For avid hunters, you know that the hunting sport requires a great deal of patience and skill and having a good set of binoculars can help you spot and identify a game animal at a distance. Not only that, but some of the best hunting binoculars can also help you verify the safety of your shot. Hunting binoculars are a necessary tactical gear that can make or break your trip.
With a ton of different hunting binoculars available on the market, we understand that deciding on which is the best binoculars for you is not an easy task. If you’re feeling flustered and have trouble deciding on which binocular is best, then you’ve come to the right place.
Today’s article will be an informative guide on the top hunting binoculars available for purchase and several characteristics of high quality binoculars.
Table of Contents
- The Best Binoculars for Hunting – A Complete Buyer Guide
- 1. Vortex Optics Viper HD 10×42 – The Best Overall Hunting Binoculars
- 2. Vortex Optics Diamondback 10×42 Binoculars
- 3. Bushnell Trophy XLT Hunting Binoculars – Best for Value
- 4. Swarovski SLC 10X42
- 5. Bushnell Falcon Hunting Binoculars – Best for Budget
- 6. Vanguard Endeavor ED 8×42
- 7. Nikon Prostaff 7s Binoculars for Hunting
- 8. Zeiss Terra ED 10×42 – Best for Hunting Ducks
- 9. Leupold BX-5 Santiam HD 8×42 –Best Rugged Hunting Binoculars
- 10. Bushnell Fusion 1-Mile 10×42 – Best for Long-Distance Hunting
- 11. Bushnell H20 10×25 – Best Compact Binoculars
- 12. Sightmark Ghost Hunter Night Vision – Best for Night Hunting
- Frequently Asked Questions
- All the Factors to Consider When Getting the Right Hunting Binoculars
The Best Binoculars for Hunting – A Complete Buyer Guide
Here are the top binoculars for hunting right now:
1. Vortex Optics Viper HD 10×42 – The Best Overall Hunting Binoculars
The Vortex Optics Viper HD features an impressive combination of performance and durability, making it one of the best hunting binoculars on the market. Delivering 10x magnification and a wide field of view, this set of binoculars will quickly help you spot just about any game target a distance away.
Additionally, the Vortex Optics Viper HD comes with extra-low dispersion glass to offer users unbeatable resolution and color fidelity, even in low-light conditions. You can always expect sharp and clear images at the binocular’s rated distances.
Not only does it let you spot your targets clearly, the Vortex Optics Viper HP is even argon purged and o-ring sealed to make them completely fog proof, waterproof, and shockproof. Strong enough to withstand even the harshest outdoor condition.
Aside from the obvious quality and durability, the Vortex Optics Viper HD hunting binoculars even come with a few useful accessories, including a carrying case, neck strap, lens covers, and rain guard to protect your binos.
More importantly, Vortex offers an unconditional lifetime warranty for their hunting binoculars on top of the company’s excellent reputation for its customer service. One major drawback of the Viper HD is its lack of eye relief, which makes for an inferior experience for those with glasses.
- Quality construction with O-ring seal
- Bright and clear images even in low-light conditions
- Includes useful accessories (neck strap, lens covers, carrying case)
- Unconditional Lifetime warranty
- Wide field of view
- May be expensive for some
- Lacking eye relief
2. Vortex Optics Diamondback 10×42 Binoculars
The Vortex Optics Diamondback is just a step down from our top pick. The Diamondback is a somewhat more affordable alternative and features almost the same functions as the Viper but without the HD optics. This pair of Vortex binoculars offers a 10x magnification using a 42mm objective lens with the same durable, waterproof, and fog proof construction.
Not only that, but the binoculars even come with multi-coated optics and phase corrector prisms to make this option a worthy investment. If you’re concerned about the visuals, the Vortex Optics Diamondback offers a field of view that is on par with other more premium models. The eyepieces of the waterproof binoculars are adjustable and the central tool even lets you quickly and conveniently focus the binoculars. Interestingly, it even lets you adjust the eyepieces to suit your eye vision, which is particularly helpful if you have a slightly better vision in one eye.
As for its construction, the binoculars feature a rubber exterior to help you maintain a sturdy grip even when it’s wet out and slippery. The user-friendly design on the Diamondback is further enhanced by the various accessories included like the carrying case and lens cover. Overall, the Vortex Optics Diamondback offers plenty of good features at an exceptional price, making these binoculars best for overall value.
