Good Hunting Binoculars on a Budget
You don’t necessarily need to be an advanced hunter to understand how important quality sight is for the outdoors person.
However, choosing a pair of binoculars that are going to stand the test of the season, and then some, could be overwhelming and intimidating.
We’ve done some research to help you isolate the features you should be looking for from your hunting binoculars. Keep in mind that this guide is just for your consideration, and you should always tailor your needs to the features you're seeking.
In the case of magnification for hunting binoculars, bigger isn’t always better. Typically, securing binoculars with a range of 7x to 10x is more than acceptable for hunting, no matter the type.
While many observation binoculars are ideal for hunting, they almost always require using a tripod because of their weight and awkward size, and that could get bothersome to carry around. Keep in mind that the higher the magnification is, the more you need to steady your binoculars.
Image Quality vs. Field of View
The field of view, or FOV, is typically expressed as an area of feet that you can see with your binoculars from 1,000 yards away. If you have a small number, your sight is narrower. As you increase your magnification, your field of view and image become smaller.
There is no general rule to follow when you’re choosing the right FOV, but the majority of hunters focus on image quality as the standard FOV is usually adequate.
You can find good hunting binoculars on a budget that have fantastic image quality, even though it might take some research. It’s best to understand what you’re going to be hunting before deciding on how high quality you need your image to be. If you know that you’re going to use your binoculars frequently, it’s best to invest in excellent image quality.
However, if you just need it to identify a rock from a deer, standard or fair image quality is more than sufficient.
Individual Eyepiece Focus vs. Center Focus
The majority of binoculars have either individual eyepiece focus or center focus, depending on the type. When hunting game at a medium to long distance, individual focus binoculars could prove to be the most beneficial.
Center focus is recommended more when the game you’re hunting is in proximity because individual focus binoculars could be quite slow.
Acceptable Eye Relief
When wearing glasses or sunglasses, using binoculars that have eye relief is critical to not just your comfort, but your field of view. The definition of eye relief is the distance that you can hold your binoculars from your eye, and still be able to see the image.
It’s recommended that you consider binoculars that have the eye relief of at least 15mm if you wear glasses. Otherwise, you could experience a poor FOV due to lack of eye relief.
When optical coatings are added to the surface of your binocular’s glass, it’s meant to reduce or get rid of light reflection. The quality of your optical coating typically results in a brighter and clearer image that would help with your hunting.
Fully multi-coated optics do run on the expensive side for the typical buyer; however, there are exceptionally reasonably priced alternatives with multi-coated optics. The better your optical coating, the brighter and lighter your image.
Binoculars can get expensive, and when you’re hunting, you’re not ever sure of the situations, or terrain that you’re going to come across. Ensuring that your binoculars are adequately protected is securing your investment.
Purchasing a pair that has a rubber coating is ideal because it makes them easy to manage in wet weather, and the rubber can help absorb the shock if they fall to the ground.
Waterproofing is also an essential feature when looking for the best binoculars for hunting; it makes the pair resistant to grime, elements, dust, and other factors. It’s also the feature that makes sure your binocular lenses don’t fog or leak.
Given that there are so many varieties of binoculars, it’s almost impossible to narrow down a recommended cost. Depending on the type of hunter you are, your needs are going to vary. While some binoculars run upwards of $1,000, you can get good hunting binoculars on a budget by spending around the $400 mark.
You should analyze all of your expectations and understand your budget and desired features before you invest in a pair of hunting binoculars. If you put in the right amount of research, you can make your binoculars last for upwards of a decade, and sometimes more.
Ask for the opinion of a fellow hunter who might be able to provide you with some insight on how much they spent on their hunting binoculars, and what they think are features you could do without to cut costs.