best hunting binoculars

14 Best Hunting Binoculars for 2022 with Reviews

Last Updated on September 7, 2022 by Dwayne Easton

Today’s post will show you how to select the best hunting binoculars to suit your specific situation. We’ll show you the editors picks and give complete reviews by real hunters for the top binoculars on today’s market.

We will give our honest opinions about each binocular so you can make an informed decision on which binoculars are best for you.

You have probably come across many articles written by non-hunters when you searched for the best hunting binoculars online.

These articles are not intended to deceive you. These articles are designed to sell you the best binoculars at the best price.

We are hunters, so we have actually used these binoculars.

We also reached out and asked our readers the following question:

What are the best hunting binoculars?

  • Vortex Viper HD – Best Overall
  • Vortex Diamondback – Best For The Money
  • Bushnell Legend HD – Staff Favorite
  • Vortex Crossfire HD – Top Pick Under $200
  • Nikon Monarch M5 – Best For Deer Hunting
  • Leupold BX-4 – Best For Low Light
  • Nikon Monarch M7  – Best For Bowhunting
  • Zeiss Terra ED – Best High End
  • Nikon Pro Staff 7S – Editor’s Choice Under $200 
  • Bushnell Trophy – Staff Favorite 
  • Celestron Nature DX – Best Under $200 
  • Bushnell H2O – Best Budget 
  • Barska Blackhawk – Best Cheap
  • Nikon Trailblazer – Best Compact Binoculars For Hunting

Best Binoculars For Hunting in 2022 with Reviews

Vortex Optics Viper HD Roof Prism Binoculars – Best Overall

Vortex Optics Viper HD

Vortex Optics Viper HD Roof Prism Binoculars are our Editor’s Choice for the Best Binoculars for Hunting. 

These binoculars were first tested in Ohio’s whitetail rut last year, and they impressed us greatly.

These binoculars replaced an old pair of Cabelas binoculars I loved, and although I was skeptical at first, they performed great!

Viper HD features high-density extra low dispersion glasses and XR fully multicoated lenses.

You can choose from either an 8X42 or 10X42 model. They weigh just 24 ounces each.

The field of view for the 10X42 is 319 feet. The 8X42 boasts a remarkable 347 feet.

Thanks to sealed o rings and argon gas purging, they are totally waterproof and fogproof.

Armor Tek is an extremely hard, scratch-resistant coating that protects exterior lens from oil, dirt, and scratches.

Rubber armor protects the body of the binoculars. It provides non-slip grip and external protection.

This video demonstrates the Vortex Viper HD Binoculars’ features and explains why they are the Best Binoculars for Hunting


Best Hunting Binoculars For The Money

Vortex Diamondback Binoculars

Today’s quality optics manufacturers offer so many options at affordable prices that it is difficult to choose the best hunting binoculars.

The high-end german brands cannot be excluded because they are too expensive and not affordable for most hunters.

We are really referring to value for your dollar.

What are the most valuable hunting binoculars

We are also not considering any binoculars below $100 because, even though they are decent, they are simply not as good as the best hunting binoculars for the price.

These are the hunting binoculars at a mid-range price point.

We searched for hunting binoculars with many of the same features as high-end binoculars but at a lower price.

What we found was amazing.

After doing extensive research, we quickly realized that the best hunting binoculars were the ones that offered the most value for money

 Vortex Optics Diamondback Roof Prism Binoculars

vortex optics binocular

Vortex Optics has taken the Hunting Binoculars Market by storm. Their Diamondback model is the best value for money and is the most popular in terms of performance.

Vortex’s high-performance optical system features fully coated lenses that are multi-coated and have the best ultra-wide field of vision in their class. It is no surprise that Vortex is increasing its market share.

It would be reasonable to expect that you will pay more for features-rich hunting binoculars such as the Vortex Diamondback.

  • Multi-coated lenses.
  • O Ring sealed, argon gas purged to ensure 100% waterproof/fogproof performance.
  • Rubber armor with a non-slip grip for durability and protection

The Vortex Diamondback also includes:

  • Rainguard Eyepiece Covers
  • Tethered Objective Lens Covers
  • Comfort Neck Strap
  • Deluxe Custom Molded Carry Bag

All of this and the incredible price make them our Editors Choice for Best Hunting Binoculars For the Money.

