Last Updated on August 17, 2020
We’ve set out to answer questions about marine binoculars that you can’t find anywhere else. You want to know about durability, clarity, and value, and the information you don’t learn simply by looking at the box in the store.
You want the best product you can get your hands on. On the other hand, you simply don’t have the time to research the market the way you’d like to. This guide is the answer to that problem. Below you will find six marine binocular reviews, along with a handy buyer’s guide that should make your shopping experience a little easier.
|Best Overall||Steiner 10×50||
|Best Value||Bushnell H2O||
The Steiner 210 MM1050 is a military-quality pair that we’ve deemed the best binoculars for ocean viewing. One of the first things that drew us to these was the pure build quality. The compact binoculars are framed in a durable rubber-coated body that will stand up to the wear and tear of the ocean. In fact, the manufacturer says you can back over them without doing damage.
The durable, armored housing is home to two high-quality lenses that can zoom up to 10x, providing you with views from long distances away.
It’s also made with the ocean setting in mind, moisture-resistant, and proofed against fogging so that the extreme moisture that comes with boating isn’t anything to worry about.
Of course, military-level quality isn’t cheap. The price tag means casual buyers will need to keep looking. Still, if you’re an adventurer in frequent need of sturdy, reliable binoculars, these are hard to match.
All in all, we think that these are the best marine binoculars of 2020.
The Steiner Model 575 Marine 7×50 Binoculars aren’t quite on the same level as the first pair. You won’t find them in the hands of a Marine necessarily, but they should still serve the needs of the layperson quite nicely.
These binoculars treat you to a nice experience. They can be magnified up to seven times, giving you access to a field of vision that spans hundreds of feet.
They’re also very durable, featuring a silicone rubber casing that’s both shock-resistant and able to float! For the marine setting, this is a naturally handy feature to have.
You do still pay a decent amount for these binoculars, but they’re more affordable for buyers on a budget.
The basic framework of features between this unit and the last one we saw is basically the same. The only real difference is that you get a little less magnification with these. Still, if you don’t need the ability to magnify up to ten times, this will be a good secondary option to consider.
The Bushnell H2O 7x50mm Porro Prism Binocular is a great opportunity for budget buyers to get a quality durable package for an affordable price. The rubberized coating is fit to stand up against trauma and the elements. In addition to being durable, they’re also resistant to moisture penetration from water or fog, making them safe to use out at sea.
For a budget buy, you also get a slew of higher-end features. There’s a special coating to increase the definition of colors, a 7x magnification capacity and a hermetically sealed design that keeps the housing as protective as possible.
Of course, there are reasons it’s third on our list. You may find it difficult to focus the lenses on these binoculars, which may mean losing out on cool sights as you fiddle with the settings.
They’re also a little uncomfortable to use for extended periods of time. These issues may not be enough to deter buyers looking for a good deal, but they’re worth keeping in mind all the same.
Nikon is a company that knows optics, and it shows in our fourth pick, the OceanPro. The lenses are multicoated with a special solution that negates shadows and optimizes colors for clear viewing. You also enjoy a 7x magnification capacity, and a fogproof, waterproof design that’s suitable for the sea.
The first concern that jumps out is one of value. The list of features is nearly identical to other sets on this list, but it also comes with a heftier price tag.
You may also find that these are harder to focus than some of the other options on the market. It’s not a matter of these binoculars being bad. However, you may be able to find more suitable options for a lower price.
The Hooway 7×50 is a mid-priced pair of binoculars that makes itself suitable for marine life with a sturdy waterproof design.
The rubberized body armor makes it durable, while the 7x magnification level keeps it competitive with some of the higher-end units. It even features a convenient compass that’s designed to help you identify the range and location of objects you’re scouting out.
However, some problems separate it from the higher-ranked options on our list. For one thing, it’s a challenge to adjust, which may prove frustrating over time.
The overall viewing quality is not exceptional. You can see out across long distances, but not as sharply as with some other binoculars. They’re also somewhat unconfortable.
We finish with the Barska Deep Sea 7×50, a pair of binoculars that distinguishes itself with a moderate price tag, a rangefinder and an inner compass that will help you situate yourself on the sea.
These features make it easier to spot and keep track of the things you see on your voyage. It can also offer magnification up to 7x, and it features a waterproof coating.
This nice set of features, unfortunately, suffers thanks to a few unfortunate problems. The hardware is very flimsy. The eye covers come off very easily and the knobs feel prone to snapping.
