Binocular microscopes, better known as “binoculars” for short, are an amazingly useful tool. For nature lovers, especially the likes of birdwatchers, hunters, and astronomers, binoculars are indeed one of the most valuable inventions of all times. As binoculars steadily drop in price, adults, teenagers, and children, alike, are all sure to enjoy the benefits of a decent pair of binoculars as well. That said, picking the best binoculars is often quite a challenging decision.
We reviewed dozens of binoculars to identify the best of the best and help you make the most well-informed decision possible. Conducting intensive and in-depth research, we considered all of the most critical factors. Size, magnification power, lens diameter, the field of view, and resistance to water, weather, and fog, to name a few of these features.
Our top pick is the Bushnell 10×42 H20 Waterproof Binoculars. Thousands of users recommend these particular binoculars for many reasons. For starters, they consist of only the highest quality materials, including non-slip grips, shock absorbing armor, and superior eye relief. They also come with high-end BaK-4 prisms and multi-coated optics for better light transmission and clearer viewing of distant images. Amazon customers rate the Bushnell 10×42 Waterproof Binoculars as 4.6 out of 5 stars. Even more, they have the more than reasonable price tag of $100.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Binoculars
|Best Overall||Bushnell 10x42 Waterproof Binoculars||4.6|
|Runner Up||Wingspan Optics Voyager 10x42 High Powered Binoculars||4.6|
|Best Budget Buy||SkyGenius 10x50 Binoculars||4.6|
|Best Hunting Binoculars||10x42 3D Series HD Binoculars by Carson||4.7|
|Best for Hiking & Bird Watching||APEMAN’s 10x42 HD Binoculars||4.6|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Our Top Pick: Bushnell 10×42 H20 Waterproof Binoculars
If you’re in the market for the best binoculars with the best price, the Bushnell 10×42 Waterproof Binoculars are well worth considering. Made from the highest quality materials available, these binoculars are truly second to none. Whether you’re into watching birds, stargazing from your back porch, or hunting big game in the backcountry, these bad boys will knock your socks off.
The 10x magnification and 42mm front lens diameter allow you to see distant objects in breathtaking HD clarity up to 1000 yards away. They also have a 12-foot focus distance for viewing things up close and personal. Also, you’ll never have to worry about dropping these binoculars due to sweaty palms thanks to their non-slip rubber grip. That said, even if you do happen to let them fall, their shock absorbing armor will protect them.
Bushnell outdid themselves this time, offering such a superior product for such a low price. These binoculars come with multi-coated optics and Bak-4 prisms, which cause better light transmission as well as brighter and clearer viewing ability. Not only are these puppies one hundred percent waterproofed, but they are also fog proofed as well. Also, they come with a limited lifetime warranty.
Bushnell 10×42 H20 Waterproof Binoculars Key Features:
- 10x magnification and 42mm front lens diameter
- High-quality components only
- Aesthetically pleasing and durable design
- Field of View – 305ft/1000yds
- High Definition clarity
- Bak-4 prisms and multi-coated optics for top-notch light transmission and clearer images
- An easy to use center-focus knob
- Non-slip Soft Texture Grip and shock absorbing armor
- Comfortable twist-up eyecups
- Superior 17mm eye relief
- Limited lifetime warranty
Our Runner Up Pick: Wingspan Optics Voyager 10×42 High Powered Binoculars
For our runner up pick we chose the Wingspan Optics Voyager 10×42 High Powered Binoculars. With 10x magnification and 42mm front lens diameter, you’ll be enjoying all your favorite sights better than ever. For those new to hobbies that require binoculars, there are few better choices than the Wingspan Optics Voyager 10×42 High Powered Binoculars.
Compact and lightweight, they are the perfect selection for hiking, hunting, and for children as well. These binoculars are also waterproof, fog proof, and built tough enough to survive the harshest weather conditions and hardcore environments.
