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Whether you are a hunter, bird watcher, stargazer, or outdoor enthusiast, binoculars are an essential tool that must be a part of your outdoor gear.
Binoculars help you get a close-up view of your target and nature. Amazingly, you can see stars from earth, birds from a great distance, and animals from ambush.
Binoculars used to be very expensive when technology was not mature enough. In this modern era of advanced technology, manufacturers can create quality binoculars at an affordable price.
Day by day, they are becoming better and better in terms of image quality, compactness, and external features.
In this article, we have listed some of the best binoculars that are not expensive and are packed with a lot of great features. And not just that, we have also listed some crucial factors that you must consider before buying yourself a pair of binoculars. This will help you decide which binocular is the best for your needs.
Quick Summary: Top 8 Binoculars Under $300
1. Vortex Optics Diamondback HD Binoculars
Vortex isn’t a newbie in the optics industry. They have years of experience in making outdoor gear, riflescopes, mid-priced binoculars, and high-performance rugged binoculars. The Vortex Optics Diamondback is one of those.
They feature a remarkable 10x magnification which brings your target ten times closer to you. And not just that, they also have a good-sized 42mm objective lens.
Such diameter is enough to collect significant amounts of light for crisp and sharp images. On top of that, Vortex has used carefully selected glass elements for optimized image resolution. They ensure to cut chromatic aberration along with providing increased color fidelity.
Vortex didn’t stop with big objective lenses. Their lenses are also fully multi-coated to boost light transmission even more. The Armortek coating is also there to protect the lenses from dirt, oil, and scratches.
Another attractive feature is the twist-up eyecups. It is attractive because these eyecups provide more precise adjustment for eye relief.
To make the body non-slip, solid, and durable, they have used rubber armor to increase the build quality. For prolonged use, you need stabilization, and your hands cannot guarantee that. For this reason, these binoculars are also tripod mountable.
2. Nikon 7577 MONARCH 5 10×42 Binocular
Nikon is known to manufacture high-quality cameras. This reputation has earned them the right to be recognized as a good binocular manufacturer as well. The Nikon 7577 Monarch 5 uses Nikon’s premium ED glass, resulting in a more transparent and sharper image.
Coming to its weight, the Nikon Monarch 5 is an ounce lighter than its predecessor, making them even more lightweight.
The reduced weight allows you to carry them for a prolonged period without getting fatigued quickly. Nikon utilized fully multi-coated lenses for maximum light transmission, which created brighter images. They have user-friendly features. One of those is the turn-and-slide rubber eyecups.
These allow fine-tuning of eye relief according to your personal preference, and the rubber protects the eyecups from accidental falls and scratches.
These binoculars are completely waterproof and fog proof. So, you won’t have any internal fogging or water seeping in issues. The rubber-armored body makes these binoculars rugged and durable.
You can also adjust the focus and sharpness of the image with the central focus knob. They are smooth and easy to use.
3. Nikon 8252 Aculon A211 10-22×50 Zoom Binocular
Nikon 8252 action is another great pair of binoculars from Nikon. The ergonomic design makes them great from a holding point of view. They fit properly in your hands, and they are lightweight.
Not everyone has the same distance between their eyes, and that is why these binoculars support interpupillary distance adjustment.
The variable magnification makes them even more excellent. You can adjust the magnification according to your needs from 10x up to 22x. The objective lens diameter of 50mm ensures maximum light collection, resulting in a brighter image.
This also ensures that these binoculars will collect enough light in low light conditions. A 2.3-5mm exit pupil gives even more satisfaction in terms of image brightness and low-light viewing.
Although the body has an ergonomic design, they have a rubber-armored body to give a non-slip grip even in wet conditions with increased durability. Nikon has used multi-coated glass lenses for crisp, sharp, and brighter images.
4. Steiner Marine Binoculars
Steiner is known to manufacture good-quality binoculars for hunting and marines. These Steiner 7×50 marine binoculars are great for birding, hunting, sporting events, wildlife viewing, concerts, and other general outdoor uses. A 7x magnification brings your target seven times closer to you.
A massive 50mm objective lens diameter ensures brighter images. These binoculars can capture a wide horizontal area of 356ft at 1000 yards from the target.
The lens mounts are made from silicone which is great for absorbing shocks. It makes them durable and rugged. The quality optics ensures true-to-life colors with high contrast.
The rubber-armored body makes these binoculars slip-free and increases their durability. The ergonomics design makes them easy to hold in your hand. They are waterproof, which allows you to use them in rains and showers. These binoculars have a 7.1mm exit pupil, which is considered to be ideal.
This ensures that the binoculars also work well in low-light conditions. They feature an autofocus function that allows you to have a focused look at your target quickly.
5. Athlon Optics Midas Binoculars
Athlon is known to manufacture high-quality riflescopes. Their quality is very good. They offer great pairs of binoculars with amazing features. They are using an excellent technology called ESP dielectric coating, which is a multi-layer coating of lenses.
This coating technology reflects over 99% of the light to your eyes to create brighter images with accurate colors.
Advanced FMC multi-coated lenses greatly improve light transmission for creating even brighter images with precise colors. They don’t stop there; they also have an ED glass that gives you sharper images without any color fringing.
This allows you to see the target clearly, especially when they are under two different shades, which is true for birds mostly.
The use of Argon noble gas makes these binoculars waterproof, so you can also use them in the rain. They also provide thermal stability. Also, you do not have to worry about wearing glasses because these binoculars have long eye relief allowing eyeglass wearers to enjoy the image to the fullest.
