Vortex is a trusted name in optics that’s known for providing a high-quality viewing experience and robust durability. We use and trust their binoculars, so we put them to the test to see which Vortex binocular was the best. We’ve tried out as many as we could find and compared them on all the important features and functions.
The following eight reviews will share everything we learned during our testing and help you decide which pair is the best choice for you. The top three on our list are the ones we think are most worthy of our recommendation and we will explain exactly why. From the premium-priced products down to the budget end of the price range, we will cover the entire Vortex lineup, so you don’t have to try them all to understand how they stack up.
|Vortex Viper HD|
The Viper HD roof prism binoculars are a fairly high-priced product that earns its price tag with top-tier quality and performance. This model had some of the best low-light performance of any binoculars we’ve ever used. More importantly, they focused quickly, and the barrels can each adjust independently to match your eyes. In such a high-end product we always hope to see some solid durability and the Viper HD binoculars didn’t disappoint.
These are both waterproof and fog proof, but that’s just the start. They’re surrounded by an armored chassis that protects against impacts and scratches while also adding superior ergonomics for user comfort. Even the lenses are scratch-resistant so if the lens covers fall off while you’re hiking through the brush, your investment should still be ok. All of that robustness makes this one of the heavier models, coming in just shy of two pounds. For the quality, we can deal with the extra weight, especially since the included chest harness allows hands-free viewing for improved comfort. Altogether, the V203 Viper HD binoculars were our favorite Vortex binoculars and they’re the ones we recommend for most of our readers.
Vortex binoculars are a premium product and most of them carry a premium price tag to match. For those looking for an affordable entry point into the Vortex lineup, check out the CF-4304 Crossfire roof prism binoculars. These are one of the most budget-friendly models offered by Vortex and we think they’re honestly the best Vortex binoculars for the money. The 12X magnification should be adequate for most uses. Both eyecups twist-up to find the most optimal position and the right eye diopter lets you independently focus for each eye.
Suitable for all weather conditions, these are both fog proof and waterproof. Of course, all of this comes at a cost, and since the cost isn’t a high price tag, it was weight. These are some of the heaviest Vortex binoculars that we tried, weighing in at over two pounds. Also, the field of view is noticeably less wide than on the more expensive options. Despite these few drawbacks, we think the Crossfire binoculars are the best value overall which is why they’ve earned our second-place recommendation.
On the opposite end of the price spectrum from our second-place recommendation, the RZB-2104 Razor binoculars are some of the most expensive ones we got our hands-on. They’re our premium choice pick, so you know they had to perform admirably. To start, the image quality was second to none. In our testing, it was the clearest, sharpest image with the truest colors of any Vortex binoculars we tried. The field of view was very wide, 362 feet wide at 1,000 yards. This was one of the largest of any pair we’ve used.
Naturally, they’re waterproof and fog proof, but the lenses are also scratch-resistant to help make sure your investment sticks around. Everything can be adjusted to provide you with an excellent viewing experience. The open hinge design is durable and fits every size face. Each eye twists-up and adjusts and each barrel can be independently focused to adjust for focal differences between your eyes. The one flaw holding this model back is its poor low-light performance. The Viper HD in our top position performed better in low light, but the Razor was a winner in every other category. That said, the price is out of reach for many consumers.
Back on the more affordable end of the price range, the Diamondback Classic binoculars offer basic functionality for the low price, forgoing unnecessary extras. For instance, there’s no way to mount these on a tripod which is something that many users may want to do. At 1.5 pounds, it’s not heavy. But that weight builds up quickly when viewing by hand over long periods. When walking around with them hanging from your neck, the lens covers tended to fall off. These lenses aren’t scratch resistant like the higher-end models, so take extra care not to let anything touch them if the lens cap falls off.
We appreciated the large field of view that spans 345 feet at a distance of 1,000 yards. Though this was nice, it wasn’t enough to save the Diamondback Classics and earn a top-three recommendation. For the same price, we think you’d be better off with improved functionality and durability offered by the Crossfire in the second position of this list.
