7 Best Binoculars for Bird Watching and Nature

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Which binoculars are the best for bird watching, nature and the outdoors? Browse reviews by our testers below

Product reviews of the best binoculars for bird watching

We interviewed more than 30 birdwatchers and outdoor enthusiasts on the best features of quality binoculars.

With the information we then took 50 of the bestselling models and spent more than 100 hours testing them.

The Celestron 71018 SkyMaster 20X80 Binoculars is our top choice. It comes with a high-quality construction, multi-coated lens and a large aperture.

At the other end of the spectrum is the SGODDE Compact Folding High Powered Binoculars that is extremely lightweight.

It is also eye width adjustable and can be used by both kids and adults. Below you’ll find a list of our other top picks.

Celestron 71018 SkyMaster 20X80 Binoculars Review – 100%

The Celestron is a powerful pair of binoculars that features a 20x magnification.

The large objective lens makes it ideal in low light conditions all while providing clear and crisp images. This makes it ideal for birdwatching in forested areas where there is thick tree cover.

The center knob is comfortable to use and allows the user to easily adjust the focus. We found the Celestron 71018 to be easy to use as well.

However, at 2.7 kilograms this is quite a heavy pair of binoculars.

  • Simple to use.
  • Powerful 20x magnification.
  • Large aperture.
  • Quite heavy.

Bushnell Powerview 20×50 Binocular Review – 100%

This binocular has a rubber exterior. It is non-slip for a better grip which also makes the equipment durable.

At less than a kilogram it is not very heavy and feels comfortable on the hands. Using the Bushnell Powerview is simple as well and the InstaFocus system allows for a sharp focus on the object.

The 50mm aperture absorbs plenty of light which gives the user the ability to see images in low light. The multi coated lens produces clear and crisp images.

The downside is that the images become sensitive to shaking the higher you set the magnification. This binocular is also not designed to be used with a tripod as well.

  • Simple to use.
  • High quality exterior.
  • Easy to focus on an object.
  • Images are sensitive to shaking.
  • Is not designed to be used with a tripod.

Celestron 71008 SkyMaster 25X70 Binoculars Review – 98%

These binoculars come with an ultra sharp focus. They have a 25X magnification and a 70mm multi coated objective lens which provides bright, clear and crisp images.

The exterior has a protective rubber cover. This also makes it waterproof.

At 1.47 kgs it is lighter than the Celestron 71018 SkyMaster 20X80 Binoculars but still heavier than the Olympus 10×50 DPS1 Binoculars.

However, the Celestron 71008 doesn’t provide a large field of view, especially with a high magnification and we noticed that the image becomes very sensitive to shaking.

  • Simple to use.
  • Come with an ultra-sharp focus.
  • Image is sensitive to shaking at higher magnification levels.

Olympus DPS-1 8X40 Binocular Review – 88%

Unlike the Olympus 10×50 DPS1 Binoculars, this one is smaller and features an 8X magnification and a smaller 40mm objective lens.

However, it offers a wider field of view than its larger counterpart and is ideal for nature lovers and birdwatchers.

The exterior has a tough rubber covering and can sustain a drop. With a weight of 710 grams, it is simple to carry.

The Olympus 8X40 has UV protection which protects the users eyes from harmful UV rays.

The downside is that the binocular has its eyes widely set which means it is not ideal for children.

  • High quality construction.
  • Provides clear and crisp images.
  • Features a fixed eye width.

Olympus 10×50 DPS1 Binoculars Review – 88%

The Olympus DPS 1 comes with a wide view design making it a good choice for bird watchers. This feature helps keep track of the bird’s movement.

A large 50mm aperture absorbs more light allowing the user to observe birds in a forest setting where there is low light.

This pair of binoculars has a strong and sturdy exterior and can be expected to last a long time. It also comes with a 25-year European warranty for peace of mind.

The centre knob makes it simple to adjust for focus and weighing less than a kilo it is easy to move with.

However, we also noticed that the lenses are not made with a high-quality coating and that they easily come off the product during use.

  • Strong and sturdy exterior.
  • Has a wide view.
  • High magnification.
  • Large objective lens.
  • Lenses come off during use.

E-SHINE 10X50 High Powered Surveillance Binoculars – 86%

Similarly to the Olympus 10×50 DPS1 Binoculars, the E-SHINE has a wide angle design, making it good for bird watching with to the product’s large field of view.

The binoculars come with a large objective lens with multi-layer coatings producing clear and bright images.

The exterior is constructed from both metal and ABS, making it durable and able to withstand the outdoors. It is also waterproof, allowing the user to view even in rainy weather.

However, the downside is that that the dust caps don’t seem to fit very well and the frame has a creaking sound when in use, which could potentially frighten off birds.

  • High magnification.
  • Multi coated lens.
  • Large objective lens.
  • Dust caps don’t fit very well.
  • The frame makes a creaking noise.

SGODDE Compact Folding High Powered Binoculars – 70%

The SGODDE offers a wide field of view at 362 feet for 1000 yards with a 10X magnification.

For birdwatchers this makes it possible observe birds during flight. Multi-coated lenses result in clear images.

The binocular can be adjusted for eye width allowing it to be used effectively by different people.

