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Stretch every penny to get the best of what's in the binocular market.
You're looking at high quality glass, premium coatings, and ultimate durability.
You should also expect to see extra perks included that'll make you a happy Glasser.
That's what $300 buys you - happiness!
Top Binoculars Under $300
This price range offers premium binoculars without getting too crazy and is an ideal budget to have when looking for a quality optic. Rarely do you need to spend more unless you desire every bell and whistle.
But, if you're happy with high-end quality at average cost, this is it.
For a beginner, you'll land yourself a great optic. For the intermediate and pro, this is going to be enough to land you something top-notch and dependable for the field.
For the perks, frills, and twills that will get the job done, 300 dollars are going to go a long way!
|Vortex Optics Diamondback HD 10x42||CHECK PRICE|
|Leupold BX-2 Alpine HD 10X42||CHECK PRICE|
|Nikon Monarch 5 8×42||CHECK PRICE|
|Athlon Optics Midas 8X42||CHECK PRICE|
|Upland Optics Perception HD 10X42||CHECK PRICE|
|Bushnell Engage 12X50||CHECK PRICE|
The 6 Best Binoculars Under $300
1. Vortex Diamondback HD 10x42 – Best Overall
When Vortex overhauled the Diamondback series, they not only brought HD elements to the picture but also upgrades to the build quality. Still kept at an affordable price, the Diamondback HD is still the epitome of guaranteed value.
- HD optics
- Adjustable eyecups
- Argon gas
- Magnesium chassis
- Accessories complaints
Optically, the HD model performs well but there is some off-edge coma but nothing outside of the expected performance for the price range. It is sharp and clear at the center even out to extended distances.
While Vortex only discloses an HD Optical System with “select glass elements,” there is no other information and minor CA is apparent. Overall, it offers optical quality representative of its price point and is one of the best available compared to similarly priced alternatives.
More upgrades come in the form of specialized roof prism coatings with PC dielectric layers. It also sports a magnesium chassis and argon-purged barrels which both are usually features only seen in high-end models.
For its 10x42 platform, it has less than average FOV of 330 feet/1000 yards, and the eye relief of 15mm will be annoying for some glasses wearers, but it does have multi-position eyecups. What it does prove to do well for its configuration is keeping weight to a minimum. It’s one of the lightest binos at 21 oz for its well-made build.
It comes with many accessories including a harness and separate GlassPak case. Some are more critical than others saying the case is noisy, doesn’t quite fit properly, and that the rainguard should be tethered, etc. Think of it this way. Take what you get as binos that cost 4x more don’t come with the extra freebies.
2. Leupold BX-2 Alpine HD 10x42 – Best for Hunting
The latest release of the BX-2 Alpine binoculars maintains their compatibility for all things outdoors. It’s in the upper spectrum of the entry-level category and is one of the best in the industry for quality and value.
- Twist-up eyecups
- Advanced Optical System
- Extreme Climate Exposure
- Included accessories
- Focus & eyecup play
The drawback is that there is some minor play in the focus wheel and the eyecups may give you some grief. With 15mm of eye relief, it doesn’t fit at as tight as some would like but is a little too tight for glasses wearers.
The Alpine HD binoculars have a good FOV of 342 feet/1000 yards for its 10x42 configuration and is on the lightweight end of things for weight at 28oz. Its specs are well within standard perimeters for mid-size, all-purpose binoculars.
While the optical quality is exceptionally well-done for its mid $200 price point, it shouldn’t be compared to binos twice the price. It works well for average hunting distances and in lowlight. With fogproof and waterproof housing, it’s ready to handle the conditions of a spot and stalk Winter alpine hunt.
It’s been exposed to extreme climate temperatures and is rated for -40 to 160-degrees Fahrenheit. The glass is scratch and smudge resistant with an exterior lens coating to prevent accidents that happen while in the brush.
It comes with Pro Gear accessories including a GO Afield binocular harness and other tidbits. For a binocular that comes ready for chest strapping, harsh hunting conditions, and all at the low price of under $300 with a Lifetime Guarantee protecting it, the choice to choose the a cheap hunting binocular is done.
