This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission if you purchase via these links.
Can't stretch the budget past $1000?
Don't worry about it! You're still in the premium price range for an exceptional spotting scope.
You'll recognize brands like Vortex, Meopta and even the best of what Athlon has to offer in this price range.
Welcome to the "best of what you can afford" section of spotting scopes!
QUICK LIST: 5 Best Spotting Scopes Under $1000 In 2021
- Vortex Razor HD 11-33x50 Spotting Scope
- Maven CS.1 15-45x65 Spotting Scope
- Vortex Viper HD 15-45x65
- Athlon Cronus Tactical 7-42x60 Spotting Scope
- Snypex Knight T80 ED-APO 20-60x80
Our Pick of the Top Spotters Less Than $1000
Avid optic users know you get what you pay for. This is probably why many hunters and birders feel it's worth saving up a penny or two to land the scope they want in this price range.
You're not going to find entry level scopes here, but you will find some of the best in the market without breaking the bank. Of course, there's an even more elite market of very high-end spotting scopes, but this budget-range is still premium. Some brands even max out with their flagship series right around the $1000 mark.
If you're ready to spend every penny of your hard-earned cash, this is the ideal spotting scope market that will make it worth it!
|Vortex Razor HD||CHECK PRICE|
|Maven CS.1||CHECK PRICE|
|Vortex Viper HD||CHECK PRICE|
|Athlon Cronus Tactical||CHECK PRICE|
|Snypex Knight T80 ED-APO||CHECK PRICE|
5 Best Spotting Scope Under $1000 Reviews
1. Vortex Razor HD 11-33X50 Spotting Scope
- The Razor HD is Vortex Optics' top of the line spotting scope. The 11-33x50 Angled Razor is ultra-lightweight and packable for your convenience.
- Triplet Apochromatic lens combined with high density, extra-low dispersion glass delivers unparalled resolution and color fidelity. XR Plus anti-reflective coatings were...
This compact Razor HD 11-33X50 spotting scope has everything, and I mean everything, that you would want to see in the glass quality - special dielectric phase coatings, Extra Low Dispersion glass, APO lenses, ArmorTek, and more.
While its magnifications are on the lower end to match its hand-held and compact design, it has a dual focus system to really get you the resolution you need for that distant glassing.
So, I've gotta hand it to Vortex for picking up the buck where others didn't even bother. For around the $700 mark, you are going to get the best quality for excellent value.
2. Maven CS.1 15-45x65
Most mid-range spotting scopes start at a $1000 price point, but Maven has a hard time following cost trends of the market. This proves true with the CS.1A coming in at an attractive price point that may find favor with your budget.
- Build quality
- ED glass
- Great for Target Range
- Single focus
Obviously, what helps to keep the costs down is the lack of dual focus as the CS.1 has Standard Focus which is single speed. It is tough to gain ultimate focus at extended ranges, but its compactness and ED glass more than make up for it.
Built on the same components as the C-Series binoculars, the CS.1A spotting scope is the entry-level model for spotters. Its optical and build quality is impressive for what is essentially an introductory model.
Made with ED glass, phase correction coatings, magnesium and aluminum, and silky-smooth mechanisms, the Maven scope fulfills the demands of a mid-range scope.
Excellent for maximum portability and compactness, the CS.1 proves to be equipped for birdwatching, observation, some hunting, and is a fantastic companion for the target range. We know because we field tested it!
3. Vortex Viper HD 15-45X65
- The Viper HD 15-45x65 Straight Spotting Scope is packed with features for incredible glassing and high end optical performance.
- The HD optical system comprised of premium components generates vivid high-definition images. XR anti-reflective coatings on exterior surfaces help obtain brighter views...
Vortex has really stepped up to the plate in this price range, and they're actually deserving of more. This Viper HD 15-45X65 is just barely a notch below the Razor HD in optical quality.
But, it's still decked out with XR coatings, Extra Low Dispersion glass with High Definitions, and the dual focus system.
It's also sporting a couple features that even the Razor HD lacks, which you'll know about if you read the full review
If you're looking for a hunting spotting scope for 200-400 yards, this is your guy.
4. Athlon Cronus Tactical 7-42X60 Spotting Scope
- UHD Glass - ED glass gives you an image with little or no chromatic fringe so the final result brings a clearer and sharper image to your eyes
- Advanced FMC - Advanced Fully Multi-Coated lenses gives you better light transmission to bring optimum brightness and true color across the entire light spectrum.
This isn't just any ordinary compact, straight, and tactical spotting scope. This is a serious piece of optical gadgetry with a ranging MIL reticle to contribute to your sniper team or maximize your long-range shooting skills. It's a no-brainer that this where you want to put your money if you want to stay under 1000 bucks.
