Best Binoculars 2019

Top 5 Best Binoculars You Can Buy in 2019. Expert Reviews and Buying Guide.
Last Uptade: August 14, 2019

How We Decided

26

Hours Researched

12

Models Considered

5

Models Tested

314

Reviews Analysed

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1. Best Overall
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A comfortable pair of binoculars, with an excellent image clarity. They are light and built to last in any environment.

Pros

Lightweight, waterproof and fog-proof. Excellent eye relief allows eyeglass wearers see the whole picture.

Cons

Slightly slower focus. Lower field of view, due to higher magnification.

Nikon 7577 MONARCH 5 10x42 Binocular

Nikon is well-known all over the world when it comes to optics. They have some of the best cameras on the market, and you can expect the same kind of quality from their binoculars. The Nikon 7577 MONARCH 5 10x42 Binocular is an excellent pick, due to the bright and sharp image it delivers. Its bodywork is designed for maximum comfort, and its inner-workings make it a reliable pair of binoculars in any environment, from bright and sunny days to gloomy and rainy ones.

The extra-low dispersion (ED) glass in the MONARCH 5 model is something that was only available in higher-tier and more expensive models, until a few years ago. The advantages of having ED glass are better colors, resolution and an overall sharper image. Another advantage is the reduction of chromatic aberration. When you look at an object with this pair of binoculars, you won't see a colored halo around that object, like you would when looking through lower-quality binoculars.

The MONARCH 5 comes with fully-coated lenses, so you won't have to deal with reflections or sun glare, and you can also expect better light transmission and color contrast. What's more, Nikon made these binoculars waterproof so that you can use them even in thunderstorms and you don't have to worry if you drop them in water. You can submerge them down to 3.3 ft (1 m), without getting water inside them. Furthermore, because Nikon has replaced the air inside them with dry nitrogen, you won't see the lenses fogging up when moving between cold and warm environments. As a result, you will never get water inside the binoculars, even through condensation so that the lens coating will last for much longer.

The twistable eyecups and 19.5 mm eye relief make the binoculars very comfortable and allow even people with eyeglasses to see the whole picture when looking through them. Also, the polycarbonate-based body of the MONARCH 5 is light and durable, which makes it suitable for any adventure, especially in mountainous terrain.

2.
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A high-tier pair of binoculars. Expensive, but its excellent ergonomics, durability and high image quality justify the price tag.

Pros

Crystal-clear view and superb contrast. Beautiful and highly-functional design. Durable, waterproof and fog proof.

Cons

The field of view is not the best you will see. The price makes it inaccessible to some users.

Leica Trinovid HD Binoculars

If you want to know what a pair of high-end binoculars looks like, then you should look at the Leica 8x42 Trinovid HD Binoculars. Their excellent ergonomics and outstanding optics blow the competition out of the water. Though they're significantly more expensive, most enthusiasts consider the price tag more than acceptable, due to the crystal-clear picture they offer and the high contrast that Leica is known and loved for. The compact and robust body design make the binoculars a joy to hold in your hand. They are perfect for any outdoor adventure, in any weather conditions.

With an 8X magnification, the Trinovid's 42 mm lenses offer an adequate field of view, so you can observe birds of animals from a reasonable distance, even when they're on the move. Due to the phase-coated Bak-4 prisms and the fully multi-coated lenses, you will get a bright, crisp and detail-rich view, augmented by Leica's outstanding contrast. What's more, you can use these binoculars in almost any conditions, from bright sunny days to rainy evenings, and still get a beautiful and natural view.

If you hold Leica's Trinovid HD Binoculars in your hand, you will immediately fall in love with them. Everything about the body design seems to spell out "premium quality." The binoculars are compact and light, so you can easily hold them in one hand, and the open-bridge approach, as well as the 17 mm eye relief, make them fit on anyone's face, even people with eyeglasses. Unlike most binoculars, the Trinovid comes with click-stop adjustable eyecups, so you can rotate them by increments and avoid re-adjusting them by mistake.

The black rubber "armor" on the body have both an aesthetic and functional role. Besides the fact that it gives the binoculars a sleek look, it also makes them fit perfectly in your hands, so you can use them for a long time without feeling tired or uncomfortable. The rubber also protects the binoculars from shock, if you accidentally drop them. Furthermore, Leica has fully sealed and nitrogen-purged the Trinovid HD, so you don't have to worry if you use them on rainy or foggy days or drop them in water. You can certainly rely on this pair of binoculars to serve you well in any conditions for a long time.

