Hunting Binoculars In-Depth Buyers Guide

Knowing what to look for when buying hunting binoculars can be challenging. In this guide, you will learn what binoculars are, why they are important, key features of hunting binoculars, and our recommended binoculars for hunting in order to put you on the right path.

Whether deer hunting in California or the open plains of Africa, a good set of hunting binos is vital.

With hundreds of binoculars and dozens of brands on the market today, it can be hard to find value in a decent pair of binoculars. In any case, the article will start from the beginning to ensure you have all the information needed to make a smart purchase and not throw money away.

What are binoculars?

Binoculars are a type of telescope designed to help a user view objects that are far away. The difference is that, unlike a telescope, binoculars allow users to use both eyes. In order for this to be possible, two separate telescopic lenses must be used, one for each eye.

Binoculars offer more visual acuity through three-dimensional viewing. They are handheld, and their lightweight and compact size allow them to be easily stored in a variety of ways. Binoculars today have completely changed over the years and are available in different sizes and shapes. Some of the most reputable brands include Eyeskey, Bushnell, Orion, and Celestron.

All binoculars have three basic components in regards to build, an eyecup, lens, and magnification control. The est binoculars will have additional components that we will cover later in this article. See the image below for information about key components.

binocular components

What are binoculars used for?

Binoculars have a number of applications for both professionals and hobbyists. They are very useful devices that are “must have” items for hunters and bird watchers alike. That’s not their only use, they are also very useful when it comes to professional sporting events when spectators aren’t close enough to the action. Binoculars are versatile devices and can be used in different settings such as a theater, wildlife viewing, hiking, or even some stargazing.

hunting binocular guide

When purchasing binos, you should consider four main factors: the specifications, features, total costs, and requirements. Every field of the application, be it hunting or sports viewing, needs binoculars with different features. For example, astronomy models usually require a high lens diameter as well as lens magnification.

When it comes to hunting binoculars, they should be durable and waterproof to be able to resist harsh weather elements and still work in different environments. If you want to get the most life out of your unit, taking care of it is essential. When you clean, maintain and store your binoculars properly, you’ll be able to prolong their life. Therefore you should always carry the must-have materials, including neck-straps, bags, and cleaning cloths.

As you can see, the applications for binoculars are endless. I would rank a good pair of binoculars up there with buying the right trail camera for scouting. Use trail cams to scout up close while sitting back with your binoculars on a ridge top or other vantage point for best results.

Why are hunting binoculars important?

If you’re considering a hunting trip, then you should definitely have binoculars. As much as they’re important in other scenarios, they are absolutely essential for hunting. It is mandatory that hunters should always pay attention to their hunting equipment such as rifles and bows, among others. However, any good hunter knows that all equipment matters if one wants to have a successful hunting outing, and binoculars are a crucial part of hunting equipment. The following are some of the reasons why hunting binoculars are important:

Long range scouting

When you hunt using binoculars, you have the privilege of scouting prey from far, something that’s hard to do with the naked eye. It is possible to miss out on a number of opportunities if you try to hunt without using binoculars, especially if you have very little experience. With binoculars, you can locate the footprints of animals you are hunting. You’ll be able to reach your prey smarter and faster by using binoculars to help you track your prey and plan your approach.

Calculating distance

There have been a lot of improvements in the binocular industry lately, and one of them is the integration of a rangefinder feature into binoculars. They are both very important pieces of hunting gear. Rangefinder binoculars have the ability to calculate the distance of the object you’re focusing on as well as other common features found in binoculars. They use laser technology to be able to give accurate calculations. This is because a laser usually travels at the speed of light, so the distance of the object you are viewing is calculated instantly.

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Better clarification than rifle scopes

You might wonder whether you necessarily need binoculars if you have a rifle scope. The answer is yes, binoculars perform better when it comes to low-light visibility and clarity than rifle scopes. This is because binoculars are larger in size therefore they have bigger objective lenses which allow more light to go through.

It’s easy to shoot the correct prey

In some cases, hunters end up shooting the wrong prey. It’s a dangerous thing and it is possible to prevent this if you’re able to see clearly before trying to take a shot. This is one of the main reasons why hunting binoculars are important. Too many hunters are seriously injured or die every year because someone did not properly identify their target prior to shooting.

Do I Need Binoculars for Hunting?

After reading about why binoculars are important I think you will agree that Yes, you do need binoculars for hunting. Binoculars come into play when searching for game, deciding what is legal to shoot or not, determining a safe, effective shot angle, and even stocking or approach angles to get into position.

Identifying a species while waterfowl hunting cannot be done without a proper pair of optics.

Key features of hunting binoculars

The following are two of the key features hunting binoculars should have:

Magnification factor

Magnification is the main feature of binoculars. After all, the purpose is to be able to zoom in on an object or location that is too far away for the naked eye. Binoculars with high magnification are good for hunting in an open field. However, in a thick forest, it can restrict the field of view. Thermal imaging plays an important role nowadays, you can switch to thermal imaging at night and in low light conditions.

When choosing the best hunting binoculars for yourself, pay special attention to magnification. Common magnification for all hunting binoculars is 8 or 10. Hunting binoculars are not a one size fits all application, but this is a great place to start.

How can you tell what magnification binoculars are?

Let’s look at an example to answer this question. Looking at the Leupold Marksman Binoculars from Bass Pro Shops, you will notice it says 10×42. This means that these binoculars have a magnification power of 10.

hunting binoculars

Lens diameter

The lens diameter is indicated by the second number in mm. The lens diameter of a 7×50 prism binocular is 50mm. This is important especially for night hunting because you get a brighter image from the large lens diameter. The larger diameter lens allows more light in, therefore making it easier to see in low light conditions. For daytime observations, a lens diameter of 21mm (8×21) may be sufficient but try not to go any smaller.

Affordable binoculars Options to consider

As much as you want an affordable price range, it’s best to buy binoculars that cost more than $100; they are generally high quality. However, there are those that cost less than $100 and still get the job done. The following are three different binoculars that have different affordable price points.

1. Best Binoculars Under $100

Bushnell PowerView 10 x 50mm

bushnell binoculars for hunting

PowerView Key Features

  • Great all-purpose binocular
  • Good choice for first time buyer
  • 10x50mm High performance zoom
  • Camouflage

It costs around $60 on Amazon. It’s a great choice for a first binocular and offers decent performance. The optical performance is exceptional for the affordable price.

2. Best Mid-Range Binocular

Vortex Optics Diamondback HD Binoculars


Vortex Diamondback Features

  • Comfortable Eye Cups
  • Lightweight
  • High Magnification
  • Waterproof
  • Fog proof

With 8x to 15x magnification options, a big reputation for clear optics, and over 4,000 five star reviews, the Vortex Optics Diamondback binoculars are hard to beat. Most options weigh in at less the 15 ounces making these compact and lightweight – features in which true hunters and outdoorsmen can appreciate.

3. Money Is No Problem Option

Vortex Optics Razor HD Roof Prism Binoculars

Vortex Optics Razor HD Roof Prism Binoculars

Vortex Razor Key Features

  • State of the Art Reflective Coating On Lenses
  • Multi-Position Eye Cups
  • Vortex VIP Unlimited Lifetime Warranty
  • O-ring seals keep moisture and dust out
  • 8X Magnification
  • Waterproof/Fogproof

Hunting Binoculars Final Thoughts

It’s impossible for any one person to tell you what the perfect hunting binoculars are for you. Terrain, game purpose, foliage, and distance are all things that influence what optic you purchase. In the end, you should be able to use this guide to better understand binoculars so that you can make an educated decision.