The best binoculars for hunting should be a tool you rely on to help you track and land game. There are currently hundreds of models to choose from, so picking the perfect pair can seem very time-consuming and maybe even a little overwhelming. But we’ve got you covered.
Picking the right pair of binoculars is a lot easier than it sounds, especially when you consider that many models have a similar build, design, and features.
So, how did we do it?
We took our time searching for best-selling models that had a reputation for versatility, power, image clarity, and brightness. Not every model made it on our list, but the models that did were solid performers in a number of categories.
Versatility is important. A hunter needs a pair of binoculars that can handle a wide range of light and weather conditions, which is why we chose models with top of the line lens quality and clarity.
Ease of use also comes into play. Binoculars that take too long to focus and adjust, or models that are difficult to use will basically be useless when you’re hunting. You need binoculars you can quickly access for glassing.
Another issue is range or field of view. Now, this can depend on the hunting environment itself, but ultimately, most hunters are searching for binoculars with the best FOV that allows you to see far, yet still captures every detail.
Welcome to Our Top Five List
After reviewing many of the top-selling models we have narrowed it down to the five best pairs on the market. Each model has something special to offer, whether it’s a wider FOV, a lightweight design, or a model that’s very beginner-friendly.
Ultimately, the pair you choose should complement your hunting style, but it should also work with your budget, skill level, and the type of environment you often hunt in.
We’ll start off with a brief summary of the top-rated model, the Zeiss Victory hunting binoculars. These binoculars have quite the reputation in the hunting world, for their ease of use, smooth focus action, and overall quality and style.
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Best Hunting Binoculars-Zeiss Victory HT Hunting Binoculars
The Victory hunting binoculars by Zeiss are roof prism binoculars that offer a solid performance thanks to their easy handling and innovative design. These binoculars are equipped with an easy to use central focus wheel that makes these binoculars the perfect pair to use for any type of hunting trip. They’re also very durable and feature a waterproof design that allows these binoculars to excel in any type of environment.
Most Durable-Meopta MeoStar HD Hunting Binoculars
Want a pair of binoculars that are specifically designed to handle the backcountry? Well, look no further.
The MeoStar hunting binoculars by Meopta scored well in many categories. The binocular’s compact, lightweight design promotes long use, while the durable construction makes these binoculars suitable for long, tough hunting trips in the backcountry.
Their chunky design allows these binoculars to easily handle drops, falls, and dings along the way.
These versatile binoculars come complete with nitrogen purged and O-ring sealed barrels, which means the binoculars themselves will not fog up due to condensation caused by high humidity or foggy weather conditions.
The lenses are also designed to eliminate color infringement, so you’ll be able to get a crystal-clear view in a variety of lighting conditions.
Best Choice for Beginners-Nikon Premier 8×42 Hunting Binoculars
Of course, most people are familiar with this manufacturer and the type of high-quality cameras and accessories they produce, which is one of the reasons why we were excited to check out their binocular line and learn if the Premier offered the same type of quality you can expect from a major company like Nikon.
The Premier binoculars are incredibly easy to use and adjust and come equipped with improved brightness and color fidelity, compared to past hunting binoculars produced by Nikon. They also feature a comfortable eye relief design, ergonomic grip, and weigh in at a little over two and a half pounds, which is pretty impressive for binoculars with this type of viewing power.
Best Budget Buy-Zeiss 15×56 Conquest HD Hunting Binoculars
The Conquest hunting binoculars are the perfect choice for the hunter on a budget who’s in search of a reliable pair of binoculars that won’t break the bank. The binocular’s offer top of the line lenses and a wider FOV, for the ultimate viewing experience.
Versatile, easy to use and designed for a wide range of applications, these binoculars are a steal for the price.
Beginner-Friendly-Brunton Epoch Compact Hunting Binoculars
The Epoch hunting binoculars are designed to easily handle a wide range of weather conditions, come complete with a tough armored exterior, and are easy to adjust and use. They also come equipped with the popular variable speed focus system, which will make these binoculars a real asset on your next hunting trip.
Hunting Binoculars Buying Guide
Hunting binoculars should be lightweight, easy to use, and their image quality should help you sight a deer at three hundred yards away, easily. But not all binoculars deliver what the manufacturer claims they can. In fact, many models tend to struggle with image clarity after just a couple hundred yards.
As you probably know, before you buy it’s important to do your own research in order to learn more about the different features hunting binoculars have to offer and what you should look for if you’re looking for high-quality binoculars that will be an asset in the backcountry.
It’s important to correlate your preferences and needs with the features you’re looking for in a pair of hunting binoculars. This buying guide is designed to give you an in-depth look at the must-have features the top-selling hunting binoculars should offer and what you can expect in terms of quality and performance based on features, style, and brand.
While most people usually believe that bigger is often better, that rule doesn’t always apply, especially when it comes to hunting binoculars. A magnification of seven to ten is more than adequate for hunting. Remember, the higher the magnification, the lower image steadiness will be. And after a long exhausting hike, no one wants to deal with a 10x pair of binoculars.
While it’s true that there are many large observation binoculars you can use for hunting purposes, these models typically require tripod use which can be a huge hassle to deal with on a long hunting trip in the backcountry. Additionally, zoom binoculars will come with a variety of disadvantages that you should take into account. Most manufacturers don’t make zoom binoculars waterproof and many models aren’t designed to withstand rough use, but hunting binoculars are.
