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The Best Binoculars of 2023

Whether you're birdwatching, route-finding, hunting, or hiking to a stellar view, the best binoculars can help you optimize your time spent outdoors.

Testing the Best BinocularsTesting binoculars in the mountains of Colorado; (photo/Mallory Paige)
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More and more people are venturing into the outdoors to explore the parks, natural spaces, and grand landscapes that make this world so special.

There are many ways to appreciate the natural world and many tools to help you do it, but perhaps no piece of equipment is as rewarding and versatile as a good pair of binoculars.

To help you decide on the best binoculars for you, our roundup of the best binoculars of 2023 has something for everyone. Even if you can’t find the perfect pair of binoculars on our list below, our buyer’s guide and FAQ sections at the end of this article include all you need to know when buying your next pair of binoculars.

For side-by-side spec comparisons, check out our specs chart. You can scroll through to see all of our recommended buys or jump to the category you’re looking for here:

The Best Binoculars of 2023

Best Overall Binoculars: Nikon Monarch M5 8×42 Binoculars

Nikon Monarch M5 8 x 42 Binoculars

If love at first sight has a feeling, holding these binoculars might just be it. The Nikon Monarch M5 ($290) is all a user — bird watcher, scenery gazer, hunter, curious hiker, you name it — could want, all wrapped up in a lightweight, bombproof package.

Nikon’s design is user-friendly and requires no finagling. The rubber casing is grippy, because the last thing you want to do is smash a new pair of optics. Like many other models and brands these days, it comes with a snug case and a comfy neck strap.

Lenses are protected with caps on both ends. And the model is waterproof and fogproof, adding to its impressive durability. The resulting image is crisp, detailed, and clear, even in low light, haze, and shadows. 

While most folks may not notice or care too much about range of focus, a discerning consumer might want something tighter than the 8 feet the Monarch offers. Closer options, allowing viewing for something so close you can almost touch it, are available in a similar price range with multiple Vortex models on this list. 

That being said, the Monarch is easy in the hands and a truly trusty companion from one adventure to the next. Whether you’re scanning the soaring peaks of Glacier National Park for mountain goats or grassy fields for moose, they open up worlds of possibility.

While they can’t make a grizzly appear from the treeline, they sure can enhance every detail of the landscape as a consolation. Keeping a pair in the car even makes stopping for rural road construction more fun. 

Ideal for outdoor adventures, these take the spot as the best binoculars available today.

  • Weight: 1 lb., 6 oz.
  • Close focus range: 8.2′
  • Eye relief: 19.5 mm 
  • Magnification: 8x
  • Lightweight
  • Clear, striking image — even in low light 
  • Easy-adjust dial
  • Durability
  • An average close range of focus 

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Best Budget Binoculars: Celestron Outland 10×42

Celestron Outland 10x42 Binoculars

For a company with its foundation in night sky telescopes, Celestron is making serious noise in the field optics industry. The Celestron Outland binoculars ($59) are certainly not as powerful or high-quality as our top choice, the Nikon Monarch M5, but they still win the budget category.

The Outlands are the most affordable binoculars on our list — besides the Obuby Real Binocs for kids ($26) — and provide a strong viewing experience.

The same optics that can be found in the Trailseekers (the BaK-4 prisms) are in the Outland binoculars. These provide excellent light capture, high-resolution images, and a strong enough contrast to work in all light conditions.

Despite being so affordable, Celestron doesn’t skimp on construction here, as the Outland binos are strong and durable enough to handle being thrown in and pulled out of backpacks. The adjustment dials and focus knobs are large and easy to use, plus the eye relief and eyecups provide viewing comfort for everybody.

These no-frills binoculars may not be the fanciest option on the market, and soaking them in drizzly Pacific Northwest days will wear them quickly. But they certainly serve their purpose and provide a surprisingly strong viewing experience.

Whether you’re venturing into the world of field optics for the first time or need to purchase multiple pairs for a family outing or outdoor program, consider the Celestron Outlands to strike a good balance between quality and affordability.

