Best Binoculars for Birding [Buying Guide for 2020]

birdwatching binocular reviews

One of the fastest-growing activities of the 21st century, bird watching continues to gain in popularity!

No longer the past time of retirees, it’s now enjoyed by all ages, having long left the confinements of those dark and dank reserves!

From yards and gardens, parks and forests to mountains and seashores, all you need is the right pair of binoculars to ensure the best viewing experience.

Highlighting ten of the best binoculars for birding currently retailing on Amazon, these models assure you of a fantastic bird watching experience – perhaps even helping you spot a rare find as you go!

Whether you’re just starting or are a seasoned pro, we also offer a quick guide of what to look for when buying binoculars.

Gosky 10x42 Roof Prism Binoculars for Adults, HD Professional Binoculars for Bird Watching Travel Stargazing Hunting Concerts Sports-BAK4 Prism FMC Lens-with Phone Mount Strap Carrying Bag
Our #1 Choice For Beginners
Wingspan Optics FieldView 8X32 Compact Binoculars for Bird Watching. Lightweight and Compact for Hours of Bright, Clear Bird Watching. Also for Outdoor Sports Games and Concerts
Excellent Quality For Any Birdwatchers
Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 8x42 Binocular (Black)
Gosky 10x42 Roof Prism Binoculars for Adults, HD Professional Binoculars for Bird Watching Travel Stargazing Hunting Concerts Sports-BAK4 Prism FMC Lens-with Phone Mount Strap Carrying Bag
Wingspan Optics FieldView 8X32 Compact Binoculars for Bird Watching. Lightweight and Compact for Hours of Bright, Clear Bird Watching. Also for Outdoor Sports Games and Concerts
Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 8x42 Binocular (Black)
$79.99
Price not available
$256.95
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Gosky 10x42 Roof Prism Binoculars for Adults, HD Professional Binoculars for Bird Watching Travel Stargazing Hunting Concerts Sports-BAK4 Prism FMC Lens-with Phone Mount Strap Carrying Bag
Gosky 10x42 Roof Prism Binoculars for Adults, HD Professional Binoculars for Bird Watching Travel Stargazing Hunting Concerts Sports-BAK4 Prism FMC Lens-with Phone Mount Strap Carrying Bag
$79.99
Our #1 Choice For Beginners
Wingspan Optics FieldView 8X32 Compact Binoculars for Bird Watching. Lightweight and Compact for Hours of Bright, Clear Bird Watching. Also for Outdoor Sports Games and Concerts
Wingspan Optics FieldView 8X32 Compact Binoculars for Bird Watching. Lightweight and Compact for Hours of Bright, Clear Bird Watching. Also for Outdoor Sports Games and Concerts
Price not available
-
Excellent Quality For Any Birdwatchers
Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 8x42 Binocular (Black)
Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 8x42 Binocular (Black)
$256.95
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Our 10 Best Binoculars For Birding

1. Wingspan Optics Spectator8 X 32 Compact Birding Binoculars

Wingspan Optics sell a pair of compact and lightweight FieldView birding binoculars which are a birders dream, they are one of the best value products available in terms of overall quality and a solid budget option.

Both waterproof and fog proof, a crystal-clear focus is possible in seconds thanks to the intelligent designing. Providing you with an 8×32 magnification and a wide field of view, you can enjoy eight times the power here with a vision of up to 1000 yards.

Complete with carrying case, neck strap, lens protection covers, eyepiece and cleaning cloth, these boast a lens diameter of 32mm and are tripod adaptable.

Considered the more durable of products, the Wingspan model is ideal for both adults and children and benefits from a non-slip grip. It’s also easy to carry, weighing a mere 15.2 ounces.

Customers highly rate the Wingspan Optics FieldView Binoculars as a fantastic purchase, especially considering their low price. The compact and lightweight size are also well received. However, the most significant rating is for that of their crisp, clear quality.

Pros
  • Good low price
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Bright and clear with powerful magnification
  • Non-slip grip
Cons
  • Some mentions of problematic focusing
  • More of an entry-level choice

2. Gosky – 10×42 Roof Prism HD Professional Birding Binoculars

Gosky offers a pair of HD professional birding binoculars which ensure the most precision of results when birdwatching, they’re definitely one of our top picks.

