Best Hunting Binoculars for 2019

In today’s post we are going to show you how to choose the best hunting binoculars for your particular situation. We will show you our editor’s picks as well as complete reviews, by real hunters, of the best binoculars available today.

We will share our honest reviews about each of these binoculars so that you can make an educated decision as to what are the best binoculars for you and your situation.

If you have been researching the best binoculars for hunting on the internet, you have no doubt come across the many articles that have clearly been written by non hunters.

Don’t be fooled by those articles. They are intended to sell you the binoculars that the author makes the most money from.

We are actual hunters and we have used each of these binoculars and evaluated them from a hunter's perspective.

We also reached out to our readers and asked the question:

"What are the best binoculars for hunting and why?"

Best Hunting Binoculars in 2019 with Reviews

Editor's Choice

Best Hunting Binoculars

The Vortex Optics Viper HD Roof Prism Binocular is our Editor's Choice for the Best Binoculars for Hunting.

We first put these binoculars to the test during the whitetail rut in Ohio last year and we were very impressed.

They replaced an old set of Cabelas binoculars that I had become quite fond of, and I have to admit that I was skeptical, but these binoculars are awesome!

The Viper HD comes with high density extra low dispersion glass and XR fully multi-coated lenses.

They are available in both 8X42 and 10X42 models. Both models weigh in at just over 24 ounces.

The 10X42 has a field of view of 319 feet, while the 8X42 has a very impressive 347 feet.

They are completely waterproof and fogproof thanks to sealed o-rings and argon gas purging.

The lenses feature an Armor Tek coating that is an ultra-hard, scratch-resistant coating that protects exterior lenses from scratches, oil and dirt.

The binoculars body is protected by a rubber armor which provides a secure, non-slip grip, and durable external protection.

Here is a great video that illustrates the features of the Vortex Viper HD Binoculars and why they are the Best Binoculars for Hunting

One of the deciding factors in naming the Vortex Optics Viper as our Editor's Choice for the Best Hunting Binoculars is their incredible VIP Warranty.

Here it is directly form Vortex:

Our VIP warranty is about you, not us. It's about taking care of you after the sale.

VIP stands for a Very Important Promise to you, our customer. We will repair or replace your Vortex product in the event it becomes damaged or defective—at no charge to you. If we cannot repair your product, we will replace it with a product in perfect working order of equal or better physical condition.

You see, it doesn't matter how it happened, whose fault it was, or where you purchased it. You can count on the VIP Warranty for all Vortex Optics riflescopesprism scopesred dotsrangefindersbinocularsspotting scopestripods, and monoculars.

  • Unlimited Lifetime Warranty
  • Fully transferable
  • No warranty card to fill out
  • No receipt needed to hang on to

If you ever have a problem, no matter the cause, we promise to take care of you.

The only downside to these binoculars is that they are fairly expensive. At the time of this writing they are coming in just under $500, but if you are looking for the best hunting binoculars, there is no need to look any further.

Click here for our full Vortex Viper Binoculars Review.

After doing a lot of research on the internet, I purchased the Vortex Viper HD Binoculars and all I can say is wow! I am not used to this kind of quality in a pair of binoculars. Granted they were a little more expensive, but well worth it!

Jim Gentry


Best Hunting Binoculars Under $200

Best Hunting Binoculars for the Money

When searching for the Best Binoculars for Hunting, you know that there has to be at least one Bushnell in the mix.

I have to admit that I have been a fan of Bushnell optics ever since I was kid. Now at 52 years old, I am amazed at the quality of these Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Binoculars.

These hunting binoculars feature Prime Extra-Low Dispersion glass which brings out the most distinct details possible in low-light hunting conditions.

They also feature Rainguard HD. Bushnell's patented permanent water repellent coating and anti fog technology.

All in a lightweight magnesium chassis with soft touch grips, but that's not the best part.

The Bushnell Legend HD Binoculars are covered by the best in industry guarantee.

Bushnell's No Questions Asked Lifetime Warranty Promise

"We’re proud to guarantee your complete satisfaction, and promise to repair or replace your product and ship it back to you at absolutely no charge. This fully transferable warranty covers accidental damage, as well as any defects in materials and workmanship, for the life of the product."

