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Picture this: You finally got around to taking that long-awaited safari to the Maasai Mara in Kenya. You are there just in time for the Wildebeest Migration spectacle, and you want to take in as much of what the National Reserve has to offer before you head back home.
Unfortunately, you are not alone. There are thousands of other tourists, and because of that, you can’t get as close to the wildlife as you would like. Well, that and the fact that these things tend to be temperamental and skittish.
Your next best option is to use a pair of the best binoculars to bring those wild animals yonder as close to your eyes as possible.
You rummage through your bag and realize, to your horror and frustration, that you don’t have a pair.
This means that you need to buy one as soon as possible, or you will completely miss out on the wonders of an African Safari.
What do you do?
You buy yourself a pair of the best binoculars, of course.
But how do you do that? What do you look for, and which one would be best for your particular needs at that very moment?
The Best Binoculars for Your Needs
Buying a pair of binoculars isn’t as easy as pulling your credit card out and paying for one. This is mostly because there is a pair of binoculars for every single need, including:
- Bird watching
- African Safaris
- Whale watching
There is a comprehensive buyers guide at the end of this article telling you exactly what you need to look out for when choosing a pair of binoculars for your specific needs.
You can skip to that right away, or you could go through the options listed below first then couple that information with the buyer’s guide to get to a practical decision.
That being said, here are some of the best binoculars for almost every need in the market today:
Best Overall Choice
1. SkyGenius 10 x 50 Powerful Binoculars
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At 10X50, these SkyGenius 10 x 50 Powerful Binoculars are massive, to say the least. Designed to offer you an excellently wide field of view, these binoculars are perfect for spotting fast-moving subjects, which makes them ideal for people who enjoy bird watching, hunting, and a host of sports events such as horse racing.
This pair features high-quality optics thanks to the aspherical lenses coupled with a multi-layer coating, which all but guarantee great light transmission meaning that you will experience improved image brightness, quality, and contrast when looking through this pair.
It also means that you can use these binoculars in the evening and even at night as long as there isn’t complete darkness. That alone makes them perfect for concerts, stargazing, and even the opera.
As far as the focus goes, the pair of binoculars has a corrective optical coating, which is good for color fidelity as well as minimizing distortion. It comes with a smooth and slightly larger center knob, which makes it very easy to focus.
It has a durable build, which makes it great for things like safaris, hiking, and traveling. Couple that with the fact that it as easily adjustable eyecups that can be twisted both up and down, and you have a pair of binoculars that can go with you pretty much everywhere.
• Great for traveling, hiking, and outdoor events
• Offers a great field of view
• Easy to operate and focus
• It features a rugged build, which makes it quite durable
• At 1.76 pounds, it’s a bit on the heavy side
2. LET'S GO! Binocular for kids (The Best Binoculars for Kids)
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Most outdoor activities are best enjoyed with family. Not only does it allow you to spend quality time with loved ones, but it also allows you to get your kids interested in something other than video games. If you are going hiking, bird watching, and camping with children, you need to get them their own pair of binoculars. Very few of them are quite as good as these LET’S GO! Binocular for kids.
This is an 8X21 pair of binoculars that has a rugged and durable build, which is strong enough to survive the kind of mishandling it’ll probably suffer while being used by excitable children. Designed to be extremely safe for your kids to use, it has soft rubbers surrounding the eyepieces, ensuring that your kids don’t hurt their eyes in their excitement to see a new species of bird.
It also comes with non-slip, scratch-proof grips that easily fit into the hands of children. It’s very easy to use and focus and is covered in shock-proof material to protect the binoculars from falls.
Furthermore, it has FMC prism green coated optics that go a long way in controlling optical reflection, which ensures that your kids get nothing more than crystal clear and vividly colorful images. Thanks to its rugged build, it’s good for almost every activity, including bird watching, hunting, hiking, boat riding, traveling, and almost every other activity involving kids.