These are also our top choice for Best Hunting Binoculars Under $200

This video demonstrates all the features of Vortex Diamondback Binoculars.


Staff Favorite Under $200

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Binocular

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Binocular

You know in the list for one of the Best Binoculars for Hunting, there must be at least one Bushnell.

Bushnell optics have been my favorite brand of optics since childhood. These Bushnell Legend Ultra HD binoculars are amazing, even though I’m 52 years old.

These hunting binoculars are equipped with Prime Extra-Low dispersion glass, which allows for the best detail in low-light hunting conditions.

Rainguard HD is also available. Bushnell’s patent-pending permanent water repellent coating is also available.

It all comes in a light magnesium chassis with soft touch handles, but that’s only the beginning.

Bushnell Legend HD Binoculars come with the industry’s best guarantee.

Bushnell offers a no-questions-asked, lifetime warranty promise

We are proud to offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee and will repair or replace any defective parts and return it to you at no cost. This warranty is transferable and covers accidental damage as well as defects in materials or workmanship for the entire product’s life.

You would expect to pay more for this quality and the famous Bushnell name.

These hunting binoculars are available online for as low as $200

You can click here to read the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Binoculars Review.

I accidentally left a pair Bushnell Legend HD binoculars on my truck’s bumper. I accidentally dropped them when I was backing up, and they fell off. I then ran over them, shattering their glass. Bushnell replaced them without any questions and with no receipt. Bushnell is my customer for life.

Mark Santiego


Top Pick Under $200

Vortex Crossfire HD Binoculars

VORTEX CROSSFIRE HD BINOCULARS

Vortex Crossfire HD binoculars offer many of the same features as a more expensive pair of hunting optics.

These glasses also include the Vortex GlassPak Binocular Harness as well as the Vortex VIP Warranty.

These are just a few more features that the Crossfire HD offers. These features are often found in higher-end binoculars.

  • O ring sealed with nitrogen purged to ensure 100% waterproof/fogproof performance.
  • Vortex HD Optical System.
  • Multi-coated lenses provide crisp images and excellent light transmission.
  • For comfort and durability, rubber armor is coated with soft textured grip.
  • Covers for tethered objective lenses
  • GlassPak Binocular Harness included.

The Vortex Crossfire HD Binoculars are the best hunting binoculars below $200.

You can click here to read the Vortex HD Binoculars Review.


Best Binoculars For Deer Hunting

Nikon Monarch M5

The 8X42 and 10X42 are the best deer hunting binoculars.

The 8X42 is our favorite because it has a larger field of view, and performs better in low-light conditions.

You might not be able to benefit from the 10×42’s extra magnification if you hunt mule deer and whitetails in open terrain where you are trying for long distances.

The 8×42 is the best choice for most deer hunting situations. It has all the features you need.

Things to consider when choosing the best deer hunting binoculars

We hunt deer in all kinds of weather so having waterproof and fogproof is a big plus for us.

O-ring sealed and argon purgated are the best deer hunting binoculars to provide flawless performance in wet conditions.

Durability and toughness are also important. You may find your binoculars easily bang around. Think back to the last time you went climbing a tree using your climbing treestand. I’m sure you have banged up your binoculars at some point.

Let’s face it, even if they stay in your pack for a while, they can still take some beatings.

One or two of the binoculars stood out when we tested them all.

Here are the best.

Nikon Monarch M5 Binoculars

NIKON MONARCH M5

Nikon No-Fault Repair/Replacement Policy*

“For Binoculars, LaserForce Rangefinder Binoculars, Riflescopes, Scope Mounts and Fieldscopes

Nikon is dedicated to quality, performance and total customer satisfaction. If your Nikon Binocular, LaserForce Rangefinder Binocular, Riflescope, Scope Mount or Fieldscope requires repair not covered by our Limited Lifetime Warranty, just send it to us and Nikon will at our option repair or replace the product at no charge.

*Excludes lost or stolen products and intentionally caused damage, and also excludes Nikon Rangefinders, StabilEyes Binoculars & Specialty Optics.”

Click here for the full Nikon Monarch 5 Binoculars Review.


Best Binoculars For Bow Hunting

Nikon Monarch M7 8×42 Binoculars

Bowhunting is my passion, so I was very excited to do the research for this part of article.

I put the Top 6 Best Binoculars For Hunting listed here through all of the scenarios that I face as a bowhunter.

