The world is a beautiful place to behold. We are surrounded by feasts for the eyes: birds and clouds and mountains by day, planets and stars and international space stations by night. But not all this visual beauty is immediately accessible to the eyes. Sometimes our peepers need a little help from a familiar piece of optical enhancement technology: binoculars.

Whether you are planning on spotting some rare birds, surveying your surroundings to plan the next leg of your hike, or simply wish to get a better glimpse of the rocky surface of the moon, binoculars will help you take your visual experience to the next level.

If you’ve been burned by eye-ache-inducing binoculars in the past, we urge you to give these essential pieces of equipment a second try. It is no fun having your eyes involuntarily crossed when attempting to adjust the focal length of your binoculars. Binoculars that hurt this way are nearly always those of the lowest quality, and one can greatly improve their outdoor experience if they are willing to pay a little bit more for excellently tuned binoculars. However, the high-end for binoculars can be intimidatingly high, and for that reason, we compiled this list of the best binoculars we have found on the market.

The following binoculars ought to provide great visual enhancement with minimal damage to your pocketbook. We’ll explore each of our picks in depth, but first, let’s answer some frequently asked questions about this class of products...

Product FAQ

1. What are Binoculars?

2. What Do Binoculars Do?

3. How Do Binoculars Work?

4. Where Can You Buy Them?

How We Reviewed

We’re quite fussy about the quality of binoculars we choose. Enhancing your visual field is a Faustian bargain if you’re gaining a migraine with your newfound far-seeing ability. To be the best binoculars on the market, the product had to have features that outweighed its cons, a reasonable price, and a favorable brand reputation.

Overall Price Range of This Product (and Similar Products)

You can expect to pay between $30 and $250 for binoculars of this quality. The average item on this list costs around $70.

What We Reviewed

  • Gosky 10x42 Binoculars

  • Eyeskey 10x32 Waterproof Binoculars

  • Aurosports 10x25 Binoculars

  • Nikon 8252 ACULON Binoculars

  • Occer 12x25 Binoculars

  • Vortex Optics Diamondback Binoculars

  • Bushnell H20 Waterproof Binocular

  • Wingspan Optics SkyView Binoculars

  • ZoomX 10x42 Binoculars

  • Kylietech 12x42 Binoculars

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QUALITY
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Features

The Gosky is so beloved, that around this site we like to call our pair “Ole Goss.” The sleek design simply sings, looking great in your hand or around your neck. The magnification the Gosky provides greatly aids in bird watching and stargazing or even seeing concerts from far away. One of the best features of the Gosky is its smartphone adapter. That’s right, you can attach one of the lenses to your smartphone to take pictures of those lovely birds you’ve spotted from what would be an impossible distance to the naked eye. The multilayer coatings make its objects appear in HD compared with those with single layer coatings.

Pros

  • 10X magnification
  • 307 to 1000 yard field of view
  • Fully multi-layer coating for HD effect
  • Comes with smartphone mount
  • Slick aesthetics

Cons

  • Some customers dissatisfied with quality of bag and accessories
  • Low brightness compared to the highest end binoculars

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for around $75.

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Features

Sometimes your outdoor adventures take you into the rain and the water. Well, now there’s no reason to leave those binoculars at home, thanks to Eyeskey’s 10x32 Waterproof Binoculars. This model performs excellently in wet conditions and doesn’t fog up the way that other cheaper models will when bits of precipitation condense on the inside. This matte black device feels great in the hand, heavy enough to signal its ruggedness, but not too heavy to have slung around your neck.

Pros

  • Pocket sized
  • 304 to 1000 yard field of view
  • Comfortable Rubber eyecups
  • Responsive focus knob
  • Waterproof
  • Check Circle
    Fogproof

Cons

  • More expensive than other options on this list.
  • Does not fit some mounts very well

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for around $99.

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Features

There’s something almost H.R. Giger about the black bumpy exterior of the Aurosports. It feels great in your grip and will make a great companion for low light far-seeing ventures. While this model will not work in perfect darkness, it will greatly enhance your ability to see in low light versus models that are geared only for day use. If you’re a hunter that relies on the periods of dawn or dusk, these binoculars are invaluable.

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Day and night use modes
  • Provides detail up to 1000 yds away
  • Multi-coat lenses
  • 10x magnification
  • Check Circle
    Among the cheaper options on this list

Cons

  • Image tends to be hazier than more expensive options
  • Adjustment knob tends to stick

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for around $27.

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Features

Nikon may be known for their cameras today, but they originally began as a binocular company. That’s right, that crystal clear quality you expect from Nikon cameras can be harnessed to magnify the world around you. We particularly love the Aculon for its immaculate lens design, killer aesthetics, and top of the line accessories and support.

