Best Binoculars

Welcome to Binocular Stop, your place to get thorough reviews and recommendations for your next pair of binoculars. We spent countless hours of research to determine the best binoculars and separated them into popular categories.

The main categories are for best compact binoculars, birding binoculars, hunting binoculars, astronomy binoculars, and kid’s binoculars. This free online site was made to give you, the consumer, the best possible advice on purchasing binoculars.

Binocular Stop does not favor one particular brand; rather, we offer reviews based on best fit for your viewing needs.

It’s time to upgrade from “hand me down” binoculars to a high-quality pair of the best binoculars on the market.

Binocular Stop Best Binoculars Reviews

The purpose of this website is to save you research time and effort so that you can make an informed decision based on quality reviews. Thus, saving you time and allowing you to purchase the best binoculars for the money. Our goal is to lead you directly to the best binoculars so you are free to spend more time enjoying all that nature has to offer.

We determined the best overall binoculars by putting in countless hours of research integrating what the masses are looking for in binoculars. For full details on these binoculars and others, please visit our reviews pages consistent with the ones that meet your specific binocular needs.

On each page of this website, the best overall for each category will be the first on the list. Also, there are subcategories with concise yet thorough binocular reviews below the best overall that match popular subcategories.

Best Binoculars Overall

Steiner Predator 10×42 Binoculars

If you are looking for great binoculars with all-around capability, then the Steiner Predators are your best choice. We have found them to function with speed and ease. The Predator binoculars are waterproof and fog resistant making them an ideal companion for adventurers, birders, astronomy enthusiasts, and hunters.

When we tested these, we found the glass used in these binoculars to be incredibly clear, producing crisp images even at dusk. This capability coupled with the multi-coated lenses make them great to spot game in any environment. The excellent low-light performance and the N2 Injection System seals 14-psi pressurized dry nitrogen into the optic, for fog proof clarity in any condition.

We love their durability, the semi-compact design, and the lightweight roof prism design. Steiner boasts unmatched durability and reliability combining a durable polycarbonate frame with NBR Long Life rubber armoring, creating a light, tough, chassis that withstands up to 40’s of impact.

Steiner Heritage Warranty covers the Predator binoculars for the lifetime of the product. While not kids binoculars, the warranty, and durability make them safe for your kids to handle. I even let my six-year-old use them when we hiked Shenandoah National Park.

The fast-close-focus feature gives bird watching enthusiasts quick focus capability while birding. Both the 10×42 and 8×42 models have incredibly positive reviews and after using them in several environments; we have found these to be the best overall binoculars. When you are deciding on what pair to buy, primary usage ought to be your determining factor when choosing between magnifications.

The larger lenses in the 10×42 collect more light than the 8×42 making them better for stargazing and as astronomy binoculars. This really tipped the scales for us in choosing the Steiner Predator 10×42 as best binoculars overall.

Best Binoculars for Hunting

Vortex Optics Diamondback Roof Prism Binoculars

Vortex Optics has designed their Diamondback binocular line with price and performance in mind. Our goal at Binocular Stop is to give you the best review, so you end up walking away with binoculars that meet your needs without costing you a fortune.

When it comes to hunting binoculars, the Diamondbacks are comfortable in hand, priced well, and have a wide field of view making them our top choice as best binoculars for hunting.

When we took these hunting, we found them to be quick at centering your target in the viewing field. They are great for spotting game and discerning its characteristics.

When we were out in the wetlands, having fully packed gear; the reduced size and weight of these binos were a great benefit. These are the best hunting binoculars for the money. You’ll find binoculars that cost double the money for an inferior product and our purpose is to make sure you end up spending your money on a great pair of binoculars that’ll be great in the field.

For a full review of the Vortex Optics Diamondback Binoculars and other great hunting binoculars, please read our best-hunting binoculars review page.

 

Best Compact Binoculars

Wingspan Optics Spectator Compact Binoculars

If you’re looking for compact binoculars, then these Wingspan Optics Spectator Binoculars will be the best overall compact binoculars you can find. We were pleasantly surprised to find a pair of compact binoculars at such a great price!

When we took them out bird watching, we found them to have a wide field of view with the capability to quickly focus in with incredible detail. We even took them to a Washington Capitals game and these compact binoculars did not disappoint. They were easy to stow away and allowed us to focus in on the action, despite our nose-bleed seats.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a pair of compact binoculars that are this affordable, lightweight, waterproof, and durable. For compact binoculars, they offer crisp, bright optics and great contrast.

If you have specific needs in compact binoculars or want an in-depth review that won’t put you to sleep, then please read our compact binoculars review on this model and other various compact binoculars.

Best Birding Binoculars

Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 8×42 Binocular

The entire Monarch line of binoculars are built with Nikon’s premium Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) Glass. The Ed Glass give these a sharp, clear, and vivid field of View.

