Top 5 Best Hunting Binoculars Reviews 2018 – PRO Guide & Review

Any avid hunter will tell you that binoculars are must-have accessories when out in the rough. Besides, what’s the point of getting started if you can’t even locate your preys? Indeed, binoculars come in great handy during hunting and in fact, are regarded as the most important piece when it comes to comprehensive hunting gear. If you are just getting started, it’s worth noting that finding the ideal pair of binoculars is actually no mean feat to achieve – contrary to what you may be thinking.

Best Binoculars for Hunting Reviews - Hunting Binoculars - proHuntingHacks
Courtesy: Nick Weaver | Montana Mountain Range

As a novice, you should keep in mind that there are lots of factors to consider and a handful of features to scrutinize while at it. Fortunately, we have separated the wheat from chuff as usual by going the extra mile and doing all the hard work for you. Below, we’ve compiled a list of the top five products in the niche to help you in your quest – regardless of whether you’re a greenhorn or pro hunter. Before diving right in, though, let’s delve on the things to consider before dashing out and grabbing the first pair you come across at the local store. Enjoy!

Comparison Chart of The Top 5 Best Binoculars for Hunting

Product Title Price Editor's Score
1 Vortex Optics Viper HD Roof Prism Binocular
Best Binocular for Elk Hunting
Vortex Optics Viper HD 10x42 Roof Prism Binocular $$$ (4.7 / 5)
2 Bushnell H2O Waterproof Fogproof Porro Prism Binocular
Best Budget Binocular for Hunting
Bushnell H2O Waterproof/Fogproof Porro Prism Binocular $ (4.7 / 5)
3 Nikon 8218 Trailblazer Hunting Binoculars
Best Binocular for Coyote Hunting
Nikon 8218 Trailblazer 10X25 Hunting Binoculars $ (4.5 / 5)
4 Celestron 71406 TrailSeeker Binoculars
Best Hunting Binocular - Choice of the Editor
Celestron 71406 TrailSeeker 10x42 Binoculars $$ (4.9 / 5)
5 Steiner 2444 Predator Binocular
Best Binocular for Deer Hunting
Steiner 10x42mm 2444 Predator Binocular $$$ (4.8 / 5)

Best Binoculars for Hunting Reviews

1.   Vortex Optics Viper HD 10×42 Roof Prism Binocular

Best Binocular for Elk Hunting

It should come as no surprise that a Vortex Optics product leads the pack in the niche considering the brand’s solid portfolio over the years. The Viper HD is a superbly built model packing a host of innovative features that any seasoned hunter would require when out gaming. This optical beast comes fully packed with an O-ring to seal moisture and dirt out, multi-coated optics and outstanding image quality just to mention a few. To put this into perspective, here is an in-depth look at the Viper HD by Vortex Optics.

Features

  • Vortex Optics incorporates an O-ring to seal in the Viper HD intended at locking out debris, moisture and dust. In a nutshell, it is a fogproof and waterproof model that works effectively regardless of environment or climatic condition. To enhance the waterproof capabilities, the hunting binocular also entails argon gas that doubles up as a fogproof feature.
  • For precision enhancement while hunting, Vortex Optics adopts the latest HD technology in the extra-low dispersion glass. This results in high quality resolution, impeccable color fidelity and ultimately, accurate high definition images.
  • To eliminate glares, the Viper HD hunting binocular packs fully multi-coated air-to-glass surfaces. This combined with the dielectric prism coatings make up for clear, bright and color accurate image visuals in all weather conditions.
  • Just in case you are worried about its durability, it’s worth noting that the manufacturer offers an unconditional lifetime warranty which speaks tons about the matter.

PROS
  • Superior light transmission enhanced by dielectric prisms.
  • Waterproof features to deliver on high image quality regardless of weather.
  • Lifetime warranty that guarantees repairs of the Viper HD at no extra cost.
  • Comfortable to carry around thanks to the strong straps.

CONS
  • The detachable eyepiece caps can easily be misplaced or lost.

In a nutshell, the Viper HD is easily the best hunting binocular and it’s not that hard to see why. It delivers on superior optical abilities regardless of climatic condition, alongside guaranteeing lifelong service just in case you doubt its durability. If you are looking for the best hunting binoculars to elevate your gaming expeditions a notch higher, you know where to look.

Read the full detailed review of the Vortex Optics Viper HD Roof Prism Binocular

2.   Bushnell H2O Waterproof/Fogproof Porro Prism Binocular

Best Budget Binocular for Hunting

Bushnell is one of the more popular brands in the niche and for good reason – they come cheap. That said, the H20 ranks high on our list for being the best binoculars for the money, meaning if you are working on a budget, this is your safest bet. Let’s delve on the specs, shall we?

