The 9 Best Budget Bird Spotting Scopes On the Market in 2020

I get it; there’s far more to bird spotting than grabbing just any old camera and getting snap happy. 

If you take your bird spotting seriously, then chances are you’ve already considered buying a scope. 

If portability and magnification are your things, then investing in a bird spotting scope may just be the best decision you make this month. 

Don’t panic! This may sound pricey, but there’s a scope out there to suit every budget.

Last update on 2020-12-03  / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


What to look for when choosing your budget scope?

Weather friendly

Rain, dust, snow, you name it, the weather’s renowned for throwing it our way.

Whatever your budget, you want to make sure that you buy a scope with a sealed lens, else you’ll likely end up with an item more dust than scope – and no one wants that! 


Magnification

Don’t overlook those digits, as they’re there to specify the magnification range and front lens size. 

As a general rule, the larger the lens, the more detailed the image.

And the higher the magnification range than the more extensive its usage. 


Durability 

What material is it made from? Does it have a sturdy magnalium framework, rubber armor, and a non-slip grip?

How about if you drop it, will it stand up to the shockproof test?

Also, how about the design, is it ergonomically designed for comfort?

When scope hunting, it’s important to remember that the higher quality the materials, the longer lasting it’s likely to be.


Reviews

It always pays to scroll through the product reviews and see what other customers think of it. 

Okay, so it’s rare to find a product out there without at least a couple of bad reviews. 

It’s impossible to please everyone, but if this scope seems to delight the majority of buyers, then you could be onto something. 


Best Budget Bird Spotting Scopes On The Market in 2020

Zoom Colorado Spotting Scope (BARSKA)

This scope boasts rugged weather-resistant housing as it comes with a sturdy BK-7 prism exterior.

Easily scan the entire landscape with the 20-60 zoom range. It’s also budget-friendly, as it lingers around the $90 price range. 

The sleek straight body design is simple yet effective, and the grooved zoom dial is easy to use. 

This scope comes with a tabletop, so achieve steady viewing regardless of your surroundings. 

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Affordable price
  • Great for short-range images
  • Comes with tripod and tote bag
  • Adjustable zoom
  • Clear range

Cons

  • Wobbly tripod
  • Hard to focus beyond 100 yards
  • Protective armor sticky prone

If it’s close-up images you’re after, then this scope will do the job, but if you’re trying to spot that Kirkland’s Warbler from over 100 yards away, then chances are you’ll just end up in a blur. 

Last update on 2020-12-03  / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


45-degree Spotting Scope (Athlon Optics Talos)

Simple yet effective, and it comes in a tan color. The $148 price tag is worth zooming in on, as it’s affordable but includes plenty of features for your buck. 

The magnification range is 20-60×80, making it ideal for close-ups and focusing on those more out of reach birds. 

Nitrogen pumping keeps the fog at bay and keeps your image clear, and there’s a 45-degree eyepiece angle for a convenient position change. 

The built-in extendable sunshade reduces unwanted reflection, and you don’t have to worry about moisture as it’s waterproof. 

Pros

  • Crisp images
  • Long-distance range
  • Cost-effective
  • 45-degree eyepiece

Cons

  • Stiff magnification level 
  • Short eye relief 

If you have a budget of $150 and want something that can produce quality images close up but also zooms in on that eagle 400 yards away, then look no further than this nifty scope. 

Last update on 2020-12-03  / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Straight Spotting Scope (BARSKA)

Coming in around the $100 mark, this scope measures in at 13.5×2.76×4.02 inches and comes with a case and a tripod – bonus!

The 20x-60x zoom magnification transports you straight to the action and gives you a close-up view of those beautiful birds. 

Gloomy weather days won’t get you down, as this scope is 100% water and fog proof. 

The optics are fully coated for enhanced detail, and the precision focus means you can maintain visuals on the target while you make the necessary lens adjustments. 

Pros

  • Low price
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use
  • Tripod and case included
  • Great magnification
  • Good short-range optics
  • Waterproof and fog proof

Cons

  • Lacks in focus sharpness
  • No eye relief
  • Tripod not the sturdiest 
  • Not the best on ranges over 350 yards
  • Stiff controls 

Okay, so you can’t expect a scope under $100 to be astounding, but if you want a straightforward product that does the job, then this is a great one to start with. 

Last update on 2020-12-03  / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Xtreme Spotting Scope (Bushnell)

With its Porro-prism design and 100% waterproof rubber armor construction, there’s no denying that this scope looks the part. 

It is a higher-end budget scope around the $330 price range but included in that price is a lifetime warranty. 

Zoom in close with the 12-36x magnification, and thanks to the multi-coated optics, all high-magnification views keep their brightness. 

It comes with a tripod, car window mount, premium waterproof hard-side case, and a compact soft-side case.

Pros

  • Good bundle
  • Stable tripod
  • Great short-range views

Cons

  • Tripod adjustment limited
  • Close eye relief
  • Views of 200 yards+ lose focus
  • Focus blur prone
  • Variable price

If you manage to find this for a reasonable price to use occasionally, it might be the job’s scope, but the price seems as unreliable as the focus. 

Last update on 2020-12-03  / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Ultima 80 Angled Spotting Scope (Celestron)

This 80mm 45-degree scope is compact, portable, and has a 45-degree viewing angle designed for viewing comfort. Expect to find it for around the $220 price mark. 