Bak-4 prisms offer a great deal of clarity in comparison to other binoculars in the same price range. Their multi-coated 42mm lenses also allow for the most bright and vivid colors possible. In addition to all of their obvious awesomeness, the Wingspan Optics Voyager 10×42 High Powered Binoculars also come with a 30-day money back guarantee as well as a lifetime warranty. So, if they are ever damaged, Wingspan will repair or replace them at no extra cost.
Wingspan Optics Voyager 10×42 High Powered Binoculars Key Features:
- Powerful 10x magnification and 42mm objective lens diameter
- Fully multi-coated optics
- Top-notch BaK-4 prisms
- Impressive 1000yds Field of View
- 12 feet minimal focal length
- Completely water and fog proof as well as weather resistant
- Lightweight and compact design
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Lifetime warranty for repairs or replacement
Best Budget Pick: SkyGenius 10×50 Binoculars
When it comes to the best binoculars for those with a tighter budget, look no further than the number one best selling SkyGenius 10×50’s. Professional, hobbyist, or beginner; these powerful binoculars surely give the biggest bang for your bucks. Nature lovers, sports fans, and astronomers will be hard put to find a better deal than these formidable binoculars.
10x magnification strength and 50mm front lens diameter are just the tip of the iceberg on these super budget-friendly binoculars. Weighing in at slightly over a pound and a half, the SkyGenius 10×50 binoculars are just the right weight for bird watchers, hunter, and hikers. You can expect very little image distortion due to aspherical lenses with multiple layers of coating. Their large Field of View allows you to spot even the quickest moving objects at over 1,000yds away.
However, they are easily adjustable by moving a center wheel and the right eyecup. They also come with a sleek design and solid shock-resistant rubber coating that allows for an excellent grip. The only significant downside we found to this particular model is that they’re not friendly for those who wear glasses. Also, in the case of damaged or malfunctioning equipment, users are eligible for a free replacement (no return necessary).
SkyGenius 10×50 Binoculars Key Features:
- High powered 10x magnification and 50mm objective lens diameter
- Multi-layer coated aspherical lenses
- HD light transmission
- Wide 376ft/1000yds Field of View
- Eye-pleasing and durable design
- Rubber anti-slip grip
- Purchase includes bag, strap, cleaning cloth, and caps
- Easy to use center focus wheel and right eyecup
- Weigh 1.76lbs
- Free replacement with no return of the damaged product
Best Hunting Binoculars: Carson 10×42 HD Binoculars
Hunters, long-distance hikers, and trail guides will love the 10×42 3D Series HD Binoculars by Carson. For those who spend large amounts of time outdoors, there are few better options. Whether you’re into camping, backpacking, big game hunting, or some other rugged outdoor activities, these binoculars have all the best to offer. Not to mention they are fully backed by “America’s Best Binocular Warranty.”
Tough customers need rugged equipment, which is why we highly recommend these particular binoculars to hunters, guides, and long distance hikers (speaking of hikers, and hunters, you might want to check out our recent review of the best gaiters). Not only do these big bad binoculars all the best accessories (neck strap, shoulder harness, deluxe case, caps, cleaners and more), but they’re Mossy Oak camouflaged fog proof and waterproof as well. The Carson 3D HD Series also comes with a robust rubberized armor texture coating in addition to having fully multi-coated lenses for superior light transmission. They are also friendly for users who wear eyeglasses.
10x magnification, 42mm objective lens diameter, and ED Glass allow for the sharpest and brightest images on the market. Bak-4 prisms, 16mm, eye relief, and a massive 314ft to 1,000 yard Field of View are just a few more of the benefits to Carson’s 3D HD Series Mossy Oak Camo Binoculars. Oh yeah, did we mention they weigh less than one and a half pounds? So, they’re also lighter than most otherwise comparable binoculars. Heck, who are we kidding, there are no similar binoculars for lovers of the great outdoors.
