Spotting your pray before it spots you is vital in a hunt. For that, you’ll need a pair of the best binoculars for hunting. There are many brands and types out there, so getting the correct ones can be a bit tricky. However, for those who aren’t afraid to look for some help, we can offer it. Within this article, you’ll find five products best suited for your purpose, and a quick guide so you can understand a bit better what we’re talking about.
#1 Editors Pick
Vortex Optics New 2016 Diamondback 10×42 Roof Prism Binoculars
Our first hunting binocular reviews product comes from Vortex Optics. Diamondback binoculars are one of the highest-praised items on the market and for a good reason. They offer a very good image quality, they’re small and compact, they’re fully multi-coated, they have roof prisms, and they’re not overly expensive. These binoculars are also very light, making them a splendid hunting companion, and you can get yours for best price on Amazon. Most recommended product!
Let’s see what makes these binoculars so good. Firstly, they user roof prisms. As we said in the guide, roof prisms are aligned perfectly with the lenses, and your image will not be moved at all. They’ll also absorb more light, resulting in better results in low-light conditions. This does make them slightly more expensive, but not overly.
As for the magnification and lenses, Diamondback is rated to 10×42. This means that they enhance the image 10 times, which is the upper threshold for hunting binoculars, and that they have 42 mm lenses. Like we said, 42 mm lenses are very good for the purposes of hunting, as they give you a good field of vision, gather enough light, and reduce the overall cost of the item. Naturally, the lenses are multi-coated, and the glare is virtually non-existent, allowing for a clear image at all times.
But the best part might not be the lenses and the magnification or even the prisms. The thing that makes the binoculars really useful for hunting purpose is the fact that they’re both waterproof and fog-proof. This means that the lenses are always clean and that the target is always visible. The binoculars also come with a rain guard, and they feature tethered lens covers that will keep your binoculars safe at all times. You also get a neck strap and a carry case.
Lastly, we have to give a little praise to the company for giving such an outstanding warranty on the product. Diamondback is covered by a VIP Unconditional Lifetime Warranty, and that means that any damage will be repaired for life, no questions asked.
No product is ever perfect and doesn’t cater to all people in the world. Diamondback has its drawbacks too, but we don’t feel these are deal breakers.
For starters, there are a lot of positive reviews, but there are people complaining about the focus. And indeed, the binoculars are a bit harder to focus on close objects, but more than forty yards out, you’re all good.
The second thing you need to know is that these are still relatively affordable binoculars. That being said, if you’re coming from an extremely high end pair of binoculars, you might not be as impressed with the optics and the image quality.
If you’re upgrading from not so good an item, you will probably think these are the best binoculars for hunting you’ve ever owned, as Diamondback falls into the category of amazing binoculars for a lower end price.
Overall, Vortex Optics Diamondback binoculars are a good item. They have their cons, and they’re not perfect, but they have all the qualities for a good hunting companion, and they’re not overly expensive, so our verdict is that they’re just about perfect, despite the small drawbacks. That all being said, If price isn’t an issue we would recommend the top of the line Swarovski Optik EL Swarovision Binoculars
Nikon 7576 Monarch 5 Binoculars
Second up are Nikon Monarch 5 binoculars. Nikon is a big name even in this industry, and, being experts with lenses of all kinds, they can be trusted as one of the best binoculars for hunting 2017. Their Monarch 5 is a model closer to a high-tier binoculars, and costs about 300 dollars. It has good magnification, is durable and overall a good choice for anyone looking to spot prey at long distances.
Just like Diamondback, the Monarch 5 features roof prisms. This means more light reflections which lead to more light hitting your eyes, resulting in better image quality and clarity. Indeed, Monarch 5’s prisms are so good that the image is almost natural, with colors being only slightly dimmed. The prisms also improve the binocular’s low-light performance and allow for a better image if you’re going hunting early in the morning.
A feature that also makes Monarch 5 great for low-light condition use is the fact that they are fully multi-coated. The lenses are covered with many layers of anti-glare coating, allowing for more light to pass through, and, because the light does not reflect off the surface of the glass, there is no way the excess light will impede your viewing.
Monarch 5 is also fitted with ED (Extremely-Low Dispersion) lenses that work further on providing an excellent image quality. But they don’t only do that – they also improve the field of vision. We said in the guide that good field of vision is greatly useful when tracking prey, and Monarch 5 will provide you with a very wide FOV so you will never lose track of the game, even if it’s a swift little rabbit.
Lastly, it should be said that these binoculars are made for field use. For that reason, they’re made waterproof and fog-proof. This will allow you to use them in wet conditions as if there weren’t any moisture at all. Furthermore, the binoculars feature a rubber-armored body – the rubber increases the durability of the binoculars, and further increases their utility in wet conditions by providing a sure grip.
