Best Binoculars for Hunting


caucasian hunter in masking camouflage uniform with binoculars

When hunting, you need a good pair of eyes, and hunting binoculars come in handy. While there is a wide range of binoculars on the market, not all are suitable for hunting. This article will review the best hunting binocular options and highlight the features to look out for in a good pair. We will also highlight some of the best binoculars for elk hunting.

4 Best Binoculars for Hunting

1. Best Overall: Vortex Optics Diamondback 10×42 Roof Prism Binocular

Vortex Optics Diamondback 10x42 Roof Prism Binocular

Specifications

  • Prism: Roof
  • Objective lens size: 42mm
  • Magnification: 10x
  • Close focus distance: 5ft
  • Linear field of view: up to 1000 yards
  • Weight: 1.50 pounds
  • Dimensions: 5.9×5.6×1.75 inches
  • Convenience Features: deluxe molded case, carry case, eyecups, rain guard, neck strap, and rainguard covers

The Vortex Optics Diamondback 10×42 Roof Prism Binocular is a high-performance, superior quality pair best suited for mid to long range shooting up to 1000 yards. It is efficient during daytime and in low lighting conditions, which is why it has landed as number one on our best hunting binocular list.

The optics of the Vortex Diamondback offers the widest field of view in its class. They are multicoated to prevent image distortion. The phase-corrected prisms deliver high-quality images. The rugged exterior construction ensures that they are fog and waterproof. It is made of high-strength polycarbonate with rubber armor.

The binoculars are fitted with focus knobs for refined focusing. They have a smooth fiddle for easy focusing. They have 16mm eye relief and 4.2mm diameter exit pupils that provide a good view of the target without strain on your eyes.

Like other Vortex optics, these Vortex Diamondback binoculars are backed by a VIP unconditional lifetime warranty whereby the company repairs or replaces defective products, no questions asked.

Pros

  • Offers a clear field of view
  • Affordable price
  • Shockproof, fogproof, and waterproof
  • Can be used even in dimly lit conditions
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Does not have a built-in tripod socket

2. Best Premium: Leupold BX -4 Pro Guide HD 10X32 Binoculars

Leupold BX-4 Pro Guide HD 10x32mm Binoculars

Specifications

  • Prism: Roof
  • Objective lens size: 32mm
  • Magnification: 10
  • Close focus distance: 6ft
  • Linear field of view: up to 1000 yards
  • Weight: 1.06 pounds
  • Dimensions: 2.8×5.6×6.1 inches
  • Convenience Features: Eye relief, built-in tripod adapter, replaceable eyecups, casing, lens cloth, shoulder strap, and lens cover.

The Leupold BX-4 is the ultimate binocular for hunting. They feature a sophisticated optical system for elite light transmission. The high-definition calcium fluoride lenses provide exceptional edge-to-edge image clarity. They are fitted with Bak-4 prisms, which deliver the image through a perfectly round pupil ensuring no image distortion.

They are suitable for use even in low lighting conditions and employ a Twilight Max HD light management system that adds up to 30 minutes of extra glass lighting when used in low lighting conditions such as at dawn or dusk.

The light and compact binoculars have an ergonomic and protective exterior made of aluminum and armor-coated rubber. The exterior construction ensures they are water and fog-proof and protects the internal components from exposure to extreme weather and environmental conditions.

They provide easy and fast viewing. They have an open bridge design coupled with 16mm eye relief, enabling you to use them without strain even if you are wearing eyeglasses. 

For easy focusing, they have precision focus adjustments to ensure you get a crystal-clear image. The focus adjustments include a central focus dial and a diopter adjustment. They also have an inbuilt ¼-20 tripod adapter port for convenient use with a tripod if you need to.

Compared to Bushnell Elites, you will find that these Leupold binoculars cost more, so you have to weigh the price with the value to determine if it is a good purchase for you.

Pros

  • Elite design and build
  • Value for money
  • Edge-to-edge image clarity
  • High image resolution
  • 100% shock, fog, and waterproof
  • Full lifetime warranty
  • Suitable for use from dawn to dusk

Cons

  • Glass isn’t as good as other brands

3. Best Budget Option: Bushnell Trophy Roof Binoculars

Bushnell Binocular Bundle: Trophy XLT 10x42 Binoculars (Bone Collector Edition) + Deluxe Binocular...

Specifications

  • Prism: Roof
  • Objective lens size: 42mm
  • Magnification: 10x
  • Close focus distance: 6ft
  • Linear field of view: up to 1000 yards
  • Weight: 1.58pounds
  • Dimensions: 2.8×5.6×6.1 inches
  • Convenience Features: objective lens cover, focus wheel, twist-up eyecups,

The Bushnell Trophy XLT Binoculars have a simple yet highly functional design. They deliver on quality, durability, and ease of handling.