3. Nikon Monarch 5 8x42 Binocular Review
Just one look at the new Monarch 5 will tell you that it's lighter in weight and sleeker in design.
While the awesome dielectric and phase correction coatings with the ED glass make the image quality outstanding, the older Monarch 5 binoculars have them too.
It's completely weatherproof, and it has extended eye relief. If there's a Nikon that won't let you down, it's this Monarch 5!
4. Athlon Optics Midas 8X42 Binocular Review
We're impressed and you should be, too. Athlon reckons these binoculars have been touched by Midas himself because these pair are said to set the gold standard for binoculars in their class. What class is that?
It looks like it's the high-end, luxury class with the unbelievably low-end price tag.
- ED glass
- FMC optics
- Specialized coatings
- Wide FOV
- Squishy focus knob
Everyone agrees - the Midas bino is a premium optic. With FMC optics and ED glass, image quality is promised to be sharp, free of color fringing, and a reflection of true color fidelity. But, it wouldn't be the gold standard if it didn't have more.
Specialized coatings include an ESP Dielectric coating and a phase coating to get those roof prisms up to par. An XPL Protective Coating does what you expect - you guessed it, protects the objectives from debris, dirt, and scratches.
Its specs are especially attractive with a wide FOV of 426 ft (@1000 yds), a long 17.2 mm of eye relief, and light weight of 25 ounces. With an 8x42 configuration, you're set to hunt, stroll, or bird watch at your leisure without the constraints of large-sized binoculars and yet with full-size performance.
But, there are rare instances of the Midas bino having a squishy or over-greased focus knob. Additionally, the rainguard (one-piece lens cover) that comes included with the Midas is unfortunately and incorrectly seen as "broken" by buyers, however, this is a design feature.
The rainguard has loops on either side that allows for the neck strap to be looped through before attaching to the binocular. One loop on the rainguard has a slit that allows it to be quickly removed from one side of the strap to dangle or hang on the side.
It's a feature that allows for versatile attachment or detachment.
With excellent optics, seductive specs, a decent price, and accessories that are actually better than what most people can wrap their heads around - we think the Midas binoculars may just have been touched by Midas himself.
5. Upland Optics Perception HD 10X42 - Best Value
- Exceptional Clarity with Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) Glass
- Built to Survive the Hunt: Waterproof, Fogproof, and a Durable Rubber Body
Who is Upland Optics? They're an American brand out of Idaho. They're a brand that loves hunting. They're an up-and-coming manufacturer, and we like what they stand for. Apparently, so do many others that are buying up their Perception HD binoculars.
- ED glass
- Focusing issues
The Perception HD binoculars propel themselves into this price range with quality features specifically outfitted for the hunter. The first thing we notice is the ED glass that should be a staple for all binoculars in this price class. Color fringing will be a thing of the past and edge-to-edge clarity will be your future.
But, achieving ultimate clarity and resolution can be hard to attain if you can't focus your optic. It doesn't seem to happen very often, but there are a few complaints of focusing issues that includes being too stiff or not fine enough.
However, this very well could be a subjective complaint and/or user error as many forget to set the diopter.
Additional features that are important to hunters is the size. If it's too heavy and bulky to use as a practical tool in the hunt, it may as well stay in the truck.
Fortunately, Upland Optics are hunters themselves, and so they know the 23 oz weight and 5.5 x 5 x 2 in size is ideal when you're hiking, loaded with a rifle and pack, and sweating bullets under Mossy Oak camo.
They also know your binoculars must be able to withstand the unpredictable conditions of a hunt be it rain, snow, or the accidental tumble from the tree stand.
That's why the Perception HD is rubber armored, fogproof, and waterproof and is one of the best hunting binoculars under $300.
With all these quality features right within your price range, we'd say the Perception HD binoculars allow you to perceive the world differently. You might even say, better.
6. Bushnell Engage 12X50 Binocular Review
If your hunting style, backpacking adventure, and wildlife tour allows for it, go big with a 12x50 binocular. Get more light and sight by doing yourself right with the Engage binocular.
