Best Binoculars Under $100

If you’re looking for an entry level, super low budget pair of binoculars - you’ve come to the right place.  

We would like to present you with our Top 5 binoculars under $100.  They’re great for viewing wildlife from a distance, and most will fit nicely into your hunting bag.

We have a buying guide for you too, which explains what to look for in a pair of binoculars, and how to get a worthwhile binocular for under $100 - you can expect to have a great bargain within your sights!

At the end, we’ve also got some answers to your most frequently asked questions.

Best Binoculars Under $100 - Comparison Table

Best Binoculars Under $100 - Reviews

We simply had to put this baby in our top 5 - we absolutely love how simple it is to attach your smartphone and record every moment of your viewing through the binoculars onto your smartphone.  

It’s compatible with several different brands of phone too, including the iPhone range, the Samsung Galaxy range, Huawei, LG, HTC, Sony, and more.

It offers great magnification, at 12x, and the large eyepiece binoculars make full use of 12x magnification to deliver a larger image with clearer details.  The large eyepiece comes in at 18mm, and provides 2.25 times the image of a 12mm eyepiece. It’s objective lens diameter meanwhile is 42mm.

It uses a fully multi coated BAK 4 prism, which has superior reflective and dispersion qualities compared to BK 7, and gives a light transmittance of 99.6%

The 16.5mm Prism lens takes 100% advantage of 42mm objective lens to collect more light, and deliver a brighter view.

We also love how it comes with adjustable eye cups to make them suitable for glasses wearers.

They’re waterproof too and can resist light rain and fog

Pros

  • You can attach your smartphone and record your viewing
  • Great magnification at 12 times
  • Large 1000 yards field of view
  • Uses a fully multi coated BAK 4 prism
  • Large Eyepiece produces a bigger image and more comfortable view

Cons

  • If you wish to attach your smartphone, please ensure it’s compatible with the binoculars first, via the manufacturer’s website

These binoculars boast a 10x magnification, and with its wide diameter lens, coming in at 50mm, you’re presented with a large, 1000 yards field of view - perfect for viewing fast moving subjects, such as when bird watching or following a sports match.

Not only that but the wide lens allows more light to come through, to give a brighter, clearer picture, even at low light conditions.  This means it can be used at night (though not in complete darkness) and is suitable for use in concert halls and for astronomical viewing.  This is also thanks to the multi-layer coating on the lense for superior light transmission, leading to brighter colour and higher contrast images.

The USP of this baby is its diopter system which allows you to adjust for the imbalance in vision between each eye.

We also love how you can adjust the eye relief by simply twisting the eyepiece, perfect if you’re passing the binoculars between different users.

What makes it really good for outdoor use is that it’s moisture proof - you can even use it in mist and fog.  It has an anti-slip shell, so you’re unlikely to drop it - and if you do, it’s shock resistant - a really durable pair of binoculars!

It comes with it’s own bag, so you don’t have to worry about fitting it in your backpack.

Pros

  • Powerful magnification 10x
  • 50mm wide lens diameter for a clearer picture at low light
  • 1000 yards field of view
  • Multi-layer coating on lens
  • Shock resistant
  • Anti-slip
  • Moisture proof

Cons

  • The prism glass is BK-7 not BAK-4

Here’s another pair of powerful but lightweight binoculars.  They’re equipped with 12x powerful magnification, and a 42mm large objective lens to provide an excellent 1000yds large field of view.

The USP (well, USP for this price range anyway) of these binoculars is that they use a roof prism rather than the more typical Porro prism.  Although they have a more complex light path the design looks as if the light goes straight through.  

This feature generally makes the binoculars lighter and more compact than the Porro prism counterparts.  You don’t normally get roof prism binoculars in this price range because they cost more to make.

Furthermore the roof prism is made from BAK4 glass, for a bright, clear, crisp, high definition image.  The lens is also fully multi coated.

They have an 18mm eyepiece for a larger image and clearer details.

They’re durable and water resistant too, with a rubber shell, to provide an anti slip grip and shock resistance.

Pros

  • Powerful magnification, 12 times
  • Large field of view, 1000 yards
  • Uses a roof prism
  • BAK4 prism glass
  • Lens is fully multi coated
  • Can provide a clear image in low light
  • Anti slip grip
  • Shock resistant
  • Water resistant & fog proof

Cons

  • Not intended for night vision

Out Top 5 would simply be amiss without an inclusion of binoculars from this brand!  Nikon are the most well known brand in cameras and lenses, and have been a business now for over 100 years, and their work specifically in binoculars started as far back as 1921.  

Their binoculars remain best sellers to this day.

It provides a magnification of 10 times, and its BaK 4 porro prism system promises a high quality image regardless of whether you’re in daylight or low light.

The lenses are multi coated to enhance image brightness and astonishing clarity.

As you can expect from such a trusted brand you get great quality and durability.  They have a durable rubber armored shell, for a non slip grip, and its built to handle virtually just about any weather conditions you may face.

The main plus of these binoculars is how they balance high quality with cost effectiveness. 

It features Turn-and-Slide Rubber Eyecups to allow for comfortable viewing during extended periods of use.

Pros

  • Well known and trusted brand
  • Affordability
  • 10 times magnification
  • BaK 4 Porro prism
  • Multi coated lenses
  • You can adjust the eye relief
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Not 100% waterproof

The stand out feature of these binoculars is that they are nitrogen purged and o-ring sealed, to give you a lifetime of waterproof and fogproof performance!  All backed by its lifetime warranty.

It's available at either 10x26 or 8x26 - just pick the best one for your budget.

It provides a large field of  view of 1000 yards.

They are the lightest and most compact in the Vortex Optics range - handy for long treks.

