Rick is a former news reporter who decided that the corporate world wasn't for him and took off to travel the world. He's been to every continent (yes, even Antarctica!) and has tried out a multitude of outdoor gear along the way. From tents to hiking boots, he's probably tested it all. Now, he's one of our full-time product testers and experts.
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Last updated: February 27, 2022
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To make the most out of your hunting trip, you need to be undetectable. You can do this by keeping your distance from the catch. In this regard, the best binoculars for hunting can be of great benefit. This is because they allow you to keep an eye on potential prey even from far away.
We reviewed 44 different pairs of binoculars and picked the top 10 for this article. All these models provide exceptional features that every hunter might desire. Nevertheless, our favorite product was the Vortex Optics Diamondback HD. The eye relief and adjustable eyecups maybe two of the device’s most reliable features. This is as well complimented by the fact that the tool is tripod compatible. Also, we have nine other great products reviewed below, and you might find one of them a better option for you.
Our article was designed to examine and compare all the features associated with the devices. As such, we looked at the objective diameter, magnification, field of view, and eye relief. These aspects made part of the judging criteria because they determine what each pair of binoculars is capable of doing. Furthermore, the dimensions and weight play a significant role in the usability of the device. Nevertheless, you can be sure that this wasn’t a short exercise. A lot of time was spent on manufacturer and vendor sites, with the results being a ranking table below. Still, if that isn’t enough to help you make an informed decision on the best binoculars for hunting, you get the detailed product reviews topped off by a buying guide below as well.
"If you are looking for something more affordable, we recommend this pair of binoculars for hunting that features 12x magnification and large eyepieces. These show great performance in low light conditions."
"An amazing pair of binoculars for hunting that can be used in different weather conditions, while also providing excellent image clarity. Its body is pretty durable to withstand the rigors of nature."
More features: 5.0’ focus closure, rubber armor, tripod compatible, argon purging and O-ring seals, adjustable eyecups, right eyepiece diopter, comes with a case and neck strap
One of the best compact binoculars for hunting you can find on the market is the Vortex Optics Diamondback HD. This is because almost everything about the tool seems to be relatively high quality. You can see it both in the features and in the construction.
Speaking of construction, the tool has a rubber exterior. One benefit of this design decision is that the tool is not likely to slip from your hands during use. Also, another advantage is that if you occasionally drop it, the rubber body should take the brunt of the fall, leaving everything else intact. Since most of the interior is made of fragile elements, this should come as a welcome surprise.
The tool, as well, comes with a neck strap. You can let it fall onto your chest as you take out your gun or hunting bow to aim. Of course, this will also prevent it from falling onto the ground.
Another essential feature is the argon purging, which is complemented by O-ring seals. These elements mostly work to keep moisture out of the device. As such, you can work with this tool both in moist and sunny conditions.
We can’t forget to mention the adjustable eyecups. These work to make the experience more comfortable for you, whether you are wearing glasses or not.
Also, a diopter is included on the right side of the device. As such, you will find it a cinch adjusting the tool to cater to your eyes for optimal performance.
Other benefits include the fact that the tool is tripod mountable, and that the lenses produce high-quality images. As for the drawbacks, some users found that a tad heavier than they have expected.
More features: comes carrying case, lens protection covers, cleaning cloth, neck strap, anti-slip rubber armor, shock-resistance
If you look carefully into the Adorrgon 12×42 Binoculars, you are bound to be impressed by the value this tool has to offer. Of course, the first things to notice when you receive the package are the carrying case and lens protection covers. Other accessories included that might come in handy are the neck strap and cleaning cloth.
The manufacturer also wants you to use this for a long time to come. Consequently, you find anti-slip rubber armor blended with the design. As such, the tool features a rather solid grip and shock resistance.
Another thing to note about the tool is the 12x magnification. Because many of its competitors only have 10x magnification, you can see why some people would choose this over the other.
Also, with the relatively large eyepieces, you will be able to see clearer, more detailed images. Whether you are hunting or bird watching, this should be very helpful.
Users will love the fact that you can see relatively well in the low light conditions. Of course, if you are hunting, this may be a significant benefit. Unfortunately, some users wish it had better sharpness and focus.