  • Weight: 2 lbs.
  • Close focus range: 14.8′
  • Eye relief: 18.2 mm 
  • Magnification: 10x
  • Most affordable adult binoculars on our list
  • Durable design
  • A good option for bulk purchase or outfitting an outdoor program
  • Touchy adjustment knob sometimes gets itself out of focus
  • Binos don’t hold up well in wet and rainy conditions

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Best Binoculars for Birdwatching: Vortex Viper HD 10×42

Vortex Optics Viper HD Binoculars

Every serious birdwatcher has a personal preference for the best binoculars for birding. However, most would agree that the ideal pair should have magnification in the 8x-10x range to spot birds at a distance while still maintaining a relatively stable hand.

Further, binoculars with objective lenses in the x42 range let in adequate light while promoting contrast in the field of view.

If you want a pair of binoculars that also has a short focus to enable easy observation of the many intricate and beautiful details of avian anatomy, then you’ve found the perfect pair. We can save you some trouble and recommend the Viper HD 10×42 binoculars by Vortex ($475).

The simple and elegant design is both durable and light, making them a no-brainer to bring on every birdwatching adventure. We only winced a little at the price, but if you’re a serious birder, it’s a small price to pay for quick identification in the field. 

HD glass allows for incredible crispness in the field of view and maximizes light capture in low-light conditions. The rubber coating has become a staple of the Vortex line and provides added strength and grip on the Vipers as well, and the adjustable eyecups promote comfort for everybody.

  • Weight: 1 lb., 8.6 oz.
  • Close focus range: 5.1′
  • Eye relief: 16.5 mm
  • Magnification: 10x
  • Close focus for birding, optical technology
  • Simple and elegant design
  • Industry-best warranty
  • Wear down with heavy use
  • Expensive

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Best Binoculars for Hunting: Maven C.3

Maven C.3 Binoculars

Like birdwatchers, every hunter has a preference for the best binoculars for hunting. That said, Maven has long been an industry leader for hunting-specific optics, and the Maven C.3 line ($500) is one of the best.

The model comes in 10×50 and 12×50 varieties, both of which are optimized for long-distance viewing and scouting. At either the 10x or 12x magnification, hunters can enjoy crystal-clear viewing from a considerable distance away.

Further, the 50 mm objective lens allows for significant light capture. This becomes increasingly critical when hunting at dawn and dusk — when many game animals are most active.

While this falls into Maven’s mid-range optics category, you wouldn’t know it by looking through them. Given the extra-low-dispersion (ED) glass and multi-coated lenses, users enjoy a clear and crisp field of view that’s also well-protected from the elements.

From a durability standpoint, the C.3 line is one of its size’s lightest binoculars with this optical potential. This is crucial when hauling a lot of gear deep into the backcountry for more demanding hunting expeditions.

Every hunter has their own opinion when it comes to the perfect pair of hunting binoculars, and those who like a wider view might be put off by this model’s narrower field. But no one will doubt your choice if you settle on the Maven C.3.

  • Weight: 1 lb., 12 oz.
  • Close focus range: 8.2′
  • Eye relief: 15 mm
  • Magnification: 10x, 12x
  • High-contrast image quality
  • Easily adjustable focus wheel
  • Durable design
  • Excellent value
  • Narrow field of view

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Best Binoculars for Kids: Obuby Real Binocs for Kids

Obuby Real Binocs

As technology continues to creep into our lives, helping children forge meaningful connections with nature has never been more important. There are many ways to do this, and buying a child a pair of binoculars is a great way to build excitement.

When it comes to binoculars for kids, you don’t necessarily need the most powerful optics. Instead, you need a colorful, fun, compact, light, and easy-to-use option. That’s where the Obuby Real Binocs for Kids ($31) come into play.

These binos are great for kids as young as 3 years old and come in various colors to help you customize a pair for your little one. Obuby Real Binocs were specifically designed for kids, and there’s soft rubber around the eyes to prevent any accidents.

The binoculars’ body has been crafted with smaller hands in mind, meaning kids can use these as effectively as an adult can use their own. The smallest of hands on the youngest of users might struggle to adjust some settings, but that’s true with anything needing more advanced fine motor skills. 

