There’s nothing quite like bird watching. Admiring nature’s feathered creatures can be extremely rewarding. And the peaceful solitude of enjoying the outdoors has been linked to lower stress and anxiety.

But every birding hobbyist needs one tool at the ready for those breath-stopping moments when a darting Oriole swoops onto a branch nearby: binoculars.

With the dozens of binocular choices online, and more arriving every month, your budding hobby can turn into a frenetic waste of your mental energy. For example, higher magnification doesn’t always mean a better product because of headache-inducing image shake.

Thankfully, I’ve been where you are right now, and I wanted to do something to ease the burden of finding a pair of binoculars for birding. After testing and culling the bad pairs, I found the 7 best binoculars for bird watching beginners and veterans alike. Curious to know what they are? Then check my list below.

Comparison Table for Best Binoculars for Bird Watching

ModelViewWeightBest ForPrice
Adorrgon Professional HD Binoculars 12x - 42mm1.1 lbsDistance Check price
Wingspan - FieldView Compact Binoculars8x - 32mm0.9 lbsMulti-Purpose Check price
Usogood Birding Binoculars12x - 50mm0.97 lbsDistance Check price
Hontry - Compact Binoculars10x - 25mm0.6 lbsPocket Pair Check price
Cayzor - HD Clear Weak Light Vision10x - 42mm1 lbsDistance Check price
Wingspan - Optics Skyview Ultra HD8x - 42mm1.06 lbsMulti-Purpose Check price
USCAMEL Compact HD Binoculars10x - 42mm0.78 lbsDistance Check price

Reviews for the Top 7 Binoculars for Birding

Adorrgon – Professional HD Binoculars for Bird Watching

Adorrgon has been a leading manufacturer of online, budget friendly binoculars for a few years now. With their professional tier 12×42 binoculars, it’s easy to see why.

Adorrgon - Professional HD Binoculars for Bird Watching

The roof prism design combined with the wide 42mm lens allows for an impressive amount of light to reach your eyes. Even a Harris Hawk from over 600 feet away will stand out sharp and crisp.

But a large objective lens would be pointless if it wasn’t for the BAK-4 prism. Almost all lower tier prisms house a BAK-7, so it’s a treat to see Adorrgon shoot for such a high quality. The viewing spectrum is wide and round, with plenty of light.

Usually, 12x magnification binoculars are heavy, cumbersome tools. Not so with the Adorggon. Clocking in at just over a pound, this pair won’t strain your neck or cramp up your arms on day hikes through Midwestern forests or Southern swamps.

Adorrgon boasts an impressive 2-year warranty on all their binoculars, as well as a 24-hour customer service hotline to voice your concerns or ask for a full refund. Overall, the 12×42 binoculars sport an impressive list of features, especially at the price-point.

Get Adorrgon Binocular at Amazon

Why I Like These Binoculars for Birding

If you’re after long distance birds, like high-flying falcons or plan to spot Warblers from distant treelines, then a 12x magnification is worth considering.

My usual gripe with 12x magnification binoculars is the weight. Thankfully, Adorggon eliminated this problem with a durable plastic housing and the newest in lens technology. The detail with these binos impressed me on multiple outings. They have some trouble in low light conditions, so you early morning birders may have some troubles in the fall and winter.

The water-resistant body means you can take them out on rainy days to watch the drakes. And they’re durable enough to throw into a backpack. Overall, these I think these are a great find.

What Could Be Better

Remember, more magnification doesn’t always mean better. If you’re trying to spot darting finches and tree hopping blue jays, then you should look at an 8x magnification. But at this price and at such a low eight, they’re worth picking up.

Wingspan – FieldView Compact Binoculars for Bird Watching

Wingspan loves birding just as much as you. That’s why they’ve developed all their binoculars with bird watching in mind. Instead of catering to magnification claims, they hone their binoculars for those who daydream about catching a high detail shot of their favorite bird on a weekend excursion.

Wingspan - FieldView Compact Binoculars for Bird Watching

And their FieldView 8×32 binoculars represent the quintessential birding tool. The compact design fits firmly in your hand. And because it weighs less than a pound, it won’t strain your neck or burden your pack.

The roof prism housed inside these binos is a BAK-4. That means it provides a sharp image. When you look through these binoculars, either in bright sunlight or early evening, you’ll see the crisp, clear plumage of a Goldfinch.

The thick, durable plastic housing won’t damage or crack easily. And the textured grip secures the binoculars to your hand on muggy days when it’s impossible to stay dry. Plus, they’re water- and fog-proof, so there’s no worry of missing a bird sighting when an October mist encroaches on the trails.

