Best Binoculars under $150 of 2019 – Top Picks & Reviews

a pair of binocularsIf you’re “looking” for a new pair of binoculars, you already know how many manufacturers are out there with all their different models, shapes, and sizes, turning what should be a simple decision into a mind-numbing exercise in frustration. It’s enough to make you want to scream like a banshee.

Well, scream no more. Help is on the way. In fact, you’re looking at it. We’ve already done all the hard work so you don’t have to.

We’ve gone out of our way to examine all the various binoculars crowding the marketplace, compared them to each other, analyzed their features, and prepared these reviews for your use. Reading through here will help you be better prepared to decide which pair of binoculars are best for you. That’s what we wrote them for.

Everyone doesn’t need the same pair. You need the set that is right for you and with this information, we’ll help you find them.

Our Top 5 Picks of 2019

ModelPriceWeightEditor Rating
Celestron 71332 Nature DX 8×42
Celestron 71332 Nature DX 8×42
(Top Pick)


Check Price
2 lbs4.9/5
Hooway 7×50 01-0750
Hooway 7×50 01-0750


Check Price
2 lbs4.7/5
Bushnell H2O 150142
Bushnell H2O 150142
(Best for the Money)


Check Price
2 lbs4.65/5
Nikon 8248 ACULON A211 10×50
Nikon 8248 ACULON A211 10×50


Check Price
3 lbs4.4/5
Eschenbach Arena D+ 8×32
Eschenbach Arena D+ 8×32


Check Price
3 lbs
4.2/5

5 Best Binoculars under $150 – Our Reviews

1. Celestron 71332 Nature DX 8×42 – Top Pick

Celestron 71332 Nature DX 8x42

These rough and tumble, waterproof binoculars were made for the outdoor enthusiast, rubber coated to protect them from the rude discourtesies of the wildwood. They’re so easy to use you can forget about them and pay attention to what you’re looking at through them.

The view through them is excellent, they fit nicely in the hands with a focus smooth as butter. They fit easily on the face without having to smash your eyes against the rubber of the eyepieces. They adjust quite well if your eyes are widely spaced or close together.

They have multi-coated optics which provide brighter images by increasing light transmission through the optical path inside. Colors really pop through these binoculars.

In fact, the only fly in the ointment is that they’re a trifle on the heavy side. Other than that, they’re nearly perfect which is why they’re the top pick on this list.

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Waterproof
  • Smooth focus
  • Excellent view
  • Rubber armored
Cons
  • Somewhat heavy

2. Hooway 7×50 01-0750 – The Runner-Up

Hooway 7x50 01-0750

These waterproof marine binoculars take to water like a duck, they even float! They’re nitrogen purged to be fog proof, and they’ll let you zoom in on your target without worrying about rapid changes in temperature or humidity. With these, you don’t have to worry about much of anything actually. Just enjoy the view.

These binoculars are supposed to meet military standards but the rubber eyecup extensions don’t meet any standards. They don’t last more than a couple of months before they start to wear and crack. The only other thing we noticed is that sometimes it’s a little challenging to get both sides focused correctly for your eyes.

Like the top pick on the list, they’re a little heavy when you pick them up.

Overall these are very good binoculars, but they’re not quite up to the standards set by the top pick, although they do have excellent non-slip rubber grips on both sides. A little tweaking here and there, and we’d have a different winner.

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Waterproof
  • Rubber grips
  • Excellent view
Cons
  • Rubber eyecups don’t last long
  • Sometimes difficult to focus both sides

3. Bushnell H2O 150142 – Best for the Money

Bushnell H2O 150142

These binoculars are alright for the price but unfortunately, we discovered that the fog proof claim doesn’t stand up to the challenges of the real world. The clarity and focus around the edges of the lenses also suffer in contrast to the first two pairs on the list. They’re heavy and sturdy enough though, as well as a comfortable fit in your hands.

They do have a good rubber grip with plenty of padding. There’s more than enough to be able to withstand being dropped off a table or banged into a wall without suffering any noticeable damage. They’re water resistant, however, rather than waterproof as they claim. That’s a bit disappointing.

All things considered, these are a very decent and serviceable pair of binoculars. They’re not going to win any awards, but as long as you don’t subject them to a lot of unreasonable demands, their quality is good enough to award them the spot of best for the money.

Pros
  • Nice grip
  • Very sturdy
  • Water resistant
Cons
  • Not fog proof
  • Not waterproof
  • Clarity and focus suffer at the lens edge

4. Nikon 8248 ACULON A211 10×50

Nikon 8248 ACULON A211 10x50

These binoculars are fairly lightweight. They fit well in your hand, they have a good rubber and non-slip grips on them. The central focus knob large enough that it is easy to use and focus, while the rubber eyecups are fairly comfortable when you’re using these binoculars.

All those things are nice but there are also some fairly serious issues with this pair of binoculars. They’re not waterproof or water resistant no matter what the packaging says, and the lens cap(s) just will not stay on. It’s very frustrating to put the caps only to watch them fall off every time. Additionally, they’re made of cheap breakable plastic. It’s just poor quality and while the center of the lens does have a clear, sharp focus, there is plenty of distortion around the edges to make up for it.

These binoculars work and do what they’re designed for, but there are just too many problems with them that keep adding up for them to rate any higher than fourth place on the list. This isn’t Nikon’s best effort.

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Good rubber grip
Cons
  • Not water resistant
  • Lens cap won’t stay on
  • Cheap, breakable plastic
  • Distortion around lens edge

5. Eschenbach Arena D+ 8×32

Eschenbach Arena D+ 8x32

The field of view in these binoculars are fairly restricted with little or no adjustment available for the size of your head. This creates a lot of discomfort and moving from one eye to another. The center of the lens has a clear image, but the effort of using both eyes at once makes it more trouble than it’s worth.

The grips aren’t slippery per sé, but they don’t have any non-slip grips to keep them from slipping either, nor any protective padding or rubber on them to protect against dropping them or accidentally banging them into something.

The worst part is that these are misaligned from the factory. Even after doing all the adjustments per the manual, there still no way to use both eyes at the same time. You get a fuzzy, out-of-focus image every time. They are – apparently – permanently misaligned with no way to correct the problem aside from sending them back.

These looked nice but have way too many problems to compete with the other binoculars on the list.

Pros
  • Center of the lens had a clear image
Cons
  • Difficult to adjust
  • Grips are slippery
  • No protective padding
  • Restricted field of view
  • Misaligned from the factory

Buyer’s Guide

When you’re buying binoculars online, always be sure to check them for shipment damage as soon as they arrive. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to get the company to replace them. Better safe than sorry.

Related binocular articles:
-> How To Choose a Pair of Binoculars You’ll Love

-> What’s the best pair of 10×50 binoculars currently available on the market?

Conclusion

Clarity of vision and sharpness of focus are qualities that can’t be glossed over with binoculars. The further out your focus, the greater and more obvious any discrepancies become. The purpose of these reviews is to get you past all that so you can figure out which ones are right for your needs.

The choice for the top pick is the Celestron 71332 Nature DX 8×42. These binoculars are crystal clear, sharp, easy to focus and present you with a great range of view so you don’t feel like you’re looking through a tunnel.

The easy pick for the best for the money is the Bushnell H2O 150142. There’s something for everyone to sneer at with these binoculars just like there is something for everyone to appreciate and enjoy. Put it together with the low price and you’ve got a clear winner for the person who wants to save a buck but still go home with a great pair of binoculars.

Hopefully, these reviews have given you some food for thought, and maybe, just maybe, made your decision a little bit easier. If they have, then we can say, “Mission accomplished!”