  • I wore them on a harness and climbed into tree stands.
  • I used them in the pouring rain.
  • I used them in the cold and snow.
  • I used them in ground blinds.

I even put all 6 pairs into my pack, brought them up in my tree stand and compared how well they could pick out objects in thick brush, like the flick of a tail, or an ear.

I found many differences that I probably would not have noticed if I didn’t test them side by side.

Some were definitely better in low light conditions and some were clearer in bright sunlight.

I also tested both 8×42 and 10×42 models and I have to say that for bowhunting, I prefer the 8×42.

They are lighter and have a wider field of view, which is important when you are trying to find an animal while holding your bow in one hand and your binoculars in the other, or trying to quickly find a running animal through your binoculars.

8x42s are also better in low light situations, which as a bowhunter are when we really need our binoculars to shine.

There was one set of binoculars that was clearly rising to the top of the pack as the best binoculars for bowhunting.

Nikon Monarch M7 8×42 Binoculars

NIKON MONARCH M7

We chose the Nikon Monarch M7-8×42 as our best bow hunting binoculars.

  • They are only 22.9 ounces, making them the lightest hunting binoculars we tried. (The Nikon Monarch 5 is lighter but offers a narrower field of view. )
  • At 420 feet, they have an amazing field of view. (The Bushnell L Series 8×42 is heavier, but had a larger field of view. )
  • These lenses are extra low dispersion and have fully coated lenses.
  • These are rubber armors that have a non-slip grip and ruggedness.
  • They’re 100% waterproof and fogproof.
  • These eyecups can be set to multiple settings and click-stop eyecups allow for custom eye relief.
  • These binoculars come with tethered objectives lens covers that I love. You can now protect your hunting binoculars lenses from being lost.

These are our top choice for the Best Binoculars For Bowhunting. However, they are quite expensive at less than $500

If this is too expensive for you, the Nikon Monarch M5 is a good alternative.

The Nikon No Fault Guarantee covers the Monarch M7.

Here is a video review of the Nikon Monarch 7:

Click here for the full Nikon Monarch M7 binoculars review.


Best Low Light Binoculars For Hunting

Leupold BX-4 Pro Guide HD Binoculars 

Leupold BX-4 Pro

Leupold optics are known for their quality and the Leupold BX-4 PRO Guide HD Binoculars prove it.

Leupold’s BX-4 Pro Guide HD 10×42 Binoculars are compact and lightweight. They feature Leopold’s Twilight Max HD Light Management System, which provides vivid brightness, edge-to-edge clarity and high tech glare management elements that allow you to see amazing detail even in low light conditions.

This innovative open-bridge design allows for easy use and reduces weight, making it comfortable to use all day.

These are some features of the Leupold BX-4 PRO Guide HD:

  • O ring sealed with nitrogen purged to ensure 100% waterproof/fogproof performance.
  • Aluminium body for a lightweight, rugged design
  • Twilight Max Light Management System to produce vivid and high-contrast images in low lighting.
  • For comfort and durability, rubber armor is coated with soft textured grip.
  • Functional mechanical parts can be custom-made to perfectly fit their sockets.
  • Unsurpassed clarity is possible with high-definition calcium fluoride lenses.

The Zeiss Terra ED Binoculars have some negative aspects that you should be aware of.

All of this is combined with Leupold’s Full Lifetime Guarantee, which says:

We will replace or repair your Leupold riflescope or binocular if it stops working. There is no need for proof of ownership, a warranty card or any time limit. We believe in superior craftsmanship and quality, and this is why we offer Leupold. “

You now have the best low-light binoculars available for hunting!

Click here for the full Leupold BX-4 Pro Guide HD Binoculars Review.


Best 10×42 Binoculars For Hunting

Burris Droptine 10X42 Binoculars  

Burris Droptine

Burris Droptine Binoculars offer a great combination high-quality features at a very affordable price. This is why they are our top 10×42 hunting binoculars.

These binos were distinguished by their durable aluminum eyecups. The majority of best hunting binoculars on this page have plastic eyes cups. They can be damaged if they are dropped or bumped around.

Let’s look at some other features of the Burris Droptine Binos.

