In nature, a good pair of binoculars is one of the most important pieces of equipment to have, especially when hunting. If you’ve spent the time and money to find the most suitable rifle and optics for your hunting needs, there’s no real reason to skip out on a pair of binoculars.
There’s no need to overspend by any means – the best binoculars for hunting come at a wide range of prices and specs. A few hundred dollars, or even under a $100 will go a long way for a starter model, and once you’re ready for the premium models, you can select the one you like best out of our list.
Some might be wondering what benefits does a good pair of binoculars bring to a hunt. I’ve even heard people comment that binoculars are unnecessary as you can use the rifle scope for the same purpose. Not only is the use of rifles in this way impractical and anything but subtle, it is also very dangerous. Binoculars are far superior as they are lighter, offer sight through both eyes, and can be used without the risk of alerting the animals.
I have prepared a list consisting primarily of roof prism 10x42mm binoculars as they offer the best image quality and sufficient magnification for the size. As a hunter, you’re already carrying your rifle, ammunition, knife and backpack at the very least, so having lightweight and compact binoculars will really make a difference.
Brand recognition is important, so if you see a pair of binoculars from the same company that made your rifle scope, feel free to go with it. Only the best options have been picked from renowned manufacturers, making the choice come down to primarily budget. Now that we’ve gone over the essentials, let’s get into our best binoculars for hunting list!
Best Binoculars For Hunting 2020: Our Picks
|Size||6.6 x 5.3 inches|
|Eye Relief||0.67 inches|
We’re starting this list off strong with the Vortex Diamondback HD Binoculars that break the balance of price-performance ratio and delivers the quality expected of more expensive models. If you’re looking for the best binoculars in terms of value, look no further than the Diamondback HD.
The HD optical system delivers exceptional resolution, cut chromatic aberration, extraordinary color fidelity, sharpness, and light transference. Anti-reflective coatings have been placed on all air-to-glass surfaces to increase light transmission, while the dielectric coating results in improved colors. ArmorTek is an ultra-hard, scratch-resistant coating to prevent damage to the lens from oil, dirt, and physical impact.
Construction has been greatly considered as this model needs to endure extreme weather, temperatures, as well as shock damage. Rubber Armor protects against impact and gives a non-slip surface that is easy to grip. O-ring sealed and argon purged, Diamondback HD is completely impervious to fog and water damage. Lastly, the Roof Prism provides a more compact design and greater durability.
Simply the adjustable eyecups up or down to set them into the most comfortable positions, even when using eyeglasses. Use the center focus wheel to adjust both binocular barrels at the same time or the diopter for individual changes. A nice feature of the Vortex Diamondback HD is the compatibility with a tripod adapter to expand the usability.
With the purchase of Vortex Diamondback HD, you’ll receive the GlassPak binocular case and case harness, comfortable neck strap, tethered lens covers, rain guard eyepiece cover, and lens cloth for a complete package and no additional costs. A best-buy option at its price point, Diamondback HD delivers more than most of the competition, and most importantly, has a lifetime warranty.
|Eye Relief||0.669 inches|
Just like the Vortex Optics, Bushnell will have a couple of contenders for the best binoculars for hunting, with the H20 model being the first. When I said you don’t have to spend a lot on a good model, I really meant it, and Bushnell H20 is the prime example. You’ll find plenty to like about these binoculars, with compact design and excellent lens quality as just a few examples.
The name gives us a hint as to what the main purpose of this Bushnell model is. The H20 handles perfectly on waterfowl hunts thanks to the Soft Texture Grips and a completely sealed, nitrogen-purged interior compartments. Lenses are multicoated for maximum light transmission and clarity, while the BaK-4 prism glass provides exceptional picture quality.
Great for on the water viewing, the H20 is just as capable for conventional use with its scratch-resistant lenses and rubberized body capable of absorbing shock damage. Twist-up eyecups are very comfortable and are completely compatible with eyeglasses.
Included in the packages are a neck strap for easy carry and use, a carrying case with a belt loop, and rubber lens covers for glass protection. The Bushnell H20 is a stellar budget option without any budget cuts, easily landing it a spot on the list.
Leupold Marksman Binoculars
|Eye Relief||0.64 inches|
Getting Leupold binoculars for two hundred dollars seems unreal, and yet it’s possible with the Marksman model. A straightforward approach to the design and functionality in combination with the renowned Leupold glass makes for a pair of highly desirable binoculars.
The aluminum casting with an armor coating provides excellent impact protection for such an ergonomic design. Completely waterproof and fog proof, Leupold Marksman can help you enhance your vision wherever you’re hunting. Twilight light management system optimizes light transmission, brightness, clarity, contrast, and color fidelity to provide the best image possible.
The precision focus dial is easy to adjust even in glows and can provide sharp focus all the way down to four feet. If you’re looking for compatibility with a tripod, you’ll be happy to hear that the Marksman can easily be attached to one. Twist-up eyecups will keep the lenses protected from unintentional damage when stored or carried, greatly extending their lifespan.