Because Wingspan believes in their binos, your purchase ships with an impressive lifetime warranty and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Get Wingspan Binocular at Amazon

Why I Like These Binoculars for Birding

During my testing with Wingspan’s 8×32 binoculars they became one of my favorites. They’re very compact and light, which means zeroing in on a Red-bellied Woodpecker is not only easy, but comfortable.

I believe the 8×32 and 8×40 magnifications are the sweet spot for amateur birding. The FieldView binoculars have little to no shakiness. And because they’re so compact and light, you can gawk at that Northern Cardinal as long as you want.

Speaking of view, Wingspan chose the eponymous name FieldView for this model because of its wide field of view. There’s little chance you’ll miss the movements of your prized bird with these binoculars.

I recommend the FieldView 8×32’s as a great option for those looking to get into birding for the first time.

What Could Be Better

The optics on these binos are impressive, but for those of you with large hands, be prepared for an adjustment period. When Wingspan dubbed these things compact, they meant it!

Usogood Birding Binoculars for Adults with Tripod

The Usogood binoculars brand has made a lot of improvements over the last few years to improve their optics. This birding package not only boasts an impressive magnification but packs a slew of extras that should entice both newcomers and veterans.

Usogood Birding Binoculars for Adults with Tripod

At 12x magnification, the views you can achieve with this product are fantastic. And the extra-wide view of 1000 yards helps you catch birds of prey in action or quick moving sea birds over the ocean.

The roof lense design lets in about as much light as you can hope for in a pair of binos this big. The fully-multi-coated (FMC) treatment applied to both the external and internal optics boost the color spectrum and provide a clear image that competes with binoculars three times the price.

Not only does the Usogood binoculars ship with great optics, it includes an assortment of extras worth owning. The biggest addition is the tripod. A 12x magnification pair of binos can be difficult to aim and stabilize. You remedy this problem completely with the tripod.

The smart phone adapter rounds out the package nicely. It fits most modern phones. With a quick button press you can post Twitter and Facebook photos that’ll make photographers from National Geographic grit their teeth with envy.

Get Usogood Binocular at Amazon

Why I Like These Binoculars for Birding

For any beginner looking for the complete package, the Usogood 12×50 is worth your money. Not only does the package come in at an affordable price point, the extras bolster its appeal.

I’m usually wary of large optics. They cause a lot of jittery views and it’s hard to focus on birds within 50 yards. The addition of a tripod eliminates this concern. It’s easy to set up and small enough to prop onto trail railing for distant sightings.

I’d recommend these well-built Usogood binoculars for those that mostly do mountain trails and need the long yardage, or anyone looking for high resolution closeups of birds in your nearby parks or backyards. It’s also great as a secondary pair for expert birders.

What Could Be Better

While the extras are great, the instructions on how to set up the tripod and phone adapter lack detail. Thankfully, you can find lots of tips and how-to’s online, so it shouldn’t be much of a problem.

Hontry – Compact Binoculars for Bird Watching

See with the eye of a hawk wherever you go with these compact 10×25 binoculars from Hontry. You’ll be amazed how much power such a small package can house.

Hontry - Compact Binoculars for Bird Watching

Fitting in the palm of your hand and weighing less than a bottle of pop, Hontry’s birding binoculars boast 10x magnification and an objective lens size of 25mm. That’s more than enough power and field of view for clear sightings of up to 1000 yards away.

These are FMC treated lenses, providing high resolution magnification. And because of the installed BAK-4 roof prism, the Hontry optics work well in bright daylight and early evening sighting conditions.

Thanks to the adjustable eye-relief, you can glimpse that Starling and then hand the binos to your children without worry that they’ll miss the show.

Hontry’s clever use of rubber armor and anti-slip coating on the exterior shell protects your investment. Plus, it looks cool, which your kids will love.

The foldable design can fit into your pocket. The binoculars ship with a neck strap and small carrying pouch, so you have the option of wearing them or placing them in your pack as you hike to the next lookout.

Why I Like These Binoculars for Birding

I saw this pair of Hontry binoculars on a lot of other birding lists and thought I’d give into the hype and test them out for myself. What I found impressed me so much that I included them in my list of the best binoculars for bird watching.

Pocket binoculars remain one of my favorite categories. And this pair by Hontry are so affordable I don’t see why any would-be birder wouldn’t pick them up. The BAK-4 roof prism lets in a lot of light for such a small design, and I noticed no warping or distortion.