3.
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A budget-friendly pair of binoculars, that offers a bright and sharp picture, on par with more expensive pieces.

Pros

Bright and clear image. Water and fog proof. Highly durable design.

Cons

The body isn't that impressive. The closed-bridge design makes them a bit bulky.

Celestron 71404 TrailSeeker Binoculars

Binoculars with high-quality optics usually come at a high price, so you have to decide between forking out a tremendous amount of cash and settling for a cheaper solution, which may not satisfy your needs. Of course, you can also find a middle ground solution if you look hard enough. The Celestron 71404 TrailSeeker 8X42 Binoculars are an excellent choice if you are looking to balance price and quality. These general purpose binoculars combine the superior optics of higher-tier products with a budget-friendly price, and they've certainly succeeded in this regard.

Celestron found the sweet spot when they've tweaked the technology included in the TrailSeeker. They've done away with expensive components to save on costs, but they've compensated with other, cheaper solutions, and achieved the same visual quality of high-tier binoculars. For example, the TrailSeeker doesn't come with ED glass, which reduces light dispersion, but its Bak-4 prisms, with their dielectric and phase-corrected coatings, can still give you a bright and crisp picture.

Besides the 8X magnification you get with these binoculars, the 42 mm objective lenses give you 426 feet of field view at 1000 yards, which is quite good for bird watching or hunting. The wide field of view makes it much easier to follow birds or pray when they're on the move because you still get to see a larger picture around the objects on which you focus. If a bird suddenly decides to fly away or if the deer you're hunting spots you and heads for the hills, you will be able to track them without taking off the binoculars.

Though the TrailSeeker won't win any beauty awards with its body design, Celestron didn't cheap out when they've built this pair of binoculars. The 17 mm eye relief is enough for looking through these binoculars comfortably even if you wear eyeglasses. Because people twist them quite often, the eyecups are the most sensitive components, which is why Celestron has decided to make them out of metal. Add the fact that they're also waterproof and fog proof, and you get a pair of binoculars that are highly resistant to wear and tear.

Whether you like to go hiking, bird watching or hunting, the Celestron 71404 TrailSeeker 8X42 Binoculars are more than adequate for outdoor activities. They come with excellent optics and a comfortable design, at a competitive price, and Celestron guarantees their durability with a lifetime warranty.

4. Best Value
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Budget-friendly, mid-range binoculars. Excellent optics and comfortable design, perfect for adventures in the great outdoors. Good choice for beginners.

Pros

Emerald-coated lenses make the binoculars ideal for use in nature. Excellent grip, thanks to the rubber grip.

Cons

The field of view is not the best, but still adequate. Slight chromatic aberration but barely noticeable.

Vanguard Spirit XF Binoculars

If you intend to buy your first pair of binoculars, you may want to find something with above-average quality, with a comfortable design, which doesn't cost an arm and a leg. If you have a look at the Vanguard Spirit XF 8x42 Binoculars, you will see that they are an excellent choice for beginners and professionals alike. It has good optics, and it's quite easy to handle in any environment. You may also like its design, which fits perfectly with any outdoor adventurer.

The first thing you will want to know about any pair of binoculars is what kind of optics they have. In this regard, the Vanguard Spirit XF doesn't disappoint. The binoculars come with Bak-4 roof prisms and fully multi-coated 42 mm lenses, which allow more light to come in and produce a bright and clear image.

Vanguard has treated the lenses of the Spirit XF with its proprietary phase-correction coating, which gives you an accurate color reproduction. Furthermore, the emerald coating of the lenses can help you see the full spectrum of colors within green tones, which makes the Spirit XF ideal for observing birds, animals or anything else in forests, or other locations where green is the predominant color.

The binoculars are capable of an 8X magnification, and there is also a 10X version available. The 42 mm lenses give you a decent field of view and, although there are better performing binoculars out there, it is still sufficient to allow you to focus on a bird or animal and follow it as it moves, without taking your eyes off the binoculars.

The textured rubber armor gives the binoculars a rugged look. Of course, its purpose is not purely cosmetic. The rubber gives you a good grip on the object and prevents it from slipping, not to mention that it also protects the inner optics from bumps and knocks. The binoculars feel comfortable when holding them and the adjustable eyecups allow you to use the object even while wearing eyeglasses.