What makes it stand out?
Durable construction with a firm grip
Usable in low light
Comes with carrying case and a few other accessories
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
Some users seem to think that the sharpness and focus could be a bit better
More features: 5’ focus closure, rubber-armored, XR anti-reflective lens coatings, argon purging and O-ring seals, right-eye diopter, scratch-resistant
This is one of the most expensive tools on this list, and you should be prepared with a budget of about $500. As to whether the value you get is enough, you can find out below. The high-power binoculars for hunting offer 10x magnification with their 42mm lenses.
As to the body, you get a rubber chassis that is complimented by thumb indents. You should thus find it easier to hold the binoculars. Also, the tool is relatively shock-resistant, so you shouldn’t be too worried if you happen to drop them.
On the inside, you have a high-density optical system. As a result, one of the device’s key selling points is the clarity it provides. Additionally, this is further enhanced by the anti-reflective lens coating.
You also can see a similarity between this product and the editor’s choice where the water and fog resistance is concerned. Both options have argon purging and O-ring seals, which should prove sufficient to prevent moisture from coming into the tool.
Another impressive attribute is the scratch-resistant armortek on the exterior lenses. This serves to prevent oil and dirt from collecting on your lenses and impairing your vision.
More features: O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged, comes with neck strap, lens covers, carrying case, deluxe binocular harness
The next product on our list is the Bushnell Trophy XLT Roof Binoculars that are way less expensive than the previous model. These have a 42mm objective diameter, which is the same as most of its predecessors on the list.
While this model comes with O-ring seals just like many of its competitors, it is nitrogen purged. Nevertheless, this achieves the same result of making the binoculars fog and water-resistant.
Among the accessories that you will likely appreciate if you buy this model are the carrying case, harness, and lens covers. The lens covers will come in handy when you are not using the tool to protect the most important parts of the device. If you use the harness, the fact that it keeps the weight of the binoculars off your neck may be an added benefit. You also will appreciate the fast focus wheel.
The fact that the tool also has a 100% money-back guarantee is another cause for praise. Nevertheless, you should make sure you test out the device quickly since this guarantee is not meant to last forever. Also, this model is quite heavy, so using that harness helps a lot.
What do we love it for?
Has a money-back guarantee
Moisture-proof hence usable in almost all conditions
More features: water-resistant, weatherproof, multi-coated lenses, delivers razor-sharp images
The Zeiss Terra ED 10×42 Binoculars is another pair of binoculars for long-distance hunting. As such, you need to be financially prepared if you are going to pick this as your first choice device.
The 42mm objective diameter is pretty much a standard parameter with almost all offerings on this list. Also, the 10x magnification is quite common. Nevertheless, Zeiss has been known to produce very high-quality images, and in this case, they don’t disappoint.
The excellent image quality is as a result of the multi-coated lenses that are included. You can see that this tool is weatherproof, and hence it can be put to task whether you are in the snow, rain, or sunny conditions. This is further enhanced by the working temperature range of between 24° to 140° Fahrenheit.
The stability is also something that the manufacturer is quite proud of concerning this tool. As such, whether you are bird watching, hunting, or doing any other activity outdoors, this device should prove to be very reliable.
As for the construction, you get a glass fiber reinforced body. This gives you peace of mind as you will realize that the tool is quite robust and resistant to damages. You also get an easy-to-grip, easy-to-use focus wheel, which should prove an invaluable asset. However, there is no tripod socket on this model.
More features: Mossy Oak Camouflage color, waterproof and fog proof, fully multi-coated lenses, ergonomic thumb grooves
Another high-quality piece of hunting equipment is the Carson 3D Series High Definition Waterproof Binoculars. There are several positives to this tool to start with. Among them, you will find the camo color to stay hidden and the ED glass lenses that help to reduce color fringing and correct chromatic aberrations.
Additionally, you have phase-corrected prisms in the body of the binoculars. Their primary function is to enhance resolution and color, so you can have the best possible image quality.
Another thing to look forward to is the presence of thumb grooves. These will make it easier and more comfortable to hold the tool for longer periods of time.
This product comes with O-ring sealing in addition to nitrogen purging. As such, the entirety of the tool is waterproof, which makes it usable in more challenging weather conditions.
