Best Binoculars for Outdoor, Nature & Birds (2018 Reviews & Comparison)

Although our eyes are incredible for a lot of reasons, they have some substantial limitations, especially when seeing at distances. Up close, we can pick out all kinds of detail, but if an object is a few dozen yards away, our vision can fail us even in the best of conditions.

Fortunately, all it takes is a high-quality pair of binoculars to get the level of definition and clarity we crave when viewing from afar. Today we’re going to be looking at all kinds of binoculars for different occasions.

If you thought that you could buy a single pair and be ready for anything, you would be mistaken. Before buying binoculars, it’s imperative that you know what you want to view most often so that you can be sure it’s up to the challenge.

Let’s dive in and see what worlds we’re missing. 

Best Binoculars for Outdoor, Nature & Birds Comparisons

Best Binoculars for Hunting 

If you’ve been out hunting, then you know that you have to stay a safe distance away from your intended prey. Animals have much better senses than us, which means that getting too close could spook them and ruin your whole day. 

With hunting binoculars, you want a set that’s ready for anything. You could be hunting in sunshine, snow or rain, so they have to be able to withstand all kinds of weather conditions, as well as the rough and tumble world of hunting. These binoculars are all that and more. 

1. Vortex Optics Diamondback Prism Binocular

When picking out the right pair of binoculars, it helps to understand the specifications that they offer. One of the most common is a set of numbers separated by an X. In this case, the Vortex Optics Diamondback has a 10x42 rating. This means that it provides 10x magnification with a 42mm lens.

The size of the lens is crucial because a larger piece can let in more light for better clarity. Fortunately, these lenses are multi-coated, which means that they are treated to provide you with a sharper image, even in low-light conditions.

Since these are designed for hunting, they are rugged. They have a rubber housing that is both waterproof and easy to grip. They are lightweight at 1.5 pounds so that you can carry them anywhere, and the lenses are fog-proof to prevent a shadowy image when it counts. Overall, if you want a compact and reliable pair of hunting binoculars, the Diamondback is an excellent choice.

What we liked

  • 10x magnification
  • 42mm objective lens
  • Multi-coated optics for clarity
  • Waterproof housing
  • Fogproof lenses
  • Tethered lens covers won’t get lost
  • Rainguard reduces drops on the glass
  • Comfort neck strap
  • Soft grip sides for stability
  • Tapered eyecups for comfort
  • Lightweight at 1.5 pounds

What we didn't like

  • In some cases, it may be hard to focus
  • In rare instances, the lens covers may not stay on

2. Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Roof Prism Binocular

When it comes to hunting equipment, Bushnell is one of the most well-known and respected brands out there. In this case, the Legend Ultra Binoculars are some of the best high-quality models you can find. There are a couple of unique features that make them better than the competition.

First, these binoculars use ED prime glass. This glass is treated to ensure brightness and clarity at all times. Rather than using coatings that can distort the colors, this glass diffuses light to make them pop out.

Second, the lenses also come with a specialized coating that reduces reflections to give you better vision in any light. Not only that, but the lenses are also water-resistant to ensure that raindrops or hot breathing won’t cause any visibility issues.

What we liked

  • 10x magnification 
  • 42mm objective lens
  • ED prime glass for clarity
  • Water-repellent lens coating
  • Waterproof housing
  • Rainguard prevents water drops on
    glass
  • Wide field of view
  • Long eye relief for comfort
  • Locking diopter for reliability
  • Soft touch grips for stability
  • Fogproof lenses

What we didn't like

  • In rare cases, the diopter may jam
  • In rare instances, the lenses may arrive damaged

3. Carson 3D Series High Definition Binoculars

Although the 3D Series from Carson is listed in our hunting binoculars section, this pair is excellent for all occasions. The fully multi-coated lenses provide exceptional clarity and visibility, and the long eye relief makes it easier for anyone to use them, even if you wear glasses.

What makes these binoculars great for hunting is that they are durable and weather resistant. The waterproof rubberized housing ensures that rain and moisture won’t create condensation inside the unit. They are also lightweight at 1.4 pounds so that you can carry them anywhere.

Like the Bushnell model above, these binoculars use ED glass for better light diffusion and colors. However, because they are multi-coated, you do have some color distortion, although it’s not enough to be that noticeable. 

What we liked

  • Multiple sizes and colors available
  • Textured grip for stability
  • 10x magnification
  • 42mm objective lens
  • Uses ED glass for clarity
  • Rubberized armor coating
  • Waterproof and fogproof
  • Weighs just 1.4 pounds
  • Field of view: 314 ft at 1000 yds
  • Comfortable neck strap
  • All-purpose binoculars
  •  Extra long eye relief for comfort
  • Fully multi-coated lenses

What we didn't like

  • May take some adjusting to fit your eyes
  • Not as rugged as other models

Best Binoculars for Birding 

When using binoculars for hunting, the priority is to be able to see your prey at a distance without losing it among the foliage. However, if you’re trying to see birds, then you want to be able to get more detail and clarity of vision. 

