Hunters often take binoculars out with them for scouting and spotting game because spotting with a rifle scope just isn’t as convenient.
If you’re looking for the best binoculars to toss in your pack for your next hunt, we’ve got you covered.
Table Of Contents
- Our Best Binoculars For Hunting
- What Are Binoculars For Hunting?
- What Are The Different Types Of Binoculars For Hunting?
- How Do Binoculars For Hunting Work?
- What Do You Look For In The Best Binoculars For Hunting?
- Best Binoculars For Hunting Reviewed
- Final Thoughts On Binoculars For Hunting
Our Best Binoculars For Hunting
- Vortex Optics Viper HD Binoculars (Our Top Pick)
- Vortex Optics Diamondback Binoculars (Best Budget)
- Swarovski SLC Binoculars (Best High End)
- Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Compact Binocular
- Bushnell Trophy 10×42 Binoculars
What Are Binoculars For Hunting?
When you’re hunting, scanning fields with your scope is inconvenient at best.
That’s where a good pair of binoculars comes in.
Binoculars have a wider field of view than your riflescope, have a larger objective lens, and better lens coatings (usually). This allows for better light transmission and image quality in low light conditions.
They’re also a lot more ergonomic to use when glassing a field or checking targets at long distances. That’s both because of the shape and because they’re usually hanging on a neck strap.
Full-size binoculars will also typically have the same gas-purged interior and protective o-rings just like a rifle scope to keep them waterproof and fog proof.
What Are The Different Types Of Binoculars For Hunting?
The two main types of binoculars are Porro prism and Roof prism.
Porro Prism Binoculars
These are the older style binoculars you see that have the eyepieces or eyecups on a different plane than the objective lens.
These use a simpler light path and have slightly more limited eye relief than the roof prism options. However, they are typically available at a lower price ranges on places like Amazon. They have the same wide field of view (FOV) and bright images as their more expensive cousins, roof prism binoculars.
Though it is an older design, some of the best hunting binoculars for the money still use this design. That includes many binoculars optimized for bird watching.
Roof Prism Binoculars
These are the more modern H-shaped binos. From the outside, they look like the light just travels straight through from the objective lens to the eyepiece. They usually come in at a higher price point than the Porro prism ones but are usually lighter and less bulky.
They’re also typically a little more high end overall. That comes with features like extra-low dispersion glass and high-quality, fully multi-coated lenses. ED glass helps to remove any chromatic aberration at higher magnifications. Those lens coatings help maintain a brighter image overall.
How Do Binoculars For Hunting Work?
Hunting binoculars are used as a scouting tool for finding and tracking games as they are much easier to scan than a rifle scope. They’re smaller, lighter, and easier to use than spotting scopes as well.
Quality binoculars typically have larger objective lenses. Larger objective lenses bring in more light for bright, clear images. They also have more flexible diopter settings. They may also include other features like built-in rangefinders.
And like all quality optics, these are typically waterproof binoculars so they can stand up to all weather conditions.
Some binoculars designed for hunting will also have non-slip rubber armor on the outside. This helps them to stand up to trekking through the woods without a carrying case. This rubber coating also helps you keep hold of them in wet conditions as it makes them less slippery.
Finally, most of these binoculars have a center focus wheel for quickly adjusting the focus for viewing at multiple distances.
What Do You Look For In The Best Binoculars For Hunting?
To choose a high-quality pair of binoculars for hunting, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
First of course you have to decide between the two prism styles. Roof prism binoculars are generally light and easier to carry, but more expensive. Porro prism binoculars are cheaper, but a little bit bulkier and heavier.
Next, you have to decide on your magnification. If you’re spotting out West looking for plains game, then something in the 15x range is totally reasonable. But if you’re in the close-in conditions in the South, you probably won’t ever need more than 8-10x.
Best Binoculars For Hunting Reviewed
Now let’s talk about the actual binocular recommendations:
Vortex Optics Viper HD Binoculars (Our Top Pick)
These Vortex Viper HD Roof Prism binoculars have a 10x magnification and a large 42mm objective lens making it a good option for most any hunting scenario. The rubber-armored chassis is shock-resistant and non-slip which makes it perfect for hunting in any conditions.
The high-density glass gives you an exceptional resolution. At the same time, the XR anti-reflective lens coatings give you bright, clear images even in low light. The locking diopter keeps each barrel’s focus the same and makes it easy to focus the binoculars quickly.
- Excellent glass quality
- Lifetime warranty
- Easy-to-use focus knob
- A little heavier than some similar options
Vortex Optics Diamondback Binoculars (Best Budget)
The Vortex Optics Diamondback is our favorite set of budget binoculars because of the HD glass and fully multi-coated lenses that give you great resolution and image brightness for a relatively cheap price. They also feature adjustable eyecups that twist and up and down for comfortable viewing with or without eyeglasses.
They’re also available in various magnification and objective lens combinations, starting at 8x magnification. Options go all the way up to 15x with a 56mm objective lens. That model is perfect for viewing those distant targets or for checking group sizes at the 100-yard line.
- Very affordable
- Great features for the price
- Many different magnifications and objective lens combinations
- Glass has slight color aberrations at the edges
Swarovski SLC Binoculars (Best High End)
If you’re looking for the best hunting binoculars around, then the Swarovski SLC Binoculars are the options we recommend you go with. These come with everything you need, including lens covers, a field bag, a carrying strap. On top of that, the glass is a patented flourite-infused high-density glass that gives you 91% light transmission for extra-bright images even late in the afternoon and early evening.
The large objective lens diameter (42mm) makes for great viewing at a distance and also aids light transmission.
Overall, these are high-performance binoculars mostly suited for guides and other professional hunters, but of course they’re perfect for anyone with the extra cash to spend. They’re designed to be the best pair of hunting binoculars around.
- Crystal clear glass
- Extra-wide field of view
- Ultra-high light transmission
- Very expensive
Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Compact Binocular
The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Compact Binoculars are another great budget option that is ergonomically designed and great for beginners and experienced hunters alike. These are perfect as a backup pair, or to keep in a pouch ready to go for when you just happen to need to check that distant field.
It has a close focus distance of just 6’ so they’re great for close range as well, especially for something like squirrel hunting or close-range target shooting. The ED Prime glass is coated with Bushnell’s Ultra Wide Band coating and Rainguard HD water-repellent coating for great performance in all weather and lighting conditions.
- Compact design
- Easy focus
- Poor low-light performance
- Not the most rugged
Bushnell Trophy 10×42 Binoculars
The Bushnell Trophy Binoculars come coated with Realtree Xtra camo and a large, easy-to-use center-focus knob. They’re extremely shockproof and 100% waterproof and shockproof so you can feel safe with them bouncing around your pack.
The Bak-4 prism is excellent for this price range and helps keep everything lightweight at well under 2lbs. The camo rubber armor is also very robust and well-textured to help you keep a firm grip on the binoculars even in wet conditions.
- Easy to use
- Very Affordable
- Glass could be clearer
Final Thoughts On Binoculars For Hunting
Hunting binoculars are a great addition to any hunter’s kit, and any of these binoculars would be fantastic options. From lower-end budget models to high-end pro models, there should be something here for everyone. Hunting binos are something we think everyone should have on them when out in the field.