With this kind of quality and the legendary Bushnell name, you would expect to pay a lot more.

I have seen these hunting binoculars online for under $200

Click here for the full Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Binoculars Review.

I had a pair of Bushnell Legend HD binoculars that I accidentally left on the bumper of my truck. They fell off when I backed up and I ran them over, shattering the glass. Bushnell replaced them, no questions asked and no receipt required. I am a Bushnell customer for life.

Joel DelGado


Best Hunting Binoculars Under $300

Best Hunting Binoculars Under $300

I have to say that I had never used Nikon binoculars before, but I was very familiar with my old Nikon D200 camera, so when I came across the awesome reviews for the Monarch 5 binoculars, I was not surprised.

Nikon has shaved a full ounce off of the weight of the new Nikon Monarch 5. Couple that with extra low dispersion glass and fully multi coated Eco Glass lenses and you have a recipe for very high quality hunting binoculars.

Of course they are 100 percent waterproof and fogproof thanks to being nitrogen filled and o-ring sealed.

The exterior is covered in a durable rubber armored coating which provides superior protection and a non slip grip.

While Nikon does not provide as good of a guarantee as Bushnell, it still is pretty good.

Here it is word for word from Nikon:

Nikon No-Fault Repair/Replacement Policy*

Nikon No Fault Guarantee

"For Binoculars, LaserForce Rangefinder Binoculars, Riflescopes, Scope Mounts and Fieldscopes

Nikon is dedicated to quality, performance and total customer satisfaction. If your Nikon Binocular, LaserForce Rangefinder Binocular, Riflescope, Scope Mount or Fieldscope requires repair not covered by our Limited Lifetime Warranty, just send it to us and Nikon will at our option repair or replace the product at no charge.

*Excludes lost or stolen products and intentionally caused damage, and also excludes Nikon Rangefinders, StabilEyes Binoculars & Specialty Optics."

Click here for the full Nikon Monarch 5 Binoculars Review.


Best Hunting Binoculars Under $500

Best Binoculars Under $500

We were so impressed with the Nikon Monarch 7's little brother, the Monarch 5, that we immediately ordered a Monarch 7 to review.

The Monarch 7 has the most advanced optical system in any Monarch yet and it shows.

  • Nikon’s premium Extra Low Dispersion glass and proprietary lens and prism coatings. 
  • Advanced Multi Layer Coatings
  • Phase Correction Coated Prisms for true colors and high resolution
  • Water Proof and Fogproof
  • Rubber armor coated

And of course the Monarch 7 is covered by the Nikon No Fault Guarantee.

Nikon No Fault Guarantee

One of the things that we really liked about the Nikon Monarch is the tethered lens covers. These are very well secured and you won't lose the lens covers, like with every other hunting binocular you've owned.

You can see them below.

Nikon Tethered Lens Covers

If you are looking for the best hunting binoculars under $500, you owe it to yourself to check out the Nikon Monarch 7.

Click here for the full Nikon Monarch 7 binoculars review.


Best Hunting Binoculars Under $500

Zeiss Terra ED Binoculars Review

The Zeiss Terra ED Binoculars have made our list for the best hunting binoculars under $500.

Here's why you should consider these high quality optics.

Zeiss optics are known for their superior German engineering and the Terra ED Binos are no different.

They are lightweight with an easy to grip, non slip surface and a large, smooth focus wheel.

Couple that with Schott ED glass and Zeiss hydrophobicc multi-coating and you can see why we have chosen the Terra ED as one of the best hunting binoculars under $500.

Here are some of the features of the Zeiss Terra ED:

  • O ring sealed and nitrogen purged for 100% waterproof/fogproof performance.
  • Fiberglass reinforced polyamide chassis for super lightweight and rugged design.
  • Crystal clear, sharp images due to Schott ED glass and Zeiss hydrophobic multi coated lenses.
  • Rubber armor coated with soft textured grip for comfort and durability.
  • Large center focus knob for quick, easy adjustments.
  • The Terra ED comes with a binocular harness which keeps the binoculars comfortably on your chest.

