Best Hunting Binoculars – Discover What Works Best

What's the Best Binoculars for Hunting?If you enjoy the outdoors, in particular any hunting activities, then I’m sure you would like to know what are the best binoculars for hunting.

No matter what you hunt, it might be rabbit, deer or ducks (or even binoducks…haha), you should know what to look for when searching for a new pair of binoculars.

We want to make the choice easier for you, so we hope the information we’ve gathered below will help you in your decision.

First, Decide How You Will Use Them

It goes without saying, but you need to know how you will use your binoculars before deciding which pair is best. You will want a different pair of binoculars for hunting in eastern forests than in western high country open mountain areas. You might want a different set for hunting duck than for hunting deer.

For hunting, there will be a few commonalities:

  • We want a pair that is really durable
  • Light enough to keep around our necks all day
  • Rain and fog proof
  • Works in low-light conditions for at hunting and dusk

Then, we’ll want to determine the magnification.

Generally, you’ll want something in the 8-10x magnification range, unless you plan on using a tripod. Higher magnification can be great in open areas, but it becomes difficult to hold binoculars steady when zoomed in so far.

So, we generally recommend 8x magnification on your binoculars for hunting in the forest and 10x for more open areas.

There are a lot of other smaller considerations to make such as eye-relief, twilight factor, and more. We have a quick summary below, but if you want a truly in-depth read on all the details of binoculars, read our ultimate binoculars buyers guide.

While it is possible to buy a pair of binoculars that has everything you could possibly want, you’ll generally spend $500-$1,000 for that. Everyone on a budget will have to pick and choose between the features they want the most in their binoculars and the price.

With so many different types of binoculars and their many features to analyze, where do you start? So, we decided to make two separate groups of binoculars which are the “Top Selling Binoculars” category and the “High-End Binoculars” category.

Since it’s impossible to break down every kind of hunting binocular for every kind of hunting and region, we thought it made sense to show the best that’s out there as well as the most popular. It makes sense to buy either what is the best on the market or to buy what everyone else seems to buy and like.

So we analyzed the two groups of binoculars and think we’ve found the best four from each group.

The Top Selling Hunting Binoculars You Should Know About

To be fair in our comparison, we are looking at the 10×42 model for each of these binoculars. We list out which size configurations each come in, so you compare apples to apples then go buy the size configuration that meets your needs.

  1. Nikon 7295 Monarch ATB 10×42 Binoculars
  2. Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10×42 Binoculars
  3. Vortex Diamondback 10×42 Binoculars
  4. Vanguard Sprit ED 10×42 Binoculars

Nikon Monarch


10x42
  • Model

    Nikon 7577 Monarch 5 10x42
  • Sizes

    8x42, 10x42, 12x42
  • Field of View

    288ft
  • Eye Relief

    18.4
  • Twilight Factor

    20.5
  • Waterproof?

  • Fog Proof?

  • ED Glass?

  • Weight

    21.9
  • Exit Pupil

    4.2

Bushnell Legend

10x42
  • Model

    Bushnell Legend Ultra HD
  • Sizes

    8x36, 8x42, 10x36, 10x42
  • Field of View

    340ft
  • Eye Relief

    15.2
  • Twilight Factor

    20.49
  • Waterproof?

  • Fog Proof?

  • ED Glass?

  • Weight

    24.7
  • Exit Pupil

    4.2

Vortex Diamondback

10x42
  • Model

    Vortex 10x42mm Diamondback
  • Sizes

    8x28, 8x42, 10x42, 12x50
  • Field of View

    345ft
  • Eye Relief

    16
  • Twilight Factor

    20.4
  • Waterproof?

  • Fog Proof?

  • ED Glass?

  • Weight

    24.4
  • Exit Pupil

    4.2

Vanguard Spirit ED

10x42
  • Model

    Vanguard Spirit ED
  • Sizes

    8x36, 8x42, 10x42, 10x50
  • Field of View

    314ft
  • Eye Relief

    16
  • Twilight Factor

    20.5
  • Waterproof?

  • Fog Proof?

  • ED Glass?

  • Weight

    29.8
  • Exit Pupil

    4.2

Now, let’s go over our top choices

Nikon 7577 Monarch 5 

This is an amazing set of hunting binoculars and you definitely won't be disappointed. My favorite part is their 25-year warranty, but let's see how it does in every category.

Is this binocular really durable?

Yes, they've recently redesigned it with an amazingly rugged design.

Light enough to keep around our necks all day?

At 21.6 ounces, it is the lightest set of binoculars on this list.

Is it rain and fog proof?

Yes. 100% waterproof and fog proof.

Works in low-light conditions for at hunting and dusk?