• Rugged build
• Has shock-proof armor to protect it from falls
• Has protective soft rubbers around the eyepieces for your kids’ safety and eye relief
• Easy to focus and operate
• It’s an 8X21 binoculars
• Has both a neck and hand strap
• Not suitable for kids younger than three years old
Best Budget Choice
3. Aurosports 10x25 Folding High Powered Compact Binoculars
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If you have been looking for a 10X25 compact binoculars that you can carry with you anywhere, then you have just found it. This Aurosports 10×25 Folding High Powered Compact Binoculars is very nearly the perfect compact binoculars for people who enjoy birdwatching.
Not only is it small enough to fit in the palms of your hands, but it’s also lightweight (0.75 Pounds) enough to remain unnoticed even after a long hike to find that elusive bird species.
Thanks to the 10X25 magnification and objective lens, you can use this pair of binoculars to see clearly see subjects that are more than 1000 yards out in brilliant detail. Couple that with the fact that it has a large field of view and a knob that is easy to operate thanks to the anti-slip grip casing, and you have a well-designed pair of binoculars that is suitable for both kids and adults alike.
Apart from that, it has multi coated lenses. It’s waterproof and extremely durable. Designed with an anti-slip grip, this pair of binoculars is perfect for adventures that call for a whole lot of walking around with your binoculars in your hand. It comes in real handy when you go hunting, bird watching, sailing, exploring, and even in outdoor concerts.
• Compact and lightweight
• Has an anti-slip grip
• It’s foldable, making it easy to carry around
• Comes with low-light-level night vision, which allows you to see better at night (doesn’t work in complete darkness)
• Its waterproof capability doesn’t include complete submersion or heavy rain
4. Adasion 12X42 Binoculars (The Best Binoculars with Smartphone Photograph Adapter)
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Once you start talking about a 12X42 pair of binoculars, it means that you are now visiting new shores. That being said, this Adasion 12X42 Binoculars is something else altogether.
For starters, it’s a 12X42 pair of binoculars, which typically means that you would need to be very still to avoid getting nothing but shaky images. Thankfully, this can be circumnavigated by using a tripod.
Apart from that, the incredible magnification power and objective lens diameter mean that this pair of binoculars can deliver a 367ft/1000yds field of view, which is incredible by any standard. As a result, that makes it ideal for activities such as bird watching, sports events, and hunting.
It has an 18mm large eyepiece, which gives you larger and clearer images. Couple that with the fact that it has a 16.5mm big BAK4 Prism Lens, and you have a pair of binoculars that gathers 32% more light than it’s lesser 12.5mm prism lens challengers to give you nothing but very bright images even in dimmer light.
One of the main features that make this particular pair of binoculars stand out is the fact that it comes with a phone adapter. While this particular adapter might take some getting used to, once you learn how to work it, you will be able to take crystal clear pictures of your subjects without breaking a sweat nor shaking the phone as you do so.
• Comes with a phone adapter to help keep the phone still as you take pictures
• It’s 12X42 binoculars that deliver bright images
• It’s waterproof (in light rain)
• It’s durable
• It’s affordable
• It might take a while to get used to the phone adapter
5. Vortex Optics Crossfire HD Binoculars (The Best HD Binoculars)
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There are very few things quite as disappointing as using a pair of binoculars only to end up looking at blurry images or substandard pictures of your subject. That is not a problem you will have when you buy this pair of Vortex Optics Crossfire HD Binoculars.
Not only does it have 10X42 magnification power and objective lens diameter, but it also features select glass elements that go a long way in delivering outstanding resolution. Furthermore, it features cut chromatic aberration, providing you with excellent color fidelity.
Manufactured with fully multi-coated lenses, this pair of binoculars has a way of increasing light transmission, giving you bright images. Couple that with multiple anti-reflective coatings on all of its air-to-glass surfaces plus a roof prism design, and you have a pair of binoculars that are not only compact but also quite durable.
As far as your comfort goes, it has adjustable eyecups that twist both up and down, providing you with convenient viewing even with eyeglasses. Its center focus wheel is also conveniently placed, easy to operate, and it adjusts both barrels simultaneously. It also has a diopter, which is located on the right eyepiece; this is used to adjust for the subtle differences in each of your eyes.
