Choosing the right binocular is not an easy task, there are many manufactures on the market. The first thing you have to consider when buying a new binocular is what are you going to use it for. If you are looking for a binocular that is good for birdwatching you have to buy one type and if you are looking for one that you use for hunting, then you have to focus on completely other features. If you are looking for one that is good to use for astronomy, then you are in a completely other ballpark.
Here is a list of the Best Binoculars for the Money
Best Binoculars for the Money
Then find out if you are looking for a compact binocular, or a full size. There are pros and cons to any Binocular you will buy, because the perfect binocular has not been invented yet.
There are many specific things you have to look at when buying a binocular like:
- Full size (Standard)
- Compact (Foldable)
- Wide Angle
- Focus Free
- Full size: big, with a diameter of more than 35 mm and a larger objective lens.
- Compact: Smaller with a diameter of 32 mm or less and can fold and often fit in the palm of your hand.
- Wide Angle: Like the full size but allows you to see a wider angle.
- Zoom: A binocular that allows you to zoom at a large distance, but you lose some clarity.
- Waterproof: Usually also fog proof, sealed with an O-ring and purged with nitrogen, a technique to keep them dry inside even on the rainiest of days.
- Focus free: Binoculars used to focus in automatically, good for sport events like horseracing and car racing.
How well your view is through a binocular is determined through a number of factors:
- Optical coating
- Lens diameter
- Prism types
- Prism quality
Magnification is the degree the object is enlarged. Binoculars are referred to as name followed by numbers.
The first number is the magnification and object is brought closer compared to the normal eye. Low magnification equals brighter image, higher magnification lowers the field of view. The perfect magnifications daylight 6x to 8x, dusk to dawn 7x to 10x, hunting 8x to 12 x, and astronomy 15x to 70 x.
Types of coating
Coatings determine the following:
- 30 % of light can be lost if optics are not coated
- Better quality coating equals brighter image
- Sharpness is highest in the center of the image
The following types of coating is available from single coating to multi-fully coated depending on the quality of the lenses.
The second number in the name is the lens diameter in millimeter. The larger the object lens is the more light will enter and give you a brighter image.
A prism system reduces the size needed to give you focal length. It turns the image, that is upside down, the right side up.
There are three common types of prism constructions:
- Roof prisms - prism overlap and allow a slim construction
- Porro prism - offers better depth perception and field of view
- Reversed porro - constructed in such a way that it reduces size by 30 % compared to normal porro
- BAK-4, a barium crown glass (higher density).
- BAK-7, a boro-silicate
These are some of the normal phrases used in the world of binoculars and a good idea is to get familiar with these terms and the meaning of them when you are looking for your new binoculars.
We chose to look at the following 5 binoculars that we think is the best value for money.
1 - Hawke Endurance ED 8x32
Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
Hawke Endurance ED 8x32 Binoculars is a sturdy binocular in the mid-priced range that will set you back somewhere between 210 and 300 dollar depending on where you buy it.
- Extra-low dispersion glass for optimum clarity
- Fully multi-coated optics that produces sharp images
- High resolution phase corrected
- BAK-4 roof prismsLightweight rubber coated full-size top hinge chassis
- Stay-on lens covers for maximum lens protection
- Twist-up eye cups with position stops for eye relief
- Field of view: 129m
- Minimum Focus: 2m
- Eye Relief: 18mm
- Length: 134mm
- Weight: 539g
This binocular provides you with clear and bright images and I found out that this binocular is far better than any other in that price range. The lenses provide perfect images where no detail is lost. The focusing is easy to use and with a weight of only 539 grams and a length of only 134 millimeters it is easy to handle for hours at a time.
The body is made from an aluminum alloy and has a rubber coating that helps you keep a good grip on the binocular. There are binoculars that are made from a polycarbonate plastic, they are a lot lighter, but I do not think they have the same amount of quality feel as this one. I think the design holds really a special feature with this binocular, it has small indents for your thumbs, helping you keep the binocular steady also after many hours of use.
The binocular is water- and fog proof and is ready to tackle any type of weather and still work perfectly. The binocular is also good if you as I do wear glasses, the eye relief is made so you can use it with your glasses and never miss a thing. The binocular can be mounted on a tripod, but the tripod is not standard equipment and has to be bought separately.
