Best Hunting Binocular Reviews: Our 2017 Guide Includes the Top Brands & How to Choose Value for Money

Male Hunter Using BinocularsArguably, when it comes to hunting, a pair of quality binoculars are just as important as your rifle scope – just try glassing an entire area for several hours at a time before your shoulder gets stiff and your rifle feels like a concrete block.

And, don’t forget the most important benefit of using binos in your hunt – you can use it with both eyes open.

If you’re in the market for the best pair of hunting binoculars, then you’re in luck because you’ve come to the right site. We have put together in-depth and well-researched reviews about various types of hunting optics to help you in your search to buy one.

From compact and pocket-sized, to giant beasts that rule the optic world, we’ll take you through all the brands and binos worth mentioning.

 

Best Binoculars for the Money

Since everybody’s budget is different, just telling you which binos we think are ‘best’ may not be very helpful to you – especially when some of the best binoculars in the world will run you up thousands of dollars.

Instead, we have considered several price ranges that the typical hunter may be looking in, from beginners to experts and everyone in between. From there, we have collated a list of what we consider to be the top binos for that price range, considering quality of glass, coatings, durability and extra features.

In doing so, our goal has been to present to you the binos that are the best quality for the money you have available to spend. There is something for everybody here.

Nikon 8245 ACULON A211 8x42 Binocular
UNDER $100
7 of the best binos below $100
legend-L-series-10x42
UNDER $200
6 of the best binos below $200
vortex optics diamondback 10x42 2016
UNDER $300
4 of the best binos below $300
Zeiss Terra 10x42 ED Binoculars
UNDER $500
5 of the best binos below $500
Zeiss Conquest HD Binoculars 10x42
UNDER $1000
6 of the best binos below $1000
el-range-10x42
OVER $1000
6 of the best high-end binos

 

Best Binocular Brands

If you haven’t yet figured out how much you are willing to invest in your next bino purchase, you might prefer to shop by brand instead of budget level.

Below is an A-Z line-up of optics companies who we consider to be among the best in the world at producing top-quality binoculars. Some of them are considered low-budget brands, while others are indisputably world-class – and have the price tags to match.

Whichever the case, we have reviewed our top picks from each brands bino line, and those are the reviews you will see below.

 

Barska

When it comes to variety, I don’t think any other brand does it quite like Barska does. But, if that’s what you’re looking for within the low budget category, our Barska review will take you through nine of the best Barska hunting binos to date.

When you want a taste of various features and a peek at many different types of optics while still staying within your budget, you can rely on Barska.

 

Bushnell

This is another brand that does “variety” on a rather large scale, but Bushnell does it well. And, it’s got to mean something if they’ve been in the optics business for almost an entire century.

They deserve to be a brand that hunters automatically think of when it comes to fulfilling their optics needs. And, to prove it, two of the Bushnell binos we featured were awarded with recognition from the prestigious Outdoor Life authority magazine.

Bushnell is an American brand you can trust.

 

Celestron

Looking for a low budget bino will definitely have you coming across Celestron, a brand that’s been nationally recognized for over 50 years.

While most of you may think of telescopes and optics for the heavens, you might be surprised that they know how to dish it up for hunters as well.

And they don’t believe high prices should keep you from high end features. They’ll have you fixed up with quality Glass for less than $200.

 

Leupold

An American brand with German glass.

I don’t know that there’s a brand that handles customer service just as seriously as they do their state-of-the-art and advanced technologies, their quality glass, and manufacturing procedures.

When you deal with Leupold, you’re dealing with the best – not just in optics, but from every experience you have with them. If its starting with the research before you buy or dealing with a repair or warranty service, this is a brand that lives up to their acclaimed reputation.

 

Meopta

If you want Schott glass, the latest features, and the best coatings for the very lowest amount you can possibly spend, then Meopta is your brand – hands down.

And, although you may have never heard of them, Meopta is actually older than many of the brands that you can spout off in a heartbeat. With a deep history in serving the military, Meopta proves they can do the same for the hunter.

 

Nikon

This is one of those brands that either your buddy uses or you have one for yourself – it’s that much of a household name, and for good reason too.

They competitively stay in the optics field with the latest technologies integrated into their medium price range binos – and they have a lot of them too.

But, don’t just plan on being satisfied by Nikon, plan on having your expectations exceeded – that’s how good they are.

 

Redfield

Redfield has proven to be successful within the low budget market without the marketing disguises and gimmicks. They’ve been so beneficial to the hunter that it makes you wonder why more optics companies haven’t ditched the marketing gimmicks already…

But, Redfield can afford to. They have the quality behind their products to leave behind the extra distractions that can quickly complicate optic use. And, with a bright, clear, and sharp image, what more do you need?

 

Simmons

Getting a great deal is in the best interest of all hunters (and their spouses), and Simmons certainly fulfills this requirement. With low budget prices to match their quality low budget binos, you won’t ever have to spend a penny more.

With only 13 options to choose from, you know you’re dealing with the absolute best of what they have to get you out in the field and glassing like a pro.

If you want the scoop on Simmons’ top binoculars priced under $100, then our Simmons review will dish it up!

 

Steiner

Obsessed. Indestructible. World-class. This about sums up the German optics fanatic brand.

So, if you’re looking for a bino that will endure heavy and harsh use, one that will last for a lifetime, and one that has excellent glass quality, Steiner can deliver.

Be prepared to meet a brand that’s just as wild-eyed and zealous about optics as you are, perhaps, more so. Steiner, meet Hunter. Hunter, meet your match.

 

Swarovski Optiks

Our Swarovski reviews are not for the faint of heart or the light of wallet. With such high quality in demand, Swaro meets it with a quality price to match. But, can you expect anything less from the world’s favorite optics brand?