Lens covers, a deluxe case, and harness are some of the accessories that will serve to keep the tool in good condition for a long time to come. Also, the eye relief makes it easier for people with glasses to use it. Another noteworthy feature is that the tool is tripod mountable. However, many users didn’t like the carrying case.
Why is it special?
Beautiful camo design
Thumb grooves for enhanced grip
Ensures high-quality image
What are the flaws?
Some users have mentioned the quality of the case to be poor
More features: waterproof and fog proof, locking diopter ring, multi-coated lenses, lifetime warranty, anti-reflection coating, nitrogen-charged and O-ring sealed
At about $210, the Vanguard Endeavor ED 10×42 Binoculars may provide a suitable alternative to your hunting needs. A key selling point for this particular tool is the lifetime warranty. With this, users will appreciate the fact that their investments are protected.
Next, you will see that most manufacturers go through weatherproofing in different ways. Here, you will find the nitrogen-charging and O-ring sealing that will still have the desired effect of making the tool moisture-proof. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about the integrity of the tool’s construction even when using it in wet weather.
The extra-low dispersion glass is another major positive to associate with this tool. It makes sure that you get crystal clear images by reducing chromatic aberrations. However, some users were able to detect the chromatic aberration, while the others didn’t have any issues of such kind. Another benefit of this glass is high contrast that makes seeing things in the distance easier.
Also, you can use the diopter to find optimum focus. Once you have done so, you can lock it in place, so you don’t have to adjust the diopter the next time you use the binoculars. Another benefit of this purchase is long eye relief.
If none of the binoculars options mentioned above work for you, then the Nikon PROSTAFF 7S 8×42 may be a suitable option. As far as the field of view is concerned, this doesn’t offer the farthest reach. That is because it only comes with 8x magnification.
Nevertheless, this device boasts multiple positive attributes. The phase-coated prisms, for example, help to make the binocular’s optical system as advanced as it is. The result of such is better images.
Multi-coated lenses also serve to reduce reflection, which may be a distraction in the final image produced. Also, the fact that the eyecups offer adjustable eye relief may be a key selling point for many potential buyers. This is also a benefit for eyeglass wearers as it serves to improve their experience.
Construction-wise, the rubber-armored body can be seen here, just like with a lot of options listed above. Similarly, this tool is weather-sealed using O-rings and nitrogen.
More features: waterproof, fog proof, lifetime warranty, phase-coated roof prisms, tripod adapter port, includes case, neck strap, eyepiece covers, tethered objective lens covers
The Leupold BX-2 Acadia 10x42mm Binoculars may be the tool that ticks all the right boxes for you. If it does, do not be afraid to make the purchase. There have to be a few highlights and downsides to the device as well.
One highlight is the Twilight Max Management system. The result is better lighting and vision at dusk and dawn. Also, the twist-up eyecups are something you could potentially write home about. Their job is to make your use of the binoculars more comfortable.
If you are to interview someone who is already using the device, the edge-to-edge clarity would be at the top among the reasons for you to buy the same model.
Also, most of the tool’s previous owners have nothing but praise for the device.
Being waterproof and fog-proof has become a standard that most manufacturers strive to reach. As such, the binoculars do quite well in this area.
The case that comes with the device can as well be quite pleasing to look at and works for both storage and field carry. Unfortunately, this model is quite heavy, and the lens covers are not that reliable.
More features: fully-coated optics, non-slip rubber grip pads, instafocus system, fold-down eyecups, includes a case with straps
If you are extremely strapped for cash and still need a new pair of binoculars, the Bushnell Falcon 7×35 Binoculars with Case is for you. However, the value you get is not comparable to that of more expensive models.
Still, you will get the 7x magnification and fully-coated optics with this model. If you feel this is enough for your hunting needs, then you should make the purchase. Also, you get non-slip rubber grip pads that make it more comfortable to hold.
Next, the binoculars come with the case with straps as well as the fold-down eyecups. Also, the instafocus system seems to make the purchase worthwhile. Their construction is quite compact, so it’s going to be easy to carry it for longer distances. However, the 35mm objective diameter may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and some people mentioned that it was not the most durable model on the market. Still, you can adjust each lens separately to achieve proper image quality.