Designed for durability and the rugged outdoors, this pair of binoculars has a rubber armor that provides you with a non-slip grip and provides the binoculars with an added level of protection from falls.
It’s also tripod adaptable, which means you can easily stabilize it for better viewing pleasure. If you aren’t that into tripods, this pair of binoculars can also be mounted on a car window mount for when you go on safari.
Finally, it features nitrogen purging with O-ring seals that give it an impressive level of resistance to water – also making it fog proof at the same time, which makes this one of those rare HD binoculars that can operate in almost all environments.
• Provides you with excellent HD images
• It’s both water and fog proof
• Has a rugged exterior and non-slip grip
• Comes with its own cleaning kit
• It’s a bit longer than most 12 power binoculars
• It’s quite sensitive, meaning you might need to use the tripod more often
Best Premium Choice
6. GTHUNDER Digital Night Vision Goggles Binoculars
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While most other binoculars can gather light to bring you brighter images, they simply can’t work in total darkness. In fact, they only work well enough in the evening as opposed to at night. That is not the case with this GTHUNDER Digital Night Vision Goggles Binoculars. This is the kind of binoculars you see on TV with the most advanced birdwatchers and animal trackers.
Thanks to the infrared illuminator, which is part of its design, this Owl Night Vision Binoculars allows you to view your subjects even in total darkness. Couple that with the fact that those images will be in HD, and you have the kind of binoculars that should never leave your side whenever you are going on an adventure.
What’s more is that this pair of binoculars is more than just a pair of looking glasses. You can use it to capture HD photos as well as videos while out on safari. Although the videos won’t record with sound, the images you capture will be saved on a 32GB memory card that comes with the binoculars when you buy it.
This pair of night vision binoculars has a rugged and durable design thanks to its rubber housing. It’s also very easy to use, which makes it ideal even for beginners.
Since it features a 3-inch TFT screen, you don’t even have to wait to transfer your photos to a computer when you get home. You can simply view them on that screen instantly. Given that it also has a 4X digital zoom, you can easily track subjects that are at around 986 feet away, even in the dark.
• It has infrared night vision
• It’s a 12X25 binoculars
• It’s rugged and durable
• It has a 32GB memory card that you can save your images and videos
• The 3-inch TFT screen allows for easy viewing of images
• At 2.49 pounds, it’s not exactly the lightest
7. Stilnend 15X25 HD Binoculars (The Best 15 Power Binoculars)
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With a magnification power of 15, this Stilnend 15X25 HD Binoculars offers you a viewing field of 374ft at just under 1100 yards, which is quite impressive, especially when it comes to viewing subjects that are far away.
One of the features that make it stand out is the fact that all glass surfaces are multi-coated, which means that you get light transmission of about 99.58%, which leads to very sharp and excellently bright images. It also means that this pair of binoculars can provide you with a reasonable level of low light night vision.
Furthermore, it has a rugged build that is perfect for those who go on adventures in the wild. It features IP67 waterproof capabilities, non-slip grip, and has fog proof elements that prevent moisture, debris, and dust from getting inside the telescope and ruining your experience.
The non-slip armor that all but surrounds this pair of binoculars gives it a valuable shock-absorbing capability, which makes it quite durable.
At only 0.5 pounds, this is a lightweight and compact pair of binoculars that can easily be folded in your palm, making it highly portable. Couple that with the fact that it’s small enough to fit in your pockets, and you never really have to go on an adventure without a pair of powerful, low light night vision binoculars again.
• Foldable and very lightweight, meaning it’s very portable
• It’s a powerful 15×25 binoculars
• It has low light night vision capabilities
• It has a rugged rubber armor around it, making it very hardy and durable
• Easy to operate
• It’s both waterproof and fog proof
• The fact that it’s has a magnification power of 15 makes it very sensitive
Best Binoculars Buyer’s Guide
Every avid outdoors enthusiast needs a good pair of binoculars or two. It all depends on what it is you do when you go outdoors. The kind of binoculars you would need for birdwatching isn’t exactly the same pair that you would comfortably use when watching a horse race or star gazing, for example.
Let’s take a quick look at what you need to know if you are to make the right choice when it comes to buying the best binoculars for your needs.
