Take the time & learn how to buy binoculars before laying down cash. This binocular buying guide walks you through how to choose the best binoculars for you.
It can be overwhelming to choose the right model for you—there are enough options out there to drive most shoppers crazy.
But by learning how to buy binoculars, you can save yourself plenty of time and hassle.
How to Buy Binoculars
Choosing Binoculars for Your Needs
Before you go to the store ad start browsing through the countless binocular models available, you need to understand what separates certain models from others. There are standard all-purpose binoculars which are suited to just about every activity. But there are also specialty binocs made just for:
- And more
So the first question you need to ask yourself is: what kind of sight-seeing do I want to do with my new binoculars?
Then you need to learn what makes the models different from one another.
Magnification – This is the degree to which your binoculars make an object bigger than its natural state. If you have a pair of 8×42 glasses, then that means the view will be 8 times larger than normal.
Objective Lens – The bigger the objective lens, the more light that shines through. Large objective lenses are best for low-light viewing and astronomy, but they can be heavy. Compact binoculars will have smaller objective lenses.
Field of View – How much you can see through your binoculars is figured by the Field of View. This is typically measured in feet and refers to your field of vision when standing 1,000 yards away. Smaller magnifications have bigger Fields of View than larger ones.
Defense – If you plan on taking your binoculars fishing or into potentially nasty weather, you need to make sure they are waterproof. Many models are water-resistant, but you can only keep them safe from damage if they’re one hundred percent impervious to water.
Prism – Binoculars come in two different prism styles: roof and porro. Porro prisms are bulkier, but cheaper. Birding and hunting works best with roof prisms, while astronomy requires some high index porro designs.
The Best Binoculars
Once you’ve learned how to buy binoculars, you need to figure out which are the best. Reading consumer reviews is a great way to find out how a model performs in the real world.
To give you a head start on your hunt for the perfect specs, let’s take a look at the best binoculars in a variety of categories:
Your options for birding field glasses are virtually limitless. But the best model out there has got to be the Swarovski 8.5×42 EL binoculars.
These have high quality BAK-4 prisms, a large Field of View (390 feet), and premium diamond bright optics for the best in clarity and color. No bird has ever looked more beautiful than through a pair of these first-rate binocs. (Retails at $2,300)
Setting your sights on your quarry is essential before you make a move. If you do so with a pair of Bushnell Fusion 1600 ARC 10×42 binoculars, then you’ll be shooting straight.
This is a fully waterproof model with RainGuard HD water-repellant coating on the lenses, high quality BAK-4 prisms, and a laser range finder capable of sighting a target 1,600 yards away. (Retails at $800)
The Bushnell 7×50 Marine models are fully waterproof, submersible, and floatable specs.
They come with a built-in digital compass and range finding scale. These are the perfect glasses for water-bound fun. (Retails at $140)
There’s only one stop to make on your search for the perfect astronomy binoculars: the Celestron catalog. And the Celestron SkyMaster Giant 15×70 binoculars are unmatched in amateur stargazing.
The large objective lens is perfect for night sky viewing and they’re light enough that you can operate them manually for short periods of time. Celestron knows the stars and the Giant 15×70 binoculars will take you right to them. (Retails at $75)
For those sight-seers on the go, you can’t do better than a pair of Leica 10×25 Trinovid binoculars for lightweight, compact portability. And they’re more than just small—these binoculars are incredibly tough.
Made with rubberized metal casings and fully waterproof designs, you can take these pocket-size glasses with you anywhere. (Retails at $500)
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