With that in mind, these binoculars are explicitly designed to get you up close and personal with your favorite birds. With a wider lens and better optics, it will feel as if you are right next to them.

1. Wingspan Optics WideViews Binoculars

One of the most notable differences between bird-watching binoculars and models that are designed for all-purpose use is the field of vision. When you’re looking for a particular bird, you may be searching for a flock or a single animal. With a wider field of view, it’s easier to spot your target and then focus in to get a better look.

In this case, the WideViews Binoculars provide you with 430 feet at 1000 yards. This is more than ample enough to catch a flock of ducks or geese, and yet you can also get close enough to get details on the wings.

The lenses are phase-coated to prevent discoloration while also removing reflections and increasing clarity. You can choose between 8x or 10x magnification, depending on how close you want to get to your birds.

Also, since they are meant to be outdoors, these binoculars are waterproof and fogproof.

What we liked

  • Different sizes and color options
  • Extra wide field of view
  • 430 ft at 1000 yards
  • 8x magnification
  • 42mm objective lens
  • Phase-correction prisms for clarity
  • Delivers high-definition images
  • Two-meter close focus for better detail
  • Waterproof and fogproof design
  • Generous eye relief for comfort
  • Non-slip external grip

What we didn't like

  • Heavier than other bird watching models
  • In rare cases, the lenses may not sync correctly

2. Xgazer Optics Ultra HD Certvision Binoculars

Watching birds will be a breeze when you have this set of binoculars from Xgazer. Although this model doesn’t have as many unique features as some other ones we’ve seen, it uses all of the best stuff to make sure that you get the best view of your next target.

Because the field of view is critical for bird watching, it’s vital to note that this set delivers 342 feet at 1000 yards. Also, the lens coating is anti-reflective to ensure that you don’t get any glare off of water or other surfaces.

These binoculars have a 10x magnification setting and a 42mm objective lens. They are sealed with nitrogen to prevent air and moisture from getting inside and fogging up your vision. The housing is both rugged and waterproof, and they even come with a rain guard eyepiece to keep water drops from collecting on the surface.

Overall, if you want a simple and high-quality pair of binoculars, these are an excellent choice. 

What we liked

  • Multiple sizes available
  • 10x magnification
  • 42mm objective lens
  • 342 ft at 1000 yards field of vision
  • Anti-reflective lens coatings
  • Gas-filled and sealed
  • Waterproof housing
  • Rainguard eyepiece

What we didn't like

  • Heavier than other models
  • Grip is not as sturdy as other binoculars

3. Bushnell Legacy WP Porro Prism Binocular

As we’ve seen already, Bushnell Binoculars are some of the best models out there. When you’re looking for higher quality lenses and durability, this brand has you covered in spades.

What makes the Legacy WP Binoculars so unique is that you can get them with a zoom option. Rather than having to use the focus knob to get closer to your birds, you can simply zoom in and see them in stunning clarity.

The zoom makes up for the reduced field of vision. Compared to other bird-watching binoculars, you only get 199 feet at 1000 yards. While this is sufficient for most outings, it’s a far cry from some units that have over 400 feet.

Otherwise, these binoculars come with all of the standard features. They have a rugged, waterproof housing, they are easy to use and grip, and they have multi-coated lenses to provide better vision and clarity. Although these binoculars are bulkier than other models, they prove themselves out in the field. We recommend pairing them with a tripod for maximum effect.

What we liked

  • Multiple sizes available
  • Zoom option for better views
  • 10x magnification
  • Up to 50mm objective lens
  • Multi-coated optics for clarity
  • Rugged rubber armor absorbs shocks
  • Secure grip for stability
  • Long eye relief works with glasses
  • Waterproof and fogproof housing
  • Six-meter close focus
  • 199 ft at 1000 yards field of view

What we didn't like

  • Can be heavy and cumbersome for some users
  • In rare cases, it can be hard to focus the lenses

Best Compact Binoculars 

Typically speaking, the way that binoculars work is that the better and more powerful they are, the bigger and bulkier they are. However, it’s not always feasible to carry a massive set of binoculars to every occasion, especially if you don’t need that kind of power for what you’re trying to see. 

The best compact binoculars are designed to provide you with clarity and detail while also allowing you to bring them along wherever you go. Let’s see how they compare.

1. Swarovski CL Pocket 8x25 Binoculars Sand

When most of us think of Swarovski, we imagine fine crystal jewelry and accessories. However, given that the company makes some of the most elegant crystalline pieces, it makes some sense that they would create products that need such high-quality glass and lenses.