What are its best features?
Comes with a case with straps
Fold-down eyecups and non-slip grip
Low price tag
What could be improved?
The tool is not the most durable one around
Magnification and lens diameter could be better
Things to Consider
Purchasing the right piece of hunting equipment will allow you to get a better experience and enjoy your pastime outdoors. While finding the best binoculars for hunting seems like a lot of pressure, all you would need is a budget and a bit of preparation. If you read through the buying guide below, the preparation part of the exercise should be over, and you will get a clear idea of what you should be looking for.
Monocular vs. binoculars for hunting?
Often it is down to the preferences of the user which tool they would rather take for hunting. Nevertheless, for you to make an informed decision, you would have to have tested both of these devices.
If you find yourself edging towards the monocular, it is probably because they are often lighter, smaller, and easier to adjust than their counterparts. However, if a wide field of view is what you are looking for, you should go for the binoculars.
As to the reach, both these devices should perform comparatively well since the technologies they use are the same. Also, if you want to achieve sharper image quality while scanning through the distance, a pair of binoculars is the way to go.
How to find the best binoculars for hunting?
It can take some time to find the best binoculars for hunting since there is a bunch of quality equipment out on the market. However, the criteria listed and explained below should be invaluable in helping you make the distinction between what will work for you and what will not. Here, we are going to learn in detail about the objective diameter, magnification, field of view, eye relief, and other parameters that will help you make an informed decision. Let’s get started!
The objective lens is often the lens furthest from the eyepiece. With this number, you potentially see how much light the device can gather, and that will affect the image quality.
If you find that the only difference between the two models is the objective diameter, you should go for the bigger one as it means more light coming in and ensures better performance.
For example, the Vortex Optics Diamondback HD offers a standard 42mm objective diameter that is going to provide a picture of higher quality.
The models with stronger magnification let you see farther than their counterparts. However, more magnification often comes at a cost where image steadiness is concerned. Nevertheless, 10x magnification, such as seen with the Carson 3D Series High Definition Waterproof Binoculars, or lower seems to be a sweet spot.
A point to remember is that you shouldn’t go too low with the magnification either. This is because it will require you to get a lot closer to the animals, and that has the potential to scare them away.
Field of view
Another critical consideration area where the purchase of binoculars is concerned is the field of view. However, this area is affected and determined by the magnification of the binoculars as well.
If you pick a tool with higher magnification, expect a narrower field of view. The opposite is also true where users purchase binoculars with lower magnification.
Nonetheless, it is up to you to pick which of these two you would rather have. Also, this is likely to be dependent on the type of hunting you are looking to pursue as well.
Often this is used to depict the distance between the user’s eyes and the eyepieces. Most high-quality options have adjustable eye relief since the magnification of the glasses that people wear also differs. This, of course, makes the tool more usable to a larger group of people.
A minimum eye relief parameter of 11mm is what you should be looking for if you wear glasses.
If you look at the images provided above, you will see that most devices have a focus ring in the middle. This will help you nail the focus on whichever animal you are stalking at the time.
However, most people tend to have a slight difference in the vision where their left and right eyes are concerned. Therefore, you will often see a dial on the right side of the binoculars as well. This is called the diopter.
Using this knob, people can dial down to compensate for the difference in vision. As such, the result will be that they get a clearer image when using the binoculars.
Nevertheless, the focus is the first thing you should test out the moment you get your shipment. This will tell you if the tool is in good condition and whether it is worth bringing to your hunting trip or not.
Bulky binoculars are also not ideal. If you can get the same field of vision and magnification from a smaller pair, then why not go for it. This makes it easier to not only store but also to carry around your neck as you go about your hunting duties. For example, our Editor’s Choice, the Vortex Optics Diamondback HD, is a quite compact model that makes it easier to bring it along for your trip.
Also, let’s not forget that the dimensions almost always have a direct correlation to the weight of the device. Bulkier devices will often have more weight than their petite counterparts. Of course, how many ounces or pounds the device weighs is another thing to think about.
With all the other gear that you carry when going hunting, it can be quite tiring to have a pair of heavy binoculars hanging on your neck. This means you would be able to do it for a longer duration of time if you can cut down on the weight you carry around. For this to happen, you would need a bit of foresight while choosing a model.