  • O ring sealed with nitrogen and nitrogen filled for 100 percent waterproof/fogproof performance.
  • For excellent resolution, use BAK-4 glass prisms
  • For maximum visibility in low light conditions, phase corrected dielectric coated prisms are ideal.
  • We loved the unique texture grip of this rubber armor.
  • Hi-Lume Index-matched, fully multi-coated lenses with reduced glare for high resolution.
  • Included is a durable carrying case and a neoprene neck band.

The Burris Droptine 10×42 Binoculars are the best for hunting.

Learn more by visiting the full Burris Droptine Binoculars Review.


Best High End Hunting Binoculars – Editor’s Choice Under $500

Zeiss Terra ED Binoculars

Zeiss Terra ED Binoculars

Our top-ranked hunting binoculars below $500 have been the Zeiss Terra EED Binoculars.

These high-quality optics are worth considering.

Zeiss optics are well-known for their German engineering excellence and Terra ED Binos is no exception.

These are lightweight, have a non-slip surface that is easy to grip and a large, smooth focal wheel.

Combine that with Schott ED glasses and Zeiss Hydrophobicc multicoating, and you will see why the Terra ED is our choice for the best hunting binoculars under $500

These are just a few of the Zeiss Terre ED’s features:

  • O ring sealed with nitrogen purged to ensure 100% waterproof/fogproof performance.
  • For lightweight, rugged designs, fiberglass reinforced polyamide chassis.
  • Schott ED glass, Zeiss multi-coated Zeiss hydrophobic lenses provide sharp images that are crystal clear and sharp.
  • For comfort and durability, rubber armor is coated with soft textured grip.
  • For quick and easy adjustments, large center focus knob.
  • Terra ED includes a harness that keeps your binoculars on your chest.

The Zeiss Terra ED Binoculars have some negative aspects that you should be aware of.

1. Terra ED Binos, though German-engineered, are manufactured in China. They are manufactured to German specifications. However, it is impossible to make them at this price point without outsourcing the work to China.

2. Zeiss’ warranty isn’t as strong as those of other manufacturers. While they stand behind their product with a guarantee of no defects, they don’t warranty against accidents.

These binoculars are of high quality, but the Nikon Monarch 7 is our favorite hunting binocular under $500.

Click here for the full Zeiss Terra ED Binoculars Review.


Solid Mid Range Choices – Editor’s Choice Under $200

Nikon Prostaff 7s Binoculars

Nikon Prostaff 7S

The Nikon Prostaff Binoculars, a great example of this, have seen their prices drop dramatically due to rapid technological advances.

The Nikon Prostaff7s Binoculars are equipped with Nikon’s Advanced Optical System, which produces stunning images and incredible color reproduction. This is due to Phase Correction Coated Roof Pims.

These are just a few of the features that the Nikon Prostaff 7s Binoculars offer:

  • For fogproof and waterproof performance, nitrogen is purged.
  • It is ergonomically designed with depressed handgrips and a rubber textureurized, no slip coating.
  • Focusing is easy with just one fingertip thanks to the smooth focus rings and enhanced knurling.
  • Amazingly bright and clear images are possible thanks to fully multilayer coated lenses, phase correction coated roof prisms, and fully multilayered coated lenses.
  • Prices below $200

Another contender for the best hunting binoculars below $200 is the Nikon Prostaff 7s.

You can click here to read the Nikon Prostaff 7s Binoculars Review.


Bushnell Trophy Binoculars – Staff Favorite

Bushnell Trophy Binoculars

We like the Bushnell Trophy Binoculars because high quality features usually found in much higher priced binoculars. 

Couple that with Bushnell’s No Questions Asked Lifetime Warranty and you can see how these binoculars made our list of the best binoculars for hunting.

Here are some of the features that set the Bushnell Trophy Binoculars apart from the competition:

  • Nitrogen purged and O-Ring sealed for 100% waterproof and fogproof performance.
  • BAK4 Prisms
  • Slim, Ergonomic shape with a no slip grip and large focusing wheel for easy, quick focus, even with gloves on.
  • Bright, clear images thanks to fully multi coated lenses
  • Lead Free Glass
  • Bushnell Lifetime Warranty

Click here for the full Bushnell Trophy Binoculars review complete with a link to Bushnell’s best in class warranty.


Best Budget Binoculars For Hunting – Editor’s Choice Under $200

Celestron Nature DX Binoculars

Celestron Nature DX

Celestron Nature DX binoculars offer a wide range of features at a low price. These binoculars were the best value hunting binoculars and they were the surprise of all our reviews.

