Top 10 Best Binoculars

Top 10 Best Binoculars

Choosing binoculars is easy with our handy guide and round-up of the best of the best

There is a huge spectrum of binoculars that range from high-end optics that can cost as much as a car to neat little compacts that for as little as £20! There are also all the optical terms and numbers to get your head around, so for someone new to the world of binoculars it can be a little daunting, however, choosing the best binoculars will depend primarily on what you want to use them for. If your subjects are going to be far away then you might want to opt for a higher and more powerful magnification, however, this means you will have a narrower field of view and might struggle with getting a steady image (for anything above 10x magnification every little hand movement or shake will be magnified resulting in an unstable image unless you're using a tripod). If you're using binoculars in low light conditions (e.g. for stargazing and astronomy) then you'll need a larger objective lens to allow in as much light as possible.

For general use, you might want to consider a balance between magnification, light-gathering power, and weight. As a rule of thumb, the larger the objective lens, the bigger and heavier the binoculars will be so if you're planning to take on a hike then maybe a decent pair of lightweight compact binoculars would be best.

  1. Best General All-rounder: Viking Vistron ED 8x42 Binoculars
  2. Best for Birdwatching: Viking Vistron ED 8x42 Binoculars
  3. Best for Astronomy: Celestron Skymaster 15x70 Binoculars
  4. Best for General Wildlife/Safari: Hawke Endurance ED 8x42 Binoculars
  5. Best Compacts: Hawke Nature Trek 8x25 Compact Binoculars
  6. Best Value Binoculars: Viking Vistron ED 8x32 Binoculars
  7. Best Children's Binoculars: Viking Otter 8x32 Binoculars
  8. Best Mid-High (<£500): Viking Osprey 8x42 Binoculars
  9. Best under £200: Hawke Nature-Trek 8x42 Binoculars
  10. Best under £100: Viking Badger 8x42 Binoculars
Why should you trust us?

Unlike a lot of other review sites online that create listicles without ever having laid eyes on (let alone used or tested) the binoculars in question, we hold physical stock allowing us to thoroughly review and test each model. We also conduct customer surveys throughout the year to get feedback from people who have purchased and have a long-term insight into reliability and performance, which also forms part of our selection process. Our reputation is extremely important to us and our list is updated throughout the year as and when we test new models and/or get additional feedback from end users.

So, read on to discover our top picks!

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What to look for when buying binoculars?

If you’re looking for a new pair of binoculars then we would recommend considering how much you plan on using them and their general purpose. If you’re an avid nature watcher and regularly go birdwatching then it might be worth investing in a high-end pair. However, if you’re relatively new to birdwatching or only do so infrequently then it’s probably wise to start off with a more budget-friendly option. The quality of low-mid range binoculars has improved a lot over the past 20 years and you can get a really decent pair of optics for around £100 (or below).

Specification wise, magnification is really important because it affects your field of view (how far and wide you’ll be able to see). The higher the magnification the more susceptible to handshakes and tremors too. To find out the magnification of binoculars you’ll be interested in the first numbers that come after the name, e.g. 8x42. The first number is the binoculars’ magnification, which tells you how many times larger an image will appear compared with that seen by the naked eye so in the case of 8x42 the object of focus through the binoculars will appear eight times closer than it does in real life. The second number refers to the size of the objective lens and the larger this number the more light that the binoculars will be able to let in. This can be great if you plan to use your binoculars in low light e.g. dusk or dawn. However, the larger the objective lens then the larger and heavier the binoculars will be.

Our verdict: Binoculars

Offering a exceptionally bright and sharp images with excellent detail and colour, the Viking Vistron ED are a perfect pair of binoculars for general use and wildlife watching. Focus is quickly and easy and optically the offer exceptional performance for their price range (on a similar level to binoculars of double the price bracket) so represent incredible value for money.

See also:

 Best Binoculars for Birdwatching

Best Compact Binoculars

Best Childrens Binoculars

Best Spotting Scopes