There are a couple of negative things that we should talk about with the Zeiss Terra ED Binoculars.

1. Even though the Terra ED Binos are German engineered, they are made in China. They are made to the German specifications, but the only way they could be manufactured at this price point is to outsource the work to China.

2. The Zeiss warranty is not as good as some of the other manufacturers. They do stand behind their product by guaranteeing to be free of defects, but they do not warranty against accidents etc.

These are very high quality binoculars, but we prefer the Nikon Monarch 7 as our top choice for the best hunting binoculars under $500.

Click here for the full Zeiss Terra ED Binoculars Review.


Best Hunting Binoculars Under $500

Leupold BX-4 Binoculars

The quality of Leupold optics is legendary and the Leupold BX-4 Pro Guide HD Binoculars are certainly high quality optics.

The Leupold BX-4 Pro Guide HD 10×42 Binoculars feature a compact and lightweight design built with Leopold's proprietary Twilight Max HD Light Management System which delivers vivid brightness, edge to edge clarity, and high tech glare management elements which help you to see incredible detail in low light environments.

The revolutionary ergonomic open-bridge design provides ease of use while reducing the overall weight for comfortable all day use.

Here are some of the features of the Leupold BX-4 Pro Guide HD:

  • O ring sealed and nitrogen purged for 100% waterproof/fogproof performance.
  • Aluminum body for super lightweight and rugged design.
  • Twilight Max Light Management System for vivid, high contrasting images in low light.
  • Rubber armor coated with soft textured grip for comfort and durability.
  • Functional mechanical parts are custom made to fit their sockets perfectly which 
  • High definition, calcium fluoride lenses provide unparalleled clarity. 

There are a couple of negative things that we should talk about with the Zeiss Terra ED Binoculars.

Couple all of that with Leupold's Full Lifetime Warranty which states:

"If your Leupold riflescope, binocular, or spotting scope doesn’t perform, we will repair or replace it for free - whether you're the original owner or not. You don’t need proof of ownership or a warranty card, and there’s no time limit. We do this because we believe in superior quality and craftsmanship, and we’re confident your Leupold won’t let you down."

And you have one of the best hunting binoculars available today!

Click here for the full Leupold BX-4 Pro Guide HD Binoculars Review.


Best Hunting Binoculars Under $100

Celestron Nature DX Binoculars

The Celestron Nature DX binoculars pack a lot of features into a very small price. They were the biggest surprise out of all of our binoculars reviews.

The Nature DX body is constructed from polycarbonate, which is durable and lightweight, although not as rugged as the aluminum or magnesium used in higher priced binoculars.

Here are some more features of the Celestron DX. Many of these are found in more expensive binoculars:

  • O ring sealed and nitrogen purged for 100% waterproof/fogproof performance.
  • Phase coated BAK-4 prisms for lifelike colors and clarity.
  • Fully multi coated lenses for incredible clarity and superior light transmission.
  • Rubber armor coated with soft textured grip for comfort and durability.
  • Large center focus knob for quick, easy adjustments.
  • Incredibly low price for the high end features.

The one downside is the Limited Lifetime Warranty. It is still a good warranty, but if you spend a little more money, you can get an Unconditional Lifetime Warranty.

If you are looking for the best hunting binoculars under $100, you should seriously consider the Celestron Nature DX Binoculars.

Click here for the full Celestron Nature DX Binoculars review.


Best Hunting Binoculars Under $100

Bushnell H20

It is difficult to find a high quality set of hunting binoculars for under $100, but Bushnell has hit it out of the park with the H20.

These hunting binoculars combine powerful, bright optics in a 100% waterproof package, at a price anyone can afford.

Here are some of the features of this little beauty:

  • O ring sealed and nitrogen purged for 100% waterproof/fogproof performance.
  • Bak 4 prisms and multi coated optics for stunning HD clarity.
  • Rubber armor coated with soft textured grip for comfort and durability.
  • Large center focus knob for quick, easy adjustments.