The Nature DX body is made from polycarbonate. It is lightweight and durable, but not as robust as higher-end binoculars that are made of aluminum or magnesium.

These are just a few of the features available on the Celestron DX. These features are often found in higher-end binoculars.

  • O ring sealed with nitrogen purged to ensure 100% waterproof/fogproof performance.
  • BAK-4 prisms with phase coating for true colors and clarity
  • Multi-coated lenses provide exceptional clarity and light transmission.
  • For comfort and durability, rubber armor is coated with soft textured grip.
  • For quick and easy adjustments, large center focus knob.
  • Amazingly low price for high-end features.

One problem is the Limited Lifetime Warranty. Although it is still a great warranty, you can also get an unconditional lifetime warranty if you pay a bit more.

Celestron Natured DX Binoculars are the best hunting binoculars below $200. They offer great value for money.

You can click here to read the Celestron Earth DX Binoculars Review.


Bushnell H2O Waterproof/Fogproof Binoculars

Bushnell H2O Waterproof

Bushnell’s H20 hunting binoculars are a rare find.

These hunting binoculars offer powerful, bright optics and a waterproof package at a price that anyone can afford.

These are just a few of the many features of this tiny beauty.

  • O ring sealed with nitrogen purged to ensure 100% waterproof/fogproof performance.
  • For stunning HD clarity, use Bak 4 prisms or multi-coated optics.
  • For comfort and durability, rubber armor is coated with soft textured grip.
  • For quick and easy adjustments, large center focus knob.

The Bushnell H20, as you’d expect for hunting binoculars below $100, is not covered under Bushnell’s No Questions Asked Lifetime Guarantee Promise, but it is covered under their Limited Lifetime Warranty.

The Bushnell H20 is the best budget hunting binoculars .

You can click here to read the Bushnell H20 Binoculars Review.


Barska Blackhawk Binoculars – Best Cheap Hunting Binoculars

Barska Blackhawk Binoculars

Barska has succeeded in delivering a high-quality set of hunting binoculars at a price that almost anyone can afford.

These hunting binoculars won’t be as high-quality as more expensive models. However, we think they offer a good value for money.

These cheap hunting binoculars have some great features.

  • Fully coated optics and BAK-4 prisms.
  • Nitrogen Purged to ensure a 100% waterproof and fogproof design
  • Rubberized Armor in diamond cut, ergonomically designed rubberized provides a slip-resistant grip.
  • Available in Mossy Oak Camo
  • Price – Under $100
  • Includes a carrying case, neck strap and lens covers.

You can see why these binoculars are Editors Choice for the Cheapest Binoculars.

Click here to see the Barska Blackhawk Binoculars Review.


Best Compact Binoculars for Hunting

Nikon Trailblazer 8×25 ATB Waterproof Binoculars

Nikon Trailblazer

A compact binocular is defined as one with an objective lens of 28 and smaller.

The objective lens’s size determines how much light can be let into the binoculars, and how well they will perform in low-light conditions.

Compact binoculars are not designed to perform in low light conditions. This makes them an unsuitable choice for hunters.

We hope you have been able to convince yourself that compact hunting binoculars are not for you. However, we know that some of you are still keen on purchasing them. So we evaluated the best options and determined that they are good choices.

Nikon Trailblazer 8×25 ATB waterproof binoculars

  • Compact ergonomic design that folds up for easy storage
  • Lightweight at 9.9 ounces
  • A phase-coated prism increases resolution and natural colors
  • Multicoated lenses using multiple layers of anti-reflective compounds
  • Non slip grip rubber coated body
  • Completely waterproofed and fogproof

The Nikon Trailblazer 8x25ATB Waterproof Binoculars is the best compact binoculars to hunt .


