Best Hunting Binoculars Reviews

Best Hunting Binoculars Reviews2019-09-12T11:34:44+00:00

Binoculars are the best choice for glassing during the hunt. As binoculars are lightest among all other hunting scopes, they significantly reduce the physical effort during the job. Binoculars with good optics help you spot and classify that far-off elk that otherwise might be difficult to spot with heavier spotting scopes.

The experienced hunters know well about the usefulness of having the best pair of binoculars for hunting. A Steiner predator 8×42 for instance helped most hunters to track their game and take the shots that count.

We understand pretty much that finding the best hunting binoculars for the money might be pretty challenging simply because we have so many binocular brands going around today. But don’t worry. It is because of that reason that we took our time to sample up some of the best hunting binoculars just for you.

Below are the top picks for the best hunting binoculars in 2019 based on image clarity, weight, field of view, overall quality, price and overall feel.

Steiner Predator 10×42 Binoculars
  • Model: Steiner Predator 10×42
  • Magnification: 10x
  • Objective Diameter: 42mm
  • IPD: 55.5-75mm
  • FOV: 328 ft / 6.2°
  • Prism: Roof BaK-4
  • Lens Coating: Fully Multi-Coated (FMC CAT)
  • ED Glass: Yes
  • Phase Correction: Yes
  • Eye-relief: 17.0mm
  • Close Focus: 6 ft
  • Eyecups: Twist-up
  • Nitrogen Gas filled: Yes
  • Weight: 750g
  • Price: $400-$500
Vortex Optics Viper 10x42 HD Binoculars
  • Model: Vortex Optics Viper HD Binoculars
  • Magnification: 10x
  • Objective Diameter: 42mm
  • IPD: 56-75mm
  • FOV: 342 ft / 6.5°
  • Prism: Roof BaK-4
  • Lens Coating: Fully Multi-Coated (FMC)
  • ED Glass: Yes
  • Phase Correction: Yes
  • Eye-relief: 17.0mm
  • Close Focus: 6.5 ft
  • Eyecups: Twist-up
  • Nitrogen Gas filled: Yes
  • Weight: 705g
  • Price: $400-$500
Pentax AD 8×36 WP Binoculars
  • Model: Pentax AD 8×36 WP Binoculars
  • Magnification: 8x
  • Objective Diameter: 36mm
  • IPD: 55-75mm
  • FOV: 342 ft / 6.5°
  • Prism: Roof BaK-4
  • Lens Coating: Fully Multi-Coated (FMC)
  • ED Glass: No
  • Phase Correction: Yes
  • Eye-relief: 16.0mm
  • Close Focus: 10 ft
  • Eyecups: Twist-up
  • Nitrogen Gas filled: Yes
  • Weight: 637g
  • Price: $200-$300
Vanguard Endeavor ED 10×42 Binocular
  • Model: Vanguard Endeavor ED 10×42 Binocular
  • Magnification: 10x
  • Objective Diameter: 42mm
  • IPD: 57-75mm
  • FOV: 342 ft / 6.5°
  • Prism: Roof BaK-4
  • Lens Coating: Fully Multi-Coated (FMC)
  • ED Glass: Yes
  • Phase Correction: Yes
  • Eye-relief: 16.5mm
  • Close Focus: 8.2 ft
  • Eyecups: Twist-up
  • Nitrogen Gas filled: Yes
  • Weight: 731g
  • Price: $300-$400
Eyeskey 10×42 Professional Waterproof Binoculars
  • Model: Eyeskey 10×42 Professional Binoculars
  • Magnification: 10x
  • Objective Diameter: 42mm
  • IPD: 57-75mm
  • FOV: 315 ft / 6.0°
  • Prism: Roof BaK-4
  • Lens Coating: Multi-Coated (MC)
  • ED Glass: No
  • Phase Correction: No
  • Eye-relief: 15mm
  • Close Focus: 10 ft
  • Eyecups: Twist-up
  • Nitrogen Gas filled: No
  • Weight: 670g
  • Price: $100-$200

Steiner binoculars are German-engineered some of the finest binoculars in the world. Because of their thoroughly-tested quality optics and state-of-the-art design, they have been auto choice among the hunters, military personnel, and adventure-seekers on land and sea. They make several lines of binoculars. Among them, ‘Hunting’ line binoculars are more commonly used among the western big game hunters and eastern whitetail hunters.

Build Quality

Steiner Predator 10×42 is made with Roof prism design.

