Best Hunting Binoculars for 2017

Every outdoor enthusiast knows the importance of having good image enhancing equipment. Binoculars represent a perfect choice for any sort of outdoor viewing activity.

vortex optics diamondback review
  • VORTEX OPTICS DIAMONDBACK
  • Size: 8 x 42
  • Weight: 24.4 oz
  • FOV: 345 ft
bushnell legend ultra hd review
  • BUSHNELL LEGEND ULTRA HD
  • Size: 10 x 42
  • Weight: 24.7 oz
  • FOV: 340 ft
nikon trailblaze review
  • NIKON TRAILBLAZER
  • Size: 10 x 25
  • Weight: 12 oz
  • FOV: 429 ft
compact pocket travel binoculars review
  • COMPACT POCKET TRAVEL BINOCULARS
  • Size: 12 x 25
  • Weight: 10 oz
  • FOV: 285 ft
bushnellt rophy xlt review
  • BUSHNELL TROPHY XLT
  • Size: 10 x 42
  • Weight: 25.6 oz
  • FOV: 325 ft

Hunters use them to track the movements of their prey. This optics based gear helps them plan their shots. Unlike hunters, bird watchers use binoculars only for observation. These two types of outdoor sportsmen look for different features in their observation tools. That is why we have a test between best binoculars models currently available on the market. We hope that this information will assist you in getting the best model for your needs.

Top Rated Products on the Market

Vortex Optics New 2016 Diamondback

vortex optics diamondback review

Hunting enthusiasts know well about Vortex Optics and their high-quality gear. Their Diamondback 10x42 Roof Prism Binoculars represent the evolution of their flagship series. Let’s go into more detail on features and specification in order to see what new improvements this model introduces.

FEATURES:

• VIP unconditional Lifetime Warranty


• O-ring seals prevent moisture, dust and debris from penetrating the binocular for reliable performance in all environments


• Multi-layer Prism coatings provide bright, clear, color-accurate images


From the moment, you take these out of the box you get a sense of their build quality. It looks like they were made to survive in even the harshest environment. The unconditional lifetime warranty serves as a proof of their durability in the field. There is absolutely no way that water or dust can get to the lenses thanks to the included seals.

This is a medium size model measuring 5.8 by 5.1 inches with a weight of 1.3 pounds. They sit nicely in the hand during use and we like the ergonomic shape which makes handling comfortable and not as cumbersome as on some of the previous models from Vortex Optics. There is a high-quality carrying case included which protects the binoculars at all times when they are not in use.

The 10x42 Prism lenses capture more light and provide extra brightness in the low light situations. The image magnification provides sharp and very detailed views over large distances which many users will appreciate.

vortex optics diamondback review

PROS

• Great build quality
• Ergonomic and light weight
• Bright and sharp lenses capture plenty of detail
• Comes with a lifetime VIP warranty

CONS

• Might feel heavy to users who are carrying lots of gear
• Expensive

  • Optical Quality
  • Features
  • Price
  • Overall, Vortex Optics have another winner in their product line. The new Diamondback 2016 model is a top contender for the title of best-hunting binoculars on our test.

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Roof Prism Binocular

bushnell legend ultra hd review

Coming from a well know Bushnell brand we had their Legend Ultra HD model on our test. It comes fully featured and offers so much functionality when compared to the rest of the competition. Read on to learn what this model has to offer.

FEATURES:

• Rain guard HD water-repellent lens coating


• Lightweight, magnesium chassis


• Waterproof & fog proof


• Includes a soft carrying case, Microfiber carry bag & neck strap


• 10x magnification, 42mm objective lens binoculars


• Exceptional optics with ED Prime Glass, Ultra Wide Band Coatings, and RainGuard HD water-repellent lens coating


• Ultra wide field-of-view with long eye-relief; locking diopter


Over the years, we got used to the build quality from Bushnell made products so our expectations were high for this model too. Thankfully Legend Ultra doesn’t disappoint. It is built like a tank and it makes users confident about its durability. There are two design choices – standard black colour and a camouflage pattern one. We find both variants to be good looking.

The dimensions are 4 by 5.2 by 6.9 inches with a weight of 1.54 pounds. The grooves on the side of the binoculars offer a good amount of grip even in wet conditions. We are a bit surprised with its heaviness even though this model uses magnesium as a chassis material. The 42 mm lenses are covered with a water-repellent coating and are also fog proof. A maximum of 10 x magnification provides bright and clear ultra wide viewing quality thanks to the use of ED Prime Glass and ultra wide band coatings.

bushnell legend ultra hd review

PROS

• Great build quality
• Ergonomic design for easy handling
• Ultra wide FOV lenses
• Water repellent and fog resistant

CONS

• A bit on the heavy side
• Small neck strap for the included soft carrying case

  • Optical Quality
  • Features
  • Price
  • Bushnell Legend Ultra HD manages to impress even with its few downsides. We feel that it represents great value for the money.