The wise hunter will choose the lightest binoculars he can find while still making sure that they don’t lose out on functionality.
With all the high-end devices on the market, this should be relatively easy to do. Nevertheless, it seems foolhardy to forget that the budget also has a significant role to play in this buying scenario and may severely limit your options. We recommend the Nikon PROSTAFF 7S 8×42, which is not that expensive and weighs only 14.6 ounces making it extremely easy to carry with you.
If you are using binoculars, you probably want to see animals that are quite far away with a bit more clarity. You should always check on the image sharpness of the tools you buy, whether binoculars or monoculars. You can do this at home right after receiving the package.
If the manufacturer overpromised and under-delivered, you have every right to return the product. Another area where you can find information on this apart from the manufacturer’s description is the reviews from past buyers. Pay close attention, particularly to the negative reviews, and that will tell you the quality of the image to expect from the device.
Durability and weather resistance
A rubber chassis is quite common for modern binoculars for hunting. This is meant to protect the device in the case of impact. This especially comes in handy since hunting may involve lots of abrupt motions where you don’t have time to think about the positioning of your binoculars.
For the above reasons, it pays to have a robust shock-resistant body. Also, another thing that might impair the use of the device is if fog or water that gets on the lenses. This will blur your vision and will make it difficult to find your target.
Therefore, you need to check the weather sealing as well. Devices like the Vortex Optics Viper HD 10×42 will give you the advantages of having scratch-resistant and weather-resistant lenses. This makes them so much harder to damage and invaluable in the field.
Another thing that can add tremendous value to any purchase is the presence of additional accessories. An example of such can be found with the Bushnell Trophy XLT Roof Binoculars that comes with a binocular harness, carrying case as well as lens covers. It puts it a notch above some of its rivals because, with some of the competitors, you will have to part with more of your money for accessories. Nevertheless, it seems quite common that manufacturers ship their devices with a storage case.
Seeing that hunting is why you are buying the binoculars in the first place, you should be aware of how to adjust them for that task. Nevertheless, if you don’t know, you can learn to do so by following the instructions below. Also, once you’ve done it a few times, adjusting your binoculars should become second nature.
The first step is often to cover the right lens with a cap. After that, you can try focusing the binoculars on a distant object by using the knob in the center. Once you have done so, it is now time to switch the lens cap to the left side.
This allows you to make the final adjustments using the diopter. If you have nailed focus, you can remove the lens cap from the left side as well. From then, using the center control ring to make focusing adjustments should be enough. However, it seems a good idea to check on the calibration of the diopter from time to time.
The first step to cleaning your binoculars usually involves getting rid of debris by blowing it away. A lens blower is ideal for this task if you have one. Or you can sweep away the debris with a fine-haired brush.
Next up, you can rinse the lenses with lukewarm water to be thorough about getting debris off the surface. After that, use a lint-free cloth to gently wipe the lenses. If you can find a clean microfiber cloth for this task, it will be even better. A point to note is that microfiber cloths should be well stored to prevent particles from collecting on them.
Visibility is often quite limited at night, so it shouldn’t do you much good to use the binoculars. However, at dawn and just before dusk, you can still use the binoculars with high efficiency. If you want to achieve better results when it’s completely dark, you should consider getting night vision binoculars. These use infrared light that reflects back from the objects and creates an image.
Our team picked three favorite products out of the ones highlighted above. Let’s take a look at them.
The Vortex Optics Diamondback HD binoculars win the first place here. The build quality, eye relief, and accessories make this tool worth every penny. Additionally, many professional hunters recommend this product because of its exceptional reliability.
For those looking for an affordable model, the Adorrgon 12×42 Binoculars are quite suitable for any hunting task. The 12x magnification may come in handy if you need a tool for a long distance. Moreover, it offers excellent eye relief and several accessories too.
As a premium model, we picked the Vortex Optics Viper HD 10×42. With this tool, durability seems to be at the forefront of the manufacturer’s mind. The lenses and body stay protected from external influences, ensuring that image quality remains high.
You also have other models to pick from the list above. Make sure to check them all to find the best binoculars for hunting!