The 10 Best Hunting Binoculars

Updated March 08, 2018 by Chase Brush

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We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Get up close and personal to all kinds of wildlife, at least visually, with a pair of these quality hunting binoculars. Designed specifically for chasing game across the great outdoors, they are rugged and durable, and will allow you to spot and track deer, coyote, waterfowl, small birds and more. So they are perfect for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers, too. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best hunting binocular on Amazon.

10. Gosky BAK4

The brand behind them may not be as recognizable as some others, but the price and quality of these Gosky BAK4 make them a decent option for the novice sportsman shopping on a budget. The durable frame and tactile rubber armor keeps them protected in the field.
  • come with smartphone app
  • eyecups are adjustable
  • not for professional use
Brand Gosky
Model pending
Weight 1.9 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

9. USCamel HD Compact Telescope

The USCamel HD Compact Telescope have a 303-foot-wide field of view at a distance of 1,000 yards, so you can use them for everything from tracking big game to reconnaissance. A diopter adjustment knob on the right eyepiece helps to compensate for differences in vision.
  • handsome army green color
  • high light transmittance
  • not as rugged as other models
Model UW035
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

8. Tasco Essentials

The Tasco Essentials are small enough and priced low enough to serve as a great backup pair if you lose your primary gear, but they work well enough in that role for closer ranges, too. They're extremely light, and fold up compactly so you don't feel weighed down.
  • smooth central focus knob
  • rubber fold-down eyecups
  • hard to focus both barrels properly
Brand Tasco
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

7. Bushnell Falcon 133410

Find your target animal quickly with the Bushnell Falcon 133410, a best-selling offering from one of the most respected names in the industry. They're carefully designed and can be used with glasses, but their 7x magnification may be too weak for some applications.
  • very easy to adjust focus settings
  • great value-to-price ratio
  • bulkier than other pairs
Brand Bushnell
Model 133410C
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. Steiner Military/Marine

If the Steiner Military/Marine are good enough for use by US army personnel on the battlefield, then they'll serve you just fine while you're out in the woods hunting for ducks or deer or bird watching. The one-touch center focusing makes them a pleasure to use, too.
  • auto-focus function
  • nonslip rubber-coated grip
  • not the most portable
Brand Steiner
Model 2033
Weight 2.1 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

5. Carson 3D Series

The ED glass used in the lenses of the Carson 3D Series helps reduce color fringing and corrects for chromatic aberrations, resulting in one of the crispest, clearest views out there. A nitrogen-purged body and O-ring seal make them fully waterproof and fog-proof, too.
  • ergonomic thumb grooves
  • extra-long eye relief
  • tripod mountable
Brand Carson
Model TD-842ED-p
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

4. Nikon Monarch 5

They're made by one of the leading names in optical equipment, so it's no wonder the Nikon Monarch 5 landed a spot on this list. They come in 8x or 10x magnification, and incorporate a combination of advanced features that make them especially sharp in low light.
  • polycarbonate body
  • good-looking retro design
  • also great for sporting events
Brand Nikon
Model 7540
Weight 2.1 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

3. Athlon Optics Midas

For the optical quality they offer, it's amazing these Athlon Optics Midas aren't more expensive. It's particularly surprising considering their list of specs includes phase-corrected and ESP dielectric-coated prisms, plus ED and FMC glass lenses.
  • very bright views
  • great color reproduction
  • allow for precise adjustments
Brand Athlon
Model 113004
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Bushnell Legend Ultra HD

Second only to your rifle or bow and arrow, the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD may become your new best hunting friend. The 10x magnification, 42mm objective lenses ensure your target is always in sight, while a lightweight, magnesium chassis means you'll never grow fatigued.
  • anti-reflection coating
  • ed glass for hd vision
  • backed by satisfaction guarantee
Brand Bushnell
Model 191042-parent
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Vortex Optics Diamondback

The Vortex Optics Diamondback are a top-quality choice, featuring 42-millimeter, argon-purged objective lenses with multi-coated optics and phase-corrected prisms. Together, those specs provide crisp views in all conditions, including in the rain, fog, and even snow.
  • fully weather-resistant
  • tethered objective lens covers
  • unconditional lifetime warranty
Brand Vortex Optics
Model DB-205
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

What Do I Need to Look For in a Pair of Hunting Binoculars?