They have an ergonomic construction that consists of a textured non-slip exterior rubber coating. It is heavy-duty and provides 100% protection against water and fog. The interior is nitrogen purged, and the O-ring is sealed to keep out water, fog, and dirt.

The optical system is made of lead-free glass, BAK-4 prisms, and fully multicoated lenses, which work together to deliver high-quality, high-contrast images. The binoculars are fitted with a large focus wheel for accurate and easy focusing, even when using the binoculars with gloves on. They also have a 15.2mm eye relief to ensure you do not strain your eyes.

Pro

  • Quite affordable
  • Bright and clear images
  • Functions as well as pricier binoculars
  • IPX7 fog and waterproof rated
  • Durable construction
  • Lifetime warranty

Con

  • Some people find them a bit heavy and bulky

4. Best Porro Prism Hunting Binoculars: Bushnell Falcon 133410 Binoculars

Bushnell Falcon 133410 Binoculars with Case (Black, 7x35 mm)

Specifications

  • Prism: Porro
  • Objective lens size: 35mm
  • Magnification: 7x
  • Close focus distance: 20ft
  • Linear field of view: up to 1000 yards
  • Weight: 1.31 pounds
  • Dimensions: 8×6.5×3 inches
  • Convenience Features: Fold down eyecups, straps, and storage bag

These Bushnell binoculars are the best option for the Porro prism optical, whether you are targeting short or long-range. They are not only affordable but also highly functional. They are excellent as a starter set.

The optical system is fully coated and offers superior light transmission. It also incorporates an InstaFocus system to enable you to focus on moving targets accurately. The InstaFocus lever offers smooth feedback for a smooth fine-tuning of the magnification.

The exterior is plastic with non-slip rubber grip pads for a firm hold in all weather conditions. The abrasion-resistant finish is stylish and offers adequate internal parts protection.

Pros

  • Economical price
  • InstaFocus feature
  • Suitable for both short and long-range focusing
  • Clear image
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Not as durable as one would like on a hunting trip
  • Focus cylinders do not always move in and out smoothly

Best Binoculars for Elk Hunting

Elk hunting involves focusing on a wide area and far distance. Therefore, the best binocular for elk hunting should have good optics. A magnification of 7-10x and an objective lens of 42-50mm are generally suitable for a hunting bino. The field of view should be at about 1000 yards.

Similar to the best binoculars for hunting reviewed above, binoculars for elk hunting should also be lightweight and compact, be weather-resistant, have a waterproof design, and come with convenient accessories.

Best Binoculars for Elk Hunting

1. Best Overall: Nikon 7577 Monarch 5 10×42 Binoculars

Nikon 7577 MONARCH 5 10x42 Binocular (Black)

Specifications

  • Prism: Roof
  • Objective lens size: 42
  • Magnification: 10
  • Weight: 1.35 pounds
  • Dimensions: 7.6×3.15×5.94 inches
  • Convenience Features: Turn and slide eyecups, flip-down lens cups, and focus knob

The Nikon 7577 Monarch 5 10×42 Binoculars offer high-quality clear images, easy handling, portability, and durability. Compared to other brands and the models that proceeded them, these elk hunting binoculars are much lighter, making them easy to handle and carry around.

Their optic system features eco-glass lenses that are fully multicoated to ensure full light spectrum transmittance, delivering sharp and clear images and a well-lit field of view. The eco-glass and dielectric high-reflective layer coating present color exceptionally well, producing high-resolution images.

Their design also incorporates a high eyepoint for long eye relief and a clear field of view. The eye relief ensures ample space between your face and the binocular eyecup for comfortable viewing, even if you are wearing eyeglasses. The rubber eyecups have a turn and slide configuration to easily find the right eye positioning.

These Nikon binoculars also have a smooth central focus knob that allows you to bring the elk to focus when hunting quickly.

They have a waterproof, fog proof, and weather-resistant exterior and interior design. The interior is nitrogen-filled and O-ring sealed to keep out moisture and dirt. On the other hand, the exterior is constructed with rubber to enhance durability and provide a firm non-slip grip. It has an elegant black finish.

These binoculars are available in two other objective lens and magnification options: 8X42 and 12X42.