As you would expect with hunting binoculars under $100, the Bushnell H20 is not covered by Bushnell's No Questions Asked Lifetime Warranty Promise, but it is covered by their Limited Lifetime Warranty.

If you are looking for the best hunting binoculars under $100, take a look at the Bushnell H20.

Click here for the full Bushnell H20 Binoculars review.


Best Hunting Binoculars For The Money

Best Hunting Binoculars For the Money

Vortex Optics is taking the Best Hunting Binoculars market by storm and their Diamondback model is leading the pack in price vs. performance.

Featuring a high performance optical system with fully multi coated lenses with their best in class ultra wide field of view, it's no wonder that Vortex is growing its market share.

You would expect to pay much more for feature rich hunting binoculars like the Vortex Diamondback.

  • Fully multi coated lenses.
  • O Ring sealed and argon gas purged for 100% waterproof/fogproof performance.
  • Rubber armor coated for a non slip grip and durability.

The Vortex Diamondback also comes with:

  • Rainguard Eyepiece Covers
  • Tethered Objective Lens Covers
  • Comfort Neck Strap
  • Deluxe Custom Molded Carry Case

Couple all of that with the amazing price and you can see why they are our Editors Choice for the Best Hunting Binoculars for the Money.


Best Cheap Hunting Binoculars 

Barska Blackhawk Binoculars Review

Barska has hit the nail on the head by producing a fairly high quality set of hunting binoculars that nearly anyone can afford.

Granted these hunting binoculars are not going to share the same quality as the more expensive models, but we believe that they exhibit a high degree of quality for a cheap pair of hunting binoculars.

Here are some of the features you will find in these cheap hunting binoculars.

  • Fully Coated optics and BAK-4 Prisms.
  • Nitrogen Purged for a 100% Waterproof and Fogproof design.
  • Ergonomically designed diamond cut rubberized Armor provides a no slip grip.
  • Available in Mossy Oak Camo.
  • Price - Under $100.
  • Comes with a carrying case, neck strap, lens covers and lens cloth.

When you look at all of the features you can see why they are our Editors Choice for the Best Cheap Binoculars.

Click here for the full Barska Blackhawk Binoculars Review.


Best Hunting Binoculars Comparison Chart

Best Hunting Binoculars Video

Here is an awesome video by Ron Spomer on how to choose the best hunting binoculars. Ron gives the best explanation that we have seen about the best hunting binoculars features and what it means to the hunter.

Best Binoculars for Deer Hunting

Best Binoculars for Deer Hunting

Here at DeerHuntingGuide.net we live for deer hunting, so we believe that we are especially qualified to evaluate the best binoculars for hunting deer.

The best binoculars for deer hunting are going to either be 8X42 or 10X42.

We prefer the 8X42 because you get a wider field of view and they generally perform better in low light conditions.

The only time you might benefit from the extra magnification offered by the 10x42 is if you are hunting mule deer or whitetails in wide open terrain, where you are trying to glass long distances.

For most deer hunting situations, the 8x42 will give you better performance with the features that you need.

Things to consider when choosing the best deer hunting binoculars

As deer hunters, we are in the field in all weather conditions so waterproof and fogproof are two features that we cannot live without.

The best deer hunting binoculars are O-ring sealed and argon purged for flawless performance in wet weather.

Another consideration is durability and ruggedness. If you are wearing your binoculars, they are constantly banging on things. Think of the last time you climbed into your tree stand. Ill bet you banged your binoculars at some point.

Let's admit it, even if you keep them in your pack, they take a beating.

All of the best binoculars for deer hunting are rubber armor coated for protection and non slip grip.

That bring us to the next consideration when determining the best binoculars for deer hunting.

Iron Clad Warranty

The best deer hunting binoculars today come with incredible, no questions asked, warranties.

Nikon calls it their No Fault Policy. They will repair or replace your Monarch binoculars if they become damaged regardless of the cause of the damage.

Choosing the best binoculars for deer hunting was a difficult task because there are so many high quality binoculars available today, but after much debate we confidently recommend the Nikon Monarch 5 8X42They are the perfect combination of the features that deer hunters demand along with the excellent value and reasonable price.