You are offered a 10-year warranty all over the world and it comes with a bag for carrying it and a neck strap for carrying it around when you are using it in nature.
This binocular is a really good value for money and many has bought it and really appreciated the many features and the usability and for a fraction of the cost for many other binoculars on the market. The cons to this binocular is that is has a body that is a little heavy compared to others, it also has a narrow field of view and is not the best one if you are in the woods and need to see what is going on at the sides of you. It could also use a more perfect close up focus, but all in all it is a really good binocular and an extremely good value for money.
2 - Opticron Discovery WP PC 8x32
Rating: 3.8 / 5.0
This is the binocular that won the price best compact binocular in 2015. Despite this, it will only set you back somewhere between 130-300 depending where you buy it.
- Nitrogen waterproof construction
- Super lightweight plastic body
- Fully coated optics with PC phase corrected prisms
- Long eye relief for spectacle wearers with twist type eyecups
- Click stop right dioptre adjustment
- Close focus to 1.2m
- 5 year guarantee
- Field of view: 131m
- Minimum Focus: 1.2m
- Eye Relief: 17mm
- Interpupillary Distance: 57-75mm
- Height x Width: 108x117mm
- Weight: 391g
The body is made from a polycarbonate plastic but coated with a rubber to make it easy to hold on to and make it water and fog resistant, actually it is completely waterproof. The lenses are from the best producers on the market BAK-4 glass.
I believe this binocular are good of use even if you have glasses, you will never again miss anything with this binocular.
I think this binocular are a really good value for money, it is sturdy, lightweight and made to be functional from 1,2 meters an all the way up to 321 meters and you will never see anything out of focus again. This binocular uses an ultra-compact optical design and is among the smallest waterproof roof prism binoculars you will find on the market today.
In my opinion the binocular is easy to use, an because of its small size it is very easy to carry with you. The ergonomically design is really a benefit and it will be a joy to use it even after many hours of continuous use. The binocular can be mounted on a tripod, but the tripod is not standard equipment, it has to be bought separately.
These binoculars come with a 5-year warranty, rain guard, a bag for carrying it and of course with a neck strap for easy use when you are out in nature using it.
The cons for this binocular, the body could be a little sturdier, it could also be a good feature if the focus wheel was in metal and not a polycarbonate. It could also use a better neck strap for use in nature.
3 - Celestron Trailseeker 8x42 Binoculars
Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
This is normally a brand that you hear about when you are talking astronomy, but they recently started to move into binoculars. This binocular will set you back around 240 dollars and is a very good value for money, if you are looking for a very sturdy binocular that is very versatile and can be mounted on a tripod so you do not have to carry it. The tripod is bought separately.
- Magnesium Alloy Body, lightweight, durable frame that will last a lifetime and handle use in the field
- BaK-4 Prisms with phase and dielectric coatings
- Extremely wide field of view
- Ergonomic design
- Fully multi-coated optics
- 6.5' close focus
- Metal multi-stop twist up eyecups
- Field of view: 142m
- Minimum Focus: 2m
- Eye Relief: 17mm
- Length: 141mm
- Weight: 655g
The body is made from a magnesium frame that is lightweight and very sturdy and will not corrode. They won the best value for money in 2014 with this particular binocular. The Celestron Trailseeker 8x42 Binoculars is the best ever when you are birdwatching and for hunting. The binocular is fog and water prof because of the rubber armor covering it. Like the two previous is has BAK-4 glass for prisms, the best there is on the market and the preferred ones for almost all binocular makers. All of the above makes it a really good choice in my opinion. This binocular is just super quality, it is so sturdy and that is why it has the extra few weight, there is no compromising on quality and no cutting corners. There is only quality and it shows.
The Celestron Trailseeker 8x42 Binoculars is fully functional down to 2 meters and up to 142 meters, making you see clearly and never miss a thing, and I found that very enjoyable when using it. When you are buying this binocular it comes with a bag for carrying it, it also comes with a neck strap for easy carry. The negative sides to this binocular is that the rubber armor could be better, it is not securely mounted and is not fully protecting the binocular. The plastic wheel could be replaced with a metal one to fit the otherwise sturdy binocular. Also the weight could be a problem for some people. I didn’t mind because of the quality, but you should definitely take this into consideration when purchasing this binocular. You get a lot for the price, but you do not get a luxury product. But if you look at it you really get a good binocular to the price but there are room for improvement.