I don’t have big hands, and this product actually fit in my palm with no problem. I recommend these binoculars for any beginner that wants to test the waters, or anyone else who’s in the market for a worthwhile travel set.

What Could Be Better

While the magnification on these binoculars offers some incredible views, it’s on the lower end of its advertised 10x. This isn’t a bad thing, since I prefer 8x myself, but if you’re looking for powerful 10x binoculars think about buying larger optics.

Cayzor – HD Clear Weak Light Vision Bird Watching

Cayzor knows that a devout bird watcher needs binoculars that can adjust to unique environmental conditions. No two trails or days are the same. That’s why they designed their HD 10×42 binos so you can calibrate them for either the forest trail or the rocky seashore.

Cayzor - HD Clear Weak Light Vision Bird Watching

Even though these are 10x magnification, the BAK-4 roof prism keeps the package compact and lightweight. The 42mm objective lens pairs with the magnification perfectly. The ratio allows for a wide view and plenty of light. The light allowance of this product is so good that you can even use them in late evening to catch bats as they feed.
Manufactured to high quality assurance, you won’t have to fret over rain or sea spray as you capture the majestic albatross gliding over the water.

Housed in soft touch but durable rubber, small drops and falls won’t crack the optics. And the Cayzor is small enough to fight in your pack and light enough to wear around your neck without discomfort.
Included with the Cayzor 10×42 binoculars is a smart phone adapter and a lifetime warranty on parts and performance.

Why I Like These Binoculars for Birding

What impressed me most with the Cayzor during testing was the single eye focus and overall roof prism design. The adjustable options on this product boosts its overall performance. And the stellar optics are one of the best on my list.

You’ll notice the detail most when you’re in low light conditions. I’m not sure how they crammed such a quality lens into this price range, but if you’re into owl sightings and locating evening Thrush calls, this is a great pick.
The included phone adapter is a little finicky, but a great addition. Best of all, the Cayzor ships with a solid warranty. Lifetime guarantees on performance is very rare, even for higher end products.

What Could Be Better

These are not night-vision binoculars. I’ve seen a lot of customer complaints that they cannot see at night. In the late evening, when the sun drops below the horizon, don’t expect to see much!

Wingspan – Optics Skyview Ultra HD

Looking to take your bird watching to high definition? The Wingspan Skyview binoculars improves upon the design of their well known FieldView, adding a wider objective lens and clearer optics.

Wingspan - Optics Skyview Ultra HD

The optic upgrade comes in the form of ED (Extra-Low Dispersion) glass, also known as HD glass. By dampening the amount of secondary spectrum channeled through the lens, the Skyview brandishes highly detailed, low noise images. You’ll notice sharper images the moment you look through the Skyview.

Wingspan opted for phase-correction coating on the optics, too. This means a brighter image and a wide angle that you can see from edge to edge. This also allows for a tight 2m focal length, so you can enjoy the impressive plumage of a Red-Breasted Robin like you never have before.

The Skyview sports a Nitrogen-purged water- and fog-proof housing. You can carry this pair of binoculars into any birding environment on any day. What’s more, the DuraTech design ditches the common plastics and adhesives used in other products. Instead, these binos ship with a metal alloy frame coated in soft-touch rubber.

Why I Like These Binoculars for Birding

Consider these the upgraded version of one of my favorites on the list, the Wingspan FieldView 8×32. Wingspan revamped and improved their base design for the Skyview.

If you’ve been birding for a year or more, you’re likely in the same camp I was in before finding the Skyview. You want to add another pair of binoculars to your collection but don’t know what upgrades are worth your money.

The ED optics on the Skyview are what you’re looking for in an upgrade. Added magnification won’t give you the thrill that a sharper image affords. Plus, with these binos, you get to own a lightweight product that feels just as good in your hand as a pair of Bushnell glass. The Skyview holds the best optics on my list.

What Could Be Better

Because Wingspan zeroed in the focal point for the most clarity, you may take some time getting used to adjusting the barrel’s focus. But after a few quick attempts, you’ll have it locked in.

USCAMEL Compact HD Professional Binoculars for Bird Watching

USCAMEL’s long history as a supplier for military and police outfits across the world shows in the design and performance of their Compact HD Professional Binoculars.

USCAMEL Compact HD Professional Binoculars for Bird Watching

With a powerful 10x magnification balanced by a 42mm objective lens, you bask in a 305-foot field of view of birds and other wildlife over 2500 meters away.

The included twist-adjust eye pieces make honing in to your preferred setting easy, with or without glasses. USCAMEL also includes an FMC optical coating on the internal and objective lens. Along with a pristine BAK-4 prism, you’ll enjoy sharp and realistic views of your local community of Nightingales.

