Since there’s so much variety for the intended use of binoculars, it's difficult to pick just a few overall models to recommend. Although high-end binoculars offer multiple benefits, many users simply want something that will perform well and not cost so much that accidentally dropping them on the ground is a major tragedy.
We've approached this list of best binoculars with the goal of recommending models that are excellent for general use, while having some that specialize more in one area or another such as stargazing or bird watching, for example. We also ensured each pick offers a clear and bright image, while being easy to use for nearly all levels of experience. Some of our picks offer more durability than others, with varying degrees of weather-proofing. Lastly, each of our selections provides excellent value for their price point.
Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10x42mm Binoculars
Celestron 15x70 Skymaster Wide Angle Porro Prism Binocular
Nikon 8245 ACULON A211 8 x 42 Binocular
Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Compact Folding Roof Prism Binoculars, 10 x 25-mm
Canon 10x30 IS Binoculars
Bushnell is a leading company when it comes to binoculars. Although they are focused primarily on binoculars for hunting applications, this activity requires excellent optics that can be applied to a wide variety of situations. The Bushnell Legend binoculars were considered to be one of the best value choices for many years, and have been updated with the Legend Ultra HD.
The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10x42 binoculars feature an increased field of view, coming at the cost of a slight decrease in eye relief. These binoculars are lightweight and easy to use, offering good color rendition and sharp, clear images making them ideal for hunting or bird watching. If the 10x magnification is too bold for you, these excellent binoculars can be had in several configurations to meet your needs.
The Celestron SkyMaster Giant 15x70 binoculars might be designed with stargazing in mind, but they offer versatility for other purposes as well. Although these binoculars are not compact enough to be carried everywhere, they’re an excellent choice for those who want to be able to take a peek at the sky above without paying an exorbitant price.
The Celestron SkyMaster Giant 15x70 binoculars offer a sharp and clear image, designed to transfer light to your eyes even in dark sky conditions. They’re water-resistant, simple to use, and can be easily fitted to a standard tripod.
These binoculars are suited for all experience levels and can be used for anything requiring long distance observation whether you’re stargazing or watching birds and wildlife. Offering outstanding value for money, these popular binoculars also come with an excellent warranty.
Considering that Nikon is a company that specializes in glass and lenses, it should come as no surprise to find their binoculars highly recommended. The Nikon 8245 ACULON A211 8x42 binoculars offer the stability of 8x magnification and a compact, lightweight body with a durable, easy-grip rubber coating. These binoculars are easy to handle and focus, producing a clear and bright image rivaling pricier models.
Image quality is maintained under most lighting conditions and there’s a notable lack of distortion. These binoculars are easy to position for comfortable use even over long periods of time, making them suitable for bird/wildlife viewing and even stargazing. For a general use pair of binoculars with outstanding image quality and performance for the money, these are an excellent choice.
Bushnell's long tradition of excellent binoculars and other hunting-related products promise quality, performance, and value with each of their products. The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Compact Folding 10x25 binoculars won the 2012 Outdoor Life Great Buy award for their excellent versatility in a wide range of conditions.
As their name suggests, these binoculars, are lightweight and compact; they fold to become small enough to fit into a jacket pocket. They’re fully waterproof and fog-proof, while the rugged magnesium chassis is being wrapped in a non-slip housing for all weather use. These binoculars offer good color rendition and contrast, with brightness ahead of their class.
The compact and lightweight Canon 10x30 IS Ultra-Compact binoculars offer a built-in optical image stabilizer feature that sets them apart from competitors. While some users dismiss this feature as a gimmick, it has been found to work extremely well overall. The image stabilization feature addresses the issue of shakiness often plaguing binoculars at this level of magnification, making them well-suited for bird watching and stargazing. Although this easy to use feature requires two AA batteries, it works well in all lighting conditions.
These binoculars offer excellent all-around performance. While there are units that cost less and perform just as well, many will find the added cost of the Canon 10x30 IS worthwhile for the image stabilization feature alone.