The Ultimate List of Binoculars for Whale Watching: (2024)

  • By: Michaela King

When it comes to whale watching, having the best binoculars can make all the difference. I’ll never forget my experience seeing a sperm whale in Kaikoura, New Zealand – it was truly magnificent. If you’re considering a whale watching trip, don’t hesitate. Just make sure to bring along the best binoculars for an even more unforgettable experience.

binoculars for whale watching
Whale Watching – credit Soren Riise

Whether you are on a boat, land or shore, most often, whales are far from you and more likely you will not see a clear view of the whales this far.

So, it’s always good to have binoculars to get the most out of your whale watching expedition. Here are my favourite binoculars for whale watching. These are affordable and have a wide field of view.

  1. Wingspan Optics WideViews Binoculars
  2. Nikon Action Binoculars
  3. Vortex Optics Vulture HD Binoculars
  4. Fujinon Image Stabilization Binoculars

Consider this article a one-stop solution to all of your questions about a pair of marine binoculars that are popping up in your mind.

I have researched and explained some of the important specifications such as magnifications of binoculars, Lens, Exit pupil, size and weight, ease of handling, waterproof, and fog proof features so you can buy the best binocular for whale watching.

Do you have any plans for Alaska Cruising? I recently reviewed my top recommended binoculars for Alaska Sailing. Do check them out.

Ultimate Buyer’s Guide: Best Binoculars for Whale Watching 

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions that I have answered for you in detail. So, you get straight to the point answers to all of your questions before buying your next binocular.

What to Look for When Buying the Best Binoculars for Whale Watching?

You need to look for these basic things while choosing the best binocular for whale watching.

  • Magnification: For onboard viewing 7x or 8x magnification is ideal because a higher magnification than this would result in unstable images with each shake of the boat. While viewing whales from the shore, you need to opt for higher-magnification binoculars.
  • Size: Normally the standard marine binoculars come in 7×50 but they are quite heavy and bulky. In my experience, a 7×35 or 8×32 binocular is the best option for whale watching. Ideally, you are looking for lightweight binoculars which are robust to stand up to marine conditions.
  • Easy to handle: A 7×35 or 8×32 is easy to handle and compact binoculars along with having an ideal magnification. You can even operate it single-handed, freeing the other hand to hold the boat. Whale watching is more effective with it as the compact binocular can be easily moved in the right direction.
  • Waterproof capability: I believe that an average-cost waterproof binocular can easily do the job, without the need for paying extra pennies for good marine binoculars. These waterproof binoculars provide the advantage of fog proofing, thus preventing moisture in the binoculars and extending their lifespan.
  • Exit pupil: Many people ignore the exit pupil but I consider this to be an important point. A large exit pupil gives you a brighter image to view specifically during low light conditions such as dusk, stargazing and dawn hunting etc.
  • Lens diameter: if you want to have a brighter and clearer image, opt for a large lens as it gathers more light. A bigger lens will ultimately have a heavier gadget which goes fine with land-based viewing but for whale watching onboard, a heavy gadget won’t support much.

How to Use these Whale Watching Binoculars?

It’s really important to use binoculars correctly for a perfect view of whales. Before raising up your binoculars, you need to look at the target with your own eyes first. This will help you spot your target easily when raising your binoculars. You must know how to hold the binoculars correctly because if you hold it the wrong way, you will easily get tired and unstable.

  • For holding it the right way, put the first two fingers of your hand around its eyepieces while keeping the other two fingers around the prism.
  • In the rifle sling method, you need to hold your binoculars while placing both your arms through its strap so it’s just above the elbow.
  • While using binoculars with glasses, long eye relief is needed to ensure quality images.

What to Consider Before Buying Whale Watching Binoculars?

Certain technologies need to be featured before buying binoculars for whale watching.

  • ED Glass: an ED glass gives an edge by making a sharp outline of the objects, thus making perfect image quality among binoculars for ocean viewing.
  • Lens coating: a fully multi-coated lens assures you more bright and vivid images.
  • Roof prism vs Porro prism binoculars: 2 types of prisms are used by binoculars for turning the images upright. Roof prisms are used for compact, easy-to-carry and comfortable binoculars with a high price tag whereas Porro prism binoculars being heavier and bulkier are a bit difficult to hold offering a lower cost.
  • Eye relief: The distance between your eyes and the eyepiece is eye relief. Eye relief too is an important aspect to be considered along with choosing the right binocular especially if you are wearing glasses.

How to Choose the Top Binoculars for Whale Watching?