An Amazon choice product for best binocular with camera, these are exceptionally well priced considering the many features and accessories included.

We’ve compiled an indepth review, included in your purchase, you’ll find a carrying bag, cleaning cloth, neck strap, eyepiece and lens cover, and even a Smartphone adapter.

The Gosky binoculars offer a magnification power of 10x, focusing on up to 100 yards of wide-field view.

Using a 42mm objective lense, which is multi-layered and green film-coated, to ensure clarity a large smart phrase prism and multi-colored blue film eyepiece are also built into its lenses.

Compact and lightweight at 23.88 ounces, the construction of these birding binoculars is highly durable and built to withstand even those toughest of weather conditions.

Simple to connect to a tripod using a binocular adapter, this model also benefits from being the more comfortable for spectacle wearers, utilising the adjustable eye-cups.

Best of all, by making use of the Smartphone adapter, you can record your findings straight to your phone, even at long range!

Customers of the Gosky HD birding Binoculars offer fantastic feedback on their ease of use and crystal-clear viewpoint. With many preferring their quick focus time and accuracy, they are also highly rated from those trusted birders as binoculars which are built to last!

Pros
  • HD Elements
  • Good for professionals
  • Compact but offer crisp images
  • Compatible with smartphones
Cons
  • Some suggestions of basic and less than average results

3. Nikon 7576 MONARCH – 5 8×42 Binocular

A top of the range model, Nikon present their 8×42 Monarch 5 Binoculars, which are the perfect choice for those more professional of bird watchers.

Best of all, with every Monarch 5 binocular, users benefit significantly here from the built-in premium ED glass, meaning a sharper and more precise view.

Boasting vibrant, accurate colours, the lenses are fully multicoated and offer near enough the same brightness as that perceived by the naked eye!

An Amazon choice model, this is entirely durable and will remain waterproof and fog proof throughout use. This durability is also strengthened by the addition of a rubber armoured body. What’s more, this design element ensures a pair of birding binoculars that will last for a good number of years.

Claimed to be almost an ounce lighter than its predecessor, these are said to be easy to carry and indeed hold, with an easy to grip body structure.

For a more customised of fits, eyecups are accessible and provide a turn and slide action, ensuring maximum comfort throughout.

Customers of the Nikon Monarch 5 Binoculars find these exceptional and a good investment. With the slight reduction in weight being very noticeable, their depth of field is considered fantastic. Also, that lightweight feel makes them more relaxed on the hands for many, mainly when used over more extended periods.

Pros
  • Reputable brand
  • Use of premium HD
  • Several user-friendly features
  • Durable design
Cons
  • High price

4. Wingspan Optics WideViews – HD 8X42 Professional Binoculars

Another Wingspan Optics product, these are the 8×42 WideViews model which offer a most professional level for bird watching and all in HD – with the most generous of eye-relief.

These are significant in ensuring an extra-wide field than usual; therefore, they are designed for a birder, allowing them then to capture, focus accurately and see the results through a crisp, unobstructed field of view.

Primarily, the objective of the WideViews binocular is to enhance the birdwatching experience.  This is clear in this model’s ability to capture targets from 1000 yards out, but more so utilise no less than 430 feet of available extra-wide field.

Featuring sharp HD optics, the prisms here are phase-coated with the 42 mm lenses fully multicoated. Combined with an 8x magnification, the result is a sense of feeling mere inches away from your subject matter.

They are durable and perform well in the toughest of weather conditions and environments.

At just 1 Ibs 6 oz, this lightweight model also comes complete with neck strap, eyepiece and lens protection covers, a cleaning cloth and nylon mesh carrying case.

Customers of the Wingspan Optics WideViews birding binoculars rave about the sheer precision and clarity these offer which they claim really does make you feel closer to the subject you’re viewing.