If you’re already a Swaro fan, then you know exactly what to expect from our review. For all others, only read it if you dare. If you can’t afford it, be prepared to look but not touch.

 

Tasco

If you’ve been playing around with binos for as long as you can remember, then most likely, you would’ve dropped, abused, and replaced more than a few Tascos in your lifetime.

And, it’s a good thing that they’re affordable. All you need to do is raid the change jar for one, or perhaps your five year old’s piggy bank. For a recreational, fun, and entry level bino, Tasco has got the working man’s budget in mind.

So, for a full rundown on what a $10-$50 binocular would look like out in the field, check out our reviews here.

 

Vortex Optics

Vortex is a brand that thinks up and makes optics for the outdoor enthusiast. We’re talking about hunters, bird watchers, and all types of muddy, grubby, and wildlife lovers.

And, the best thing about them, they stick to the price ranges that most of us hunters would like to see, but they go the extra mile when it comes to quality. Our reviews will give you all the nitty gritty details.

 

Zeiss

Everyone knows Zeiss. And, if you don’t, then you ought to be ashamed and get clued in with our review. But, here’s a clue to their weighty name – they’re the sole shareholder of Schott AG… that’s right.

They are up there as one of the world’s most well-known optics companies. And, if you ever got your hands on one of their binos, you’d be hooked for life.

With such a prestigious reputation to live up to, you can be sure that every penny you spend will be worth double in optical performance.

 

8 Essentials to Consider When Shopping for Binoculars

1

Additional Features

4 Features to Consider for Your Next BinocularOne of the biggest factors that will help you to determine an appropriate price range is whether or not you want to consider additional features.

And, if you decide that you’re not going to snub your nose to what could be a really cool add-on, you might want to check out our Binocular Features article that addresses the ins and outs of these high-tech features.

From laser rangefinding binoculars like these, to image stabilization, you could be missing out on some time-saving and image quality benefits that you’d never know about if you didn’t give it a try.

 

2

Eyecups

4 Essential Binocular Adjustments to Master TodayNo matter how small and inconsequential eyecups may seem to be, they actually have a large role in whether or not you’re going to be able to get any quality use out of your bino.

In fact, their function and proper use is tied up in many other aspects, such as eye relief, field of view, IPD, image quality, and of course, comfort.

To get caught up with how your choice of eyecups will affect your hunt, you better read our “4 Essential Adjustments to Master Today” article.

 

3

Exit Pupil

If you’re familiar with rifle scopes, you might be a little turned off by most of the exit pupil sizes you see in binos. But, don’t make any uneducated decisions without being informed.

Most glassing is usually done during the day when the human pupil is open to to around 2-3 mm. So, if you know what you’re huntin’, when you’re huntin’, and what you’re huntin’ with, you’ll want to make sure that a conventional daytime bino will do what you need it to do.

If you’re not sure about the whole exit pupil thing and how it will work out for your hunting style, our in-depth “How to Focus Your Binos” article will clear up your cloudy understanding.

 

4

Eye Relief

How to Focus and Calibrate Binoculars CorrectlyKnowing this about binos can make all the difference between making an excellent and well-informed purchase to a buy that you mightn’t ever get any quality use out of.

That’s because the distance from your eyes to the ocular lenses matters – a lot. And, for glasses-wearers, you’re going to want enough eye relief to ensure you’re not getting jipped on the short end of the stick when it comes to quality viewing.

The article found here will get into all the specific details on what you need to know about eye relief.

 

5

Focus Systems

While most binos sport the center focus system, you might not realize you could get more benefit out of another type of focus system – the Individual Focus System.

Or, perhaps the conventional center focus could be improved to really make speedy glassing convenient without causing quality degradation.

Knowing your focus system options and correct calibrating instructions is vital information if you want to get maximum use out of your bino. But, how would you know what’s what if you haven’t read our “How to Focus & Calibrate Your Binoculars” article?

 

6

Prism Type

Roof Prism VS Porro Prism BinocularsRoof or Porro? It’s a legitimate question since optically, they’re different. And, with roof prism optics on the rise, you mightn’t want to discard the porro just yet since there may be some benefits that a low budget roof bino can’t offer.

And, if you didn’t know, a porro prism is actually, at its core, optically superior to the roof prism. But, if you want more on this, you’re going to have to read our article Roof Prism vs Porro Prism that explains everything there is to know about the on-going roof versus porro prism controversy.

 

7

Magnification

Just as important as it is to decide whether you want a fixed zoom or a variable on a rifle scope, it’s also important to decide this for a binocular.

But, what are the ups and downs of a variable power? And, why doesn’t your favorite brand make one?

While there’s advantages and disadvantages of both types of power options, you might want to consult with this informative article before you blindly buy a zoom bino.

 

8

Master the Terminology

Glossary of Binocular Features & TerminologyHappily researching the optics world will soon leave you feeling like you’re wading in mud if you can’t keep up with all the terms and jargon.

All the doublespeak, slanguage, and buzzwords can end up sounding like a bunch of gibberish and twaddle.

Being able to discern between quality features and the fancy 50 million ways there are to describe the same thing is a gift in and of itself. And, it’s a gift that Target Tamers can impart on you with our Glossary of Bino Features & Terminology.

 

What Makes the Best Hunting Binoculars?

The best binoculars for hunting are going to be the ones that give you a clear, bright, and sharp image of your target. Even better ones can give you a view that puts you right there in front of it. And, all hunters desire this kind of quality glassing.

From prepping for the upcoming hunt to comfortably glassing for hours without raising your rifle to your shoulder every single time, a bino certainly has its place in the sport. So hunt the market as you would the field – safely, wisely, and with a lot of fun!