It has a fully waterproof chassis which is covered by a textured rubber armoring. The rubber armor gives a secure grip with or without gloves even when damp from a heavy dew.

The center focus has a smooth nice rubber finish, giving it a comfortable feel. It takes a full revolution throughout its focus range. Unlike the plastic wheels, it doesn’t get very cold in cold climates. It feels uniform throughout the full range and doesn’t feel sticky if left in cold for a long time.

Like the center focus knob, the right eyepiece diopter feels uniform and easy to adjust.

The eyecups are twist-adjustable with Steiner’s iconic side-shields that are also foldable. The side shields are excellent in preventing unwanted stray light that otherwise would interfere with the on-axis light. The side shield also feels comfortable against both sides of the eye.

The fully multicoated optics (CAT coating) look evenly applied and reflect only a small amount of light.

The inside of the objective tubes look ribbed and appear to have light baffles that minimize the effect of stray light.

There are no cut-offs in the light paths at the exit pupil ends, confirming that the prisms used in the binoculars are adequately sized that deliver the light without any loss.

The prisms are coated with Steiner’s proprietary CAT coatings. Although Steiner has not revealed us if the prisms are coated for the phase correction and high reflectivity, our review team suggests that they are coated so.

The Steiner Predator 10×42 binoculars come with a Cordura type case that is nicely padded to protect the binoculars against the tribulations and mild knocks.

The plug-in type objective and eyepiece covers fit very well and they don’t tend to come off when taken out of the case.

The Neoprene neck strap is of very good quality that can be attached by ClicLoc attachment system.

Testing The Specification

Effective Aperture: We measured the effective aperture to be 42 mm as specified on the binocular body. To test the effective aperture we used a collimated light beam into the exit pupil and measured the emergent light at the objective end.

Coatings: The bluish-green dominant lens coating surfaces on the lenses (proprietary CAT coating) reflect only a small amount of light that confirms high-quality fully multicoated optics.  The CAT coatings work by filtering out green and blue lights, the main colors of foliage and haze, and then by boosting browns and reds lights, which are the main colors of most wildlife, thus making them more usable for hunting.

Bak 4 Prisms: By looking at the exit pupil light, we didn’t find any grey segments. It confirms that the prisms are made from high index Bak 4 glasses.

IPD Measurements for Nose Accommodation: The minimum IPD of Steiner Predator 10×42 is 55.5 mm (maximum is 75 mm) and the eyecup diameter is 44.5 mm. So, there is an 11.0 mm open gap between them that should accommodate most people’s noses.

Objective Lens Recession: The objective lenses are recessed 12 mm into the objective tubes that is useful for unintentional touching. This recession is also effective for protection against dew.

Eye Lens Recession: The Eye lenses are recessed 4 mm into their eyepiece tube. So, for those who use eyeglasses with the eyecups folded down, there is still enough eye-relief available.

Right Diopter Adjustment: The diopter ring has lugs but not the printed scale on the eyepieces. The diopter rotates easily but stiff enough to resist accidental rotation.

Pros:

  • Proprietary CAT coating makes the image suitable for hunting
  • Tripod-mountable, using a standard L-bracket
  • Central focus wheel works at minimal rotation
  • The neck strap can be attached to the binoculars by a push-button mechanism.
  • Exceptional sharpness and clarity

Cons:

  • No major drawbacks

 

Conclusion

This Steiner Predator 10×42 model is purposely built for hunting, no doubt on this. This is a stunningly good binocular for someone who prefers quality optics for significantly better images.

Everything works as it should, the image is extremely good and high contrast, the special coatings work so well, multi-position twist-up eye-cups nicely fit, tethered lens caps are well fitted, the right eyepiece diopter adjustment is precise, the well-padded strap feels comfortable, and it will suit a wide range of faces. Overall, it feels comfortable, light and well-balanced.

If hunting game is your favorite sport, the Vortex Optics Viper HD is exactly what you need. This set of binoculars will easily allow you to spot a large game from a distance or even watch the tiniest bird across a river.

Indeed, the binocular is built to give you the best performance from all quarters. Thanks to its hardened, rugged, and durable construction that will last for ages. And that’s not all, if you look closely; you will notice these: –

Upon touch, you will realize that the Vortex Optics Viper HD comes with a rubberized armor chassis with a customized thumb indents and superior ergonomics for the perfect non slip grip even when under the rain.

And because hunting can be a very dusty and dirty experience, Vortex Optics Viper HD comes with securely fit O-Rings around its lenses that prevent dirt, debris, and dust from getting in the lens and blurring your vision.

