[ Skip the details and just show me the best ones ]

Choosing the right binoculars for the right price can be somewhat confusing. There are plenty of brands and models to choose from and many technical aspects to consider. This guide covers the basics of choosing a good pair of binoculars for traveling, general use, sports watching or a special gift to your loved one. We’ve also listed our Top 5 All-Around Binoculars for 2017. If you’re looking for birding, astronomy, hunting or marine binoculars, you might want to check out our more specific Buyer Guides

Choosing travel and general use binoculars

Skip the details and just show me the best ones

 

What Do the Numbers Mean?

Binoculars are always represented by two numbers. The first number being the magnification, also referred to as the power or zoom, and the second number being the lens size. 8×42, for example, means 8x magnification and 42mm lenses.

What is the Ideal Magnification?

High magnification means you will be able to see further. For general use and travel binoculars 7x 8x or 10x will be plenty. The problem with any more than 10x magnification is that you will NOT be able to get a steady image while using your binoculars. Every little hand movement or shake will be magnified resulting in an unstable image. This can only be resolved by using a tripod. So for good, affordable and easy to use binoculars simply go for 8x or 10x magnification.

What is the Best Lens Size?

Bigger lenses mean more light coming in which means a brighter image. If you will be using your binoculars only at daytime or where there is plenty of light, then this is not an issue. You can choose any size lens (20mm to 42mm). Small lenses mean compact and lighter binoculars that are easy to carry around anywhere. If you intend to use your binoculars early mornings, twilight or even at night, you will want to choose 42mm or 50mm binoculars. You will then enjoy brighter images but also suffer from a heavier, bulkier pair of binoculars. That said, many people are more than happy to carry and hold large binoculars to get better, brighter images. Some actually find large binoculars easier to hold and stabilise. The most common choice for binoculars and a good balance between power and size is 8×42 or 10×42.

What Other Features Should I Consider?

Features like waterproof and fog-proof are not a must but are definitely favourable. Especially for frequent use in extreme weather conditions. Another feature to look for is long eye relief. In plain English, this means that you will be able to hold your binoculars further away from your eyes and still see a clear image. This is important if you’ll be wearing your glasses or sunglasses while using the binoculars. Most mid-priced binoculars have a long enough eye relief for all users. So you will be able to use them either with or without your eyeglasses.

Which Brand Should I Get?

When it comes to binoculars, European brands have the best optics. This is why they are also the most expensive ones. Carl Zeiss binoculars are perhaps the best around if you can afford them. Prices for this brand average between £500 to £1,500. Our more affordable brands include Nikon, Avalon, Olympus, Fujinon (FujiFilm), Bushnell, Bresser, National Geographic, Celestron, Vortex and others. These all offer excellent binoculars for every type of user. Prices range from £50 to £400 for a perfectly good pair, which can often last you a lifetime.

How Much Should I Spend on Binoculars?

You can buy very basic binoculars for as cheap as £30. Russian binoculars as well as lower range models of Simmons, Tasco, Vanguard and others. Unfortunately, these will often have a blurry image – especially when using the higher magnifications. Cheap binoculars will also provide a darker, fuzzier image in low light conditions and might be harder to focus. Here at Procular, we believe in providing the right binoculars to the right users and at the right price. We only stock quality brand name binoculars you will love to use! And you can purchase a solid quality pair of binoculars for as low as £50-£200. With optics, you really do get what you pay for but we do have a few outstanding choices for very affordable prices. Below is a list of our best-selling travel / general use binoculars that we believe are also the best bang for your buck:

 
 

Our Top 5 All-Around Binoculars for 2017

** Note: All 5 binoculars recommended below are suitable for eyeglasses users **

 

Bresser 8×21 Hunter
– Just need a pair of compact binoculars? The Bresser 8×21 have a very compact folding design, light weight (188 grams) and attractive price. Surprisingly these are very good quality binoculars! Image clarity on these is noticeably better than most compact binoculars on the market. £69 inc. free delivery

 
 

Avalon 10×42 PRO HD Binoculars
– World’s lightest professional level binoculars by Avalon Optics. Excellent power combined with a mid-sized, lightweight stylish design. Ideal for nature, bird watching, safari, sports watching or travel. Produce beautiful sharp images. A perfect gift to a nature lover! £139 inc. free delivery

 
 

Celestron Porro 20×50
– Ideal for seeing more detail from a longer distance (2-5 miles). With an impressive 20x magnification they are extremely powerful yet still easy to handle. Large 50mm lenses allow for a brighter, sharper image. Can be used with or without a tripod. Discounted and available for £159 inc. free delivery

 
 

Nikon Prostaff 8×42
– Nikon’s best seller and our favourite model at this price range. Outstanding image quality, waterproof, fog proof, wide field of view, light and comfortable design. Great all-around binoculars with Nikon’s best quality optics. Also available in 10×42. Discounted to £259 inc. free delivery

 
 

Zeiss Terra ED 10×42
– Professional level binoculars suitable for any use. Enjoy crystal clear images and flawless performance even during low light conditions. Beautiful design. Waterproof, fog proof and shockproof. Recommended if you want to invest in that extra optical quality. £539

 
 

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