5 Best Binoculars for Birding

best birding binoculars

October 11, 2020 • Product, Tips & Lists • Views: 31184

Watching birds with a magnified effect.

Birding is one of the activities that demand binoculars the most. Bird watchers will need a level of detail that is completely different from other observing activities. The optics will need to cover a wide field and range of situations, due to the unpredictable movements made by birds. So, if you plan to go on a birdwatching trip, you can’t go without a proper pair of binoculars that will fit your needs. This article will present you with our choices of best binoculars for bird watching. We will also tell you how to choose the perfect pair for you. We have provided links to Amazon for your easy reference.

1. What to Look For in the Best Birding Binoculars

Binoculars can differ from model to model depending on size, weight and function. Here are 3 important factors you can’t miss when buying binoculars for bird watching.

  • Magnification

While it would be very tempting to buy binoculars with the highest magnification, it might not always be the smartest step because high magnification can make tremors more visible, the FOV smaller and the ground heat appear as lines in front of the binoculars. So unless you plan on keeping it fixed on a tripod, you need to look for a bird watching binocular with a magnification of about 7x or 8x. Plus, high magnification would make it harder for you to find your target.

  • Weight

Depending on how you plan on using those binoculars, the weight can be a great concern. Heavier optics have an advantage that they can resist movement. However, if you do not plan to attach them to a tripod, you might want to opt for an easier pair. You can also use binocular straps that can take the weight off as it distributes it over to your shoulders. The best pair of bird watching binoculars should go from 15 to 35 ounces.

  • Prisms

The glass quality of the prism greatly affects the sharpness of the binoculars’ image. There are basically two common types of prisms: BAK4 and BK7. While BAK4 is usually more expensive than BK7, it is certainly also greater in quality. The BAK4 binoculars will give you a nice, clear, and round exit pupil while the BK7 can produce distorted images around the edge. So when you start looking for the best binoculars for birding, keep in mind to check for prism quality.

2. Top 5 Best Birding Binoculars Options

You know now what to look for in a pair of binoculars. Now, here are some examples of binoculars you should definitely take with you on a birdwatching trip:

2.1. Nikon 8245 ACULON A211 8×42 Binocular

These ACULON binoculars were designed to be lightweight and easily carried around. If you are looking for something that is high quality, extremely versatile and at a fair price, these are the best birdwatching binoculars for you. The mid-range magnification is slightly higher, and it was constructed in a compact design with objectives of 42mm. It was made with a A-spherical Eco-Glass lenses which offer clear and bright images in most lighting conditions.


  • Durable rubber coating
  • Bright and clear image
  • Lightweight


  • Not waterproof
  • No fog resistance

2.2. Carl Zeiss Optical 8×42 Victory HT Binocular

Coming from the Germans, these are some of the world’s brightest premium binoculars that feature HT glass by Schott. They have an enhanced T coating that gives about 95% of the light transmission, making this pair one of the best binoculars for birdwatching you can buy. It has a drift-free, positive focusing due to its low drive ratio and it’s made out of lightweight, but durable magnesium materials that can handle any kind of heavy duty field uses.


  • Clear focus
  • Color fidelity
  • Lightweight and durable


  • Not a very wide FOV
  • Not really fog proof

2.3. Nikon 7566 Monarch 5 10×42 Binocular

The Monarch 5 binoculars were definitely created to be kings. Built to resist in any kind of extreme environment, these are the best bird watching binoculars since they are waterproof, fog proof and everything-proof. Their durability is also enhanced by the rubber armored body, but it’s still lighter than its predecessor, making it easy to carry around. The lenses provide a high light transmittance, and it’s equipped with many user-friendly features like flip-down lens caps, smooth central focus knob, and turn-and-slide rubber eyecups.