More importantly, you will have the advantage of an argon gas treatment touch to effectively prevent moisture, fog, or rain water from giving a clouded set of lenses. This air tight sealing adds to the durability of this device.

Optical Performance

  • Image Sharpness

The optical clarity of the Vortex Optics Viper HD is just superb. We could see the clear zone throughout the whole field of view in in low light situations. That means it can resolve the image at its highest magnification.

  • Color Rendition

The color rendition is extremely good. We were so pleased with the vibrant colors it can produces. We think the excellent vibrant color is the result of the combination of ED glass elements, fully multicoated lens, and dilectric as well as phase corrected coatings on the prism.  We could detect the inside of the objective barrels as threaded, which means you wouldn’t get disturbed by any stray light sources.

 

Testing the Specification

  • Prism

It comes with Bak-4 roof prism. We tested the light path at the exit pupil end that was a complete round shape that indicated the prism is full-sized to give you highest quality image.

  • Lens Coatings

The binoculars come with fully multi-coatings on the all air-to-glass surfaces. The coatings at the objective lens surfaces appear to be well applied that reflect only a small amount of light (bluish green dominant).

  • Objective Lens Diameter

We tested both 8×42 and 10×42 models. We estimated the effective aperture to be the same, indicating there is no internal stopping or diaphragm. This is expected from any binoculars at this price range. We could detect some loss of light from the 10×42 model when we compared the two models and it was expected because the 10×42 model has less exit pupil diameter.

Overall Mechanical Quality

Vortex Optics understands the need of trailing your target for the best focus and has therefore included a locking right eye diopter for a better focus. It has also backed its binoculars with a compact size too.

The compact size allows you to easily carry the binoculars around and more importantly to hang it around your neck using the neck-strap without noticing it there. The strap also leaves you with free hands.

And because problems with damage and construction can occur however much durable your binoculars are, Vortex backs their gadget with a lifetime warranty – thus guaranteeing the value for your money!

Pros

  • Hardened, rugged, and durable construction
  • Rubberized armor chassis
  • Non-slip grip
  • Securely fit o-rings around its lenses
  • Multi-coated lenses
  • Clear sight through the low morning light
  • Compact size
  • Locking right eye diopter

Cons

  • No major drawbacks

The same way you found the Vortex Viper HD Binoculars to have durable construction, is the exact way you will also find the Pentax AD 8×36 WP Binoculars.

The Pentax AD 8×36 WP Binoculars outer shell is built using a reinforced polycarbonate fiber, which gives it a highly durable edge.

Pentax AD 8×36 WP combines its rugged construction with a super-lightweight touch to keep its weight on the low. Even so, the chassis is reinforced such that your binoculars don’t break easily.

The central focus is smooth throughout the full range. It was not stiff even when I kept it in cold for a long period of time. Likewise, the right eye diopter is also smooth and set at zero with fully corrected vision, suggesting that it was well calibrated.

This binocular is nitrogen-sealed (JIS Class 6) so it will not suffer from internal fogging from the most extreme weather conditions.

The twist-up eyecups place into three click-stop positions and do not move awkwardly.

 

Optical Performance

  • Image Sharpness

Image sharpness was good. I could clearly see every detail of the rough outer barks of the trees from 300-400 meters away. The image sharpness is evenly clear throughout the full field of view in daylight. I couldn’t detect any internal baffle but the stray light control was very good.

  • Eye-relief

The specified eye-relief is 16.0 mm. Those who wear spectacles the available eye-relief is approximately 13 mm because the eye lenses are recessed 3 mm inside the tube. This shouldn’t be a problem as 13 mm eye relief is enough, I think.

 

Testing the Specification

  • Effective Aperture

The effective aperture seems to be as specified 36 mm and not internally stopped that is usually seen in lower priced binoculars. We tested it by shining the collimated light at the eyepiece end and measured it at the objective end which seems to be almost same.

  • Lens Coatings

Examination of daylight reflection on the objective lenses confirms that the lens coatings are fully multicoated. The objective lenses reflect very small amount of light (blue-green dominent).

  • Prism

As specified, the binocular is constructed of Bak-4 roof prism. We tested the light path at the eyepiece lens end and found full bright circle without any grey segments. Furthermore, the prism is treated with phase correction coating to produce more vibrant image.