Further, these binos were created with an added level of rubber on the outside to combat the inevitable bangs and drops that come when giving a child the responsibility of holding onto a usually delicate piece of equipment — just be wary of the lenses. 

While the Obuby Real Binocs‘ construction is impressive, they also boast a pretty solid viewing experience for kids. The high resolution that results from the 8×22 optics is more than enough to help children gain a little added appreciation for the natural world beyond their scope of vision.

  • Weight: 5.9 oz.
  • Close focus range: Unavailable
  • Eye relief: 10 mm
  • Magnification: 8x
  • Fun colors/designs
  • Can handle wear and tear
  • Strong enough optics to enhance nature observation for children
  • Not the most durable lenses
  • Challenging to adjust for younger children

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Best Premium Binoculars: Maven B1.2

Maven B1.2

If you’re in the market for a pair of premium binoculars, it’s best to trust a company with a longstanding reputation for high-quality optics with a strong warranty. The Maven B1.2s ($1,000) come in 8×42 and 10×42 options and are designed with the durable construction and premium internal optics Maven is known for.

Maven considers the B1.2 its flagship binocular. And it easily lives up to this title, as it’s an excellent optic for virtually all uses. The internal elements can handle all light conditions and provide as good a viewing experience in the middle of the day as they do in the low-light morning and evening hours.

Some binoculars struggle with providing clarity across an entire field of view, with edges sometimes becoming blurred. That’s not the case with the Maven B1.2s. When in use, the entire field of view is crystal clear, with excellent color, contrast, and depth of field.

If compared to mid-level binoculars, the Mavens provide a noticeably stronger visual experience. While the price may be steep for casual users, people who depend on binoculars shouldn’t sweat the cost. Compared to other premium binoculars, the optical difference is negligible, but the Mavens’ price tag is much more attractive. The focus dials are smooth and easy to use, and the overall construction is built to last.

It’s no surprise that the Maven B1.2s have won the Adventure Gear of the Year award from National Geographic. These truly are a top-of-the-line field optic that can stand up next to the market’s most expensive competitors. When coupled with Maven’s unconditional lifetime warranty, the Maven B.1s were easy to choose as our favorite premium binoculars. They’re some of the best binoculars money can buy.

  • Weight: 1 lb., 10.7 oz.
  • Close focus range: 4.9′
  • Eye relief: 18.1 mm 
  • Magnification: 8x, 10x
  • Best visual experience
  • Not as expensive as other high-end competitors
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Durable design
  • Comfortable to handle
  • Expensive for casual users

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Best Monocular: Nocs Provisions Zoom Tube 8×32

Nocs Provisions Zoom Zoom Tube 8x32

When a set of full-size binoculars just isn’t in the cards, taking a monocular can be an excellent lightweight replacement, while giving up little in the glass department. The Nocs Provisions Zoom Tube 8×32 ($75) hits the mark perfectly, offering an 8x magnification and fully multi-coated lens.

We first took our Zoom Tube into the field on a cross-country traverse of Alaska’s Chugach State Park during the autumn — prime wildlife viewing season. We were traveling light and greatly appreciated the small footprint of the Zoom Tube in our hip belt pocket. 

In practice, the Zoom Tube became the most borrowed piece of kit on the whole trek, pulled out to spy on rutting moose, Dall sheep, and mother grizzlies with their cubs. It takes a steady hand to balance the tube in front of your eye, but once you’re locked on a target, it’s easy enough.

Light precipitation was no match for the IPX4 waterproofing on the Zoom Tube, which is protected from splashes, no matter the direction. And when it did rain, we used the included microfiber cloth to blot the lens before packing it away.

Nocs Provisions Zoom Tube in Alaska
Quick and nimble, the Zoom Tube was fast to deploy and glass a herd of Dall sheep in Alaska’s Chugach Range last autumn; (photo/Chris Anders)

There’s even a standard tripod thread in the bottom of the monocular, meaning you could set up for an extended period of glassing. And at 8.5 ounces, the Nocs Provisions Zoom Tube undercuts every other scope in this review by a wide margin when it comes to weight and size.

