Best Spotting Scope under $100: We Look at the Top Cheap Scopes that are Good Value in 2023

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Best Spotting Scope Under 100

Did you not realize you could get a spotter for under 100 bucks?

Don't dismiss these options too fast since these scopes have a few surprises up their sleeves, or should I say rubber armors?

If you're in a rush and need something today, we have more than a few spotters that'll get the job done!

QUICK LIST: 7 Best Spotting Scopes Under $100 In 2023

  1. Barska Blackhawk 18-36×50
  2. Emarth 20-60x60AE
  3. Firefield 12-36X50 SE
  4. Barska Colorado 15-40×50
  5. SVBONY SV28 25-75x70
  6. Simmons Venture 15-45x60
  7. Roxant Blackbird 12-36x50

The Best Cheap Spotting Scopes for Under $100

Not everyone needs the optical precision a long-range marksman needs from a $2000 spotting scope. Sometimes, all it's going to take is a nice, crisp $100 bill, give or take a little, to get your glassing done.

If you're a hunter or shooter that needs to see bullet groupings at around 100 yards or you just need a little more reach than what your 10X42 binos can get you out in the field, an affordable spotting scope is where you want to look.

Hunters, target shooters, and even birders who want the best value spotting scope for their sport will appreciate the qualities that we've pored over in these cheap spotting scopes. We took into account the ease of use, optical performance, and low price-tags.

IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS
tt-table__imageBarska Blackhawk 18-36×50
  • Magnification: 18-36X 50mm
  • Configuration: Angled
  • Eye Relief / Exit Pupil: 20-17mm/ 2.8-1.4 mm
CHECK PRICE
tt-table__imageEmarth 20-60x60AE
  • Magnification: 20-60X 60mm
  • Configuration: Angled
  • Eye Relief / Exit Pupil: 17-13.5mm/ 3.2-1.10mm
CHECK PRICE
tt-table__imageFirefield 12-36x50 SE
  • Magnification: 12-36X 50mm
  • Configuration: Straight
  • Eye Relief / Exit Pupil: 18.9-15.3mm/ 4.1-1.4mm
CHECK PRICE
tt-table__imageBarska Colorado 15-40×50
  • Magnification: 15-40X 50mm
  • Configuration: Angled
  • Eye Relief / Exit Pupil: 10-13 mm/ 1.25-3.57 mm
CHECK PRICE
tt-table__imageSVBONY SV28
  • Magnification: 25-75X 70 mm
  • Configuration: Angled
  • Eye Relief / Exit Pupil: 16-14 mm / 2.8-0.9 mm
CHECK PRICE
tt-table__imageSimmons Venture 15-45x60
  • Magnification: 15-45X 60mm
  • Configuration: Straight
  • Eye Relief / Exit Pupil: 15.24-12.7mm/ 4-1.3mm
CHECK PRICE
tt-table__imageRoxant Blackbird
  • Magnification: 12-36X 50 mm
  • Configuration: Angled
  • Eye Relief / Exit Pupil: Unknown / 4.1-1.4 mm
CHECK PRICE

Our 7 Top Spotting Scopes Less Than $100

1. Barska Blackhawk 18-36x50

Barska Blackhawk 18-36X50
Image Credit: Barska

The Blackhawk is one of 50 in the Top Seller's Ranks for spotting scopes. This is a dead give-away that it's going to perform the way you expect it to. This is all thanks to some pretty nice perks the Blackhawk offers. You've got an extremely wide field of view, excellent, extended eye-relief, and a very practical magnification range absolutely suitable for the hunter.

You will want to baby this optic though, it's going to need some TLC when it's out in the field. However, you don't have much room to complain since it's under 100 bucks. With a consistent low price and consistent clarity for your shooting needs, what more do you need? You've got eyes like a hawk with this Blackhawk spotting scope!

2. Emarth 20-60X60AE

Emarth 20-60x60AE 45 Degree Angled Spotting Scope with Tripod, Phone Adapter,...
4,252 Reviews
Emarth 20-60x60AE 45 Degree Angled Spotting Scope with Tripod, Phone Adapter,...
  • ✅【High Magnification】This spotting scope features a powerful zoom magnification range that adjustable 20x to 60x magnification,45 degree angled eyepiece ergonomic...
  • ✅【Fully Multi-coated Lens】The lens are all fully multi-coated and features BAK4 roof prism to increases light transmission and delivers bright, clear, high-contrast...