The exterior is coated with a durable rubber which also improves the grip making it less likely to drop the equipment. Weighing only 100 grams, it is simple to carry as well.

However, it comes with a small objective lens which doesn’t absorb a lot of light.

  • Provides good grip.
  • Thick and sturdy exterior.
  • Provides a large field of view.
  • Lightweight.
  • Small objective lens.

Frequently asked questions

What are binoculars?

These are handheld optical instruments that are designed to provide a stereoscopic view of distant objects. They feature two telescopes, one for each eye.

The user can adjust focus for both eyes simultaneously using a thumb-wheel. Some binoculars will also allow for adjusting each telescope individually.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Binoculars?

Binoculars come with a high magnification which allows the users to see objects at greater distances, far beyond what human eyes can see.

For an outdoors enthusiast or a bird watcher, binoculars, especially the high-powered variety will help spot small animals and birds located far away.

Secondly, binoculars will not only allow you to spot birds and other animals, but they will also help you see the finer details as well which can help differentiate between different species.

Since they feature two telescopes, one for each eye, they are far more comfortable to use compared to spotting scopes and monocular telescopes.

On the other hand, the best binoculars for birds, nature and outdoors need to be powerful equipment.

This means larger lenses which translates to bigger telescopes which in turns means a heavier, bulkier pair of binoculars.

High magnification binoculars will help you see far distances but come at a cost.

They tend to lack stability. To be able to use them at their optimum steadiness you will often find the need to use a tripod which adds to both the cost and the weight of the equipment.

Higher magnification also means a narrow field of view. For the best use, start off with a lower magnification.

This way it becomes easier to spot movement far off in the distance. Once you see something you are interested in, zoom in and focus on the object.

What’s the Approximate Price Range for Binoculars?

Binocular prices vary depending on the magnification and quality.

You can get a good pair of binoculars from as low as £20, however there are models especially the high-powered variety that will cost more than £1200.

What Should I Look for When Choosing a Pair of Binoculars?

Buying binoculars should be looked at as a long-term investment.

The right pair of binoculars can last a lifetime, and you’ll come to use them often if you invest in a pair that suits your needs.

Magnification is an consideration. Between an 8X and a 10X magnification, it is easier to go for the higher of the two.

Keep in mind however that the 10X magnification will allow you to see further but provides a smaller field of view than the 8X.

It’s also harder to keep an image still when using a greater magnification, so consider that you might potentially need to invest in a tripod also.

It’s also important to purchase a pair that’s optimised for low-light conditions if you intend to use your binoculars in a forest/wildlife setting.

Look out for pairs with special coatings if this applies to you.

The quality of the images determines the quality of experience when using the binoculars.

You want a model that provides clear and crisp images and this comes down to the quality of the lenses. Look for a large objective lens.

Clear images allow a bird watcher to see the fine details and to tell the difference between different bird species – which for many users is the purpose of purchasing binoculars.

The construction of the binoculars will determine their durability.

A thick and strong exterior means the equipment can withstand the rigours of the outdoors and last a good long while.

For people who wear glasses, there are binoculars that feature an eye relief.

Eye cups allow the user to extend them for the most comfortable viewing.

Other features to look out for is the warranty. A long warranty often accompanies a high quality and durable equipment as the manufacturers are confident with its performance.

Which are the best binoculars? Why are they the best?

The Canon 12X32 IS Binoculars is our favourite pair of binoculars.

It features a high magnification, comfortable viewing with little eye strain and comes with an eyepiece cap.

Which binoculars are best for bird watching?

The Celestron 71018 SkyMaster 20×80 Binoculars are our favourite for bird watching.

It comes with a 20X magnification capacity and has a large 80mm objective lens for better visibility in low light conditions.

Which binoculars are best for hunting?

The Celestron 71008 SkyMaster 25×70 Binoculars is the best for hunting.

It features a 25X magnification and multi coated optics for clear and crisp images.

What strength binoculars do I need?

Before selecting the right strength for your binoculars, you need to know what the measurements mean and how to translate them.

Consider a pair of binoculars written 8×30. The number to the left of the X refers to the maximum magnification that the equipment is capable of.

This means that if you are looking at an object that is 80 meters away, it will appear as though being just 8 meters away.

The number to the right of the X on the other hand refers to the size of the aperture, most commonly known as the objective lens.

The larger the objective lens the better the binoculars at providing clear and crisp images at low light conditions. In our case the binoculars have an objective lens of 30 mm.

The higher the magnification, the better the equipment at observing objects or animals at far distances.

However, higher magnification also means a lower the field of vision. For a bird watcher, field of vision is important as birds are active and it helps to keep track of their movements.

Sometimes they are flying in the air. Bird watchers often find an 8X magnification to be ideal.

Note that a larger magnification makes the image more prone to shaking. A tripod helps to counter the effects of this.

What are the most powerful binoculars in the world?

The Sunagor 30-160X70 BCF Mega Zoom Binoculars are claimed to be the most powerful pair of binoculars in the world.

They feature a front objective lens of 70mm and comes with multi-coated optics for clear visibility in low light and a high magnification of up to 160X.

Which brand of binoculars are best?

Celestron our favourite brand for binoculars.

Their equipment is high quality, durable and feature a large magnification and a large aperture which are the main things to look for in a good pair of binoculars.

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