  • Weight: 8.5 oz.
  • Close focus range: 10′
  • Eye relief: 13.6 mm
  • Magnification: 8x
  • Super compact size
  • Built-in grip texture
  • Tripod compatible
  • Not as broad a field of view as binoculars
  • More susceptible to shaky hands

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Best of the Rest

Celestron Trailseeker 8×42

Celestron Trailseeker 8x42

Many brands offer excellent binoculars, but Celestron hit the jackpot with its Trailseeker 8×42 model ($234).

With 8x magnification, the Trailseeker allows for excellent focus at a distance and higher magnification without compromising the overall field of view or creating a shaky viewing experience.

If your subject matter happens to be much closer to you, the Celestron Trailseeker can perfectly address that need as well. The 6.5-foot closeup focus allows users to take in the finest details of their subjects.

BaK-4 prisms are found inside these binoculars and are designed to capture the optimal amount of light to create a strong contrast, bright images, and one of the best viewing experiences on the market.

As far as usability goes, the Trailseekers are both lightweight and durable — a welcome combination when bringing these tools into the field. While we have no questions about the strength of these binos, Celestron does offer a limited lifetime warranty if something unexpected were to impact their usability. The focus dial, which can become harder to turn or rust over time, is something to watch out for. 

The Trailseekers are an excellent binocular (they’ve been our top choice until recently being edged out by the Nikon Monarch M5 8×42 Binoculars) and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone who is looking to get themselves an excellent pair of outdoor optics.

  • Weight: 1 lb., 7.2 oz.
  • Close focus range: 6.5′
  • Eye relief: 17 mm
  • Magnification: 8x
  • State-of-the-art optics for optimal viewing
  • Excellent balance of price and quality
  • Ergonomically designed for comfortable use
  • Focus dial can become weak or rust if not cared for properly

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Vortex Diamondback HD 8×42

Vortex Diamondback HD 8x42 Binoculars

The Diamondback HD binoculars by Vortex ($269) were one of our hottest runner-ups. These optics can hold a candle to any other pair of binoculars on the market.

Users should always prioritize lens quality when buying a pair of binoculars. In this category, Vortex is especially hard to beat. The brand’s patented HD optics are designed to give the ultimate viewing experience in terms of resolution, sharpness, light capture, and color fidelity. No matter the light conditions, the Diamondback HD 8×42 binoculars guarantee excellent visibility.

Further, binoculars are often tossed in backpacks or exposed to the elements on the trail. Vortex recognizes this and has protected its Diamondback HD lenses with ArmorTek to shield them from grime, dirt, oil, scratches, and anything else that could compromise the viewing experience.

Beyond the optics themselves, the build of the Diamondback HD binos is tough to beat. At their core, these binoculars are both light and durable, and the outer rubber coating adds an extra layer of protection and grip.

Vortex excels in the accessory department, as the Diamondbacks are compatible with both car window mounts and tripod adaptors to help steady the optics when viewing. Like many other binos on our list, Vortex packages its binoculars with a neck strap, lens covers, and a protective case and harness. The only downsides? A tricky-to-manage harness, and a few clunky elements on the binoculars themselves.

When considering the best binoculars available, the difference between these and our other top choices is subjective — they’re hard to beat.

  • Weight: 1 lb., 5.2 oz.
  • Close focus range: 5′
  • Eye relief: 17 mm
  • Magnification: 8x
  • Incredible value for the quality of optics
  • Great viewing
  • Excels in low light
  • Excellent warranty and customer service
  • Focus wheel and right eye diopter are a bit clunky
  • Included harness is not the easiest to use

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Nocs Provisions Standard Issue 

Nocs Provisions Standard Issue 8 x 25 Waterproof Binoculars

Everyone wants the highest-quality binoculars with the best optics technology available. Still, the best binoculars are the ones you have available at the precise minute you need them. Wildlife is fleeting, and you never know when binoculars will come in handy.