The most important aspect of any pair of hunting binoculars is its ability to focus far-off objects clearly. An average pair of hunting binoculars might allow you to view objects up to 400 meters away; a superior pair might allow you to view objects up to 800 meters away. A superior pair of binoculars might also provide you with a wide sight line (e.g., 100 meters), ample depth perception, and prism-optic lighting for seeing in the dark.

Given most hunting is done in the wilderness, you'll want a pair of hunting binoculars to be either black or camouflage (green or khaki depending on the terrain). In addition, you'll want hunting binoculars to be waterproof and weather resistant, and you'll want the lenses to be dust-proof so their visibility isn't impaired.

Hunting requires you to be on the move, and yet stealthy, which is why you'll want a pair of binoculars that comes with a tight strap (so the barrels won't keep knocking against your hips). A decent pair of hunting binoculars should weigh between 12 oz and 3 lbs with heavier models being indicative of either greater utility or weaker design.

A firm grip is critical to any pair of hunting binoculars. As such, you may want to gravitate toward a model that features rivets along the barrels, or a rubber coating along the exterior. If possible, try to pursue a pair of binoculars that comes with its own storage case. A well-lined case can protect your binoculars whether they're in a tent or sitting idle in the back seat of your car.

Several Secondary Uses For a Pair of Hunting Binoculars

A pair of binoculars is made up of two low-powered, mirror-symmetrical telescopes. While these telescopes are generally resigned to daytime use, they can also be used at night. In fact, the majority of astronomers actually recommend using binoculars for any first-time stargazers. The rationale being that a pair of binoculars is simple to operate, whereas a telescope tends to play tricks on the eye.

Hunting binoculars, in particular, are well-suited to nighttime use. A lot of upscale hunting binoculars are designed with some form of optic - or even infrared - lighting, which could come in handy if your electricity goes out, or if you happen to be looking for your dog in the dark.

Hunting binoculars tend to have a wide sight line and a high-powered zoom, both of which might be useful if you happen to be at a sporting event. The zoom can allow you to zero in on what is happening downfield, or how a quarterback is releasing the ball. A high-powered zoom can also help you to determine what chords a live musician might be playing at a concert, or what a fisherman might be using to bait his hook in a far-off boat.

In short, a decent pair of binoculars can uncover what the human eye cannot see. Given hunting is a largely seasonal pastime, it's good to know that you can still use your hunting binoculars throughout every month.

A Brief History of Binoculars

The first patent application for a telescope was filed by a Dutch eyeglass maker named Jan Lippershey in 1608. Lippershey's application was denied, based on the fact that several people, including Galileo, had already introduced a very similar form of technology. Ironically, in the months that followed, Galileo and Lippershey began competing to develop a twin telescope that could be used for seeing far-off objects through both eyes.

During the mid-1600s, European inventors continued to experiment by using different combinations of quartz and glass to develop a more precise telescope. One school of thought (i.e., Galilean) was based on the idea of combining an objective lens with a concave eyepiece to bring distant objects into focus. A second school of thought (i.e., Keplerian) was based on the idea of using a convex lens to achieve the same goal.

While Keplerian optics were considered more advanced, Galilean optics laid the groundwork for what became known as field glasses. Field glasses earned their name because they were initially used by European military officers to look out over a battlefield. Field glasses were preferable to a telescope in that they were more compact, they could be worn around the neck, and they enabled a viewer to see with both eyes.

In the 1850s, an Italian optician named Ignazio Porro patented a new "image enhancement system" based on using prismatic mirrors as opposed to lenses. The Porro Prism revolutionized binoculars by allowing for depth perception, along with an unprecedented ability to capture and transfer light.

As of the 1900s, improvements in manufacturing rendered it cheaper and easier to produce a pair of binoculars. In the decades since, binoculars have gone on to represent a thriving industry, with specialized models being made for hunting, boating, surveying, range finding, combat, bird watching, and even theater-going (among other things). Today, binoculars continue to be widely used around the globe.

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Last updated on March 08, 2018 by Chase Brush

Chase is a freelance journalist with experience working in the areas of politics and public policy. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, he is also a hopeless itinerant continually awaiting his next Great Escape.

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