9 Best Budget Binoculars for Birding that are Easy on the Wallet
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Binoculars are great devices to have for bird watching. Even though there is a saying that if you want better quality then spend more is kind of true in the binoculars world, however, not everybody has got big money to spend some time.
But does that mean bird watching is only for those with big money?. Absolutely not. That is why I have done some research and have come up with some of the best budget binoculars for birding that won’t break your bank account.
All of these birding binoculars I have listed below deliver good images and have a great field of view and guess what?- they are less than $200.
Now you can also enjoy bird watching and other outdoor activities with more confidence and love.
Quick Preview of the Best Budget Binoculars for Bird Watching
- Wingspan Optics WideViews HD 8×42
- Wingspan Optics NaturePro HD 8×42
- Nikon 7238 Action Extreme 8×42 All Terrain Binoculars
- Celestron Nature DX 8×42 Binoculars
- Wingspan Optics Spectator 8×32 Compact Binoculars
- Nikon Monarch 5 10×42 Binoculars
- Vanguard Endeavor ED 10×42 Binoculars
- Carson 3D Series High Definition Waterproof Binoculars
- Celestron Trailseeker 8×42 Binoculars
- Vortex Diamondback 8×42 Roof Prism Binoculars
Now, let’s look at our top affordable binoculars for bird watching.
#1. Wingspan Optics WideViews HD 8×42
Wingspan is an American company that has position itself as the best company for providing affordable binoculars for bird watching for the middle class.
These binoculars are specially designed with features that best sue bird watching enthusiasts needs. The Wingspan Optics WideViews HD is one of the best budget binoculars under $200 for birding.
With a wide field of view of 430ft at 1000yrds and close focus of 2m, you can view an entire flock of birds at once this while also enjoying the finest of details on a close focus.
These Wingspan 8×42 binoculars feature fully multi-coated lenses and phase-corrected roof prism to help create sharp, clear and bright images.
- Fully Weatherproof
- Lifetime warranty
- Extra wide field of view
- Generous eye relief to accommodate eyeglass wearers
- High-Quality optics
- Good value for the money
- Slightly heavy weighs 1 Lbs 6 Oz
#2. Wingspan Optics NaturePro HD 8×42
This is another pair from Wingspan Optics that delivers ultra-sharp, clear, and bright images whether you are far away or close up. With a wide field of view of 430ft at 1000 yards and close focus of 2m, you can definitely view amazing things with this budget binoculars.
Whether you are taking them bird watching or wildlife viewing, you won’t regret these binoculars on your side. With their anti-slip grip, you can hold them comfortably in your hands without fear that they might slip and fall.
These are also fully protected against water and fog damages. Making them fog proof and waterproof. They are also ergonomically designed with an easy turn on focus wheel which makes it easy to enjoy hours of bird watching.
- Fully waterproof and fog proof
- Lifetime warranty
- Crystal clear images
- Generous eye relief
- Wide field of view
- No major complaints
#3. Nikon 7238 Action Extreme 8×42 All Terrain Binoculars
Nikon is one of the respected brands worldwide and has some of the best and affordable binoculars in the market today. the Nikon Action Extreme All Terrain binoculars in its own right comes as one of the best budget binoculars for your outdoor activities.
The Monarch ATB features dielectric high reflective multilayer BAK4 prism glass and fully multi-coated lenses that produce brighter, sharper and crisper images and improve low light performance.
The field of view is at 430ft at 1000 yards and it has a generous eye relief to accommodate even though who wear eyeglasses.
- Fully weatherproof
- Bright and crisp images
- Generous eye relief
- Great for all-round use
- Quite heavy
#4. Celestron Nature DX 8×42 Binoculars
This Celestron Nature DX binocular has a nitrogen-filled polycarbonate housing that is built to withstand heavy rain and deliver fog proof performance, which makes this binocular ideal for your bird watching and other general outdoor adventures.
This pair is designed for close to mid-range observations. Weighing less than 2 Lbs it’s lightweight and compact enough to take on your day packing. This is one of the best value binoculars for bird watching
Its optics are fully multi-coated and it has phase corrected BAK4 prisms that enhance clarity and color fidelity. It has a field of view of 388ft at 1000 yards and a 2m close focus that makes it great for birding.