Pros

  • High-quality, durable construction
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Easy to use
  • Fog, water, and weatherproof
  • Clear, sharp, and well-lit images

Cons

  • Not suitable for close focusing
  • Images may have fuzzy edges or chromatic aberration

2. Best Premium: Vortex Optics Viper HD Binoculars

Vortex Optics Viper HD Roof Prism Binoculars 10x42

Specifications

  • Prism: Roof
  • Objective lens size: 42mm
  • Magnification: 10
  • Weight: 1.54 pounds
  • Dimensions: 5.8×5.3×4.2 inches
  • Convenience Features: Rainguard eyepiece cover, objective lens cover, neck strap, and deluxe padded carry case.

The Vortex Optics Viper HD Binoculars are specially designed for functionality and convenience when hunting. They are lightweight and compact for easy handling and portability. They also come with a wide range of convenience features.

They offer a long linear field of view up to 1000 yards with a close focus of up to 5.1 ft. Their optic system consists of high-density, extra-low dispersion glass that produces high-resolution images with excellent color fidelity. The lens transmission ability is further enhanced with an anti-reflective coating for optimal light transmission.

The Vortex Viper binocular’s exterior is made of rubber-armored chassis with Armortek coating for a firm grip and protection against adverse weather conditions. The interior is argon purged, and O-ring sealed for water and fog proofing.

Vortex Viper offers an exemplary warranty whereby they repair or replace your binoculars if they are defective or damaged at no cost. If the product cannot be repaired, they replace it with a working one.

Pros

  • Premium quality construction
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Variety of convenience accessories and features
  • Value for money
  • Fog and waterproof
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Pricey
  • May produce unclear images

3. Best Budget: Bushnell H20 Roof Prism Binoculars

Bushnell H2O Waterproof/Fogproof Roof Prism Binocular, 10 x 42-mm, Black

Specifications

  • Prism: Roof
  • Objective lens size: 42mm
  • Magnification: 10
  • Weight: 1.56 pounds
  • Dimensions: 7x6x3 inches
  • Convenience Features: Twist-up eyecups, large center knob, eye relief, carry case, and strap

If you have a tight budget but still want a decent pair of binoculars for elk hunting at an affordable price, go for the Bushnell H20 Roof Binoculars. They offer similar functionality as the pricier options reviewed above. They have a well-thought-out interior and exterior construction for optimal focusing, image clarity, and durability.

They feature quality optics that deliver HD-quality images. The optical system consists of Bak-4 roof prisms and multicoated lenses for excellent light transmission delivering crisp quality images. The interior is nitrogen purged and o-rind sealed for fog-free and waterproof performance.

They have a field of view of 1000 yards and a close focus distance of 12 feet. It is fitted with a large center focus knob for easy targeting. The exterior is softly textured rubber for optimal protection, a non-slip grip, and shock absorption.

They have a 17mm eye relief for easy viewing even when wearing glasses, and the eyecups facilitate fast viewing.

They are also available in 8×42 specifications. You can buy them with or without a harness. The manufacturer backs their quality with a limited lifetime warranty.

Pros

  • Quite affordable
  • Deliver clear and bright images
  • IPX7 Water and fog proof rated
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Suitable even in low light conditions
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Some people have a challenge with focusing
  • Knobs may move around, requiring you to reset them each time

Best Hunting Binoculars Buying Guide

Below is a look at the key features to consider in binoculars for hunting.

Type of Prism: Porro vs Roof Prism Binoculars

There are two main types of prisms in binoculars: Porro and roof. In the simplest terms, a prism is the triangular construction of blocks of glass found in optics that refract the incoming light from the object into the objective lens to create an image of the target for you to see.

Porro prisms are the earliest form of prisms. Though not as popular as roof prisms, they are still used in modern-day binoculars.

Porro and roof prisms vary in their construction and design. In Porro prisms, the glass blocks move horizontally to amplify and invert light from the object through the ocular lens. Consequently, they produce a magnified and correct orientation of the target.

Porro prism binoculars are easy to identify as they are generally larger than roof prism binoculars. They have a zigzag or offset shape in the middle. They are bulky, heavy, and fragile. They have lower waterproofing quality, making them less durable.

On the other hand, roof prisms are lightweight, compact, and streamlined. As such, they are easy to handle and carry around. Although their construction looks simple from the exterior, the internal machination is quite complex.

They employ a convoluted machined path to reflect light from the objective lens to the ocular lens allowing for higher magnification and bright imagery. Their construction offers superior waterproofing making them more durable.

So, which should you buy? The right choice between Porro and roof prism binoculars depends on the hunting conditions and budget.

Porro binoculars are more suitable for short-range spotting, while roof prism binoculars are ideal for long-range spotting. Porro prism binoculars offer a wider field of view and high image quality.