It’s also hard to use. The images aren’t the clearest, the lenses don’t adjust easily, and the rangefinder is manual, which means some math is required to make good use of it.
If you’re a beginner willing to look past these issues, the Barska Deep Sea binoculars represent the chance to get a good deal. More serious buyers will likely want to look for something with fewer problems.
Here are a few considerations that will help you choose the best marine binoculars for your needs:
Binoculars are, by nature, very sensitive pieces of equipment. The main elements (the magnifying glasses) will break quite easily if left to their own devices. This is especially true in the rough-and-tumble settings (like the ocean) where people often use binoculars.
Getting something with a durable build is one of the best ways to protect your investment. Virtually all pairs feature some sort of armored casing that will, at least, in theory, keep the binoculars safe. However, the effectiveness varies from unit to unit.
Durable silicone is a good material for keeping binoculars both light and sturdy. Unfortunately, testing for durability yourself can be tricky, so your best option is to find reviews like this one. If a pair of binoculars is fragile, it’s something people will mention.
Water-specific features are important because the risks posed by water are unlike what you’ll experience in other settings. We saw several binoculars with a robust range of ways to counteract the harsh threats of the ocean.
You’ll want to get something that is water- and fog-resistant. Even if you don’t drop the binoculars in the water, they’ll still be subject to extreme humidity, so features that protect against that are a must.
There are extra features that can be of further use. For example, we included some binoculars that will float in water. This can mean the difference between losing or recovering your binoculars, which may make it worthwhile.
Life doesn’t stop moving just because you’re fiddling with the focus setting on your binoculars. The autofocus setting helps ensure that you won’t miss out on anything because you had to waste time messing with the settings.
You can’t see lens coatings, but they can make a big difference in your overall user experience. A good lens coating will simply make the colors more vibrant. It’s like the difference between standard screen and HD on a television. You don’t need a lens coating, but you’ll probably be glad to have it if you can.
You can find binoculars for under $100 or for close to ten times that. The amount of money you spend should, at least in theory, go towards image clarity and magnification capacity. A high-end pair will give you a larger field of vision and higher definition, but you can save a little money with something more basic. Shopping for price is a matter of prioritizing the features you need, and those that you can live without.
The main function of binoculars is to magnify your vision, so this feature is fairly important. How much magnification you need will depend mostly on what you use the binoculars for. Are you just taking a sweeping look at the ocean with nothing more in mind than seeing some attractive sights? Or are you hoping to spot something particular, like whales or dolphins?
If all you want is a better view than your eyes can give you, most pairs will be suitable. However, if you’re watching for a particular denizen of the deep, it can be beneficial to have more magnification at your disposal.
Some binoculars can spot things hundreds of feet away, which should vastly improve your chances of spotting an elusive dolphin.
Basic accessories are needed to use binoculars safely. At the very least, you’ll want straps, lens covers, and perhaps a carrying case if you can get one. Usually, these things come with the package. However, it’s always worth checking beforehand just to be sure.
Basic though these accessories may be, they can also be pricey when bought separately. If the binoculars you buy don’t include these accessories, you can expect to pay an additional $50 to get them.
A lot can go wrong with binoculars. If they get out of calibration, or a part goes bad as the result of a manufacturing defect, you’ll need support. Some companies are very forthcoming with said assistance, providing customers with generous lifetime warranties.
These are great if you can get them. Not only does it guarantee you’ll have help when you need it, but it also means the company is confident in what it produced. If you make something poorly, you probably won’t then promise to fix it for years to come, right?
Buying for the brand name alone is never advisable. However, when it comes to optical equipment, there’s some value in a product that was made by a company with a good reputation.
Binoculars are precision tools, so even small details can have a big effect on your overall user experience. A well-known company is more likely to get the little details right, like high-quality hardware, good lens coatings, and beneficial warranties.
Undoubtedly, these are also all features you can find from obscure companies. There’s nothing exclusive to big brand companies that you can’t find elsewhere, save one thing: peace of mind. If you purchase from a brand like Nikon, there’s not much of a risk involved.
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If you want the best pair you can get your hands on, there’s no beating our top pick, the Steiner 210 MM1050 Military. They’re durable, high-quality, and perfect for ocean viewing. This Steiner model will treat you to a fulfilling experience.
However, not everyone will be able to swing the price tag. If you need something a little more wallet-friendly, the Bushnell H2O 7x50mm Porro Prism Binocular will be great for your needs.
We hope that this guide helps you find the best boating binoculars for your needs! Good luck in your search!
Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.
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