The Best All Around Binoculars for 2017
What You Need To Know
Ever wondered what it would be like if you could see from miles away? Worry no more, because the best binoculars will give you the sight of an eagle. Bird watchers, hunters, wildlife observers, anglers, law enforcers, sports enthusiasts, star gazers, and opera watchers have enjoyed the benefits of binoculars – but the possibilities don’t end here. There are many uses for binoculars, and there’s a perfect pair made just for you.
What to Look For: A Quick Guide to Buying Binoculars
You can’t just grab binoculars and call it a day. There’s a perfect pair made just for you – it’s just a matter of finding out which one is best for your needs. Here is a list of things to consider when buying binoculars:
Binoculars are only as good as the viewing experience they provide. So it’s very important that you check its objective lens for three qualities: the diameter, its magnification, and coating. Different types of lenses are suited for various needs.Binoculars with low to medium magnification will do for just about anything. Those with large, low magnifying, multi-coated lenses are usually enough for general nature watching. Meanwhile, lenses with powerful magnification are better suited for hunting and bird watching, and the addition of wide objectivity makes them ideal for star gazing.
Some binoculars are made for specific uses such as astronomy, night vision, and marine life observation. If you happen to need one, be on the lookout for special qualities you could benefit from. The best binoculars for marine observation would be those with rangefinders and waterproof designs. For star gazing, a built-in compass would be really useful for spotting entire constellations. Night vision binoculars should allow you to see in dark environments.
Of course, there are many other types of binoculars you could choose from. There are people who require binoculars with eyeglass compatibility and others who could use an optional tripod attachment. It all boils down to knowing what you need.
Quality and design.
Overall, you want sturdy binoculars that are built to last, though it may not hurt to get a snazzy-looking pair. It should be made of high-quality material, include lens caps to protect the lenses, and maybe a case for storing the binoculars when traveling or not in use. Water, dust, and shock resistance would definitely be a plus. An adjustable strap attached to the device would not only prevent it from falling but also make it easily accessible while on the field. You may also want to check for quick accessibility of its parts.
Portability is another factor to take into consideration, especially if the weight and size make it unwieldy. Most people prefer binoculars that are small and lightweight because they’re easier to travel with. Some wouldn’t mind a little heft on their binoculars. Choose what feels right for you and there shouldn’t be any problem.
When shopping for binoculars, take your budget into account. But don’t forget to consider its price along with its features, quality, and design. You can buy cheap binoculars for general uses like watching sports at stadiums or performances at theatres, though you may have to choose from mid-range to high-end binoculars for specialized uses.
The best binoculars come with accompanying instruction manuals. These should be available in print, digital format, or both at no extra cost. Check for the types of support provided by manufacturers, and whether or not they promptly respond to customers. Before making your purchase, look into the warranty. See if the manufacturer is willing to offer repairs, services, and replacements and for how long.
Here's our review on 5 of the Best Binoculars of 2017
Nikon Monarch 3 (7540)
Best Binoculars for All Around Use
The Monarch 3 summons images of butterflies when you first hear about it. After all, it was named after the now-endangered Monarch butterfly. Nikon had every reason to do so. Their entire line of Monarchs was designed for (you guessed it!) butterfly watchers. But if you want the best value for your money, you can’t go wrong Nikon’s third-generation Monarch.
For a binocular that costs under $300 ($230 to be exact), Nikon 7540 has impressive optics. The roof prism-based lenses can zoom in to nearly 10 feet. It offers a crisp, clear, and bright viewing experience that’s just as good as a $2,000 Swarovski, saving you a great deal of money. The Monarch 3 has fully multicoated, anti-reflective lenses suitable for outdoor use in broad daylight. The addition of turn-and-slide eyecups means generous eye relief for eyeglass wearers.
At first look these binoculars look rather flimsy, and its light weight only adds to that impression. In this case however, looks can be deceiving. The Monarch 3 is actually quite durable. Made of polycarbonate material, these binoculars are shock-resistant and can take a beating. Nikon went two steps further and gave it a waterproof design plus a 25-year warranty.
- Excellent Image Quality
- Comfortable for the eyes
- Durable despite it's look
- Waterproof Design
- Warranty of up to 25 Years
- Lens Covers are not as durable
Celestron Nature DX 71332
Next Best Thing
Celestron Nature DX was designed for close-proximity viewing, much like the Nikon Monarch. With it, you get a closer view of 6.5 feet compared to the 9.8 feet range of Monarch 3. Nature DX provides a slightly wider field of view as well as sharper images. And while it comes at a cheaper price of $120, it doesn’t sacrifice durability or ease of use.
These affordable binoculars have 8 x 42 mm prism phase lenses and multi-coated optics. As a result, you get bright, high-resolution images with excellent contrast. With the addition of close-focus feature, Nature DX is perfect for watching birds, insects, plants, and everything that nature has to offer up close.
Beginners will love this entry-level Celestron. Apart from being compact, lightweight, and fairly easy to use, Nature DX is a tough nut to crack. It has a polycarbonate shell coated with rubber and purged with nitrogen, making it waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof. Plus, it comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
- Comes with a lot of accessories
- Excellent minimum focusing distance
- The Quality of the extra accessories are not the best.
- Some Blurring occurs when the magnification reaches full extent.
Nikon Monarch 5 (7576)
Best Binoculars for Nature and the Outdoors
The Monarch 5 is another great buy for outdoor use. It’s a major step-up to Monarch 3 in terms of quality and features, but won’t leave a hole in your wallet. For just $300, you get a clearer, sharper, and more brilliant field of view – and the same 25-year warranty. Compared to the third-generation Monarch, these binoculars are built for (more) extreme conditions. It boasts a rubber-armored body for greater durability, as well as a fog-proof and waterproof design. Nikon 7576 is also easier to use, and the lighter weight makes it a travel-friendly companion.
