Best Binoculars for Hunting of 2017 – Reviews & Buying Guide

Binoculars ready for huntingHunting requires a great deal of skill and patience. Yet there are certain tools that can make the experience quicker and easier. Hunting binoculars are definitely one piece of gear that can prove to be very useful. They have some different features to those used for birding or stargazing so it’s important to know what to look for if you’re interested in buying binoculars for hunting. This should help you get the most out of them.

So why should you buy the best binoculars for hunting? Quite simply, they make hunting a much more enjoyable experience. The ability to see scenery otherwise out of range of the naked eye and indeed spot animals at greater distances makes hunting binoculars highly useful. If you’re buying a great quality product, you can expect your binoculars for hunting to be durable and last a very long time, making it a very good value and worthwhile purchase.

Our Top 5 Picks

MODELPRODUCT DIMENSIONS
ITEM WEIGHT
USER RATINGPRICE
Vortex Optics Viper HD 10×42
Vortex Optics Viper HD 10×42
7.0 x 9.0 x 4.0 inches
1.5 pounds
4.7/5
$$$$$
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Vortex Optics Diamondback 10×42
Vortex Optics Diamondback 10×42
5.8 x 0.1 x 5.1 inches
1.3 pounds
4.6/5
$$$$
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Bushnell Trophy XLT 234210
Bushnell Trophy XLT 234210
7.0 x 6.0 x 3.0 inches
1.6 pounds
4.6/5
$$
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Nikon Prostaff 7s 16003
Nikon Prostaff 7s 16003
5.1 x 6.6 x 1.6 inches
1.4 pounds
4.4/5
$$$
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Bushnell Falcon 133410
Bushnell Falcon 133410
8.0 x 6.2 x 3.0 inches
13.1 pounds
4.5/5
$
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It’s difficult to know where to start when it comes to buying a pair of hunting binoculars. There are many different brands with varying features to take into account. We’ve decided to make this easier for you by highlighting our top 5 picks! Our reviews of binoculars for hunting give you the low-down on each product as the various pros and cons. There’s even a buying guide in which you can explore the various features to consider. With any luck, this will help you decide on the product to fit your needs.

1. Vortex Optics Viper HD 10×42 – Our Top Pick

Vortex Optics Viper HD 10x42There are many reasons why we feel that the Vortex Optics Viper HD 10×42 are the best binoculars for hunting on the market. First of all, we think it’s really important that you’re provided with dependable performance. So what could be better than the durable construction of this product? An O-ring seal prevents dirt and debris from getting in which should see this hunting binoculars last for years and years. It also keeps moisture out which is very useful for all hunting conditions come rain or shine. Hunting often involves working in low-light conditions. The Vortex Optics Viper HD helps in this respect with the multi-coated glass lens which increases light transmissions so that you don’t miss a thing.

It is the HD, extra-low dispersion glass that provides this product with such impressive resolution and color fidelity. Images are simply sharp and clear, no matter the light conditions. Aside from the obvious advantages of excellent quality and durability, these hunting binoculars come with a few accessories which make it even better value. These include a carry case, neck strap, lens cover and rain guard. Most important of all is the unconditional lifetime warranty. With this, you can be sure that any issues will be dealt with quickly and easily by the excellent customer support offered. One area in which this top pick could be improved is the eye relief which makes viewing with glasses somewhat inferior.

Pros

  • Great quality construction with O-ring seal
  • Works very well in low-light conditions
  • Comes with several different accessories
  • Includes an excellent unconditional lifetime warranty

Cons

  • On the more expensive side
  • The eye relief isn’t great

2. Vortex Optics Diamondback 10×42 – The Runner-up

Vortex Optics Diamondback 10x42If you have any doubt as to whether the Vortex Optics Diamondback 10×42 is for you, rest assured knowing that there is an unconditional lifetime warranty. What’s more, their customer support is known to be excellent. Of course, you also want a quality pair of hunting binoculars and that’s exactly what you’re getting! You can use these in all sorts of weather conditions since they’re both waterproof and fogproof. As such, you can expect to still have high-quality visuals without compromise. Our only gripe is that the optics aren’t quite on a par with more expensive products on the market. However, they’re very good for the price.

One of the things that we like most about the Vortex Diamondback is how easy it is to make adjustments. The eyepieces are adjustable and a central tool allows you to quickly and conveniently focus the binoculars depending on what you’re tracking. If you have slightly better vision in one eye over another, you can make the changes to suit. Being so user-friendly makes this a great value product. This value is enhanced by the various accessories included such as the carry case and lens covers. Also, the rubber exterior of these binoculars means that you can maintain a sturdy grip, even when it’s raining. We think you’ll love this product but if not then be sure to check out some of our more budget options below.

