Few items are as versatile as a good pair of binoculars. From stalking deer to bird watching to star gazing, they are the perfect gift for a variety of hobbies. While all binoculars appear the same, they are far from equal. This list will give you all the details you need to choose the best pair of binoculars in 2019. If you aren’t sure about the specifications, check out the FAQs list for some helpful tips on choosing your new pair of binoculars. Finding a binocular hobby is easy, and you’ll love owning one of these pairs, whether you are an avid bird watcher or an amateur stargazer.
Why Do I Need a Pair of Binoculars?
Binoculars are an incredibly useful tool for many occasions. Birdwatching is one of the most popular uses for binoculars. You’ll want a durable pair of well-rounded binoculars for seeing birds at all distances. With a pair of binoculars and a guidebook or app, you have all you need to begin identifying birds in your backyard, park or on vacation. If birds don’t excite you, take a pair of binoculars to your next golf outing.
Whether you are watching or playing, they can be helpful to spot the ball after a long drive. Hunters understand how important a good pair of binoculars can be, particularly identifying deer. For a more unique application, consider using binoculars instead of a telescope while you are stargazing.
Binoculars are an affordable way to try this hobby and can work surprisingly well. There are lots of unique features to consider, but it’s helpful to know the activity you are planning on using your binoculars for. Stargazing binoculars may not be appropriate for birdwatching, so you may want to consider two pairs of binoculars if you enjoy multiple hobbies that utilize binoculars.
What Magnification Should I Look for in a Pair of Binoculars?
You probably know that binoculars magnify the object you are trying to look at. The magnification power of a pair of binoculars can vary, and the ideal amount will change, depending on your activity. They are usually 8X or 10X, giving it a magnification power of eight-times or 10-times the actual size. While bigger may be better for some purposes, 10-times magnification may be too far for other uses, like golfing or birdwatching.
Consider the activity you are using your binoculars for. Don’t focus only on magnification, as you may lose most of your field of view if the magnification is too large. While all binoculars are built with the same idea in mind, the amount of different options means that some binoculars are very specialized for certain activities and distances.
What Is Objective Lens Diameter?
The lens diameter, measured in millimeters, affects the field of view available with your binoculars, as well as the brightness of the object you are viewing. As the lens diameter increases, your field of view and the perceived brightness will also increase. For that reason, low-light activities, like stargazing, need a large lens diameter to be effective. Obviously, a larger lens also makes your binoculars bulkier, so choose the lens size that best fits your needs.
What Is Field of View?
The area you can see while you are looking through your binoculars is your field of view. Both the lens diameter and magnification are used to determine your field of view. Because of the importance of these two numbers, a pair of binoculars will often be described by them, as in 10x42. In this case, the binoculars have ten-times magnification and a 42mm lens diameter. For some activities, like hunting, it can be good to have a large field of view. However, higher magnification levels will decrease your field of view, so you need to find the perfect balance between the two.
What’s the Best Magnification and Field of View?
The perfect amount of magnification and lens diameter will vary, depending on the purpose of your binoculars. For stargazing, you’ll want both high magnification and wide field of view. Consider a 10x40 binocular option to get the most out of your stargazing adventures.
When you are watching sports, like golf, you’ll want a very short magnification. You won’t be gazing at distant stars, but reasonably close golf balls, players and obstacles. 6x17 binoculars will work well for this, or a more standard 8x30 is also a great choice.
For bird watching or deer hunting, try a durable, waterproof pair of 8x30-lens binoculars. There are, of course, lots of other great uses for binoculars, so you’ll have to consider each activity and find the right magnification and view for you.
Can I Take Pictures With My Binoculars?
When you are caught up in the excitement of viewing an unusually rare bird, or a monster buck, you may find yourself wishing you could capture the moment. Some binoculars offer a built-in camera, in order to do just that. A quick press of a button and you’ve got a picture with reasonable resolution.
However, these binoculars are often lower quality in terms of actual field of view, and many have very low customer ratings. Another option is a camera-attachment accessory. Some binoculars, like the Cinbos Panther Professional, can link with your phone, in order to take a picture through the binoculars.
This gives you the flexibility of using your binoculars without a bulky camera accessory, but still taking pictures when you need them. However, many customers feel the phone attachment is difficult to use and doesn’t always offer a clear picture. If you’re interested in capturing these moments with professional quality, consider a professional-grade camera with a long-range camera lens.
How We Reviewed
Each pair of binoculars was carefully chosen based on customer reviews and professional ratings and recommendations. This list represents some of the best binocular options available for a variety of activities in 2018. Because not every use needs the same style of binoculars, this list won’t point out a single pair as the best. Instead, there’s a side-by-side comparison of each model, in order to let you choose the best binoculars for any activity.
While you can find inexpensive binoculars at any department store, models with durable designs, high-quality parts and effective fields of view will cost considerably more. This list represents some of the most popular and cost-effective binoculars on the market today. The prices range from $64.99 to $329.95.
