The 8 Best Binoculars

Updated October 10, 2017

8 Best Binoculars
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 38 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. We've done the research and spotted the best binoculars on the market today for all you nature and sporting enthusiasts. Ranked by optics, features, and their price tag, some are even powerful enough to be used by amateur astronomers. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best binocular on Amazon.

8. Celestron SkyMaster Binoculars

The Celestron SkyMaster Binoculars offer a fine focusing diopter adjustment, clear long-range views, multi-coated optics, and they come with a tripod adapter. The 70 mm lenses gather massive amounts of light, similar to that of a telescope.
  • lightweight for comfortable hold
  • durable and sturdy construction
  • ideal for amateur astronomy
Brand Celestron
Model 71009
Weight 4.9 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

7. Nikon Aculon A211

The Nikon Aculon A211 offers an ergonomic and durable design, turn-and-slide eyecups, a sleek center-focus knob, and they are compact enough for easy portability and convenient storage when not in use. Their power and size make them ideal for sporting events or concerts.
  • body not slippery when wet
  • multicoated protected lenses
  • clear viewing in most lighting
Brand Nikon
Model 8248
Weight 2.8 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. Steiner Champ

The Steiner Champ feature comfortable ergonomic eyecups, a compact design that makes them perfect for field work, and they come with a padded case and neck strap. You can use them to view objects in detail as close as 11 feet away or as far as 300 feet away.
  • high contrast lens coating
  • weigh just over 10 ounces
  • deep grooves for easy grip
Brand Steiner
Model Steiner 2113, 10X26 Cha
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. Barska Deep Sea

The Barska Deep Sea are perfect if you are vacationing on a cruise or doing any sort of marine life watching where water should not interrupt your viewing or damage your optics. They additionally have a rangefinder and compass, making them great for deep sea fishing.
  • complete o-ring sealed waterproofing
  • high-end bak-4 prisms
  • do not work with tripods
Model AB10798
Weight 2.9 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

4. Bushnell Falcon

For the budget shopper, look no further than the Bushnell Falcon which offer superb clarity and a mid-size zoom at an extremely low price. They are very lightweight and about the length of a dollar bill, while still offering 7x magnification via 35 mm lenses.
  • comfortably sized eye relief
  • coated lens with prism system
  • very easy to focus
Brand Bushnell
Model 133410
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

3. Olympus Trooper DPS

The Olympus Trooper DPS feature non-reflective lenses, a large and smooth-turning center focus knob, and a wide-angle view. Their large 50 mm Bak-7 lens is treated to offer UV protection for your eyes, making them great for extended use.
  • optics minimize distortion
  • can replace low-end telescopes
  • great for astronomy and wildlife
Brand Olympus
Model 118760
Weight 2.7 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Vortex Optics Diamondback

The Vortex Optics Diamondback offer an incredible field of view and dielectric coated lenses provide for stunning clarity in low light making them ideal for scouting and hunting applications. The rigid new chassis weighs 3 oz less than prior versions so they can hang easy.
  • neck strap and fitted case
  • extremely durable for outdoor use
  • ergonomic for long sessions
Brand Vortex
Model D205
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. Bushnell Legend Ultra HD

For the ultimate compact viewing experience, most choose the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD, the benchmark setter in clarity, brightness, and field of view. The waterproof and fog-proof design lets you use these amazing optics in almost any condition.
  • see every color when birdwatching
  • bright imagery even in low light
  • smoothest focusing available
Brand Bushnell
Model 198104
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

What Separates a Good Pair of Binoculars From a Great Pair?

The most important feature of any pair of binoculars is its ability to offer a clear and precise view of very distant objects. In that spirit, a lot of manufacturers will describe their binoculars by using phrases like, "long-range view," "adjustable focus," and "superior magnification." More often than not, a pair of binoculars can be refocused by rotating a thumbscrew in the center of the bridge. There are certain digital models on the market, however, that will allow users to adjust the focus via the touch of a button.

In many cases, people prefer to take binoculars along whenever they go hiking, or birdwatching, or boating on the water. This is why it makes sense to to seek out a lightweight model (e.g., 7-20 oz.) that comes with a carrying case, a shoulder strap, and a pair of lens covers. Consumers may also want to choose a model that is waterproof (or at least water-resistant). In addition, it pays do some research so you can get a sense of how each model will respond when being used in any extreme weather conditions.

The more you use a pair of binoculars, the more you'll want those binoculars to feature a decent grip. If you're adjusting the focus - or panning - as you view something, a binocular's grips can keep your hands from slipping. Certain binoculars have been crafted with rubber grips, while others have been molded to provide striations that the inner-palm can fasten onto. In the event that a pair of binoculars doesn't feature any grips, you can use driving gloves to hold the barrel scopes in place.

Several Non-Apparent Uses For a Pair of Binoculars

Scientifically speaking, a pair of binoculars is made up of two low-powered, mirror-symmetrical telescopes. While these telescopes are generally meant for daytime usage, they can also be used for doing some amateur stargazing at night. As a matter of fact, binoculars are even recommended for amateur stargazing, particularly because they allow users to focus on learning how to navigate the night sky (as opposed to focusing on how to calibrate a complex finderscope, and a lens).

The zoom lens on a pair of binoculars can allow you to see things up to 15X closer, which may come in handy if you're coaching a sports team, and you're trying to get a sense of very minute details, like a quarterback's technique, or a relay team's ability to pass the baton. The same applies to watching musicians in an orchestra, or eyeing up what an experienced fisher in a far-off boat might be using to bait his line. This is why binoculars have proven to be such an indispensable part of any surveillance work. They're capable of uncovering what cannot be deciphered by the human eye.

How thick are a pair of binoculars' lenses? So thick that you can remove one, and then use it to focus sunlight and start a fire. On the other hand, you can invert a pair of binoculars, thereby turning them into a low-density microscope that you can use - along with a smartphone - to identify a strange bug, or berry, or plant found in the wild.

A Brief History of Binoculars

The telescope represented a major triumph when it was originally introduced during the 17th Century. This one invention held the capacity to connect man with the stars. And yet if there was a drawback to the telescope, it was that the single lens did not allow for any depth. In order to see things in 3D, a telescope would've required two lenses, situated side-by-side. And this was how the earliest pair of binoculars were born.

Many early binoculars succeeded in providing a three-dimensional view. But these models were largely inefficient when it came to magnifying objects, and they only allowed the user to see a narrow point of view. Focus and magnification were improved thanks to what became known as Keplerian - or refractory - optics. As of the 18th Century, binoculars began using the refracting of thick lenses to gather and concentrate additional light.

Technology surrounding binoculars improved throughout the 18th Century, as scientists began experimenting with various prisms and mirrors to ensure that the viewer was actually seeing a scale representation of whatever the lenses had been trained on. The problem up to that point was that images, whenever seen through binoculars, tended to stretch vertically, rendering it difficult to judge an object's actual size. Once this problem was resolved, binoculars became a reliable tool used by every major country's military. Military binoculars were designed to be durable so that they wouldn't scratch or break in the field.

During the Industrial Revolution, manufacturers were able to simplify the production - and costs - associated with making binoculars. As a result, the general public began using binoculars for everything from birdwatching and survey work to hunting and astronomy. Today, the U.S. Military still utilizes a variety of binoculars, some of which are so advanced as to offer infrared, and even sonar.

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Last updated on October 10, 2017 by multiple members of the ezvid wiki editorial staff

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