If you intend to free-hand your binoculars (use them without a tripod), stick to 8x and 10x models. With any more magnification, the image is likely to appear shaky. Deciding between 8x and 10x is a matter of personal preference. As a general rule, though, 8x are great for Eastern hunting applications while the extra power of 10x binoculars comes in handy when surveying the wide-open expanses of the West.
One of the handiest things to have in the outdoors is a quality pair of binoculars. Whether you are hiking, viewing wildlife, hunting, or even at a sporting event, binoculars can bring the outdoors a little closer to you. Binoculars help you survey the terrain ahead, scout for and view wildlife without spooking them, or just enjoy a piece of nature up close that you may have otherwise missed. Starting off by selecting the right pair is crucial to your enjoyment of the outdoors.
With the advent of laser technology and rangefinders, it was just a matter of time before the optics industry would merge a fully functional rangefinder with a pair of binoculars. Perfect for hunting or shooting, now you can have two outdoor tools in one piece of gear. With a pair of rangefinding binoculars, you can glass an area, spot potential targets and know exactly how far away they are.
Some professional guides, whose success depends on glassing for animals, spend much of their day looking through their binoculars, and they opt for the highest-quality optics to make their job easier and avoid eye strain.
In most forms of hunting and in most terrains, be that walking in the mountains or from a static hide, deep in the forest, using firearms like a rifle, shotgun, or handgun, or more traditional archery weapons like a bow or crossbow, a good pair of binoculars is often a vital piece of equipment to ensure a successful hunt. Indeed there are many hunting experts that I have come across that go as far as to say that the right pair of binoculars for hunting is almost as important as your weapon!
Indeed some of the very best hunting specific binoculars like the Steiner Nighthunter/Shadowquest 8x56 and the Steiner Predator AF 8x30 binoculars are supplied with the eyeshield design of eyecups and so they are good to go straight out of the box.
With a BBR score of 92%, the Vortex Razor UHD 10x42 sits very comfortably alongside the very best binoculars that I have ever used, tested, or reviewed, and thus I had no reservations in recognizing them as not only the binocular hunting binocular of 2022, but as you can see on the main awards page, they are also the winner overall and have been for the past couple of years!
For more options, take a look below at some of the binoculars that I have tested and fully reviewed and which recommend as ideal hunting binoculars. I have divided them into their size categories for you:
The binoculars below all have objective lenses of around 42mm and are classed as "full-size" - these larger lenses ensure they perform well even in very poor light. On the down side, they are a little bigger and heavier than some of the compact and mid sized bins (see below), not a problem if you hunt from a hide, but may not be ideal if you also carry a lot of hunting gear over large distances and difficult terrain.
What I say: There is no getting around the fact that these Leica binoculars are not cheap, but if you hunt with a rifle and are looking for very, very best hunting binocular, then these must surely be worth taking a very close look at.
Hunting binoculars are a necessity out in the field, allowing hunters to view their surroundings in more detail, and ultimately locate the animals that they are their to hunt. Hunting binos also help hunters to get up close with their target, confirm that they are hunting the correct species, and determine more specific information such as a targets size and sex.
Before you buy your next pair of binoculars for hunting, use our hunting binoculars buying guide to help you choose the best binoculars for the job. Need some help understanding the basics of binoculars? Read our generic information about binoculars first, or read more about hunting binocular requirements here.
Sometimes binoculars with a higher magnification strength may be a better option. To decide on the magnification of your binoculars for hunting, the best thing to do is consider where you will be using them most often. If you plan on using your hunting binoculars in wooded areas where targets will often be closer to you, and light levels will be lower, then choose binoculars with a magnification of 8x or 10x; e.g. 8x42 or 10x42. If you will mainly be hunting in wide open spaces then you will need to be able to magnify potential targets more, and binoculars with a magnification of 10x or 12x will be more appropriate.
We have used lots of hunting binoculars, and have a few things we always look for (as well as a handful of pet peeves). As a result, we have developed a shortlist of our favorite hunting optics and binocs.
