10 Best Binoculars

When it comes to exploring the great outdoors, making good decisions about the gear you bring is a must. There’s gear you need in case things go wrong, items to make roughing it a little more comfortable and then there’s the stuff you want to have to get the most out of your outdoor experiences. One item that belongs to that last category is binoculars, and it’s worth it to take the time to find the best binoculars you can.

Why do you head out into the wilderness in the first place? Sure, the fresh air is great but you want to see what nature has to offer. When you’re hiking a mountain trail or making camp high on a bluff, you’ll be glad you packed the best binoculars you could find. What better way to enjoy the serenity of being outdoors than quietly scanning the terrain to see the flora and fauna of the area? Keep reading to find out about some of the best binoculars available.

Comparison Table

Best Binoculars Basic Info

Obviously, binoculars are used for viewing objects at a distance. Their basic classification is measured by their magnification and lens diameter and is usually printed on the body of the binoculars as something like “8×42”.

​What Is Magnification?

​What Is Lens Diameter?

​ What Does Field of View Mean?

​How We Reviewed

​Now you know the basics, let’s look at what we consider being some of the best binoculars hikers and campers to use for a range of applications. We put these and other models through their paces under real-world conditions. After being exposed to various weather conditions and the bumps and knocks of life on the trail and at the campsite, these are the best binoculars we tested.

​Price Range of the Best Binoculars

​Like most things, prices for the best binoculars with all the bells and whistles can get steep. There are specialty binoculars that cost well over $1,000. The good news here is that there are plenty of choices available that will get you the features you want without breaking the bank. On our list, you’ll find budget friendly models that will get the job done for under $50. If you have the means and want a little more, we’ve reviewed some that are a few hundred dollars. Whichever you choose, we feel you’ll get some of the best binoculars available to the hiking and camping community.

​What We Reviewed

  • ​Nikon 7577 Monarch 5 10×42 Binoculars
  • ​Vanguard Endeavor ED 10×42 Binoculars
  • ​Aurosports 8×25 Night Vision Binoculars
  • ​Nikon 8252 ACULON A211 10-22×50 Zoom Binoculars
  • ​Bushnell H2O Waterproof/Fogproof Roof Prism Binoculars
  • ​Bushnell Powerview 12×50 Wide Angle Binoculars
  • ​Bushnell Falcon 10×50 Wide Angle Binoculars
  • ​Bushnell Falcon 133410 Binoculars with Case
  • ​Celestron SkyMaster Giant 15×70 Binoculars with Tripod Adapter
  • ​Bushnell Powerview Compact Folding Roof Prism Binoculars

Nikon 7577 Monarch 5 10×42 Binoculars

Nikon 7577 MONARCH 5 10x42 Binocular (Black)
  • All Monarch 5 binoculars are now built with Nikon's premium ED (Extra-low dispersion);...
  • Almost an ounce lighter than its predecessor, the new Monarch 5 is even easier to bring...
  • Fully multicoated eco-glass lenses provide a high light transmittance across the entire...

These are quality binoculars that are great when you’re outdoors and on the go. They’re lightweight, waterproof, fog proof and have a rubber armored body for strengthened durability. Nikon’s special glass lenses give a sharper, more vibrant field of view when compared to others.

PROS

  • ​Rugged construction
  • ​Clarity is second to none
  • ​Optional feature package increases value

​CONS

  • ​More expensive than others on the list

​Warranty

​This product comes with a limited lifetime warranty. See manufacturer for further details.

​Vanguard Endeavor ED 10×42 Binoculars

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​Some highlights of this model include it being 100% waterproof and fog proof, its advanced lens coatings for enhanced clarity even in low-light conditions, and a great warranty. It also has a locking adjustment system that allows you to adjust the width to meet your facial dimensions and lock it so it need not be reset with each use.

PROS

  • ​Comfortable enough for regular use
  • ​High-quality glass lenses
  • ​Customizable

​CONS

  • ​Among the more expensive we tested

​Warranty

​Warranty

This product comes with a premium lifetime warranty. See manufacturer for further details.

