7 Of The Best Binoculars for Birding & Bird Watching Examined

So, you like watching birds – join the club!

A pair of binoculars is an essential tool to have in your bird watching kit. But choosing the right binoculars (or bins as they are more affectionately called) can be an overwhelming task with so many options available on the market.

Whether you’re a professional or an amateur, we have curated this list of binoculars to help you choose the best binoculars for birding.

Things To Consider Before Purchasing

  • The most versatile birding binocular size is 8X42
  • If you are a bird watching novice, choose a pair of binoculars that do not break the bank
  • Be sure to purchase the highest quality pair of binoculars you can afford to ensure durability, crystal clear views and life-like colour

Best Binoculars for Birding Reviews

Nikon 7576 Monarch 5 8×42 Binocular

Nikon 7576 Monarch 5 8x42 Binocular

If you are looking for good value as well as good quality, look no further than the Nikon 7576 Monarch 5 8X42 Binoculars. The first thing birdwatchers notice about this pair of binoculars is their image quality. The extra-low dispersion glass projects crystal clear images and true-to-life colors, maintaining a luminous image, even in low light conditions.

Built for extreme use, the Monarch 5 is waterproof, fog proof and equipped with many user friendly features. They have a rubber armored body for effortless grip and durability, neck strap, turn and slide rubber eyecups, a smooth central focus knob and flip down lens caps.

Apart from its build quality, Nikon also provides a lifetime warranty.

Other Features

  • Magnification: 8x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42 mm
  • Lens Coating: Dielectric high-reflective Multilayer Coatings
  • Field of View: 351 ft @ 1,000 yds
  • Near Focus: 8.2 ft
  • Prism Type: Phase-Correction-Coated Roof Prism
  • Eye Relief: 17.1 mm
  • Weight: 1.4 lbs
  • Availability of largest fields of view
  • Glorious images even in low-light conditions
  • Razor-sharp views and excellent distinction
  • Resistance to water and fog
  • Tremendous for glasses wearers Lightweight for a 42mm objective lens binocular
  • No instability and convenient to grab for a longer period

What Customers Are Saying

“The [Monarch] 5’s are lighter, brighter and smaller than my older Nikon binoculars. Edge to edge clarity, close focus and even depth of field is really amazing. The light weight and rubberized coating of the Monarchs make them extremely comfortable to use. The lens cap deal is really a non issue, they were designed that way as others have pointed out. I enthusiastically recommend them!”

Occer 12×25 Compact Binoculars

Occer 12×25 Compact Binoculars

Whilst good quality optics are a must for birding, spending a fortune is not. For the more budget savvy birder, the Occer 12×25 Compact Binoculars are a good choice. Offering performance way above their value, these binoculars are a welcome addition to our list of the best binoculars for bird watching.

These binoculars offer surprising image quality for the price point, as well as intense image and accurate color representation. Using these compact binoculars for birding is a relatively remarkable experience, however buyers should note that the field of view is quite limited at only 273 feet. It is also hard to follow flying birds, but when birds are stationary, it gives you an excellent view.

Often the feedback given for binoculars is that they are heavy and cumbersome to carry, particularly when traveling. These binoculars are our pick for one of the best lightweight bird watching binoculars because of their compact size. With a weight of less than a pound and a size tiny enough to slide into your pocket, it is unlikely you will feel arm fatigue even after many hours of viewing. As this pair of binoculars is so light and small, you can hardly feel that you are carrying something along with you, even if it is hanging around your neck.

Other Features

  • Magnification: 12x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 25 millimeters
  • Lens Coating: Coated with FMC broadband
  • Field of View: 273 ft @ 1000 yards at 7.5 degrees
  • Prism Type: BAK-4 Porro Prisms
  • Eye Relief: Yes, 20mm
  • Dimensions: 4.00 x 4.40 x 1.90 inches
  • Weight: 7.20 ounces
  • Centrally binoculars focus knob
  • Provides semi-waterproof resistance
  • Convenient to adjust the eyecups

What Customers Are Saying

“My father owns an $800 pair of Leica binoculars. These are 90% as good. The clarity at 12x is astonishing, I can count blades of grass at 200 yards. I am completely blown away by the fact that you can get a sturdy, near-perfect pair of binoculars for under $50 these days. Simply amazing. There is no chance that these will disappoint.”

Celestron Nature DX 8X42 Birding Binocular

Celestron Nature DX 8X42 Birding Binocular

The Celestron Nature DX 8X42 Birding Binoculars are the perfect combination of value, quality, and image quality. They are one of the best beginner binocular choices for bird watching. The perfect companion for outdoor adventures, these binoculars are an excellent first step into the world of sports optics.

