To find the best binoculars, you need to know what you intend to use them for, how much weight you can carry, and how much you can afford to spend. It is not surprising that high-end binoculars are expensive, but you don’t have to spend a fortune to find a pair ideal for your favorite hobby or pastime.
You’ll need some magnification if you’re going to be watching your subjects from a distance. Be aware that the higher the magnification, the harder it’s going to be to keep the image steady. A tripod will help you here if you plan to watch wildlife for an extended period.
Here is a list of the best binoculars available today, from a variety of manufacturers. While we have selected specific models for this list, remember that many of the binoculars in this list are also available in other sizes and magnifications.
|Celestron – TrailSeeker ED 8×42 Binoculars|
|Vortex Optics Diamondback HD Binoculars|
|Celestron – Outland X 8×42 Binoculars|
|Athlon Optics Midas Binoculars|
|Vortex Optics Crossfire HD Binoculars|
1. Celestron – TrailSeeker ED 8×42 Binoculars
Celestron Trailseeker ED 8×42 Binoculars are an affordable, easy-to-use option if you prefer a smaller grip. In a slightly smaller package, the Celestron Trailseeker delivers crystal-clear optics (even at the edges of the view field), comfortable ergonomics, and predictable focusing.
To prevent internal fogging of the lenses, the chassis is nitrogen-filled to prevent water penetration. With fully padded eyecups that are compatible with eyeglasses and provide complete comfort.
An array of accessories, including a comfy carry harness, a deluxe padded neck strap, a single piece eyepiece cover, tetherable objective covers, a robust carrying case with both shoulder and belt attachment options, a lens cleaning cloth, and an instruction manual.
2. Vortex Optics Diamondback HD Binoculars
Among the world’s leading sports optics companies, Vortex Optics is one of the most trusted names in the industry today. The site has a variety of binoculars that can be used for a variety of different applications and budgets.
There are many quality binoculars available from the company that can be used in all types of conditions. Vortex DIAMONDBACK HD 10X42 is an entry-level model with the outstanding build quality.
DIAMONDBACK has been around for a long time. The binoculars have always met, if not exceeded, expectations as an entry-level pair of binoculars. Vortex Optics introduced the Vortex DIAMONDBACK HD 10X42 in 2019, giving it a major upgrade.
With 10x magnification and 42mm objective lenses, these Diamondback HD binoculars deliver exceptional resolution, eliminate chromatic aberration, and provide exceptional color fidelity, sharpness, and light transmission.
A rotating eyecup allows you to adjust for comfortable viewing without or with glasses. Using the center focus wheel, both binocular barrels can be adjusted simultaneously. Using the Diopter adjustment (located on the right eyepiece), a user can compensate for differences in their eyes.
3. Celestron – Outland X 8×42 Binoculars
Offering 8x magnification and multi-coated optics, this set of Celestron BaK-4 prism binoculars is a bargain.
There are other magnifications and sizes available as well for these Outland X binoculars. In addition to the built-in magnification, these binoculars are waterproof and durable, making them suitable for outdoor use by birders and wildlife enthusiasts.
A 42mm objective lens here makes these binoculars suitable for use in dimly-lit conditions as well as during regular daylight hours.
A large, smooth-feeling focus wheel facilitates operation, while a long 18mm eye relief makes viewing comfortable. Besides being tripod-mountable, it comes with a strap, lens cloth, and carry case, as well as a limited lifetime warranty.
For rigorous outdoor use without internal fogging of the lenses, its Outland X compact binoculars are filled and sealed with dry nitrogen gas for performance in all weather conditions.
A large focus knob makes focusing easy and precise, and the twist-up eyecups ensure a full field of view as the eye relief can be adjusted quickly. Designed to be used with or without eyeglasses, the eyecups are easily adjustable.
4. Athlon Optics Midas Binoculars
As with most other binoculars we tested, the Athlon Optics Midas ED 8×42 benefits from a revolution in optical quality caused by the falling costs of precision manufacturing and optical treatment.