- Lightweight, yet durable
- Eye Relief
- Smooth Focus Knobs
- Best in its Price Range
- Aren't quite as clear in situations with low-light
Celestron SkyMaster Giant
Best Binoculars for Star Gazing and Low Light Environments
SkyMaster Giant certainly lives up to its name. Packed with powerful 15 x 70 mm lenses, they are some of the best binoculars. The large aperture makes it suitable for low light conditions such as star gazing. Meanwhile, the multi-coated optics enables long-distance viewing in broad daylight.
It’s a sure steal for binoculars that sell under $80 – a huge difference compared to the Fufinon’s Polaris which costs $650. The Celestron SkyMaster Giant doesn’t match the performance of its high-end competitor though it holds up quite well and provides impressive views. It offers the best brightness, contrast, and overall quality for its price range.
The center-focusing mechanism works smoothly and doesn’t wobble, which tends to be a common drawback of cheap binoculars. Other features include a tripod adapter for extended use, a 13 mm eye relief for eyeglass wearers, and fine-focusing.
- Enhanced Contrast
- Perfect for Astronomical Viewing
- Perfect for Long Distance Viewing
- Overall Quality is Nice
- Customer Service could be better
- Some customers complained about the image quality
Nikon Action Ex Extreme 7238
Best Binoculars for All Terrain Use and Wide Angle Viewing
The Action Ex Extreme
Action Ex Extreme doesn’t look as sleek as the Monarchs. What it lacks in flare, it makes up for with a really cheap price tag and decent features. These all terrain binoculars won’t cost you any more than $130. However, it still has the high-quality optics you would expect from a Nikon Monarch.
Nikon 7238 is equipped with multi-coated, anti-reflective lenses for optimum performance in various lighting conditions. Its 8 x 40 mm lenses offer wide field views of over 420 at 1,000 yards, making them suitable for wide angle viewing. The click-stop eyecups are adjustable, providing comfort for both eyeglass wearers and general users.
As its name implies, these binoculars are built for almost any environment. Action Ex has a stainless steel chassis covered with polycarbonate, filled with nitrogen, and sealed tightly for a waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof performance. The additional rubber coating gives it a non-slip grip for worry-free use. Unfortunately, its porro prism design places it at risk of misalignment, especially when jostled or used for a long time. Thankfully, these budget binoculars come with the same 25-year warranty as a Nikon Monarch.
- All Terrain
- Waterproof, Shockproof
- High Quality Optics
- Low-light Performance
- Tough to use when using for an extend amount of time without tripod
Why should I get binoculars?
Human eyesight is limited to a short distance. A person can only see as far as his visual acuity, with 20/20 being the “perfect eyesight”. Beyond a few feet, it’s nearly impossible to make out the details of objects and sceneries. The further and smaller something is the more difficult it is for the eyes to see. This is especially true for people with poor vision.
In a nutshell, binoculars “extend” your vision to more than a couple of feet. With a decent pair, you could see from distances of up to 1,000 yards. Binoculars also have excellent field of range. Normally, both eyes could see 135° vertically and 200° horizontally. But with the best binoculars, you get a wider field of view.
You could say that binoculars grant ‘Super Sight’ by breaking human limits. Aside from this obvious benefit, there are many more perks to owning binoculars. Professionals, hobbyists, and enthusiasts alike will agree to the worth and practicality of these optical instruments.
- Safety. One good reason for owning binoculars is that it lets you observe from a safe distance. Whenever danger is involved, you can take it out and watch an object, event, or environment without placing your personal safety on the line. Watching wildlife is an example where binoculars would come in handy since you wouldn’t want to be anywhere near wild animals. Journalists and reporters also use binoculars to watch important events unfold at minimal risk.
- Surveillance. Safety isn’t always a matter of personal interest. When the safety of other people is involved, it pays to have binoculars. The best binoculars let you spy on unsavory characters such as criminals from afar without being noticed. The police, military, and other public safety enforcers can greatly benefit from these useful gadgets in their line of work. Private investigators may use binoculars for surveillance as well.
- Silent Viewing. Binoculars are designed for discrete observation. Because of this, you get to stay safe in dangerous scenarios and avoid blowing your cover during surveillance. Apart from these benefits, binoculars may be applied in situations where silence is a must and any disturbance of the environment – natural or man-made – should be avoided. It is for this reason that hunters, bird watchers, and wildlife photographers have binoculars as part of their gear. If you happen to enjoy theatrical performances like operas and plays, binoculars provide the same benefit.
- Sightseeing. What good are eyes if you can’t enjoy beautiful sights? Binoculars give you the chance to see remarkable views up close. Whether it’s the proud façade of an architectural structure, a scene painted by nature itself, or the sight of migrating whales as they make their way across the sea, you get to see a wide range of spectacles with the best binoculars. It’s no wonder that seasoned travelers always have one in their bags. And yet there’s more to binoculars than meets the eye. Besides sightseeing, they take you right into the action of things. Sports fans wouldn’t have to miss another moment with a good pair.
- Save money, time, and energy. It could take you anything between a few minutes to a couple hours just to get a closer view of things. You can save as much time if you owned binoculars that allow you to see from a distance. Scouting for areas suited to either your interest or profession (i.e. photography, hunting, surveillance, nature watching) also takes up energy, but binoculars give you the leverage to spend less of it. Plus, if you manage to buy the best binoculars at an affordable price, you could say you’ve saved on money too!