- Unconditional lifetime warranty
- User-friendly with adjustable features
- Includes accessories
- 10x magnification with wide objective lens size
- Durable rubber armor coating
- Optics can be better for the price
3. Bushnell Trophy XLT Hunting Binoculars – Best for Value
Bushnell has always been one of the top leaders within the hunting-style binoculars industry and the Trophy XLT is no exception here. These binoculars are O-ring sealed to be waterproof and fogproof while its rubber armored housing feels comfortable and natural in your hands. For added comfort, Bushnell has even added soft-touch thumb grips.
The Bushnell Trophy XLT Hunting Binoculars are a versatile choice great for hunting in all conditions thanks to its 10×42 optics and fully multi-coated lenses that work to deliver sharp and bright images, even in low light conditions. The hunting binoculars even feature a fast focus functionality that is very useful for when time is of the essence.
Those that wear glasses should be happy to hear that the Trophy XLT has a long eye relief to reduce eye strain, meaning you can enjoy bird watching or spying on your game target comfortably. One possible downside to this otherwise amazing budget binoculars is its weight. Weighing at 25 ounces, this is not the best hunting binoculars if you’re planning to travel light.
Nonetheless, the Bushnell Trophy XLT is a pair of full size binoculars that offer amazing features for the price, making a worthy purchase with the best bang for your buck.
- Durable rubber-armored housing
- Sharp and bright optics
- Fast focus
- Long eye relief
- Bright image quality
- Great for nature lovers
- Flimsy lens cover that tens to fall off
4. Swarovski SLC 10X42
Featuring the company’s proprietary SWAROBRIGHT and SWAROCLEAN technologies along with its unique Field Flattener lenses, the Swarovski SLC offers hunters with a large field of view and unparalleled edge-to-edge clarity image definition. The fluoride-containing high definition lenses even come with specialized, optimized coatings that work to minimize any color fringing for maximum color fidelity.
These advanced lenses take advantage of HD optical system features to deliver true natural colors and razor-sharp edges to allow users to see richer detail on distant game animals, even in twilight conditions. In fact, the images viewed through these high-end binocular options are much sharper, brighter, and clearer than anything you could view with your own eyes.
Other than their amazing lenses, the Swarovski SLC binoculars are also designed with a comfortable ergonomics in a shockproof and durable construction. Made with durable magnesium chassis, you can certainly count on them to accompany you on the toughest hunting conditions.
However, all these premium features do come with a price. The high price point of the Swarovski SLC binoculars may give some hunters a sticker shock. But keep in mind that if you want the best of the best in terms of optical quality and build quality, you’re going to have to expect a model within this price range too.
- Super clear optical images
- Durable and ergonomic construction
- Specialized lens coating for maximum color fidelity
- Large field of view
- Sharp, bright, and clear image quality
5. Bushnell Falcon Hunting Binoculars – Best for Budget
For those on a tight budget but still need reliable binoculars to take on hunting trips, then you should consider the Bushnell Falcon. This binocular is one of the cheapest options on our list today. However, whatever you save on money you will need to also sacrifice a little on quality.
The Falcon binoculars offer up to 7x magnification, which may not be sufficient for long range hunting. On the other hand, Bushnell has paired this set of binoculars with quality optics and fully coated lenses for superior light transmission. One thing we really love about it is the Instafocus feature that makes focusing on fast animals much quicker and easier.
Despite being labelled as budget hunting binoculars, the Bushnell Falcon offers multiple useful features such as non-slip rubber grips – a particularly nifty feature for when it rains – and fold-down eyecups to allow for a degree of flexibility for those with prescription glasses. Other than that, the eye cups also help to prevent any scratching of the binoculars lenses.
The Bushnell Falcon is not only for hunting, it is a pretty versatile pair of binoculars that can be used for birding, hiking, and even watching sports games. However, these binoculars are definitely not on the small side, so you might want to keep this in mind if you’re on the hunt for compact hunting binoculars.
- Quality construction for the price
- Instant focus feature
- Fold-down eyecups
- Full lens coating for superior light transmission
- Bulky size
- Only 7x magnification
6. Vanguard Endeavor ED 8×42
Vanguard is a popular manufacturer that has been designing and manufacturing sporting optics, bags, tripods, and other outdoor accessories for more than 30 years. One of the manufacturer’s flagship range is its Endeavor ED binoculars. This high end binocular comes with a host of high quality features that you’d see from other premium models.
This amazing pair of binoculars features fully multi-coated optical lenses and premium extra-low dispersion (ED) glass to deliver one of the best quality optical clarity with reduced chromatic aberrations. The lenses even feature multiple layers of anti-reflective compounds of Vanguard’s multi-guard coatings to offer a clear field of view.
