It can cost you as much as a thousand bucks to get the perfect binocular in the market. This isn’t a luxury most people can afford. But you don’t want to waste your money on any cheap binoculars either, just so they can fall apart after a few uses.
When you’re looking for a good piece of optics for hunting or birding within a budget, getting a good deal online becomes tough.
Nothing beats research for finding great value, and luckily, we’ve done this homework for you. After weeks of research, we’ve selected the 7 best binoculars under $300 for you to invest your hard-earned money on.
7 Best Binoculars Under $300
Here are our picks for the perfect binoculars within budget. Have a look!
A Quick Comparison (updated in 2022)
1. Vanguard 10×42 Endeavor ED Binoculars
It’s been almost 25 years of Vanguard, and in the last few years, it has made a name in the binocular industry. With its own manufacturing industry in China, Vanguard can keep the price down while maintaining top quality.
Design and Build Quality
The Vanguard Endeavor ED binocular series offers an ergonomic design with open-bridge construction. This open-bridge body design makes the instrument easier to hold and control, especially while carrying it with one hand.
It is also armored overall the body with a soft and textured surface. This armoring is quite grippy and hand-friendly as well. The thick and tactile rubber covering helps ensure that the bino doesn’t slip from your hand. It also helps protect the Endeavor from usual knocks and bumps.
Interestingly, the focus knob also has a soft surface with a deeply grooved design. This, along with the rubbery surface, provides the right amount of resistance. It can take you through the entire focus range with only a three-quarter turn.
The Vanguard 10×42 Endeavor comes with fully multi-coated extra-low dispersion (ED) glass, which is generally used in lens elements on high-end optics. The ED glass reduces chromatic aberrations and increases light transmission.
Besides, it also features V-Max Silver, Anti-reflection, and P2 Phase coatings. As a result, you can experience near-perfect light reflection with crisper images. Especially, the AR coating on the glass interface increases the image quality tenfold due to sharper contrast.
As for the BAK-4 roof prism, it makes anyone valuing low weight and high optical quality love this item. This roof prism keeps the scattered light at bay and results in a very bright scene.
The Vanguard Endeavor is Nitrogen filled and O-ring sealed. It means the binoculars are water and fog-proof. Any form of tiny dust particle can’t get inside due to this O-ring sealing.
You can view a high degree of magnification from this relatively compact device. It has a viewing angle wide enough to scan distant birds and wildlife.
The 16.5 mm eye relief also allows for a more comfortable view of the entire field, even if you’re wearing glasses.
- Full-color spectrum viewable due to ED glass
- The open bridge design makes it more comfortable to use and hold
- A wide 6.5° angle of view allows a lot of landscape
- ED glass for less chromatic aberration
- The minimum focus distance is 8.2 feet (2.5 m)
2. Carson 3D ED 10×42 Binoculars
The type of binoculars you choose will affect your experience of birding or observing wildlife. So, you should think before buying about the uses of your binoculars.
The Carson 3D ED binoculars are a great all-around binocular for almost all sorts of jobs. Its 42mm objective lens with 10x magnification gives you amazing image quality all the time.
Design and Build Quality
Unlike the current trend, the Carson 3D has a single bridge design with a roof prism. It has an average size which would be comfortable to hold for those with average-sized hands.
And like most other binoculars, this one is also covered with hard rubber armoring. The reason behind this general format is to protect the binoculars from bumps and knocks. Rubberized armor tends to absorb most of the shock.
It also makes the device less reflective and dampens any sound from the barrel.
The Central focusing wheel is also easy to reach and turn without having to adjust too much. Constructed with hard plastic, this wheel also has a coating of soft rubber with some large grooves. Due to its 33mm diameter, you can move it easily without any resistance.
The Carson 3D device comes with ED glass with extra-low dispersion technology. This low dispersion glass gives a multi-element objective lens with a wider range of options. It also minimizes chromatic aberrations.
In addition, the phase correcting prisms bring better contrast to the image by improving resolution and color fidelity. If you’re a nature watcher, the Carson 3D is the best choice. Besides, its ability to capture details also makes it ideal for hikers.
The binocular also features BAK-4 glass for better light transmission and image quality. These dielectric coated prisms create excellent images.
The Carson 3D ED O-ring is sealed, making it fully waterproof. It also protects the device from any moisture, tiny dust particles, etc.
Nitrogen gas has been filled inside the binoculars to prevent the glass from fogging up during humid conditions. This also protects the inner workings from corrosion.
The eye relief is extra-long to enable glass wearers to use the device without removing the glass. It also helps you get a clear field of view.
- Crystal clear images during both night and day
- Waterproof body and weather-resistant
- Suitable for all weather conditions
- Comfortable for glass wearers
- Not totally suitable for children with small hands
3. VANGUARD 10×50 Spirit ED Binocular
This is our second item from Vanguard. It is common knowledge among binocular enthusiasts that this brand has earned its reputation for producing quality binoculars with innovative features and functionality. Their Spirit ED series doesn’t disappoint at this.