Features

  • The Bushnell H20 consists of nitrogen purged engineering that is further enhanced by an O-ring, thus, making it a fully waterproof model. The fogproof unit is designed to work outstandingly well under any weather condition, complemented by rubber grip coating for wet weather conditions.
  • With 8x magnification, 42mm objective diameter and an 18-foot close focus distance, you can be assured of superior image quality while gaming. The 17mm eye relief also means it can be used for extended periods without causing eye strains.
  • The Bushnell H20 sports BaK-4 prisms and multi-coated optics intended at delivering precise images defined by impeccable light transmission. This also means that you get precision-oriented 3D images for moving objects within a field view of 341 feet.
  • It packs a simplistic center-focus knob that allows easy and fast diopter adjustments of the optics.

PROS
  • Very user-friendly thanks to simplistic focusing wheels.
  • Anti-reflecting, multi-coated glasses for glare elimination and image sharpness.
  • Small and lightweight unit.
  • Features twist-up eyecups to enhance functionality for eyeglass users.

CONS
  • Lacks objective lens caps.

The reason why the Bushnell H20 ranks as the best binoculars for the money is simply because it strikes the perfect balance of functionality with affordability. It will particularly come in handy during wet conditions such as in rainy weather or boating applications. In a nutshell, this is the one product that offers the best value for your money, period.

3.   Nikon 8218 Trailblazer 10X25 Hunting Binoculars

Best Binocular for Coyote Hunting

As a brand, Nikon certainly needs no introduction. The manufacturer has a knack for crafting some of the best optical accessories ranging from cameras to binoculars – the 8218 Trailblazer is no exception. Despite its somewhat limited optical objective size, the unit packs lenses of unparalleled quality thanks to the additional technology adopted. Here’s an overview of what to expect.

Features

  • The 8218 Trailblazer is an all-terrain model with waterproof ATB features and fogproof capabilities for harsh climatic conditions.
  • For comfort, Nikon threw in a lightweight, portable body facilitated by the small objective lens. It also comes complete with a well-curved grip and compact overall design.
  • The 8218 packs magnification of 10x, 25mm objective diameter, 10mm eye relief and field view of 342 feet. These combined features deliver sharp and accurate images without compromising on portability.
  • You get a lifetime warranty upon purchase of the Nikon Trailblazer, meaning you can rest assured of its durability standards.

PROS
  • Aesthetically pleasing, sleek design.
  • Lightweight and portable.
  • Pocket friendly price tag.
  • Lifetime warranty even if you aren’t the original owner.

CONS
  • Small objective lens size.

Overall, this is one of the easiest pair of binoculars to use – we recommend it for coyote hunting; as you need a lightweight and small pair of binoculars so that they are not a burden to carry. It’s not only a lightweight beast that works magic for daytime hunters, but also a sleek pair you should feel proud hanging around your neck. Nikon is a great brand with a myriad of amazing products such as the Trailblazer line to show for.

Check out the list of Must-Have Gears for Hunting Coyotes

Review of the Best Coyote Calls

4.   Celestron 71406 TrailSeeker 10×42 Binoculars

Best Hunting Binocular – Choice of the Editor

Celestron is a brand known for manufacturing low-cost, yet quality optical accessories such as the 71406. This unit easily ranks among the best hunting binoculars on the market for one reason only – its impressive visual capabilities. Overall, it is a highly capable unit considering the sufficient objective lens size of 42mm. Let’s dive right in and have a look at the great features entailed in the Trailseeker.

Features

  • The Trailseeker sports phase and dielectric coated BaK-4 prisms which greatly enhance the light transmission for unmatched image quality. This means you can perfectly spot games at a distance even where there is low lighting.
  • With a field view of 341 feet, the Trailseeker makes it really easy to spot and track games without necessarily having to move it around.
  • The unit is crafted from lightweight magnesium alloy frame for enhanced comfort and more importantly, an extended lifespan. While most binoculars are designed using plastic, Celestron veers from the norm with its bold design.

PROS
  • Lightweight magnesium alloy frame that makes up for the large objective lens size.
  • Aesthetically pleasing design unique from the market standards.
  • Pocket friendly price tag despite the premium features entailed.
  • Effective light transmission features facilitated by the BaK-4 prisms.

CONS
  • Lacks waterproof features.

The long and short of it is you could do a lot worse with other products other than the Celestron 71406 Trailseeker. It’s an alluring piece of hunting gear you can use for any application other than gaming and on any given day. The magnesium alloy frame serves as an added advantage in regards to easing the burden around the neck not to mention the durability factor. This is indeed one of the best hunting binoculars you can invest in currently and for valid reasons as you may have gathered already.