Due to their phase-coated BaK-4 Prisms, the Celestron Nature DX’s provide image detail that is not possible to find with other entry-level binoculars, taking your birding to the next level.

Featuring 8X42 optics, Celestron Nature DX binoculars are the perfect companion for both novice and experienced birders impressing users with both image quality and the ability to magnify images to your desired dimensions with ease. These binoculars are extremely durable and can take quite a bit of wear and tear.

Buyers should note that the build quality could be improved in some small ways, including a more fluid focus knob or more secure eyecups.

Other Features

  • Magnification: 8x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42 millimeters
  • Lens Coating: Fully Multi-Coated
  • Field of View: 388 ft @ 1000 yards
  • Prism Type: Roof Prism Phase Coated Bak4
  • Eye Relief: 18 mm
  • Weight: 1.8 lbs
  • Provides complete waterproofing because of fully rubber armor.
  • Provides enhanced contrast and resolution.
  • Get brighter images through the entire optical path

What Customers Are Saying

“I just ordered a second pair of the Nature DX 8×32. I had purchased this along with Wirecutter’s recommended TrailSeeker 8×42 to compare. While the TrailSeeker had a nice carrying case and accessories, I just couldn’t see a big enough difference to justify the more than twice the price to upgrade for what was supposed to be more light and larger field of view. Both were great, but the Nature DX 8×32 is an outstanding value. So much so that I’ve ordered a second for our trip to the Grand Tetons.”

Vortex Optics Diamondback HD Binoculars

Vortex Optics Diamondback HD Binoculars

The Vortex Optics Diamondback HD Binoculars have a rugged and rubber armored construction withstanding recoil and impact and a strong grip. These binoculars are fast to get on-target and comfortable to hold for extended periods of time, thanks to the lightweight aluminium chassis.

The Vortex’s HD optical system enhances image resolution, and the numerous anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces plus multi-layer prism coatings play a significant role in the enhancement of light transmission. Argon purging and O-ring seals provide water and fog proof performance in all environments.

These are some of the best binoculars for glasses wearers due to the easily adjusted eyecups which provide a proper fit to your eyeglasses. The diopter on the right eyepiece also means you can adjust the eyepieces for better alignment with your own eyes.

Get a 393 ft. field of view with a close focus distance of 5 ft with these binoculars. Buyers should note that there is some mild chromatic abberation, particularly on white objects.

Other Features

  • Magnification: 8x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42 millimeters
  • Lens Coating: Multi-coating
  • Field of View: 393 ft @ 1000 yards at 7.5 degree
  • Eye Relief: 17 mm
  • Weight: 1.3 lbs
  • Provides fully resistance to water and fog
  • Adjustable eyecups make things more convenient
  • Multi-coated lenses produce intense images

What Customers Are Saying

“What a difference a good pair of binoculars make! The clarity, the light, the focus, the ease, the weight, the size are all that I’ve been looking for. I did my homework and found out 8×42 is good for birding, and after reading review after review on various brands, etc., I pulled the trigger and hoped for the best, and I got it! It comes with straps, harness and case. There are even pockets outside the case that holds my cellphone and lens cloth. I couldn’t be happier with my purchase.”

Zeiss 8X25 Terra ED Compact Pocket Binocular

Zeiss 8X25 Terra ED Compact Pocket Binocular

Zeiss 8×25 Terra ED Compact Pocket Binoculars offer a small, yet stylish optic solution that fits in the palm of your hand effortlessly. Offering a combination of technologies that work together seamlessly, they produce bright and clear images with improved contrast and a true-to-life color view.

The Terra ED is one of the best compact binoculars for birding due to the SCHOTT extra-low dispersion glass with hydrophobic multi-coating, providing users with optical clarity and precision in all situations.

Compact, light and robust, the Terra ED’s have an effective field of view, are nitrogen-filled and O-ring sealed, can tolerate harsh weather conditions – including wet and snow. They are light in weight and the rubberized armor can offer safety from shocks while delivering a slip-resistant grasp.

The double-hinge closed-bridge design means they can fold compactly to fit in your pockets or pack with ease, and the knurled center focus wheel facilitates fast pointing. Twist-up eyecups make these the perfect lightweight binoculars for bird watching that can be used with or without eyewear.

Other Features

  • Magnification: 10x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 25 millimeters
  • Lens Coating: Premium MC
  • Field of View: 291 ft @ 1000 yards at 54 degree
  • Eye Relief: 16 mm
  • Weight: 0.6 lbs
  • It has high water resistance and weather resistance
  • Includes knurled center focus wheel
  • Protective lenses produce intense images

What Customers Are Saying

“I had been using a 20-year-old pair of Steiner binoculars for birding. After doing research and using a friend’s pair of Zeiss I purchased these. The instructions and schematics are easy to follow. I like the hinged hard carrying case that I am able to secure to my belt as I switch from bino to camera. The neck strap is a nice edition but I have upgraded to a more substantial one. I wear eyeglasses and had no trouble adjusting these for my field of vision. WOW. The clarity and resolution are magnificent. I have only used these three times since purchase but am very happy with these.”