The Nikon Monarch now comes with their new Dielectric High-Reflective Multilayer Prism Coating which significantly increases low-light performance and creates brighter, sharper colors. Its Lenses are also fully multi-coated and have phase-correction coated prisms.

Overall Thoughts

Excellent product at a reasonable price. Can't go wrong with this one.

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD

Bushnell is one of the best binocular companies in the world, and the Legend Ultra HD binoculars are one of their workhorses.

Is this binocular really durable?

Absolutely! In fact, they are so confident in their product, they will replace it if it's broken, even if it's your fault!

Light enough to keep around our necks all day?

At about 1.5 lbs, it isn't too heavy as long as you have a comfortable neck cord.

Is it rain and fog proof?

Yes. 100% waterproof and fog proof.

Works in low-light conditions for at hunting and dusk?

They have the ED Prime Extra-Low Dispersion fluorite glass. It gives great color resolution and awesome contrast which pretty much alleviates any chromatic aberration and color-fringing. This helps to bring out the most distinct details possible in low-light conditions.

Overall Thoughts

This is one of the best values out there. You are getting an amazing product with Bushnell's amazing lifetime warranty, and getting it for significantly less than other binoculars.

It may not have every feature out there, but the price to value ratio is the best for sure.

Vortex Optics Diamondback

A truly premier set of binoculars modeled after the diamondback rattlesnake. You won't be disappointed with this purchase.

Is this binocular really durable?

Absolutely! In fact, they are so confident in their product, they will replace it if it's broken, even if it's your fault, no-questions-asked.

Light enough to keep around our necks all day?

At about 1.5 lbs, it isn't too heavy as long as you have a comfortable neck cord. 

Is it rain and fog proof?

Yes. It is waterproof and fog proof.

Works in low-light conditions for at hunting and dusk?

With their multi-coated optics and phase corrected prisms it is striking how well it detects life in low-light conditions. This makes it perfect pair of binoculars for hunting!

Overall Thoughts on The Vortex Hunting Binoculars

Probably the best pair of hunting binoculars out of the 4, but it's also the most expensive. Money always buys more quality features, and if that's what you need then this is the pair for you.

Vanguard Spirit ED Hunting Binoculars

A pretty good binocular at a reasonable price. It doesn't have a name like Bushnell or quality like the Vortex Diamondback, but it gets the job done.

Is this binocular really durable?

They don't have any specific rugged body features, but they are backed by a 100% replace or repair warranty for any reason whatsoever. So, have peace of mind with that.

Light enough to keep around our necks all day?

These are about 5 ounces more than all of their competition. So, they are definitely the heaviest in the group. 2 lbs is still doable around the neck, but it's getting toward the heavy side.

Is it rain and fog proof?

Yes. It is waterproof and fog proof.

Works in low-light conditions for at hunting and dusk?

They have an ED coating and BaK-4 prisms along with about 90% light transmittal which should give it a good image and good low-light usage.

Overall Thoughts on The Vanguard Spirit ED Binoculars

Overall a decent pair of binoculars with a good image. Anything they lack, they make up with an excellent warrant.

The biggest drawback is the weight. Being 30% heavier than their next competitors and 50% heavier than the lightest is a huge disadvantage.

The Professional Hunting Binoculars For Hardcore Hunters

Again, there are tons of awesome binocs out there for the true pros. So, narrowing it down to 4 is tough. The features and quality packed into these binoculars will definitely impress you.

It seems that the industry is headed in a direction where they are packing electronics into the binoculars rather than just using physical lenses and prisms. The technology is really cool, if you can afford it.

Here are our favorites:

  1. Minox HG 10x43 Binoculars
  2. Leica Geovid HD-B Rangefinder 10x42 Binoculars
  3. Swarovski Optik EL Swarovision 10x42 Binoculars
  4. Vortex Optics Viper HD 10x42 Binoculars

Minox
HG BR

10x43
  • Model

    Minox HG BR 62189
  • Sizes

    8x33, 8x43, 8.5x52, 10x52, 8x56
  • Field of View

    342ft
  • Eye Relief

    16.5mm
  • Twilight Factor

    20.7
  • Waterproof?

  • Fog Proof?

  • ED Glass?

  • Weight

    22.9 oz
  • Exit pupil

    4.3mm
  • Rangefinder?

Leica
Geovid

10x42
  • Model

    Leica Geovid Rangefinder
  • Sizes

    8x42, 10x42
  • Field of View

    375ft
  • Eye Relief

    20mm
  • Twilight Factor

    20.5
  • Waterproof?

  • Fog Proof?

  • ED Glass?

  • Weight

    34.7 oz
  • Exit pupil

    4.2mm
  • Rangefinder?