5.   Steiner 10x42mm 2444 Predator Binocular

Best Binocular for Deer Hunting

The Predator is indeed a beast as the name implies. In fact, the unit’s bold, raw and rugged look speaks volumes about its overall abilities and you can instantly tell that the two triple four binocular is not one to mess around with. To put this into perspective, you get Makrolon housing that can withstand up to 11 Gs of impact, further enhanced by a rugged chassis with durable rubber armoring. To get a clue of what I’m talking about, here is a list of what to expect.

Features

  • The 2444 packs the latest Optimized Light Transmission technology that boosts performance up by 4% in low lighting. This makes it perfect for those that enjoy gaming way past the legal hours.
  • The predator is indeed quick to identify its prey thanks to a fast-close-focus central knob that requires minimal rotation for instant sharpness.
  • It comes packed with the exclusive Color Adjusted Transmission technology designed to amplify the contrast of images within the sensitivity range.

PROS
  • Boasts a lightweight roof prism to ease the comprehensive load.
  • Rugged and raw look ideal for wild hunting expeditions.
  • User-friendly knobs and adjustments.

CONS
  • Limited warranty upon purchase.

Overall, the Predator is indeed a hunter’s gift in whichever aspect you choose to look at it from. It is tough, rugged and immensely powerful even in low lighting. The fact that it is a lightweight beast doesn’t hurt its case either.

Check out the list of Required Gears for Deer Hunting

Best Hunting Binoculars Reviews - Binoculars for Hunting - proHuntingHacks
Courtesy: Nick Weaver | Montana

Things to Consider Before Buying The Best Binoculars for Hunting

As is the case with most products, a lot of factors come into play when shopping around for your ideal pair of binoculars. It would therefore be in your best interest to go through this list of factors to look out for when selecting the ideal product.

  • Magnification

In most cases, bigger is always better right? Wrong. This adage doesn’t apply when it comes to hunting binoculars. Here, it’s all about precision and accuracy meaning the higher the magnification, the lower the steadiness – get it? In short, you want an effective pair that doesn’t require steadying after a long, daunting hike through the jungle. A 7x model or one in that range should be sufficient enough to locate prey precisely. If you were under the impression that a 10x model is actually better than a 7x pair of binoculars, think again.

  • Field of View

For those in the dark – novice hunters that is, – the field of view (popularly known as FOV) refers to the area of feet you visualize at a 1000 yards using a specific pair of hunting binoculars. To bluntly put it, a small FOV amount translates to a narrow area and conversely, a higher FOV number translates to a wider area. While there is no particular rule of thumb when it comes to choosing the ideal field of view, it’s worth noting that a higher FOV will serve you right if you often hunt in wide and open locations. This simply means that unless you are tracking down a fast-moving prey, a high FOV is of no good use to skilled hunters.

  • Objective Size

The objective size of a model basically refers to the second number following magnification specs. For instance, a 7×40 model has an objective size of 40 – the second number. Generally speaking, an objective range of 40 to 42mm is often preferred by most hunters and unless you plan on hunting at night, going for higher objectives isn’t really necessary. Models with 50mm objective lenses for instance are significantly expensive, but will work some magic for the avid night hunters.

The long and short of it is, I recommend models sporting 40mm objective lenses if you plan on hunting during legal hours. While at it, it’s also worth noting that binoculars with larger lenses are significantly heavier than those with smaller objectives, which means that a 32mm for instance should serve as ideal if portability ranks high on your list of priorities. However, steer off any hunting model with an objective lens of less than 30mm.

  • Prism Type

Binocular prisms can be classified into two main categories – porro prisms and roof prisms. In regards to hunting, models featuring the latter are highly preferred mainly because of their capabilities to deliver slimmer dimensions, besides the fact that they are more lightweight compared porro prism models. While roof prisms also bear the benefit of reflecting light five times – in comparison to four times featured in porro models – they are more expensive and hence, somewhat out of reach if you are on a strict budget. All in all, both have their benefits and downsides and to some extent, quite difficult to tell which one is actually better than the other. It all boils down to the budget you have ultimately.

  • Focus Type

Hunting binoculars can either come sporting a center focus or an individual eyepiece focus. Judging by my experience, I found the latter to be more effective for long distance hunting. Identifying prey beyond 30 yards with individual focus binoculars is quite easy and in fact, you need not engage in focusing procedures at all. To cap it, they are easier to waterproof as these models sport no external parts at all. On the flipside, center focus models are best when the game is close – less than thirty yards.

  • Optical Coatings

Optical coatings are an essential part of any hunting binoculars worth its salt. They are basically incorporated on the objective lens to reduce or even more importantly, get rid of light reflection altogether. In a nutshell, don’t expect to experience the dreaded glares or distracting light loss moments with hunting binoculars featuring quality optical coatings. Sure, fully coated optics may be a tad too expensive for hunters on a budget; however, there is always the option of going for a model with at least one lens that sports an anti-reflective coating. The bottom line here is precise and brighter images are ultimately defined by the quality of coating entailed in a prospective model, meaning the better the coating, the higher the amount of light you get, period.