4 - Vanguard 8x42 Spirit ED Binocular
Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
This is not a compact binocular, but it is one of the best on the market when it comes to a standard binocular. And this is the reason why I have included it in this review. The body is made from a polycarbonate and is very lightweight for a full size binocular, it has a rubber armor that protects it from bumps and will keep it both fog and water proof. Despite being a full size binocular it has a special balance that makes it easy to use and very pleasant to use even after hours of use. And all the features of the binocular are within reach meaning you do not need to remove the binoculars from your face when focusing or using the other features of this specific binocular.
- Fast focus wheel
- High density lens glass
- Well balanced
- Center focus
- Fully multi-coated optics
- BAK-4 prisms
- Field of view: 110m
- Minimum Focus: 2,5m
- Eye Relief: 19mm
- Length: 145mm
- Weight: 649g
For a standard sized binocular, the weight is an outstanding 649 grams and it is very lightweight when you take in to consideration it is full size. I was very impressed in the quality compared to this very light weight binocular. It also gives you a full view in the dimensions. When you are trying to focus it is really easy, it is also why the The Celestron Trailseeker 8x42 is perfect for hunting and other places where focusing is crucial. It can can be mounted on a tripod, something that is a good idea when you are considering the extra weight and size compared to the others in this review. The tripod is extra equipment and can be bought separately.
The 8x42 Vanguard Spirit ED comes with a special bag for carrying it and of course comes with a neck strap for carrying it when you are in nature using it. The neck strap is versatile and is used for both the bag and for carrying it around the neck and it is padded for comfortability. You do get a binocular that is big in size, it is not as easy to carry around as the more compact one, but you know that when you buy this. That said I would recommend it because of the extreme low weight compared to the quality the manufacturer has managed to put in this specific binocular. But on the downside I have to say, that it has a narrow view despite its size and is has a little trouble focusing, it is not the best one if you are moving a lot around and has to focus quickly.
5 - Kowa 8x25 BD Binocular
This is a compact binocular that in 2014 won a brilliance award. The body is made a polycarbonate and has a rubber coating that protects it from bumps and scrapes. It also makes the binocular easy to hold for a long period of time. It is held in a green tinge and is to some extend a camouflage. It is compared to others a price that is a bit more expensive and will set you back from 239 dollars and up. And I think this is something to take into consideration when buying binoculars.
- Solid feel of quality
- Very smooth focusing
- Ideal for people who wear glasses
- Great image clarity
- Outstanding brightness
- Field of view: 110m
- Minimum Focus: 1,8m
- Eye Relief: 15,8mm
- Length: 111mm
- Weight: 320g
It is not the best if you are looking at things further away so maybe you should not us it if you are looking to find birds up in the canopy. That said it can focus very sharply on objects closer to you, and here I find it to be outstanding compared to the others. Therefore, this should be the choice if you are going to use your binoculars for objects closer to you. It is a single hinge and is not able to compact as well as the others in this category, but it has small dimensions from the beginning at is really not a problem. Of course depending on whether or not you plan to carry it in a pocket. It comes with eye piece covers for protection and this is not all binoculars in this range that comes with this extra feature. It is easy to use the wheel when trying to focus and it is so easy to use that you can do it wearing thick glasses.
The Kowa 8x25 BD can be mounted on a tripod for easy use, but the tripod is extra and has to bought separately. This small binocular feels and looks like good craftsmanship and is versatile enough to use in all conditions even cold weather, and that is nice for everyone living in the northern parts of the world. The negative with Kowa 8x25 BD is the narrow field of view, and the fact that it does not fold as small as the others. But the cons to this binocular is not many, the lack of being able to fold and the narrow vison is the only two things I found when using the binocular.
Sum up on these binoculars. We have tried to give you a review of what we think is the best 5 value for money, but there is so many on the market that we recommend you look to the professionals for answers and see if they are able to guide you as to which one of the five will be the best for your special needs. There is one out there for everyone, it is just a matter of finding there right one. It is also a deciding factor when you are buying binoculars that you find one that will last for years, so find one that will be with you for years, spend a little more than you probably would from the beginning and you will not regret it.