How much should I spend on hunting binoculars?

  • By: Imad

These are probably the most asked questions in the hunters’ community: How much should I invest in the optics? Does a high-end binocular offer value for money? Isn’t a red dot sight enough for my hunts? And the list goes on… If you’re wondering about the same things, we’ve got you covered.  

Here’s a quick breakdown for you: If you’re an entry-level hunter who doesn’t need perfection, spend no more than $500 on a bino. But, to enjoy your glass for a few years, extend your range up to $1200. And lastly, you’ll be spending more than $1500 to experience flawless views and leave your binocular as a family heirloom.

The amount you spend on a hunting binocular depends upon your goals, your target region, your favorite trophies, and your eyesight. Binoculars’ price range varies from $100 to $3000 (and a few beyond that too), which means there are perfect binoculars for everyone. 

Some companies manufacture binoculars in all price categories, while others stick to any one of them. That’s the reason we divided hunting binoculars into three categories so that you know what to expect at what price. Keep reading, and find where do your hunting requirements align with your budget.

High-end options – $1200 and beyond 

If you’re not on a budget and wish to own a hunting glass that makes your adventures 10x better, be ready to spend a fortune. You can expect premium-quality views and incredible egonomics from these binos because they hail from top-notch brands. 

High-end hunting binoculars have specialized lens components, quality prisms, and ergonomic designs to assist your wild adventures. 

Since spending this much amount isn’t feasible for everyone, most experienced and passionate hunters go for them. Whether you’re competitive or have that thing to own the best gadgets, this category is for you. 

Even when the weather and terrain conditions are not very suitable, these smart binoculars make glassing a delight for you. Another perk of spending this much on a hunting binocular is that you’ll most probably get a lifetime warranty with them. Manufacturers know that hunting enthusiasts seek exclusivity, and they provide you with that. 

Which companies manufacture high-end hunting binoculars? 

Although almost all brands out there claim to be the best, few remain unbeatable. Swarovski, Meopta, and Zeiss make the best-quality hunting binoculars that cost a lot.  

  • Swarovski 

If you seek perfection, get a Swarovski binocular depending upon your (high-end) budget. You’ll find exceptional binos around $3000 at Swarovski, while others will be more pocket-friendly. What you pick now decides how your hunts go in the future, so be smart. If you can enjoy your activities without ED lenses and supreme prisms, choose a glass from Swarovski’s lower-tier like their Cl 8×25 pocket binoculars

Are Swarovski Binoculars worth your money? Read here.

  • Zeiss 

Zeiss Optics cannot be ignored when we talk about unmatchable quality standards in binoculars. Their Conquest HD or Victory SF binoculars perfectly match with your hunting missions, ensuring you get the value for your money. Zeiss binos will surely suffice your difficult hunts and support your passion for the years to come; so, they’re doubtlessly worth each penny. 

Also Read: Our Top Recommended ELK Hunting Binoculars

Middle-tier picks – $500-$1200

Having a lax budget for binocular shopping can do wonders for you. You can grab some of the best binoculars in this price range and make your hunts even more enjoyable. If you’re an experienced hunter, don’t hesitate while spending up to $1200 (or a little more). This investment will let you enjoy endless scouting and chasing hours in the wild without cursing the low ambient light or wind. 

These binoculars offer controlled chromatic aberration, exclusive lenses, and multi-layered coatings that collectively improve your final imagery. Middle-tier binoculars are well-known for their weatherproofing and sturdy builds; something hunting binoculars must have. 

Brands to shop mid-priced hunting binoculars 

If you’ve been saving to get that ONE hunting binocular which doesn’t lack in any aspect, pick from any of the companies I’ve listed below; you won’t regret it!

  • Leica 

Leica binoculars fall in the middle-tier category because of their remarkable lenses and optical performance, but that’s not what makes them best for hunters; it’s the bucks you save. You can enjoy outstanding optical clarity and ergonomics with a Leica Trinovid or Geovid, and that too, without going bankrupt. Leica hunting binoculars are sturdy and dependable, proving to be the best choice for outdoor adventures. 

  • Vortex 

Vortex needs no introduction because it has marvellous binoculars like Kaibab and Razor UHD under its belt. These sleek-looking and sturdy binoculars are a not-to-miss for frequent hunters. If you struggle with poor eyesight or often go hunting in challenging terrains, Vortex binoculars’ excellent lenses and prisms will rescue you. These binoculars provide premium visual clarity without costing an insane price, something not that common with other manufacturers. 