On top of that, this model has an 8x power magnification and an objective lens diameter of 42mm. The field of view is also measured at 367 feet per 1,000 yards to fit a large area into its display. It even has 19mm of eye relief to suit hunters with eye glasses.
Weighing at about 25.8 ounces, the Vanguard Endeavor is definitely not a lightweight model, but this is because it is covered in thick and tactile rubber armoring casing to improve grip and protect the binoculars from knocks and bumps while out hunting. Additionally, the Endeavor ED hunting binoculars include an ergonomic design that is comfortable to use, a large focus adjustment wheel, and a wide field of view angle.
Overall, this pair of hunting binoculars is very well-known among experts for its unbeatable resolution and clarity. So, for those who want nothing but the best hunting binoculars in terms of optical clarity, this may just be the pair of binoculars you’d want to consider.
- Features extra low dispersion glass (ED glass)
- Fully multi-coated optics
- 19mm eye relief
- Wide field of view
7. Nikon Prostaff 7s Binoculars for Hunting
We are now moving up to the big league with this pair of hunting binoculars, and not just because Nikon is a well-known industry leader for creating excellent quality optical instruments. This hunting binoculars from Nikon provides consistent color and clarity, whatever you’re viewing, thanks to its fully multi-coated lenses and phase correction roof prism design to deliver crisp and clear visualizations.
The Nikon Prostaff 7s BInoculars come in two versions: 8x or 10x power magnification with two objective lens diameters (30mm and 42mm). For those with shaky hands, you can opt for the 8x variant with a 30mm objective lens to keep the binoculars lightweight and compact.
Other than that, this pair of binoculars is best for hunters with glasses as it even features turn-and-slide rubber eyecups that let users adjust the space between their eye and the eyepiece. This way, you get to enjoy a full field of view quickly and easily.
Furthermore, the Prostate 7s even has a high quality rubber-armored build that is comfortable to hold and grip, even during rainy weather conditions. One downside that we do not like about it is its lens cover that feels a bit cheap.
Nonetheless, the unit offers an excellent balance between image quality and price. The solid construction and very clear optics make the hunting binocular best for value.
- Roof prism binoculars
- Adjustable eyecups
- Durable construction
- Clear optics
- Good balance between image quality and price
- Phase corrected prism coatings
- Great prism binoculars
- Cheap lens covers
8. Zeiss Terra ED 10×42 – Best for Hunting Ducks
If you’re looking for the best binoculars for hunting ducks and other waterfowl, then you don’t need to look further than the Zeiss Terra ED binoculars. This pair of high quality sports optics features special hydrophobic lenses that will shrug off any water, debris and dirt obstructing your field of view.
Other than that, the binoculars are also constructed with a fully waterproof body with an impressive water resistance rating of 100mbar. This means that you can easily drag this pair of binoculars through the muddy swamp and still expect vibrant, clear, and highly detailed image quality.
Additionally, the Zeiss Terra ED comes with a large, smooth, and easy-to-use focus wheel that is thoughtfully placed to allow your index finger to land at position automatically to focus on your target without too much fumbling around. This is not only convenient but it is a major advantage, especially when you’re trying to identify a waterfowl that is quickly waddling into your shooting focus range.
On top of that, these waterproof binoculars feature an easy grip surface and ergonomic eyecups that many hunters will love. Offering an extra wide field of view, he Zeiss Terra ED provides a very comfortable and natural feel to sight your targets. Overall, this is an awesome all-round option for hikers, bird watchers, and even hunters.
9. Leupold BX-5 Santiam HD 8×42 –Best Rugged Hunting Binoculars
If you need a pair of hunting binoculars to take on your remote backcountry hunts, then the Leupold BX-5 Santiam HD must definitely be part of your tactical gear. Designed to perform in rugged conditions, the BX-5 Santium is constructed with a durable, lightweight aluminum housing wrapped in rubber armor coating for a secure grasp, even in wet conditions.
This unit is even made with super sturdy components to be fully waterproof and fog proof to be used in rainy, snowy, and ice conditions.
Not can you count on this gear for all weather conditions, its image quality is even one of the best in the business. With Leupold’s extra-low dispersion, high definition lenses (ED Glass), you get to enjoy premium edge-to-edge clarity with a generous field of view. These high end guard-ion fully coated optics even feature guard-ion lens coatings shed off water, dirt, sweat, and even fingerprints to ensure your images are always crisp and clear.