The Important Parts of a Binoculars
Before you even dive into all the lingo associated with a pair of binoculars, there are a couple of parts you need to familiarize yourself with:
The “Magnification Power”
This is how much larger whatever object you are observing will appear when you look at it through the binoculars. You will be choosing between a magnification power of an 8 to a 10.
If you pick a pair of binoculars with 8x magnification, for example, it means that whatever it is you are looking at will appear eight times closer than it actually is to you, and one with 10x magnification means that the object will appear 10 times closer.
From that, you would logically assume that getting a pair of binoculars with a higher magnification power is the best course of action, but the truth is that it’s not always the case.
Anything greater than a 10 makes often makes steady viewing quite difficult, which means you would have to be very still to get good quality and non-shaky images. Something that isn’t always possible whenever you need to use a pair of binoculars.
Another factor that comes into play as far as magnification powers are concerned is that the higher the magnification power of your binoculars, the narrower its field of view (the expanse it can capture when you look through the glass).
The lower the magnification power, the wider the field of view. This means that if you have a pair of binoculars that have a magnification power of 10, that narrow field of view will make it a bit more difficult to locate moving objects such as flying birds or a lion chasing after a gazelle in the Mara, for example.
The “Objective Lens Diameter”
Apart from the magnification power, there is also another number that plays a big role in determining how effective your binoculars would be – the “Objective Lens Diameter.”
Have you ever seen figures like this when reading through the specs of your binoculars: 8X42?
The 8 is the magnification power of the binoculars, while the 42 is the objective lens diameter. This number plays a very big role in how much light the binoculars you have can gather.
Say, for example, you have come across two pairs of binoculars that have pretty much the same specs. Still, one has a bigger objective lens diameter, the one with the bigger objective lens diameter will provide you with brighter, clearer images because it captures more light.
- Note: The objective lens diameter of binoculars also often indicates just how physically big it’s going to be. Binoculars with bigger objective lens diameters tend to be physically bigger than those with smaller objective lens diameters.
Of course, there are a host of other specifications that go with the best binoculars, but these two are the most important and often the ones that most buyers focus on. Now that you know what they mean, here are some more factors to consider if you are to buy the right binoculars for your specific needs.
Tips on Choosing the Best Binoculars for a Specific Need
If you are thinking of getting a pair of binoculars for specific hobbies such as whale watching or bird watching, the following general guideline should point you in the right direction:
- The best binoculars for birdwatching: Mid or full-size binoculars models are quite popular with bird watchers. These fall between 8X32 and 8X42. While going for a 10 power binoculars might seem like a good idea since most bird species tend to be smaller and therefore need higher magnification, there is the whole “field of view” issue to think about. An 8 power binoculars will give you a wider field of view than a 10 power option, which increases your chances of actually spotting that bird through your lens.
- The best binoculars for wildlife viewing: If you are going on a safari, the best binoculars you could bring with will fall under any one of the following categories – 8×32, 8×42, 10×32, or 10×42. You should probably go with a higher magnification power here since you are more likely to be further away from the animals and will appreciate the power. The 32 options are more compact, which makes them good for long safaris.
- The best binoculars for hiking or backpacking: In these cases, size really does matter. You want something compact that you can easily walk around without it hampering your progress. In this case, you should go for binoculars with an objective lens diameter of less than 28. That means anything that falls between 8×25, 10×25, 8×28, or 10×28 is fine.
- The best binoculars for stargazing: When it comes to stargazing, you want a pair of binoculars that offer you maximum magnification as well as maximum light gathering ability. In this case, go for a 10X42 or even 10X50 binoculars. Since you are probably going to be using a tripod anyway, feel free to get one with a higher magnification since the tripod will keep it steady.
These are some of the most important factors to consider when shopping for your next pair of binoculars.
Whether you want night vision binoculars, those that give you HD images of your subject, or one that can record both videos and take pictures of your subject, you have them all here.
With all this in mind, you can now look at the list of best binoculars again to find the perfect one for your specific needs and order it today.
Also check our review for best night vision goggles.