Binocular is probably the most important gear for watching and observing nature, birding, sporting, hunting, stargazing and other outdoor adventures that let you see the world up close.
Over the years I’ve owned many binoculars everything from inexpensive to premium ones. I pride myself in that I have reviewed only those ones that I have actually used and tested. I have used and researched hundreds of binoculars and selected the very best binoculars for 2019. Whatever your budget is, whatever your requirements are, whatever expertise you have, you will learn something new by reading through my reviews.
The internet is littered with fake reviews. So, if you have no idea where to start I hope my reviews and buying guide will help you in choosing the right pair of binoculars.
Best Binocular Reviews
My interest in scopes developed when my dad gifted me a pair of binocular in my twelfth birthday. Still I can remember going birding with my cousins in their house, in a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland.
Over time, I have gained some other pairs of binocular. I used to compare my collections about which one is best for bird watching and which one is for wildlife or nature view. I also used to compare with my cousins’ binoculars on the latest coatings lenses and prisms.
Then I began to share my personal experiences about using high-quality binoculars over a number of social media platforms.
The idea for Top Binocular Reviews website came about from my obsessed mind that always seeks for better performance at cheaper price. Thus the aim of my site is to help you in some way by providing real information on binoculars and scopes, while avoiding biased reviews with tips and guides to those looking into buying a pair.
Keep in mind, binoculars are specific to purpose, and a jack of all trade wouldn’t be satisfactory. So I will help you find some of the best binoculars for 2019. I have carefully chosen and reviewed the top binoculars after a close comparison of the top-rated options that we have in the market.
Top Bird Watching Binoculars 2019
With the bird watching season approaching, it’s best to get your gear in check – and there’s no better way for doing this than with binoculars. With a crisp and clear view, all you have to do is to sit back and marvel at nature’s magnificence.
Here, certain elements matter: a seasoned bird watcher would require something a little bit different than an occasional, backyard birdwatcher. I enjoy my quiet evenings, relaxing at my porch; definitely, I would go for something light and easy to handle – nothing too heavy.
Though not an outdoor person myself, I wouldn’t mind some quiet mornings on a hike, capturing a glimpse of the immaculate patterns of birds flying ahead – of course, for this, I would go for something light, compact grip, water and fire resistant as well as easy to utilize in fog.
Bushnell natureview 8×40 birder binoculars are easy to use that deliver a high optical performance. They come with 40-millimeter objective lenses that offer maximum image brightness even in low-light and long-range conditions.
They feature high-quality BAK-4 porro prisms with multi coated optics which provide enhanced contrast for ultra-sharp image clarity across the entire field of view. The optics are made with environmentally-friendly lead-free glass. There’s a textured center focus knob that allows you to adjust magnification to up to eight times normal sight view.
The extended eye relief provides added comfort. 8x magnification would offer slightly less magnification capabilities than a 10×40 pair. However, remember that when magnification increases, field of view decreases. And larger field of view is very important for birdwatchers. To read the full review please visit the binocular for bird watching page.
Small things often make the difference between good binoculars and great binoculars. Here comes Vortex Viper HD 8×42 binoculars; when you hold them, you’ll feel how premium they sense at your hand. They use really very high-quality optics that I would be confidently using at any condition at any circumstances. A real highlight on these vortex binoculars is their minimum close focusing distance of only 5.1 feet which is about 1.6 meters and anything under six feet is very good. They allow a lot more light in low light situations, so they can be use for bird watching as well as for multipurpose uses. Indeed, this binocular is built to give you the best performance from all quarters.
Wingspan SkyView 8×42 binoculars come with everything a birdwatcher needs in order to capture those breathtaking and memorable views that makes bird watching so much fun. The wide field of view mean you can easily find birds as they fly by. The phase correction coating on the prisms and the ED glasses keep the colors as clear and bright as you in the pictures. They are lightweight, waterproof, fog-proof so you can use them in any whether, any time. The best part with this pair is that they come with life-time warranty.