On the other hand, roof prism binoculars offer better magnification, the image is less clear, and the field of view is narrower. Both can be used for daytime hunting, although Porro prism binoculars are more suitable for nighttime hunting. Regarding pricing, roof prism binoculars are pricier than their porro counterparts.

Magnification

Your binoculars must have a high level of magnification to spot and track animals from a distance. However, the magnification power doesn’t have to be too high. Extremely high magnification can undermine image steadiness. The 7x-10x range is generally suitable for most people’s hunting needs.

Objective Size

It is usually indicated in mm. In a binocular calibration, it is the second number. For instance, if a pair of binoculars is labeled as 10×40, 10 is the magnification power, while 40 is the objective lens size. The wider the objective lens, the more details you will be able to see about the target and its immediate surroundings. A wider diameter is more suitable when hunting in low light conditions.

Field of View

The field of view refers to the widest dimension you can see in feet over yards. The higher it is, the more you will be able to see, and the easier it is to aim and track even a moving animal. A higher wide view is especially important if you are hunting in open areas.

Focus

Hunting binoculars have one of the following three types of focus: individual, center, and focus-free. Focus-free binoculars do not require you to adjust the lens for a clear focus. They are suitable for medium-range hunting but do not work well when targeting over short or long distances.

In individual focus binoculars, each telescope focuses separately. On the other hand, center focus binoculars have a large focusing ring at the center that turns both telescopes simultaneously.

Eye Relief

This feature is particularly important if you wear glasses. It allows you to hold the binoculars a few inches away from your eyes while still seeing your target clearly. If your binoculars do not have eye relief, your field of view will be restricted, and you will only be able to see the center of the image. 14mm-15mm eye relief is sufficient for most people who use their binoculars while wearing glasses.

Optical Coating

Optical coating is essential in binoculars as it minimizes reflection, glare, and light loss, making it easy to focus on your target. The optical coating is usually applied on the glass surface to ensure that the target images are clear and bright. The best hunting binoculars are multicoated. Although they are pricier than their single-coat counterparts, the higher price is worthwhile.

Image Quality

The image quality is determined by the sharpness and clarity of the view. Depending on their construction and specifications, it varies from one pair of binoculars to another. Those that deliver better quality cost more and allow you to aim and target even in low lighting conditions. Note that a high magnification can reduce the image quality.

Size and Weight of the Binoculars

The most ideal binoculars for hunting are lightweight and compact, as they are easily portable alongside other hunting accessories and gear. The weight and size of hunting binoculars are determined by the frame’s material and the size of objective lens. The larger the lens, the heavier the binoculars.

Weather Resistance and Waterproof Rating

You may encounter unprecedented weather conditions such as extreme wind, sun, rain, or storm when hunting outdoors. Your binoculars should be able to withstand such conditions. They should survive some water from the rain and keep off dirt and debris.

Those that are rubber coated are easy to handle and provide a firm grip even if they are wet or you handle them with wet hands. Ultimately, the best hunting binoculars are waterproof, fog proof, and weather resistant. Some hunting binoculars have nitrogen-purged optics to protect the lenses from water exposure, keep off dirt and debris, and ensure that they are fog proof.

Additional Features or Accessories

Most manufacturers provide additional accessories with binoculars. The most common accessories include lens wiping cloth, straps, and cases. A strap enables you to carry your binoculars conveniently around your neck, while a case provides adequate protection for storage or transportation.

Tips for Using Your Hunting Binoculars Effectively

  • Keep the lens clean for a clear view of the target, even in low light conditions
  • Adjust your focus to suit the surroundings you are working in
  • Utilize the magnification to maintain a reasonable distance away from the target to avoid scaring it

Conclusion

There is an unlimited variety of hunting binoculars on the market for you to choose from. Most have a similar design and vary in quality and range of features.

The Vortex Optics Diamondback 10×42 Roof Prism Binocular is our top pick. They have an elite quality, offer excellent image quality, and come with a wide range of convenience features. However, if you are looking for a starter pair at an affordable price, go for the Bushnell Falcon binoculars or Bushne11 H20 Prism.

Ultimately, the best binoculars for hunting offer a wide range of view, crisp and clear quality, and can be used even in low light conditions.

Rasmus

Hi, my name is Rasmus. I'm a huge fan of alternative living arrangements and the many ways people are escaping the 9 to 5 grind. Whether it's van dwelling or homesteading, if it allows for more freedom in your life then I'm all ears! I've been exploring different aspects of this lifestyle for over three years now and have learned so much. From solar power to worm farming, if there's something out there that helps us live differently - I want to know about it!

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