Hunters and outdoor enthusiasts alike need the best binoculars they can get their hands on. Imagine trying to stalk a deer or elk from a distance using nothing but your naked vision; it probably would not go very well.
Most animals have better senses of sight, sound, and smell than humans, which means if we want to see them before they see us, we need a pair of binoculars.
The objective of this guide is to help you find the best binoculars for your needs and help you to make that decision on your own.
We do have a recommended set of best binoculars, but one size definitely does not fit all when it comes to good optics. This guide is as much educational as it is a review of the best binoculars.
Features of the Best Binoculars
In the hunting world, there is an adage passed along by Steven Rinella that says “If I had a thousand dollars to spend on a gun, I’d put a hundred dollars into the rifle and the rest into the scope.”
It’s an extreme example of how important our ability to see animals (or objects) truly is. Even for those using binoculars for outdoor exploration rather than hunting, having a good sight on things will make for a much better experience.
Instead of providing a list of best binocular reviews, which hope for nothing more than you to purchase something, we are going to provide a list of features to consider when making a binocular purchasing decision.
There are a few basic features we want from the best binoculars:
- Crystal clear image 10 – 10,000 yards away
- Non-fogging binoculars – usually this is achieved when a set has argon or nitrogen to eliminate internal fogging
- Phase correction coatings
- Roof prism designs
For these last two, there is no need for a long explanation, but suffice it to say if you are using these binoculars for hunting or most generic uses, look for these features.
On any binoculars for sale, you will notice a number that looks like this: 8 x 25
The first number refers to the magnification and the second number, the objective diameter.
Generally speaking, a magnification that is 8 x or 10 x (meaning you can see something 8 or 10 times better) is best for hunters. The former is great for hunting in the eastern USA and the latter for the western USA (where land is more expansive).
The objective diameter of 40 is hard to beat. For those who don’t use it much and want something lighter in weight, 30 – 32 is a good option. For lots of use, a 50 diameter is heavy, but perhaps worthwhile.
Any pair you purchase should have an ample depth of focus, should be glare free, and last (but certainly not least) they should be comfortable to use long-term.
That may seem dense, but it will be good to keep these best binocular features in mind as we move on so that you can determine for yourself what is best.
Binoculars Are An Investment
As the quote from the previous section implies, binoculars are an investment and probably one of the most important ones that you will make. The best binoculars are the ones that help fulfill your needs without causing consistent replacements. It’s better to “go big” with your investment in the short term unless money is seriously scarce.
Be willing to spend upwards of $1,000 on a pair of binoculars especially if you are serious about a pair that will last a lifetime…
…which is a good reminder to buy binoculars that have a lifetime warranty
A lifetime warranty is an indication the brand and product are of good quality. When you are spending this much money on a product, it’s worthwhile to know someone has your back.
Our Recommendation For Best Binoculars
#1. Nikon Monarch HG 10 x 42 Binocular
Buy Nikon Monarch here
Nikon has long been in the optics game (most notably through cameras), but this pair of Nikon Monarch HG 10 x 42 binoculars is the real deal. Compared with the next model (Leica), the Nikon was on par with the quality, but at a fraction of the cost. This is quite lightweight, versatile, and at an affordable rate for peak performance.
#2. Leica Noctivid 10 x 42 Binoculars
Buy Leica Noctivid here
Those interested in the “best of the best” might go for the Leica Noctivid for some sleek, quality, German engineering. The model has plasma-coated glass (a feature we thoroughly like) and great ergonomics (you can use them for a long time without your eyes aching). The only problem with this model is the cost, which is exorbitant for the marginal value over the Nikon model.
#3. Bushnell Engage 8 x 42 Binoculars
Buy Bushnell Engage here
The next level down from the Nikon alternative is the Bushnell Engage. It is less powerful, has a lower magnification, and the quality is lower, but it is ⅓ the price and that counts for something. If you are just getting involved in hunting or outdoor life and need a pair of binoculars for a good value, this is a good option.
#4. Leupold Bx-2 Tioga HD Roof 10 x 32 Binoculars
Buy Leupold Bx-2 Tiago here
An even more affordable model is the Leupold Bx-2 Tiaga, which has a 10 magnification with a lightweight 32 objective diameter. This is perfect for trips where binoculars aren’t a requirement or major part of the excursion. This also has protection against fogging and is waterproof. Great value buy at 1/10 the cost of the high-powered Leica.
Choosing The Best Binoculars For You
These are the four best binoculars currently on the market and specifically for all budget ranges. Choosing the best binoculars depends on what your needs and desires are. If you are getting interested in enjoying the outdoors and want a good pair of binoculars to see more clearly, that is a very different purchase than investing for large-scale hunts.
Considering many people spend thousands of dollars over their lifetime on hunting, it would make sense to increase every odd of success that you can. Choosing the best binoculars and investing in a pair to last a lifetime is rarely something that people regret.