- Ranging MIL reticle
- FFP reticle
- APO & ED glass
- Tactical build
- Single focus
There hasn't been any inkling of a complaint about image quality and focusing with the Cronus Tactical scope. But, since we are trimming down tight margins between these high-end scopes, we're being petty about the single focus system. We can't find anything that indicates it would have a dual focus system, so it may be a bit of a bummer at this price to not be able to brag about having fine adjustments. Moving on…
It does have a lot more you can brag about. It's one of only very few scopes in the market that has a reticle for under $1000. It's a MIL ranging reticle, and get this, it's in the first focal plane (FFP). That's a big deal if you know anything about how FFP and SFP reticles rank in at price points.
Although the Athlon optic has what you would consider low to medium magnification of 7-42x, the glass quality is what allows you to resolve bullet holes on your gongs from ridiculous distances. The power specs also indicate that this should be a lightweight and compact optic, which it is - it's backpack ready, but its almost 3 lbs of poundage is sorta on the heavy end.
Never you mind, the 3 lbs comes from the fancy glass you're holding in your hand such as the APO lens assembly. You also have Picatinny rails to mount additional accessories and fit the status quo of being "tacticool." If you're trying to up your shooting game and look cool doing it, buy this scope.
5. Snypex Knight T80 ED-APO 20-60X80 Spotting Scope
- Glass: extra low dispersion (ed) and apochromatic lens (Apo)
- Dual speed focusing 1:10 fine focus field of view (degrees)
The quality gap between $500 and $1000 is huge when it comes to spotting scopes, and yet the pickings are quite slim when you’re wanting to spend less than a grand. Fortunately, the Snypex Knight spotter not only comes in within budget, it also comes clad with premium features on a full-size body.
- ED glass
- APO lens
- Dual focus
- Includes eyepiece
If you want to buy quality spotting scopes, it's mostly all about the glass, and in this case, the Knight T80 spotter is weighed down with quality. Tipping the scales at just over 4.5 lbs, it makes for a heavy, full-size spotter. But, considering the kind of image quality you will get, especially when you can mount your smartphone for digiscoping capabilities, you'll want this thing mounted to a tripod at all times.
Digiscoping did we say? We did. It's no secret that spotting scopes are compatible with aftermarket digiscope adapters, but what sets the Snypex apart from others is the fact that image quality seen through this optic is worth capturing on camera.
The glass has extra-low dispersion (ED) elements to provide HD quality, reduce CA, and improve resolution and contrast. It also has a triple element APO lens assembly that significantly improves image quality by eliminating CA and spherical aberrations while also bringing wavelengths together at the same focal point. Simply put, the glass and viewing through this thing is top-notch, A-class, world standard.
Of course, it has a dual focus system to fine-tune your sight picture. It's fogproof and waterproof so you can confidently tote it with you to various parts of the country - or globe. To make the deal even sweeter, it includes the 20-60x interchangeable eyepiece in the buy.
Can't complain about weight now, right? It's all justified in the glass.
What to Look for in a Spotting Scope in This Price Range
You're spending a hefty sum in this price range, so you should expect to get the best of everything. It might not be as luxurious as what you'd see when you'd spend over $1000, but you're still getting premium quality.
Always look for the best of what your preferred brand has to offer. Look for features like excellent glass, exceptional coatings, and VIP warranties.
- Design: Consider whether angled or straight is for you.
- Quality glass: Includes premium glass elements Ex. ED, HD, etc.
- Quality glass coatings: Includes layered coatings, mirror and phase-correction coatings, and weather, scratch, and debris repellent coatings.
- Magnification: Pay attention to quality if you're considering a 20-60X80 spotting scope.
- Size/Weight: Consider your style of hunting to best choose a size and weight that's easy to set up, will stay solid in less than ideal weather, and won't be burdensome to carry.
- Tripod systems: Protect your investment and maximize its potential with a high quality tripod and mount.
- Quality warranties: Have the assurance that your premium spotting scope is fully covered for any unforeseen damage.
The Best of What You Can Afford!
There's no buyer's remorse when spending under 1000 bucks. You'll be more than pleased with the value these premium scopes have especially when you see that they often have many features that high-end scopes have.
- Maven CS.1 Review - 15-45x65 Spotting Scope (Real Hands On Field Test)
- Leupold SX2 Alpine HD Spotting Scope Review (Angled)
- Maven S.1A 25-50 X 80mm Spotting Scope Review (Angled Body)
- Zeiss Victory Harpia Spotting Scope Review - 85mm Angled with Dual Speed Focus System
- Pentax PF80 ED Angled Spotting Scope Review (Eyepiece Not Included)