Pros
  • HD Quality
  • Good mid-range price
  • Designed primarily for birdwatching
  • Extra-wide field of view
Cons
  • Some suggestions of being too heavy

5. Celestron 71332 Nature – DX 8×42 Bird Watching Binoculars

Celestron presents a simplistic looking 8×42 model from their Nature DX range, but one which is entirely designed with the avid bird watcher in mind.

An Amazon choice model, these green coloured birding binoculars benefit from a full rubber armour in the design. Strong enough to withstand most outdoor activities.

A mid-sized choice and considered more affordable, these are ideal for those intermediate users, but beginners will also benefit from their simplistic features.

Boasting brighter images due to the inclusion of fully multicoated optics, these also offer a more definite and concise focus up to 6.5 feet. The prisms used here are phase coated to ensure increased contrast resolution.

Ideal for spectacle wearers, the eyecups can be adjusted and twisted to suit with multiple stops.

Included with your purchase are a sturdy carry case, neck strap, lens cloth, eyepiece rainguard and an objective lense cap.

Customers of the Celestron Nature DX Binoculars find them a good fit and comfortable to hold and use. With many suggesting spectacular durability to this model, and ongoing crystal clarity, they’re even claimed to rival that of the more expensive types on the market!

Pros
  • Ideal for beginner to intermediate users
  • Good essential features
  • Nice colour and lightweight
  • In a good price range
Cons
  • Some find them good but average performers

6. Bushnell Falcon – 10×50 Wide Angle Birding Binoculars

Bushnell offers a wide-angle binocular type with their Bushnell 10×50 Falcon model, encouraging an all-round pleasant experience and all for just a small financial outlay indeed.

Providing users with a most durable of designs, they’re practical and comfortable, fitted with non-slip rubber and covered with an abrasion-resistant finishing, weighing just 27 pounds.

Ideal for spectacle wearers, the inclusion of fold-down eyecups enhance their comfortability while the instant focus lever gives smooth feedback.

This model has an ideal level of tension to ensure a fine-tuned magnification while the Porro prisms and addition of coated lenses allow for a sharper viewing process. This means a close focusing distance of 25 feet in total.

Customers of the Bushnell Falcon Binoculars find them reasonably useful for occasional birdwatching. With most customers understanding the limitations of this model, considering its incredibly low price, they aren’t considered the most lightweight but are said to be good enough to focus immediately and clearly.

Pros
  • Wide-angle/increased lens and magnification sizes
  • Sharp results
  • Simple to use
  • Durable finishing
Cons
  • Are said to be heavier due to increased lens size

7. Vortex Optics – Diamondback Roof Prism Birding Binoculars

Vortex Optics sell an 8×32 binocular model from their Diamondback range, with the intentions of heightening the experience to its fullest!

The view from the binoculars claims to be one of the largest in its class. Therefore the result is a capable helping hand to glass your surroundings – immediately identifying your target. This is all available via 5.3 close focus and a 1000-yard range.

Providing an 8x magnification through a 32mm objective lens, these binocular types are known in the field as Vortex workhorses! This means you’ll be assured of durability alongside the most impressive optics.

Furthermore, these high-quality lenses are dielectric and fully multi-coated. Therefore they transit more light for brighter and clearer image quality.

With a short hinge design, these birding binoculars benefit from a design which includes both rubber armour and thumb indents. Therefore, your hands have more room and are secure, feeling immediately comfortable with a non-slip grip. This makeup also ensures enhanced waterproof and fog proof elements while withstanding extreme weather conditions.

Best of all, these boast multi-position eyecups that twist, and also a right eye diopter which accommodates focal differences in the eyes!

Customers of the Vortex Diamondback Binocular find them an excellent choice with many specially selecting these because of the Vortex name itself. Claimed to hold their own against their more expensive counterparts, reviews rate highly here for clarity, refinement, and brightness.

Pros
  • A workhorse of the binocular world!
  • Transmits more light for more precise results
  • Well designed
  • Good in all weather conditions
Cons
  • High price

8. Nikon 7540 MONARCH – 38×42 Binocular

Another Nikon product, this one is the Monarch 3 version, aiming to help all birdwatchers maximise every moment they spend in the field!