Aesthetically pleasing, 20-60X power range, and fully weatherproof-what more do you need? Oh yeah, you might also need the ergonomic design, fully multi-coated optics, and lifetime support guarantee that this Emarth scope offers. Everything about this spotter is decent. If you don't need anything fancy, custom, or complicated, the Emarth is your best bet.

Mediocre has never been a bad thing, and it might be what you're looking for if you need a first-time buy. Take a risk on the cheap spotting scope and see what it can do for you. You don't get to be a glassing pro overnight, it's going to take some practice, knocks, and dings to promote up from amateur, and the Emarth can get you there!

3. Firefield 12-36X50 SE

Firefield 12-36x50 SE
Image Credit: Firefield

We know this brand for its night vision gear, and we can say they know what they're doing when it comes to optics.  But, far from night vision prices and quality of that end of the scale, we present the affordable 12-36x50 SE spotting scope that comes as a complete kit that will more than satisfy the needs of every buyer.

Pros:

  • Price
  • Complete kit
  • Handheld specs
  • Weatherproof
  • Compact/lightweight

Cons:

  • Multi-coated optics

Don't underestimate the power of low power.  Even with 12-36x magnification, you could still zero your scope at 100 yards, stealthily observe wildlife on the trail, and even gaze up at the night sky.

With multi-coated optics, it's not the top-tier coating in the industry, but for the price, it's better than what you should be getting - fully coated or even just coated - so, no complaints there.  Image quality might get grainy at max magnification, but Firefield knew what they were doing when they were keeping power low with multi-coated optics.  Even so, there's not a whole lot of complaint from users when it comes to clarity and brightness.

In this price range, you're mostly dealing with questionable build quality, but then again, this is a Firefield product.  Of course, you don't want to be dropping this scope, even accidentally, but it's nice to know it's nitrogen-purged and IPX6 rated for waterproofness.

Curious about what the complete kit entails?  It comes with a heavy-duty, table top tripod, soft carry bag, eyepiece cap, and an objective lens cap.  This is still under 100 bucks right?  Just double checking.  What a steal!

4. Barska Colorado 15-40x50

Barska Colorado 15-40×50
Image Credit: Barska

If you don't care about what your scope looks like, and you just need something very cheap to get glassing right now, the Barska Colorado 15-40x50 is your top pick. It's also been the top pick for hundreds of hunters that need a practical power range with a large aperture. Combine the shock-absorbing armor with its weatherproofness, and you've got an optic that will stay and endure with you in the field.

Don't be discouraged by it's incredibly low price. Barska ensured the best quality in this scope for its price range by sticking with BK7 glass, fully coated optics, and a single focus system. If anyone's going to be arrested today, it won't be you, it should be Barska for offering something so cheap that you can't believe it. Pick it up and see if you can speed away to your hunt with the Colorado now!

5. SVBONY SV28 25-75X70

In general, most cheap Porro prism optics will have BK7 glass, but not the SV28. It’s a Porro prism spotting scope with BaK-4 glass. That’s a nice upgrade to see in the Under $100 price range from a budget spotter.

Pros:

  • Porro BaK-4 optics
  • High magnification
  • Multi-coated lenses
  • Extendable sunshade
  • Waterproof

Cons:

  • Short range
SVBONY Spotting Scope Smooth Rubber Armor
Smooth rubber armor - Image Credit: Richard Head Longbows

Regardless of the fact that the SV28 has Porro prisms made from BaK-4 glass, which I think is great to see, it’s still a short-range optic. It’s because it comes with such high magnification that the optics can only do so much.

I recommend the SVBONY SV28 for seeing holes on paper to about 75 yards, wildlife observation to about 200 yards, some birding inside 100 yards, and general use out to about 500 yards. Why such short ranges?

The clarity drops off after about 50x magnification, resolution remains coarse, and eye relief becomes extremely tight as FOV narrows. These things combined make it extremely difficult for efficient use and especially for those who wear glasses considering the 16-14mm of eye relief.

SVBONY Tabletop Tripod
Included bench-top tripod - Image Credit: Ike's Outdoors

I wouldn’t say it’s waterproof but water-resistant. It’s great for recreational use on the back porch to observe people and wildlife. The extendable sunshade is a nice touch to add, and you can always get a smartphone adapter to hook up to the eyepiece too.

For the money, it’s a popular scope. It’s not going to perform like premium spotting scopes, but for short-range and recreational applications, it’ll do.

