Best Binoculars For Birding: get the perfect start in bird watching

door Joost Nusselder | Geupdate op:  August 24, 2021
I love creating free content full of tips for my readers, you. I don't accept paid sponsorships, my opinion is my own, but if you find my recommendations helpful and you end up buying something you like through one of my links, I could earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more

Nothing sucks like going bird-watching with faulty or low-quality binoculars. It’s like moving out on a sunny day then it starts to rain abruptly. The painful experience is enough to send you into depression. To avoid such devastating experience and enjoy the scenic view of birds from a distance, you need quality binoculars. If you have been rummaging through different sites looking for “the binoculars”, this review will give you the ideal guide to choosing the right binoculars for birding.

ProductMagnificationUnique featureImageCheck Price
1.Celestron – Nature DX 8x42 Binoculars – Outdoor and Birding Binocular – Fully Multi-coated with BaK-4 Prisms 8x42mmHigh clarity
2. Nikon Monarch 5 ATB 8×428x42mmLightweight

3. Nikon Action Extreme 7×35 ATB7x35mmIdeal for close view
4.Vortex Optics Viper HD Roof Prism Binoculars 10x5010xLarge FOV
5.Bushnell H2O Waterproof/Fogproof Porro Prism Binocular12X42mmLight weight
Aurosports 10x25 Folding High Powered Compact Binoculars10x25mmHigh quality images

Top 6 Best Binoculars for Birding

1.Celestron – Nature DX 8×42 Binoculars – Outdoor and Birding Binocular – Fully Multi-coated with BaK-4 Prisms 



This binoculars from Celestron takes the number one as one of the best binoculars for bird watching. The features that the binoculars has makes birding experience more fun.  It is a lightweight binoculars with a magnification power of 8x42mm objective lens. It can also get a 6.5 foot close focus. That means that image viewing with the binoculars is quite clear.

The clarity of the binoculars for bird viewing is enhanced also by the Bak-4 prisms as well as the presence of fully multicoated lenses that provide bright images as well as more contrast. Therefore, using the binoculars leaves a memorable mark in the birding experience.

The eyecups can be comfortably twisted. That means that one is able to get the view they want in the best way and the best angle possible. This is an added advantage to both the glass wearers as well as the ones that view with naked eyes. Therefore, it suits each and every person.

The binoculars are designed in a way that they can withstand all the environmental conditions. That means that the robust and strong design makes them fog proof as well as waterproof. Using them in rainy weather conditions is therefore possible.

Included in the packaging of the binoculars are extras. These include the neck strap, the carrying case, the lens cloth, and the eyepiece rain guard.

Pros

  • The eyecups are adjustable
  • Clarity of images during bird watching
  • Comes with extras such as the lens cloth and the neck strap
  • Lightweight
  • Has a Bak-4 Prism

Cons

  • None

2.Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 8×42 Binocular (Black)



This is yet another great product from the Nikon used for bird watching. The binocular boasts of high resolution and clear images. The 19.5mm eye relief makes it friendly to people who use eyeglasses since they don’t have to strain focusing. In addition to this, the binocular has a good FoV, which makes them useful for viewing small species of birds. These binoculars are very useful in many dimensions such as zooming and focusing on birds that are in motion.  The Nikon Monarch 5 is a lightweight binocular, weighing just 21.5 ounces. You can carry it around or focus for a long time without feeling tired. The focus knob turns 1 ¼ to make a complete turn during focus. Making a turn every time you are focusing can make you tired especially if you are watching for a long time. The focus knob is fitted with powerful grips, which makes it comfortable when turning it. It is one of the priciest binoculars in Amazon.com.

Pros

  • They offer bright and sharp focus
  • They are fairly priced.
  • Highly flexible.
  • Lightweight.
  • Comfortable to use with eyeglasses on

Cons

  • Average close focus.
  • Poor FoV

3.Nikon Action Extreme 7×35 ATB 


The Nikon Action Extreme 7×35 ATB takes our top spot. This pair of binoculars beats its competitors, especially when it comes to pricing. This is why it gets its top position on the best binoculars for birding. The binoculars have a BAK-4 multilayer-coated prism, which reflects light to give clear images. For the freaks who get overexcited when a new species of bird flies past, don’t worry since the pair comes with rubber armouring to reduce the effect on impact. This 7× magnification helps the viewers to watch the birds without straining. The 35mm makes it easy to carry the binoculars around. They are also responsible for ensuring that you don’t strain watching birds in low light conditions (like these binoculars do). The high resolution makes the binoculars give clear images. The binoculars are available on Amazon.com. The binoculars are available on Amazon.com and come with a warranty.