Carson 10×42 HD Binoculars Key Features:
- Top-of-class 10x magnification and 42mm diameter objective lenses
- ED Glass HD Lenses
- Phase corrected prisms
- Waterproof and fog proof
- Dielectric-coated prisms
- Eyeglass-friendly with extra-long eye relief
- Comfortable thumb grooves
- High-quality rubber armor
- Best hassle-free warranty in the industry
Best Hiking & Bird Watching Binoculars: APEMAN 10×42 HD Binoculars
Binoculars are among the most prized tools of bird watchers and hikers all over the world. That said, APEMAN’s 10×42 HD Binoculars are among the best binoculars currently available for such nature lovers. These 10×42’s are extremely impressive. Full smartphone compatibility, tripod mounting capabilities, and low light usability are just a few of the benefits that make them stand out from the rest. They are perfect for quickly and smoothly taking pictures out in nature which is why we highly suggest them for hiking and bird watching.
With 10x magnification and 42mm front lens diameter, APEMAN’s 10×42 HD Binoculars have an incredibly broad field of view. You’ll see birds, and other wildlife, crystal clear up to 1,000 yards away with ease. Fully multi-coated lenses also help to see further in darker conditions than many competitor models allow. Even more, their durable rubberized armor gives users a firm grip. They are also shock-resistance as well.
The downside to these particular binoculars? They aren’t fully waterproof. However, you can still get them wet. They just can’t be used for too long in a torrential downpour, so you’ll want a good waterproof backpack to store them in if there’s a chance of rain. You should also avoid fully submerging them in water. On the upside, they are entirely fog proof and work well with users who wear eyeglasses as well. Furthermore, APEMAN provides excellent tech support, free of charge, for life.
APEMAN 10×42 HD Binoculars Key Features:
- 10x magnification power with a front lens diameter of 42mm
- High-quality HD glass
- Fully multi-coated prisms and lenses
- Smartphone adapter for taking photos
- Tripod mount
- Water resistant and fully fog proof
- Comfortable twist-up eyecups
- Center-wheel and right eye ring for adjusting focus
- Neck strap, carry bag, lens covers, and manual included
- Extremely light, weighing less than one pound
Who Should Buy Binoculars
Binoculars are incredibly versatile tools for a diverse range of pastimes. Nature lovers, sailors, and star-gazers, alike benefit from the best binoculars. Birdwatching, one of the most popular backyard hobbies, is one of the most significant hobbies that require binoculars. Hunter and hikers are a couple more types of hobbyists that binoculars are a great aid to. Even more, binoculars are for professionals as well. Marine biologists, military personnel, private investigators and law enforcement agents, also utilize binoculars regularly.
All of the above taken into consideration, binoculars aren’t just for those with hobbies. They also make a great gadget to have around for those once in a lifetime sightings. Whether you travel a lot or spend a great deal of time sitting on the front porch, having a pair of binoculars at your disposal is an excellent advantage.
There is no real skill level needed to use binoculars properly, nor is there a particular make or model that is all around better than another. Each pair of binoculars is just as unique as the individuals (professional, hobbyist, and beginners, alike) using them. Likewise, no particular price range dictates the quality of a pair of binoculars. A few things to keep in mind while searching for a pair are size, weight, magnification, the field of view, and level of resistance.
Important Features to Consider
The best binoculars should include several important features. Here’s what to consider when selecting the best binoculars:
- Magnification. The first digits in a set of two numbers used to describe the viewing strength of binoculars. It indicates how much larger objects will appear when viewed through the binoculars.
- Objective lens. The second digits in the set of two numbers used to describe a pair binoculars power. It defines how large the front, or objective, lens measures in millimeters.
- Prism type. Two distinct types of prisms exist in binoculars; roof and porro. They are responsible for displaying objects right side up.
- Field of view. The field of view, or FOV, is the measurement of how wide a view is possible with a pair of binoculars. The greater the magnification, the lower the FOV.
- Coated optics. Several types of coatings are applied to lenses to reduce eyestrain and increase contrast and brightness.
