Looking for the best cheap birding binoculars?
Here’s our top picks under $50, $100, $150, $200 for 2023…
Best Cheap Birding Binoculars 2023:
Here’s the top options for the Best Cheap Birding Binoculars:
Last update on 2023-11-28 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Read on for individual product reviews…
Best Cheap Birding Binoculars (2023) Under $50
Celestron – UpClose G2 8×40 Binocular
These binoculars come with top American optics engineering that delivers a powerful 8x magnification and multi-coated BK-7 prism glass that increases light transmission for brighter and sharper images with high contrast levels.
The binoculars are also designed with a rubber-covered aluminum body, ergonomic thumb indents, and finger ridges for extra non-slip comfort and ease of use.
Everything you need is included in the package, making it an excellent value for money.
The only downside is that the lens cap tends to fall off from the objective lens.
- Affordable price
- High-quality multi-coated optics
- Powerful 8x magnification for getting closer to the action
- Durable and comfortable body design
- Comes with accessories, including a carrying case and lens cloth
- Suitable for various activities, including birdwatching, wildlife viewing, sports events, and concerts
- Lens cap tends to fall off from the objective lens
- Not waterproof and condensation-proof
- Brand: Celestron
- Objective Lens Diameter: 40 Millimeters
- Magnification Maximum: 8x
- Prism Type: Porro
- Color: Black
- Age Range (Description): Adult
Best Cheap Birding Binoculars (2023) Under $100
Nikon 8245 ACULON A211 8×42
You’ll appreciate the light weight and ergonomic design, which makes extended use comfortable.
The aspherical multicoated eco-glass lenses provide bright, clear images in most lighting conditions, while the smooth central focus knob makes it easy to operate.
This product is durable, with a rubber-armored coating for a non-slip grip, even in wet conditions.
Although the Nikon 8245 ACULON A211 8×42 doesn’t have water resistance, it is a quality product that is easy to use, adjust and is worth the price.
- Affordable price point for a high-quality brand
- Durable, rubber-armored coating for a non-slip grip and added protection against bumps and scratches
- Multi-coated lenses provide clear and bright images with accurate colors
- Wide field of view (429 feet at 1000 yards) allows for easy tracking of fast-moving subjects
- Lightweight and compact design makes them easy to carry around for extended periods of time
- Some users have reported issues with the focus knob being difficult to adjust smoothly
- The eyecups may not be comfortable for people who wear glasses
- No built-in image stabilization feature
- Magnification: 8x
- Objective lens diameter: 42mm
- Field of view: 429 feet at 1000 yards
- Eye relief: 12mm
- Close focusing distance: 16.4 feet
- Dimensions: 4.3 x 4.3 x 1.6 inches
- Weight: 26.8 ounces
Best Cheap Birding Binoculars (2023) Under $150
Celestron – Outland X 8×42 Binoculars
Celestron’s Outland X 8×42 binoculars are the perfect choice for birdwatching enthusiasts on a budget.
The binoculars are equipped with multi-coated optics and BaK-4 prisms that provide high-resolution views with enhanced color fidelity.
Designed to withstand all weather conditions, they are waterproof and fogproof, ensuring that they can be used rigorously outdoors without any internal fogging.
The protective rubber armor adds an anti-slip grip that makes it a great travel or birdwatching binocular.
Twist-up eyecups allow you to customize the binocular’s eye relief, making it a perfect fit for those who wear glasses.
The binoculars are lightweight, easy to carry, and come with a limited lifetime warranty, making them an affordable upgrade for hikers and bird watchers.
However, it should be noted that they may not be a good fit for those who require a wider field of view or higher magnification.