Pros

  • They offer an ideal close view.
  • They offer a wide FoV
  • They are highly flexible
  • They are relatively affordable

Cons

  • They have a high weight.

4.Vortex Optics Viper HD Roof Prism Binoculars 10×50



It is the ideal binoculars for bird watchers who prefer the 10× magnification. They come with High Density, ED Glass, which gives the binoculars high-quality image characteristics. The lenses are fully multi-coated and fitted with ArmorTek to increase resistance to scratches. This allows the users to go into thorny areas without fear of getting the lenses destroyed. The binoculars are very excellent for the close focus of images. It is the ideal binoculars for outdoor adventure since it is both waterproof and fog proof. The binoculars weigh about 697g which is very great for carrying in long walking distances. The binoculars are very sleek design, which has made it fit this list of the best binoculars. The binoculars come with a complete package, including user manual and warranty. You can ship it through Amazon.com.

Pros

  • Lightweight.
  • They offer a comfortable grip
  • They can be used in wet areas since they are waterproof.
  • They are accommodative to people who use it.
  • High magnification
  • Large FoV

Cons

  • Uncomfortable due to the 1.5 turn.

5.Bushnell H2O Waterproof/Fogproof Roof Prism Binocular


The Bushnell binoculars are 100% waterproof; hence, it can be used in wet conditions. The binoculars have BAK-4-Prisms, which give the viewer fantastic viewing. You can adjust the focus by using the focus knob. You don’t have to worry much about its safety in case it falls since it comes with armoured rubber shock absorber. The Bushnell is very affordable in terms of purchasing and maintenance costs. It is made of plastic for most of its parts, which makes it very light. The Bushnell is becoming a big threat to established brands due to its extremely low price. Many people who are not familiar with bird watching are opting for it since it is also easy to use. You can order the Bushnell H2O in Amazon.com.

Pros

  • They have lightweight.
  • They have a sleek design.
  • They give high-quality images

Cons

  • Their low price is a major turnoff to potential buyers.

6.Aurosports 10×25 Folding High Powered Compact Binoculars for Adults Kids With Weak Light Night Vision Clear Binocular for Bird Watching Great for Outdoor Sports Games and Concerts


The Aurosports 10×25 is our last pick in the top 6 best binoculars for birding. It is high powered with 10× magnification, which means objects appear 10 times larger than their actual size. You can also use the focus knob to zoom the size of the image.  The binoculars have a FoV of 121 feet which is understandable, given its low cost. The binoculars are fully multi-coated, to reduce the impact of reflection. This results to clear images even in low light. It weighs just 0.55 pounds, which makes it easy to carry around.  Their value for money is shown in their impressive quality with a low budget. They are the least priced binoculars in this list. The binoculars are fitted with 14.8mm of eye relief. People who put on eyeglasses find them very effective due to this great eye relief. The Aurosports 10×25 is the right choice for people who are looking for light binoculars with high-quality images but are operating on a tight budget. You can make a purchase of these binoculars from Amazon.com.

Pros

  • High-quality images
  • They are fairly priced.
  • They have lightweight

Cons

  • The plastic is not comfy

Factors to consider when buying the best binoculars for birding

If you are an enthusiast bird watcher, then you understand the importance of having a pair binoculars in your arsenal. They help you identify the bird from a distance and even have the ability to distinguish between different types. With a good pair, you will have the capacity to make an essential judgment on various birds and tell their cycle of life. There is a need to do research on how to choose the best binoculars for birding.

However, the process of choosing the right binoculars for the task can be challenging. You will require to know much more over the basics of the binoculars and model. While most binoculars shoppers concentrate on looking at the magnification, for bird watching, you need to go much deeper than that.

Therefore, if you are considering shopping for binoculars to enhance your bird watching habit, you have come to the right place. In this blog, we’ll evaluate various binoculars specifications that are ideal for bird watching and will provide you satisfaction as you choose.