Compact Binoculars

30x60 Compact Binoculars, Small Folding Binoculars with Night Vision,...
  • 【Portable, Compact, Foldable And Small Binoculars Design】: Easy adjustment and rapid...
  • 【Clear Vision And High Resolution Mini Binoculars】: Update version strong Optics Kids...
  • 【Durable And Waterproof, Ergonomic and Comfortable Touch】: And nonslip rubber armor is...

​This is an inexpensive, compact model but still has some nice features. It’s waterproof with an anti-drop hand strap, has twist-up eyecups, and includes two ways to focus. If you need a lightweight and compact pair of binoculars, this is the ticket. It’s excellent for birdwatching or carrying in a pack and still has 8X magnification to get you close to the action.     

PROS

  • ​Convenient size
  • The least expensive on our list
  • Rapid focusing

​CONS

  • ​Not as much magnification as others
  • ​Lack of high-tech glass lenses
  • ​“Night Vision” means low light, not black of night

​Warranty

​This product comes with a limited two-year warranty. See manufacturer for further details.

​Nikon 8252 ACULON A211 10-22×50 Zoom Binoculars

Nikon 8252 ACULON A211 10-22x50 Zoom Binocular (Black)
  • Aculon A211 10 22x50 zoom binoculars are designed to be as light as possible along with...
  • Easy to reach fingertip zoom control knob allows for quick and easy adjustment of...
  • Turn and slide rubber eyecups allow for comfortable viewing during extended periods of...

​These are designed with excellent ergonomics to be as light as possible. They have a fingertip zoom control knob that makes for a quick and easy adjustment of the magnification from 10X up to 22X. A durable rubber-armored coating provides a sure grip in all conditions, and there’s added comfort in the form of turn and slide rubber eyecups.    

PROS

  • Comfortable​Among the lighter full-sized binoculars
  • ​Easy zooming focus
  • ​Comfortable
  • ​Reasonable price considering all the options

​CONS

  • ​A little bulky for a pack

​Warranty

​This product comes with a limited lifetime warranty. See manufacturer for further details.

​Bushnell H2O Waterproof/Fog-Proof Roof Prism Binoculars

Bushnell H2O Waterproof/Fogproof Roof Prism Binocular, 10 x 42-mm,...
  • Quality optics with stunning HD clarity; Exit Pupil: 4.2 millimeter / 0.165 inch
  • 100 percentage quality materials used and tested extensively; Field of view 305/102...
  • Beautiful design and durability built to last

​This is a very nice pair of binoculars designed beautifully and built to last for a very reasonable price. They are waterproof, sealed and nitrogen-purged to give a fog-free performance. There is a large center-focus knob for easy adjustments and twist-up eyecups for comfort. And Bushnell stands behind its products with an excellent warranty.        

PROS

  • ​​Very reasonably priced
  • ​Non-slip grip
  • ​Easy to focus
  • ​Comfortable

​CONS

  • ​Lens not the highest quality on our list

​Warranty

​This product comes with a limited lifetime warranty. See manufacturer for further details.

​Bushnell Powerview 12×50 Wide Angle Binoculars

Bushnell Powerview 12x50 Wide Angle Binocular, Black
  • Prism Glass: BK-7, Prism System: Porro
  • 12x magnification, 50-millimeter objective binoculars with porro prism system
  • BaK-7 prisms and multi-coated optics for superior resolution and image clarity

​​12X Magnification takes you closer to the action and the non-slip rubber armor absorbs shock while providing a firm grip on this bruiser. Light transmission is enhanced by the power view multi-coated optics. Somewhat compact design yet powerful enough for multiple purposes.    

PROS

  • ​Very durable construction
  • ​Simple, straight-forward design
  • ​Inexpensive

​CONS

  • ​Objective lens difficult to mount

​Warranty

​This product comes with a limited lifetime warranty. See manufacturer for further details.

​Bushnell Falcon 10×50 Wide Angle Binoculars

Bushnell Falcon 10x50 Wide Angle Binoculars (Black)
  • Exit Pupil (millimeter):5, Eye Relief (millimeter):9
  • 25 Feet close focusing distance, 27 Ounce weigh
  • Boasts durable design and rubberized, abrasion resistant finish

​These binoculars have a durable design and rubberized, abrasion-resistant finish and can take a beating, a good quality out of the trail. The InstaFocus lever feature gives good feedback while allowing easy focusing. If you wear glasses, the clever fold-down eyecups protect your lenses from scratching.

