The average person may think that they have no need for binoculars, believing that this piece of ‘specialist equipment’ would serve no purpose for them and is only really useful for people involved in hobbies requiring spotting things at a distance. However, we’re here to tell you that the average person just doesn’t realize how useful and versatile a pair of the best binoculars can really be.
Along with general use for far-to-near seeing, some of the most common activities people use binoculars for include:
- Whale watching
- Sport spectating
As you can see, binoculars are more than just a one-purpose piece of equipment to have around the home. But, when it comes to buying a pair, you’ll quickly notice that binoculars have a number rating. Before we jump into the best binoculars on the market, let’s explore what those numbers mean and how to choose the best binoculars for you.
What Do the Numbers Mean?
When you begin your search for the best binoculars available, you’ll quickly notice that each pair of binoculars is usually accompanied by two numbers given in the form of AxB. These numbers actually indicate two important factors. The strength of magnification (A) and the size (diameter) of the objective lens in millimeters (B). So, for example, a set of 8×42 binoculars will magnify the object you’re looking at eight times when compared to your unassisted eye. The 42 indicates that the objective lens diameter is 42 millimeters across.
How to Choose the Right Binoculars for You
Now that you understand some of the basics about the different binocular models available, it’s time to think about how you should apply this when picking out the best binoculars for you. In general, you can relate the B value to the overall size of the binoculars, meaning if you’re after a compact and lightweight pair, you’ll likely prioritize lower B values — usually 30mm or under. However, if your priority is greater magnification, pick a pair with an A value 10 or greater.
These values also relate to other factors you need to consider, including the amount of light that passes through your binoculars as well as the field of view available, which can be especially beneficial when searching for objects or animals on the move.
Lastly, in addition to the quality of the optics (which accounts for a lot of the price differences), it’s a good idea to think about some superficial yet highly functional elements. Some important features you may want on your binoculars are:
- Front and back lens covers (which can be tethered)
- A padded neck strap for greater comfort
- All-round waterproofing
- Anti-fog technology
- Color or decals
- Accompanying case
Once you’ve got a good idea of what the best binoculars for you may look like, scroll through our top 11 picks and find the pair best suited to your needs.
1. Vortex Optics Diamondback HD Binoculars
If you’re not familiar with the Vortex brand, you can think of them as the Apple, or perhaps the Frosted Flakes, of the binocular world. In short, they’re great, as demonstrated by the Vortex Optics Diamondback HD Binoculars which have received positive reviews from over 95% of Amazon users. These binoculars are available in sizes ranging from 8×28 to 15×56 and sport Vortex’s attractive and functional navy green exterior. Furthermore, the majority of models include a comfortable neck strap and carrying case. They are also waterproof and fog sealed, meaning they’re great in all weather.
2. Obuby Binoculars
BEST FOR KIDS
It’s not just adults who enjoy being able to see things far away. With these 8×21 Obuby Binoculars in their hands, your kids will be able to join in with the fun, too. These lightweight, compact binoculars are available in 13 different colors and include rubber eyepieces for comfortable viewing. Plus, they come with a number of handy extras, including a cleaning cloth, a velvet drawstring storage bag and a velcro case.
3. Visanol 12×42 Compact Binoculars
At just over $30, and with a magnification strength of 12, it’s hard to beat these Visanol 12×42 Compact Binoculars for a power-per-dollar value. They come with a case, a strap and tethered caps, and they sport an anti-slip grip covering on each barrel for security during use. Plus, add into the equation that these quality binoculars are also waterproof and resistant to wear from use, and you can be confident these budget-friendly binoculars are going to make you happy.
4. Hontry Compact Waterproof Binoculars
The Hontry Compact Waterproof Binoculars come in either a green or black finish and in either 8×42 or 10×42 models. They include a fully foldable design that allows them to fold down to a compact size when not in use. The rubber exterior provides a secure hold, while the 10mm eye relief further adds to the general comfort of the user. Additionally, as the binoculars are IPX6 rated, these nitrogen-filled binocs are both water and fog proof, meaning they’re ideal for wet conditions.
5. L.L.Bean Discovery Sport Binoculars
BEST FOR SPORTS
If you’re looking for better views at sporting events, the L.L.Bean Discovery Sport Binoculars could be the choice for you. These own-brand binoculars offer strength 10x25mm size, meaning plenty of magnification in a compact model. They’re also waterproof and fog proof, available in either black or green and come with a protective storage case and neck strap.
6. Adasion Binoculars
BEST SMARTPHONE CONVERTER
If being able to see something cool first hand is pretty awesome, being able to capture it on your smartphone is even better. And that’s exactly what this super smart pair of Adasion Binoculars allows. Using the incredibly designed smartphone adapter, which is included in the set, you’ll be able to align your smartphone camera with a single barrel to take advantage of the magnification and achieve photography comparable to that of a much more expensive setup. Skeptical? We suggest you check out the 1,900 five-star reviews on Amazon.
7. Celestron Nature DX Binoculars
Another well-reviewed option with a smartphone adapter is the Celestron Nature DX Binoculars. They’re available in a range of different sizes, including 8×32 at the most compact end and 12×56 as the largest and most magnifying option. The dark green color makes them well suited to natural observation, while the BAK-4 prisms and phase coating deliver a view full of contrast and sharper details.
8. Nikon Prostaff 7S Binoculars
In addition to positive reviews from over 95% of Amazon users, these Nikon Prostaff 7S Binoculars are supplied with several handy extras. The velcro-closure storage case gives you a place to keep your binoculars when they’re not being used, while the caps provide protection and keep the glass clean. You’ll also find a comfortable neck strap as well as a cleaning cloth and lens pen to keep your binoculars in tip-top condition.
9. Leupold BX-2 Acadia Binoculars
If comfort is your priority, you’ll struggle to find a better choice than these Leupold BX-2 Acadia Binoculars. They are supplied with a neck strap built for stability and comfort. They also include a lifetime guarantee and are both 100% waterproof and fog proof. The design includes twist-up eyecups to provide greater comfort during use, while the BAK 4 Prisms deliver a crisp and clean view.
10. Athlon Optics Midas Roof Prism UHD Binoculars
One of the biggest reasons a pair of binoculars may be more or less expensive is the quality of the optics inside. In these Athlon Optics Midas Roof Prism UHD Binoculars, you’ll get some of the best quality glass available, delivering a view few other binoculars can offer. The ED glass shows next to no chromatic fringing, especially compared to the competition, meaning you see a clearer, crisper image. Furthermore, these waterproof binoculars also feature a non-slip cover on the barrels for added grip.
11. Maven C1 ED Binoculars
With high-quality optics, impressive reviews and a stylish orange and grey color scheme, the Maven C1 ED Binoculars tick all the boxes. For better-than-average comfort, the binoculars sport 16mm eye relief. In addition, for visual clarity, the lenses are made from extra low-dispersion (ED) glass with a number of coatings that offer clear, bright and color-filled views. Construction-wise, these binoculars feature a lightweight, polymer frame, and they are scratch-resistant, waterproof and fog proof, too. And, as the premium option on our list, they are, of course, covered by an unconditional lifetime warranty, meaning they may very well be the last binoculars you ever purchase.