Though this one seems obvious, it actually is often overlooked due to the fact that most people assume binoculars made for hunting inherently have a clear picture. Not the case! Cheap and/or poorly-made binoculars will often have junky plastic lenses that are too thick to capture good details and fog up easily from cold and condensation. It is very important to find high-quality binoculars made with clear glass lenses.
The first number, the lower one, is the magnification. Higher is more. It is basically how many times the image is magnified for you, through the binoculars. So a 12 will have better magnification from a long ways away than an 8. If you are western hunting where you might be looking at game from a mile or more away, more magnification will be useful.
A: In most cases, no. A good pair of hunting binoculars will be able to be used in a variety of hunting situations, allowing the hunter to utilize them in any landscape on any form of game. The only exception would be if you had an extremely high-zoom pair for big game hunting. In that case, it would be wise to get a more mild pair of binoculars for more common sorts of hunts, and save your high-powered binoculars (which likely will be a bit heavier and more complex) for the bigger hunts. A spotting scope is also a good option for those situations where you know you will need significant range.
Hunting is great example of how buying bigger binoculars is not always better. Consider what you'll be using them for: You'll need a hand-held pair, for instance, that's easy to manipulate and store. Anything above a 10x magnification will probably require a mount, and a spotting scope (a smaller telescope designed for daytime viewing) is going to be more useful if you're looking at something so far out. So while you can spend up to $1,700 on hunting binoculars, you might want to consider a brand like Bushnell or Tasco that has perfectly adequate $70 pairs.
Now, birding without binoculars is like painting with only your eyes. From teeny hummingbirds to eagles and ospreys, being able to see the birds really makes birding a lot more fun. Bird-watching binoculars are much like hunting binoculars, in the sense that an extremely high magnification is not going to help you spot a tiny bird in a big forest. A magnification between 7x and 10x is generally recommended, although with a 7x, you're going to be able see a brighter image and -- in a flock of birds -- more individuals. Choose an aperture between 30 and 50 to get the greatest light capture and spot the prettiest colors on your black-throated green warbler. Anything bigger, and you'll have to rest your arms on something to keep the binoculars steady.
Keep reading to find our pick of the best night vision binoculars, monoculars, and goggles at every price point. Not sure if you need night vision binoculars? We also have up-to-date guides on the Best binoculars, which feature more generalist all-purpose models. If you are simply looking for a means to light up dark areas or be able to work in the dark and discrete 'night vision' isn't essential, check out our guide to the Best headlamps for astronomy and low light scenes. For something smaller, there are also the Best binoculars for kids and the Best compact binoculars. Or, to find all the latest discounts over at our Best binocular deals page.
With complete editorial independence, we at Space.com are here to ensure you get the best buying advice on binoculars, whether you should purchase an instrument or not, making our buying guides and reviews reliable and transparent.
And although the notion of specialized optical equipment may make you see "$$," we're here to bring you the best deals and discounts on binoculars around. But if you're a novice outdoorsman looking for a deal on a pair of binoculars, you should first know what it is exactly you're buying. Here are some basics.
Just like a camera lens, the decision when buying a binocular comes down to weight/size versus viewing experience. For those who use binoculars casually and travel often, sacrificing some field of view for convenience and size makes sense. However, for those who will be doing more intense viewing, a full-size binocular with a wider field of view is a better solution.
Optics can easily become the most expensive part of your entire hunting gear collection. Making the right choice will make a big impact on how you feel, how much success you find in the field, and how much you enjoy sitting behind glass for hours at a time. You can spend an entire weekend reading about binoculars or you can read our guide that takes only the best and curates it into a single resource.
There is absolutely no question that mounting your binoculars to a tripod system increases your effectiveness in finding big game. Anybody who tells you otherwise is looking to watch you fail. Your tripod system will be comprised of; a tripod, a tripod head, an binocular mounting system. Building the best glassing setup is dependent on your budget of course, so we tried to make it easier with our simple guide, How to Build the Best Glassing Set Up for your Binoculars. 781b155fdc