Swarovski
Optik

10x42
  • Model

    Swarovski Optik EL Swarovision
  • Sizes

    12x50, 10x50, 10x42, 8.5x42, 10x32, 8x32
  • Field of View

    336ft
  • Eye Relief

    20mm
  • Twilight Factor

    20.5
  • Waterproof?

  • Fog Proof?

  • ED Glass?

  • Weight

    29.6 oz
  • Exit pupil

    4.2mm
  • Rangefinder?

Vortex
Optics

10x42
  • Model

    Vortex Optics Viper HD
  • Sizes

    6x32, 8x32, 8x42, 10x42, 10x50, 15x50
  • Field of View

    319ft
  • Eye Relief

    16.5mm
  • Twilight Factor

    20.4
  • Waterproof?

  • Fog Proof?

  • ED Glass?

  • Weight

    24.6 oz
  • Exit pupil

    4.2mm
  • Rangefinder?

Let's go back and look at the same criteria above and see how each one does.

Minox HG BR 62189

These have an outstanding performance with their optics and amazing viewing experience for the user.

Is this binocular really durable?

Yes, this is a German made product known for quality and precision of construction.

Light enough to keep around our necks all day?

At 22.9 oz it is the lightest set of binoculars on this list, and rivals the lightest on the other list with only about a 1 ounce difference.

Is it rain and fog proof?

Yes. It is waterproof and fog proof.

Works in low-light conditions for at hunting and dusk?

Their optical system has extremely high light transmission and gains high marks for contrast and brightness. It also has a slightly higher twilight factor than the others due to its 43mm objective lense, so it will perform slightly better than others.

Overall Thoughts on The MIX HG BR Binoculars for Hunting

Great pair of binoculars for professional hunters. Not as high end as some others, but it's a cut above the most popular but still below the really high-end sets. A good middle ground.

Leica Geovid HD-B Rangefinder

All we have to say about this one is - WOW! This is an amazing set of binoculars and it comes with a laser range finder that works up to about 2,200 yards.

It also has an internal database of ballistic curves for practically all standard ammunition.

Is this binocular really durable?

Yes, it is durable. With the computer system built in, it's probably best not to drop it down a cliff though.

Light enough to keep around our necks all day?

It is definitely the heaviest of all the binoculars because of the electronics. This set of binoculars would be used more in a stationary position where weight would be less of a factor.

Is it rain and fog proof?

Yes. It is waterproof to a depth of 16.5 feet and fog proof.

Works in low-light conditions for at hunting and dusk?

They are well known for their sharpness and clarity and it has a good twilight factor that will allow you to see at dawn or dusk.

Overall Thoughts on The MIX HG BR Binoculars for Hunting

Leica are the pioneers of the commercial rangefinder and they've combined their ABC technology into these binoculars. These are literally one of the best hunting binoculars available.

Not only do these binoculars have the longest range finding capabilities in their class at 2200yrds, but you can also use a micro-SD card in the battery compartment (waterproof of course) and upload your own, exact ballistics information, totally custom and specific to the setup your using. They're also been awarded "Innovation Of The Year", at binoculars.com.

Swarovski Optik EL Swarovision Gen 2

If you're looking for the finest and nothing else will do, these are the binoculars for you. There is almost no other optic out there that is better.

Is this binocular really durable?

These are backed by their 10 year warranty. While they aren't as durable as you might want for banging around in the forest, they can hold their own.

Light enough to keep around our necks all day?

Weighing in at around 29 ounces, they aren't the heaviest but aren't the lightest either. These can definitely hang around your neck all day.

Is it rain and fog proof?

Yes

Works in low-light conditions for at hunting and dusk?

No one compares to Swarovski with the crystals they use. You may not have been aware, but the same fine crystals that bring you fine jewelry are the same ones that produce these optical crystals. Their product will work in a range of light conditions and bring the finest quality.

Overall Thoughts on The Swarovski Binoculars for Hunting

The clarity is so precise, that many birdwatchers have commented that they can see details in the feathers that they had never seen before, even after years of birding.

While this isn't about birding, the point is to illustrate the immense clarity. You will easily be able to spot game in the forest or along the landscape with this level of quality.

Vortex Optics Viper HD

These are a really solid choice for professional hunters. You won't get the amazing clarity of the Swarovski or the quality of the Leica, but you'll get a really good set of binoculars at a fair price.

Is this binocular really durable?

Yes, it has a compact rubber-armored chasis with 'armortek' coating it to ensure it is ready for hunting in any terrain from forest to mountains.

Light enough to keep around our necks all day?

Yes, it is only about 24 ounces which is one of the lighter options on the list.

Is it rain and fog proof?

Yes, argon purged and fully waterproof and fog proof.

Works in low-light conditions for at hunting and dusk?