Pros

  • Unconditional lifetime warranty provides assurance
  • User-friendly with easily adjustable features
  • Includes a number of accessories

Cons

  • Optics are good for the price but inferior to market leading products

3. Bushnell Trophy XLT 234210 – Best for the Money

Bushnell Trophy XLT 234210When you’re on a budget, you’ll want to look at hunting binoculars that are the best for the money! In this case, it’s the Bushnell Trophy XLT 234210. These binoculars are designed for long-term use. This is reflected in the waterproof and fogproof protection provided by the O-ring seal. We like the rubber-armored housing of the product which provides sufficient protection which also being comfortable in the hands. Most importantly, they allow for excellent grip to avoid any accidents. There are also soft-touch thumb grips for added comfort. While flip covers protect the objective lenses for the elements, they’re somewhat flimsy and easily fall off.

Essentially, these are binoculars for hunting in all conditions. As for the optics, they’re fully multi-coated and images provided are sharp and bright which is essential when hunting, particularly in low light conditions. The fast focus is particularly good and very useful when time is against you. What we will say is that these are not the best hunting binoculars if you’re trying to travel light since they weigh 2.2 lbs which put them on the heavier side. Overall, we think that this product offers great value with no major downsides. You can’t go far wrong with this product.

Pros

  • Rubber-armored housing provides some durability
  • Optics are sharp and bright – very good for the price
  • Fast focus is useful, particularly when hunting

Cons

  • Flip lens covers are flimsy and prone to falling off
  • At 2.2 lbs, they’re on the heavy side

4. Nikon Prostaff 7s 16003

Nikon Prostaff 7s 16003Ideal not only for hunting but also hiking and birding, the Nikon Prostaff 7s 16003 provides color and clarity, whatever you’re viewing. The visual quality comes from the fully multi-layer coated lenses and phase correction coated roof prisms. Of course, hunting binoculars are about more than just the visual quality offered. They also need to be comfortable. In our opinion, this pair of binoculars is the best for glasses wearers. This is because the Prostaff 7s feature turn-and-slide rubber eyecups which allow you to adjust the space between your eye and the eyepiece. Thus you can have a full field of view quickly and easily.

Another thing we appreciate about this product is the rubber armored body which makes it more comfortable to hold, even when hunting conditions are wet. What’s more, this rubber body provides an element of protection in the event of the binoculars being dropped. However, we don’t like the lens covers which feel cheap and should be replaced with some of better quality. In our opinion, this product offers an excellent balance between quality and price. The build construction is solid and we like the very clear optics and that they’re convenient for people who wear spectacles.

Pros

  • Ideal for glasses wearers due to adjustable eyecups
  • Excellent quality construction – very durable
  • Clear optics offer excellent value for the price

Cons

  • The lens covers are cheap and fairly useless

5. Bushnell Falcon 133410 – If you’re on a tight budget

Bushnell Falcon 133410If you’re on a tight budget then this may well be the product for you. The Bushnell Falcon 133410 is much cheaper than the other binoculars we’ve reviewed. At such a low price, there are some sacrifices in quality. For example, it only offers up to 7x magnification which may not be enough for some hunting needs. However, the optics offered for the price are very good. They’re fully coated for superior light transmission. In particular, we like the Instafocus feature which makes focusing on fast targets so much quicker and easier.

Despite being budget hunting binoculars, the Bushnell Falcon 133410 offers a number of other useful features. Notably, the non-slip rubber grip is very convenient, particularly in wet conditions. Fold-down eyecups allow for a degree of flexibility, particularly for those who wear prescription glasses or sunglasses. These also prevent scratching of glasses lenses. These are fairly versatile binoculars that can be used not only for hunting but also for birding, hiking and watching sports games. At 8 x 6.2 x 3, these binoculars for hunting are not on the small side so it’s worth keeping this in mind if you’re looking for a compact product.

Pros

  • Surprisingly good quality construction for the price
  • Instant focus feature is a really useful addition
  • Fold-down eyecups are useful for those with glasses

Cons

  • Quite a large pair of binoculars which reduces portability
  • Only offers up to 7x magnification which may not be enough for some

Factors to Consider When Buying a Pair For Hunting

There are so many great pairs of binoculars for hunting. Best of all, these come in at prices to suit all budgets. But how are you supposed to separate one product from another? Well, one way to do this is to look at the following 10 features and decide which are the most important to you!

1. Magnification

It’s often said that bigger is better but this actually isn’t always the case when it comes to binoculars for hunting. While it’s extremely important to have some magnification for spotting and tracking targets, having too much can lead to problems of image steadiness. Generally speaking, a magnification of anything from 7x to 10x should be more than enough for most people’s hunting needs. If you really feel that you need more magnification than this, we highly recommend that you take a look at some spotting scopes.

2. Objective Size

Indicating the diameter of the objective lens in millimeters, the objective size is the second number you see when you’re researching a particular pair of hunting binoculars. For example 7×40 refers to 7x magnification with a 40mm lens. The larger the objective, the more detail you’ll be able to see. However, the downsides of larger lenses are that they tend to be more expensive and heavier. A safe bet is to go with a 40 or 42mm objective. If hunting at night or in low light conditions, you may want something bigger.

