The top 10 best hunting binoculars
As all us hunters know, hunting is harder than it looks. It requires a great deal of skill, experience, patience, and dare I say it… luck.
With this in mind you are wise to take advantage of every piece of kit you can to increase your chances of a successful hunt, and a good pair of hunting binoculars is a huge advantage.
What features to look for in the binoculars
There are 4 main things to consider when thinking about what are the best binoculars for hunting:
Surprisingly the greater the magnification the better doesn’t really apply. Yes, you do need high magnification levels, after all that is the point of binoculars.
However, you do not want to just go as high with magnification as possible because the greater the magnification the shakier the image will be unless you have the binoculars on a tripod or something.
This is because even the slightest movement by you, will be magnified.
You only need magnification that allows you to clearly see the animal you are hunting, so you must take that into account when making a purchase.
Field of view
The field of view is linked with the magnification also, the greater the magnification the smaller field of view will likely be. This will mean it is harder to spot the animal and it will be harder to track it once spotted.
A narrow field of view is ok when tracking a slow-moving animal across open grassland but try tracking a fast-moving animal through a wooded area with a narrow field of view. It is nearly impossible.
So again, you need a field of view that makes your hunting easier, not harder. So, choose wisely.
The lens is the most import part of a binocular and dictates what the magnification and field of view can be.
It is also important that they are good quality lenses that are well made, long lasting, but at the same time not to large, bulky, and brittle.
If you do a lot of hunting at low light, for example in the morning or evenings then the general rule of thumb is the larger the lens the better, as it allow more light in.
This is the distance you can hold the binoculars away from your eyes whilst still been able to see the complete image. You do not want one with less than say 5mm as you will have your eyes and eye lashes right up against the lens.
If you regularly wear glasses and sunglasses then you will need the eye relief to be much larger than 5mm, it should probably be around the 15mm range.
You are not much of a hunter if you pack up and go home every time it starts drizzling. When hunting you are going to experience a range of different weather and you should have the gear to suit.
You should be looking for binoculars that have good seals and are waterproof or at least water resistant.
You will also likely be in a range of temperatures, so it is a good idea to get fog-proof binoculars which means the lens will not fog up not that you will be able to see through actual fog!
The top 10 best binoculars for hunting
These are all binoculars I have tried and tested and are what I consider to be the best binoculars for hunting whilst providing good value for money.
1. The Winner – Vortex Optics Viper HD 10×42 Hunting Binoculars
First off, they offer an unconditional lifetime warranty, so you know this means they have faith in how good their binoculars are. Even if they don’t last as long as you expect, you can just send them back and get replacements.
These will be excellent for people who hunt at sunrise and sunset, as they are brilliant in low light levels.
They have also preformed admirably in a whole range of extreme weather conditions, the O-ring seal they use is not only water and fog proof but actually repels dirt, moisture, and debris.
My minimum requirement from a pair of binoculars is to have a steady image at 8x with a sufficient wide range of view. These binoculars actually provides this up to 10x which over delivers on what I need.
These are a premium brand with a premium price tag, but they are premium quality and should last you a lifetime.
So, when you factor in you will likely never have to buy another pair of binoculars again then I think they prove to be excellent value.
The only notable downside is that the eye relief is right on the limit of you being able to use sunglasses with them.
They are fine if I just wear glasses, but if I have a big pair of sunglasses on then I am pushing the eye relief range to the max.
2. The Runner Ups – Zeiss Terra ED 10×42
If I had all 10 of my ranking list as Zeiss binoculars, I don’t think anyone could call me out on it. Zeiss binoculars are well known for being probably the top overall brand when it comes to sheer quality.
The prices can be a bit eye watering, the top end can cost you well over $2000, but these Zeiss Terra’s are a lot cheaper than that at around $700, which they probably class as their budget option ha-ha.
If you have the money and hunt in extreme low light, then I don’t think these can be beaten. Some will say that they have a minimalist or retro design, but I say they look a bit boring.
That is my only gripe with them, they don’t look particularly exciting. They are all about function over style, and when you in remote areas hunting, I guess a stylish pair of binoculars isn’t what you need.
3. Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Roof Prism 10×42
These are 100% waterproof, and the lenses are water repellent, so they are a great choice for people who hunt in damp and wet climates.
I like the camo finish, and like I said any advantage you can get in the field you should take.