- Resistance. Fog, water, and weather resistance are made possible by o-rings and the use of nitrogen inside the binoculars.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are binoculars and how do they work?
Put simply; binoculars are a set of two modified hand-held telescopes fixed side by side. A pair of prisms, specialized wedges of glass, are found inside all binoculars. Without these prisms, distant imagery appears upside after passing through the convex lenses of the binoculars. The first prism rotates distance images 90 degrees, and the second prism rotates the images an additional 90 degrees. This process allows what is seen at a distance to appear upright rather than upside down. There are two sorts of prisms used in binoculars, roof prisms (arranged back-to-back) and Porro prisms (arranged at 90 degrees).
What does the 10×25 mean with binoculars?
The 10×25 measurement found in the description of certain binoculars refers to the magnification power as well as the diameter of the front lens (in millimeters). So, 10×25 binoculars have a magnification power of 10 and a front lens with a diameter of 25 millimeters. It is the same with all binoculars, despite build-type or manufacturer: The first number representing magnification, or strength, and the second number the diameter of the front lens.
What is the best magnification for binoculars?
When it comes to the magnification of binoculars, there is no magic number to satisfy everyone. Different activities require different magnifications. For example, a pair of 10×50 binoculars have one of the most extended ranges. They provide a clear and steady image as well as much fuller field of view. However, a pair of 10×32 is a bit lighter and much easier to backpack around with. Likewise, 7×35 binoculars are even smaller and can be carried around your neck but aren’t as comfortable for all day use. Binoculars with 3x, 4x, and 5x magnification won’t allow you to see as far, but most of the time they fit in your pocket.
What strength binoculars do I need?
Choosing the correct strength for your perfect pair of binoculars depends on what you will be doing with them. Most of the time, the power of 7x to 10x will do just fine. Hunters and birdwatchers need something with a magnification of at least 10. Astronomers and amateur star-gazers may want something a bit higher than 10x. That said, for those who enjoy the theater, 3x to 5x will do just fine. For sports and other stadium events, a 7x will more than likely do the trick.
Other Binoculars We Reviewed
Aside from our picks for the 5 best binoculars, we also reviewed an additional 20 excellent products. Regardless that they didn’t land in our top picks, they are still among the best binoculars currently available. So, if your in the market for compact, astronomy, night-vision, or children’s binoculars, you’ll find each of the binoculars below well worth your consideration.
When it comes to lightweight and compact binoculars, Occer’s 12×25’s are hard to top. Bird watchers, hunters, and all types of nature lovers and sightseers will enjoy these waterproof and low light night vision binoculars.
- 12×25 power and lowlight night vision
- Light, compact and great for multiple uses
- BaK-4 fully coated prisms
- Durable shock and waterproof design
The Skygenius 8×21’s are perfect for concerts, movie theaters, even opera. They are small, lightweight, and compact enough to fit in a pocket. They can also fold up to become even more portable.
- 8×21 portable power
- Mini-sized and foldable
- BaK-7 roof prisms and multi-coated optics
- Easy focus center wheel
For the wandering nomad or avid birdwatcher, the lightweight and durable Wingspan Optics Probirder Ultra HD 8×32 Binoculars are a prime selection. Offering vibrant colors, sharp imagery, and all the accessories necessary for protection while traveling, there are few better options.
- Ultra HD 8×32 viewing power
- Extra-low ED dispersion glass
- Phase correction coated prisms
- Smooth-turning focus wheel
Few compact binoculars are comparable to the Nikon Trailblazer Series. These bad boys consist of over a century of Nikon know-how coupled with the newest cutting-edge technology. Great for all purposes, the trailblazers work well in any weather.
- 10×25 strength with high-quality BaK-4 roof prisms
- Fully coated optics for superior light transmission
- Extra-high resolution and improved contrast and color fidelity
- Waterproof, fog proof, and armored rubber design
Bushnell is one of the best binocular makers of all time, cranking out superior product after superior product. The compact Legend HD 10×25 is no exception. Lightweight, rugged, and small enough to fit in a pocket, these babies will continue to impress users for years to come.