Best Hunting Binoculars Comparison Chart

BinocularsOur RatingWeightField of View
Vortex Optics Viper HD 10X42 Binocular5/524.2 oz347 Feet
Nikon 7549 MONARCH 7 10X42 Binocular5/523.6 oz351 Feet
Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10X42 Binocular4.5/523.5 oz340 Feet
Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 8X42 Binocular4.5/520.8 oz330 Feet
Vortex Optics Diamondback 10X42 Binocular4.5/521.4 oz330 Feet
Burris Droptine 10×42 Binoculars4.5/520.1 oz340 Feet
Bushnell H2O 10X42 Binocular4/525 oz305 Feet
Celestron Nature DX 10X42 Binoculars4/524.9 oz309 Feet
Zeiss Terra ED 10X42 Binoculars5/525.6 oz330 Feet
Leupold BX-4 Pro Guide HD 10X42 Binoculars5/524 oz326 Feet
Barska Blackhawk 10X42 Binoculars3.5/524 oz344 Feet
Vortex Crossfire HD 10X42 Binoculars4.5/523 oz325 Feet
Bushnell Trophy 10X42 Binoculars4.5/525.3 oz330 Feet
Nikon Prostaff 7s 10X42 Binoculars4.5/522.7 oz324 Feet
Carson 3D 10X42 Binoculars4.5/522 oz314 Feet

Best Hunting Binoculars Video

Here is an awesome video by Ron Spomer on how to choose the best binoculars for hunting. Ron gives the best explanation that we have seen about hunting binoculars features and what it means to a hunter.

Best Hunting Binoculars Buying Guide

hunting binocular

Binoculars basically do two main things for us while we are hunting.

1. They magnify the object that we are looking at, making it appear larger and closer than it would with the naked eye.

2. They let in more light, making objects appear brighter and clearer in low light conditions.

Choosing the right hunting binoculars can be a bit confusing with the different numbers, sizes and prism types, as well as costs.
We will break down each of these factors and explain exactly what they mean so that you can choose the best binoculars for your hunting situation.

Regardless of the type of hunting you do, you should try to buy the best binoculars that you can afford. Your optics are not where you should be cutting corners.

Here’s what you need to know…

Basically for hunting situations, you are going to want 8×42 or 10X42 binoculars.

20 Factors To Consider When Choosing the Best Binoculars for Hunting

1. Quality

The number one factor to consider when choosing the best binoculars for hunting is quality and while there is a correlation between quality and price, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a high quality set of binoculars. One way to insure quality is to stick with one of the top brands.

2. Brand

As we spoke to long time hunters during our research for this buying guide, it became apparent that there was a fair amount of brand loyalty, similar to the way it is with automobiles. If you had a particular brand of hunting binoculars that you liked and it served you well over a period of years, you were very likely to be partial to that brand.

Here is a list of brands that were consistently favored by many of the hunters that we interviewed.

  • Bushnell
  • Nikon
  • Vortex
  • Burris
  • Steiner
  • Leupold
  • Leica
  • Zeis
  • Swarovski

Those are by no means the only binocular brands, but they are the brands that came up consistently when we asked “What are the best binoculars for hunting? “.

These are the same brands that come up when we ask about the best rangefinder for bow hunting.

Now let’s take a look at what the numbers mean.

3. Magnification

This is the first number in a binoculars description. A 10X42 binoculars means the image is magnified 10X. This number can vary from 7 to 10 in hunting binoculars, but 8x or 10x is preferred by the vast majority of hunters. It basically means that an object will appear either 8 times or 10 times closer than it actually is.

4. Objective Lens

This is the second number in a binoculars description. A 10X42 binoculars means a 42 mm objective lens. This is the lens on the front of the binoculars. The larger the lens, the more light it lets in. Also, the more expensive it gets and the heavier it gets. 42 mm lets in plenty of light while remaining lightweight and relatively inexpensive.

5. Exit Pupil

This term is sometimes difficult to understand, but I will try to explain. Exit pupil is a number that determines how well we will be able to see through the binoculars in low light situations. It is determined by dividing the objective lens number by the magnification. In a 10X42 binocular you would divide 42 by 10, arriving at an exit pupil of 4.2. Anything between 4 and 5.5 will perform very well in low light conditions.

Here is an excellent video that explains exit pupil and why you should know what it means.

6. Relative Brightness Index

The Relative Brightness Index or RBI is another indicator of how well your binoculars will perform in low light conditions. The RBI is directly related to the Exit Pupil and is arrived at by taking the square of the Exit Pupil. So if the exit pupil is 4.5, the RBI is 20.25. With the exit pupil of 5.25 you get from an 8×42 pair of binocs, the RBI is 27.5625. The general rule is that for the best hunting binoculars you need an RBI of at least 20.

7. Field of view

When you look around with your naked eye, you generally have a 180-degree field of view. But when you use binoculars, it’s like you’re cupping your eyes with your hands at the side of your eyes. You’re limiting your field of view.