Best Hunting Binoculars For The Money

Quality optics manufacturers are offering so much quality today at reasonable prices, making it a very difficult decision to come up with the best hunting binoculars for the money.

We can rule out the high end german brands because even though they are awesome, their price puts them out of reach for most hunters.

What we are really talking about here is value for your dollar.

What are the best value hunting binoculars?

We also aren't considering any of the best hunting binoculars under $100, because even though there are some decent ones, they simply can't compare with the features and quality of the ones in the running for the best hunting binoculars for the money.

This brings us to the mid range priced hunting binoculars.

We looked for hunting binoculars that offered many of the features of the high end binoculars, but without the high end price.

We were impressed by what we found.

As we performed our research and evaluated all of the features of the best hunting binoculars, it quickly became apparent that one was really hitting the sweet spot of performance vs. price, or value for your dollar.

Best Hunting Binoculars For the Money

When it comes to features, these binoculars are incredible.

  • Fully Multi Coated Lenses
  • Waterproof and Fogproof
  • O Ring Sealed and Argon Purged 
  • Rubber Armor Coated

But what really seals the deal on these hunting binoculars is the incredible Vortex VIP Warranty.

No questions asked, no receipt needed. If they ever become damaged for any reason, Vortex will repair or replace them at no charge. The warranty is fully transferable.

Couple that with a retail price around $200 and you can clearly see why we chose the Vortex Diamondback as the Best Hunting Binoculars for the Money.

Check out this video on the Vortex Diamondback Binoculars.


Best Binoculars for bowhunting

Bowhunting is my passion, so I was very excited to do the research for this part of article.

I put the Top 6 Best Hunting Binoculars listed above through all of the scenarios that I face as a bowhunter.

  • I wore them on a harness and climbed into tree stands.
  • I used them in the pouring rain.
  • I used them in the cold and snow.
  • I used them in ground blinds.

I even put all 6 pairs into my pack, brought them up in my tree stand and compared how well they could pick out objects in thick brush, like the flick of a tail, or an ear.

I found many differences that I probably would not have noticed if I didn't test them side by side.

Some were definitely better in low light conditions and some were clearer in bright sunlight.

I also tested both 8x42 and 10x42 models and I have to say that for bowhunting, I prefer the 8x42.

They are lighter and have a wider field of view, which is important when you are trying to find an animal while holding your bow in one hand and your binoculars in the other, or trying to quickly find a running animal through your binoculars.

8x42s are also better in low light situations, which as a bowhunter are when we really need our binoculars to shine.

There was one set of binoculars that was clearly rising to the top of the pack as the best binoculars for bowhunting.

Best Binoculars for Bowhunting

Here's why we chose the Nikon Monarch 7 8x42 as the best binoculars for bowhunting.

  • These were the one of the lightest hunting binoculars that we tested at only 22.9 ounces. ( The Nikon Monarch 5 is lighter, but has a lower field of view.)
  • They have an incredible field of view at 420 feet. (The Bushnell L Series 8x42 had a wider field of view, but was heavier.)
  • They feature Extra Low Dispersion Glass and fully multi coated lenses.
  • They are rubber armor coated for ruggedness and non slip grip.
  • They are 100% waterproof and fogproof.
  • They feature multi setting click stop eyecups which allow custom eye relief settings.
  • They come with tethered objective lens covers, which I love. No more losing your hunting binoculars lens covers.

These are our top pick for the Best Binoculars for Bowhunting, but they are expensive, at just under $500.

If that is outside of your budget, you should consider the Nikon Monarch 5, which is featured above as the Best Binoculars for Deer Hunting.


Best Compact Binoculars for Hunting

Best Compact Binoculars for Hunting

If you are looking for the best compact binoculars for hunting, we want to make sure that you know what that means, because you will be sacrificing a lot in order to have a true compact hunting binoculars.

Compact binoculars are defined as having an objective lens of 28 or smaller.

The size of the objective lens is what determines how much light is let in to the binoculars and therefore how well your binoculars will perform in low light conditions.