Hunters who don’t have much experience with binoculars are usually under the impression that purchasing a pair of 10x binoculars is a better option than a standard 7x pair. Unfortunately, this really isn’t an upgrade at all. If you want more magnification in a lightweight design, then a spotting scope may be more up your alley.
A binocular’s lens size is the second number listed when you see a spec sheet for binoculars. As an example, if you see a spec such as this: 6×42, this means the binoculars have 6x magnification and an objective lens size of forty-two millimeters. The larger the lens objective the more detail you’re going to be able to see. However, models over forty-two millimeters can be very expensive, but they can do wonders when it comes to getting a clear view of your target during dusk or dawn. If you plan on hunting during the day only then an objective lens of forty millimeters should work just fine.
Keep in mind, the larger the lens, the heavier the binoculars. If you’re looking for binoculars that are highly portable and lightweight, shoot for a model with a thirty to thirty-two objective lens. However, you’ll see a limited amount of detail with an objective lens of that size.
The main idea behind choosing the perfect objective lens size is that a larger objective lens will be bulkier, but they let in more light compared to a smaller objective lens.
FOV, or field of view is the area in feet that you will be able to see using your binoculars at a determined distance. A small FOV number will mean that the area you can see will be pretty narrow. The higher the FOV number the wider the area will be.
When it comes to choosing the right field of view, there isn’t a universal rule. A hunter who wants to use their binoculars in wide open spaces will benefit from a higher field of view. But most hunters will need a higher field of view unless they’re targeting fast-moving game.
More important than field of view is image quality, especially since a standard field of view is considered more than sufficient.
Relative Brightness and Exit Pupil
Both objective and magnification size are specs that will determine the size of the binocular’s exit pupil. An exit pupil allows light through to the eyes and it’s defined by a number that’s calculated by dividing the objective lens size by the magnification level.
Typically, a higher exit pupil will let in more light. Since it can be hard to get the correct FOV, magnification, exit pupil, and objective diameter, referring to the size of the human pupil can be a good idea. In younger adults, the pupil is able to dilate up to seven millimeters, while the pupil’s in elderly people are only able to dilate up to four millimeters. Most hunters will often choose a pair of binoculars that have an exit pupil based on their eyesight.
Relative brightness is calculated by figuring out the square of the pupil. In dim light conditions, relative brightness that’s equal to or higher than twenty-five is often considered the best alternative.
The prisms in binoculars come in a couple of options: Porro or roof. Many hunters prefer roof prisms over Porro because they have a slimmer dimension since they’re directly lined up with the eyepiece. Roof prisms also reflect the light five times. However, the biggest drawback with this type of prism is the price. Porro prisms are easier to manufacturer thus, they’re priced more affordably. The type of prisms a binocular has will be reflected in the price.
The Porro prism needs a bigger body in order to reflect light four times. The biggest drawback with this type of prism if that they’re not directly in line with the eyepiece, causing the objective to look like it’s placed a bit above the eyepiece. Regardless, if you’re looking for a pair of hunting binoculars that are more affordable then you’ll want to go with a model that’s equipped with this type of prism.
It’s Time to Focus
Binoculars can come with a center focus or individual eyepiece focus depending on the focus type. Individual focus will provide excellent results as far as long and medium distance work goes. When you visualize game beyond the forty-yard mark, hunting binoculars don’t need to be focused at all, however, this isn’t the reason why models with individual focus are so popular. Binoculars have no external parts and are usually waterproof, which equals a much more durable pair of binoculars, which is what you need in the backcountry.
Center focus will come in handy only when the game is closer than thirty yards.
Eye Relief Design
If you often wear sunglasses or glasses, then eye relief will be a crucial consideration. Eye relief involves the distance you can hold the binoculars from your eye and still see the entire image. If you wear glasses, then you’ll need to do your research on each specific model in regard to the eye relief distance. Typically, eyeglass wearers require an eye relief of at least fourteen millimeters. Keep in mind that lack of eye relief or poor eye relief can hinder your FOV.
In order to reduce or eliminate light reflection, optical coatings are added to the surface of the lens. Glare and light loss are a couple of things you won’t have to deal with if you purchase binoculars with an optical coating. The quality of the optical coating can mean clearer, brighter images.
If the binoculars you want have coated lenses, this means that at least one glass surface on one of the lenses has a protective anti-reflective coating. Higher priced binoculars will have multi-coated or fully coated lenses.
The better the lens coating, the brighter the image.
Top image quality is essential if you’re planning on using your binoculars all day. On the other hand, if you only plan on occasionally using your binoculars in order to quickly sight a target, image quality may not be that important to you.
Weight and Size
Full-size binoculars can weigh a few pounds or more. The amount and type of glass used in the development process will determine the final weight of the binoculars. If you’re convinced that full-sized binoculars are the way to go, you’ll be pretty disappointed when you take them out on your next weekend long hunting trip. They’re simply too heavy for long use.
On the other hand, hiking binoculars are lightweight but often have a thirty-millimeter objective which is too low for most hunters.
Hunting binoculars are mid-size and weigh in at around one to one and a half pounds. They also offer a higher objective and better image quality compared to hiking binoculars. They’re designed for long use, so they usually feature a lightweight ergonomic design that’s perfect for any type of hunting trip.