It’s not outrageous, but for only a little over $300, you can get binoculars that are competitive—that is, they match, not come close to—products that cost hundreds, or even thousands, more.
It isn’t just the optics that make this pair of Athlon Midas ED stand out. The binoculars have exceptional durability as well and were able to withstand the humid and dusty environment of the Mexican rainforest as well as the harsh sun of the California desert.
Additionally, their focus dial adjusts smoothly and reliably across a wide range of depths, so you can easily focus on whatever it is you want to see.
Purging with Argon provides better waterproofing and thermal stability, and the Field of view Angle is -8.3 degrees
For those who wear eyeglasses, long eye relief is especially important as it allows them to see the entire field of view.
5. Vortex Optics Crossfire HD Binoculars
For maximum light transmission, the Crossfire HD 12x50 lenses are fully multi-coated. The Crossfire HD 12x50 is one of the models you can rely on in low light. Whether you’re on safari or camping, these lenses will provide clarity and sharpness.
The twist-up eyecups make it easy to use whether or not you wear eyeglasses. A center focus system enables you to adjust the focus of both optics at the same time, providing even greater convenience.
With nitrogen filling and O-ring sealing, the CROSSFIRE HD 12×50 delivers optimum performance even in harsh environments. You will not be affected by high altitudes or sudden temperature changes with these fog proof and waterproof features.
Featuring non-slip rubber armor to provide a firm grip. Using the GlassPak Binocular Case and GlassPak Case Harness, you can keep it safe and secure.
Straps for tethering the binoculars are conveniently attached to them, so dropping them is not a concern. An adjustable harness keeps you comfortably strapped in.
Things to Consider Before Buying
There is no zoom on most consumer binoculars, and their magnification is between 8x and 18x. In most applications, less than 8x is not enough of an effect to bother with, while more than 18x requires a tripod.
Generally, lower-power binoculars are better if you’re mostly looking at short distances, such as in forests, and don’t need precise details.
Binoculars with a higher magnification can come in handy when you want to avoid carrying a spotting scope and glassing longer distances (up to a mile), or when you need to determine if an animal is a legal target.
Diameter of the objective lens
As a rule of thumb, larger lenses capture more light, so bigger lenses result in a wider field of vision and brighter images.
There are a variety of sizes available for the objective lenses in binoculars, but the most common are between 30mm and 60mm.
The small field of view and difficulty keeping the binoculars on your eyes can make ultra-compact binoculars frustrating to use for anything more than scanning a nearby area.
If used without a tripod, most binoculars larger than about 55mm are heavy and unwieldy.
The size specifications of binoculars are determined by the magnification number and the objective lens diameter, respectively.
In general, 10×42 is most commonly used, which allows you to see things as near as 15 feet away but still spot larger objects such as wildlife as far away as a mile. In addition to 10x magnification, we are including different objective lens sizes besides 42mm.
Binoculars’ weight is an important consideration for backcountry hunters and hikers. It is important to balance your desire for a large, brighter optic with your capability and interest in carrying it for long distances.
Hunters and hikers who don’t need binoculars on hand and are able to keep them in a pack until they are needed may be able to tolerate heavier options.
The weight of binoculars needs to be considered by even those who are mostly using them at home or in their vehicles.
Over time, you will tire of using heavier binoculars, since your arms and shoulders can become fatigued and shaky. If you intend to use binoculars most often on a tripod (which is a must for binoculars with higher magnification), you may want to consider optical quality over weight savings.
The majority of them lack electronics and connectivity except for range-finding binoculars. It’s still quality glass and craftsmanship that make great binoculars over the years.
When it comes to glass quality and coatings, advanced technology can really be seen. You can enhance the brightness of your lenses and protect them with high-tech coatings.
Regardless of the brand, you can check to see if lenses are “fully multi-coated,” which means that all glass surfaces have several coatings in order to ensure durability and performance.