Considering they are more of a budget binocular; they are pretty light for their size.
Weight is usually the first thing that lets down any budget hunting product, as they can’t usually use lightweight material and make a profit. However, these are pretty good at 1.6 pounds.
For the price I don’t think you can have many complaints, and you will be more than impressed with the image quality even at the full x10 magnification.
They are not as comfortable and as robust as some other more expensive binoculars, but they would be an excellent option for a beginner hunter who is just building out their kit.
4. Nikon Prostaff 7s Binoculars for Hunting
If a pair of Nikon binoculars weren’t offering you excellent lens quality then you could rightly be cheesed off, because they are one of the leading Camera manufacturers.
They do not disappoint with the lens quality; they use a clever laying of coated lenes and prisms to provide a better result than you would expect for the mid-ranged price bracket.
In my opinion if they are the best binoculars if you wear glasses or sunglasses all the time.
You can easily and quickly adjust the eye relief depending on what frames you are wearing so that you can always have a complete field of view. They use a clever turn and slide eye cup function to achieve these results.
They feel robust but not heavy, and they have a nice balance to them. I mainly use Nikon cameras so I could already identify with the brand, so I might be a little biased but in my opinion, they are good value for money.
However, there are better binoculars out there, but they usually cost more.
5. Avalon 10×42 Pro HD Binoculars
They are perhaps found a little wanting when compared to the best binoculars for hunting.
However, I believe these are a great allrounder option. A pair of binoculars that are good for a range of different activities, including hunting. Which does make them excellent value considering they are one of the cheapest on the list.
As they are so cheap, very lightweight at 550g, have a rubber casing, and a grip that preforms well in various conditions and adventures, it means you can throw them around a bit and not be worried about breaking them.
This means you can be happy sitting with them on a multiday hunt or giving them to your kids on a day hike.
Another bonus is the excellent eye relief, I would be surprised if you were wearing glasses that were so big that you couldn’t get a complete view with these binoculars.
6. Steiner 2045 Predator AF 8×30 Hunting Binoculars
I keep a pair of these in my bug out bag, as they have a hinge so they can fold up small but still have all the functions of a normal sized pair of binoculars.
So, if you need to travel light on a hunt then I would recommend you check these out.
They are great for locking onto an animal in most terrains and keeping them in focus, no matter what else is around.
The lenses are relatively small, so they are not the best option in low light, but they don’t shame themselves either.
7. Bushnell Falcon Hunting Binoculars
These are a good option if you only have a very small budget.
As with most budget options of any product, cheaper products like these with generally be bigger and heavier than the more expensive products in the market and that is the case here.
However, if you are a beginner or on a tight budget then you will find these to be a good starting point.
For more experienced and advanced hunters, the limited but good x7 magnification will be too big of a drawback to consider them. Probably more suited to watching sports, birds, and day hikes for most hunters.
8. Vortex Optics Viper HD Roof Prism 10×42
Vortex is a well-known brand within the hunting community and the name is synonymous with high quality products at good price. They are a mid-priced product with a high-priced quality.
Best suited for hunting in wide open spaces, the magnification, image quality, and image stability are noticeably better than budget brands, but they are not noticeably inferior to the premium brands. Which is just what you want.
They are well made and are solidly built so you do not need to be super careful with them on a hunt.
9. Leupold BX-1 Yosemite Binocular
A great option for people who are clumsy or just like to throw their equipment on the floor and forget about them.
They probably have one of the best shockproof ratings around, are fog proof, and waterproof. So, you can leave them next to you in wet grass and not be worried about them, not that I would do that.
I would describe the field of view as limited, some people would say it was poor. Probably best suited for more adventure style hunts where you are covering a lot of ground in difficult terrain.
10. Vanguard Endeavor ED 8×42 Binocular
These are probably the best binoculars if you need them to be lightweight and compact yet still have large enough lenses for low light, but you only have a budget of around $500.
I actually found them too small, but I had no gripes about the image quality or stability. They are just a decent pair of binoculars at a very decent price. You can’t say fairer than that.
The best binoculars for hunting will vary slightly from person to person because of the animals that are been hunted and where the hunt takes place.
The general rule of thumb applies, the more expensive the better they are. However, binoculars are a huge market nowadays and you can find very good options whatever your price point is.
So, whatever your budget is, you will be able to find a pair of hunting binoculars that will increase your chances of a successful hunt.