From ravens to woodpeckers, the 20-60x80mm sharp zoom allows you to view birds clearly, while the easy to grip dial allows you to change your focus quickly and clearly. 

Dull days won’t matter as the multi-coated optics are anti-reflective, improving the color, contrast, and brightness of your image. 

Also included are a carry case, tripod, eyepiece lens caps, eyepiece port cover, lens cloth, and 2-years warranty.  

Pros

  • Clarity over 100 yards
  • Affordable price
  • Great magnification
  • Good for beginners/casual use

Cons

  • Low-quality tripod
  • On the heavy side
  • Flimsy front lens
  • Narrow focus depth

If you’re after an affordable short-range scope for casual use, then this might suit your needs, but it’s on the bulky side to heave about and doesn’t have the best longer-range image quality. 

Last update on 2020-12-03  / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Konuspot-100 Spotting Scope (Konus)

Blend into your surroundings with this rather fetching green 20-60×100 scope. Priced around $560, it is pricier than other scopes, but it’s still substantially cheaper than some. 

So, what do you get for your money? 

There are a wide 100mm diameter and an impressive magnification. As well as high image definition, this scope has a durable metal body with rubber coverings. 

The eyepiece has a 45-degree angle for added comfort, and there’s also an extendable ray shade and photo adapter. 

Oh, and It also comes with a handy carry case.

Pros

  • Bright image
  • Robust
  • Good magnification
  • Value for money

Cons

  • The case is poor quality
  • Focus dial hard to use
  • On the heavy side

This scope is big on bright images and quality magnification. However, you may want to invest in a sturdier case to keep it safe. 

Last update on 2020-12-03  / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Dual Focusing Spotting Scope (Gosky)

If you have $290 to spare, then these are the reasons why you should consider this scope:

It has increased ultra-high definition for a crisp and clear view and a 45-degree angled eyepiece for comfortable viewing regardless of your angle choice. 

There’s a sturdy magnalium framework as well as rubber armor and non-slip grip. Oh, and there’s also a retractable sunshade to keep sunny day glare under control. 

The 80mm lens achieves high-resolution images and improves the field of range, and it’s also waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof. 

Also included in the package is a carry case, cleaning cloth, and smartphone digiscoping adaptor.

Pros

  • Made from quality materials 
  • Dual focus dial
  • Easy to use
  • Value for money
  • Clear zoom image

Cons

  • Low quality carry case
  • On the heavy side

This scope is affordable, made to high quality, and on the easy side to get the hang of. The included case isn’t the best, but this is easily replaced. 

Last update on 2020-12-03  / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Angled Spotting Scope (Emarth) 

If greens your color and a mega bargain are your thing, look no further than this affordable scope.

I’m talking $71.99 – yep, you heard me right! And you even get a tripod included in that price. 

There’s a zoom magnification range from 20x to 60x, and the combination of the 45-degree angled eyepiece and ergonomic design makes for comfortable viewing. 

The durable construction means this scope is shockproof. It’s also water, fog, and dustproof. 

Pros

  • Amazing price
  • Clear focus
  • High-quality optics 
  • Fast focus and zoom
  • Durable product

Cons

  • No quick mount
  • Short eye relief
  • Thin carry bag shoulder strap
  • Flimsy tripod

If you’re after a bargain, buy that’s durable, have a clear focus, and then look no further. The included accessories aren’t of the highest quality, but for the price, can you really complain? 

Last update on 2020-12-03  / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Spotting Scope (CREATIVE XP)

With this BAK 4 prism scope, you can see your bird of choice in high definition. Costing around $183, it’s affordable while not compromising on quality. 

The 20-60x80mm magnification allows for clear viewing, while the full multi-coating eliminates reflections and glare. 

The lenses are scratch-resistant, it’s water and fog proof, and its heavy-duty casing makes it shook proof while remaining lightweight.

Also included in this bundle is a cell phone adaptor 4, a photo clicker, and a tripod. 

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Pairs well with a cell phone
  • Includes accessories 
  • Clear optics
  • Waterproof

Cons

  • Tripod on the short side
  • Stiff zoom dial 
  • Poor packaging
  • Focus issues

For most buyers, this is a high-quality product that provides clear optics and is easily paired with a cell phone. The zoom dial is on the tricky side to maneuver, and the packaging could do with some improvement. 

Last update on 2020-12-03  / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


And the best budget scope is?

All of these scopes have their good and not so good points, but there can only be one winner.

Drumroll, please.

And the winner is…

The 45-Degree Spotting Scope by Athlon Optics Talos. 

It comes in at an affordable price, produces crisp images, has an impressive 45-degree eyepiece, and is waterproof. 

Oh, and it also stays in focus on longer ranges – which is useful for zooming in on that Lazuli Bunting that’s 400 yards away. 

Last update on 2020-12-03  / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Budget Scope Buying Tips

When it comes to finding the perfect scope to suit your budget and needs, remember these four things. 

Make sure it’s at least waterproof. Some scopes are also fog proof and dustproof too. 

What materials is it made of? The sturdier the material, then the more durable it’s likely to be. If it doesn’t come with a good quality case, it always pays to invest in one. 

What’s its magnification range like? Remember, generally, the higher the numbers, the better the scope (although this isn’t always the case).

Always check reviews before you buy, as these are real people who’ve bought this product, therefore their advice is likely to be of value. 


Lastly, the world’s full of amazing feathered friends, so take the plunge and invest in your favorite scope so you can see them up close and personal like never before.