Top Binoculars for Mountain Viewing
I don’t know how a mountain trip would be great without a pair of binoculars! The zig-zag mountains paths and scenic beauty of rare flora and fauna can’t be fully enjoyed without a pair of binocular. As you maneuver your way deep in the forest or across the savannah, a binocular in hand would help you find your way as well as get a good glimpse of incoming danger. If you are hunting, even better; you would spot your target miles away and creep up on it and make your kill. An awesome experience. Binocular with Porro prism offer a more in-depth perception and a wider field of view. However, the Porro prism binocular is heavier than the roof prism binocular models. If you are going out for hiking a roof prism binocular would be the best choice for its lower weight.
The Bushnell Nature View 10×42 binocular was created purposefully to watch birds, nature and wildlife. Due to its sophisticated design, full water, and fog proof and non-slip rubber coating, they are preferred for an outdoor trip. If is slips and falls, the rugged case encased in rubber is going to protect it from getting damaged. Since I sweat a lot when on my nature walk, I would go for this to secure their inner components. I wouldn’t like something damaged quarter way on my nature walk. Out camping and wouldn’t mind an evening, relaxing by the side of your tent viewing the extensive nature; the Bushnell is easily attachable on a tripod stand. You get a crisp and clear view since it is made out of the best BaK-4 prism design. This is a higher quality glass that offers brighter images with better sharpness.
As is with any product, there is always something else comparable. Consider the Celestron Nature DX 8×42 Binocular. It is still great for wide angle view, also it is a lightweight product. I wouldn’t like to carry something heavy for an excursion; it would make it boring. Something light and compact is what you need; it would be easy to carry on long excursions.
A slightly different alternative that you can go for is the Nikon Trailblazer 10×25 ATB. If you are an amateur at this outdoor activity, then this is the best for you. This set of binoculars comes with the perfect roof prism and fully multi coated lens that will guarantee the perfect phase correction and a quick elimination of the color aberration effects that might leave you with color fringe.
Top Compact Binoculars 2019
Compact binoculars usually have smaller front lens (objective lens) which is the second binocular number. In general, binoculars with an objective lens of 28 mm or less are considered compact. Compact binoculars should fit in your pocket. They are ideal for travel, hiking and safari.
If you are looking for compact binoculars with exceptionally sharp image, then Bushnell 8×25 H2O binoculars could be your best choice. These waterproof compact binoculars deliver high optical performance with its 8 power and 25-millimeter objective lenses. The objective lenses offer maximum image brightness even in low-light conditions. It comes equipped with high quality BAK 4 phase coated roof prisms as well as fully multi-coated optics which provide enhanced contrast for ultra-sharp image clarity across the entire field of view.
Avalon Binoculars are designed and manufactured by Avalon Optics. Avalon 8×32 mini HD binoculars are one of my favorite models for its unique and compact design. They produce very sharp image quality with wide field of view. Avalon 8×32 mini HD binoculars use fully multi-coated optics that produce very good beautiful vivid images. They are protected with 100% waterproof and fog proof technology.
So, are Avalon Binoculars Any Good? Yes, comparing a number of Avalon binoculars models, including the Avalon 10×42 PRO HD and the Avalon 8×32 mini HD binoculars, I must admit that this model is a great one. They are designed for birding, concerts, boating, butterfly spotting, and many other nature-walk activities.
Enter the Nikon Trailblazer 10X25 Binoculars – a multipurpose, compact binocular with a huge fan base. If you are looking for a backup pair, to keep in your backpack, then this will be a perfect spare. It is also one of the best pocket binoculars 2019 in current market. When procuring a compact binocular, five inches is sufficient and the fact that this one weighs less than a pound. The double hinge system allows it to fold and keep it away in your travel case. Although the product compromises a little bit on the exit pupil, well, for day use, you are going to be okay since you also have a broad view as well as multicoated optics with a BaK-4 glass prism. What you get are a high resolution and quality image. For a compact binocular, it is an excellent value for money with a price tag of below $100. Small designs are great for sightseeing, hiking, and birdwatching which are mostly outdoor events.
Don’t fool by their sizes! I have carefully tasted these 3 binoculars; the performance is really good.
Top Wide Angle Binoculars [Fish-eye]
A binocular magnification and field of view (FOV) are closely connected. As I said before the more powerful magnification is, the narrower your field of view tends to be. There are many situations where a really wide field of view is preferable to a powerful magnification. When you go on a sightseeing, visit tourist attractions, or watch sports, concerts, opera you may prefer more wide views rather than high magnification.