These 8×42 binoculars have unique highly reflected silver alloy phase-corrected prisms. Thus, they work to eliminate any image degradation. This is caused when different light phases reflect in the binoculars.

Claiming to set the benchmark for performance, Nikon believes the Monarch 3 outshines the competition!

Featuring their illustrious history alongside an enhanced optical system, these have fully multicoated lens surfaces complete with anti-reflective coating.

The body of the binocular is rugged in design and durable, taking advantage of a polycarbonate build. Therefore they are made to withstand all the elements while lasting a lifetime. They also have new objective lens covers for further safety when not in use.

Waterproof and fog proof, they offer a range to 1000 yards with a close focus distance to 9.8 feet.

With the ability to access a multi-click turn, these also offer generous eye relief, making them great for spectacle wearers.

Customers of the Monarch 3 Binoculars tend to rate this model highly because of the Nikon name. Most high ratings focus on both the sturdiness and bright images offered, finding them especially great for bird watching in some of the more unpleasant of weather conditions!

Pros
  • Popular brand
  • Good use of corrected prisms
  • Rugged and durable body
  • Fully multicoated lens
Cons
  • High price

9. Carson 3D Series – High Definition Waterproof Binoculars with ED Glass

Carson presents their fantastic 3D high definition binoculars that make watching birds a dream with their inclusion of ED glass.

The use of such a glass type, alongside their high definition optics, means images that are sharper and brighter.

With an 8x magnification and a 42 mm objective lens diameter, colour fringing is also reduced here, and chromatic aberration-corrected. Phase corrected prisms also enhance the resolution.

Both waterproof and fog proof, these birding binoculars have a body which is cleverly nitrogen purged and sealed. Furthermore, this practical designing extends to ergonomic thumb groves – ensuring the most comfortable of experiences when holding and using.

Eye relief is offered in the form of extra-long twist down eyecups, making these perfect for spectacle wearers.

Tripod mountable, a deluxe case, lens cover, lens cloth, neck strap, and shoulder harness are included with your purchase.

Customers of the Carson 3D Binoculars offer some fantastic high rated reviews for this model, finding the vast amount of benefits staggering for what’s considered a relatively low price! The quality is claimed to be excellent throughout, with many mentioning the high-end optics their best feature.

Pros
  • Use of ED glass
  • HD Optics
  • Good accessories pack included
  • Fantastic coating throughout the design
Cons
  • Very high price!

10. Celestron 71404 TrailSeeker – 8×42 Binoculars

The second Celestron model on the list, these are the TrailSeeker Binoculars that Celestron claim provide a higher-level outdoor performance, making them perfect for avid bird watchers.

Finished in an army green colour, ensuring they mould into the background with ease, these are a lightweight model with a durable magnesium alloy body frame.

Thus, great care has been taken to ensure these models last for many years to come while handling exceptionally well when used out and about.

With a specific area for a tripod, these binoculars offer a vast view. This allows you to spot and view your subject much quicker without having to move or continually readjust them.

Fully multi-coated optics are used here alongside Bak-4 prisms. This ensures brighter image quality, increased resolution, and better contrast.

Close focus is detailed, and multiple stops can be selected for correct compatible eye position. The twist-up eyecups made of metal are also more durable and better for spectacle wearers.

Customers of the Celestron TrailSeeker Binoculars rate them well for exceptional value. With clear, sharp images every time and fantastic optical quality throughout, they are also considered the more durable of models, with many preferring their inconspicuous army green colour also!

Pros
  • Extra-wide field of view
  • BaK-4 prism used
  • Fully multi-coated optics
  • Close focus available
Cons
  • High cost
  • A few niggles mentioned

Binocular Buying Guide

Now that you’ve had a chance to read through some of our most recommended binoculars, you may have a clearer idea of the best model for you. But, before parting with your money, why not take a few minutes to read through our brief but informative buying guide below?

Here we explain in further detail those specific features mentioned in the reviews above, highlighting their importance when it comes to selecting the best binocular type.

By utilising this guide alongside our detailed reviews, you should then be in a better position to select the best type of binoculars to satisfy your requirements.