- Fully waterproof and fog proof
- Good and sharp views
- Feels good on hands
- Long eye relief to suit glass wearers
- Eyecups quite loose according to some customers
#5. Wingspan Optics Spectator 8×32 Compact Binoculars
Looking for something more compact and pocket-sized?. Then the Wingspan Optics Spectator 8×32 binoculars for bird watching would be perfect. With over 1000 verified customer reviews and been rated 4.6 out 5.0 stars, this indicates that the majority of the customers are happy with their purchase.
These are not only for birding but also can be used for other outdoor activities such as sports events, nature watching and other activities. With a field of view of 362ft/1000 Yds and a close focus of 3m, you can enjoy viewing with them. They are also known to be one of the best cheap binoculars for birding.
- Lightweight and very compact
- Very affordable at less than $100
- Waterproof and fog proof
- Lifetime warranty
- Tripod adaptable
- Comes with very few instructions
#6. Nikon Monarch 5 10×42 Binoculars
The Nikon Monarch 5 has better optical performance and is lighter than the Monarch 3. Made with extra-low dispersion glass lenses and dielectric high reflective multilayer prism coatings to enhance light transmission which then gives better color reproduction and clear natural looking image.
It is equipped with user-friendly features such as Turn-and-Slide Rubber Eyecups, a Smooth Central Focus Knob and Flip Down Lens Caps.
- Great optical performance
- Easy to use
- Generous eye relief
- Tripod mountable
- Eyecups are loose and don’t stay on well
#7. Vanguard Endeavor ED 10×42 Binoculars
These Vanguard binoculars have met all the basic criteria for bird watching binoculars. with a wide field of view at 340ft at 1000 yards and a close focus of 6.6feet, these surely won’t disappoint you.
The 10×42 Endeavor ED Binocular from Vanguard offers an ergonomic, open-bridge design with a large, ridged, central focusing knob for less weight and greater comfort.
Glass coatings make binoculars always better. This pair features fully multi-coated extra-low dispersion lenses and BAK4 prisms. The coatings reduce color dispersion while providing high-resolution color images with increased light transmission.
Nitrogen filled and O-ring sealed, the Endeavor ED is water and fog proof to take on challenging weather conditions.
- Stylish and easy to hold
- Long eye relief for both eyeglass and non-glass wearers
- Waterproof and fog proof
- Few customers complaint about Focus wheel has been stiff and chromatic aberration
Let’s have a look at some tips to help you choose the best budget binoculars for bird watching. Whether you are a beginner or a pro, you might find them helpful.
#8. Celestron Trailseeker 8×42 Binoculars
These cheap bird watching binoculars by Celestron are some of the best affordable binoculars for bird watching. They are lightweight and durable because pf their magnesium alloy body.
They feature Bak-4 phase-corrected, dielectric coated prism, and the lenses are fully multi-coated to increase light transmission through the prism system for brighter images.
With their wide field of view at 425.2′ @ 1000 yd and a close focus of 6.5′, you can watch flying birds without losing them easily. The close focus also enables you to observe the subject in close proximity.
These are also waterproof and fog proof. You can use them in harsh weather conditions and won’t have to worry about damaging them.
With their long eye relief at 17 mm, both glass wearers and non-glass wearers can use them with comfort. The Trailseeker binoculars are also tripod mountable.
#9. Vortex Diamondback 8×42 Roof Prism Binoculars
Their sleek, short hinge design with rubber armor and thumb indents leave more room for your hands creating an easier, secure, non-slip grip.
The other good thing about them is that they are Argon purged and O-ring sealed to ensure they are waterproof and fog proof, making them resistant to extreme weather conditions.
These Vortex diamondback binoculars have multi-position eyecups twist up for adjustable eye relief and a right-eye diopter accommodates for focal differences in your eyes.
See this review on the Vortex Diamondback 8×42 Roof Prism Binoculars for more details.