- 10×25 power with ED prime glass and Bak-4 roof prisms
- PC-3 full phase coated optics
- HD RainGuard water and fog proofing
- Ultra-wideband coating for optimal brightness
For long-time astronomers and amateur stargazers alike, the Celestron SkyMaster 25×70 Binoculars are the perfect tool for getting a little closer to the heavens. These phenomenal binoculars go far beyond giving viewers a fantastic view of the night sky in full dark. With their multi-coated optics and high-quality Bak-4 prisms, they’re among the best binoculars for viewing the skies in the dim light of dusk and dawn as well.
- 25x magnification and a 70mm objective lens diameter
- Multi-coated lenses and BaK-4 prisms
- 13mm eye relief and folding eyecups
- Smartphone and tripod adaptable
Cost: $75 to $100
Another excellent pair of binoculars for lovers of the night sky is Bushnell’s Falcon series. These powerful 10×50 strength binoculars are second to none when it comes to magnifying the brilliance of the celestial hosts above. Not to mention, for the price, you’ll be hard put to find a pair that even remotely compares.
- 10x fine-tune magnification with 50mm front lens diameter
- Interpupillary distance and diopter setting
- InstaFocus and high-end Porro prisms
- Roll-down/push-down eyecups
The Canon 18×50 IS Series is among the best binoculars on the market, period. Astronomy has never been more enjoyable than through the lenses of these high-end binoculars. That said, true greatness tends to come at a steep price. These exquisite binoculars are no exception.
- High-powered 18×50 viewing strength
- Vari-angle prism for image stabilization
- Super Spectra coating with lead-free glass
- Shockproof, waterproof, and weather resistant
RONHAN’s High Power Military Binoculars are a wise choice for anyone who desires a closer look at the magnificence of the starry skies. These bad boys will get you up close and personal with any celestial object you wish. They also come with all the accessories needed for protection, cleaning, and traveling.
- Military-grade 20×50 strength viewing power
- Fully multi-coated green membrane and Bak-4 prisms
- Comfortable eyecups and 16mm eye relief
- Accessories include bag, strap, cleaning cloth, and manual
The last pair of astronomy binoculars we added to our list is probably the least well-known. However, they are far from being unworthy of your consideration. Quite the opposite, these 15×70 strength underdogs from Orion are among the most potent stargazing glasses around.
- Long distance 15×70 power perfect for stargazing
- Bak-4 Porro prisms and fully multi-coated optics
- 18mm eye relief and internal baffles
- Tripod L-adapter comes with the purchase
The SOLOMARK Infrared Binoculars are handheld digital binoculars that operate with a high-end infrared CMOS sensor with FMC multi-coated optics and full night vision. They’re also capable of taking, saving, and transferring photos and videos, making them perfect for those who enjoy sharing their view from nature.
- 7x31mm viewing power with 2x digital zoom
- Built-in 3X infrared LED/850nm infrared illuminator
- Transfer files to Tv and other devices via AV or USB cables
- 4GB – 32GB SD memory card compatible for taking and saving pics and videos
For those looking for the newest night vision binocular technology, the Nightfox 100V Binoculars are among the most impressive. With 3x standard magnification, 2x digital zoom, and a revolutionary new sort of viewing monitor, the Nightfox 100V Night Vision Binoculars are comparable to none. See up to 100m in full dark for up to six hours with a full charge.
- Cutting edge 100V digital night vision, 6x magnification, and 7 level of IR illumination
- Large widescreen viewing monitor for both eyes and tripod mountable
- Instant and easy operation controlled via three button system
- 18-month limited manufacturer warranty
The ATN BinoX HD 16×65 Smart Binoculars are one of the best binoculars available for those in the market for night vision capabilities. Coming with everything from streaming HD video to upgradeable firmware, these full night vision binoculars are among the most versatile ever created. For those looking for the best technology, the search stops here.
