If this is your budget, you need to do some serious digging before handing over any cash.
$500 is still a hefty chunk of change, but with brands like Vortex, Leupold, Vanguard, and Bushnell, you’ve got variety and quality on your side.
Let’s take a look-see into who tops this price range best!
Best Spotting Scopes for Under $500
When it comes to spotting scopes, often manufacturers either do it well or they don’t. Many of our top brands that are hunters’ go-to companies had some disappointing hits and misses – mostly misses – in this price range.
Because of this, when putting together the line-up for the $300-500 price range, it was tough to come up with the top three. So, you’ll have to forgive us if we throw in an option that slightly bends the rules – it’s just going to have to do.
We took into account the grade quality of the glass, any special coatings, and ability to see groupings clearly in the 200-400 yard range. Let’s take a look at what we came up with.
|Viewing Configuration||Eye Relief/|
|Vortex Diamondback||20-60X 60mm||Angled||17-14mm/ 3-1mm||View on Amazon|
|Celestron Regal M2 65ED||16-48X 65mm||Angled||20 mm/ 4-1.3 mm||View on Amazon|
|Vanguard Endeavor HD 82||20-60X 82mm||Angled||20-19mm/ 4.1-1.3mm||View on Amazon|
Our 3 Top Spotters Less Than $500
Vortex Diamondback 20-60×60
If you don’t already own a Vortex, well now you will. Vortex always goes the extra mile in quality, and they’re unparalleled when it comes to warranties and customer service. The Diamondback 20-60X60 spotting scope is an American favorite. For such a compact unit, you’d think you’d be missing out on some premium perks-not so. The Diamondback has Vortex’s proprietary XR Anti-Reflective coatings, rugged construction, and overall quality that has put Vortex on the map.
If you need weatherproof-ability – done. Comfortable eye relief – done. Exceptional clear glass with dielectric prism coatings – done. That’s how Vortex does it, they get it done!
Celestron Regal M2 65 ED
The Regals are the flagship line for Celestron, and it’s impressive that they’ve snagged a highlight in this price range as well 2 spots in the under $200 group. There seems to be a pattern here of surprising quality for the low prices.
The M2 pretty much has everything you want to see here – Extra Low Dispersion glass, XLT fully multi-coated optics, and a dual focus system.
Although this particular spotter is on the more compact side of things, its sibling the Regal M2 20-60X80 is in the $600-$700 price range if you want more power and can stretch your budget.
Vanguard Endeavor HD 82
Remember how we said we were going to bend the rules a little bit? This is where we show you how. The Endeavor is just above the $500 mark, but when it’s on sale, you can get it within this price range. We had to do a little tweaking because we only want to offer you the most reliable and high-performing spotting scopes there are. There’s no point in recommending a dud.
The Endeavor has a beast of an objective lens that can provide ultimate brightness and light collection. To take maximum advantage of the 82 mm lens, it’s been made with extra-low dispersion glass elements, been fully multi-coated, and has BaK4 prism glass. There’s more yet to spill about the Vanguard Endeavor, so keep your eyes peeled for the full review!
What to Look for in a Spotting Scope in This Price Range
Spotting scopes in this price range should have a few premium perks thrown in – we’re talking about $500, it’s got to be worth it. However, you’ve got to be brand-specific to ensure you’re getting the best of what you can afford.
If you’re going with a high-powered and heavy scope, you’re going to want to add additional costs for quality, strong, and solid tripods and mounting systems. Just keep that in mind when you plan on spending every penny. Here’s what else you need to look for.
- 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 should also be expected in this price range.
- 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.
- 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.
Put ‘Em Through the Ringer!
If you have the chance to shop in person, put your scope through the ringer to really see if it’ll work for you. If one promising purchase ends up being a dud, it’s one purchase too many.
Buying online eliminates the chance to give the spotting scope a test run before you buy, but that’s where counting on our expertise comes into play. If the masses are impressed, you just might be too. Since we’ve put ’em all through the ringer for you, you can rest assured that your money is well placed. It’s called buying confidence – you’re welcome!