PROS

  • ​Very Inexpensive
  • ​No need to remove eyeglasses
  • Easy focusing

​CONS

  • ​A bit bulky

​Warranty

​This product comes with a limited lifetime warranty. See manufacturer for further details.

​Bushnell Falcon 133410 Binoculars with Case

Bushnell Falcon 133410 Binoculars with Case (Black, 7x35 mm)
  • Fully coated optics for superior light transmission
  • Instafocus System for fast focus on moving targets
  • Non slip rubber grip pads for secure grip in all weather conditions

​This is a nice, budget-friendly option. It has most of the basic features of the other Bushnell binoculars like non-slip grip and Instafocus auto-focusing, for an even better price. It’s comfortable, durable and gives solid performance.

PROS

  • ​The least expensive full-size model on our list
  • ​Solid construction
  • ​Easy to use

​CONS

  • ​Lesser quality materials
  • ​A bit bulky

​Warranty

​This product comes with a limited lifetime warranty. See manufacturer for further details.

​Celestron SkyMaster Giant 15×70 Binoculars With Tripod Adapter

Celestron - SkyMaster Giant 15x70 Binoculars - Top Rated Astronomy...
  • Multi coated optics
  • Large aperture perfect for low light conditions and stargazing
  • Tripod adapter 13 millimeter (0.51 inch) long eye relief ideal for eyeglass wearers;...

​With these binoculars, the large 70 mm objective lens offers maximum image brightness in low-light situations. It offers multi-coated optics and long eye relief that’s ideal for eyeglass wearers. This model is specially designed to meet the demands of extended astronomical or terrestrial viewing when coupled with a tripod (adapter included).  

PROS

  • ​Good value
  • ​Solid optics
  • ​Some accessories included

​CONS

  • ​Doesn’t stand out from the crowd
  • ​A bit heavy for the trail
  • ​The outer portion of the viewing field is blurry

​Warranty

​This product comes with a limited lifetime warranty. See manufacturer for further details.

​Bushnell Powerview Compact Folding Roof Prism Binoculars

Bushnell Powerview 10x25 Compact Folding Roof Prism Binocular (Black)
  • Sport Type: Hunting
  • 10x magnification, 25-millimeter objective binoculars with roof prism system
  • BaK-7 prisms and multi-coated optics for superior resolution and image clarity

​These are made for convenient traveling and easily fit in a pack or pocket. They feature non-slip rubber armor that absorbs shock and provides a firm grip. Their 10x magnification in such a small package is impressive and like all the Bushnell products, you get a great warranty.

PROS

  • ​Unmatched portability
  • ​Least expensive of all on our list
  • ​Durable and comfortable for the price

​CONS

  • ​Not waterproof or fog proof
  • ​No tripod attachment possible

​Warranty

​This product comes with a limited lifetime warranty. See manufacturer for further details.

​The Verdict

When we compiled our list of the best binoculars, we wanted to give you some options. We feel there is something on our list for just about everybody, from the hardcore hiker to the campfire stargazer. We included top-of-the-line models loaded with features and more budget-friendly choices that still get the job done. When choosing the best binoculars for your purpose, think about what you’ll be using them for and set a budget for yourself. There’s no need to go out and spend a fortune thinking that’s the only way to get the best binoculars. That said, if you have a specific purpose in mind, you’ll want to make sure you get the best binoculars for the job.

Black binocular on round device

Image source: Pexels

While we are confident in all of our recommendations on this list, we came up with two best-of-the-best binoculars. For the budget-conscious, we like the Bushnell Powerview 12×50 Wide Angle Binoculars. Not the cheapest, but they offer a lot of bang for the buck with solid construction, a fairly lightweight and compact design and they are easy to use. They are excellent as a less-expensive option.

For those with more to spend, our overall top choice for best binoculars are the Nikon 7577 Monarch 5 10×42 Binoculars. The investment you make in these is worth it due to their quality construction and hard-to-match performance. Being fog-proof and waterproof is a huge advantage when you spend a lot of time in the elements and the viewing clarity is excellent. We’d even spend the extra few dollars to get the optional feature package that’s available. Take care of these and they’ll reward you with a lifetime of great viewing.

Janice Friedman
 

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