SkyGenius 10X50 Binoculars

SkyGenius 10X50 Binoculars

When you are not willing to spend a fortune on a pair of birding binoculars, the SkyGenius 10X50 Binoculars are the budget savvy pair you have been waiting for. With an extremely competitive price (under $50), these budget binoculars offer various high-quality features that make them a promising addition to your kit.

Designed with 10X power magnification and a 367 foot field of view, they are good for fast moving subjects and are ideal for bird watching. Aspherical lenses and multi-layer coating assure excellent light transmission and improved image brightness, contrast and quality. They function well in low-light conditions.

Rubber armor structure provides shock-resistance and the anti-slip grip make them perfect for outdoor activities. They are also wear-resistant and moisture-proof, but not water-proof, so buyers should keep this in mind if needed for wet conditions.

Other Features

  • Magnification: 8x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42 millimeters
  • Lens Coating: Phase Correction Coated Prisms and ED Glass
  • Field of View: 393 ft @ 1000 yards
  • Eye Relief: 17.8 mm
  • Weight: 1lb 6oz
  • Dimensions = 6 x 5 x 2 inches
  • ED glass can prevent or can say nearly reduce chromatic aberration, which results in color fringing
  • Nitrogen-filling purged to be Fog Proof and Waterproof to make it bear hard weather conditions and rugged environments

What Customers Are Saying

“I didn’t think I’d like these bins as much as I do – but I can’t believe the great quality, manufacturing, and clear optics. I originally bought these for bird watching but find I can spot even the tiniest creatures (lizards, spiders, etc). The material is very durable and lens cap covers can be slotted to fit the strap, which is convenient. What really impresses me are the 3D optics – I’m not even sure they are 3D but it definitely looks that way. The view is extremely sharp and vivid. Focusing is made very simple so you can quickly adjust if needed. I really am so happy with these and highly recommend them! Plus carrying case is a nice addition.”

Gosky 10X42 Roof Prism Binoculars

Gosky 10X42 Roof Prism Binoculars

Gosky 10X42 Roof Prism Binoculars offer high-power magnification and a large field of view giving you a remarkable observing experience in your outdoor explorations. Fully multi-layer lens coatings ensure exceptional light transmission and illumination, creating brighter, clearer and more crisp images, making these one of the best power binoculars for bird watching.

The Gosky’s durable aluminium framework and shock-absorbing rubber armor gives tight-fitting protection that can withstand the toughest weather conditions and stay light in your hand for long durations.

One of the most amazing characteristics of the Gosky 10X42 Roof Prism Binoculars is the included Smartphone Adapter Mount. The mount is compatible with most new Smartphones on the market and makes it easy to snap images of your favourite birds, or record what them to look at later.

These binoculars also come with a protected lifetime warranty which greatly increases their value.

Other Features

  • Magnification: 10x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42 millimeters
  • Lens Coating: Fully Multi-coated Prism systems BaK4
  • Optical Glass: HD Glass
  • Field of View: 307 ft @ 1000 yards
  • Eye Relief: 12 mm
  • Weight: 19.2 oz
  • Dimension: 5.51x 6.30x 2.17 inches
  • Compact size enables it to carry in the pocket
  • High resistance to water and other harsh weathers

What Customers Are Saying

“Great power and crisp optics on a budget, the controls are fluid smooth and feel well-built. I did not buy it for the phone adapter,but I did try it out and I would buy a stand if you use an iPhone plus 7,8,10 as the weight makes you feel like you have to use 3 hands or a timer to take a picture for fear of dropping it and for that reason I also took shaky pictures. I am happy enough with these to write a review and after a hour of comparisons, this is the best deal at this price point.”

Final Thoughts

Thanks for reading our list of some of the best rated binoculars for bird watching. It is always a good idea to get the best pair you can afford for the best bird watching experience, as such this can become a significant investment.

However, as this list proves, you can find an excellent pair of binoculars at a very reasonable price point, so don’t become too brand conscious. Purchase a pair that makes you feel satisfied with the view and feel you experience in the field.

In conclusion, the best binoculars for bird watching are the ones that make you fall in love with and keep you enthusiastic about birding. Do your homework, read real reviews, analyze all of your options, and if possible, try before buying. Make sure you choose the best pair that fits in to your budget.

Once you get the right pair of binoculars, you will experience woods, marshes and local nature walks with a renewed sense of wonder!

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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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