3. Field of View

The field of view of binoculars is the widest dimension you can see and is measured in feet over 1000 yards. The higher the number, the wider the area you’ll be able to see when using your binoculars. Needless to say, when you use magnification, the size of the image is reduced and so is the field of view. If you’re planning on using your binoculars in very open areas (such as looking across a valley), a higher field of view is useful. Plus, a wide field view makes it easier to aim and track a moving target.

4. Focus

There are 3 focus types to consider when it comes to binoculars for hunting. First of all, there is individual focus. In this case, each telescope gets focused independently. Second, we have the center focus. This typically consists of a large focusing ring which is located in the centre of the binoculars. Turning this focuses both telescopes at the same time. Finally, focus free binoculars do not require adjustment. This is great for medium range distances but not ideal for short or long distances.

5. Eye Relief

When you wear glasses or sunglasses, eye relief plays a critical part in using your binoculars. This is particularly the case when you’re hunting. Eye relief is essentially the distance that the user can hold their binoculars from their eye while still being able to see the complete picture. With insufficient eye relief, a person will only see the centre of the picture while the field is restricted. If you’re likely to wear glasses or sunglasses then be sure to look for at least 14 to 15mm of eye relief.

6. Optical Coatings

One of the most annoying things when using hunting binoculars is the resulting light reflection. This can hinder the tracking of targets when in the field. Luckily, coated optics provide a solution. These are on the glass surface of the objective and help to reduce or eliminate light loss or glare. The result is brighter, clearer images which can make all the difference when hunting. Look out for the best units which are fully multi-coated. In our opinion, this feature is well worth paying more for.

7. Image Quality

Image quality comes down to the sharpness and clarity of your view. The quality you get is really down to your budget. Of course, it might not be essential for you to have excellent image quality. If this is the case, then most of the more budget hunting binoculars will be more than sufficient. But if you’re hunting on a very regular basis and are out and about in all weather conditions (such as low light) then you should go for the best optics you can afford. Remember that image quality can be greatly reduced the more magnification you use.

8. Size and Weight

Full-size binoculars can be rather heavy and weigh as much as 2lbs or more! Needless to say, this isn’t ideal for hunters who like to travel light, particularly when out for a day at a time. One of the biggest factors regarding the weight of hunting binoculars is the type and amount of glass. The bigger the objective lens, the heavier the binoculars though bigger binoculars do tend to be more powerful. If carrying bulky binoculars for hunting aren’t appealing to you then you can always take a look at compact binoculars.

9. Waterproof

Are you planning on hunting in various weather conditions? Even if you’re not, sometimes the weather can take you by surprise. The last thing anyone wants is binoculars that can’t handle a little water! It’s therefore important to look for binoculars that are waterproof. This will stop not only water from entering but also dirt and debris. Try to find binoculars for hunting that have a rubber coating which will make them easier to hold in wet condition. One byproduct of waterproofing is that such binoculars also tend to be fogproof.

10. Accessories

Most hunting binoculars come with a few accessories. If you’re buying budget binoculars then these might not be of the best quality but they’re better than nothing! Straps, cases and lens cleaning cloths are common accessories and these can prove useful. The ability to strap your binoculars around your neck or at least over one shoulder can be convenient, depending on the weight of the binoculars. Naturally, cases provide a level of protection in case of clumsiness while lens cloths help keep your view as clear as possible.

Top Tips for Using Hunting Binoculars

We want to help you to not only find the best binoculars for hunting possible but also get the best out of them when the time comes. Take a look at our top tips for using your new hunting binoculars!

Clean your lenses!
Keeping your lenses clean can make all the difference, particularly when you’re tracking hard-to-spot wildlife or when hunting in low light conditions.

Check your focus!
The focus is a very useful feature on your binoculars. Be sure to adjust it as you change surroundings in order to get the best picture possible.

Use the magnification!
Don’t be afraid to use the 8x or 10x magnification and keep a good distance from what you’re tracking. You’re less likely to scare the animal away by doing so.

Don’t become too reliant!
Some people spend too much time using their hunting binoculars. They’re very useful, no doubt. But just remember to focus on the big picture and get a full perspective.

Use the sun!
The sun can help or hinder you depending on its position. Try to keep it behind you and it will help provide a clearer, sharper image. But never look directly at the sun!


Conclusion

Now you know which hunting binoculars are the best on the market and which features you should be looking for. The great thing about binoculars for hunting is that there are so many brands at so many different price points. As such, you should have no problem finding a great product that serves you well when you’re out hunting.

Our reviews of binoculars for hunting have hopefully helped give you a clearer idea of what it is you’re looking for. Remember, you don’t need to spend big in order to have good binoculars. Technology is constantly improving and the result is the great value we see on the market today. With any luck, your decision will now be much quicker and easier!

Note: we also have a binoculars buying guide specifically made for hunting. It can be found here.