  • Nose Accommodation at Minimum IPD

We mesured the minimum interpupillary distance (IPD) as 55 mm and the eyecups are 45 mm diameter. So, there is 10mm open space in between at their closest that should accommodate most noses.

  • Objective Lens Recession

The objective lenses are recessed 10 mm into the barrels which offer some protection against unintentional touching and peripheral lights. This recession is also effective for protection against dew.

  • Eye Lens Recession

The Eye lenses are recessed 3 mm into their housing. So, for those who uses eye glasses with the eyecups folded down there is still 13 mm of specified 16 mm eye releif available.

  • Right Diopter Adjustment

The diopter ring has markings but not the printed scale. The diopter is not lockable but it shouldn’t be a problem as the ring doesn’t tend to change with the change of eyecup positions.

Pros

  • Outer shell is built using a reinforced polycarbonate fiber
  • Super-lightweight touch
  • Nitrogen-filled touch (jis class 6)
  • Premium multi-layer coatings
  • Compact porro and roof prism model

Cons

  • The objective and eyepiece lens covers tend to come-off and untethered.
Vanguard Endeavor ED 10×42 Binocular

The next hunting binocular that we love is the Vanguard Endeavor ED 10×42 Binocular. This model is the darling of many hunters who cannot keep out of the US wild sanctuaries. Thanks to its awesome features that we are going to see.

Build Quality

Rubber Armor

The binocular has a rugged and durable design. It is covered with a black synthetic “leatherette”-type armor. The textured armor has a rough feel. It also provides the perfect covers to the binoculars’ objective tubes. It is great when you need a secure grip and also provides proper cover to the prism housings.

Center Focusing

The binocular uses a big ribbed center focus wheel which is easy to use. It is smooth throughout the focus range. The focus wheel mechanism is very fast that takes less than a full revolution (around 300 degree).

Eyecups

This bino also comes with three-stage twist-out eyecups. The eyecups twist up and down smoothly. They are easy to use, reliable, and don’t move under extended positions or under longitudinal pressure.

Waterproof Design

The binoculars are argon purged and O-ring sealed making it fully waterproof. They can be used in hot and humid days without the fear of internal fogging. I have tested them and they work fine.

 

Optical Performance

Eye Relief

We found a 16.5mm eye-relief. In my opinion, this is very good. It shows that this pair is one of the best if you if you wear eyeglasses. We measured the eye lenses are recessed 2.5 mm into their housings. So there is 14.0 mm of the specified 16.5 mm eye relief available. 

Control of Stray Light

The objective tubes are internally ribbled and baffled very well. We found the control of stray light is excellent.

ED Glass

The manufacturers also say that the binocular uses the ED glasses to reduce any color dispersion. I can confirm this since the device provides high clarity and some cool resolution colors. Using it is an experience to savor. Thankfully, I have one of my own.

 

Testing Specifications

Effective Aperture

The effective aperture is very near to the specified aperture which is 42 mm. When we tested it using collimated light at the eyepiece end, it provided us with the same measurement at the objective end.

Objective Lens Recession

The objective lenses are also recessed 5.0 mm into the barrels. This offers additional protection against any unintentional touching and also peripheral lights. It is also protects against the morning dew for hunters who are early to rise.

Glass Coatings

The Endeavor ED 10×42 binoculars also use fully multi-coated lenses. The layered coatings on these lenses seem to be evenly applied as they reflect only a small amount of light.

Bak-4 Prisms

There are also no grey segments in the bino’s exit pupils. This is a confirmation that the prisms in this optic device are made of the high-index BaK-4 glass.

Right Eyepiece Diopter

In addition to that, the right eyepiece diopter adjustment ring is quite easy to set up and secure on your preferred viewing options.

Well, I have seen some reviews where guys say the diopter is slightly stiff, but this is no big deal. You can always set it and secure so that you never have to change it every again.

Prism Size

The prisms are cemented and housed in a proper case. We didn’t notice any opaque segments in the exit pupil. The exit pupil was fully bright and circular confirming that the prisms used are fully sized.

Conclusion

Indeed, anyone who wants to improve their hunting experience should use this bino. It is easy to use, comes with a lightweight construction, has an open bridge design, gives wide field of view even at 10x magnification; chromatic aberration, astigmatism and distortion is very minimal; and gives sharp image across the whole field of view.

Pros

  • Three-stage twist-out eyecup
  • Locking right eye diopter ring
  • Lightweight construction
  • Open bridge design
  • Large and precise focus wheel
  • ED glasses that reduce color dispersion
  • 100% fog proof and waterproof

Cons

  • No major drawback. If I have to mention one then the image tone could be little bit colder.