6. Simmons Venture 15-45X60

Simmons Venture 15-45x60
Image Credit: Simmons

There are no longer any Simmons ProSport optics in production.  They're officially outdated, obsolete, gone buh-bye.  They've been replaced with the new Venture series that marks a daring move for the company.  Saying goodbye to the old may be hard to do, but saying hello the new is always exciting.

Pros:

  • Price
  • Handheld specs
  • Easy to use
  • Straight design
  • Accessories included

Cons:

  • Heavy

This model Venture is the low magnification 15-45x spotter that's only available in the straight design.  Optical quality is going to be average as it has BK7 glass.  But, even though it's under $100, Simmons was smart to use fully multi-coated optics.

It's made to be the compact option when hitting the trails or tracking deer in the hunt.  With its lower power, you could steady yourself to use the Venture free-hand for handheld use.  Of course, it's not the only way to use it since it comes with a table top tripod which has a built-in window mount.

The tripod isn't the only accessory included.  You'll also be able to safely store and carry your scope with the included hard plastic case and soft carry case.  That's a whole lot of extras for an affordable price!

With a straight design, you'll be quick to get the hang of using it out in the field, at the range, or while on a hike.  However, it's a little heavy for a 15-45x scope with its 2 lb weight.  Good thing it comes with practical accessories to help distribute the weight, right?

7. Roxant Blackbird 12-36x50 HD – Best Compact

Roxant Blackbird Spotting Scope
Image Credit - Roxant

The Roxant Blackbird is a spotting scope best suited to recreational purposes. When money is a concern, it’s comparable to other budget spotting scopes, but it’s one of the lightest and most compact spotters available.

Pros:

  • Compact
  • FMC coatings
  • Angled
  • Adjustable features
  • Includes tripod

Cons:

  • Some flex in the mount

One of its primary advantages is its very lightweight and compact size - 9.13” long and 17.28oz. When weight and size matters while backpacking, traveling, and going to and from the shooting range, the Blackbird can easily be stashed into a day pack.

The Roxant has FMC coatings and this matters in the budget world as many in this category will have multi-coated at best. The optics will not be perfect at max magnification, but you can see groupings at 100 yards. Other things such as target type (shoot-n-see vs white) and target size should be considered when spotting groupings further out.

Wearing glasses is not compatible with the Blackbird with its short eye relief of 12mm. You might be able to keep them on at the lower powers but increasing magnification will demand that you remove them.

Its highlight features are its included, adjustable sunshade, multi-twist eyecup, and tabletop tripod.

The mount and tripod are decent for range use when you have time to stabilize and focus as there is a very small amount of flex in the mount. If you’re birdwatching where microseconds count, you’ll want to upgrade the mount and tripod that can easily cost the same price as the spotting scope. So, great for recreational and range use, but not so great for serious birders.

Optically and physically, the Roxant Blackbird is much like other budget spotting scopes. What sets it apart from most is its compact size.

What to Look for in a Cheap Spotting Scope

How can you tell if you're getting a good deal when you're buying a spotting scope under $100? You've gotta know what to look for. Yes, we harp on this all the time-you've got to know what you're looking for in a quality optic.

Oftentimes, you're looking at scopes with the bare minimum. These spotters won't be able to provide quality that can get you stunning clarity at 300 yards plus, but it can still land you that buck at sub-250 yard hunting, or to see groupings at a 100 yard splatter target. Here's the specifics on what to keep your eyes peeled for.

Glass Quality

On average, the glass isn’t going to be spectacular for the money. Under $100, you’re seeing BK7 and BaK-4 glass to make up the prisms. Lens coatings will be in the Fully Coated and Multi-Coated range with maybe some sporting FMC glass.

For more on glass and coatings, see our coatings definition and BK7 VS BaK-4 glass comparison guides.

ProductGlassCoatings
Barska BlackhawkBAK-4MC
Emarth AEBAK-4FMC
Firefield SEBAK-4FMC
Barska ColoradoBK7FC
SVBONY SV28BAK-4MC
Simmons VentureBK7FMC
Roxant BlackbirdBAK-4FMC
Cheap Spotting Scope Glass & Coatings Comparisons

Magnification & Objective Lens Size (Configuration)

Overall, high magnification spotting scopes are worthless if it doesn’t have the glass, coatings, and the focusing to keep up with the high-power demand. Most scopes will show obvious image degradation after about 75% of usable magnification. Unfortunately, this is the norm with most scopes.

With a limited budget, going higher powered than 20-60x will result in poorer image quality at max power.