Quality and coating of the lens

Before buying binoculars, ensure that you check on the coating of the lens. The lens’ coating is responsible for lowering the rate of reflection on light, which increases the quality of the images. Ensure you buy binoculars which have multi-coated lenses. Ensure that you pick long-lasting lenses which are resistant to dust, water, and grease. You will be assured of long-lasting binoculars. You can also upgrade the lens of magnification.

Weight and eye strain of the binoculars

The big and better statement does not always apply in binoculars. Unless you’re going to mount the binoculars on a fixed place such as the rooftop of a van, always go for lighter pair. If the binoculars give a “pull” effect on your eyes, kindly leave them for a better pair. A decent pair of binoculars give you a seamless experience. If you want to go for a safari camp in a park, the big binoculars with a higher resolution will be better, since they can focus birds from a long distance and give clear images of the same. For instance, the best binoculars for kids seek to eliminate eye strain.

Waterproofing

Are you an outdoor person? Then waterproof binoculars are ideal for you. It does not make sense watching birds from your house just because you’re afraid the binoculars might get damaged by water. If you want a pair that can survive underwater for several hours, go for 100% waterproof binoculars. You can opt for waterproof and fog proof binoculars if you live in an area prone to fog. These will ensure that your adventure will not be stopped by either of the two conditions.

Price range

Before picking on a pair of binoculars, find if there are relatively affordable options. Some brands are highly-priced, yet they have similar or even lower quality than market competitors. In most cases, high-quality binoculars are priced highly. Before you pick any product, try estimating the cost-benefit of each product. If the benefits supersede the cost, go for it.  You should also pay a lot of attention to the cost of maintenance. Some spare parts are very costly, which means the total cost of fixing the binoculars is also high. If the binoculars break down, the cost of repairing might be too high hence forcing you to dump it.

Magnification

Choosing between 8× and 10× lens depends on many factors and therefore, a personal choice. Each magnification level has its highs and lows. The 8× is very useful when it comes to brightness and focusing on a moving bird. However, the binoculars give a small and wide image, which is odd.

On the other hand, a 10× lens allows you to view birds from a longer distance than the 8×. However, the image appears narrow and blurred when using on a moving object. Depending on how you prefer the image, go for either lens. The best binoculars for birding definitely need this quality since birds are swift creatures.

Field of View (FoV)

The FoV is technically the diameter of the object being focused. Large FoV means that you see a large area. The Exit pupil refers to the product of lens diameter divided by magnification. If you prefer watching birds during sunset or early in the morning, go for binoculars with an exit pupil of 7mm. This combination will also allow you to watch birds from a long distance (check out these binoculars as well).

Objective lens diameter

The objective lens diameter controls the amount of light entering the binoculars. Consequently, this determines the quality of the images you receive. The bigger the objective lens diameter, the clearer the images will appear under dim light. Concerning this, an 8×40 diameter will give brighter images than 8×25. Depending on the objective lens diameter, you will have the freedom or restriction on the time of the day.

Magnification Power

For any optical device, magnification appears as the first number in the description. It is one of the most important things to consider before you decide to choose particular binoculars for your outdoor adventure.

The magnification power gives you the ability to view objects from a distance at a close view for better understanding. For instance, if you see a binocular with numbers 10×50, the first number in this case, 10x is the magnification power. This indicates that the binoculars will provide you with the ability to see the bird 10 times closer compared to the normal range.

Therefore, if you are considering to watch birds that fly at a higher range in the sky, then you will require to find one with higher magnification power. This will ensure that you can distinguish between different birds and make essential assumptions on their movements.

Additionally, with higher magnification power, you will have the capacity to tell specific bird colors regardless of the distance. With high magnification, you are also guaranteed that your device will allow you to observe the movements of your target and even single them out from a group. Therefore it is good to learn on how to choose binoculars.

Comfort

Comfort is critical for whatever adventure you intend to engage your binoculars. You have to ensure that you choose a device that is comfortable to hold and easy to adjust. Binoculars with wider surfaces are somewhat complicated and often don’t fit in your hands. Therefore, when you choose such binoculars, it makes it difficult for you to follow up on specific birds at a time.

