Best Binoculars for Hunting 2017 – Are they Important as the Rifle?

Statistics show that all Americans combined; hunt 282 million days per year. This is evident from the sales for hunting gear which have grown phenomenally in the last couple of years.

Hunting for pleasure is a debatable topic and in the United States of America there are several laws that govern hunting. These laws differ from state to state and in addition to that Hunters have to undergo a safety course and learn about the hunting gear.

The top 5 models

Model Field of view Focus

In ft


In oz.

Exit pupil

In mm

Steiner Predator



• Macrolan Housing

316 Fast close 26.5 5.3 Roof prism
Vortex Viper


·       Waterproof

·       Fog proof

·       Armor truck

·       Rubber armor

·       16.5 mm eye relief

·       Phase correction





5.1 close focus 24.6 4.2 Roof prism with dielectric prism coating
Vanguard Spirit XF


·       Open body

·       Water proof

·       Fog proof

·       16 mm eye relief

Fully multicoated lenses

332 6.9 24 BAK 4 Prism
Bushnell Bear Grylls


·       Multi coated lenses

·       Water proof

·       Fog proof

Eye relief of 17mm

305 Close focus of 12 25 4.2 BAK 4 prism


Nikon 8248 ACULON 8211


·       Eye relief is 11.8mm

·turn-and-slide rubber eyecups

·  Ergonomic lightweight design

Durable and protective rubber-armored coating

341 23 41 5 Porro

What does a typical hunting gear include?

A typical hunting gear will have to include these very basic necessities along with food, tents, toiletries and a medical kit.

  • Rifles
  • Ammunition
  • Maps and compass
  • Torch
  • Skinning knife
  • Rifle cleaning kit
  • Good pair of hunting binoculars.


What is the importance of hunting binoculars?

Many people consider the binoculars optional, but ask a seasoned hunter and he will tell you how there is nothing that can replace a pair of good hunting binoculars. The main reason is that hunting binoculars offer better clarity, and provide a wider angle of viewing. This is very useful to spot the prey in the distant especially when it moves. In addition to that, a good pair allows you to monitor your prey’s movement without getting too close and thereby alerting the prey.


Are normal binoculars different from hunting binoculars?

Do not make the mistake of thinking that the regular binoculars can replace hunting binoculars. No, there is world of difference between the two. Hunting binoculars are meant to aid you in exploring the lay of the land and in spotting the prey camouflaged by shrubs, trees etc. These binoculars use latest technology and have very high end optic specifications to improve the hunting experience.


How to choose hunting binoculars?

When you ask an experienced hunter, “what are good hunting binoculars?” you will learn that your chances of success are improved tremendously when you use the right binoculars. Let us see what the features of good hunting binoculars are:

  • Magnification
  • Objective lens and low light performance
  • Field of view
  • Exit pupil
  • Prism
  • Focus type
  • Eye relief
  • Optical coating
  • Weight
  • Rubber coating


It is a wrong notion that higher magnification is better for hunting binoculars because even the slightest movement blurs the vision and to get a clear picture is difficult. The magnification also depends on the hunting grounds. For hunting in the woods – low magnifications, typically 8X and for open spaces – binoculars with higher magnification and a wider field of view.The most suitable magnification would bebetween 7X and 10X.

There is a correlation between the magnification and objective lens.


Objective lens

Most hunters prefer to hunt either early morning or late in the afternoon when the lighting is not conducive to the animals and hence they become easy targets. But the low light conditions are not favorable to the hunter either. Hence they need a pair of hunting binoculars that works in low lighting conditions. The objective lens of the binoculars determines how much you can see and how clearly you can see the prey.

The quality of the lens, the material used and the coating applied also have an important role to play. The ideal lens for any kind of hunting will be 40 mm to 42 mm. You can consider 32mm too for more portability – the bigger the lens the heavier the binoculars. But you might miss out on some finer details even though the binoculars will be lightweight and can work in low light.

Field of View

It is important to select a model that has a wide field of view to cover more ground and spot game in a huge area especially if it moves.

Exit Pupil

The larger the exit pupil the more amount of light you will be able to see. It is dependent on the magnification and objective lens. As a rule of thumb it should be equal to the exit pupil of your eye.


This is a technology which used light refraction to produce brighter objects in poor light conditions. The two popular technologies are porro technology and roof technology. They both transfer pictures of highest clarity and sharpness. However, roof technology is cheaper and porro technology requires a larger body.

Focus Type

Individual focus is better for game that is 30 to 40 yards away while center focus is better for game within 30 yards.

Eye Relief

It is the distance between the lens and the eye to see a picture clearly. This factor comes into play for people who wear glasses.They should look for eye relief of 15mm at least for optimum viewing.

Optical Coating

Ananti-reflective coating is applied to the optical lens to improve light transfer. The different levels of light coating are:

  • Coated: a single coat of anti-reflective feature on the lens.
  • Fully coated: anti reflective coating on all air to glass surfaces.
  • Multi coated: multi layered coating.
  • Fully multi coated: multi-layercoating to all air to glass surfaces.
  • Ruby coated: this is done to reduce glare from bright light.


