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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 2022! The Viking Kestrel ED Binoculars are the perfect companion for bird enthusiasts featuring the larger 42mm lens with Vikings specially engineered low-dispersion technology to allow in more light for greater clarity. The Kestrel ED is a reliable choice throughout the year and are better equipped to handle the low-light conditions British weather can throw at us. We recommend the 8x magnification for handheld use without a tripod. Viking Binoculars are backed by a 10-year warranty and the Kestrel ED feels solidly built with a nice tactile rubber finish and easily adjustable focus ring with smooth action. They are also suitable for glasses wearers too thanks to the adjustable twist down eyecups. 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. They offer the same quality as some far more expensive models we tested so represent excellent value for money. You simply won’t get a better pair of binoculars for birdwatching at this price!
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!
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.
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!
Exceptional image stabilisation and great value compared to competition
We were mightily impressed with the performance of the Viking Scout Image Stabilised Binoculars, which are amazing to use with their higher 12x magnification. Binocular magnifications over 10x are very difficult to hold still enough for comfortable viewing but thanks to the image stabilising system (requires 2x AA batteries) with the flick of a switch the view becomes remarkably stable. The downside of such a high magnification means a narrower field of view, which can make it harder to locate targets while looking through the lenses. However, the Scout 12x30 worked well for us in the field and was comfortable to use handheld. As well as the top-class image stabilising the binoculars are backed up by a top quality optical system with multi-coated lenses and phase corrected prisms. They are expensive but you get a lot for your money and better value than alternative Image Stabilising Binoculars.
Excellent pair of compact binoculars combines high-quality optics with convenient size
This compact pair of binoculars from Viking really impressed us with their excellent optical clarity and value for money. The Viking Badger 8x25 weighs only 298g, but still feel sturdy and well-built. They look great, small and discreet, and provide great quality through the surprisingly powerful lens. They are still nitrogen filled and waterproof so can be used in all weather conditions, and the view is clear and bright through the 25mm lenses. We found the focus wheel to be smooth and precise, and the twist-up eyecups stayed in place. Overall, the compact Badgers are a lovely pair of binoculars (available in 8x25 and 10x25 options), which would be perfect for anyone who likes to enjoy bird watching without having to lug a full-size pair around. At around £75 mark you won’t get better compact binoculars than these!
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.
Pocket-friendly pair of binoculars that offer great value for money
Ideal for travelling light and providing great quality at an affordable price point, we are big fans of the Celestron Outland X 8x25. The lightweight and compact design means these are easy to carry in a pocket and for a 8x compact roof prism binocular we cannot fault the quality of image. They fit comfortably in the hand and the fingers of the left or right hand are well placed to focus. They are also usable with glasses thanks to the twist up eye cups for eye relief adjustment is ok but as these are compact it is not a brilliant field of view. Without glasses, however the clarity, field of view and brightness are, in our opinion, excellent for binoculars of this size which easily fit in a large coat pocket. These binoculars are small enough to take anywhere and our top choice under £50.
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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