In binoculars, the Field of View is denoted by how wide the view is at 1,000 yards. Higher magnification leads to a reduction in your field of view, so you will need to find a proper balance. In general, you may want a higher field of view if you’re hunting in wide open areas and you’re going after fast-moving prey. Typically in a 10×42 binoculars the field of view will be 280-360 ft.

8. Eye Relief

This term refers to how far away your eyes have to be from the ocular lenses (the lenses nearest you). Short eye relief can range from 9 to 13 mm, with midrange at 14 to 16 mm. Long eye relief starts at 17mm. Eye relief is important for hunters because many people wear eyeglasses or sunglasses while out in the field. You may have very thick lenses on your eyeglasses or you may want to wear them further down your nose. Those conditions will require midrange or even long eye relief. Basically eye relief is the distance from your eye that you can hold the binoculars and still maintain a full field of view. Some binoculars have extendable eyepieces which will ensure proper eye relief.

That’s enough of the numbers. Here are some other factors to consider.

9. Prism type

The prisms in your binoculars are what allow you to see your images right side up instead of upside down. You have roof prisms, which have become the industry standard. They’re more compact and more rugged, so they’re generally more suited for hunting binoculars. The other kind is the Porro prism, which to be fair offers brighter images as is. But then with roof prisms you can get the same image quality when you add the coatings.

  • Roof prism – A roof prism reflects light 5 times and the light comes out on the same line in which it went in. This allows for a more compact and lighter weight design.
  • Porro Prism – Porro prisms only reflects light 4 times and it comes out on a different line than it went in on, resulting in the need for a larger body and hence Porro prism binoculars are heavier than roof prism binoculars.

10. Optical Coatings

Anytime that light hits a glass surface, some of that light is reflected back. When you consider that a set of binoculars may have light striking 6 to 10 glass lenses, that is a lot of reflection. As a result, manufacturers use optical coatings to reduce the amount of light reflected and produce a clearer image.

These are the terms used to describe optical coatings in binoculars.

1. Coated Optics: This is the least expensive and means that one or more surfaces are anti-reflective coated with a single-layer coating.

2. Fully Coated Optics: This is fairly common in mid range binoculars and mean that all air-to-glass surfaces are anti-reflective coated with a single-layer coating.

3. Multi-Coated Optics: This is getting into more expensive binoculars and means that one or more surfaces have anti-reflective multi-layer coatings.

4. Fully Multi-Coated Optics: This is used in the most expensive binoculars and means that all air-to-glass surfaces are anti-reflective multi-layer coated.

The optical coatings used will vary based on price with the more expensive binoculars using the better coatings.

Examples of coatings include:

  • Anti-reflective coating. This is the most common type of coating used, and it helps keep the lens from reflecting the back glare into your eyes.
  • Anti-scratch coating. This protects the glass from dirt and dust particles.
  • Water-repellant coating. This helps shed water and resist outside fogging.
  • Metallic mirror coating. This enhances the light reflection so that the image is brighter. On roof prism types, you also have dielectric coatings for the same purpose.
  • Phase correction coating. This is just for roof prism binocs, and it helps bring about a clearer and sharper image.

11. Focus and Adjustment

According to Wikipedia, binoculars utilize two systems for adjusting the focus, independent focus and central focusing.

1. Independent focus is an arrangement where the two telescopes are focused independently by adjusting each eyepiece. Binoculars designed for heavy field use, such as military applications, traditionally have used independent focusing.

2. Central focusing is an arrangement which involves rotation of a central focusing wheel to adjust both tubes together. In addition, one of the two eyepieces can be further adjusted to compensate for differences between the viewer’s eyes (usually by rotating the eyepiece in its mount). Because the focal change effected by the adjustable eyepiece can be measured in the customary unit of refractive power, the diopter, the adjustable eyepiece itself is often called a diopter. Once this adjustment has been made for a given viewer, the binoculars can be refocused on an object at a different distance by using the focusing wheel to adjust both tubes together without eyepiece readjustment. This is the most common type of focus used in the high quality hunting binoculars.

12. Image Quality

Image quality is determined largely by the type of glass and coatings used and is usually indicative of price. The higher quality the image, the higher the cost.