With a wider field of view, it means that you will find moving objects faster and easier. This is why the best affordable binoculars for birding or safari tend to come with lower magnifications and higher FOV’s. This is also true for sporting binoculars. Wide view binoculars tend to have reduced eye relief so they may need eye-cups.
Wide angle binoculars should have Angle of View (Real field of view) of around 7.5° or more and FOV of around 132m at 1,000m (396ft at 1,000 yards).
The Bushnell 4X30 Spectator Sports Binocular befits this purpose perfectly. First, they are manufactured utilizing great quality optics. With Permafocus Technology, you don’t have to keep adjusting to view distant object or put them in focus. It is a waterproof binocular as well as fog proof. This pair is probably the best one I have ever tested for concert and sports view.
Another amazing product from Celestron is the Celestron Granite 8×42 Binocular. It is a great looking gadget with interesting practical advantages. You get a perfect grip that is less weighty. I usually prefer holding my binocular in a comfortable grip; whereby it cannot get intertwined with branches as I maneuver my way in the forest. Also, when in a hilly landscape, I would prefer something that is light, not too bulky; I wouldn’t like to add weight when climbing up.
Indeed, quality and great attention to detail matter a lot in wide angle binocular. The Eschenbach Trophy D 8×56 ED Binoculars is a proud expression of attention to detail.
Best Long Range Binoculars 2019
Long range binoculars can be used to observe objects in the distance such as watching water birds from your deck out on the the lake or purpose-built hides, or observing wildlife animals while hunting, or watching ships from the beach, and even for watching night skies or stargazing.
Celestron SkyMaster 12×60 is ideal for astronomy use to observe night sky. Although mainly made for this, some daytime activities like birdwatching and sightseeing aren’t out of the question. This binocular offers the best viewing experience at the cheapest cost. This is a large-sized binocular but the weight is an insignificant worry when you compare its objective lens capability. Well, you get more light, making your night-time viewing of celestial being detailed. I would personally prefer using this with a tripod since it is heavy and it will offer a more-enriching experience in a stable environment.
Another great pick for astronomical use or bird watching is the Canon 10×42 L IS. This pair of binoculars is fully waterproof and comes with image stabilized functionality. Bird watching experience is all about clarity and you wouldn’t like your crisp, clear images to be destroyed by blurriness. Just push the IS button, and you get a perfect view of the birds or at the night time the view of nebula or the galaxy. Considering its versatility, you can even utilize it for other outdoor activities. It is compact, lightweight, water-resistant and of high quality.
If you are interested in a telescope but something less bulky. The Orion Resolux 15×70 is perfect. What differentiates a binocular from a telescope it’s the ease of movement. It is easy to carry this binocular anywhere if you are interested in an extended view without the tiring set up of a telescope. What you get are sharp and clear images from quality BaK-4 prisms and multi-coatings. If you are an eye-glass wearer like me, this offers you an impressive 18 mm eye relief; something that you can hold by hand perfectly.
Best Value Binoculars 2019
Binoculars are made for different outdoor pursuits. Some appear slim while other look bulkier. Usually, the Porro prism binoculars are the bigger and bulkier than the roof prism binoculars. You may notice a massive price differentiation between the binoculars of similar specs but different sizes. Which one should you buy? If the size doesn’t matter I would go for the Porro prism binocular that could be slightly heavier. The quality of the optics, coatings applied on the lenses and other additional features matter quite a lot too.
Bushnell 8×25 H2O binoculars have best value for money if you are looking for compact binoculars with exceptionally sharp image. They are waterproof and compact with high optical performance. The 25mm objective lenses are good enough to provide decent image brightness. They come with high quality BAK 4 phase coated roof prisms as well as fully multi-coated optics which provide enhanced contrast for ultra-sharp image clarity.
Next in line is the Avalon 8×32 Mini HD Binoculars. They are one of my favorite models for unique and compact design. They come with a standardized 8X magnification power offering decent wide view. Ideally small in size but with a big appetite for performance, this mini HD binocular like the name suggests will be best suited for traveling adventures, ideal for travel, hiking, bird watching sprees, boating, events, or live concerts.
