Going up one notch in price range can land you that little bit extra in quality.
When it comes to affordable spotting scopes, you’ll appreciate the low price tag and the extra clarity you can get for a $200 optic.
If you want the absolute best of the entry level market, don’t bother straying from the best.
We’ve got the top picks of the price range right here!
Best Budget Spotting Scopes Under $200
For 200 bucks, you can get yourself a brand name optic with a solid foundation and concrete functionality. You want to look for brands like Bushnell, Redfield, and Celestron. They know what quality optics means for a hunter, but they also know that budget constraints have a tighter hold when you’re shopping.
Entry level doesn’t mean cheap. It just means you’re going to forfeit some custom and lavish features that only comes with one-time, lifetime buys. But, even for these prices, you can still get yourself a decent spotter that puts all the quality into the bare basic features to ensure you get dead-on with every nock and shot. Here are the spotters that made the cut!
|Viewing Configuration||Eye Relief/|
|Bushnell Trophy Xtreme||16-48X 50mm||Straight||16mm/3.1-1mm||View on Amazon|
|Celestron Ultima 65||18-55X 65mm||Straight||18 mm/ 3.6-1.1mm||View on Amazon|
|Gosky 20-60×80||20-60X 80mm||Angled||17-13.5mm/ 4-1.33mm||View on Amazon|
|Redfield Rampage||20-60X 60mm||Straight||17-14mm/ 3.0-1.0mm||View on Amazon|
|Celestron Ultima 80 – 45°||20-60X 80mm||Angled||18 mm/ 4.0-1.3 mm||View on Amazon|
Our 5 Top Spotting Scopes Less Than $200
Bushnell Trophy Xtreme 16-48×50
The Trophy Xtreme is an all-purpose spotting scope. Need to set up for stationary hunting in the field? No problem. Want to glass from the comfort of your own truck? Done. The magnification picks up where binoculars stop, and it’s more in line of what a hunter will realistically use. There’s no point in going up to 60X here since quality will disappear the further out you go.
Bushnell stays smart and only offers practical features like its compact and lightweight specs, weatherproofing, and the upgraded warranty. Everything about the quality in this budget range screams Bushnell. Take this spotter to the extreme to tag that trophy this hunt! It might have to be the next hunt next year if you decide to pass on the Bushnell. Pass on being skeptical and check it out here!
Celestron Ultima 18-55X65
Celestron impresses with all of their spotting scope series, and the spotter to snatch up second place in this low budget category is the Ultima 18-55X65, and it certainly deserves it too.
While coated or fully-coated coatings are typically the standard for entry level spotting scopes, Celestron ups the ante by playing in the big boy’s park with equipping their low budget spotters with fully multi-coated optics. Score one.
Then, they further impress with their low cost of around $150 and over 500 online reviews on the Ultima series. Now that customer review base should be shouting loud and clear that there’s something to consider here. Score two.
But, I think it’s the fact that the Ultima spotters are excellent tools for long range glassing. It’s been purported, not once, not twice, but many a time that this low budget spotting scope can have you seeing out over 1000 yards away. It’s a win!
This Gosky spotting scope whacks it out of the ball park when it comes to acquiring the approval of the crowd. The masses couldn’t be more impressed with the quality, luxury features, and the price of this spotter.
But, what can you expect to get at this price? The Gosky is a high-powered and long-ranging spotter with a dynamic lens focusing system for fast, precise, and clear image quality. Target acquisition-done!
Something of note that you don’t ever see on a spotter priced this low is digiscoping abilities – this Gosky has it. It comes with a digiscoping cell phone adapter for you to capture those moments that Nature doesn’t always repeat. This is what makes this spotter the perfect scope for wildlife observation, birding, and even archery. For 200 bucks, you’ve got yourself a pretty fancy gadget for a shockingly great deal!
Redfield Rampage 20-60×60
It’s Redfield’s job to cover the economical scopes that Leupold can’t get to. Never mind Leupold, Redfield does the brand proud. Sometimes a hunter needs excellent clarity for that extra reach without breaking the bank. The Rampage brings “big-time performance at a hunter-friendly price.” That’s Redfield’s motto when it comes to their only line of spotting scopes.
What do we think about it? It works! Its polycarbonate body keeps the scope lightweight, and it’s really not that long with its 14 inches of length. Leupold is known for their glass quality, and Redfield should be too. The BAK4 prism glass earns the Rampage a double thumbs up, and they’ve even been layered with fully multi-coated coatings. It’s fully weatherproof, and there’s come extra freebies you need to keep your eyes peeled for as well. You won’t know what they are if you don’t check it out!
Celestron Ultima 80 – 45°
Yes, we’ve already covered the Ultima 18-55X65 spotting scope, but we also wanted to tell you about the 20-60X80 one. Why go one notch higher? Because this spotter can get you 50 percent brighter images with the larger 80 mm objective lens.
Speaking of lenses, they’re multi-coated, fog-proof, and the eyepiece offers excellent relief. However, this is no hand-held device. Celestron doesn’t even begin to offend the buyer by offering a flimsy tripod, they leave it to you purchase and make that decision. A word of advice: don’t skimp on a tripod for this beast.
This beast of an optic also comes with a sight tube, not something you see everyday on a budget optic. But, the catch is, to get it under $200, you’ve got to move fast while it’s on sale. If you’re too slow, you’ll miss out on the deal and perhaps your trophy too!
What to Look for in a Budget Spotting Scope
You might be dabbling in the economical market of spotting scopes, but 200 bucks is still 200 bucks. You don’t want any penny to go to waste, and that’s why we’re here. To stretch every dollar, focus on the basic features of the scope.
If there’s a ton of marketing gimmicks being hauled in your face, steer away from that hype. Instead, look for quality where it matters most-in the glass, focus systems, and rugged build. Here’s a quick look-see at how you can get that done.
- Design: Consider whether angled or straight is for you.
- Glass: The higher the quality, the better.
- Coatings: The more, the better. Additional prism-specific coatings may be rare in this price range, but if it has them, it’s a definitely a perk.
- High power 20-60X: You want to make sure you get accurate distances with these spotting scopes by being brand-specific. Going higher-powered in this price range may result in poorer image quality.
- 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.
- Aperture: Going larger might seem better, but just remember you’re tacking on weight with each size increase.
- Size/Weight: Be activity specific here. Don’t go heavy weight if you’re trekking and plan on using your spotter hand-held. Go compact instead. You can afford to go heavy and large if you’re stationary most of the time for things like birdwatching and wildlife observation.
- Durability: Look for rubber armored bodies, waterproofness, and fog-proof features.
Spot For Quality!
It’s going to take a good pair of eyes and smarts to spot a spotting scope with real quality. Unfortunately, there’s a dime-a-dozen of poor optics in this price range, so you’ve got to focus in on getting the best out of the bare basic features.
Don’t be tempted by the scope that says it has it all-in this price range, a scope rarely does. Instead, spot for quality where it matters most. It’s all in the glass, durability, and ease-of-use. Wishes of wise shopping decisions be upon you!