It features Twist and lock eyecups that can be adjusted to your personal preference, should you need better eye relief.

It’s fully multi-coated lenses mean increased light transmission and resolution through the binocular, to give you the clear, crisp images you’re looking for.

The binocular is fully rubber armored to give you added durability and a non-slip grip.

Pros

  • Lifetime warranty
  • Powerful 10 times magnification
  • Water and fog proof
  • Fully multi coated lenses
  • Adjustable eye relief

Cons

  • Not designed for low light

Best Binoculars Under $100 - Buyers Guide

Magnification and Lens Width

If you don’t know already, binoculars’ magnifying power is described as a pair of numbers - for example 8x42.  The 8 represents the magnification, so in this instance, the view through the binocular is 8 times magnified. 

The second number is the diameter of the lenses in millimeters, so in this example, the lenses are each 42 millimeters in diameter.  (42mm is the most common size of lense diameter.)

Magnification power also has a direct effect on your field of view - lower magnification expands it, while higher magnification narrows it.

Bigger lenses are usually better, as they let in more light, which in turn leads to brighter images and a wider field of vision.

A good magnifying power range is usually between 6x to 10x.  8Х42 іn thіѕ рrісе rаngе іѕ gоіng tо bе іdеаl, since gоіng hіghеr роwеrеd іn thіѕ рrісе rаngе mау rеѕult іn рооrеr іmаgе quаlіtу.

Lense Coating

The anti-reflective coatings found on the ocular lens of binoculars can be fully multi-coated, multi-coated, or just coated.  Fully multi coated lenses decrease surface reflectivity therefore allows greater optical through-put across the entire visible light spectrum.  

A good quality model in this price range should at least be multi-coated, but you will find that all of the binoculars featured in our Top 5 are fully multi coated.

Clarity

In this context, clarity refers to how well you can see through a pair of binoculars in different light, for example through dawn, daylight and dusk and in overcast weather conditions or with dense tree cover.  A pair of binoculars with high performance in this regard will show the best color correctness of the object.

To meet the bar in clarity, the binoculars need to have what is known as a large exit pupil diameter.  Exit pupil refers to the optical length of the binoculars divided by its magnification. For low-light situations, an exit pupil of 5mm or more is good.  

For bright daylight viewing, exit pupil size is less important because almost all binoculars offer exit pupils that exceed 2mm, which is the smallest value of pupil diameter

Prism and prism glass type

In this price range we are typically looking at Роrrо рrіѕm binoculars with either Bak-7 prism glass or Bak-4.  A Porro prism consists of two right-angled prisms facing each other, to provide the magnification effect.  

BK-7 is more common in this price range, but if you have the option Bak-4 is the one to go for.  The BK7 prism typically found in lower priced binoculars produces an exit pupil with shaded (blurred) edges, whereas the BAK4 prism has a perfectly round exit pupil.

Eye relief

Eye relief is the distance between an eyepiece and your eye while the whole field of view is visible.  If you wear glasses you need to look out for eye relief of 11mm or more for maximum comfort.  

Many binoculars feature an adjustable eyepiece whereby you can twist, pull or slide the eyepiece depending on whether you wish to view your image with or without your glasses on.

Shell Material

You need binoculars that can stand being dropped, and preferably won’t get dropped in the first place.  The best outer shells of binoculars are composed of textured metal, which has the highest durability while simultaneously being easy to grip in wet weather. 

However, they also tend to be the heaviest models, which is something you should take into account if weight is a factor in future ventures.

The next best outer shell material is rubberized plastic.  It helps you keep a firm grip and is much lighter than metal. However, they don’t hold up as well when dropped, so they’re not as durable in the long run.

You can also get ones with a plain metal shell, which hold up well if dropped, but can be slippery in the rain.  And plain plastic, whilst cheap and light is hard to grip and is the least insulated from falls.

And on the note of binocular weight, bigger is not always better - if your planning on a long venture you’ll need binoculars that are light enough to carry and compact enough to fit in your backpack or fanny pack.

Other features

Another great plus with binoculars, is that many are designed to be fog proof and water resistant - this can be really handy as you can imagine.

Accessories

You might like to get a pair of binoculars that comes with a neck strap - not just to protect your binoculars from a fall, but also to save you from having to get into your backpack or fanny pack constantly every time you want to see something in the distance more closely.

We would also recommend models that come with lens caps, to keep the lenses dust free when not in use.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best binoculars for long distance viewing?

The bigger the magnification and the bigger the objective lens diameter, the better the image quality from your long distance binoculars.  This is because a wider objective lens gathers more light to make an image in the distance look bright and clear.

You’d be well advised to not focus solely on magnification however, because  adding more magnification dims the brightness of your views through the binocular.  That’s why you need to take other factors into consideration. Please refer to our buying guide for more in depth advice and guidance.

Which is better 10x50 binoculars versus 10x42 binoculars?

10x50 binoculars capture a lot more light than 10x42 binoculars, and whilst its true that the more light you have the better, merely being able to capture more light does not automatically make for a brighter, better quality image.  As much of the light as possible needs to get transmitted to your eyes and this is where differing levels of glass, optical coatings and build quality do play an important part. Please refer to our buying guide for more in depth advice and guidance.

What strength of binoculars do I need?

As you might expect there are different binocular magnifications recommended for different activities.  For general use, such as hiking or stadium sports, you’re best off with compact and wide angle binoculars with 7x to 10x magnification ranges.

We would also recommend 7x to 10 times for hunting, with the exception of long range shooting, where you’ll need a 12x to 16x magnification.

The standard binocular for bird watching is an 8x42 binocular, but slightly higher won’t hurt.

For concert or theatre performances you won’t need as much magnification, 4x to 7x will do, but you’ll have to ensure the binoculars are suited to low light.

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