Additionally, when you are looking for comfort, it is essential to ensure that your device of choice allows you to view through without stressing your eyes. In other words, when shopping for a pair of binoculars, the size is critical. You want to be sure that you get your hands on a device that will not strain your muscles while watching birds.

The weight of your device is also a factor to consider when choosing a comfortable optical device. Considering that the binoculars will be hanging on your neck, you need something that will not weigh you down. Therefore, you have to be convinced that the device you choose will feel comfortable even as you move around.

Field Of View

Field of view (FOV) tells you how large you can see when you are using your optical lenses. The field of view and magnification are designed in a way that when one is bigger, the other is smaller. This is to say, when you have a bigger magnification, the field of view reduces automatically and vice versa.

Therefore, when you are choosing binoculars, it is essential to ensure that you check on this feature. For instance, if you expect to watch birds from at least 1000 yards distance, you will want binoculars with approximately 326-375 feet field of view.

This type of binoculars will allow you to follow on a bird and monitor all its movements effectively. However, if you find one with a higher field of view than that range, that’s an added advantage, and you shouldn’t hesitate to take it.

With a large field of view, keeping your eye on the bird that soars the most to the sky will not be an issue. Therefore, as you focus on finding a pair that has considerable magnification power, it will not hurt to consider the field of view you get from a particular set.

Eye Relief

Now that you have the right magnification power, and convenient field of view, the next aspect before placing your order is eye relief. Eye relief is defined as the distance between the binoculars and your eye. A pair with good eye relief guarantees that you will not experience eye fatigue even after hours of usage.

Some brands have adjustable eye relief to ensure you get the maximum relief and fine-tune your field of vision. With a larger eye relief, your field of vision automatically increases. Therefore, it becomes easy for you to focus on your ideal bird.

Additionally, if you wear glasses, eye relief allows you to enjoy watching birds and maintain wearing your glasses. In other words, good eye relief will not limit you from experiencing an adventure due to the use of glasses. However, in some rare instances, you will require to invest in binoculars with special modifications to enhance image quality and without distorting your focus.

Budget

Price may not have anything to do with how you choose your binoculars, but it will determine what you can get. The amount you intend to spend is critical when it comes to choosing binoculars. Considering that the price range of binoculars varies depending on specifications, then working with a budget is a bold move.

As a bird watcher, the first thing you should ask yourself while budgeting for the appropriate binoculars is your primary expectations for the device. This way, it will be easy for you to place your order and find a device that will match your expectations.

Although not all expensive products are a guarantee of quality, the more you spend on your pair, the higher your chances of getting an exceptional performance. If you are working on a budget but you feel the need to get out and watch every swallow and dingo known to man, a budget between $200-$300 will get you a good gadget. However, if you intend to take a bird watching to the next level, then you will get your perfect match in the $500-$1200 range or within the $1500 and above range.

However, even as you spend a little more, you need to ensure that you get value for the money. Therefore, always evaluate various specifications that are present in an expensive gadget and see whether they are worth the additional amount.

Conclusion

Picking the appropriate device for birding is, however, a personal decision. The magnification power, field of view, size, comfort, price, and other factors all vary from one person to the other. It isn’t easy to find binoculars that will fit the expectations of every bird watcher. Therefore, even if a friend or fellow bird watcher gives you recommendations of one device they find convenient, you still have to go through the process to evaluate the device. Therefore, ensure to focus on your priorities rather than what someone else considers as a perfect fit for the job.

Now that we have exhaustively reviewed the top brands of binoculars for bird watching, it is time to buy the one that touches on all your needs. Considering factors such as cost, weight, and quality, go for a pair that meets most of your needs. Ensure you buy from trusted dealers to avoid counterfeit items. In case the binoculars break down, take it to a qualified shop for repair to avoid doing damage to the binoculars. Lastly, always keep your binoculars in good condition. Just because the binoculars are waterproof does not mean you leave them in the rain. This will not only lower the quality of the images but will also lower the life of the binoculars. If you follow the guide step by step then you will pick out the best binoculars for birding. Enjoy exclusive bird watching with the best pair of binoculars!

          Joost Nusselder, the founder of Opticsvilla and a content marketer, and dad loves trying out new gear, and together with his team, they've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2018 to help loyal readers with the best scopes and binoculars.