The binoculars can be acquired with 8×42 magnification and objective size, or with 10×42.
It’s very hard to find a fault with these binoculars, but there some drawbacks none the less. The first drawback is that these binoculars have very poor close-distance focus. That means, if you’re closer than 30 yards, you will have trouble getting the image to be as clear as looking at far-away objects.
Another problem that plenty of customers have mentioned is actually not with the binocs themselves, but with the lens caps. These are highly prone to falling off without a particular reason, meaning that they’re not a very good fit for the binoculars they’re intended for. Some customers have tried reaching out to the customer service and seeking help, but the customer service said that they can’t do anything about it. This means that you’ll have to get better quality lenses elsewhere.
All in all, Monarch 5 binoculars aren’t bad at all. In fact, one might say that they’re better than the Diamondback. They cost more, but their lenses appear to be clearer, and the image quality better. They’re fully multi-coated too, which greatly adds to their utility and overall value. Not only that, but you can choose between 8×42 or 10×42, so there is a little bit of a flexibility there that you are sure to appreciate.
Our two previous products are mid-tier and mid-to-high-tier products, but let’s see what’s happening on the other end. Bushnell Falcon binoculars are ones of the cheapest binoculars you can come across, costing just under 50 bucks. However, this is no toy, and these binoculars offer plenty of value contained within that price. They’re highly functional and have good utility as well.
These binoculars are affordable. But why are they so affordable? Well, for starters, Bushnell use Porro prisms instead of roof prisms. This reduces the amount of light that hits your eyes. Even so, they are fairly usable in low-light conditions, but the image quality won’t be the best, and the colors may not be as true-to-life. Your image might be slightly tinted and the colors will be darker. It will also be a little bit off, and not properly centered as it would be if the binoculars were fitted with roof prisms.
However, these binoculars have 50mm lenses, as compared to the other two that have 42mm objective size despite costing many times more. Not only that, but the binocs feature 10x magnification, which is excellent for hunting. These wide lenses let more light in and increase the field of view. At 1000 yards, these binoculars have an FOV 300ft in diameter. Pretty impressive for a $50 item.
But Falcon doesn’t stop there. Just as the others are coated, the lenses of these binoculars are also covered with an anti-glare coating. This, as per usual, reduces the light reflecting off the lenses, allowing for a clearer view of the object you’re looking at. This is not a high-end product, so having any kind of coating is greatly appreciated.
These binoculars are optimized for close-distance looking. They have a centered focus, which allows the product to focus on objects under 30 yards very easily and naturally.
Being a budget product, these binoculars have several drawbacks. Firstly, these are nowhere near military-grade durable. They might get damaged after only a short service life, and you might want to be a bit more careful with them. They also aren’t waterproof and fog-proof as the other models are, so you don’t what to use them in overly moist conditions.
Another problem is that the binoculars are intended solely for close-distance looking. If you plan on looking at very distant targets, you will find that the focus is sloppy. This might not be a problem for some, but others will find this to be a definite deal breaker.
Lastly, and this seems to be a common problem, the lens caps keep falling off. Again, there’s no helping it, so you will have to search for better lens caps elsewhere.
All in all, what you have before you here is a very fine budget product. Its low price makes it very appealing, and the features the item has are very pleasing. Think about it for a second – where will you find a pair of binoculars that costs $50 and has an anti-glare coating. In addition, they have unusually large lenses that are certainly a splendid addition considering the price point. Overall, the functionality and utility of these binoculars are totally satisfactory.
Carson 3D Series High Definition Waterproof Binoculars
With only two more products to go, we arrive at a pair of Carson 3D series high definition binoculars. Costing right about $260, this is another mid-tier product, but one that is very satisfactory. It has good lenses, good magnification, is very durable and has good eye relief, which just might be their biggest selling point.
Like we said, these binoculars are middle-tier, but they offer quite a lot of great features. For starters, they use roof prisms, which reflect light better than those featured in Falcons, providing you with a better and clearer image. This also makes them much smaller and lighter, which is an excellent characteristic for hunting binoculars. Not only that, but a roof prism means that there is no discrepancy between the actual object being looked at, and the image you see – the objects are true to life.
Another good feature of these binoculars is that they utilize the same ED lenses Nikon does. These features further increase image quality and make the colors appear clearer and with as little tinting as possible. We said that this is not a defining feature of perfect hunting binoculars, but it is still good to look at a crystal clear image.
But what is a defining characteristic of a pair of hunting binoculars is the durability. In this aspect, Carsons are near perfect – they’re protected with rubber armor that increases durability greatly and provides a good grip on them. They’re also waterproof and fog-proof, prime for use in less-than-perfect conditions. If that’s not enough, you will receive a carry case with the purchase.