Cue the Nocs Provisions Standard Issue ($95). Measuring 4.5 x 4.25 inches and weighing under one pound, the Nocs Provisions are built to bring on every adventure. The optic measurement on these isn’t the strongest — 8×25 — and you’re definitely paying for the compact nature — but for binoculars of this size, they pack a punch.

The BaK-4 prisms create a crisp and clear image despite the size. And the 25 mm objective lens is big enough to capture light in most conditions, though larger binoculars are certainly better suited for this purpose.

What sets the Nocs Provisions apart from other compact binoculars is a handful of unique features. For one, these are the most waterproof binoculars on our list. They can be submerged for up to 30 minutes in a meter of water and be recovered to work just fine.

Additionally, the eyepieces are designed with smartphones in mind. That is to say that, with a steady hand, you can shoot photos with your phone through these binoculars. Coupled with impressive durability and a sleek design that is comfortable to handle, the Standard Issue Binoculars from Nocs Provisions are an ideal choice for those looking for compact high-quality glass.

  • Weight: 12 oz.
  • Close focus range: 13′
  • Eye relief: 13 mm 
  • Magnification: 8x
  • Compact without compromising optic power
  • Durable/waterproof construction
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Expensive for optical power — paying for compact size

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Binoculars Comparison Chart

BinocularsPriceWeightClose Focus RangeEye ReliefMagnification
Nikon Monarch M5 $2901 lb., 6 oz.8.2′19.5 mm8x
Celestron Outland 10×42$592 lbs.14.8′18.2 mm10x
Vortex Viper HD 10×42$4751 lb., 8.6 oz.5.1′16.5 mm10x
Maven C.3$5001 lb., 12 oz.8.2′15 mm10x, 20x
Obuby Real Binocs for Kids$315.9 oz.Unavailable10 mm8x
Maven B1.2$1,0001 lb., 10.7 oz.4.9′18.1 mm 8x, 10x
Nocs Provisions Zoom Tube $758.5 oz.10′13.6 mm8x
Celestron Trailseeker 8×42$2341 lb., 7.2 oz.6.5′17 mm8x
Vortex Diamondback HD 8×42$2401 lb., 5.2 oz.5′17 mm8x
Nocs Provisions Standard Issue$9512 oz.13′13 mm8x

Why You Should Trust Us

You don’t want binoculars to fail you in the field, and neither do we. At GearJunkie, we know how important crisp, reliable vision is — whether you’re scouting for a bull elk to fill your chest freezer come fall, spotting a bucket list owl, or glassing the night sky.

We tested over a dozen binoculars (and a monocular) to see just how well they worked for different uses, budgets, and even hand sizes. The littlest tykes deserve a good viewing experience, too!

Compare and contrast testing left us with the best of the best. We’ve focused the dials, taken them out in the rain, and maybe even dropped them a few times. We’ve put these binoculars through the wringer so you can, with confidence, too.  

Reviewer Kylie Mohr knows the value of top-of-the-line binoculars firsthand. As an environmental journalist, she has accompanied snowy owl researchers out into the field in search of the beloved bird. Weather conditions at the northeast tip of Alaska are no joke, even in the summer, and Mohr spent long hours staring into binoculars looking for a flash of white on the brown and green tundra. 

Cold hands and biting wind made easy-to-adjust models extra important, and high-powered magnification was essential to find nest sites. Today, she tests binoculars on jaunts throughout Montana’s many mountain ranges. 

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose Binoculars

While similar in appearance, each pair of binoculars is unique. There are many different features and measurements to consider when trying to find the best binoculars for you. By working through our list and prioritizing your needs, finding the best binoculars for your needs should be simple.

Those new to buying binoculars will notice a few significant numbers while shopping through different options. The magnification power followed by the objective lens diameter is the numbers you see presented as “8×40” or “10×42” and communicates very important bits of information.

Comparing the Best Binoculars
Comparing binoculars; (photo/Mallory Paige)


The first number is magnification and is relatively easy to understand. This number indicates how many times closer what you’re viewing will appear to you. A set of binoculars with 8x magnification makes objects appear 8x closer. A set of binoculars with 10x magnification makes objects appear 10x closer.