In this case, the CL Pocket is more for style than function. While they do provide excellent clarity and vision, they have a limited range and their compact size can cause problems for some viewers. However, they are ultra stylish, and they can fit almost anywhere.

These glasses are perfect for going to the opera or seeing your favorite play from afar. The Swarovski brand adds a bit of class and elegance to the affair, making them a brilliant accessory. However, be aware that you are paying for that kind of luxury.

What we liked

  • 8x magnification
  • 25mm objective lens
  • Stylish design
  • Weigh less than a pound
  • Soft eye relief for comfort
  • Fits into most jacket pockets
  • Coated lenses for clarity

What we didn't like

  • More expensive than other models
  • Limited field of view

2. Vortex Optics Viper HD Roof Prism Binoculars

Although you can buy the Viper HD Binoculars in larger sizes, today we’re focusing on the smallest and most compact version you can have. The 8x42 model is sufficient for most situations that need binoculars, including camping or hunting.

Even though the dimensions of these binoculars classify them as “compact,” they are also rugged and dependable. A thick rubber housing keeps water and fog from getting inside, and it even comes with a rain guard over the eye relief to prevent water drops from collecting.

The prism inside is multilayered for better clarity and light dispersion, and it delivers high-definition resolution. You can even lock the right lens in place for easier focusing in the field. 

What we liked

  • Multiple sizes available
  • 8x magnification
  • 42mm objective lens
  • Anti-reflective lens coating
  • Dielectric, multilayer prism
  • HD resolution and imaging
  • Long eye relief works with glasses
  • Rugged rubber housing
  • Locking right eye diopter
  • Waterproof and fogproof design
  • Rainguard eyepiece cover
  • Weigh 1.5 pounds

What we didn't like

  • In rare cases, the locking diopter may get stuck

Best Binoculars for Astronomy and Stargazing 

If you’re trying to look up at the stars, you may think that you need a telescope to see anything. While it’s true that a telescope makes it easier to see more detail, the fact is that everything is too far away to get high-definition (unless you have a massive lens). 

So, with that in mind, you can do a lot better with a set of binoculars instead. However, they have to be rated for astronomy if you are going to see anything out there, which is why we’re looking at these models today.

1. Celestron 71198 Cometron 7x50 Binoculars

Because stargazing is so much different than most uses for binoculars, you have to pay closer attention to the specifications offered. Since you don’t have sunlight to illuminate your images, you need a wider lens and field of view. Also, you want to be sure that your eye relief is more substantial so that more light can get into your eyes to see.

This set of binoculars from Celestron is perfect for stargazing. You can see some definition of the moon, but don’t expect to find any planets out there. You can easily spot constellations and galaxies though, assuming that there isn’t much light pollution in your area.

These binoculars have a 357 ft field of view (at 1000 yards), and a 50mm lens. The aluminum housing ensures that they are built to last (although they are not waterproof). As with most stargazing binoculars, you can set these up with a tripod for easier viewing. They also fold in the middle for storage purposes.

What we liked

  • 7x magnification
  • 50mm objective lens
  • Multi-coated optics for better light transmission
  • Higher contrast and resolution
  • Large exit pupil for nighttime viewing
  • Durable aluminum housing
  • Soft eyepiece works with glasses
  • 6.8-degree field of view (357 ft)
  • Folding model for easier storage
  • Compatible with tripods

What we didn't like

  • Bulky and heavy to use by hand
  • In rare cases, you may see a double image

2. Orion 9546 Resolux 15x70 Astronomy Binoculars

While the Cometron Binoculars above were ideal for casual stargazing, this set from Orion is built for astronomy enthusiasts. Although these binoculars are heavier and more cumbersome than most, you get much better results overall.

When comparing the specs of this set, you can see why they are more remarkable. A 15x magnification setting allows you to see further into space - spotting definition on the moon is a breeze with these lenses. Speaking of, the lens is 70mm, ensuring that you get a lot more starlight into the binoculars for clarity and higher resolution.

What we also like about these binoculars is that they are also waterproof. Since stargazing has to happen outside, it’s good to have a set that can handle the weather, just in case. Although you can’t see much when the clouds are rolling in, you don’t want to have to worry about your binoculars getting ruined.

Overall, if you’re into space, you will appreciate these binoculars.

What we liked

  • 15x magnification
  • 70mm objective lens
  • Rugged housing
  • Waterproof and fogproof design
  • Advanced multi-coatings for light dispersion
  • 4.4-degree field of view (230 feet)
  • Tripod adaptable
  • Extra long eye relief (18mm) for easier viewing

What we didn't like

  • Much heavier than other models
  • Lens cap and neck strap are low-quality

Best Binoculars for Safaris 

If you’ve ever gone out on safari, then you know that you can only get so close to the animals. Although some excursions can get you within touching distance (almost), many of them have you spot them from afar. 