NIKON TRAILBLAZER WATERPROOF SERIES ATB BINOCULARS

nikon trailblaze review

Nikon is a well-known manufacturer of great optical gear intended for photography. They also make some pretty great binoculars so we got their Trailblazer Waterproof Series ATB model for our testing purposes. Read on to find out more.

FEATURES:

• 100% waterproof, fog proof


• Compact and rugged design


• Nitrogen filled and O-ring sealed.


• Wide field of view. Rubber armoured body


• Turn-and-slide eyecups


• Magnification: 10x. Objective Diameter: 25 mm. Angular Field of view (Real): 8.2.


• Angular Field of view (Apparent): 65.6. Field of View at 1000 yds.: 429 ft. Close Focus Distance: 8.2 ft.


• Exit Pupil: 3.1 mm. Relative Brightness: 9.6. Eye Relief: 10 mm.


What becomes obvious from the moment you take this model in your hands is how compact and light weight it is. It measures 4.5 by 4.1 by 1.8 inches and weighing in at only 0.75 pounds. The build materials feel nice in hand and provide a good deal of confidence about their durability. The rubber coating allows for a firm grip even when binoculars are completely wet or covered in dirt or mud.

The complete waterproof and fog proof features make them great for use in all kinds of environments. The space between the lenses is filled with nitrogen gas in order to ensure clear and distortion free views. This is a 10x magnification 25 mm lens.

nikon trailblaze review

Naturally, the smaller diameter lens captures less light which makes these binoculars great for day viewing and not so good in low light situations. However, they do offer a wide field of view perspective with bright and clear enough imaging.

PROS

• High quality build and finish
• Completely water and fog proof
• Compact size and lightweight
• Affordable price

CONS

• Not great for low light viewing
• Small size of exit pupil

  • Optical Quality
  • Features
  • Price
  • Nikon Trailblazer ATB series represents a great price to performance ratio compact binoculars. They are convenient and easy to carry for your daytime outdoor activity.

Compact Pocket Travel Binoculars(12x25)

compact pocket travel review

Coming from a less known manufacturer ZOMAKE, we have their Compact Pocket Travel (12x25) Binoculars on our test. Let us find out what can this affordable model offer to hunters and bird watching enthusiasts.

FEATURES:

• 100% quality materials used and tested extensively


• Beautiful design and durability


• 12x magnification with 25 mm objective lens


• With green film optics glass lens, you can see clearly in weak light condition (not dark)


• Waterproof and Night Vision ready


• XMC Technology with BAK4 prism which can 100% reflect the light to keep a good image


• Made by using Magnesium for the binoculars body and hand figured polishing


• Fit for hunting, hiking, exploring, viewing, sailing, bird watching, concert, outdoor sports etc.


• Bonus accessories includes hand strap, carrying pouch and cleaning cloth


The overall build quality is good and we are surprised to find a magnesium body on these very affordable binoculars. This is a compact sized model measuring 4.54 inches in height and 4 inches in width. Thanks to the use of magnesium it is very lightweight which allows it to be comfortable during use and handling. The non-slip texture on the sides of the binoculars allows for a secure grip even in rainy conditions. The 25 mm lenses come in two different colour tones for eyepieces and objectives. The blue lens allows for a higher light transmittance and complete internal reflection that provides clear and bright viewings.

compact pocket travel review

On the other hand, the green coating provides high-definition sharpness and reduces eye strain during long observation sessions. The advertised XMC technology with BAK4 prism is there to provide an ultra-wide-angle view and good brightness levels even in low light situations.

PROS

• Great build quality
• Light weight and compact size
• Lenses provide good amount of image detail
• Comes at an affordable price

CONS

• Not so good for low light viewing
• Image blurring and loss of detail on the edges of lenses

  • Optical Quality
  • Features
  • Price
  • Compact Pocket Travel binoculars from ZOMAKE are a great choice for anyone looking for affordable binoculars.

Bushnell Trophy XLT Roof Prism Binoculars

bushnellt rophy xlt review

We have another pair of binoculars from Bushnell on our test. Their Trophy XLT 10x42 (Bone Collector Edition) model offers a great set of features at an affordable price. So, let’s see what makes this one so special.