After a lot of research and studying all these products in detail, we have selected the best products for you on the basis of these criteria

  • Multi-coated optics
  • Waterproof ability
  • Long eye relief
  • Fog proof construction
  • Magnification & objective lens
  • Extra wide field view

#1 Nikon Action Extreme All-Terrain Binoculars – Best for Whale Watching under $150

Nikon being crisp has a good anti-reflection internal design with minimal distortion. Featuring low light performance and wide objective lens along with unparalleled strength are its key specs.

This Porro prism is ready for an adventure with the fog-proof and waterproof attributes of Nikon binoculars. Nikon’s action extreme has a high index prism system and eco-glass lenses resulting in high glass quality along with being lighter in weight.

Its central focus knob is smooth providing long eye relief. The rubber armoured coating provides a non-slip grip making it more protective and durable. A polycarbonate shell around it protects it from shock, scratches and water.

Key features:

  • Bright & multicoated optics
  • Fog proof construction
  • Long eye relief
  • Waterproof
  • Tripod adaptable
  • BaK 4 High Index Roof Prisms


  •  Crisp and bright images
  •  Low light performance
  • Precision aligned optics
  •  Comfortable and easy to use
  • High-end quality


  • Slightly heavy and large

Bottom line

This solid offering by Nikon is a pleasure to use like no other whale-watching binoculars with this exit pupil offering the same brightness. Being resistant to all types of weather and providing quality assurance at this price point, its specs are hard to beat.

Also read: Binoculars 101: An ultimate guide for beginners

#2 Bushnell H2O Waterproof Binoculars – Best binoculars for whale watching from shore 

Bushnell H20 binoculars offer sharp, clear and exceptionally bright images with its multi-coated ensuring amazing light transmission. Its 10x magnification ensures that from far away you can identify your target whereas the 42 mm objective lens pours lots of light, keeping things bright.

Having a perfect size, these compact binoculars are built for withstanding harsh hunting conditions along with armour made of non-slip rubber. Its textured surface area helps you provide a secure grip on the binoculars for ocean viewing.

Its centre focus knob being large is easier to adjust. The twist-up eyecups are adjustable making it perfect for ones wearing either eyeglasses or sunglasses while using whale-watching binoculars.

Key features

  • Multi-coated optics
  • Waterproof
  • Nitrogen filled Fog proof
  • BaK 4 Roof Prisms


  • Lightweight
  • Easy-grip knob
  • Long adjustable eye relief
  • Incredible price
  • Fog proof & waterproof features


  • Average image quality as compared to expensive brands

Bottom line

If you are looking for the real quality features in whale watching binoculars but want to save the extra pennies too, this is a safe choice. Bushnell H20 has the power to create your dreams and fuel your imagination.

#3 Wingspan Optics Wide Views – Professional Whale Watching Binoculars (Under $100)

Having the power to see 8x closer, Wingspan is providing the widest field view (8×32) with a stable and nice magnification. Being lightweight and inexpensive, it’s one of the best binoculars for ocean viewing.

This ultra HD gives a sharp optical quality and its multi-coated lens delivers colour fidelity and brightness. A 430 ft extra wide-field view makes it the best bird and whale-watching binoculars.

The close focus helps you to zone in on each minute detail of your target. Wingspan’s nitrogen-filled sealed body gives fog proof and waterproof protection in tough environments and weather.

Key features

  • Sharp HD optical quality
  • Waterproof & fog proof
  • Extra wide field view
  • 2 M Close focus
  • Moisture stop damage protection
  • Transmit-light technology


  • Water and fog proof
  • tripod adaptable
  • rubber armoured body
  • long eye relief
  • sharp and close focus
  • wide-field view


  • The focus isn’t convenient

Bottom line

Wingspan gives you HD quality affording an excellent price/quality ratio. Its extra wide-field view is a great spec for people who like to have a close focus on their target.

#4 Athlon Optics Midas 10×42 – Best Binoculars for Whale Watching


Athlon optics give an open bridge and double hinge body design. Filled with argon gas, it protects the inner optics from fog and water. Argon purging along with thermal stability and waterproofing assures a good field of view angle.

The ED glass lens brings your eyes a sharper and clearer image while the ESP dielectric coating displays a bright image and accurate colour reproduction. Elevating the new level of portability and performance, the close focus and its low light performance add more to its specs.

This multi-coated optical system provides extra protection for the outer lens surface. BaK 4 having roof prism ensures phase correction and dielectric coatings, assuring it to be a good binocular for ocean viewing.