Don’t worry about water damage with USCAMEL’s HD binoculars. You can slip this product in your pack without stressing over its safety. The high-tolerance plastic has been expertly sealed and coated with shock absorbing rubber.  And small drops shouldn’t crack or damage the optics.

USCAMEL’s HD Professional Binoculars ship with a neck strap, carrying case, manual, and lens caps. Take your birding to high definition with this well-built product from a renown manufacturer.

Why I Like These Binoculars for Birding

If you’re looking for a lightweight pair of binoculars at a 10x magnification, this is your best choice. Weighing in at less than a pound, USCAMEL’s binoculars were best option I tested in the price range.

The adjustable dioptric eyesight left a strong impression. I could use them with or without glasses. That’s because they are wider and flatter than most roof prism binoculars.

The sights in regular daylight conditions will surprise you. USCAMEL’s HD claims aren’t ungrounded. The FMC coating and BAK-4 prism do a lot of the work here.

I recommend these binoculars for anyone looking for an affordable 10x magnification option that won’t strain your neck.

What Could Be Better

The lightweight design can make the binoculars seem fragile. But having done my stress tests I can assure you they’re as durable as other products in my top 7 binoculars for birding.

How to Choose the Best Binoculars for Bird Watching

Birding has gone mainstream. In 2016, 86 million Americans lathered on some SPF 30 and went outside to spot their avian neighbors. This is great news, but it has a downside. More and more companies have got into the binocular business. To help you choose the best product for you, I’ve provided my top 6 tips. Check them out below.

  • Find Your Price Range

What does birding mean to you? That’s what you must ask yourself before buying a new pair of binoculars. If this is your first pair, try to think about your first month or season of birding. Don’t assume it’ll be the hobby you stick with for years or decades. You can always upgrade a pair of binoculars. The best product for a beginner will come from a company that build reliable binoculars that will last you years.

  • Image Quality Is Key

Magnifying a Black-Capped Chickadee means little if you can’t see the details. One of the hardest tasks when buying binoculars online is knowing the image quality. Your magnification and lens diameter have very little to do with the quality of what you see.

Image comes down to the make of your lens. That means you can’t tell how crisp the image is without testing the binos for yourself. Thankfully, this is where I come in. In my reviews I mention image quality as a key factor to consider.

  • Lens Diameter and Why it Matters

Remember, the larger the diameter of the lens, the more information reaches your eye and thus a wider frame of view. But a bigger lens also means a heavier pair of binos. Smaller diameter lenses also mean that on cloudy days you won’t see as much detail.

Around the 40mm range is where you want to be. If you go higher any higher, you’ll be rubbing your neck at night. And in the low 30s and high 20s your field of view cuts off and the image can leave you wanting more.

  • The Choice Between Magnification

The most important number in your hunt is the magnification. So for a pair of binos with a lens description of 8×40, your magnification is the first integer, in this case 8. There’s plenty of debate what the best magnification is for birding.

For my money, you want to stay around the 8x range. The higher magnification the closer you’ll see the birds, but the harder it will be to stabilize the image.

  • Size and Weight Are a Personal Choice

If you have absolutely no idea what size and weight you want, I recommend heading out with a group of birders and testing their binoculars to see what you like best.

The binoculars in my list are all compact and easy to carry. I can’t see any of them straining your neck, even after a full day of spying on a pair Tennessee Warblers diving among the rushes.

  • Warranty and Return Policy Worth Considering

With any consumer purchase, check the warranty and returns policy. My personal observation is that a company that believes in its product will offer a money-back guarantee. Many of the binos on my list offer such a policy.
But because I aimed to hit the budget friendly consumer, there are a few products that may not offer such a guarantee. I mention the products which come with it, so read my reviews carefully to find out.

My Verdict

I hope you’ve come away knowing a little more about birding and the binoculars that enrich the hobby. Remember, the best pair of binoculars for you are the ones you feel comfortable using. All the products on my list are worth the money. They’re great for beginners and for seasoned pros looking for a second pair.

I guess what I’m saying is, there’s no perfect pair of binos for birding, just good options. But if you want my personal pick for the best binoculars for birding, I think the [easyazon_link identifier=”B01MYT4TSE” locale=”US” tag=”gar0c-20″]Wingspan FieldView[/easyazon_link] stand out as a fantastic overall choice.
They utilize a 8x magnification, which I prefer. And they’re solidly built. Plus, because they’re lightweight, you won’t strain your neck after a long day spying those bickering cardinals on your country paths!

Read Also:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.