But the thing that makes these binoculars really special is the eye relief. For people with glasses, these binocs are a godsend, as they have an eye release of staggering 19 mm. This means that you can look through the binoculars with your eyes being as far as 19 mm away, and still see the entire image. They also feature a very wide field of view, and you can see an area 314 ft across at a distance of 1000 yards.
The binocs come in a variety of lens/magnification configurations, with the smallest being 8×32 and the largest being 10×50. The product is covered by a warranty similar to Diamondback.
As for drawbacks of this product, there are some issues with the accessories you receive (or don’t receive, to be precise). Firstly, you get a case with this product, but not the lens caps. This might not be an issue with some people, but not having lens caps means, for us, at least, that you’re tied to the case you receive. But, ay, there’s the rub! The case is not very high quality, and there are numerous reports of the strap falling off.
Another thing that may deter the buyer is that these binoculars lose out to Monarchs. Both items have similar features, but the Monarch have a better, brighter and sharper image. They’re also lighter. On the plus side, Carsons are about 40 dollars cheaper.
All in all, anyone owning a pair of these can be rest assured that they will deliver. They might be slightly worse than Monarchs, but they’re slightly less expensive, which kind of balances the thing out. They have excellent eye relief, though, which makes them an excellent product for people wearing glasses. With these features, there are standard hunting binocular characteristics like waterproofness, high durability, large FOV and bright image. Overall, go hunting with a pair of these, and you won’t be disappointed.
Celestron SkyMaster Giant 15×70 Binoculars with Tripod Adapter
This giant comes as an addition to SkyMaster series from Celestron. They are budget friendly in our best binoculars for hunting review, but still very usable under the right circumstances. Provided with essential technology, these binoculars grant you an excellent user experience. So, let’s see what these binoculars are capable of doing.
To provide you with sharp and clear views, these binoculars have multi-coated optics. Big center focus knob makes focusing easy, and diopter adjustments provide fine focusing. The price for 15x magnification Porro prism binocular is unmatched on the market. Their 70 mm (2.76in) objective lens makes it possible to observe objects in low-light circumstances. If you wear glasses, you would be pleased to know that you get a perfect eye relief 13 mm (0.51 in) long. 15x magnification makes these binoculars great, but not ideal as hunting binoculars since 7x – 10x would be enough for that. Celestron uses a Bak-4 type of prism glass and exit pupil diameter is 4.7 mm. Protective rubber gives you a firm grip, which makes these binoculars fairly lightweight and easy to handle. Binocular dimensions are 8.5 x 4 x 11 inches and they weigh 3.3 pounds. They come with a tripod adapter to make it easier for long hours of monitoring.
If you’re wearing glasses, these binoculars might just hit the spot. They have a 13mm eye relief, which is, if you take a look at the guide, just about perfect. With this, you’ll be able to hold the binocs as far as 13 mm from your eyes, and still see the entire image. The image will also be as good and as sharp as ever too, so no worries about that.
If you intend to use these binoculars for a longer period, tripod adapter is a must. You get a plastic one which makes it quite unusable since binoculars keep rotating after you try to move them, and it would be best considering another tripod adapter. Customers complained about receiving unusable binoculars which they had to replace since it seems that not much time is invested in overseeing the products. It is not quite easy adjusting to the focus which may be another con. Around 25% of the outer field is blurry, and around bright or high-contrast objects you may see false color.
In all, this is a very affordable buy. The product has some good characteristics, but we feel like it’s not that good for hunting on the go. However, if you’re a spotter, and your friend likes to shoot from long range, these binoculars might be just the thing you’re looking for.
A Few Things to Consider
Here are a few things you need to look at when you’re buying a pair. Nota bene these things as each point is important when determining the best pair of binoculars for hunting.
The very reason you buy a pair of binoculars is to peer at distant sights, and the magnification allows you to do that. However, when hunting is concerned, bigger is not always better. Getting a pair of binoculars that enhance 20 times, or even 10 might not be right for you. The reason for this is stabilizing the binoculars. You will have a much harder time stabilizing the image at 20x magnification, especially if you’ve crossed quite a distance.
For purposes of hunting, you can go with binoculars with 7x magnification, with 10x being the upper limit. There are also large observation binoculars, but they require the use of a tripod, which is an element that you may not want to deal with when you’re out hunting. Also, bigger magnification warrants a higher price, which you may not want to pay for such an item.
Size of the Objective
Objective size is very important if you’re planning to hunt in low light conditions, and is directly synonymous with the second number you see when reading the features of every individual pair of binoculars. So, if the numbers are 7×42, then the objective (lens) size is 42mm (always measured in millimeters). 42 mm is a good sized objective and will provide a view with plenty of details, with plenty of light being let into the binoculars, allowing you to see better.