Objective Lens Size

The second number, the objective lens size, is a bit more complicated. At a basic level, the measurement of objective lenses gives you an idea of how bulky the binoculars are to handle.

Perhaps more importantly, this number indicates the length in millimeters across the lens and, in turn, how much light your binoculars let in when viewing. Higher numbers mean larger lenses and more light, resulting in brighter images. Binoculars with smaller objective lenses are smaller and more portable.

Celestron Trailseeker 8x42 Binoculars
At a stated 8×42 magnification, the Celestron Trailseekers sport an 8x magnification power, and 42 mm objective lenses; (photo/Nick Belcaster)

Field of View

The field of view is a critical piece to consider when buying binoculars. The field-of-view measurement denotes the width you’ll be viewing through your lenses. Our favorite binos for birdwatching, the Vortex Viper HD 10×42, and our favorite premium pair, the Maven B.1, were especially notable for their crisp and clear field of view. 

A wide field of view offers users the opportunity to see more of an area, whereas a smaller field of view is more zoomed into a smaller geographical space. The relationship between objective lenses and magnification and binocular design, in general, plays into the field of view measurement.

The field of view is presented in either feet or degrees. Most high-quality binoculars have a field of view between 6 and 8 degrees, or 300-400 feet when viewing a spot 1,000 yards away.

If you wear glasses, it should be noted that binoculars with a wide field of view often have shorter relief and may not be the best choice.

Binoculars Field of View Grizzlies
We would far rather view these Alaskan grizzlies through a good pair of binoculars than up close and personal; (photo/Nick Belcaster)

Eye Relief

Eye relief is significant to consider for those who wear eyeglasses. The distance you should have your eye away from the eyepiece when using your binoculars is referred to as “eye relief.” Eyeglass-wearers should seek out binoculars with an eye relief measurement long enough to accommodate their glasses. The Nikon Monarch M5 has the most eye relief of all our favorite binos. 

If you don’t wear glasses but found the perfect pair of binoculars that happen to have long eye relief, don’t fret! Most binoculars have extendable rubber-coated eyecups. This serves as a correction and makes binoculars usable for both those with and without glasses. 


Binoculars can generally be broken into two subcategories: Porro prism and roof prism.

Without diving too far into each technology, Porro prism binoculars typically have a wider field of view with better depth perception and more contrast. Their design, however, is much more complex and expensive to manufacture. The Celestron Trailseeker 8×42 and the Celestron Outland 10×42 (as well as a few others on this list) share the same type of Porro prism and provide an incredible viewing experience. 

Roof prism binoculars are a more comfortable shape to handle, with lenses and prisms aligned inside the binoculars themselves. Because roof prisms have a more straightforward design, they are more affordable. The technology has come a long way in recent years, and they have become the choice style of binoculars for many wildlife watchers.

That said, many Porro prism binoculars are higher-performance when compared to roof prism alternatives at a similar price point.

Nikon Monarch Binoculars
The Nikon Monarch M5 sports high-end prisms that are multicoated for stellar visual clarity; (photo/Kylie Mohr)

Close Focus Range

Virtually all makes and models of binoculars prioritize focusing on objects in the distance. However, all binoculars are also capable of focusing on items much closer.

The close focus range on a pair of binoculars is the measurement given to the closest distance that a specific pair of binoculars can focus. This distance enables users to examine intricate details of nearby objects. This distance is at least 25 feet for most binoculars. The close focus range of higher-quality binos comes in at under 10 feet, with the Vortex Viper HD 10×42 having the closest range — 5.1 feet — on this list. Great for getting up close and personal with whatever you’re sighting! 

Binoculars vs. Monoculars

Is two better than one? It depends! Monoculars and binoculars both excel in different situations. Due to the singular nature of their viewing tube, monoculars can be smaller, more compact, and a good choice for users concerned about size and weight. 

Monoculars can also be cheaper. But if you plan on using a device for extended periods of time (observing a bull elk or watching a hawk preen), binoculars are likely a better choice. Staring with magnification on one eye and not the other with a monocular causes eye strain if done for too long. Binoculars also have a wider field of view. 