Though there are better-performing binoculars out there, the Vanguard Spirit XF is still a great choice, due to its quality optics and competitive price.

5.
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With superior optics and a tripod adapter, these binoculars are a great and cheap alternative for entry-level telescopes.

Pros

Superior magnification and an excellent view of the night sky. Can be mounted on a tripod.

Cons

The size and weight may tire your arms after prolonged use without a tripod.

Celestron SkyMaster Giant 15x70 Binoculars with Tripod Adapter

Celestron's Skymaster Giant 15×70 is much more than an average set of binoculars. This pair has been designed primarily for stargazing, and we must say that it performs better than most entry-level telescopes. What's more, the Celestron Skymaster Giant 15×70 Binoculars come at a significantly lower price, which makes them a favorite product among many amateur stargazers. A superior magnification, a clearer picture, and ease of use are just a few advantages you can expect.

Skymaster Giant's 70 mm objective lenses allow more light to come in and they also allow a 15X magnification, which gives you a clear view of a wide variety of celestial bodies. They are powerful enough to see Jupiter's moons, as well as nebulae, star clusters or galaxies.

The Celestron SkyMaster Giant 15x70 Binoculars come with multicoated lenses, which reduce light dispersion and they also come equipped with Bak-4 prisms, which are the best prisms you can fit on a pair of binoculars. This combination makes it possible to see distant objects with remarkable clarity. Of course, you won't be able to see all the little green men in great detail on another planet, but if you want to look at one of Jupiter's moons, you will be able to see the actual body, instead of a blurred blob.

Besides the impressive optics, Celestron has paid much attention to comfort. The binoculars weigh 3.28 lb (1.48 Kg), and the wide objective lenses make them quite bulky, but their comfortable grip makes it quite easy to hold them in your hands. What's more, Celestron has fitted them with a tripod adapter. You can mount them on any tripod and use them for extended periods of time, without tiring out your arms. Also, thanks to the 18 mm eye relief, you will be able to see the whole picture when looking through these binoculars and feel comfortable when doing so, even if you're wearing eyeglasses.

If you want to pick up stargazing as a hobby, but you don't know what telescope to start with, then you might want to consider the Celestron SkyMaster Giant 15x70 Binoculars with Tripod Adapter, because they offer an excellent view of the night sky at a much lower price.

Binoculars Shopping Guide

From amateurs to armies and navies, everyone has found binoculars to be invaluable tools. Whether you want to observe birds and animals, admire distant stars, follow players on a field or navigate in a forest or on water, binoculars enable you to see much more than what you can spot with the naked eye. They appear to be quite simple on the surface, but if you intend to enter the world of binoculars, you will see that there is much more than meets the eye.

You may think that there is not much to know about binoculars, other than the fact that they make objects appear closer when you look through them, but that is not the case. All major manufacturers build their binoculars for different purposes, and if you don't take your time to do a bit of research, you could end up watching actors on a stage with a pair stargazing binoculars. In other words, you will be using the right pair of binoculars for the wrong kind of stars.

When looking for a new pair of binoculars, the first thing you need to do is ask yourself how and where you are going to use them. If you merely want to have a pair in the house for the occasional football match or to spy on your neighbors, then you should probably look for a basic set of binoculars. If you want to pick up a hobby like bird watching or hiking, then you will want to spend some extra money on a pair of mid-range binoculars if you can't afford a professional kit.

You must accept the fact that good binoculars don't come cheap. They usually come with specially treaded lenses and prisms made out of high-quality optical glass, to give you a clean and crisp picture. Furthermore, most manufacturers do their best to make their binoculars comfortable to hold and to not break at the slightest bump. Instead of looking for big lenses, a high magnification, and a low price, you should look at these less-obvious aspects because they can make the difference between a natural view and a washed out image.

If you look through a cheap set of binoculars, you will notice that the image is dim and the sun glare makes it impossible to make out any details. Also, your arms may get tired because those bulky binoculars looked good on the shelf and the price was a steal, but you didn't think about how they feel in your hands. Alternatively, if you look at what kind of lenses are available, if they come coated or not and if you can comfortably wield the binoculars, you will find a pair that you will enjoy, regardless of what you plan to do with them.