Weighing less than a pound, the Vanquish binoculars were the lightest and most compact of all the Vortex models we tested. Even better, they were the most affordable. Despite this, they still offer an impressive viewing field of 352 feet at 1,000 yards. The Vanquish is fully covered in protective rubber armor, but it still doesn’t have the same nice build quality of its bigger brothers at higher prices.
The focusing is very sloppy and there’s too much play in the focusing knob. It’s too loose and moves a bit too freely. We had a difficult time getting a nice crisp image. Even when focused well, the edges around the viewing field were soft and undefined. For the price, we can’t complain too much though. That said, we didn’t experience these problems on the Crossfire binoculars that earned our second-place recommendation and they’re not much more expensive.
Back at the top end of the price charts, the Kaibab HD binoculars are big and heavy with some incredible magnification. In fact, the 18X magnification is the highest of the Vortex binoculars we tested, a feature that will make them appealing to many users. The incredible magnification comes at the expense of a wide field of view though, limited to just 194 feet at 1,000 yards. We also were a bit disappointed that the image isn’t the clearest. It didn’t give that sharp focus we saw on the other high-end vortex models. This may be from the high magnification since we saw things very close up, but the detail wasn’t quite there.
These are solidly built and rugged, and for the price, we’d expect nothing less. The Armortek lens coatings are scratch resistant and will also protect against oil and dirt. Rubber armor surrounds the entire device to provide impact and shock protection as well as being fully waterproof and fog proof. All of this makes it very heavy. At three pounds, it’s the heaviest model we tried.
We hoped for the best from the Raptor binoculars. They’re one of the most affordable Vortex models and would have been the perfect candidate for our best value recommendation. Unfortunately, they fell short in a few areas that held the Raptor back from achieving a higher position on our list. For the price, we thought they were sturdy and well built. They felt nice in the hand, though they didn’t have the nice textured and contoured grip of the more expensive models.
Compared to every other Vortex model we tested the Raptors had a much harder time focusing. They were very touchy and took noticeably longer to get into a proper focus. The 10X magnification is adequate, but 12X or greater is certainly preferred. One of the biggest issues was that the lens caps refused to stay on. Since these are one of the lower-end models, they don’t have the Armortek anti-scratch coating on the lenses so they will scratch easily. We lost a lens cap on the first day using these binoculars, so we know it’s a common issue.
The Fury HD 5000 is more than just a high-powered set of binoculars. This is a laser rangefinder that displays the distance from you to different items in the viewing field. If you’re looking for a rangefinder for ranging targets, then this is an excellent option. If you don’t need the rangefinder functionality, then the Fury HD 5000 is not the best choice for you since you’ll be paying extra specifically for a feature that you won’t be using.
Unfortunately, it seems this model gives up several other important features that similarly priced binoculars without the range-finding function were equipped with. For instance, the diopter for the right eye is adjustable to compensate for focal differences between eyes. On this model, the diopter won’t lock, so it moves around freely during use making it very difficult to focus properly and view. In the end, we think you’d be better off with the Razor binoculars that earned our premium choice recommendation in third place.
After reading our reviews comparing the eight best Vortex binoculars available in 2020, you should be ready to make your pick and get out in the field. Before you do, we’ll quickly summarize our top recommendations so they’re fresh in your mind. The V203 Viper HD binoculars were our favorites overall and earned our top recommendation. On top of impressive low-light performance, they were robust, gave a clear and crisp image, and the included chest harness allowed for convenient and comfortable hands-free viewing.
For a cheaper way to get started in the Vortex lineup, the Crossfire binoculars bring high-quality performance to a budget price point. 12X magnification combines with ultimate adjustability in a weatherproof package that’s proven to hold up to repeated exposure to the elements despite the affordable price tag. When the price isn’t of any concern, the RZB-2104 Razor is our final recommendation and premium choice pick. You can see everything in its ultra-wide field of view in the clearest detail of any binoculars we tested. No matter which of these you choose, we’re sure you’re going to be satisfied with the clear quality of these Vortex binoculars.
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