The Eyeskey 10×42 Binoculars isn’t just the best binoculars for hunting deer and that’s why we consider is the value buy. Instead, you can also use it for traveling, sports, and other outdoor activities that require the best binoculars.

The manufactures of the Eyeskey 10×42 Professional Binoculars understood the need for a powerful binocular that will prevent you from early morning strain when hunting and that’s why they gave it a 10X magnification power and a bigger objective diameter for a super brilliant field of view.

Nonetheless, it is their desire to give their customers a highly reliable product that has seen this set of like the Steiner predator 8×42 binoculars come with a superior shell that’s resistant to scratch. More specifically, the Eyeskey 10×42 is built for extreme use.

It comes with an all-round weatherproof design and will do so much well for people who experience so much morning drizzle or rain when hunting. Thanks to its waterproof and fog proof touch and the rubber armored body for additional strength.

Even better, the device is also equipped with so many user-friendly features; to mention but a few, the binoculars have turned and slide eyecups made of rubber. They also have a smooth and easy to operate central focus knob, and above all that a flip down lens cap.

And in order to give the best images under blurry circumstances such as the early morning hunting spree, this device is equipped with fully multi-coated (FMC) lenses and the phase correction BaK-4 coated prism.

BaK-4 like you have seen in many other top rated binoculars for hunting will provide you with a high light transmission across every spectrum and thus leave you with super bright images whenever you track an object.

FMC lenses, on the other hand, are known to give the best all-natural images. However, they are often used on high-end binoculars because of their rather expensive nature. This is one feature that you should always look out for in a hunting binocular.

The outer cover is also stylishly grooved so that you can have a non-slip grip when using your binoculars.

Pros

  • Bigger objective diameter for a super brilliant field of view
  • Superior shell that’s resistant to scratch
  • Waterproof and fogproof touch
  • Rubber armored body for additional strength
  • Flip down lens cap
  • Easy to operate central focus knob
  • Fully multi-coated (FMC) lenses
  • BaK-4 prisms

Cons

  • No carry on case

Hunting Binoculars Buying Guide

Now that you have seen some of the best hunting binoculars reviews it won’t be a good thing that we bombard you with so much jargon in our buying guide.

That’s why in these buying criteria we will keep to the simple side. Take a look at what you need to know when buying these types of products.

Prism Type

Currently, we have two basic types of glass prisms that you need to know when looking for your best-hunting binoculars. They both come in a BaK-4 design and are actually the porro and roof prism.

Hunting binoculars with roof-prisms and eyepiece will be located on a single axis; typically one lens behind the other lens. This will provide your Steiner marine binoculars for instance with a much more compact and lighter design.

However, in a porro-prism, your binocular lenses are usually shifted to the sides so that they provide better image quality while at the same time increases the main depth of perception always.

Anti-Reflection Coating

How your binocular’s optics and enlightened will significantly affect the quality of image that you will view along with your hunting adventure.

Indeed if the brightness and contrast are poor you will find a hard time getting the best images under the most insufficient illumination.

This even gets worse if you have a set of binoculars with the unenlightened optical components since up to 40% of the light that enters the lens will be lost on the boundaries within the vacuum and the lenses.

That’s why it is advisable that you should choose a device that has fully multi-coated optics and possibly a BaK-4 prism since it will cut these loses to the lowest levels of only 2.5% within the lens.

Focusing Mechanism

Modern hunting binoculars will have a central focusing knob or technology that will give you the best dioptric correction in order to actually compensate for the many different visual acuities that your eyes may come with.

This is really important as it allows you to actually adjust your binoculars until you achieve some of the best images with a crystal clear touch.

Best Binoculars for Hunting Parameters

Now that’s we have seen the considerations that you need to look out for, it is time to pick the actual features of the best hunting binoculars. Let’s dig in and take the leupold binoculars 10×42 to help us. It should have:

  • 7-10x Magnification power
  • Objective lens diameter of 30-50mm
  • 105 m at a distance of 1000 m field of view or more
  • Moisture protection
  • Nitrogen purging
  • Fully multilayered coatings
  • 14-20 mm eye relief
  • Mounted lens caps
  • Goniometer/rangefinder

If you are looking for the best hunting binoculars, then you’ve got it all lined up in this great review and awesome buying guide. You can always get a second opinion from a loved one of a friend on which choice to make among the options that we have reviewed for you today. Good luck!