6. Nikon 7576 Monarch 5 8×42 Binocular
Nikon has always surprised with its user-friendly high-quality products. These Nikon 7576 Monarch 5 binoculars have a magnification power of 8x to see your target eight times bigger.
The 42mm objective lens diameter helps maximize the light transmission. Nikon uses Nikon’s premium ED glass in all of its Monarch 5 binoculars for improved image brightness.
The Nikon Monarch 5 is almost an ounce lighter than its predecessor, making them super easy to carry around without any fatigue. A 5.2mm exit pupil is great for most people.
Like other models in this series, these binoculars also have user-friendly features, and the turn-and-slide eyecups are one of them. It allows you to adjust the eye relief as per your needs.
Another feature is the central focus knob for adjusting the brightness as you wish. The Monarch 5 has a waterproof and fog proof construction.
On top of that, the rubberized armor makes them even more durable. Nikon has used fully multi-coated glass lenses for greater light transmission over the entire visible spectrum.
7. Bushnell Engage Binoculars
Among many other high-quality Bushnell binoculars, these Bushnell Engage are also high-performance ones.
These binoculars don’t disappoint you in the rain as they are made waterproof and fog proof. With a weight of 1.83 pounds, they are lightweight and compact which makes it easy to carry them around, and your hands as well will not fatigue.
Lightweight binoculars also mean that your neck wouldn’t hurt when using a neck strap. With a unisex design, they come with a carrying case that offers protection, a neck strap, and a user manual.
They also feature adjustable eyecups that allow you to adjust eye relief. Bushnell has used their proprietary EXO Barrier to ensure that there would be no lens fogging. This also prevents the lens from oil particles.
The best thing about these binoculars is that you can lock the right eye settings with a locking diopter. The rugged chassis of this device is ready to take a beating.
This is helpful if your binoculars accidentally bang over a hard surface. Bushnell doesn’t leave you alone; they provide an ironclad warranty with these binoculars as well.
8. Upland Optics Perception Binoculars
Upland uses HD extra-low dispersion (ED) glass that is manufactured in Japan. Japan is well known for manufacturing premium products. They are specially manufactured for serious hunters.
These Upland Perception HD binoculars are outstanding. First, you wouldn’t be afraid to use them in the rain as they are waterproof. On top of that, they are also fog proof, preventing image distortion in moist climates.
The rubber body increases its durability. Upland only uses ED glass when it comes to optics because it is the best glass material to create brighter images.
There is no distortion, and they minimize the chromatic aberration for clarity in images. With their 10x magnification, you can see you hunt ten times closer with every fine detail.
The 42mm objective lens ensures a maximum light collection, resulting in sharp images. They weigh only 1.44 lbs, making them a lightweight product.
They have a long eye relief of 17.2mm, which is enough for most people. They come with a carry case, lens cleaning cloth, lens cap, and a neck strap. They are also backed with Upland’s lifetime warranty.
Many binoculars are available in the market, claiming that they are the ideal ones. However, before purchasing yourself a pair of binoculars, make an educated decision that ensures that you have invested your money in the right place. Following are the factors that you should consider when buying binoculars.
1. Eye Relief
Eye relief is the distance between the oculars and your eyes. Your eyes must be within a specific distance, which the manufacturer defines.
If you wear glasses, then the eye relief will automatically increase. Before buying a pair of binoculars, you must check if they have a large eye relief or not and what adjustment options they offer?
Eye relief adjustment options include fold-down, twist-up, rotating, and turn-and-slide eyecups. The best option is twist-up eyecups with multiple stages because they allow you to adjust the eye relief as per your needs precisely.
2. Exit Pupil
When holding the binoculars with eyepieces facing you, you will see a hole in the center of both eyepieces. The size of this hole is called the exit pupil.
The size tells us how much light can exit the binoculars to enter the pupil of your eyes. A large exit pupil also ensures that they can emit more light even in low-light conditions.
Durability is a crucial factor that must be kept in mind. This all alone makes your binoculars last longer, and less durable binoculars will be useless in a couple of months.
Most binoculars use rubber armor body construction, increasing their durability and making them rugged. This also makes the body slip-free, scratch-resistant, and shock absorber to some extent
The glass used for the optics highly affects the quality and color fidelity of the images. Poor glass quality might produce color fringing, chromatic aberration, distortions, and low-grade images. Make sure that the binoculars use high-quality glass for their optics. The binoculars should have at least a BaK-4 glass for bright images.
To make images even more vibrant, binocular manufacturers apply different coatings on the lenses. Some use multiple layers of coatings, and some use phase correcting coatings. In phase correcting coating, the coating doesn’t allow light to be out of phase from each other, resulting in a more vibrant image.
There are some proprietary coatings that some brands use to improve the image quality. All in all, make sure that the binocular lenses are well coated.
This factor is crucial if you do not want to get your money wasted if the binoculars are damaged. Some brands offer either a lifetime warranty or a limited warranty. Some brands also offer 30-day money-back guarantees. Make sure that the manufacturer offers some sort of warranty policy.
Binoculars are a must for hunting, birding, safari, wildlife viewing, stargazing, etc. To fully enjoy these events, the binoculars must have what it needs. They must have good image quality and enough magnification power, and they should have user-friendly features as well,
Some of the best binoculars under $300 were presented in this article. To decide which one will fit your needs, we have also provided a buyer’s guide that gives you enough nitty-gritty knowledge that you would need before purchasing yourself a pair of binoculars.