  • Image Quality

Of course, all hunters want an optically capable unit that delivers high quality images in simplistic fashion. However, such units don’t come cheap. It would therefore be in your best interest to go for models that offer excellent image quality only if you plan on using binoculars for extended periods at a go. On the flipside, though, a cheaper unit defined by fair image quality should serve as ideal for occasional hunters – something in the range of less than a hundred bucks to be specific.

  • Weight and Size

As stated earlier, the amount of glass or type of lens rather, will eventually determine the comprehensive weight of the model. Regardless of how capable a prospective unit may be, wearing a full-sized and heavy pair of binoculars while out on a hunting expedition is never advisable. What you need, however, is a sizeable unit that won’t hurt your back or neck as you meander through the jungle in search of a game. That said, steer off 30mm or less objective models if performance is what you really need. You don’t want to lose valuable time pondering on whether what you see is a rock or deer.

  • Waterproof and Rubber Coating

Rubber coated hunting binoculars have become increasing popular unlike the past when they were only reserved for the military. Besides being extremely durable, the coating makes it easier to hold the unit even during wet conditions. Most rubber coated models are also waterproof and this is a paramount aspect that’s usually overlooked when shopping. What most hunters fail to realize is, waterproof hunting binoculars are not only resistant to moisture, but also dust, grime and dirt. The feature also means your unit is fogproof and hence, ideal for misty conditions which can possibly make your hunting expedition a pain. I recommend lightweight, rubber coated models with waterproof features any day.

  • Cost Factor

As with any other product, the price of your prospective pair of hunting binoculars should play a lead role in determining whether or not it’s worth it. Of course, your needs and expectations should come first; however, the aforementioned factors must complement the cost and reflect great bang to the buck. In regards to hunting binoculars, the more expensive a unit is, the more likely it is to be of premium quality. In other words, high quality glass and exemplary optical coatings come at a cost. Some brands offer premium models costing north of a thousand dollars, but such units will not only prevent eye strain, but also offer up to a decade of service – a worthwhile investment in the long run.

  • Accessories

Most hunters invest in a worthy pair of quality hunting binoculars only to find some essential accessories missing in the comprehensive package – it happened to me as a greenhorn. Accessories such as straps, body harnesses and cases are often not included in the package, meaning you’ll have to buy them separately. To avoid such occurrences, it would be in your best interest to look out for a pair that comes fully loaded with its complementing accessories. Note, you may purchase a strap separately for instance, only for it to feel uncomfortable on your neck just because it wasn’t categorically made for your heavy model.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q. Which is the best objective lens size for hunting?
A. Generally speaking, any model with a 40mm to 50mm objective size serves as ideal for virtually any hunting application. However, your budget will ultimately determine the model and objective you settle for as the large size can be a tad too expensive for those on a budget.

Q. Which is the best brand of hunting binoculars currently?
A. Most people go for popular brands such as Bushnell or Nikon and this is not wrong. Besides, they say that it’s worth the investment if everyone likes it. However, there are less popular, yet quality brands out there such as the aforementioned Celestron binoculars. In a nutshell, any of the reviewed brands above should serve you right.

Wrapping It Up

In a nutshell, the compiled lists of products above are currently the best in the niche and it certainly isn’t by fluke. If you are looking for an effective pair of hunting binoculars to elevate your gaming expeditions, it would be in your best interest to start the quest by checking out the hunting binoculars on this review. Good luck fellow hunters.

If you are planning to hunt deer, coyotes, turkeys or squirrels; we recommend you to check our PRO Hunting Tips we made for you 🙂

If you are looking for Hunting Boots, Hunting Knives or Hunting Backpacks; our Best Hunting Boots Reviews, Best Hunting Knives Reviews and Best Hunting Backpacks Reviews will surely help you to choose the right one for you!

10 Total Score
Best Binoculars for Hunting

the compiled lists of products above are currently the best in the niche and it certainly isn’t by fluke. If you are looking for an effective pair of hunting binoculars to elevate your gaming expeditions, it would be in your best interest to start the quest by checking out the hunting binoculars on this review. Good luck fellow hunters.

Vortex Optics Viper HD Roof Prism Binocular
9.5
Bushnell H2O Waterproof/Fogproof Porro Prism Binocular
9.4
Nikon 8218 Trailblazer Hunting Binoculars
9.1
Celestron 71406 TrailSeeker Binoculars
9.8
Steiner 2444 Predator Binocular
9.7
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