- Multi-coated optics and BaK-4 prisms for high-resolution, high-contrast views
- Waterproof and fogproof design for use in all weather conditions
- Durable rubberized exterior with anti-slip gripping surface
- Twist-up eyecups for quick adjustment
- Celestron Limited Lifetime US Warranty & US-based expert tech support
- Eye relief of 14mm may be less than ideal for glasses wearers
- Some users have reported fogging when going from indoors to outdoors
- Brand: Celestron
- Model: Outland X
- Objective lens diameter: 42mm
- Magnification: 8x
- Field of view: 388 feet at 1,000 yards
- Eye relief: 14mm
- Weight: 1.5 pounds
- Dimensions: 6 x 5 x 2 inches
- Waterproof/fogproof: Yes
Best Cheap Birding Binoculars (2023) Under $200
Nikon 16002 PROSTAFF 7S 8×42
These Nikon Prostaff 7S binoculars seem to be a popular choice for bird watchers, concert goers, and outdoor enthusiasts in general.
They have received positive reviews for their clear and bright optics, comfortable design, and solid construction.
Users appreciate the fully multilayer coated lenses and phase correction coated roof prisms that provide excellent color and clarity, as well as the turn-and-slide rubber eyecups that allow for easy adjustments for eyeglass wearers.
The rubber armored body offers good grip and protection, while the binoculars’ compact size and lightweight make them easy to carry around.
Some users have commented on the chromatic aberration and lens caps that can fall off easily, but overall, these binoculars seem to be a good value for the price.
- Clear and bright optics
- Comfortable to use, even for eyeglass wearers
- Rubber armor protects binocular from damage due to drops or rough handling
- Turn-and-slide rubber eyecups allow for adjustments for a full field of view
- Fully multilayer coated lenses and phase correction coated roof prisms provide color and clarity
- Available in different sizes to suit different needs
- Positive reviews from customers, who have used them for birdwatching, concerts, and more
- Lens caps are not very effective and can fall off easily
- Chromatic aberration may be present in some situations
- Heavier compared to some other binoculars
- Brand: Nikon
- Model: 16002 PROSTAFF 7S
- Objective Lens Diameter: 42 Millimeters
- Magnification Maximum: 8
- Color: Black
- Material: Rubber
- Available sizes: 8×30 inches, 8×42 inches, 10×30 inches
- Warranty: 1 year (in Canada)
How To Choose Best Cheap Birding Binoculars
When choosing binoculars, there are several factors to consider that will determine how well they work for birding.
|Product Name||Celestron Nature DX 8×42||Bushnell Falcon 10×50||Wingspan Optics Spectator 8×32||Nikon 16002 PROSTAFF 7S 8×42|
|Objective Lens Diameter||42mm||50mm||32mm||42mm|
|Field of View||388 ft at 1000 yds||300 ft at 1000 yds||362 ft at 1000 yds||426 ft at 1000 yds|
|Close Focus Distance||6.5 ft||25 ft||3 ft||13.1 ft|
|Eye Relief||17.5 mm||9 mm||17.8 mm||15.5 mm|
|Exit Pupil Diameter||5.3 mm||5 mm||4 mm||5.3 mm|
|Prism Type||BaK-4 Roof||Porro||BaK-4 Roof||Roof|
|Lens Coatings||Fully Multi-Coated||Fully Coated||Fully Multi-Coated||Fully Multi-Coated|
|Weight||1.75 lbs||1.43 lbs||0.65 lbs||1.45 lbs|
Here are some of the most important factors to keep in mind:
Magnification is a crucial factor when choosing binoculars for birding.
It refers to the degree of zoom that the binoculars can provide.
|Celestron Nature DX 8×42||8x|
|Nikon Prostaff 3S 8×42||8x|
|Bushnell Falcon 10×50||10x|
|Wingspan Optics Spectator 8×32||8x|
Higher magnification allows you to see birds from a distance, but it can also make it difficult to keep the image steady, especially if you don’t have a tripod.
The lens diameter refers to the size of the lens on the binoculars.
The larger the diameter, the more light the binoculars can gather, which is important for birding in low light conditions.
|Binocular Model||Lens Diameter (mm)|
|Celestron Outland X 8×42||42|
|Wingspan Optics Feather ED 8×42||42|
|Vortex Optics Diamondback HD 8×32||32|
|Nikon Prostaff 3S 8×42||42|
As you can see, the Celestron Outland X, Wingspan Optics Feather ED, and Nikon Prostaff 3S all have a lens diameter of 42mm, while the Vortex Optics Diamondback HD has a smaller lens diameter of 32mm.