The one thing that many hunters will truly appreciate is Leupold’s proprietary Twilight Max Light Management system that brightens up the viewing image. In fact, it even adds up to 30 minutes extra glassing time when your hunting expedition extends to dawn and dusk.
Other than that, the Leupold BX-5 Santiam even comes in Sitka Subalpine camo pattern to fit to your camo pattern in an attempt to be invisible to game targets.
10. Bushnell Fusion 1-Mile 10×42 – Best for Long-Distance Hunting
For those who enjoy hunting big games from a long distance away, you’ll definitely love this hunting gear from Bushnell. The Fusion 1-Mile hunting binoculars feature a rangefinder technology that can deliver a precise focus range readings of up to 1760 yards away.
These high-tech binoculars come with bow and rifle modes that help hunters measure angle, true horizontal distance, and even calculates the bullet drop/holdover of up to 199 inches. This is definitely a very handy set of binoculars as it features a variable sight-in option to help zero your rifle.
Other than that, the binoculars also feature BaK-4 prisms with a PC-3 phase corrected coating on their premium fully multi-coated optics to deliver stunning image clarity and superior contrast. As for the construction, the Bushnell Fusion 1-Mile is made with RainGuard HD water repellant lens coating to ensure the binoculars work reliably during rain and fog.
Although the Fusion 1-Mile comes with a slightly higher price tag, the price is definitely justifiable considering all the premium features that come with it. In fact, for such premium functionality and performance, we are surprised that it costs below a thousand bucks.
11. Bushnell H20 10×25 – Best Compact Binoculars
If you need a compact binocular that can be slipped easily into your hunting vest pocket, then the Bushnell H2O is the one for you. Weighing less than a proud with the smallest set of field glasses, the Bushnell H2O unit is one of the most compact binoculars available on the market that is even priced below a hundred bucks.
Featuring BaK-4 prisms and multi-coated optics, this is a great all-round set of hunting binoculars that deliver bright, clear images even during low light conditions. It is even o-ring sealed, nitrogen gas purged to be 100 percent waterproof. The unique Soft Texture Grip is even designed to provide a firm grip, making this a great hunting companion in wet conditions.
For easy adjustments, the compact binocular also comes with a large center-focus knob and twist-up eyecups.
In addition to that, the Bushnell H2O binoculars feature a durable design made with non-slip rubber armor that absorbs shock and protects the optics from random bumps and drops during field hunting.
The Bushnell H2O prism binoculars even come in a beautiful camo version to help you blend into the background. Overall, this pair of compact binoculars makes a perfect option for turkey hunters.
12. Sightmark Ghost Hunter Night Vision – Best for Night Hunting
Integrating Gen 1 night vision technology into its optics, the Sightmark Ghost Hunter has just made night time hunting a whole lot easier. These full size binoculars feature a durable build and are surprisingly lightweight at just over 14 ounces in weight.
The Ghost Hunter binoculars even come with built-in infrared illumination to allow a hunter to view clear and bright images in low-ambient light conditions. In fact, these hunting binoculars perform well in total darkness to make these the perfect pair of hunting nocturnal predators such as hogs and coyotes.
Aside from the impressive image brightness, the Sightmark Ghost Hunter binoculars offer a handy automatic shut-off feature that will quickly power down when exposed to bright light. This will protect the night vision tube from damage, ensuring the binoculars continue to serve you reliably for many years.
However, the night vision binoculars only have a low magnification factor of 2x with a detection range of less than 150 yards. This means that these binoculars are best suited for short range targets.
Other than that, the Ghost Hunter also comes with an ergonomic design, quick power-up and a long battery life of approximately 72 hours. Lastly, the binoculars comes with warranties: a three-year warranty on the tube and a limited lifetime warranty for its housing.
It is undeniable that the best hunting binoculars will take your hunting experience to the next level. Any of the binoculars reviewed in our article are proven high-quality options from leading manufacturers. Whether you’re glassing for a bull elk, hunting deer, whitetail deer, brown bear or identifying ducks, a high quality binoculars will certainly help you bring back a trophy from the wilderness.
If you’re looking for the best hunting binoculars, hopefully this review article has provided you with enough knowledge and perspective to decide on the top choice for you. Remember to do a comprehensive comparison and check out online reviews and recommendations before making the final decision.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best binocular magnification for hunting?
The best binocular magnification for hunting in western and mountain terrains is 10x. The 10x magnification is powerful enough to reveal distant details, yet still modest enough for quick, off-hand glassing when required.