- 16×65 viewing power, E-Zoom, and 10-30mm eye relief
- 3D gyroscope, E-compass, and other cutting edge features
- Day and night HD resolution
- 1080p video, Geotagging, Rangefinder, streaming WiFi and more
These powerful low light night vision binoculars from LTTWSF are a wonderful choice for those who spend a great deal of time outdoors early in the morning and late into the night. Hunters, birdwatchers, trail guides and more will enjoy these compact and fully portable binoculars.
- 12×50 strength viewing power, low light night vision, Large FOV, and 16.5 mm eye relief
- Advanced Paul prism structure, BaK-4 optic lens, and FMC broadband coated films
- Compact, portable, rubberized armor, shock and weather resistant
- 30-day money back guarantee and a limited lifetime warranty
While the Aurosports 10×25 Low Light Night Vision Binoculars aren’t our first pick for best night vision binoculars, they are still an excellent choice. Especially for those working with a tight budget. They are great for early morning hunting or birdwatching, as well as scoping things out before, during, and after dusk. If you don’t plan to do much sightseeing in full dark, these are the binoculars for you.
- 10×25 strength viewing power with low light night vision
- Wide FOV, BaK-4 prisms, FMC multi-layer green film
- Waterproof, anti-skid, and high-quality components
- Center wheel and right eyecup focus adjustment
The Kidwinz 8×21 Shockproof Binoculars will blow your little ones away. They are built for ease-of-use and maximum comfort while compromising none of the capabilities of binoculars for adults. Perfect for birdwatching, hiking, star gazing, and most of all, learning how to handle binoculars properly, they are perfect for children.
- 8×21 viewing strength superior to many children’s binoculars
- Shockproof rubber armor and comfortable eyepieces
- Easy to use components and accessories such as neck strap, case, and manual
- One-year-warranty included all accessories
When it comes to selecting the perfect pair of binoculars for children between the ages 3 to 12, Top Gift’s compact 8×21’s are an excellent choice. They are available in a dozen different colors, are easy to use, and have high-end BaK-4 prisms as well. These binoculars even work well for adults, so that the whole family can enjoy them.
- 8x21mm power with BaK-4 prisms
- Large FOV and FMY multilayer broadband green film
- Compact and powerful, multiuse, easy to adjust
- Shockproof and non-slip grip made for kids, come in multiple colors
Are you looking for the best binoculars for your preschooler? If so, the search ends here. The GeoSafari Jr Family is by far the best product we reviewed for children of such a young age. When it comes to STEM learning, few tools will challenge your child’s young mind than these fantastic binoculars.
- 2x magnification excellent for STEM learning with young children
- Extra large easy-focus eyepieces
- Designed to be “kid-tough” specifically for preschoolers
- One-year risk-free guarantee
Another excellent pair of children’s binoculars are BESPIN’s High-Resolution 8×21’s. Far from a kids toy, they consist of all high-quality components and a rubber and aluminum design. They also have a wide angle FOV and weigh less than a half pound.
- 8×21 view power with high-end Bak-4 prisms
- Rubber armor and lightweight, compact aluminum frame
- FC lens coating, wide angle FOV, and 10mm eye relief
- BESPIN Bird Map including nearly 600 North American birds
Learning about nature has never been so fun for kids as with the SkyGenius 8×21 Binoculars. Designed for children three years of age and up, they make the perfect gift for a kid curious about the stars, birds, or nature in general. Not to mention the high-end materials used by the manufacturer, you can’t go wrong with this purchase.
- Top-notch 8x21mm viewing power with BaK-7 prisms
- FMC multi-coated optics for clearer images
- Compact, lightweight, and easy to use center-focus knob and right eye lens
- Comfortable eyecups, rubber grips, foldable design, and includes accessories