FEATURES:

• Michael Waddell Bone Collector Edition


• Waterproof and Fog proof


• Fast focus


• Fully multi-coated optics


• New dura-grip rubber


• Soft-touch thumb grips


• Flip objective covers


• Lead-free glass


• Magnification x Obj. Lens:10x 42mm, Close Focus: ft./m: 8.2/2.5, Eyecups: Twist-Up


We like the size and weight of the Trophy XLT model. It feels great in the hand and you feel that it can take the beating in even the worst possible outdoor conditions. Its rugged built outer shell has ergonomic features that make it easy to hold firmly even when they are wet and covered in mud. This is all thanks to the use of Dura-Grip rubber armoured outer housing. This model measures 7 by 6 by 3 inches and weighs 1.6 pounds.

As you can see from the dimensions this is a large and heavy piece of equipment. The two 42 mm lenses are fully multi-coated which allows sharp and bright viewings. The inside of the body of the binoculars is filled with nitrogen gas which removes any possibility of fogging and image distortion.

bushnellt rophy xlt review

The included BAK4 prisms allow for lots of image detail and fast focus. This model provides lots of light for the prism which make the low light observation that much easier.

PROS

• Superb build quality and finish
• Fully water and fog proof
• Ergonomic design allows good handling
• High-quality lenses for great viewing performance

CONS

• Large size and heavy weight
• Fiddly lens flip covers

  • Optical Quality
  • Features
  • Price
  • This more affordable model from Bushnell offers all of the perks and features from the more expensive ones on the market. As it is the Trophy XLT represents a great value for every outdoor enthusiast who is looking to buy new binoculars for either hunting or bird watching.

Things to Consider When Buying Binocular for Hunting

There are a lot of factors to consider before buying binoculars for any kind of outdoor activity, be it hunting or bird watching. The more experienced hunters prefer high magnification models that provide a good amount of image sharpness even at the highest zoom level. On the other hand, for bird watching, you might not need these extreme detail retrieval features. So, even a model with a smaller diameter of lenses will do. Now let’s go into further detail on what to look for in a pair of binoculars before venturing out to the great outdoors. This guide will help you choose the best gear for the job at hand.

infographic hunting binoculars buyers guide

DECIDE ON WHAT YOU WILL BE USING YOUR BINOCULARS FOR

Making a decision on what sort of activity you will be using your set for is crucial before buying. For hunters that go regularly out on hunting trips during the year, having a reliable pair of binoculars means everything. That is why they usually opt to buy more expensive models which they know they will last them a lifetime. After all, this type of gear is not something that you change every season for a new model.

For bird watching enthusiasts, having the model with best optical properties is not a top priority. For this type of activity, even the more basic binoculars will do the job. Lower diameter lenses on these ones still provide and capture enough detail in order to allow for good observations.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT LENSES TYPES

This part of any binoculars is essential for allowing a sharp and bright image quality during viewing and observation sessions. No matter the type of activity. Hunters generally prefer using 42 mm diameter lenses as they capture and resolve more image detail. The general rule is that the bigger the lens diameter – the more image detail they capture and transmit to the eye of the user.

Having some kind of specialised lens coating helps reduce glare and reflection that can scare of the game that is being hunted or observed. This coating allows more light to bounce to the reflectors which help resolve more details even in low light conditions. This is very useful during early dawn and late dusk outdoor activity.

For bird watching, even the lower lens diameter binoculars will do the job just fine. This activity usually involves observation from closer distances so the number of details that the optical apparatus resolves is not of top priority. It is important to remember that the lower the lens size the more imaging detail gets degraded and blurred.

OPTICAL ENHANCEMENT LEVELS ARE IMPORTANT

This feature is more commonly known as zoom. Enhancing image detail over large distances is essential to hunters. This function allows anyone using binoculars to scan the outdoor observation region with more attention to even the slightest movements. This is especially useful in dense forests and grassy plain areas where you need to discern the motion of the animals from the motion of the plants in the wind.

The 10x is a common zoom level found on the most hunter binoculars. This magnification provides a good balance between image detail and viewing stability. Note that magnifications greater than ten are more difficult to manage as the hunters need to hold the binoculars steady to prevent image detail that gets lost due to shaking. For bird watching activity the common zoom level is 8x and it is more than adequate for such use.

Always opt for hunting binoculars that are completely water and fog proof. Also, make sure that they have some kind of texture on the outer parts of the body which will allow for a secure and firm grip. Especially in wet and muddy conditions. We suggest the 10x42 models as they offer a good balance of image quality and enhancement levels.

infographic hunting binoculars buyers guide

Conclusion

Choosing the right tool for the job is essential in case of hunting. Going out in the field without the ability to observe your game with a proper set of binoculars can be disastrous. This piece of equipment is essential for monitoring animal movement as well as their surroundings.

You should always choose the right feature of your hunting binoculars depending on the type of the game that you plan to track and monitor. This will allow you to predict its movement and plan your shot. We advise that you always choose the models which offer a good balance between durability and image enhancing features.

hunting knife

Hunting Knives

hunting boots

Hunting Boots