On-a-budget grabs – Below $500 

Being on a budget doesn’t mean you rely on a useless glass. Instead, you can find plenty of reliable hunting binoculars under $500 that serve the purpose just right. All you need to do is explore the options you have and compare different affordable binos you come across. Sure these binoculars cannot compete with the middle or top tier ones, but they still ease your hunting missions. 

You get dependable magnification power and robust designs with the most inexpensive binoculars. Their ergonomics allow you to throw your binos in the hunting backpack and get going. But again, be mindful that you’ll struggle with poor color differentiation and light glare quite often with these budget grabs. 

Also, since most of these affordable binoculars lack water/weatherproofing, you cannot expose them to rough-tough weather conditions. Keep your budget binocular inside the case when it’s not in use because otherwise, it’ll get foggy or blurry. 

Also Read: Top Turkey Hunting Binoculars for Every Hunter

Where to find these affordable hunting binos? 

Fortunately, some of the most-trusted optic brands like Nikon and Bushnell know what an on-budget hunter needs. 

  • Bushnell 

You can get a Bushnell binocular for below $50, which is fair-enough for entry-level hunts. Although it won’t support you for a long span, it’s still a good grab given your limited budget. Similarly, Bushnell has options for less than $300 for you. These binoculars come with better quality lenses than the cheapest ones and protect your eyes from the annoying glare, which is otherwise a buzz-kill. 

  • Nikon 

Nikon is a savior for hunters with limited savings. Most Nikon binoculars come with high-quality prisms and exceptional lenses that make your hunts more comfortable. One such hunting binocular is Nikon Monarch 7 that offers incredible value for your money. Even if your target hunting region is a tough one, this binocular will suffice your requirements. A more pocket-friendly pick from Nikon would be their Aculon binocular that comes with multi-coated lenses and excellent ergonomics. 

What must your hunting binocular have?

Once you’re clear about the amount you’ll need to buy a good hunting binocular, the next phase is to note its essential features. You can compromise a few aspects for budget limitations, but some are simply unavoidable. So, let’s list down a reliable hunting binocular’s features:

  • Magnification 

Any glass below 8x is a no-no for hunters. You need a binocular to see what can’t be seen with the naked eye, and a magnification below 8x cannot do that. So, regardless of your budget, choose a binocular with a good magnification range. 

  • Field of view

Pinning down your target is way easier when you cover that broad hunting field in one go. Therefore, always check your preferred binocular’s field of view beforehand. Any field of view below 150ft at 1000 yards won’t be any good for your adventures. But since most pocket-friendly binoculars come with limited FOVs, you might have to tone down a bit. However, if your binocular’s visual quality is par-excellence, you’ll be good without a wide FOV, so don’t stress over this. 

  • Optical quality 

When you see blur edges and hard-to-distinguish colors in your optical path, it stresses your eyes and makes focusing more difficult for you. But a hunting binocular with quality objective lenses and coating will keep these distortions at bay. Pick a glass that guarantees sufficient light transmission and good image brightness. Hunters often come across lowlight conditions and harsh weather, where having supreme-quality optical performance proves to be a savior. 

  • Build

Hobbyists are okay with a fragile binocular, but you better have a battle-tested binocular when it comes to hunting. Your binocular must be strong enough to bear all that beating which might come its way. Therefore, inquire about a bino’s cassis and armor before buying it. Most high-quality binoculars come with rubber armor and metal chassis that protect the glass parts. If you’re to roam in mountains and deserts, pick a binocular with a strong build and a padded carry case that doesn’t add much to your weight. This way, you can spend long hours chasing your target and walk comfortably. 

Also Read:

Top Binoculars for Western Hunting (& Our Best Tips for a Successful Hunt)

Our Best Binoculars Picks for Coyote & Varmint Hunt

Final thoughts 

Buying an all-in-one hunting binocular might seem daunting initially, but it’s doable if you know your options. Note down the max budget you can pull out for a hunting binocular and see which category it falls in. After you know which company will better cater to your needs, check its collection to pick the best hunting binocular in your budget. 

If you’re a one-time or not-so-passionate hunter, save your bucks and buy a lower-tier binocular. But if hunting is your passion and something you’ll continue doing in the coming years, invest in a quality glass without sparing a second. Whether you pick from the top-tier binoculars or go for the middle-range ones, it’ll surely make your hunts more successful. 

So, don’t settle for mediocrity; gift yourself a dependable hunting binocular and pin your trophies like the pro you are! 

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