A larger lens diameter generally means better light-gathering ability and a brighter image, but a smaller lens diameter can mean a more compact and lightweight binocular.
However, larger lenses also mean heavier binoculars, so it’s essential to find a balance between weight and image quality.
Field of view
The field of view is the area that you can see through the binoculars.
|Binoculars Model||Field of View|
|Bushnell H2O||305 ft/1000 yards|
|Celestron Nature DX||388 ft/1000 yards|
|Wingspan Optics Feather ED||426 ft/1000 yards|
|Gosky 10×42 Roof Prism Binoculars||305 ft/1000 yards|
As you can see, the Wingspan Optics Feather ED has the widest field of view at 426 ft/1000 yards, while the Bushnell H2O and Gosky 10×42 Roof Prism Binoculars have the narrowest field of view at 305 ft/1000 yards.
The Celestron Nature DX falls in the middle with a field of view of 388 ft/1000 yards.
A wider field of view can be helpful when observing birds in flight or trying to locate birds in dense foliage, as it provides a larger area of visibility.
However, a narrower field of view may be suitable for more focused birding in areas where there are fewer obstructions.
Close focus distance
The close focus distance refers to the minimum distance at which the binoculars can focus.
Here’s a comparison table for the close focus distance of each budget binocular:
|Brand and Model||Close Focus Distance|
|Bushnell Falcon 10×50 Wide Angle Binoculars||25 feet|
|Celestron Outland X 10×42 Binoculars||14.1 feet|
|Nikon Aculon A211 10-22×50 Zoom Binoculars||49.2 feet at 10x magnification, 190.3 feet at 22x magnification|
|Wingspan Optics Spectator 8X32 Compact Binoculars||3 meters|
As you can see, the close focus distance varies greatly among the four binoculars.
The Bushnell Falcon has the largest close focus distance of 25 feet, while the Wingspan Optics Spectator has the shortest close focus distance of just 3 meters.
The Celestron Outland X falls in between with a close focus distance of 14.1 feet.
The Nikon Aculon A211 has a unique feature where the close focus distance varies with the magnification setting, ranging from 49.2 feet at 10x magnification to 190.3 feet at 22x magnification.
If you’re interested in watching small birds or insects, you’ll want binoculars with a shorter close focus distance.
Eye relief is the distance between the eyepiece and your eye when you’re looking through the binoculars.
It’s an important consideration if you wear glasses, as you’ll need enough eye relief to see the entire field of view.
|Binocular Model||Eye Relief|
|Wingspan Optics Spectator 8×32||14.8 mm|
|Celestron Nature DX 8×42||17.5 mm|
|Bushnell H2O 10×42||17 mm|
|Nikon Aculon A211 10-22×50||8.6-10.6 mm|
As you can see, the Wingspan Optics Spectator 8×32 has the shortest eye relief at 14.8 mm, which may make it less comfortable to use for people who wear glasses.
The Celestron Nature DX 8×42 and Bushnell H2O 10×42 have similar eye relief at 17.5 mm and 17 mm respectively, making them more comfortable for glasses wearers.
The Nikon Aculon A211 10-22×50 has a variable eye relief that ranges from 8.6 to 10.6 mm, which may make it more challenging to use comfortably for extended periods.
Binoculars can range in weight from a few ounces to several pounds.
While lighter binoculars are more comfortable to carry around, heavier binoculars are often more durable and can provide better image quality.
|Celestron Outland X 8×42||22.2 oz|
|Bushnell H2O 10×25||10.3 oz|
|Wingspan Optics Spectator 8×32||15.2 oz|
|Vortex Optics Diamondback HD 10×28||14 oz|
As we can see from the table, the Celestron Outland X 8×42 is the heaviest of the four binoculars, weighing in at 22.2 ounces.
The Bushnell H2O 10×25 is the lightest, weighing just 10.3 ounces.
The Wingspan Optics Spectator 8×32 is the second-heaviest at 15.2 ounces, while the Vortex Optics Diamondback HD 10×28 falls in the middle at 14 ounces.
