A good spotting scope can help you track down a target when it comes into your field of vision.
With so many options at different price points, it might be hard to tell which one to buy. Fear not!
We have done some spotting of our own and are happy to provide you with this list of reviews of spotting scopes made for all sorts of activities at a price you can afford: under $300.
Time to turn the knob and focus on the products. On to the reviews!
|Bushnell 886520 |
|12 to 36x||4.85/5|
When it comes to optics and binoculars, there aren’t many companies that jump to mind unless you are truly an expert in the field (pun intended). One top company is Bushnell, so it’s no surprise that it starts our list off as our top pick. This spotting scope is everything you want it to be and then some. Made with a Porro-prism design, it features premium multi-coated optics. The zoom on this scope is rather powerful, as you can see objects from quite far away, up to 36X magnification.
Maybe you are the type to enjoy looking at things in the rain? We’ve got good news for you. This scope is constructed with a 100% waterproof rubber armor. The carrying case it comes with is also waterproof. As for the imagining itself, it is bright and clear even when used at high magnifications. Because of the multi-coated optics, this scope from Bushnell has increased light transmission, which allows images at higher magnification to retain their detail and brightness.
When you order this product, you get everything you need for a good day of scoping things out. It comes with a soft case, a hard case, a car mount, and a tripod. The tripod is a bit short at only a foot tall, but the great thing about this scope is that you can make adjustments so it is perfect for you. For example, if the 36X magnification isn’t enough, you can replace the stock lens with a 65mm lens and then get magnification of up to 60X.
Bushnell has made a scope that is great out of the box and can get even better if you put a little work into it. Especially considering the price point, that’s hard to beat and why we have it as our top pick.
Made for shooting and hunting, this is a surprising scope at its price point. Constructed with a 60mm lens, the light-gathering abilities of this scope are top notch, even at its highest magnification of 60X. This product comes with an eyepiece angled at 45 degrees so you can comfortably look down while sighting your targets. Made with a non-slip rubber casing, this scope fits well in the hands when not mounted on a tripod, and it’s all-weather design ensures that you can use it even in the harshest of conditions.
While Huicocy includes a tripod and a phone mount free with purchase, the mounting area is standard, so if you would prefer something taller or shorter, you won’t have any issues using an alternative mounting apparatus for your scope. While this scope was made for hunting, you can use it for other activities as well, such as bird watching or even astronomical endeavors. While the eyehole is comfortable, if you would rather not deal with it, you don’t have to; this scope pairs beautifully with your smartphone.
Considering the price point and other features, why is this not our top pick? Lack of consistency. When it works, this product is wonderful, but sometimes, it might end up being an absolute lemon. Fortunately, the customer service staff for Huicocy is wonderful, and they will be able to help with any issue you have. This scope might be a bit of a risky buy, but if you come out on the good side, this is undoubtedly the best value spotting scope under $300.
Made with high-quality rubber armor, this substantial scope will hold up in extreme conditions. While the unit’s rubber coating ensures that no water can get in, Emarth takes things a step further by putting argon gas in the internal chamber to mitigate any fogging that might occur. The lens are multi-coated and made with a BaK-4 prism, which creates and captures bright and high-contrast images even in low light. As such, this product is multi-faceted; with this scope, you can go hunting, bird watching, moon spotting, camping, etc. While enjoying those activities, you will be able to enjoy your view from whatever angle you’d like.
Emarth’s Waterproof Spotting Scope is supposed to come with a tripod, but sometimes, whoever is packing it up just plain forgets. Also, the mounting strip itself sometimes comes stripped. Fortunately, Emarth has a good customer service team that offers lifetime service with the purchase of your scope. Sadly, they can’t help the fact that focusing with this scope at high magnification is just not that good.
A wonderful addition to the world of scopes is the smartphone. Not all scopes are compatible with them yet, but this scope by Gosky has gone along with the times, allowing you to mount your smart phone in a cradle on the scope, so instead of using the eyehole, you can simply look at the screen of your phone. Because of this, you will be able to capture photos and even videos!
The lens are multi-coated and made with a BaK-4 Porro prism design, which allows for bright pictures with a high contrast. You’ll notice that this is true even in darker conditions. It also comes with a retractable sunshade for bright days out there. Made with a rubber armor, this scope has a shockproof grip and can handle taking a tumble or two. Aside from its toughness, it is waterproof as well. O-rings seal out moisture and dust, while a nitrogen gas purging mechanism prevents any fogging. This product comes with lens cleaners and a carrying case. It also has standard-sized threading for those who would like to place it on a tripod or car adapter.
The reason Gosky finds itself at number four on our list is because while the scope works great, it might not last long. Durability is a real concern, and while the price point doesn’t make it prohibitive, it does give you pause before making the purchase.