  • Clear focus
  • Durable
  • Lightweight


  • Lens covers can be less durable
  • Focus sometimes needs working on

2.4. Vortex Optics Diamondback 10×42 Roof Prism Binocular

The Diamondback binoculars are definitely one the choices for best birding binoculars since they offer high performance, a superior quality and can be purchased for a really great price. They have a smooth 10×42 focus, which allows you to see the finest details of your “prey.” It’s very efficient in detecting life in places with low light and its multi-coated lenses offer a great FOV.


  • Waterproof and fog proof
  • Durable
  • Eye relief


  • Lens covers can fall off
  • Focus can be tricky to obtain

2.5. Nikon 16002 PROSTAFF 7S 8×42 Inches All-Terrain Binocular

No matter if you’re trying to observe scenery or wildlife, there are two things you need to consider when buying binoculars: clarity and color. The PROSTAFF 7S earned the adjective of best binoculars for bird watching due to their fully multi-layered coated lenses, as well as the phase-correction-coated roof prisms. No matter if you have good or poor eyesight, you can still experience clarity with these binoculars by adjusting the space between the eyepiece and your own eye.


  • Easy gripped
  • Durable
  • Great focus even for eyeglass wearers


  • Lens caps aren’t secure
  • Eyecup design doesn’t stop all light from the sides

3. Best Compact Binoculars for Birdwatching

If you want to travel light, then you have to look for a pair of binoculars that can be easily carried around. Our recommendation for that would be the Aurosports 30×60 Folding Binocular Telescope with Night Vision. These binoculars can be used for outdoor birding, sightseeing, traveling, hunting and even more, making them a very versatile pair. And they can basically fit in the palm of your hands! Even more, they also have a 30×60 magnification 7.2°, 126M /1000M and 7.2°, 126M /20000M FOV. They are among the best birding binoculars recommended by users.


  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Wide FOV


  • Can’t see in complete darkness
  • Focus can be unclear

4. Best Birding Binoculars with Camera

Every once in a while, you see in your binoculars an image that you may also want to immortalize. For that, we also have an option in the form of PYRUS 12×32 Digital Camera Binoculars with an LCD display, handsfree neck strap, and 32 mm objective lens. The LCD display allows you to capture the perfect picture or video in HD, combining an excellent high-definition video camera with an all-optics binocular system. The 12x magnification gives you a clear focus on your target, making it a perfect bird watching binocular.


  • Clear focus
  • Wide FOV
  • High-definition image


  • The camera in the middle limits adjustments
  • Can’t handle all weather conditions

5. Best Monocular for Bird Watching

If you’re interested in a monocular instead of a binocular, then the Polaris Explorer 12×50 High Powered Monocular is definitely the best monocular for bird watching. It has a 12×50 magnification which can provide the user with a clear view. The external armor is durable and non-slip, with a tripod that can allow hands-free viewing. It’s also great for any environment since it prevents debris, moisture, and dust from getting in the monocular.


  • Waterproof and fog proof
  • Durable in extreme conditions
  • Clear view


  • Poor eye relief
  • Only for daytime use

6. How to Maintain Your Birding Binoculars

Clean binoculars offer the best images, which is why maintaining them is of great importance. The body of the binoculars should be gently wiped with a damp cloth while avoiding the lenses. The lenses, on the other hand, need to be cleaned with a special lens brush; however, it can be done with a soft, clean paintbrush as well.

7. Conclusions and Recommendations

Bird watching binoculars should be bought considering the place, time and weather conditions of your visit. Whether you may want to buy a Nikon ACULON or a Polaris Explorer Monocular, consider the three main factors mentioned above, and buy the best binoculars for bird watching that fit your style.

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*Link to Amazon  website. Please see disclosure around our affiliate relationship.




2 Responses to 5 Best Binoculars for Birding

  1. Bjaax says:

    Thank you, had not a clue what to buy. Appreciate your thorough evaluation.

  2. […] from a night vision. A pair of night vision binoculars can be utilized for observing animals, birding, fishing, stargazing and much Make it […]

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