Key features

  • ED glass
  • Advanced FMC
  • ESP dielectric coating
  • Argon purged
  • Phase corrected prisms
  • BaK 4 glass prisms


  • Sharp and clear images
  • Accurate colour reproduction
  • Waterproof
  • thermal stability
  • Multi-coated lenses
  • Lightweight


  • Focusing is sometimes stiff

Bottom line

With Athlon Midas, you can get the biggest bang for your buck, as this compact binocular is purely crafted to perform and designed to entice. Providing excellent value for money, these binoculars provide the same features and components like competitors at a much lower price.

#5 Bushnell Marine 7×50 – Best Porro Prism Binoculars under $150

Built durably with a beautiful design, these quality optics give stunning HD clarity. Having multi-coated optics and BaK 4 prism glass with UV protection, it assures light transmission and optimum clarity.

With optimizing optics for open water, the Bushnell 7×50 binoculars offer a waterproof and corrosion-resistant performance. The hermetic sealing makes these marine binoculars fog and water-free.

Its non-slip and durable rubber armour ensures comfort while adding buoyancy in accidental situations. The Porro prism system delivers a wide-field view making it one of the best whale-watching binoculars.

Key features

  • Multi-coated optics
  • Porro prism system
  • BaK 4 prism glass
  • Non-slip rubber armour
  • Fold-down eyecups
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Hermetic Sealing


  • Solid construction
  • Non-slip rubber
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Water & fog proof
  • Superb quality


  • Slightly big and overweight

Bottom line

This Binocular being corrosion resistant, fog & waterproof narrows in easily on faraway objects for quick spotting. Its exceptional technology makes it an essential companion on board, thus lining it up among the best binoculars for whale watching.

#6 Wingspan Optics HD Professional Whale Watching Binoculars

Being affordable, Wingspan optics enables quality performance and utility. Durable, lightweight, waterproof and fog proof, these primary qualities count well among the good binoculars for whale watching.

Featuring a lifetime warranty says a lot about its quality. Close-focus technology and ED glass are an excellent combination for safe zooming.

Having an ultra HD quality image, its phrase correction prism and multi-coated lenses, elevate the new level of portability and performance. With an efficient magnification level, it maintains a vibrant and clear image without distortion.

Key features

  • Extra wide field view
  • HD sharpness & Fidel colours
  • Easily turning the focus wheel
  • Phase correction coated prisms
  • ED glass


  • Durable & lightweight
  • Fog proof and waterproof
  • Vibrant colours
  • Low dispersion glass
  • Excellent eye relief
  • Close focus technology


  • No scratchproof lens
  • Low waterproof protection capacity

Bottom line

With ease of use, Wingspan ProBirder provides all necessary features making good value for your money. Having little hiccups here and there, it still has all the important features needed by good binoculars for whale watching.

#7 Fujinon Techno Stabilized Binoculars – Compact binoculars for Whale Watching under $1000

The 5-degree freedom of high stabilization enables locking on a subject and getting a solid image while creating a stabilized field view at high magnification. Its EBC coating allows exceptional light transmission.

The high powered lenses coupled with stabilization system make it extremely effective and these compact binoculars give you rock-solid, steady and detailed images of whales making your experience breathtaking.

Gimbals mounts are used by Techno stabi for stabilizing the roof prisms. Packed with some serious optical power, Piezo vibration sensors help to retain image sharpness.

Key features

  • EBC coating
  • 5-degree stabilization
  • Rubber armoured body
  • Fog & waterproof
  • Nitrogen gas purged lenses


  • Excellent stabilization
  • Crisp & clear images
  • Durable & ergonomic built
  • Compact
  • Lightweight


  • Difficult to adjust

Bottom line

The Fujinon Techno stabi binoculars are no doubt one of the best compact binoculars for whale watching from land. As its stabilization system is making a huge difference in its effectiveness, its high price becomes worth every penny paid.

#8 Celestron Sky Master – Best for Long Distance Whale Watching 

Celestron sky master is not only the best telescope for whale watching but it targets astronomical observation too. Having 195 ft field view, multi-coated optics, BaK 4 prisms and big aperture provide crisp images along with fine viewing experience.

Sky Master 20x 80 binoculars are a good choice because it is a quite spectacular binocular weighing less than 6 pounds.

Featuring long eye relief makes it ideal for eyeglass wearers. Its protective rubber covering gives an ultra-firm non-slip grip along with being waterproof. Its multi-coated optics provides clear and sharp views making it suitable for astronomical or terrestrial viewing.

