Best Hunting Binoculars – 2017 Reviews
Ever tried to track a distant buck by eye? It sucks, and that’s why making sure you have some of the best binoculars for hunting is important. No longer will you lose that deer or elk you’ve been tracking.
Instead, you’ll easily be able to follow it and keep a watch from a distance. Great clarity in reduced visibility… sounds fantastic, right?
It may sound corny, but you might even be able to pitch it to the misses as a pair she can use for bird watching (hey, never know!)
Qualities To Look For In Hunting Binoculars
Size & weight:
This is probably the most straightforward of the qualities to look for. Don’t purchase a pair of binoculars that will be a lug to carry. Keep in mind that some full-size binoculars are up to two pounds or more… not fun. Large binoculars are not ideal for a hunting trip either, imagine having to carry them around your neck the whole time when you are trying to aim through your scope? Talk about getting in the way.
Bigger is not always better for magnification. Think about what you will be using the binoculars for, how far you will be from your desired object (see below for our visual representation). The best range of magnification for general hunting use is between 7x – 10x. Keep in mind, the higher the power of magnification that you are using, the less steady your viewing will be.
If you are big game hunting to the point where you expect to require a tripod to hold your binoculars, chances are you will likely need a larger magnification than what was suggested above.
Sealant & Waterproofing:
As a hunter, you’re almost guaranteed to be in some ‘less-than-ideal’ environments. This means cold, rain, mud, etc. You need to make sure your purchase can stand up to the terrain and conditions that you’re planning on exposing them to.
Brightness is determined by two key factors; magnification and objective size. The larger the exit pupil (what creates brightness), the larger the amount of light which can be visualized. A good rule mentioned in our research was to pick a binocular pair that contains an exit pupil similar to yours.
Exit Pupil by age:
- Young people (under 30): up to 7mm
- Elderly: up to 4 mm
Hunting binoculars most commonly use two types of prisms: porro and roof. A roof prism is considered by many to be more usable in nature. Other benefits are that it is typically more lightweight and has a direct line of sight with the binocular eyepiece meaning it is typically slimmer in width. Roof prisms have a light reflection of 5x, and while beneficial is the more expensive of the two prism options.
A porro prism is a larger shaped prism that reflects light at 4x. The eyepieces are not directly lined up in this prism which can make it more difficult to use for many. The trade-off, of course, is that these are more affordable to the end user.
This is actually a newer feature that is starting to make its way into hunting binos. Basically, it allows you to look through your binos and utilize a yard, foot, or meter scale to understand how far away the object you are focusing on is. This isn’t a required feature by any means, and it significantly increases the cost you’re looking at, but if you’re a big game hunter like whitetail deer, this is something to consider.
Full-size vs Mid-size (also known as compact)? What should I buy?
The first thing you should ask yourself is, ‘in what conditions will I be using these’? If you need a pair of binoculars for hunting deer or that you need a larger field of view, mid-size hunting binoculars are probably not for you. They typically offer a smaller field of vision, fewer features, and collect less light due to the smaller lenses. These are good options for fishing such as Kayak fishing.
A full size hunting binocular set is larger and offers a larger view. This also means larger lenses, more light collection, and more features.
Video: Choosing The Best Hunting Binoculars
Top Rated Under $200
Top Rated Under $500
Top Rated Over $500
Research For This Article
We invested around 5 hours of research reading over various hunting binocular reviews and buyer guides and user experiences to gather 3rd party data. Outdoor Life wrote a nice piece on them, however, we found their content to be less education than we had hoped for.
They didn’t actually recommend places to purchase the listed products for the prices they recommended (we found a variety of prices for the same equipment). They did produce some very nice infographics though, however, they were just images and not interactive.
Another place we researched at was Field & Stream since they are well known in the industry. Their content was a bit hard to read with large paragraphs, they did actually take the time to break down important points such as size and weight, magnification, brightness, sharpness, and prism which was nice to see. Their piece was outdated though since it was from 2005, and we were sure things had changed since technology has been changing at such a rapid rate.