Design and Build Quality
The Vanguard Spirit ED comes with a lightweight and comfortable body design. It is covered with slip-resistant textured rubber armor that helps the optics to deliver reliable performance in all weather conditions.
Textured rubber is also applied to the center focus wheel. It comes in handy while adjusting the focus by wearing gloves if you have sweaty hands.
Like any top-range binocular, the Vanguard Spirit ED also features premium low-dispersion ED glass. Also known as High Density (HD) glass, they reduce the amount of chromatic aberration in the image. As a result, you get sharp and clear images all the way through.
When you view through the binoculars, you can notice some blurring at the edges. This can happen due to many reasons, but the criticism of them is this critical aberration. A good quality ED glass helps remove this aberration.
Vanguard also incorporated phase corrected BAK-4 prisms to complement the ED glass to render crisp details with enhanced contrast. Together, the resulting images are produced with sharp color resolution and contrast.
The Vanguard Spirit binocular has been made with O-rings to make it waterproof. Besides, it is also filled with Nitrogen to equip it for most weather conditions.
This mid-range binocular has a close focus capability of 10-foot. As for the eye relief, it is 19mm with an immersive 56° apparent viewing angle.
- Extra low dispersion glass elements reduce color aberration
- The center focus wheel comes with rubber-gripping ridges
- Totally weatherproof sealing due to Nitrogen filling and O-ring sealed
- Twist-up eyecups with click-stop positions
- Aggressive focus makes a relatively shallow depth of field
4. Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Binocular
Whether you’re birding, watching wildlife and landscape, or just scouting for the big game, a good pair of optics is a must. The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD can be one of those pairs, perfect for whatever activity you want to do.
Design and Build Quality
Although it is a little unusual at this price, the Bushnell Legend Ultra is built on a magnesium chassis, as opposed to aluminum or polycarbonate like most other competitors.
Magnesium makes the chassis lightweight and provides a durable frame for the binoculars. That’s why most optical technicians prefer magnesium-built ones to aluminum.
Along with that, it also has a tough rubber exterior to provide it with protection. There is a center focusing system conveniently placed so that you don’t need to configure each eyepiece separately.
This Ultra HD binocular comes with impressive optic technology, including ultra-wideband coatings. It also features ED prime glass that provides sharp color for very high-quality images.
Compared to other binoculars at this price level, this Legend Ultra has an objective lens of 42mm and a magnification of 10x. So, you get a clear and precise view of the surroundings, both close and far away.
In addition, fluorite glass is the top-quality material for the optical lens, which is also super-premium. Together, all of these create the most outstanding images even in poor lighting conditions.
Such sharp and clear images with the best performance in all weather are perfect for birders and hunters.
A little rain shouldn’t be the reason upset the avid hikers and walkers and keep them indoors. If you own a binocular that isn’t put off with some rain or fog, you can set off with confidence.
The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Binocular’s exceptional ED prime glass makes it guard against rain due to a water-repellant coating. So, you can use it in all weather conditions.
- Comes with its own harnessing package
- All weather-friendly due to ED prime glass
- Tough build material that lasts long
- Sharp and crisp color under low light conditions as well
- The eye relief could’ve been longer
5. Nikon 7549 MONARCH 7 10×42
This item from Nikon was designed to be used in all kinds of terrain. Be it one of your hunting excursions or just bird watching; Monarch 7 can handle them all like a pro.
Design and Build Quality
Built with solid construction material, the Nikon Monarch 7 also has an outer rubber layer which makes it usable in all terrains. Besides, it also makes the instrument comfortable to hold.
At the same time, the bino is light and easy to use even in the most humid conditions.
The image quality of this binocular stands out the most while you’re viewing it. This is the most important part of an optical system. The images it produces are crisp and bright with low chromatic aberration.
In addition, it has added extra-low dispersion ED glass for a more natural image. It also offers you unrivaled brightness.
Monarch’s smooth and fast focusing, along with the close focus capabilities, is a delight. The advanced coating on the lens and prisms increases the transmission of light.
Besides, so that you don’t experience any color fringing, the Monarch is also equipped with a roof prism with corrective coating. As such, you can experience an image almost similar to the human eye.
For extra protection, the binocular O-ring housing has been installed, and the inside is filled with nitrogen making the Monarch 7 entirely water, dust, and fog-resistant. The scratch-resistant lenses will not spoil your view either.
Its diopter is located on the right side, which is a bit stiff to move in the beginning. And the interpupillary distance adjustment is easy and comfortable.
- Impervious to fogging and water-resistant
- Very wide field of view
- Almost lifelike image quality
- The rubber eyecups are comfortable
- The eye relief is short
6. Celestron 71370 8×42 Granite Binocular
Representing the core values of rock-solid binocular design, this ultra-high performance optical instrument from Celestron comes at an affordable price. Although quite affordable, Celestron Granites are expected to perform at the highest level.
