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pulsar axion xm30

Comparing the Pulsar Axion XM30 and XM38 Thermal Monoculars

The Pulsar Axion XM30 and XM38 are two of the best thermal monoculars on the market. They belong to the same series of Pulsar XM30s but have some distinguishing features, making them suitable for different kinds of people.

Pulsar XM30 and XM38 both have an impressive thermal vision, but their objective lenses set them apart from each other.

The objective lens in XM38 has an F38 focal length, while XM30 has a focal length of F30. However, the objective lens diameter is the same for both of these at 1.2.

These two are great if you are looking for the best thermal monocular under $1000. The XM30 has a range of 1450 yards, whereas the XM38 has a range of 1850 yards.

The XM30 and XM38 vary in terms of magnification as well. The XM30 and XM38 have magnification powers of 4.5-18x and 5.5-22x, respectively.

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Pulsar Thermion XM30 vs. XM38: Which One Should You Buy?

Both the Pulsar Thermion XM30 and XM38 are incredible thermal monoculars. They have the same objective lens diameter but different focal lengths.

The magnification power of XM38 is greater than that of the XM30. So, if you need to zoom in or have a greater magnification, then paying extra for the XM38 makes sense.

However, the XM30 can also work for you if you do not have to sight far away objects.

In the end, your needs and hunting preferences determine which thermal scanner for hunting is the best option for you.

How Do XM30 and XM38 Monoculars Compare?

Both the XM30 and XM38 belong to the Pulsar Axion XM30s series, so they have many overlapping features.

The price difference in these two monoculars is due to the advanced functionality of the XM38.

Here is a quick comparison of these two monoculars to help you decide which one you should go for:


The sensor resolution of both the XM30 and XM38 is 320 x 240, and it is quite reliable when it comes to thermal vision as it helps you tell objects apart from their background. The display resolution is 1024 x 768 for both of these.


The magnification power of the XM30 is 4.5-18x, while for the XM38, it is 5.5-22x. So, if you want a higher magnification power, the XM38 is a better option. However, the digital zoom for both of these thermal monoculars is 2/4x.

Focal Length

The aperture of the objective lens in both these monoculars is the same at 1.2. The focal length of XM30 is 30F, while for the XM38, it is 38F.

Field of View

The XM30 and XM38 vary based on the field of view as well. The angular field of view for XM30 is 9.8 x 7.4, while for the XM38, it is 7.3 x 5.5. The linear field of view value is different for XM30 and XM38, too, at 17.2 and 12.8 at 100 m, respectively.

Eye Relief

Eye relief is an important consideration for thermal vision as it helps prevent eye fatigue. The XM30 and XM38 by Pulsar both have an eyepiece diameter of 2 inches/50 mm. This helps to keep your eyes relaxed when focusing on distant objects.

Focusing Range of Eyepiece

pulsar axion key xm30 review

The eyepiece in Pulsar Axion XM30 has a focusing range of +4/-5 diopters. Meanwhile, the focusing range of the eyepiece in XM38 is ±5.

Detection Distance

The detection distance of XM38 is greater than that of XM30. This refers to the detection distance for deer-sized objects. The value for the XM30 is 1420 yards, while for the XM38, it is 1,860 yards.

But, the minimum focusing distance for both the XM30 and XM38 monoculars is the same at 3 meters.

Power Details

The power details for Pulsar XM30 and XM38 are quite similar. They have the same nominal output voltage, which is 3.7V DC.

Both of them use a type-C cable for an external power supply. The external power supply voltage value for XM30 is 5-15V, but for XM38, it is fixed at 5V.


Both Pulsar thermal monoculars enable you to record high-quality videos and photos. Both of these have internal storage of 16 GB, so you can store high-quality mp4 videos or JPG images.

Wi-Fi Channel

The two Pulsar Axion thermal monoculars have Wi-Fi compatibility. They are highly compatible with 24 GHz bands, so you can connect them with your devices easily.

Weight & Size

Pulsar Axion XM30 and XM38 monoculars are lightweight and easy to carry. Their lightweight frame helps in using the monoculars without any hand fatigue or discomfort.

The XM30 weighs 0.35 kg without batteries, while the XM38 weighs 0.25 kg when you remove the batteries.

The two monoculars are compact as well. The XM30 measures 167 x 49 x 73 mm, while the XM38 measures 143 x 41 x 69 mm.

The XM30 is slightly larger, but it is still sleek and handy, so there is nothing to worry about.

Operating Temperature

These thermal monoculars by Pulsar have a wide range of operating temperatures, making them ideal for extreme temperature variations.

Both the XM30 and XM38 have an operating temperature of -25℃ to +40℃ or -13℉ to +104℉. So, you can take it along irrespective of the weather conditions you might come across on your hunting trips.