13. Portability (Size and Weight)

Size and weight will vary with the type of prism being used as well as the size of the objective lens. We feel that a 42 mm objective lens is a good compromise for the best hunting binoculars. If you go with a smaller lens, you sacrifice quality and a larger lens gets to be heavy when carried around in the field.

14. Waterproof

This is a major consideration for the best binoculars for hunting. We are using our equipment in all kinds of weather and all sorts of conditions. Our equipment needs to be protected from the elements and needs to be able to withstand changing weather conditions.

15. Ruggedness

High quality binoculars for hunting also often feature some type of rubber coating around the casing. This protects the binoculars should you drop it or bump it into something hard. In addition, the rubber coating offers a more secure hold even if you’re hunting in wet conditions.

If you are wearing your binoculars, they are constantly banging on things. Think of the last time you went up a tree in your climbing tree stand. I’ll bet you banged your binoculars at some point.

Let’s admit it, even if you keep them in your pack, they take a beating.

16. Affordability

As we stated earlier, you should buy the best binoculars that you can afford. You really do get what you pay for when it comes to optics. With that being said, you can still get a quality set of binoculars for hunting at a reasonable price.

17. Type of Hunting That You Do

The type of hunting that you do is a major factor in choosing the right hunting binoculars for you. To illustrate that point, we can look at the difference between a bow hunter hunting whitetail deer in thick brush and a rifle hunter hunting sheep in the mountains. These hunters are going to choose very different hunting binoculars. Also, a beginner bow hunter is probably going to choose a different binocular than someone that has been bow hunting for years. Always consider what type of hunting you do and what kind of experience you have..

18. Hunting Specific Features

Some binoculars boast of some features that hunters may find extremely useful. These include having a laser range finder built in to the binoculars, so you can immediately find out the distance to your target. Others have an image stabilization feature that helps keep the image steady when you’re using high magnification. These features may help, but it’s highly debatable if they’re worth the expense and the extra weight.

Click here for our guide to the best rangefinder binoculars.

19. Reviews

Shopping for binoculars today is much different than it was just a few short years ago. Today, you can read reviews of all of the best binoculars available to determine which ones work for your particular situation. If you are shopping on Amazon, in addition to reading the reviews, you can determine how popular the binoculars are by the number of reviews. Considering the fact that very few Amazon shoppers actually leave reviews, so any hunting binoculars with more than 100 reviews is an extremely popular set of optics.

20. Accessories

As you are shopping for hunting binoculars, you may want to consider what accessories are available for the binoculars that you are considering. Different brands often offer specific accessories made only for their own brand. Things such as a binocular harness, specialty cases, tripod adapters, tethered objective lens covers and sun shades just to name a few.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are buying binoculars for yourself or giving them as a gift, your choice for the best hunting binoculars is going to depend largely on:

  1. The type of hunting that you do.
  2. Your hunting binoculars budget.

The good news is that there are some incredible high end hunting binoculars available today for very reasonable prices.

Choose the best binoculars for hunting that you can afford and you will be rewarded with many years of performance in the field.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best binoculars for hunting?

The best binoculars for hunting are the Vortex Viper HD Binoculars. Our team of expert hunters has found these to be the perfect combination of high end features for the price.What are the best binoculars for the money?

What are the best binoculars for the money?

They are the Vortex Diamondback Binoculars. They offer incredible value for the price and have many of the features of high end binoculars at an amazingly low price.

What magnification binoculars are best for hunting?

8x or 10x magnification is best for hunting binoculars. If you do most of your hunting in close conditions, then 8x is best for your situation. If you hunt in more open terrain, then 10x binoculars should be on your list.

What binoculars do hunter guides use?

Hunting guides use 10x binoculars because they work great in open terrain and can still be used in thick cover if needed. 10x binoculars are the most versatile magnification for hunting binoculars.

Do you need binoculars for *insert your game* hunting?

Yes, you need binoculars for hunting whatever game you are hunting. Binoculars allow you to see things that you would not otherwise see. Binoculars offer the opportunity to see parts of the animal while on stand. You may see the flick of a tail, or the leg that you didn’t know was there. Binoculars will definitely help you to be a more successful hunter. 

How important are binoculars for hunting?

Binoculars are extremely important for hunting. Our staff of hunters here at hunter.guide would not even consider hunting without a quality pair of binoculars around our neck or on a harness. If you are not hunting with binoculars, you are handicapping yourself and you are not seeing game that you would see if you were using binoculars.