When choosing a pair of binoculars for birding, weight can be an important factor to consider, as birders often spend long periods of time observing birds in the field.
A heavier pair of binoculars can cause strain on the neck and arms, while a lighter pair can be more comfortable to hold for extended periods of time.
Pros and Cons Compared
|Celestron Nature DX 8×42||Affordable, lightweight, clear and bright image, good close focus distance||Reports of occasional quality control issues, some users may prefer a wider field of view|
|Bushnell Falcon 10×50||Affordable, powerful magnification, wide field of view, durable construction||Heavy, not waterproof or fogproof, chromatic aberration can be an issue|
|Wingspan Optics Spectator 8×32||Lightweight and compact, close focus distance of 3 ft, wide field of view, waterproof and fogproof||Some users may prefer higher magnification, lens caps are not securely attached|
|Nikon 16002 PROSTAFF 7S 8×42||Clear and bright image, wide field of view, comfortable to hold, waterproof and fogproof, excellent lens coatings||More expensive than other options, some users may find it heavy, reports of occasional quality control issues|
FAQs About Best Cheap Birding Binoculars
What strength of binoculars is best for bird watching?
Binocular strength is measured by two numbers, with the first number representing magnification and the second number representing the size of the objective lens. For bird watching, a magnification between 7x and 10x is recommended. A larger objective lens size (around 42mm) is also preferred for better light gathering, although this can make the binoculars heavier and bulkier.
What are the best starter birdwatching binoculars?
For those new to birdwatching, it’s important to invest in a good pair of binoculars without breaking the bank. The Nikon Prostaff 3S 8×42 and the Vortex Optics Diamondback HD 8×42 are both great options. They offer good image quality, durability, and are both affordable.
Which is better 8×42 or 12×50 binoculars?
The choice between 8×42 and 12×50 binoculars depends on personal preference and the specific birding situation. The 12x magnification provides more detail, but the 8x magnification is easier to stabilize and provides a wider field of view. The larger objective lens size of 50mm also provides better light gathering, but can make the binoculars heavier and bulkier.
Are 7×50 binoculars good for birdwatching?
7×50 binoculars can be good for birdwatching, as they provide a wide field of view and are easier to stabilize than higher magnification binoculars. The larger objective lens size of 50mm also provides good light gathering, making them ideal for low light conditions. However, they can be heavier and bulkier than smaller binoculars.
Which is better 7×50 or 10×50?
The choice between 7×50 and 10×50 binoculars depends on personal preference and the specific birding situation. The 7x magnification provides a wider field of view and is easier to stabilize, making it a better choice for beginners or those with unsteady hands. The 10x magnification provides more detail but can be harder to keep steady.
Are 10×50 binoculars better than 8×42?
Whether 10×50 binoculars are better than 8×42 binoculars depends on personal preference and the specific birding situation. The 10x magnification provides more detail, but can be harder to keep steady. The 8x magnification provides a wider field of view and is easier to stabilize. The larger objective lens size of 50mm also provides better light gathering, but can make the binoculars heavier and bulkier.
Is 10×50 binoculars good for bird watching?
10×50 binoculars can be good for bird watching, as they provide more detail than lower magnification binoculars. However, they can be harder to keep steady and provide a narrower field of view. The larger objective lens size of 50mm also provides better light gathering, making them ideal for low light conditions. It ultimately depends on personal preference and the specific birding situation.
Final Thoughts About The Best Cheap Birding Binoculars
In summary, if you’re looking for the best cheap binoculars for birding, there are several models worth considering.
Look for binoculars with a magnification of 8x or 10x, objective lens diameter of 25mm or larger, and fully coated or multi-coated lenses.
Some of the top models in this category include the Celestron Nature DX 8×42, Nikon Aculon A211 10-22×50, Bushnell Falcon 10×50, and Wingspan Optics Spectator 8×32.
It’s important to keep in mind that while these binoculars may be affordable, they still offer good image quality and are durable enough for outdoor use.
Additionally, consider the weight and size of the binoculars, as you’ll want something that is comfortable to carry and use for extended periods of time.