Compared to other 8×42’s, these are very lightweight and are the best birding binoculars overall. I love the color and how clear birds appear through these birding binoculars. If you are willing to spend much more money; you can find a better pair of birding binoculars.

The price for these binoculars, their quick focus, and when scanning for birds; the clear and wide field of view have benefited me greatly for spotting! When it comes to birding binoculars, these are truly the best value available.

To match the quality of the Nikon Monarch, expect to spend a thousand dollars or more. The multicoated ED lenses coupled with the nitrogen purged barrels set these apart as best birding binoculars. If you have specific needs for bird watching, then please read our full review of these and other birding binoculars on the Birding Binoculars page.

Best Binoculars for Astronomy

Celestron SkyMaster Giant 15×70 Binoculars

The Celestron SkyMaster 15×70 mm Porro Binoculars are a great choice for stargazing and astronomy. We found their large objective lens to magnificently capture image brightness in low-light conditions.

The portability factor and ease of use are what make these a great choice for those interested in astronomy.  These can either be mounted on a tripod or can be handheld. Keep in mind that if you plan on spending extended time with these in your hand; you will get fatigued.

These binoculars are a great value, offering great optics, and come close to emulating entry-level telescopes.  I recommend a tall tripod for extended star gazing and purchasing an upgraded tripod mount is worth the cost.

The Celestron SkyMaster 15×70 Binoculars are our top choice based on what you get for the cost, their durability, sharp focus, and bright nighttime images. These are an excellent overall value for astronomy binoculars. If you are seeking a more powerful, lightweight, or more astronomy focused binocular, then please visit our astronomy binoculars review page.

Best Binoculars for Kids

Kidwinz Shock Proof 8×21 Kids Binoculars

 

Kidwinz produced a great product for our children to have fun with. These kids binoculars have a 60-day money refund and replacement policy, they have been drop tested by the manufacturer, and they are the perfect size for small hands.

For full disclosure, we felt that our staff weren’t qualified to test these binoculars. So, our kids tested them; willingly, happily, and thoroughly. The accessories are great and are covered by Kidwinz refund policy.

These kids binoculars come with a case, a cleaning cloth, and neck strap. The eyepieces are surrounded by rubber and are great for protecting the eyes of our children.

Unlike many kids binoculars, I have found these to feel sturdy; dissimilar to the plastic feeling that others have. If you have other needs in kids binoculars, want a full review, or want more options, then please visit our Kids Binoculars page for other options.

Binoculars Buying Guide

Binoculars are very popular instruments consisting of two telescopes that are mounted on a frame that is made from either metal or plastic. The viewer can view subjects from a long distance and they will look like they are right there next to them.

There are many different types and styles of binoculars. Some are better suited to certain types of viewing such as astrological or long-range viewing and others are for more basic use such as bird watching in the backyard.

When looking for the best pair of binoculars available you will first need to determine what you are looking for. Do you want binoculars that are powerful enough to view the night sky in low light conditions, or are you just looking for a basic pair that will be useful for scouting the area you’re hiking in?

Whatever your personal needs are, you must know what they are so you can choose the pair of binoculars that can meet those needs. This guide will provide you with the knowledge and information needed to make a confident decision on the pair that will be just right for you.

Explaining the Numbers

Binoculars have different numbers that categorize them by power. This set of numbers provides information about the capabilities of that particular pair. The first number in the pair tells you what the magnification strength is or how many times closer the subject of interest appears to you. For example, binoculars that are 7×50 have a magnification of 7 so images appear seven times closer than they actually are to the naked eye. Keep in mind that the higher the magnification level is, the steadier you have to hold the binoculars. Any pair over 12x should be used with a tripod or stand that will hold it steady.

The second number in the pair is what the size of the objective lens is. This second number is measured in millimeters across the lens. The objective lenses are what lets light in and will determine the amount of light that can be obtained. The rule of thumb is the higher the number the larger the objective lens is and the more light the binocular takes in. When the objective lens is larger, the images are brighter and clearer for maximum viewing enjoyment.

How to Choose the Right Binoculars

There are several important things to consider before purchasing a pair of binoculars.

  • Your budget Budget is important if you only want to spend a specific amount of money on a pair of binoculars. These instruments are available in price points that range from very inexpensive to professional level models that can cost thousands of dollars.
  • Primary purpose for the binoculars Do you want to start bird watching in your backyard or do you take a lot of hikes and want something powerful to observe nature around you? Are you an avid astronomy fan and want to spend hours looking at stars, the moon, and other night sky phenomenons? What you want to look at with your binoculars is important to know because, with all the choices out there, you can find several that are perfect for your preferred activity. This enhances your viewing experience.
  • Special needs (wears eyeglasses, vision impairments, etc.) If you or someone else who will be using the binoculars have special needs such as vision impairments or you wear glasses, there are binoculars that can make the experience just as great without losing any clarity or performance.
  • What size binoculars do you want? Binoculars come in all shapes, sizes, and weights. If you are purchasing a pair for a young person you won’t want to get a heavy pair that will be hard for them to hold for any length of time. If you’re on the go a lot you will want to get a model that can easily be stored in your pocket or pack without adding a ton of weight. In general, small binoculars are great for watching sports and traveling. Medium-sized binoculars are perfect for bird watching and hunting and full sized binoculars are great for night time viewing in low light conditions. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, as there are smaller binoculars that offer powerful capabilities. Having an idea of the size you are looking for will give you a direction in which to start your research.

