Meanwhile, the 90-degree view angle enables you to adjust the light dispersion from narrow to wide. Feel free to position the illuminator at any angle you want. Just always remember that a wider view angle results in a shorter IR distance.
Additionally, an automatic sensor instantly turns on the device at night and turns it off in the daytime. Thus, it can reduce operating costs and save you money in the long term.
Furthermore, it is waterproof, dustproof, and weatherproof, owing to the IP67 rating.
Most importantly, this IR illuminator has a standard wavelength of 850nm. Therefore, it is compatible with most security cameras. However, it is still best to check the model that you are planning to buy.
It is also essential to know that this item does not include a power adapter in the package.
The pros outweigh the cons, though.
For this reason, we still deemed the Univivi Infrared Illuminator 850nm 6 LEDs as one of the best IR illuminators for night vision.
- Adjustable 90-degree view angle
- LED wavelength 850nm to ensure compatibility with most security cameras
- Waterproof and dustproof aluminum case with IP67 rating
- Automatic on and off sensor
- Short range of illumination
- No power cord included in the package
The LONNKY LED IR Illuminator features eight premium LEDs with a wavelength of 850nm. When paired with the adjustable wide IR range, it can illuminate any area up to 85ft.
Additionally, it has a built-in photocell sensor that automatically turns on at night and off at dawn. Thus, it can help you save on energy costs without compromising image quality when you most need it.
Moreover, this IR illuminator uses heavy-duty aluminum housing and a reinforced glass window to ensure durability. Plus, a weatherproof rating of IP66 makes it suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications.
On top of all these benefits, the package includes a 6ft power supply, 12V/1A adapter, and screws. These make it easy to attach and plug the IR illuminator anywhere around your home.
However, before buying this item, it is essential to know its downsides. First, some users reported that the light constantly turns on and off at night. A few even said the actual illumination range is shorter than advertised.
Nevertheless, the LONNKY LED IR Illuminator is still worth considering, especially for its low price and convenient features.
- 90-degree wide-angle IR flood
- Package includes an adjustable universal bracket
- Premium build quality with IP66 rating
- Long power supply with adapter and installing screws included
- IR illuminator constantly turns on and off at night
- Shorter range than advertised
How to Choose the Best IR Illuminator for Night Vision
Are you still unsure which IR illuminator to get? Fret not! Below is a handy buying guide to help you make a wise purchasing decision.
One of the first factors to consider before buying an IR illuminator is the LED or IR wavelength. You must ensure that your security camera can detect this light when shooting at night.
Infrared wavelengths are measured in nanometers, or simply nm. IR illuminators usually range between 850nm and 940nm. For comparison, visible light typically has a 390nm to 700nm wavelength.
850nm and 940nm are neck and neck when it comes to performance. With that said, it is still essential to consider their differences.
For instance, an 850nm wavelength produces a faint red glow, despite the actual infrared light being invisible. Thus, it is not the best choice if you want to be completely hidden from view. On a positive note, it is more effective when illuminating far distances.
Meanwhile, a 940nm does not create any visible glow, making it entirely invisible. However, it can only illuminate short distances compared to an 850nm IR illuminator.
Choosing between the two will ultimately depend on your needs and personal preferences.
Range of Illumination
This factor simply refers to how far the device can cast light over an area. However, the range of illumination involves many variables, such as how large the subject is and how clear you can see at certain distances.
You might also want to consider the amount of light already available within a scene. Of course, the more ambient light around the area, the further the IR illuminator can see.
However, do not worry if you are shooting in pitch dark settings. Some models already offer an extended range of illumination. Thus, they can deliver bright and clear images, despite only having the stars or moon as lighting sources.
Although IR illuminators can be used indoors, they are most handy when it comes to outdoor applications. And as you probably already know by now, weather conditions can often be harsh to devices.
Thus, you might want to look for an IR illuminator that is waterproof, dustproof, and weatherproof. Check the Ingress Protection (IP) rating of the product to determine how resistant it is against water and other debris.
The higher the IP rating, the more resistance it provides.
As a rule of thumb, IP6 and above ensure protection against unforgiving weather conditions.
No one wants to invest in an IR illuminator that will falter within a few months of use. That is why it is essential to consider the build of the item. Make sure it uses high-grade and top-quality materials, such as aluminum.
Besides the construction material, the weather rating can also contribute to the durability of an IR illuminator.
All IR illuminators require direct current in order to function properly. However, you might also want to consider a model that accepts AA or CR123A lithium batteries for additional flexibility.
AA batteries usually provide about three to four hours of energy to your device. Meanwhile, CR batteries can power IR illuminators at around 3.5 hours. Both battery types can be easily replaceable, making them very convenient.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you see IR illuminators?
IR illuminators produce infrared light that is invisible to the human eye. However, night vision devices with an IR wavelength of 850nm have a noticeable red glow when you look at them directly. So make sure to consider this factor before buying an IR illuminator.
Where do you put an IR illuminator?
It is best to place the IR illuminator as close as possible to the camera. Ensure that you align it with the camera’s line of sight to ensure you are correctly illuminating the scene. After that, screw the device tightly and then make fine adjustments based on your needs.
Do I need to protect my eyes from infrared light?
Unless you look at infrared light intensely, you probably do not need to worry about damaging your eyes. However, if you are working closely with an infrared laser, it is essential to wear safety glasses. You may also need to take appropriate protection measures to keep you safe.
That sums up our top picks for the best IR illuminator for night vision! We highly recommend every product on this list as they help you achieve brighter images in the dark.
But if we only have to suggest one, it would be the Tendelux 80ft IR Illuminator. It has four high-power 850nm LEDs that can reach areas up to 80 feet away. There is also an IR bandpass filter for even illumination. Other notable benefits are the 90-degree spread, built-in short circuit protection, and an IP65 weather rating. All these features come in an affordable and lightweight package.