While it’s an exceptional model in its own right, Marksman does feel like a budget option for a Leupold model. Packaging includes only the lens cap, carry bag, and a strap, but that is the compromise you need to take if you’re going with one of the premium optics manufacturers.
|Size||6.57 x 5.08 x 2.16 inches|
|Eye Relief||0.77 inches|
Nikon is a well-known manufacturer of all things optical, so it’s no surprise their binoculars made it on our list. The Nikon Prostaff 7S is a roof prism design, 8 power binocular ideal for hunting and wildlife observation. It doesn’t have as much magnification as the other options, but the excellent lens quality more than makes up for it.
All lenses and prisms are multi-coated for a brighter image, while the phase-correction coated roof prisms establish high resolution, on top of having their own high-reflection mirror-coating to push the brightness even further. Eye relief is slightly longer than the other options on the list, and is compatible with eyeglasses. Turn-and-slide rubber eyecups with multi-click can be adjusted to provide comfortable support for your eyes at the correct eyepoint.
Wrapped in rubber for an outstanding shock resistance which doubles as a comfortable grip surface. The Nikon Prostaff 7S is both waterproof up to 3.3 feet of depth, as well as fog-free due to the nitrogen-gas purging. Eco-glass optics are scratch resistant and made without the use of lead and arsenic, while the body is constructed out of fiberglass reinforced polycarbonate resin.
The Nikon Prostaff 7S is a lightweight option that will not burden you as you trek the course throughout the day. Combined with famed Nikon lenses, it’ll give you a clear picture of your game, so you know exactly what’s in front of you. The only real drawback is the lack of any packaging information, as at least a carrying bag and a neck strap would be sufficient.
|Size||5.6 x 4.9 inches|
|Eye Relief||0.67 inches|
Next up on the list of best binoculars for hunting is the Vortex Optics Viper HD. A step up from the Diamondback, Viper HD is an optical masterpiece that manages to retain a reasonable price for a mid-range model. Let’s go over some of the features that make this model stand out from the rest.
The optical prowess of the Viper HD starts with the premium extra-low dispersion glass that results in exceptional resolution and color fidelity, and ultimately high-definition images. The XR multi-coating is used for increased light transmission in tandem with multiple anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces. Phase corrected and multi-layer dielectric coated prism adds to the clarity, color, and brightness of images.
Purged with argon gas, Viper HD will not fog in a wide range of temperatures, and thanks to the O-ring sealing, moisture, dust, and debris cannot enter the internals of the ocular, making it waterproof. ArmorTek coating delivers an ultra-hard, scratch-resistant surface that protects the exterior lenses from oil, dirt, and scratches, while the Rubber Armor makes it shockproof and easy to grip.
Eyecups can be adjusted for comfortable viewing with or without eyeglasses. Center focus wheel and locking diopter allows you to change the focus of individual barrels, or both at the same time. Through the use of a tripod adapter, Viper HD can be easily attached to a tripod for a more stable picture.
Vortex Optics has included a rain guard eyepiece cover, tethered objective lens covers, neck strap, and GlassPak binocular harness into the package for added value. Backed by the Vortex lifetime warranty, Viper HD is one of the best binoculars for hunting in the mid-range segment, at a very competitive price.
|Eye Relief||0.70 inches|
With the Forge, Bushnell steps into the mid-range category of binoculars and stands up to its rivals with the exceptional technology and build quality. A competitive price combined with some nice features and extras establishes Forge as a true contender for the best binoculars for hunting.
The exclusive EXO barrier protection coating binds to the lens at a molecular level to provide superb resistance to water, oil, debris, dust, as well as scratching. ED Prime glass is Bushnells highest quality option that provides amazing resolution, color, and contrast even in the conditions without much lighting. The effects of the glass are further enhanced by the PC-3 Phase Coating of the prisms.
Built-in lens caps and tripod mounting compatibility are always welcome, but the included binocular harness really stands out as a valuable addition. As it spreads the weight of the binoculars across your back, it prevents neck discomfort or strain, which is handy when hunting for several hours.
Bushnell Ironclad warranty is a full lifetime warranty that covers materials and workmanship, and is fully transferable, with the lifetime defined as 20 years. In case of an issue, Bushnell will either repair the defect or send you a brand new replacement at no cost. Among the mid-range models Forge is one of the best, so if your budget allows, don’t hesitate to get it.
|Size||5.6 x 5.1 inches|
|Eye Relief||0.65 inches|
Nikon Monarch 7 is the best of the Monarch line, built with the use of the latest technology to deliver serious performance. You will be impressed with the build quality and especially how light it is, weighing in at just 23.6 ounces. Another great option in the mid-range segment, Monarch 7 delivers premium performance for a reasonable price.
Nikon’s premium ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass and proprietary lens and prism coatings create an unparalleled optical system. Wide field of view, close-focus capability and comfortable eye relief are paired with exceptional brightness and resolution for the ultimate viewing experience.