Pros

  • 10x-22x magnification
  • Pristine image quality
  • Quick and easy adjustment knob
  • Extra-adjustable eye-cups
  • Multicoated Eco-Glass lenses
  • Check Circle
    Non-slip grip

Cons

  • Among the pricier items on this list
  • A bit bulkier than pocket-friendly designs

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for around $169.

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Features

The Occer has a nice pocket-friendly design and a low price point. You don’t get everything that a company like Nikon or Gosky will offer when presenting their version of the binoculars, but the quality that the Occer does provide is pretty impressive for how little they ask. Our team was largely divided over the aesthetics: some loved the grooved “Batman Begins” style look that these binoculars have, whereas others felt it looked too science fiction-y and not rugged outdoorsman enough.

Pros

  • 12x magnification
  • 1000 yard field of view
  • Waterproof
  • Ergonomic coating
  • Adjustable eye cups
  • Check Circle
    Among the cheaper options on this list

Cons

  • Some customers find the focus wheel to be finicky
  • Low light can make distant viewing difficult

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for around $35.

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Features

The Diamondback represents one of the more expensive items on this list, but man is it worth it. Able to magnify things even close by, the Diamondback can be used for counting the spots on a lady bug just as easily as it can view the feathers on a distant bald eagle’s head. One of the few models to boldly deviate from the “all-black-everything” aesthetic that many binoculars on this list participate in, the Diamondback looks great in Army green.

Pros

  • Can focus as close as 6 feet
  • 10x magnification
  • Waterproof
  • Sleek, secure, non-slip grip
  • Adjustable eye relief
  • Check Circle
    Argon-enhanced waterproofing
  • Check Circle
    Argon-enhanced fog proofing

Cons

  • Among the most expensive items on this list
  • Edges appear blurrier than the center

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for around $35.

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Features

Fogged up binoculars can really ruin your outdoor venture. Avoid the problem with Bushnell’s H20 Waterproof Binocular. These binoculars are so waterproof, they even wear watery designs on their flanks like dogfighters that mark their kills on their planes. If you need waterproofing and the ability to see clearly through fog and you have more to spend than the Occer, the Bushnell provides a great high-quality image alternative.

Pros

  • HD clarity
  • 100% waterproof
  • Nitrogen purged for fog-free viewing
  • Multi-coated optics
  • Non-slip rubber armor
  • Check Circle
    8x magnification
  • Check Circle
    Ergonomic center-focus knob

Cons

  • Provides lower contrast than higher-end models
  • Heavier than other models on this list

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for around $102.

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Features

The wide field of view is really what sells the SkyView. Focusing on a single object is great, but when you’re scanning for things that could potentially be anywhere in the sky (meteors, birds, alien spacecraft) you need something with more ...dare we say “wingspan.” We find this model to be particularly great for the birdwatchers among us. The proprietary glass they use for their lenses brings whole new spectrums of color to your eyes.

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Fogproof
  • Specially designed for bird watching
  • ED glass-powered binoculars provide crystal clear images
  • 8x magnification
  • Check Circle
    Wide field of view
  • Check Circle
    Utilizes close focus technology

Cons

  • Among the more expensive options on this list
  • Focus doesn’t stand up to the quality of the Nikon

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for around $147.

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Features

As St. Vincent sings “Digital Witness… / If I can't show it, you can't see me / What's the point of doing anything?” In that vein, we might ask “If I can’t show it...what’s the point of seeing anything?” Well, you don’t have to be trapped in your own experience anymore, with ZoomX’s bundled phone adapter you can use your phone to shoot Instagrams through your binoculars. That’s right, bring distant stars and faraway birds into the safe digital folds of your social media accounts.

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Excellent for whale-watching
  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • Rubberized comfortable bodyWeighs only 546 grams
  • Comes with a phone adapter

Cons

  • No customizable zoom, despite name

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for around $147.

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QUALITY
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Features

Last but certainly not least, we present the Kylietech 12x42. These binoculars may not provide anything above-and-beyond the standard binoculars, but they do everything solidly and don’t ask too much for their far-viewing experience. The dozen-fold magnification greatly enhances your viewing experience, and we love the smartphone adapter this pair comes with. Overall, one of the best options on this list.

Pros

  • 12x high power magnification
  • Wide-angle lens
  • Both day and night modes
  • Comes with smartphone adapter
  • Waterproof
  • Check Circle
    Fog-proof
  • Check Circle
    Anti-slip Grip

Cons

  • Does not come with a neck strap
  • Can take more fiddling to focus than higher-end models

Price

This product can be found on Amazon for around $42.

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The Verdict

Ultimately your pocketbook will determine which of these binoculars will best suit you. Everything on this list has passed our criteria and none will be a complete waste of money. However, you should know whether you need waterproofing over high-levels of magnification based on your needs. If we have to pick an overall winner, however: the quality that Nikon manages to pack into each of their binoculars is unbeatable.

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