Key features

  • Multi-coated optics
  • 80 mm objective lens
  • Waterproof
  • Long eye relief
  • 20x magnification Porro prism
  • Bak 4 prisms


  • Portability
  • Incredible value
  • Versatility
  • User-friendly
  • Blazing bright
  • Ultra-sharp focus


  • Big & heavy
  • Not everyone will be enthused by the design

Bottom line

Resembling a telescope but lacking a few of its features, this product is useful for multiple experienced users including ocean viewing. Its awesome quality is comparable with expensive brands without ruining your pocket along with experiencing the best telescope for whale watching.

#9 Vortex Optics Vulture – Best Whale Watching Binoculars under $500

Vulture HD 15×56 binoculars features 56 mm objective lenses for delivering an excellent low light performance along with the incredible light transmission.

It’s fully multi-coated optics, roof prisms and XR coatings help deliver sharp and super bright images edge to edge. It resists smudges and scratches with armour tech coating on the exterior lenses.

If focused right, Vulture is a premium product and a pleasure to use having compact and durable roof prisms with non-slip rubber armour. These vortex binoculars list great FOV along with providing great eye relief.

Key features

  • Vulture HD 15×56
  • 56 mm objective lenses
  • Fully multi-coated optics
  • Phase corrected roof prism
  • Armour Tek coating
  • XR anti-reflective coating


  • Resistible to smudges and scratches
  • Incredible light transmission
  • Bright images
  • Waterproof/fog proof
  • Great price
  • Durable


  • Heavy

Bottom line

The transmission of incredible light from Vortex vulture HD binoculars makes spotting whales easy at dawn and dusk in low-light conditions. This Vortex binocular delivers high-resolution colour fidelity along with other specs necessary for whale watching binoculars.

#10 Canon 18×50 Stabilized – Best binoculars for whale watching from Land under $1500

Canon; a true leader in the camera market knows how to make it shake-free at a push of a button by adding ISBs. The 18×50 offers a mixed bag. Being ideal for heavy-duty use and having a wide field view, it’s one of the best binoculars for whale watching from land.

It has an amazing magnification gain and brightness is on par. Having no difficulty while dealing with shakes, you can take full advantage of the 18x magnification having a super steady field view.

The ultra-low dispersion lens reduces chromatic aberration while its super spectra lens coating delivering a vivid and high contrast view along with accurate colours.

Key features

  • Optical image stabilization
  • Water and shockproof
  • Multi-coated lenses
  • Extra bright-field view
  • Super Spectra coating
  • Long eye relief


  • Comfortable build quality
  • Withstands harsh weather conditions
  • Super bright view
  • Excellent lens quality
  • Easy focus


  • heavy and bulky

Bottom line

Canon giving the killer feature of image stabilization has won many hearts. Offering a high image quality and excellent value, these are no doubt one of the best binoculars for whale watching from land.

#11 Gosky 20-60 x 80 Spotting Scope – Spotting scope for whale watching under $300

This high performance and affordable scope provide crisp, clear and bright images. Its dynamic focusing and waterproof construction. From dynamic focusing to waterproof construction for a comfortable view, this spotting scope has made things easier.

This Porro prism spotting scope is providing enhanced power, making the object more vivid. Having a reasonable price, its rubber armour combined with a durable framework provides ultimate protection.

Its excellent dynamic focus system lets you zoom in and out with ease as the spotting scope is equipped with a fully multi-coated objective lens.

Key features

  • Fully multi-coated objective lens
  • The dynamic lens focus system
  • Shock-absorbent rubber armour
  • Waterproof
  • Quality prism


  • Optic excellence
  • Maximum protection
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Clear, crisp and bright images
  • Durable construction
  • Reasonable price


  • Average metal tablet tripod

Bottom line

Providing a unique approach to nature, Gosky spotting scope for whale watching will really impress you. Making an all-around scope, it provides a perfect balance of built quality and high performance.


After going through this extensive list, the best binoculars for whale watching shouldn’t be a myth anymore for you.

Which one is your favourite one?

The following three are my favourite ones and I will recommend you these as the best binoculars for whale watching.

Nikon 7245 action is a complete pleasure to use.

Wingspan optics wide views having a nice and stable magnification provides an excellent price/quality ratio.

Canon 18×50 is a nice choice for people searching for decent whale-watching binoculars at a reasonable price.

Last update on 2024-05-08 at 02:31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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