Dielectric multilayer prism coatings provide an even, higher light transmittance across the entire visible light spectrum. This results in the picture brightness close to what the naked eye perceives, and a clear, high-contrast image with a more accurate reproduction of color. Roof prisms received a special phase-correction coating for overall better performance and high-resolution at any distance.
Smooth central focus knob lets you quickly and easily get an object in focus, even at the distance of just 8.2 ft. away. Multi-setting click-stop eyecups deliver maximum comfort and a full field of view in tandem with custom eye relief fit. Unfortunately, Monarch 7 falls in the accessories department just like the Prostaff 7S, providing us with no information about what comes in the package. It makes up for it with the lifetime warranty, and remains in the race for the best binoculars for hunting.
|Size||7.6 x 5.6 inches|
|Eye Relief||0.63 inches|
Zeiss Victory HT shows us what the premium segment really offers for such a high price. When it comes to oculars, there’s no real ceiling on the quality, but achieving the best results requires much more effort, resulting in a high price of binoculars. Once I get into the specifics, you’ll see why the investment can be well worth it.
High transmission SCHOTT lenses with ZEISS T* multi-layer coating excel in low light environments. We all know the feeling of not being able to see clearly in dusk and dawn conditions. Even if we manage to pinpoint our game, determining the sex, weight, and size of antlers can be near impossible. With a 95% light transmission rate, Victory HT provides precious minutes of a clear image, allowing you to size up your game before switching to rifle scope and taking it down.
Budget and mid-size options typically have a universal coating formula that they apply to all of their models. This process greatly cuts costs but doesn’t provide the most optimal image quality. Zeiss T* coating is constantly adjusted for each new glass so that it can guarantee a high-contrast image in adverse light conditions and twilight. Working in tandem with the Abbe König prism system, and thanks to the 54mm lens, Zeis Victory HT is among the best in image quality.
For convenience, the focusing wheel has been oversized to provide precise adjustments even in gloves. Objective lens diameter has been optimized to reduce weight and to ensure a smooth image in any situation, regardless of how the binoculars are held. Even when wet, Victory HT performs superbly, as the LotuTec coating minimizes the presence of water on the outer lens.
Exceptional build quality and a step above the rest justify the premium price. The only issue I have with it is the weight, but at the same time, if Zeiss could’ve made the Victory HT lighter without compromising on the ocular aspects and durability, I’m certain they would have done it. As it stands, Zeiss Victory HT represents one of the best binoculars for hunting in the premium range and is an investment worth its price for a hunter who doesn’t compromise.
Swarovski SLC 42
|Size||5.7 x 4.7 x 2.5 inches|
|Eye Relief||0.63 inches|
If you have even the slightest interest in rifle optics, there’s no chance that you haven’t heard of Swarovski. Over a hundred years of tradition and exceptional manufacture have elevated the Austrian company to one of the most renowned and favored optics manufacturers. With a background that rich, Swarovski SLC 42 not only appeases the high expectations but also goes well beyond it.
The SLC 42 is all about high definition. The HD optical system produces an exceptional high-contrast image with razor-sharp outlines and natural colors. Thanks to the large field of view, you’ll never lose sight of your target, and provides a clear image even in poor light conditions.
Maximum possible durability, ruggedness, and resilience encourage the user to take it wherever they go, no matter how harsh the conditions are. The design philosophy is simple – built to last a lifetime, Swarovski SLC 42 should be the only pair of binoculars you are ever going to need.
Included with the purchase of the binoculars is a field bag, eyepiece cover, objective lens cover and lift carrying strap. A more affordable option in the premium segment, Swarovski SLC 42 is a strong competitor for the best binoculars for hunting. Backed by a 10-year warranty, you’ll never have to worry about the durability and built quality of this magnificent pair of binoculars.
Choosing the right binoculars for hunting is very important, but with the options provided in this list, I’m sure you’ll find something that fits your budget and needs. Any binoculars are better than no binoculars, so if your budget is tight, even the Bushnell H20 with a $100 price tag will do wonders.
I have made sure to steer you away from the no-name manufacturers with questionable quality. Being on a budget does not mean you can’t get a high-quality option, and if you find yourself unable to spend $100, brands I’ve mentioned offer even cheaper options. You might not get the best binoculars, but they’ll definitely be a serviceable and reliable option to get you started.
For a few hundred dollars you’re really getting the most out of your money. These mid-range options provide excellent image quality, even in conditions with less light. In most circumstances, these binoculars will be more than enough, but if you’re looking for ultimate clarity and low-light visibility, then the premium segment is for you. A model made by Zeiss or Swarovski is several times more expensive than mid-range options, but if you’re granted a permit of a lifetime, going cheap on any of your equipment is the last thing you’d want to do.
If you’ve managed to find a pair of binoculars using this list, then I’m more than happy it provided you with useful information to make an informed purchase. We’re specializing in all things relating to optics, so if you’re looking for a 1000 yard scope, red dot sight, or reflex sight for your firearm, be sure to check out our other reviews.