What Do You Need to Pay Attention to When Buying Binoculars?

Each specific binocular model will vary in the features and benefits that it offers users. However, when it comes to purchasing the best type, there are a couple of factors that you should pay attention to. These include the magnification power, the lens size, the field of view, the weight and overall size of the design, ease of portability, model quality, and finally, the price tag! Here we explain those factors in more detail.

binoculars for long distance viewing

1. Magnification Power

Perhaps the essential feature of all, magnification power tells you how much closer objects will appear in the binoculars, as opposed to the naked eye.

For example, 10x magnification power means you’ll be able to view birds up to 10 times closer than you would do without the use of binoculars.

It’s recommended for the best viewing experience, those binoculars with a magnification power of 7x to 10x are more suitable.

You will also find a second number referred to in your binocular’s description. For example, in a 10x magnification power, it could be shown as 10×42.

This number refers to the size of the diameter of the front lens, that is the objective lens.

This is an important number as it tells you how much light will pass through your binocular lenses and determine the overall image quality. The diameter size will also affect the model’s total weight and overall dimensions.

Learn more about magnification, and some general advice on purchasing binoculars below – great video from Eagle Optics.

2. Lens Size

As mentioned above, the lens size of your binoculars is vital in determining how clearly you will see images through them and how bright and sharper they will appear.

Those larger of lens are the better choice for they allow more light to shine through, meaning increased clarity.

However, with such increased lens size comes increased overall weight. Therefore you may have to decide on a compromise, especially if this increased weight results in the binoculars being too heavy on the hands and awkward to carry and even pack away.

As you can see from the reviewed models above, a lens size of 42 mm is the preferred choice for many bird watchers as it’s the more comfortable while still allowing a good deal of light through.

3. Field of view

Field of view, often referred to as FOV, means the width of the visible area that you can see without having to move the binoculars.

In its simplest terms, it’s expressed in feet and at a distance of 1000 yards or 1000 metres (see our recommended long distance viewing binoculars here). The FOV will be narrower when the magnification is increased, and the objective is decreased.

4. Weight, Size, and Portability

When considering how long you plan to spend on each birdwatching session, you may find yourself clocking up numerous hours in one day alone. Therefore, the weight and size of your binoculars will be just as important as its technical aspects.

Too heavy a model will make it uncomfortable on the hands and tire you out very quickly. A heavy pair of binoculars will also be the more awkward to carry throughout the rest of the day, provided you can get them to fit into a suitable case!

Therefore, consider those binoculars claiming to be more lightweight in design and those offering a neck strap. Many models are now compact for this reason. In addition to this, make sure the overall build and design around the binoculars have rubber features or even ergonomic elements. Thus, you’ll ensure the comfort factor each time you use your binoculars.

5. Price Range and Quality

You may notice when shopping for binoculars that the price range tends to vary greatly. The reasons for such extensive price ranges are due to several factors. These include branded names and any additional features, benefits, or accessories included with your purchase.

However, price range is more than often linked to the lens coatings used, the optics quality, the material used in the design, and even the prism type selected.

Our best advice here is to think about what you want from your birding experience along with what you can realistically afford to spend.

If you’re an avid birdwatcher, perhaps at an intermediate level, you may want to look towards those higher priced models that offer more features than those standard entry-level binoculars.

However, if you’re a newbie bird watcher, increased magnification power and lens size may not be as relevant to you yet, and therefore you’ll be able to start with a cheaper model type.

Those cheaper models will not be as high spec as the more expensive of binoculars, but you should still expect a good quality when it comes to being able to identify your subjects and see them much more clearly than you would with the naked eye.

So, To Summarize!

Armed with the best pair of binoculars selected from those above, along with our helpful buying guide, you’ll now hopefully have all you need to get started in this relaxing hobby.

More relevant here is selecting the best pair of binoculars to suit your needs and preferences. So, ensure you’re entirely comfortable with your choice and take some time beforehand, familiarising yourself with all that they can do.

This way, when you do head out to your bird-watching session, you ensure you won’t miss out and make the very best of your time, every time.

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