So by definition, compact binoculars will not perform well in low light conditions, which makes them a bad choice for hunters.

We hope that we have talked you out of buying compact binoculars, but we are sure that there are some of you that are set on buying them, so we have evaluated the top choices available and found that even though they don't perform well in low light, there are some good choices in compact hunting Binoculars.

Cabela's Intensity HD Compact 8x25 Binoculars Features:

  • Premium HD extra-low dispersion glass
  • Enhanced image quality and exceptional clarity
  • Phase-coated prism enhances resolution and natural colors
  • Fully multicoated lenses with advanced ultrawide-band coating
  • Ultralightweight, compact rubber-armored magnesium-alloy chassis
  • IPX7 waterproof rating withstands 30 minutes of submersion

If you are only considering compact binoculars then the Cabela's Intensity HD Compact 8x25 Binoculars are the best compact binoculars for hunting.


Best Hunting Binoculars Buying Guide

Choosing the Best Hunting Binoculars

Binoculars basically do two main things for us while we are hunting.

1. They magnify the object that we are looking at, making it appear larger and closer than it would with the naked eye.

2. They let in more light, making objects appear brighter and clearer in low light conditions.

Choosing the best hunting binoculars can be a bit confusing with the different numbers, sizes and prism types, as well as costs.

We will break down each of these factors and explain exactly what they mean so that you can choose the best binoculars for your hunting situation.

Regardless of the type of hunting you do, you should try to buy the best hunting binoculars that you can afford. Your optics are not where you should be cutting corners.

Here’s what you need to know…

Basically for hunting situations, you are going to want 8x42 or 10X42 binoculars.

21 Factors To Consider When Choosing the Best Hunting Binoculars

1. Quality

The number one factor to consider when choosing the best binoculars for hunting is quality and while there is a correlation between quality and price, you don't have to spend a fortune to get a high quality set of binoculars. One way to insure quality is to stick with one of the top brands. That brings us to the second most important factor to consider when choosing the best hunting binoculars.

2. Brand

As we spoke to long time hunters during our research for this buying guide, it became apparent that there was a fair amount of brand loyalty, similar to the way it is with automobiles. If you had a particular brand of hunting binoculars that you liked and it served you well over a period of years, you were very likely to be partial to that brand.

Here is a list of brands that were consistently favored by many of the hunters that we interviewed.

  • Bushnell
  • Nikon
  • Vortex
  • Burris
  • Steiner
  • Leupold
  • Leica
  • Zeis
  • Swarovski

Those are by no means the only binocular brands, but they are the brands that came up consistently when we asked "What are the best binoculars for hunting?".

Now let's take a look at what the numbers mean.

3. Magnification  

Magnification

This is the first number in a binoculars description. A 10X42 binoculars means the image is magnified 10X. This number can vary from 7 to 10 in hunting binoculars, but 8x or 10x is preferred by the vast majority of hunters. It basically means that an object will appear either 8 times or 10 times closer than it actually is.

4. Objective Lens  

This is the second number in a binoculars description. A 10X42 binoculars means a 42 mm objective lens. This is the lens on the front of the binoculars. The larger the lens, the more light it lets in. Also, the more expensive it gets and the heavier it gets. 42 mm lets in plenty of light while remaining lightweight and relatively inexpensive.

Objective Lens

5. Exit Pupil  

​​​​This term is sometimes difficult to understand, but I will try to explain. Exit pupil is a number that determines how well we will be able to see through the binoculars in low light situations. It is determined by dividing the objective lens number by the magnification. In a 10X42 binocular you would divide 42 by 10, arriving at an exit pupil of 4.2. Anything between 4 and 5.5 will perform very well in low light conditions.

Here is an excellent video that explains exit pupil and why you should know what it means.

6. Relative Brightness Index  

The Relative Brightness Index or RBI is another indicator of how well your binoculars will perform in low light conditions. The RBI is directly related to the Exit Pupil and is arrived at by taking the square of the Exit Pupil. So if the exit pupil is 4.5, the RBI is 20.25. With the exit pupil of 5.25 you get from an 8x42 pair of binocs, the RBI is 27.5625. The general rule is that for the best hunting binoculars you need an RBI of at least 20.