Additionally, while bigger objectives sound better, it’s not always better. Again, though it can possibly transmit more light to the eye resulting in a brighter sight picture, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be any sharper or clearer. Also, larger objectives tack on bulk and weight.

Compact and “low” power ranges for a spotting scope may offer the better advantage when considering these factors.

ProductMagnificationObjective Lens Size
Barska Blackhawk18-36x50 mm
Emarth AE20-60x60 mm
Firefield SE12-36x50 mm
Barska Colorado15-40x50 mm
SVBONY SV2825-75x70 mm
Simmons Venture15-45x60 mm
Roxant Blackbird12-36x50 mm
Cheap Spotting Scope Magnification & Objective Lens Size Comparisons

Eye Relief

The eye relief is the distance from your eyes to the eyepiece on the spotting scope. This number provides an indication of how far your eyes need to be to see the entire field of view and how comfortably you can do it especially if you wear glasses.

Those with glasses need at least 15mm of eye relief for it to be usable, but I would say that at least 18-20mm is much better.

The field of view tells you how much of an area from edge to edge of the sight picture you can see through the spotting scope. It’s typically measured in feet when looking at 1000 yards.

The higher the numbers, the wider the FOV. FOV is larger when the spotter is at its lowest magnification and then becomes narrower as it is increased.

ProductEye ReliefField of View
Barska Blackhawk20 - 17 mm137-100 ft (@ 1000 yards)
Emarth AE17 - 13.5 mm123.4-63 ft (@ 1000 yards)
Firefield SE18.9 - 15.3 mm149-73 ft (@ 1000 yards)
Barska Colorado13 – 10 mm116-53 ft (@ 1000 yards)
SVBONY SV2816 – 14 mm64 -43 ft (@ 1000 yards)
Simmons Venture15.24 – 12.7 mm110 ft (@ 1000 yards)
Roxant BlackbirdNot disclosed170-85 ft (@ 1093 yards)
Cheap Spotting Scope Eye Relief & Field of View Comparisons

Size & Weight

Most spotting scopes in this price range are likely to be very lightweight with their plastic parts and housing, especially so if they’re low power and compact to begin with. Regardless, most should be tripod adaptable for steady viewing and making the most of the high-power ranges.

Don’t opt for heavy weights if you’re hiking and plan on using your spotter as a handheld. Go compact instead. You can afford to go heavy and large if you’re stationary for things like birdwatching, target shooting, wildlife observation.

ProductDimensionsWeight
Barska Blackhawk12 inches (L)23 oz (52.8 oz w/tripod)
Emarth AE16.9 inches (L)52.2 oz (81.6 oz w/tripod)  
Firefield SE11.2 x 3.9 x 2.9 inches19.4 oz
Barska Colorado12.75 inches (L)35.2 oz
SVBONY SV2814.1 x 3.6 x 5.7 inches32.1 oz
Simmons Venture13.8 inches (L)31.7 oz
Roxant Blackbird9.13 inches (L)17.28 oz
Cheap Spotting Scope Dimensions & Weight Comparisons

Durability

Overall, most spotting scopes are going to be water-resistant. Very few will truly be waterproof. Most will be made with a plastic housing, and the better ones will have a rubber armor to protect the scope and absorb shock.

These features improve the more expensive a spotting scope is.

ProductWaterproofFogproof
Barska BlackhawkYesYes
Emarth AEYesYes
Firefield SEYesNo
Barska ColoradoNoNo
SVBONY SV28YesYes
Simmons VentureYesYes
Roxant BlackbirdNoNo
Cheap Spotting Scope Waterproof & Fogproof Comparisons

Spend Less, Gain More!

To recap, here are our top picks of the 7 Best Spotting Scopes Under $100:

  1. Barska Blackhawk 18-36×50 - Winner
  2. Emarth 20-60x60AE - Runner-Up
  3. Firefield 12-36X50 SE
  4. Barska Colorado 15-40×50
  5. SVBONY SV28 25-75x70
  6. Simmons Venture 15-45×60
  7. Roxant Blackbird 12-36x50

You don't have to forfeit value when you spend less than a full hundred dollars on your spotting scope buy. There are some golden nuggets in the spotting scope market when you're looking to spend the bare minimum.

The key to getting an excellent deal is to stay low powered (10-40X) and to find the best glass and coatings possible. When you keep your focus where it needs to be, no dollar will be wasted. Spend less but gain more when you buy as an informed buyer!

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