However, if you buy a pair with 50mm, then the image quality will be absolutely stellar. However, remember that bigger is also more expensive ad bulkier, and you may not want such an expensive item, or the size might not fit your needs.
Field of View
Field of view (FOV for short) is the area you will be able to view with your binoculars, expressed in ft, at a distance of 1000 yards. Here you need to look for a bigger number, as it means you’re going to see a larger image. Be that as it may, the field of vision will reduce when you use the magnification, which is another reason why a 7x pair will work better than a 20x one.
Field of view is also important when you’re tracking fast pray, especially in the woods, as it will be much easier to keep an eye on it, and not lose it due to not being able to stabilize the binoculars.
An important feature of every pair of best binoculars for hunting is the exit pupil. This part is determined by the magnification and the size of the objective. The exit pupil determines the amount of light that passes into your eye. Naturally, the bigger the exit pupil, more light will be passing through it. The best way to determine what size of pupil you need is to know how much your pupil is able to dilate. In young people, the pupil dilates about 7mm, and in old, about 4 mm. the best way to handle it is to buy a pair with the exit pupil larger than either those 7 or 4 mm.
Type of Prism
The way a pair of binoculars magnifies is by reflecting the light through a prism located inside them. Now, there are two types of prisms, both in use, and both with their own advantages and disadvantages. The first type is the so-called roof prism. This prism reflects the light five times and is very powerful and precise. It is also in line with the lenses, which centers the image perfectly. In addition, it is slimmer and lighter, allowing you to end up with a smaller but more powerful pair of binoculars. However, these types of prisms are quite expensive.
On the other hand, you have Porro prisms. These prisms are larger and bulkier, and they aren’t in line with the objectives, causing the image to look like it’s a little above the eyepiece. This is their main disadvantage. They also reflect the image 4 times. However, their main disadvantage is that they’re much less expensive, and, with a fair image quality, this might prove a better choice. In any case, the choice and the money are yours, and you will choose any piece that fits your needs.
And another thing – the quality of the glass the prisms are made of varies. Just because some binoculars features a roof prism, it doesn’t make them better than a pair using Porro prisms, because the Porro prisms may be made with better quality glass.
Depending on the distance from which you’re looking at the game, you can choose two types of focusing in your binoculars. The first type is the individual focus, or IF, for short, and this is best when you’re peering at an object at a distance of 30-40 yards. The other type is center focus, and these binoculars are much better for closer distances. IF binoculars are also often waterproof, which is a feature you will definitely appreciate.
This is an important feature for all those wearing glasses. Eye relief is the distance from which you can gaze through the binoculars without losing out on the integrity of the image, i.e. you’ll be able to see the entire image as if you were putting your eyes to the lenses normally. The best binoculars for people using glasses usually have a clearance distance of about 13 to 15 millimeters.
The optical coating is certainly an indicator of a good pair of best binoculars for hunting. We are talking about a special type of coating that reduces, or completely removes, slight reflection, and glare as a result. Binoculars that don’t have this feature will suffer reduced visibility when the light is ample, and you won’t be able to see anything.
There are three types of coating, or, rather, the number of lenses that have been covered by them. There are fully coated, multi-coated and fully multi-coated. For best results, you will want to get fully multi-coated ones, as they will have all of their lenses covered in the coating, and they will suffer from the least amount of glare.
The last major thing you need to consider is the image quality of your binoculars. However, this feature is a little bit ambiguous. On one hand, image quality is important, but in several cases, it can be pushed in the background. If you plan on using the binoculars for several hours at a time to scout out the area, then high image quality is certainly good to have. It will save you a lot of trouble trying to discern if what you’re looking at is the actual game and not an inanimate object. However, if you’re already certain of what you’re looking at, you can use the binoculars with lower image quality. Again, the higher the quality of the image, the more expensive the binoculars will be.
Those would be the most important features to look at when buying a pair of binoculars. There are secondary features too, but they aren’t as important. Of the secondary features, you can consider size and weight of the product, various accessories, brand, country of origin, the overall cost, and other customer’s recommendations. Of those, the most important feature might be size and weight, as too big of an item might just be impractical. Cost is also a thing to look out for, as better quality items will cost more, and you just might not want to pay that much. Lastly, there is the brand. A recognized brand will be, possibly, of higher quality, but, again, it will cost much more.
And that’s that – five of the best hunting binoculars on the market. We mixed things up a bit with the addition of low-end products because we realize not all of our readers want to spend 200 dollars. But be not fooled – budget binocs can be just as good as mid-tier; they only serve a different purpose. They’re usually intended for close-distance looking, and their focuses specialize in that. For some, this might just be what you’re looking for, as everyone is looking for a product that caters to their own needs.