Updated September 25, 2020 by Karen Bennett

The 10 Best Long Range Binoculars

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This wiki has been updated 11 times since it was first published in May of 2019. A quality pair of long-range binoculars is perfect if you’re into bird watching, wildlife viewing, hunting, or astronomy. They can provide a high magnification along with clear, bright images, for an impressive, up-close-and-personal look of your target. Our list includes a wide variety of models offering different features and accessories, and options suitable for most budgets. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best long range binocular on Amazon.

10. Orion 9326

9. Vanguard 8x42

8. Nikon Monarch 10x42

7. Celestron 71332

6. Carson 3D

5. Nikon Aculon 8250

4. Celestron SkyMaster 71017

3. Steiner Optics HX

2. Vortex Optics Kaibab

1. Celestron Echelon 71454

Special Honors

Oberwerk 25x100mm Deluxe Well suited for serious stargazers or those who are into long-range terrestrial viewing, this model is available in your choice of either individual focus or center focus, the latter of which comes in handy when you’re trying to view a moving target. Its new prison mounting system utilizes precision floating plates to maintain alignment. All the exterior glass surfaces feature a full-broadband coating, and the waterproof metal construction is covered with protective rubber armor. oberwerk.com

Editor's Notes

September 22, 2020:

We added in the German-made Steiner Optics HX in today’s update, a high-quality pair that employ an advanced coating on the exterior lenses that helps protect from fingerprints, smears, dust, dirt, and water, so they’ll give you bright, crisp images in even tough weather conditions. The frames are made of rubber-armored polycarbonate, and have been redesigned for a comfortable fit in the hands. If you don’t want to hold them for long periods of time, though, they’re outfitted with a tripod mount as well. Their fast-close-focus technology requires little rotation on your part for a sharp picture whether you’re looking at something close up or far away. They replace the ESSLNB Giant, a budget-friendly set which, true to their name, are extremely large and heavy, but to the point many users report trouble with handling them.

We also replaced the Celestron SkyMaster 71018 with the more powerful Celestron SkyMaster 71017, which features large 100-millimeter objective lenses (the manufacturer’s largest aperture available in a binocular) and 25x magnification. It makes for a nice pair of astronomy binoculars, and comes with a built-in photo tripod adapter for convenient hands-free use. Their Porro prism design helps ensure you’ll see crisp, clear images with every look. They’re equipped with a zippered storage pouch, a cleaning cloth, and a rain guard. They join the Celestron Echelon 71454 on the list, another model by the same manufacturer, and their multi-coated optics provide sharp, clear views. They offer a sturdy, waterproof construction and are purged with nitrogen to ward off fogging. We’re still partial to the Vortex Optics Kaibab, which are quite an investment, but which many find worthwhile, thanks to their impressive color sharpness and high-definition images. They won’t slip out of your hands easily, no matter the weather, thanks to their rubber coating, and a neck strap also helps keep them secure.

May 13, 2019:

Factors to consider when shopping around for long-range binoculars include magnification power and objective lens size (the first and second numbers listed in each of their descriptions, respectively). A simple formula to determine if the objective lens is large enough for the magnification is to divide the second number by the first. This will provide the diameter of light in millimeters, or the exit pupil. For instance, a set listed as 25x100 would have an exit pupil of 4. Staying at 3 mm or above is generally a good rule of thumb.

With high magnification often comes a large objective lens, which translates to a heavier set of binoculars. Such models often need to be mounted on a tripod, or else your arms would become fatigued quickly, spoiling all your fun. If you plan to go with a pair on the weightier side, check out the 10-pound Orion 9326 and the six-pound Celestron SkyMaster 71018. Both of these selections feature ultra-clear images and maximum light transmission, while providing a generous exit pupil of 4 mm.

If you prefer to hold your binoculars in your hands, however, there are plenty of smaller, yet still high-performing, models on our list with impressive specs. The Celestron Echelon 71454 are built to hold up in all weather conditions, and they come with a hard, handled case. The Nikon Aculon 8250 are designed with comfort in mind, when it comes to both the eyecups and the body design. And they’re one of the lower-priced sets on our list, to boot. When it comes to exit pupil size, both of these come in solidly at just over 3 mm.

The Vortex Optics Kaibab are a deluxe set, with a price tag to prove it, but they’ll give you images with superior contrast and high definition. For models that conveniently come with a smartphone adapter, look to the Nikon Monarch 10x42 or the ESSLNB Giant.

Karen Bennett
Last updated on September 25, 2020 by Karen Bennett

Karen Bennett lives in Chicago with her family, and when she’s not writing, she can usually be found practicing yoga or cheering on her kids at soccer games. She holds a master’s.degree in journalism and a bachelor’s in English, and her writing has been published in various local newspapers, as well as “The Cheat Sheet,” “Illinois Legal Times,” and “USA Today.” She has also written search engine news page headlines and worked as a product manager for a digital marketing company. Her expertise is in literature, nonfiction, textbooks, home products, kids' games and toys, hardware, teaching accessories, and art materials.

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