Thus, you want a durable set of binoculars that can handle safari weather and the tumbling of your Jeep. These are the top models we could find.

1. Xgazer Optics Ultra HD Certvision Binoculars

For the most part, safaris are all about spotting animals on the open terrain. As such, you want a set that has a full field of vision and a coated lens that will keep glare and reflections to a minimum. These binoculars fit those parameters well.

Although you can buy multiple sizes, we like the 10x50 model. The larger lens provides a wider field of vision, and the rugged housing ensures that they will last until the end of your trip. They deliver HD images, and they are even waterproof with a rain guard eyepiece for extra protection.

What we liked

  • 10x magnification
  • 50mm objective lens
  • Multiples sizes available
  • Anti-reflective coating
  • High-definition images
  • Waterproof and fogproof
  • Rugged housing
  • Rainguard eyepiece
  • 321 feet at 1000 yards

What we didn't like

  • Can be heavy for some users
  • Glare may still occur in bright environments

2. Wingspan Optics FieldView Compact Binoculars

If you want the ultimate binoculars for your next safari, then you have to get this pair from Wingspan. Although they are designed for bird watching, they are perfect for seeing any kind of animal in the wild.

The lens is a bit smaller, but that just means that these binoculars are more compact and lightweight. What we like most about them is that they are drop proof, waterproof and fogproof. Overall, they can handle any safari environment you can find. Also, the field of view is incredible with 362 feet at 1000 yards.

What we liked

  • Different color options available
  • 8x magnification
  • 32mm objective lens
  • Durable and rugged housing
  • Drop-resistant materials
  • Waterproof and fogproof
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • 362 ft at 1000 yards
  • Weighs less than a pound
  • Tripod adaptable

What we didn't like

  • In rare cases, the lens may be misaligned
  • Not designed for low-light conditions

Best Binoculars Under $100 

While having a pair of high-quality binoculars is great, they can be quite pricey if you’re not careful. Some of the higher-end models we’ve seen will set you back by hundreds of dollars, which means that it’s a significant investment. 

However, what if you want reliable binoculars that won’t break the bank? In this section, we’re looking at the best models for those who are on a budget. Don’t let your wallet get in the way of a good time.

1. Wingspan Optics Spectator Compact Binoculars

We’ve already seen the quality that Wingspan can deliver as a company, but if you’re looking to save a few bucks, then you should go with the Spectator model instead. It offers the same quality and visibility at a lower price than most binoculars, making it an ideal choice for many different environments and situations.

Comparing the specs, this set has 8x magnification, a smaller 32mm coated lens, a nonslip grip for stability, and a field of view of 362 feet at 1000 yards. These binoculars are waterproof and fogproof, and they are built to last. They even weigh less than a pound for extra convenience.

What we liked

  • 8x magnification
  • 32mm objective lens
  • Multiple size and color options
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Non-slip grip
  • Ideal for all situations 
  • 362 ft at 1000 yards
  • Minimum focus of three yards
  • Waterproof and fogproof
  • Tripod adaptable
  • Weighs less than a pound

What we didn't like

  • Not as high-definition as other models
  • In some cases, the focus mechanism may stick

2. Gosky 10x42 Binoculars

Our final set of binoculars are designed for everyday use. They have sufficient magnification and field of vision for bird watching, concerts, and sporting events, or even going to the opera. This set is durable and compact, and it will be a welcome addition to any excursion.

What we like about these binoculars is that they come with fully multi-coated lenses for clarity. They also have rubber armor that ensures that they are weatherproof and resistant to shocks (like drops). They have a large eyepiece that works with glasses or a smartphone so that you can record your images much more easily. Finally, they weigh just 1.5 pounds.

What we liked

  • 10x magnification
  • 42mm objective lens
  • 307 ft at 1000 yards
  • Rubber armor for durability
  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • Shock-absorbing materials
  • Weatherproof design
  • Smartphone mount for easier viewing
  • 18mm eyepiece for comfort
  • Weighs 1.5 pounds

What we didn't like

  • In rare cases, the lenses may be misaligned
  • Durability can vary depending on the model

Final Verdict 

Because we’re looking at so many different binoculars, it’s impossible to determine which one is better than the rest. However, since we can’t provide a comprehensive list of our top picks, we have narrowed it down to two finalists. 

For animal watching, we like the Bushnell Legacy Binoculars. They are a bit bulky, but they provide exceptional vision and clarity. They work well for hunting, safaris, and other outdoor excursions, making them reliable and versatile.

For everyday use, we have to go with the Wingspan Optics Spectator. They are compact, affordable, and they are built to last. No matter where you take them, these binoculars are sure to give you the visibility you deserve.

David Valle
 

I started this blog to provide advanced material, guiding you towards a better and more comfortable fishing experience. I deliver more than fishing gear guides, and motivate people to hit the water!

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