7. Field of view  

Field of View

When you look around with your naked eye, you generally have a 180-degree field of view. But when you use binoculars, it’s like you’re cupping your eyes with your hands at the side of your eyes. You’re limiting your field of view.

In binoculars, the Field of View is denoted by how wide the view is at 1,000 yards. Higher magnification leads to a reduction in your field of view, so you will need to find a proper balance. In general, you may want a higher field of view if you’re hunting in wide open areas and you’re going after fast-moving prey. Typically in a 10x42 binoculars the field of view will be 280-360 ft.

8. Eye Relief  

Eye Relief

This term refers to how far away your eyes have to be from the ocular lenses (the lenses nearest you). Short eye relief can range from 9 to 13 mm, with midrange at 14 to 16 mm. Long eye relief starts at 17mm. Eye relief is important for hunters because many people wear eyeglasses or sunglasses while out in the field. You may have very thick lenses on your eyeglasses or you may want to wear them further down your nose. Those conditions will require midrange or even long eye relief. Basically eye relief is the distance from your eye that you can hold the binoculars and still maintain a full field of view. Some binoculars have extendable eyepieces which will ensure proper eye relief.

That's enough of the numbers. Here are some other factors to consider.

9. Prism type  

The prisms in your binoculars are what allow you to see your images right side up instead of upside down. You have roof prisms, which have become the industry standard. They’re more compact and more rugged, so they’re generally more suited for hunting binoculars. The other kind is the Porro prism, which to be fair offers brighter images as is. But then with roof prisms you can get the same image quality when you add the coatings.

  • Roof prism - A roof prism reflects light 5 times and the light comes out on the same line in which it went in. This allows for a more compact and lighter weight design.
  • Porro Prism - A Porro prism only reflects light 4 times and it comes out on a different line than it went in on, resulting in the need for a larger body and hence a heavier binoculars.

10. Optical Coatings  

Anytime that light hits a glass surface, some of that light is reflected back. When you consider that a set of binoculars may have light striking 6 to 10 glass lenses, that is a lot of reflection. As a result, manufacturers use optical coatings to reduce the amount of light reflected and produce a clearer image.

Optical Coatings

These are the terms used to describe optical coatings in binoculars.

1. Coated Optics: This is the least expensive and means that one or more surfaces are anti-reflective coated with a single-layer coating.

2. Fully Coated Optics: This is fairly common in mid range binoculars and mean that all air-to-glass surfaces are anti-reflective coated with a single-layer coating.

3. Multi-Coated Optics: This is getting into more expensive binoculars and means that one or more surfaces have anti-reflective multi-layer coatings.

4. Fully Multi-Coated Opics: This is used in the most expensive binoculars and means that all air-to-glass surfaces are anti-reflective multi-layer coated.

The optical coatings used will vary based on price with the more expensive binoculars using the better coatings.

Examples of coatings include:

  • Anti-reflective coating. This is the most common type of coating used, and it helps keep the lens from reflecting the back glare into your eyes.
  • Anti-scratch coating. This protects the glass from dirt and dust particles.
  • Water-repellant coating. This helps shed water and resist outside fogging.
  • Metallic mirror coating. This enhances the light reflection so that the image is brighter. On roof prism types, you also have dielectric coatings for the same purpose.
  • Phase correction coating. This is just for roof prism binocs, and it helps bring about a clearer and sharper image. 

11. Focus and Adjustment 

According to Wikipedia, binoculars utilize two systems for adjusting the focus, independent focus and central focusing.

1. Independent focus is an arrangement where the two telescopes are focused independently by adjusting each eyepiece. Binoculars designed for heavy field use, such as military applications, traditionally have used independent focusing.

2. Central focusing is an arrangement which involves rotation of a central focusing wheel to adjust both tubes together. In addition, one of the two eyepieces can be further adjusted to compensate for differences between the viewer's eyes (usually by rotating the eyepiece in its mount). Because the focal change effected by the adjustable eyepiece can be measured in the customary unit of refractive power, the diopter, the adjustable eyepiece itself is often called a diopter. Once this adjustment has been made for a given viewer, the binoculars can be refocused on an object at a different distance by using the focusing wheel to adjust both tubes together without eyepiece readjustment. This is the most common type of focus used in the best hunting binoculars.