What is the best brand of binoculars for hunting?
Some of the best brands of hunting binoculars include Leupold, Upland, Bushnell, Vortex, Leica, Nikon, Carson, and Sightmark.
Are 10×50 binoculars good for hunting?
Yes, 10×50 binoculars are good for birdwatching or hunting. With the higher magnification, you’ll be able to quickly focus on smaller targets more efficiently.
Do I need binocular straps?
Deciding on whether you need binocular straps or not depends on your intended purpose. Hunters may prefer to get a strap as they allow them to move around more freely. Not only that, but the strap and body harnesses help to keep your binoculars secured to your body so that you can use your hands for other tasks.
All the Factors to Consider When Getting the Right Hunting Binoculars
Binoculars only have one job, and that is to let you see things that are far, far away. However, these are far from simple gadgets. They come in a variety of different features and prices to suit all kinds of budget. Here are a few characteristics that you can use to differentiate a high quality hunting binoculars from the rest:
The most important part of the binoculars – and also the first number on the label – is its magnification. A binoculars with 8x magnification will display an image that appears 8 times closer compared to viewing with the naked eye.
Deciding on the best magnification will depend on your intended use. For example, if you’re scouting a pronghorn on a large field of open prairie, you’ll need to get one with enough magnification to stretch that far. However, the higher the magnification, the lower is the image steadiness. Generally speaking, a magnification power of 7x to 10x should be enough to meet most hunter’s needs.
The next number on the label of a set of binoculars indicates the objective lens diameter. Objective lens work to let light into the optic for you to get a bright, clear view of the image. Generally, the larger the objective lens, the more details you’ll be able to see.
If you often hunt in low light conditions, such as during dawn and dusk, then it is important for you to get binoculars with large objective lenses. However, large objective lenses have several drawbacks. They make your binoculars bulky and heavy, which can be a problem for hunters that need to hike long distances to their favorite hunting spot.
Field of View
A binocular’s field of view (FOV) is the widest dimension you can see and is often measured in feet over 1000 yards. The higher the number, the wider area you’ll be able to see through your binoculars. Hunters should get binoculars with a wide FOV to help you track down moving targets.
Exit Pupil and Relative Brightness Index
The magnification and objective lens size will determine the size of the exit pupil. The exit pupil functions to let light through to the eye. The higher the exit pupil, the larger amount of light you’ll get to visualize. As a rule of thumb, it is recommended to choose hunting binoculars with an exit pupil the same size or larger than the pupil in your eyes.
Eye relief plays a critical role in your binoculars for those who wear glasses or sunglasses to hunt. Eye relief is the distance the user can hold their binoculars away from the eye while still being able to see a complete picture. If you wear eyeglasses or sunglasses to hunt, it is recommended to look for something with at least 14 – 15mm of eye relief.
Light reflection can easily distort your image and possibly even alert the game to your location. Fortunately, lenses now come with special optical coatings on the exterior glass surface that help to reduce light glare. Getting binoculars with such coatings will result in a brighter and clearer sight picture. It is recommended to look for binoculars that feature multi-coated glass for best results.
Hunting binoculars have two types of prism types: roof prisms and porro prisms. Roof prisms are more lightweight with a slimmer dimension as it is in line with the eyepiece. However, the drawback of choosing a roof prism is that it is considerably more expensive than porro prisms.
Porro prisms require a larger body to reflect the light four times. The main drawback to this is that the prism is not in direct line with the eyepiece.
It may be difficult to decide which is the best type of prism as there are many other factors to take into consideration, such as the manufacturing tolerances, glass quality and the overall design.
Binoculars can come with an individual eyepiece focus or a center focus. Individual focus binoculars generally provide excellent results for medium to long distance focus range while center focus is better for close-range targets of not more than 30 yards.
Rubber Coating and Waterproofness
Getting binoculars with rubber coating has been very important lately, especially during rainy seasons as the rubber grips ensure better grip during wet conditions. The waterproofness also ensures your unit is resistant to dirt, grime, dust, and other elements. On top of that, the waterproofing feature also makes sure that the binocular does not fog up or leak.
Some manufacturers will include a limited set of accessories in your binoculars package that could include straps, cases, and a body harness. The strap lets you hang the binoculars around your neck while the body harness supports the weight of the binocular across the entire upper body and shoulders. A case also comes in as a handy layer of protection to keep your binoculars from getting damaged or scratched.