The Axion thermal monoculars come with an APS3 rechargeable battery and charger. The package also includes a USB cable to transfer data to your devices and a case to carry your monocular in it safely.

The monoculars also come with a soft cleaning cloth for effective maintenance of the lens. The accessories include a hand strap as well that you can rely on to use the monocular without any hand fatigue.

Device Compatibility

The Pulsar Axion thermal monoculars are compatible with both Android and iOS devices.

This way, you can readily transfer the recorded videos and photos to your smartphone. This helps you free up space in your monocular to capture more photos and videos when you are away on extended trips.

So, with one of these monoculars, you won’t have to carry extra memory cards with you to avoid running short of storage space.

Battery Type

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Both the Pulsar XM30 and XM38 have rechargeable batteries.

But, the XM30 has an APS 5 Lithium-ion battery pack, while the XM38 has an APS 3 lithium-ion battery pack.

The battery capacity for the XM30 is 4900 mAh, whereas the XM38 has a 3200 mAh battery capacity. This accounts for the difference in the run time of the two monoculars.

The XM30 runs for 5 hours at 22℃, but the XM38 runs for only 4 hours at the same temperature. So, if you want long battery life, then XM30 is a better choice.

Ergonomic Design

Both Axion thermal monoculars are ergonomic, which helps you use them for hours on end. These monoculars have sleek frames and lightweight construction. So, you do not feel any discomfort while using them.

The lens covers protect them from damage, especially in rough terrains. Meanwhile, the eyepiece helps you focus on objects without straining your eyes. So, these Pulsar monoculars are practical as well as comfortable to use.

Thermal Imaging Sensor

The thermal imaging sensor in the XM30 and XM38 monoculars is quite efficient. It uses infrared radiation that objects emit to make them visible to you in the dark. This way, you can continue your adventures at night with the XM30 or XM38 at hand.

Quick Start-Up

Another great feature common in XM30 and XM38 is the quick start-up. These monoculars also have a user-friendly interface, so you can use them efficiently.

Water Protection

The XM30 and XM38 have a water protection rating of IPX7, so you can use them when it is raining, too.

Both monoculars are submergible to 1 m for 1 hour. So, you don’t have to worry about water damage. 

Frame Refresh Rate

The frame refresh rate for both XM30 and XM38 is 50 Hz. So, you don’t have to wait much for the monocular to refresh before taking the next shot.


The 12 µm pixel pitch core in the XM30 and XM38 makes the display quite impressive. The AMOLED display helps you view objects with great clarity. It distinguishes the objects from their background, so it increases the accuracy of your sighting.

Warranty and Returns

Pulsar Axion XM30 Warranty and Returns

pulsar axion xm30s review

The Pulsar XM30 comes with a limited 3-year warranty that covers flaws of workmanship and construction material. Meanwhile, the rechargeable battery pack has a 1-year warranty.

The return and replacement policy only holds true if the original sale proof shows it was bought within the last three years or if the manufacturing date falls within the last 3 years.

Pulsar Axion XM38 Warranty and Returns

pulsar axion

Just like the Pulsar Axion XM30, the XM38 has a 3-year limited warranty that covers faulty assembly of the monocular or flawed material. The rechargeable batteries can be replaced within a year in case they stop working.

You will have to provide original proof of purchase along with the duly filled warranty card. Any chemical or mechanical damage due to drops nullifies the warranty policy.

The manufacturer will also not entertain the warranty if the device is tampered with. So, make sure to contact customer care before getting any unauthorized repairs for your Axion XM38. 

Care and Maintenance

For Axion XM30

pulsar axion key xm30 review

Taking proper care of your Pulsar Axion XM30 is vital to have the correct thermal vision experience.

Here are some simple tips for the care and maintenance of the XM30.

  • Always use canned air to blow the dirt off your XM30 lens to prevent scratching. This will help retain the lens’s shine and smoothness as you will not rub a cloth over the accumulated dirt.
  • After removing the dirt, spray isopropyl alcohol on the lens and wipe off any residue with a cotton pad. The alcohol should be 905 or higher isopropyl alcohol.
  • Make sure to cover the lens when not in use to prevent the accumulation of scratches and excessive dirt.

For Axion XM38

axion sight review

You have to be mindful of the maintenance of Pulsar Axion XM38 to make the most out of it. Some tips you should remember are:

You should clean the lens frequently to ensure it does not impair thermal vision. Canned air is one of the most effective ways to remove pollutants stuck to the lens.

When it comes to rubbing the lens, always use a cotton ball or cotton pad as they are soft. This helps you avoid scratching the surface of the lens while cleaning it.

Make sure to keep the XM30 monocular in a sturdy case while traveling to keep it safe from jolts and collisions with the rest of your luggage.

Where to Buy

You can order the Pulsar Axion XM30 and XM38 from!

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About the Author Rob Carson

I work in commercial construction, in Dallas, TX.

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