The Viper HD binoculars have an advanced high density optical system with enhanced anti-reflective lens coating for stunning image quality and top tier light transmission.

Overall Thoughts on The Swarovski Binoculars for Hunting

For the price, these are one of the better options. Money can buy way better, but those also costs thousands of dollars. In it's price range, it's an amazing quality pair with great features.

What To Look For When Choosing Your Best Binoculars For Hunting

In most cases, prey will be most active at sunrise and sunset. In order to view game at these crucial times, you will need hunting binoculars which feature excellent performance in dim conditions.

By selecting binoculars which feature objective lens specifications of 42mm to 50mm, you’ll enjoy excellent performance during optimal hunting times.

Magnification

Magnification should also be a key consideration. By looking for binoculars with 10x magnification, you’ll get the level of detail that you really need. Don’t go any higher than this, as binoculars with higher levels of magnification may make it harder to stabilize images.

Binoculars Magnification

If you’re the sort of hunter who varies terrain frequently, you’ll find that choosing 10x is wise, as this level of magnification is considered to offer “all-around” advantages in a range of outdoor environments. However, higher magnification levels, such as 14x to 19x, may work well for those who hunt primarily in dense forest regions.

Field of View

You may also wish to select binocs which feature a wider field of view, which is measured in terms of feet per 1000 yards. In general, magnifications of 8x to 12x will provide an adequate field of view for hunting purposes.

Binoculars Field of View

Multi Coated Lenses

It will be smart to select hunting binoculars which feature multi-coated lenses, as these promote superior contrast, as well as premium brightness and clarity.

Durable Case

To stand the test of time (and to perform in even the harshest weather conditions), hunting binoculars must be extremely durable. Therefore, seeking out binocs which are crafted with water-proofed components and fog-proofed lenses will make it easier to enjoy long-lasting performance, no matter the weather.

Size & Weight

Lastly, consider how large you’d like your hunting binoculars to be. Sometimes, choosing the right size is as easy as looking at your own hands. In other words, if your hands are small, you may be more comfortable with compact designs. If you have bigger hands, you’ll find that larger-scale devices are a perfect fit.

Different sizes of hunting binoculars are available, and these have different weights. Seeking out lightweight designs will allow you to enjoy more comfort as you hunt.

Eye Relief

If you wear glasses then eye relief will be an important factor for you.  If the eye relief is to short and you wear glasses, you may only see the center of the image in the binocs.  Having a long eye relief means you’ll see the entire image.  Essentially when binoculars are made, they each have an ideal distance your eye should be from the eyepiece.

Binoculars Eye Relief

Twilight Factor

The twilight factor is worth considering when purchasing binocs for hunting purposes.  The twilight factor is the calculation to determine how binoculars perform in dim light.  Although its good to consider the twilight factor, you should not only rely on this when researching the image quality of binoculars.

In the old days the twilight factor may have been more important, but with the high quality lens coatings available today, the twilight factor may not be as important.

Exit Pupil

The exit pupil is the small circle of light you see when looking through the binoculars eye pieces while holding the binoculars away from your face.

The simple equation to calculate the exit pupil for your binoculars is: Exit pupil = Lens diameter ÷ magnification.

For example, if your binoculars are of size 8×42, meaning the lens diameter is 42mm and the binoculars produce 8 x magnification compared to the naked eye.  Then the exit pupil calculation would be 42 ÷ 8 = 5.3mm.

The exit pupil value indicates the brightness level of the image you’re viewing through the binoculars.

ED Glass

Extra-low Dispersion or ED glass comes in vary qualities dependent on how and what is used during lens manufacturing.

ED glass was developed to reduce the difference in light wavelength know as chromatic aberration.  If you look through a lens with chromatic aberration you may notice a ‘fuzzy’ affect around the border of your viewing subject, this is known as color fringing.

Binoculars ED Glass

ED glass may also be know as HD glass, essentially you will want this high quality lens when viewing wildlife.

Now that you know the basics, you’ll be ready to find the best hunting binoculars.

  • Sarah Chouinard says:

    I really like how you broke it down into two different categories. I got my husband a pair of the Viper Vortext binoculars for his hunting trips and he’s really loving them.

    • binocs says:

      I’m glad it was written in a way that works for you. It’s easy to put all the best binoculars in one list, but it’s a lot harder to pick and choose the features and figure out what is best for hunting, or birding, or whatever.

  • John Santimaw says:

    I’m a hunter and got the Nikon Monarch 5 and I must say it’s really awesome. Definitely one of the binos I’ve ever owned. Really love it.

    • binocs says:

      I’m really glad you love them! What’s your favorite thing about those binoculars for hunting specifically and what made you buy them over anything else?

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