Nocs Provisions Zoom Tube Monocular
Packing deep into the Chugach Range of Alaska requires trimming pack weight, and a monocular is a great way to bring good optics with you without going over weight; (photo/Chris Anders)

Packed Size & Weight

Depending on your desired use, the size and weight could be key considerations. When you’re hiking and hunting, having the lightest pair possible will make trekking that much more enjoyable. We also like having a small pair handy in the car in case a good animal peeping opportunity arises. Our favorite compact binoculars for adults are the Nocs Provisions and the much pricier Maven C.3.

Comparing Binoculars
You can choose from extra-large stargazing binocs to ultra-portable, everyday options; (photo/Mallory Paige)


What Do the Numbers on Binoculars Mean?

Binoculars have both a magnification number (or strength), and a size (the diameter of the objective lens), which is most often expressed as a combination of two figures, such as 8×42 or 12×50.

The magnification number is the first figure given and relates how much closer images through the binoculars will appear. For example, many of the binoculars in our review provide an 8x or 10x magnification, where images appear 8 to 10 times closer than they are.

Higher magnification numbers will provide a more punched-in view, but oftentimes can be more difficult to hold steady. We’ve found that an 8x binocular is ideal for viewing landscapes, and that a 10x can aid in spying small wildlife like birds.

The lens size ultimately tells you how much light the binoculars are able to gather, and can be thought of as the aperture on a camera. The larger the lens size, the more light can be allowed in.

Which Is the Best Magnification for Binoculars?

When choosing the magnification for your binoculars, you need to consider how you’ll primarily use them. As an outdoor site, we would recommend everyone to purchase binoculars with a minimum magnification of 7x.

Binoculars with high magnification, such as 10x or greater, are suitable for long-distance viewing and are often the go-to choice for hunters and the most serious birders.

Binoculars with notably smaller magnifications — in the 3x-5x range — can be good compact options for ultralight backcountry use or viewing concerts, theater productions, and sporting events from the nosebleeds.

Which Is Better — 10×42 or 8×42?

Both 10×42 and 8×42 binoculars share a 42mm objective lens. This example, however, provides two binoculars that differ in magnification. One pair has a 10x magnification while the other has an 8x magnification.

As you likely deduced, the 10x magnification binoculars are more powerful than the 8x. This allows you to view objects a bit more clearly and also hone in on more intricate details.

While the 8x magnification lens may not be as powerful, it does offer a more stable viewing experience. This means users can more easily stay focused on their subject matter and need to worry less about maintaining a steady hand.

Both 10×42 and 8×42 binoculars serve their purpose, and one isn’t necessarily better than the other. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which magnification will better suit your needs.

Are Compact Binoculars Any Good?

The best binoculars are the ones you’ll actually use. And oftentimes, that means going with a more compact pair. Luckily, you can get a packable pair without sacrificing too much.

The main thing with compact binoculars is light transmission. It won’t be too much of a problem during the day, but at sunrise and sunset, you may notice the quality of the image decrease.

Bottom line — if you plan to use your binoculars often or for important tasks like hunting or birdwatching, it’s worth investing more and hauling a bigger set. If your use is casual, a compact pair will work great.

What Strength Binoculars Do I Need for Birdwatching?

You can birdwatch with any pair of binoculars, and serious birdwatchers have multiple pairs in their arsenal. At a bare minimum, select a pair of binoculars with at least 8x magnification.

Binoculars of this caliber offer a wide enough field of view to find and follow birds without compromising the magnification needed to identify your avian subject.

If you’re doing most of your birdwatching from a considerable distance, try a pair of binoculars with a 10x magnification. While slightly shakier and generally with a smaller field of view, the larger magnification allows you to focus closely on the bird at hand and observe its most intricate details. As you become more experienced, you’ll likely discover the value of having various binoculars on hand.

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Best Compass of 2022

The Best Compasses of 2022

Whether hiking, traveling off-grid, or backpacking, having a reliable compass available can help ensure that you'll always find true north. Read more…

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