This scope is advertised as being great for bird watching, and when you see how clear the picture is, you will understand why! Landove comes with a lens focusing system that makes it easy to zoom in on targets from 20 to 60x magnification. This scope has a bigger lens than the ones we’ve already reviewed, a 80mm multi-coated green film objective. This makes for a clear picture, though it might lack in contrast and brightness.
Landove claims that this scope sets the standard for portability. While we think this is a bit of an exaggeration, it is certainly portable, and its waterproof design means you can carry it around in any weather you want. This is wonderful for bird watching, as well as hunting, astronomy and even marine observation. While you are doing those activities, why not hook this up to your smartphone? Doing so allows you to take pictures and videos of everything the scope sees!
This scope is decent for its price point, but it does have issues with focus in the 200-300-yard range. There is also the question if some assembly is required once the product arrives. It can show up kind of loose and wobbly, requiring you to send it back to the manufacturer for repair.
Roxant’s Authentic Blackbird High Definition Spotting Scope is made with a no-slip comfort molded grip, so you can be confident that you will be able to hold onto your scope even in the worst conditions. You can also be confident that it won’t fog up. This scope comes with an extendable/retractable eyepiece that can be used with or without glasses and a retractable sunshade that will help dampen any glare you might experience. Able to zoom up to 36x, this scope is perfect for bird watching, stargazing, or hiking. Compatible with any standard tripod, it comes with a metal mount as opposed to a plastic one to make sure that it will stay in place.
The views are good until about 75 yards out, and if you are doing serious bird watching, then that might not be far enough. The focus knob is a bit finicky, and even when it works, it still doesn’t quite give you the results you might desire.
This scope is brought to you by a family-owned business just outside of New York, so if getting a label that says MADE IN THE U.S.A. is important to you, then buy this scope! Its design is centered around smooth focusing. With chromatic aberrations, you can zoom up to 60x. The advertisement says that if you want to be able to see bullet holes from 300 yards away, than this is the scope for you.
Designed to be heavy duty but portable at the same time, it is made with O-rings to keep out moisture with a system that purges nitrogen to prevent any fogging. The product itself comes with a tripod, protective case, and cell phone adapter. If, for any reason, you would prefer a different tripod, this scope is compatible with most models. It also comes with a lifetime warranty.
While the picture you get from this scope is good, especially for the price, getting there might be tough. The focus knobs are difficult to turn, and the accompanying tripod is flimsy as well, which makes it rather convenient that this scope is compatible with all tripods.
Made with a BaK-4 prism, this scope was made specifically to prevent stray light from leaking in. As such, it eliminates haze while giving you bright, crisp images. Having been upgraded from a previous version, this model from FEEMIC features two coaxial two-speed focusing wheels. This function should allow you to track more quickly. Anti-fog and waterproof, this scope is made with industry-standard rubber armor and comes with a tripod and a carrying case.
Speaking of the tripod, it is flimsy. Adjusting it might cause you to break it, and of course, that would void the warranty — if there was one. FEEMIC offers nothing in the way of product protection, but they do have a customer service staff that is quite reliable.
Bring nature closer to you with OUTLIFE’s waterproof spotting scope, as you can zoom in on birds up to 1,000 yards away. Made with the BaK-4 prism, you can get a crisp image even in darker conditions. Designed to be waterproof and anti-fog, this scape can track things with a magnification of up to 60x, without care for the weather conditions. It also comes with a tripod, a carrying bag, and a phone adapter.
The scope offers decent views, but not great ones, and the durability isn’t great.
Our tenth inclusion on this list is much like all of the other ones. It has BaK-4 prism and 60x magnification and comes with a tripod. So, why is this number 10? Because it is just okay and is not waterproof or anti-fog. This is on the low end of the price scale, so if you were to buy it, you might not be too disappointed.
With spotting scopes, it is important to know what you want to spot. Some are better for hunting, while others are suited for the stars. As with any purchase, we recommend doing research first, using us as just one of your many resources. Read reviews, including the ones on this list, to get a feel for what kind of lenses you want and how the different sizes will affect your view.
Of course, always look into the warranty! These are important and can range from a lifetime warranty to, “We’ll help you if we have the time.”
We hope that these reviews have you seeing the path to your perfect scope clearly and in high definition. Whether you decide on our top pick from Bushnell or the value pick from Huicocy, this list gives you a wonderful set of options at several different price points. Don’t forget to use us a resource — we always love it when you come BaK-4 more!
Best Nikon Binoculars 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks
Best Point and Shoot Camera for Birding 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks
Best Schmidt Cassegrain Telescopes 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks
Best Cameras for Bird Photography 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks
Best Superzoom Camera for Birding 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks
Best Telescope for Astrophotography 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks
Best Refractometers 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks
How Do Binoculars Work? Explained