12. Image Quality  

Image Quality

Image quality is determined largely by the type of glass and coatings used and is usually indicative of price. The higher quality the image, the higher the cost.

13. Portability (Size and Weight)  

Size and weight will vary with the type of prism being used as well as the size of the objective lens. We feel that a 42 mm objective lens is a good compromise for the best hunting binoculars. If you go with a smaller lens, you sacrifice quality and a larger lens gets to be heavy when carried around in the field.

14. Waterproof   

This is a major consideration for the best binoculars for hunting. We are using our equipment in all kinds of weather and all sorts of conditions. Our equipment needs to be protected from the elements and needs to be able to withstand changing weather conditions.

15. Ruggedness

High quality hunting binoculars also often feature some type of rubber coating around the casing. This protects the binoculars should you drop it or bump it into something hard. In addition, the rubber coating offers a more secure hold even if you’re hunting in wet conditions. 

16. Affordability  

As we stated earlier, you should buy the best binoculars that you can afford. You really do get what you pay for when it comes to optics. With that being said, you can still get a quality set of binoculars for hunting at a reasonable price.

17. Type of Hunting That You Do

The type of hunting that you do is a major factor in choosing the best hunting binoculars for you. To illustrate that point, we can look at the difference between a bow hunter hunting whitetail deer in thick brush and a rifle hunter hunting Dahl Sheep in the mountains. These hunters are going to choose very different hunting binoculars. Always consider what type of hunting you do.

18. Hunting Specific Features

Some binoculars boast of some features that hunters may find extremely useful. These include having a laser range finder built in to the binoculars, so you can immediately find out the distance to your target. Others have an image stabilization feature that helps keep the image steady when you’re using high magnification. These features may help, but it’s highly debatable if they’re worth the expense and the extra weight.

19. Reviews

Shopping for binoculars today is much different than it was just a few short years ago. Today, you can read reviews of all of the best binoculars available to determine which ones work for your particular situation. If you are shopping on Amazon, in addition to reading the reviews, you can determine how popular the binoculars are by the number of reviews. Considering the fact that very few Amazon shoppers actually leave reviews, so any hunting binoculars with more than 100 reviews is an extremely popular set of optics.

20. Color

Color used to be a major consideration when choosing binoculars for hunting, but we don't feel that it is that important anymore. In the past, most hunters wanted camouflage hunting binoculars, but all hunting binoculars today have a matte finish and perform equally well in green and black. If you insist on camo binoculars, there are still many great options to choose from although you will be slightly limited.

21. Accessories

As you are shopping for the best hunting binoculars, you may want to consider what accessories are available for the binoculars that you are considering. Different brands often offer specific accessories made only for their own brand. Things such as harnesses, specialty cases, tripod adapters, tethered objective lens covers and sun shades just to name a few.

Best Hunting Binoculars Conclusion

Your choice for the best hunting binoculars is going to depend largely on:

  1. The Type of hunting that you do.
  2. Your hunting binoculars budget.

The good news is that there are some incredible high end hunting binoculars available today for very reasonable prices.

Choose the best hunting binoculars that you can afford and you will be rewarded with many years of performance in the field.

Please leave your comments Below.

About the author

John VanDerLaan

Hi folks! I'm John VanDerLaan and I have a deep passion for the outdoors, and deer hunting in particular. I am what you call a year round deer hunter. I am in the whitetail woods year round preparing for the next years season and I love to share the knowledge that I've gained over 40 years of chasing the wily whitetail! In full disclosure, it is safe to assume that I am an affiliate for products that I recommend. I will make a commission if you buy through my link. You will not pay more when buying through my link. In fact, oftentimes I have negotiated a lower price (or bonuses) for my readers than you will find anywhere else online. Also, when you buy through my link, it allows me to continue to provide you with tons of FREE valuable information through this website!

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