Once you have the answers to these questions it is a lot simpler to eliminate the selections that won’t work until you have two or three choices that meet your needs; then it comes down to personal preference.

Binocular Specifics

There are several terms that are beneficial for you to know and understand. These terms are all related to different aspects of the binoculars and determine what the model’s capability will be.

  • Exit Pupil – One of the terms you will hear when researching binoculars is exit pupil. This represents that circle of light that is present when you hold the binoculars away from your eyes at a short distance and look through them. The exit pupil determines how well your binoculars perform in low light conditions. Ideally, you should look for models that have an exit pupil that is comparative to your own pupil. If you plan on using the binoculars in low light conditions you want to look for models that offer an exit pupil of around 5-7mm which matches what the naked eye’s pupil does in conditions where light is limited.
  • Eye Relief – Another thing to take into consideration is eye relief, especially if you wear glasses. Eye relief refers to the distance in which the binoculars can be held away from your eyes and still offer the full field of view. If you wear eyeglasses look for binoculars that offer long or extended eye relief that will significantly reduce eyestrain. Models with eye relief over 16mm will be good for those who wear glasses.
  • BAK-4 Prism – Binoculars have prisms that are located inside that resemble and behave like mirrors. The glass has a reflective coating on it that refracted and bends light to bring the images to your eyes. Images that pass through the lenses are upside down initially because of how the lenses work. Prisms inside the binoculars fix this inverted image and return them back to normal. BAK-4 prisms are made from high-quality glass that produces excellent edge to edge crispness and sharp images. Most high-quality binoculars use BAK-4 prisms.
  • Porro Prism – Porro prism binoculars offer viewers a wider field of view as well as better depth perception. The objective lens in porro prism binoculars is not in line with the eyepiece.
  • Roof Prism – The prisms in roof prism binoculars overlap lining up the objective lenses with the eyepieces of the binoculars resulting in a streamlined shape that line up the prims and lenses in a single straight line.
  • Field of View – The area that can be viewed with the binoculars is known as the field of view. High powered binoculars tend to have a field of view that is smaller and lower powered binoculars will offer a greater field of view. The preferable field of view for your needs will be dependent upon what type of viewing and results you are looking for.
  • Lens Coating – Binoculars that do not have lens coatings can get a glare that will affect the quality of the images. Lens coatings help to reduce and eliminate glare while allowing as much light inside the optics as possible. There are four different levels of coating a lens can have:
  1. Coated – A minimum of one lens has a single layer coating on it.
  2. Fully-Coated – All air-to-glass surfaces have a single layer of coating on them.
  3. Multi-Coated – Several coating layers on a minimum of one lens.
  4. Fully Multi-Coated – Several layers of coatings on all lenses that are air-to-glass.

Factors that Affect Price

There are several factors that affect how expensive or affordable a pair of binoculars will be. In most cases, the more expensive the binoculars are the better quality they will be. You can’t pay $20 for a pair of binoculars and expect much more than playing in the backyard. You get what you pay for. The quality of the glass is critical to the performance of the binoculars. The better the glass, the better the models will perform. Other factors include:

  • Lens Coatings – Are the binoculars single, multi, fully coated?
  • Number of glass elements used in construction.
  • Fogproof, waterproof, nitrogen purged?
  • How refined the glass is.
  • The amount of light transmission the binoculars are capable of.
  • The quality of the prisms.

Conclusion

Choosing a pair of binoculars involves a little research and knowledge but it is not something that should be overwhelming or complicated. The information in this guide is designed to give you the knowledge you need to sort through the numerous choices available and decide on the right pair for your specific needs.

Some consumers may even choose to purchase a couple of different pairs that will work for different activities such as a pair that they can use for astronomy or long-range viewing or a pair that they can use for bird watching in the backyard.

Whatever pair or pairs you decide to purchase, make sure that you read over the descriptions so you understand what that particular pair of binoculars is capable of and follow up with reading customer comments and reviews from consumers who have already purchased that model and are using them.

This will give you some great insight into the quality of the binoculars you are considering so you are not disappointed. With the right information, choosing the right pair for all the activities you want them for will be enjoyable and not stressful at all.