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The very best Binoculars of the year, handpicked by our team of experts. From budget-friendly compact models to premium models with Image Stabilisation, we have models to suit every budget. We regularly update our list throughout the year, to bring you the best binoculars on the market right now.
Simply the best bird watching binoculars - fantastic quality, incredible value!
Our Best Buy Binoculars for Bird Watching in 2023! Equipped with high quality extra-low dispersion ED Glass they offered comparative performance as even far more expensive ED models we’ve tested, which is why they've topped our list. We'd recommend the larger 42mm lens with 8x magnification as the perfect companion for bird enthusiasts for a brilliantly wide field of view, however, there is a 10x42 variant (if you have steady hands) and an 8x32 if you prefer something more compact. Viking Binoculars are backed by a 10-year warranty and the Vistron ED feels solidly built with a nice tactile finish and easily adjustable metal focus ring with smooth action. They are also suitable for glasses wearers too thanks to the adjustable twist down eyecups and generous eye relief. Nitrogen-filled to stop internal fogging, they are also fully waterproof so should stand up to anything the Great British weather can throw at them. We were blown away by the quality of these binoculars and don't think you'll get a better quality pair of binoculars for birdwatching at this price!
An excellent pair of premium binoculars for more serious birders!
For avid and more serious bird watching enthusiasts then a serious pair of optics can be a vital investment and for us the Frontier HD X strike the perfect balance between high-quality components and affordability. Hawke also produce an ED version of this model (which will set you back about another £100) but in terms of price-performance we would give these the edge. The optical performance is superior to many other “ED” binoculars that we’ve tested providing incredible true-to-life colour, excellent contrast and sharpness and dependability in low-light. Chromatic aberration was nigh on impossible to detect and the design and build quality of the Frontier HD X is impressive. If you’re in the market for premium quality on a tighter budget then you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better pair than these under £500.
Affordable quality - an excellent pair of binoculars for beginners
Next up is another entry from Viking Optical. The Badger range are designed for the casual or birdwatching beginner and the 8x42 offers an excellent viewing experience for the price. Still manufactured with excellent optics including fully multi-coated lenses and twist-up rubber eyecups for complete comfort with or without glasses. Their armouring provides a secure and comfortable grip, and they are nitrogen purged so completely waterproof. Overall, we loved the Badgers and they’ve received numerous 5-star reviews from our customers. If you’re looking for an affordable pair of high-quality binoculars for under £100, then you won’t get much better than these!
Best Binoculars for Under £200
Offering excellent performance and optical quality within their price range the Hawke Nature-Trek are a great choice of binoculars for birdwatching. Featuring high-quality BAK-4 Roof Prisms and fully multi-coated lenses they offered us brilliant colour reproduction and handled low-light very well. The inclusion of phase correction coatings on the prism is excellent and well beyond what you find on many others at this level. As well as this their minimum focus, field of view and eye-relief are all good. At under £200 the Hawke Nature-Trek are our Best Buy!
Sharp focus and incredible value make these one of our top picks!
Boasting incredibly sharp focus with 10x Magnification the Avalon PRO HD 10x42 offer exceptional quality and value. They feel very well made yet are one of the lightest pair of full-size binoculars on our list, weighing in at only 550g and come with a Limited Lifetime Warranty for peace of mind. We found that they performed extremely well in low light conditions with clear true-to-life images and the focusing wheel is easy and precise. There was a little bickering over the benefit of the stay-on lens caps - personally I found them to be very convenient but others felt they got in the way (however, worth noting that they can be removed completely). Overall, these are seriously impressive optics for under £200!
Seriously impressive optics - if money is no object then this is our top choice!
The Viking Osprey ED are the most expensive binoculars in our round-up of Best Buys and if money were no object then these would be our choice for No.1. They are flat-field binoculars and best suited for enthusiasts looking for a premium set of optics. The sharpness and colour of images is superior to anything else we’ve tested (included even pricier models), meaning they're a joy to use out in the wild. There is a nice weight to them, and the action of the focus wheel and eyecups is excellent. As you might expect from such a high-end pair of birdwatching binoculars the Osprey are equipped with ED glass and high-quality dielectric coatings on the prisms. They are also nitrogen-filled and waterproof up to 1 metre. At nearly £500 these aren’t for casual use, but for an optics enthusiast looking for a trusty pair of high-end optics that will last for many years to come, these will not disappoint!
Premium lightweight binoculars with ED glass for exceptional clarity
The Viking Peregrine ED are essentially a more premium version of our pick for Best Buy, and were a close contender for the top spot. Comparing the spec of each you’d be hard pressed to tell them apart; perhaps the only noticeable difference is that the 8x42 Peregrines are lighter (only 600g) compared to the Kestrels (694g). However, although on paper both these models are pretty much identical the Peregrines are equipped with higher quality Extra Low Dispersion glass and dielectric coated, phase corrected BAK 4 Prisms. This means that you get a slightly sharper image (we struggled to pick up any aberration at all) along with all the other benefits present in our Best Buy: rugged armouring, fully waterproof and nitrogen purged, eye-cups, etc. At over £300 they’re not exactly cheap but you are paying a premium for quality and they hold their own against even pricier models in terms of optical quality.
Magnesium alloy frame makes these a solid pair of mid-sized binoculars
The Celestron TrailSeeker 10x32 are a sleek and stylish mid-sized binocular that offer superb optical performance for bird watching. The TrailSeeker benefits from a high-quality, lightweight, magnesium alloy frame for durability, which comes with Celestron's Limited Lifetime Guarantee. There is good sharpness of image at the center and edge of field of view and the overall brightness is excellent. Filled with Nitrogen and sealed, the TrailSeeker are fogproof and waterproof. A good choice compared to more expensive equivalents from the likes of Nikon.
Decent binoculars and great value
The Celestron Outland X are a fantastic pair of binoculars that offer incredible value and versatility. Boasting 10x magnification and multi coated optics for high-resolution views with enhanced colour fidelity. Suitable for outdoor use by birders, thanks not only to the powerful magnification but a sturdy build and waterproofing. They are also nitrogen purged so fogproof for using in all weather environments. We found the large focus knobs easy to adjust for precise focusing and twist-up eyecups allow for quick adjustment of eye relief to obtain the full field of view. If you’re looking for a reliable pair of binoculars for bird watching but don’t want to break the bank then the Celestron Outland X 10x50 offer affordable quality.
Another impressive set of binoculars from Celestron
The Celestron Nature DX 10x42 is a reliable option for bird watching offering the right combination of magnification, field of view, and close focus distance. The fully multi-coated lenses provide high-levels of well managed light transmission especially at 42mm and the phase-coated, premium BaK4 prism glass does a good job of providing sharp, true-to-life colour of your target.
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