My last pick is Meade Wilderness 8×42. Meade produces good quality binoculars at such an affordable price! Meade Wilderness 8×42 binoculars are also no exception. The wilderness series has several models ranging from compact size to full-size binoculars. My review team has tested the most popular model Meade 8×42 and became surprised that they outperform many other big contenders both in design (feels very solid at hand) and performance. This 8×42 model can be used as a general-purpose binocular i.e., in birding, hiking, safari or even in hunting. These Meade binoculars are obviously one of the best choice binoculars for both price and performance. I was very satisfied with their performance and buil quality.
The money you spend may be excessive for the relatively small gain in performance. So as you can see “good value” is related to what you perceive to be a reasonable amount of money. Throughout our website, we have tried to exclude the binocular models with unnecessary cost but with good value for money.
High Quality Binoculars
High quality binoculars contains a sophisticated combination of lenses to give you different view variations. For instance, if you are looking for something serious for wildlife viewing, you ought to look for one that performs better in low light viewing. This means that it has to possess a wider objective lens. Also, the magnification capability always matters, but remember, a bigger one doesn’t always mean better view. Standard features to look at when buying binocular are the objective lens diameter, exit pupil, lens quality, coatings technology and other specs that are different according to your needs.
Here is the best guide to choosing a top rated set of binoculars for your next big outdoor adventure:
You know ‘you get what you pay for’. Quality binoculars are of course pricey, but also there are some best binoculars for money as well. If you research you may get some top quality binoculars at very decent price range. So set a budget before you set out to shop. Know what you are willing to spend and how comfortable you are while spending it. There isn’t any need to spend on impulse.
Apart from the price understand the reasons why you need the pair of quality binocular. What are you going to use it for? If you are a birdwatcher you will realize that an astrological binocular is not exactly what you need. Rather a wildlife binocular would be so ideal.
Magnification & Objective
There are two numbers that you will find on good binoculars for example 8×42, 7×20, or 10×42. These numbers refer to the magnification and objective respectively. A 10×42 pair for instance means it has a 10X magnification power (the object can be seen 10X closer than they actually are); while the 42 refers to the objective lens diameter in millimeters. The larger the objective lens diameter the brighter the view you will get.
Pro Tip: For bird watching, wild life or nature view and hunting always consider the magnifications at 8x and below so as to boost their objectives up and end up with the best images under the field of view. If the purpose is for stargazing it’s better you choose the magnification larger than 10x.
Lens Glass Type
The types of glass that are used on any quality binoculars lenses also play a huge role. The same applies to the one used on the prisms. Generic glasses could have specific imperfections thus needs great polishing to bend the light correctly.
It is therefore important to focus on a gadget that has specialized glass for instance low dispersion or even extra low dispersion glasses that are virtually engineered to have no distortion when transmitting light.
When this is done, the resulting image will always remain clearer, crisp, sharper, and with the correct color rendition and possibly a higher contrast.
BAK 4 Prisms
Barium Clown Glass commonly referred to as the BAK4 is viewed as the very best glass if you are looking for a good quality prism material. It boasts of a high refractive index and enjoys a lower critical angle compared to the BK7 and the SK15 glasses.
It is therefore no surprise that the BAK4 will transmit light better with pretty much less or no light lost at all. Buying good binoculars with this prism would be a plus.
These are light films that are often applied on the surfaces of the binocular’s lens so as to reduce the glare and internal light reflections while at the same time increasing the contrast and light transmission.
The use of the right lens coatings will leave you with more vivid colors and also a set of bright and sharp (quality) images.
Apart from the lens coatings are the prism coatings. These ones will also increase light reflections and consequently improve the brightness and the contrast of the images. A common coating for the prism is the “phase-correction” coating that corrects the “phase-shift” and gives you a great image.
Field of View
The field of view (angle of view) refers to the amount of scenery that you are able to view clearly under the lens when measured horizontally. A wide and comfortable view is always a plus.
Finally you should go for a durable gadget. Hard plastic covers are much more durable especially when fixed with additional metallic alloy/ plates on high quality binoculars. Focus on a hard cover that’s waterproof, dustproof, fog-proof, and resistant to cracks/ scratches.
Getting your right pair of binoculars can be a bit challenging and with a populated market with a variety of information, it would be hard to spot the best. With our quality, well-researched reviews, 100% guaranteed to be honest, you can have a clear direction on what to buy and what specs to look for. Look no further; we are here to serve your needs.