What to Look For When Buying Binoculars

Angle and field of view

A set of binoculars' angle of view and field of view essentially means how much you can see around the focused object when looking through the binoculars. Both angle and field of view express the same thing. If you find it difficult to figure out how much you can see just by looking at the angle, the field of view, which is expressed in feet or meters, could make it a bit easier to understand. For examples, a field of view of 315 feet means that you can see an object or scenery of 315 feet if you look at it from a distance of 1000 yards.

Naturally, the higher the angle or field is, the better, but a wide field of view doesn't come for free. You have to carefully weigh the need for high magnification versus a more encompassing view because they are often mutually exclusive.

Lens coatings for the best view

If you want a bright and crisp picture, you should definitely stay away from uncoated lenses. Furthermore, you should look for lenses with more than one coating layer. Binoculars can have a single layer applied on their lenses, but you can also find multi-coated lenses, as well as fully-coated lenses, which have multiple layers, both on the inside and the outside.

A good pair of binoculars always comes with coated lenses. Their advantages include better light, reduced glare and reflections, as well as more vivid colors and higher contrast. Each manufacturer treats its lenses differently, and some of them even use a proprietary solution, so you will want to read the product's description. You may see special coatings which give you a high-quality image in particular situations, such as bird watching in the forest, where almost everything is green.

Lens diameter vs ease of use

You will always see a set of numbers after the binoculars' name, like 8X42. The first numbers tels you how many times the binoculars can magnify the scenery you are looking at, while the second is the diameter of the objective lenses in millimeters. Large lenses allow more light to come into the binoculars, to make the image brighter and sharper. However, if the lenses are too large, they can make the binoculars more cumbersome and difficult to handle.

Magnification vs field of view

You may think that the more magnification you have, the better, but that's not the case. You have to think carefully about how you're going to use the binoculars and what kind of magnification you will need. The tradeoff for a high magnification is a narrower field of view, which means that you won't see much around the focused object.

Most people usually go for 8X42 or 10X42 binoculars, since they fall somewhere in the middle. They are ideal for bird watching, hunting, and other outdoor activities. For sporting events, you can go a bit lower, like 7X, but if you want something for the theatre, you shouldn't go anywhere above 5X. If you wish to do some stargazing, then you should look at the other end of the spectrum and go above 10X, to 15X or even 30X, though you should still take the comfort and field of view tradeoff into account. With a high magnification level, you may also want to consider using a tripod.

Roof prism or Porro prism

Binoculars come either with roof prisms or Porro prisms. Due to the way roof prisms are mounted, the eyepieces can be aligned with the objective lenses at the front, making the binoculars more streamlined, though they are a bit on the expensive side. On the other hand, Porro prisms are more affordable, though they're not the deciding factor on the overall price of the binoculars. The downside is that they make the binoculars heavier, bulkier, and a bit unwieldy in some cases.

When looking at binocular prisms, you should also watch out for Bak-4, Sk-15 or BK-7 prisms. Though they all provide a sharp image, everyone considers Bak-4 the best prism type, while the BK-7 the weakest. You should not avoid a pair of binoculars if they come with Sk-15 or BK-17 prisms if the product has other advantages you can't ignore. Just make sure that the prisms fall in one of these three categories.

How Much Should I Pay for Binoculars?

Basic Binoculars

If you don't have any hobbies that require the use of binoculars, spending a significant amount of money on a pair wouldn't make much sense. For a closer look at the occasional sports event or the theatre, or for amateur stargazing, an inexpensive set of binoculars will do just fine, and you shouldn't spend more than $50 or $60.

Mid Range Binoculars

Image quality and durability are important factors if you plan to use a pair of binoculars on a regular basis. Roof prisms and coated lenses are a must for amateur bird watchers, hunters or people who wish to get a better view of a beautiful vista. Also, a functional body design, with a good grip are quite important if you don't want the binoculars to slip or get uncomfortable after extensive usage. If this is the kind of binoculars you are looking for, then expect to pay anything from $80 to $200. You can even spend a bit more if you find something really attractive.

High End Binoculars

The best binoculars on the market don't come cheap. Prices can start at $300, and they can go well beyond $2000. However, you can expect nothing but the best from such binoculars. They have an elegant and comfortable body design, they are resistant to water and fog, and their fully-coated and specially treated lenses will give you a beautiful picture. You can take these professional-grade binoculars anywhere, and expect them to endure any weather conditions.