The magnification, lens diameter and durability play a part in determining the cost. More expensive binoculars tend to have better features, but be sure to choose a pair that has the right magnification and lens diameter, rather than simply buying the most expensive or least expensive options. Consider the warranty for each pair of binoculars as well. Many activities that require binoculars can cause exposure to the elements. A lifetime warranty is sometimes worth the additional cost, as it will give you peace of mind.
Best Binoculars in 2019
One of the leading names in the industry, Bushnell makes an incredibly durable and efficient line of binoculars for any occasion. These 8x42mm binoculars are excellent for hunting, due to the anti-reflecting technology. It’s resistant to water, including condensation, and its frame is durable and lightweight. The Legend L-Series binoculars are one of the lightest models on this list, but still offer an amazing field of view. Customers also love using these binoculars for birdwatching.
The highest magnification on the list makes these binoculars perfect for stargazing or long-range birdwatching. The BAK-4 prism cleans up the edges of the field of view, giving you a clear picture throughout. It comes with several layers of anti-reflection coating, so you get an excellent 92% transmission of light. The Panther Professional binoculars are waterproof and rugged, and also would work well as hunting binoculars.
Take a look at the stars on a clear night, and see why the high magnification and wide lens diameter make these such a highly rated pair of binoculars. These also come with a phone-attaching accessory, which allows you to take camera pictures through your binoculars. WIth the lowest cost on the list, these binoculars are the perfect choice for anyone who needs lots of magnifying power.
Wingspan Optics FeatherView HD 8X32 Compact Birding Binoculars
Another long-range set of binoculars, the Diamondback 10x42 model features all the durable and efficient features you need for birdwatching or stargazing. While the field of view may be slightly too narrow to be ideal for birdwatching, customers love these binoculars for seeing birds and other animals at a distance. Like many brands, Vortex Optics has an excellent lifetime warranty, so you’ll get a replacement if your binoculars break in almost any scenario. It’s an excellent choice for a high-quality pair with great magnification, but the field of view may be too small for all purposes.
If you’re looking for a flexible pair of binoculars, the Monarch 5 comes in either 10x42 or 8x42 magnifications. It’s incredibly easy to use and has a very clear field of view. Customers love the comfortable, ergonomic handles and the soft, rubber eyepieces. However, Nikon only offers a 1-year warranty for these binoculars, far less than a lifetime warranty, which is typical of premium binoculars.
The Athlon Optics Midas offers one of the most versatile magnifications and lens diameters on the list. At 8x42, it’s perfect for hunting, watching birds, sports or even stars. Its use of argon purging allows you to have a clearer, sharper image. A prism with phase correcting complements it, with higher color reproduction and excellent resolution.
Customers love how comfortable, affordable and efficient these high-powered binoculars operate. The Midas binoculars are also capable of being mounted to a tripod, which is a great bonus for patient, stationary sightseeing activities, like stargazing or birdwatching. Some customers, however, noticed imperfections with their binoculars that aren’t typical with high-end equipment. Thankfully, Athlon Optics offers a lifetime warranty, so you can easily return any pair you find to be less-than-perfect.
Wingspan Optics NatureSight HD
These binoculars have the unique lens diameter and magnification pairing of 8.5x21mm. They are great for mid-range viewing with a crystal-clear field of view, although the size of your field of view won’t be comparable to other, wider lens binoculars. The eyepieces are comfortable, adjustable and can even accommodate individuals wearing glasses. Another great feature is the compact size of these very lightweight binoculars. You’ll see why customers love these small binoculars for birdwatching.
Bushnell Legend L-Series
8x42mm, Field of view: 426 feet, Rain repelling, Weight: 1 pound, Limited lifetime warranty
Cinbos Panther Professional
12x42mm, Field of view: 311 feet, Waterproof, Weight: 1.28 pounds, Lifetime warranty
Vortex Optics Diamondback
10x42mm, Field of view: 345 feet, Waterproof, Weight: 24.4 ounces, Lifetime warranty
Nikon 7577 Monarch 5
10x42mm, Field of view: 228 feet, Weight: 1.35 pounds, 1-year warranty
Athlon Optics Midas
8x42mm, Field of view: 426 feet, Waterproof, Weight: 25 ounces, Lifetime warranty
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5x21mm, Weight: 0.65 pounds, 30-year warranty
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Our Final Thoughts
Now that you’ve read the FAQs and discovered the bestselling binoculars in 2018, you can expertly choose the highest rated binoculars for your own needs. Whether you are watching birds, deer, stars or golfers, this list of binoculars gives you plenty of options at all magnification levels.
Compare each one carefully, and find out which pair best suits your needs. If you are looking for an affordable pair of binoculars with excellent magnification, try the Cinbos Panther Professional. However, if short-range viewing is more your style, consider the Bushnell L-Series, or the Athlon Optics Midas. Whatever your needs, you’ll find a pair with a clear field of view, rugged structure and a warranty that will give you peace of mind as you enjoy your favorite hobby, or start a new one.