Full sized binoculars can weigh almost 2 pounds. So select one that suits your needs.

Rubber Coating

To protect your binoculars from breaks and falls go for rubber coating which will give you better grip and also lengthen the life of the binoculars.

Hopefully the above criteria will answer the question what makes good hunting binoculars.


What hunting binoculars should I buy?

There is a wide array of hunting binoculars in the market and to find one that suits your needs can be daunting. The table below will help you select one that meets your specifications. Almost all the brands have a magnification of 10X and an objective lens of 42 mm except for Nikon which has 50 mm.

Now that we know which the best hunting binoculars are in 2016, let us also find out the pros and cons of each model.





Steiner Predator


·  Sturdy

·  Color adjusted Transmission coating



Vortex Viper HD


·       Good color and clarity

·     Light and comfortable

Works well in low light conditions

·       A wider field of view would be better

Vanguard Spirit XF


·     Value for money

Light and comfortable

·       Absence of lockable diopter adjustable ring.

Bushnell Bear Grylls


·     Compact

·     Non fog

Anti-slip grip

·       Built in lens cover and prone to breakage

Nikon 8248


·       Good field of view

·       Comfortable eye cups

·       Works well in low light conditions

·       Heavy

·       At highest zoom color aberrations are present and objects blur


How important are binoculars when compared to a rifle?

The rifle is the primary weapon used during hunting and obviously nothing can replace it. That said, just like a champion sportsman is not complete without support staff comprising of a physiotherapist,trainer, coach etc., and no hunting equipment is complete without a good pair of hunting binoculars.

With good hunting binoculars the chances of missing your prey in the distance are slim. Do not compare the rifle scope with the binoculars because the magnification, clarity of picture and low light visibility is far superior in hunting binoculars.


The most important reason every hunter should own a good pair of hunting binoculars is that you just cannot afford to shoot the wrong prey. There have been enough cases where humans have become target as a result of mistaken identity.

Therefore, a hunting binocular is as important as the rifle itself when you go out hunting.


Who makes the best hunting binoculars?

With integration of the latest technology and optics, today the market is flooded with hunting binoculars rivalling with each other for excellence. Some of the brands of repute that have consistently found place in the top hunting binocular reviews each year are:

  • Bushnell: This giant has excelled in producing top class riflescopes, microscopes telescopes and binoculars. They have consistently won awards for excellence and quality.
  • Zeiss: A German Brand, their optics are well known for the high quality and hence used in advanced medical devices and space telescopes too. One of the most popular Zeiss binoculars is the Zeiss 10×42 victory HT.
  • Nikon: This Japanese brand is well known for its high quality cameras but very few know that they also manufacture top class binoculars using advanced imaging technology in their lenses. Their Monarch line is a very popular brand of binoculars.
  • Zhumell: A relatively unknown brand when compared to the rest this company has consistentlyproduced high end binoculars at reasonable prices and hence is always in high demand.
  • Steiner: With one of the most extensive and advanced optics lab in the world this German brand produces only top notch binoculars and doesn’t compromise on quality. Invariably a Steiner product lasts you a last time with the occasional servicing which all equipment need.

These are few of the popular brands in the markets, but there are several more which are equally good and use advanced technology in their binoculars.


What hunting binoculars should I buy?

This is a question every novice hunter is bound to ask as the number of choices available are mindboggling and each pair of binoculars is as good as the next one. What the best hunting binoculars should possess are the following qualities.


  • Portability: Hunting involves a lot of gear like rifles, ammunition, food, water, tripod etc. and the last thing you want is to be laden with a heavy binoculars. Thankfully there are compact models in the market that are quite effective or you can also opt for a neck strap or a shoulder strap to keep your hands free.
  • Durability: Most of the hunting binoculars are durable and sturdy. You could look for additional features like waterproof and fog resistant.
  • Price: For a reasonable price it is possible to buy binoculars with a good field of view and medium magnification. It is advisable to start with low end till you learn the intricacies of using a high end model. Knowledge of technical jargon like eye relief, prism, magnification etc. is not enough because in practice the usage is determined by the environment of hunting and the kind of game.
  • Flexibility: Invariably while hunting there is more to look at than just the game. A good binocular will give you the advantage of inspecting leaves, insects and flowers up close.

If money is not a constraint, than go for the Zeiss 10X42 Victory HT Binocular. When your friends ask, “who has the best hunting binoculars?” you can proudly flaunt yours because there is no rival to this pair. It has 95% light transmission and allows you to see the minutest details in the dimmest of lights. 

Good, will hunting binoculars really help in hunting?

Yes, of course the most seasoned hunter will tell you that hunting binoculars are a regular part of the hunting gear and will become an integral part of your gear too. A good hunter needs skill,patience, instinct, the right rifle and ammunition. A sturdy pair of hunting binoculars will be a worthy addition to the hunting gear.

Do not underestimate the usefulness of a binoculars especially the modern ones which have great optics and are light too. Know your needs before you splurge precious dollars on your new found passion or a rekindled one. Determine the kind of hunting that you do and then decide on the pair of binoculars most suited for your needs.

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