- High power
- 50 mm apertures
- ED glass
- Specialized coatings
- Eye relief
The very few complaints that exist are about unforgiving eye relief. Bushnell claims it's 15 mm on the 12x50 model, but in reality, users suspect it's shorter judging by comfort alone.
Taking a once-over look on the body, it has a magnesium alloy frame with rubber armor for shock, impact, and scratch protection. A locking diopter is a quality feature, and the large 50 mm apertures certainly promise some low-light action.
The focus on compact and lightweight optics are all the rage these days. Sizing up at 6.5 inches and weighing in at 29.2 ounces, it's right in line with competing 12x50 binoculars in the market.
Further adding to its appeal is the high 12x magnification that gets you up close and personal, and of course, the Engage can be mounted to a tripod for steady glassing sessions.
Specialized glass treatments include dielectric, phase-correction, and ultrawide band coatings for edge-to-edge sharpness, brighter and clearer images, and true color fidelity. The objectives have ED glass to reduce chromatic aberrations and provide HD image quality.
Bushnell's new EXO Barrier Protection is carefully layered onto the objectives to repel dirt, dust, rain - you name it, and protect against scratches when you forgetfully wipe with your sleeve.
Lead-free glass, an IPX7 rating, twist-up eyecups, and FMC optics finish up what we have to say about the Engage binoculars. That's a whole mouthful of features right there, and this is the epitome of quality to expect in this price range. Bushnell has set the bar high.
What to Look for in Binoculars in the $200-$300 Price Range
With three hundred dollars to spend on a brand new binocular, you'll want the very best. The very best should include top-notch glass coatings, comfortable eye relief, and high quality build. Extra perks are a must-have in this price range.
Anything less needs to be kicked down a notch to the under $200 budget category.
You should also be looking out for a decent warranty for your binocular buy. Spending this kind of cash on a binocular should land you in the best of what your potential brand has to offer.
- Glass: The higher the quality, the better. Exception glass components should be present in this price range. Ex. ED, HD, and Eco glass.
- Coatings: Expect the best in this category. Additional prism-specific coatings should also be expected in this price range.
- High power 10X42: You want to make sure you get accurate distances with these binoculars by being brand-specific.
- Eye relief 13-18 mm: Ensure your investment is comfortable to glass with.
- Exit pupil 3-5 mm: Smaller than 3 mm? Expect to lose out on a lot of light-gathering potential.
- Durability: You definitely want to look for a fully armored body for ultimate protection.
- Quality Warranty: If you're spending the best of what you can afford, ensure you have a warranty to match the quality of your investment. Look for No-Fault, Unlimited Lifetime, and No Questions Asked warranties.
|Binocular||Power||Prism Type||Glass Type|
|Vortex Optics Diamondback HD||10x42||Roof Prism||Bak-4|
|Leupold BX-2 Alpine HD||10x42||Roof Prism||Bak-4|
|Nikon Monarch 5||8x42||Roof Prism||Bak-4|
|Athlon Optics Midas||8x42||Roof Prism||Bak-4|
|Upland Optics Perception HD||10x42||Roof Prism||Bak-4|
|Bushnell Engage||12x50||Roof Prism||Bak-4|
|Binocular||Power||Eye Relief||Exit Pupil|
|Vortex Optics Diamondback HD||10x42||15 mm||4.2 mm|
|Leupold BX-2 Alpine HD||10x42||15 mm||4.2 mm|
|Nikon Monarch 5||8x42||19.5 mm||5.3 mm|
|Athlon Optics Midas||8x42||17.2 mm||5.25 mm|
|Upland Optics Perception HD||10x42||15.2 mm||4.2 mm|
|Bushnell Engage||12x50||15 mm||4.1 mm|
$300 Buys You Luxury!
Here, you're seeing premium perks for only a few hundred bucks. You're getting the best of what the optic world offers. Sure, you can spend a heck of a lot more, but that extra money only enhances what you're already buying here.
There's only a few additional features that can be added to kick this budget higher, but this price range offers it all.
If you want to glass in luxury, $300 is all you need!
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