Also, you can check out my comparison of the Crossfire vs Diamondback binoculars
What is the Best Size Binoculars for Bird Watching
The best magnification range for bird watching is between 7x and 10x power. With this binoculars power range, many people are able to hold their binoculars sturdy without handshakes. The effects your handshakes have on the image you are viewing becomes greater with increasing power.
In fact, many expert birders said the optimum bird watching binoculars is 8×42. They said these binoculars give you a good trade-off of brightness and stability.
If you are not very sturdy, every movement will give you unclear images. That is why people use a tripod for high power binoculars to make them sturdy.
How to Choose Binoculars for Birding
Tips on Choosing the Best Budget Binoculars for Bird Watching
These tips will guide you to select the best binoculars for your bird watching adventure.
Birds can move very fast from one point to the next. Whether it is flying or hopping from one tree to the next. You will next binoculars that can allow you to hold them steadily or change positions easily to view birds effectively. Most people prefer between 8x and 10x binoculars. This is a personal choice.
General the higher you go in magnification, the narrower the field of view and less steady your binoculars will be. Hence the standard magnification for birding is the 8x and 10x binoculars. If this power range, you can get clear images and good enough field of view without your handshakes been noticeable through the images.
A wider field of view(FOV) is often preferred over narrow FOV. Birds can move very fast and your binoculars should be able to capture a wider area for you to easily track their movements.
The brightness of binoculars is primarily governed by the quality of the lens, prisms, coatings, the objective lens diameter, and the magnification.
Larger objective lens results in brighter images and also work well in low light conditions but also make your binoculars heavier.
Therefore in choosing the right size objective lens also means you have to compromise and trade-off.
Objective lens size of 50mm and above and high magnification are very good for long distance viewing and much suitable for low light conditions. However, they often require support in order to keep them steady.
Binoculars with objective lens size between 40mm-50mm are full sized and these are considered by many to be the optimum balance of low light performance and portability.
The 30mm-40mm size objective lens is considered mid-sized and the offer reasonable brightness and the last but not the less are those between 20mm-30mm. They are extremely portable but gives a poorer low light performance.
Recommended: 42mm and 32mm objective lens diameter binoculars. They offer the best balance of brightness and portability for extended periods of hand-held use in the field.
To safeguard your binoculars against internal fogging and potential water damage, it is often wise to choose one that is purged with an inert gas such as nitrogen or argon and O-ring sealed.
This way, you can have your peace of mind when using them in extreme weather conditions like rain or wet environment.
- Field of View
The field of view tells you how much of the target area you will be able to view at once when you look through your binoculars. In the birding game, a wider field of view is desirable.
It allows you to scan a wide area quickly and keep track of fast-moving objects. This feature is often expressed either in meters or in feet. The bigger the number the better.
- Lens and Prism Coatings
The proper lens and prism coating can transform the optical performance of any binocular. Thus the fact. there are different colors and degrees of coatings you will find on the market today.
When it comes to the coating, the more coatings there are on a binocular the better its optical performance. The coatings enhance light transmission, image resolution, color aberration, contrast, and fidelity.
Binoculars coatings are classified according to the quality of their coatings as follows:
- Coated: some, but not all air-to-glass surfaces in the optical system have a special coating applied to them
- Fully-coated: all air-to-glass surfaces in the binocular have a special coating applied to them
- Multi-coated: some air-to-glass surfaces in the binocular have multiple layers of coating applied to them
- Fully-multi-coated: all air-to-glass surfaces in the binocular have multiple layers of coating applied to them
There are many other features one can look out for when selecting a bird watching binocular, but these are the basic and tips which will lead you to find the right pair for yourself.
Final Words on the Best Cheap Binoculars for Birding
Bird watching doesn’t have to be expensive as you can see. Binoculars are indispensable when it comes to birding. With the above featured best budget binoculars for birding, you can spend less and still have a wonderful experience on your bird watching adventure.
With just $200 or little above that, you can get a good pair of binoculars that will give you decent viewing for less money.
Happy Bird Watching!
Josephine is Content Manager @ Binocularsinght.com, an Electrical Engineering Grad who loves optics. She is an Outdoor Enthusiast and a Writer who likes escaping into the mountains for hiking adventures and enjoys other outdoor activities as well.