Design and Build Quality
Constructed with magnesium with a state-of-the-art open-frame design, the Celestron Granite provides you with an excellent grip. With a lighter weight and excellent grip, it is also comfortable to handle. Its shallow thumb grooves increase the comfort of the grip as well.
Covered with a smooth matte black rubber coating, this binocular is also free of any texturing. The magnesium built makes the binocular rugged and tough for handling in any environment. It is also perfect for travel.
The Celestron 71370 Granite binocular is made with high-density and extra-low dispersion (ED) glass. This provides a better performance enhancement compared to regular glasses.
Besides, the ED glass also delivers edge-to-edge sharpness in the image with excellent color correction. It ensures that each wavelength is kept in balance with all others. These lenses are useful in low-light situations as well.
The fully broadband multi-coating optical design also offers crisp and razor-sharp images.
In addition, the phase-coated prisms correct light rays, ensuring a high-contrast image with accurate color rendition. The BAK-4 prism glass also ensures a sharper image and natural color fidelity.
If you look through it, you’ll find a sharp and bright image with a large sweet spot in the center.
The Granite 71370 has a waterproof construction which brings you peace of mind even during unexpected weather conditions. Its housing is dry Nitrogen filled, which prevents fogging in damp conditions. Besides, the binoculars are fully dustproof as well.
You’ll find with these binocular metal-twist-up eyecups which are more durable than plastic made ones. An eyecup corrects the positioning of the user’s eyes for comfortable viewing. Its action is smooth and precise. You can use the binoculars wearing your glasses due to these eyecups.
- Enhanced light transmission due to full multi-coating
- Rugged magnesium build makes it very tough and durable
- Precision BAK-4 roof prism provides enhanced clarity
- Fast and accurate centered focusing wheel
- Outside the sweet spot in the middle, there might be some softening
7. Zeiss Terra 10×42 ED 524206 Binoculars
When it comes to optics, hunting can become tricky since you’d want clarity and durability both at the same time. The Zeiss Terra 10×42 ED is an excellent choice in this situation due to its being totally weatherproof, rugged, and clear.
Design and Build Quality
Zeiss’s black 10×42 Terra ED is a robust, reliable, and easy to use piece made with a perfect and sleek design combined with SCHOTT ED glass elements. This compact weather-sealed housing is also lightweight without compromising its durability.
It also has an ergonomic grip to let you use it for hours without getting tired. Convenient to carry and fit into any bag, this binocular lasts for many years.
There is basic rubber armoring with a ridge along the upper side. This falls naturally on your palm where you bend the fingers, making it quite comfortable.
Zeiss Terra can be one of the best choices you can make for having a precise look at the details of an object. It creates a bright image with an outstanding resolution with comfortable viewing characteristics.
This roof prism binocular was built with Schmidt-Pechan prism assembly for the crispiest image quality. It is a space-saving design that makes the binocular compact and lightweight at the same time.
There are fully multi-coated SCHOTT ED glass lenses at its core that maximize the light transmission. It can manage up to 88% light transmission, which makes the image very bright.
In addition, the hydrophobic multicoating guarantees the highest optical precision with brilliant images to the very last detail. You don’t have to worry about chromatic aberrations either due to accurate color rendition without any fringing.
The Terra ED features Nitrogen-filled housing to provide you with fog-proof glass. It has also been tested to withstand approximately 3 ft. of submersion. This coupled with a broad operating temperature range, the binoculars can stand up to any outdoor situation.
The center focus wheel is textured and placed right in the middle of the two barrels. Your finger will automatically land on the focus wheel, and adjusting it is easy even with gloves on.
- A closed bridge configuration creates balanced handling
- Zeiss Hydrophobic Multicoated Optics provides a crisp and clear image
- Totally weatherproof and up to 3 ft. submersible
- Schott Extra Low-Dispersion (ED) glass corrects chromatic aberration
- The rubber coating doesn’t provide enough shockproofing
Frequently Asked Questions
- What do the specs number on binoculars denote?
The numbers on the binoculars tell you their power and magnification. For example, when it is written ‘8×42,’ you can understand from this that the magnification power is 8 and 42 is the objective lens’s diameter in mm.
- What is the difference between 8-power and 10-power binoculars?
An 8 powered diameter gives you a wider field of view, while a 10 powered one provides a more detailed and closer view.
- What features are important to consider when shopping for binoculars?
The most important thing to consider is the image quality. Along with that, you should look for its durability, size, weight, and protection from the weather.
- How can I keep my binoculars clean?
You can clean the binocular casing with a clean cloth easily. However, the lenses need additional care since they are very sensitive. You can use an ultra-soft brush or microfiber cloth to clean the lens.
When it comes to getting the right pair of binoculars, you shouldn’t have to hunt high and low, and neither should you need to break the bank. In this article, you’ve seen the 7 best binoculars under $300. These are the best of what the optic world can offer you right now within budget.