How to Choose Binoculars For Bird Watching?

Reviewed by Dayna Hatmaker
Dayna Hatmaker

Dayna is a professional optician and has been working in this profession for 7 years. She truly understands her customer's optical needs and recommends the best product. She got her optometry degree from the University of Waterloo. Other than this, she loves golfing, fishing, boating, and hitting the gym.


Bird watching is a great outdoor activity that can be both incredibly rewarding and enjoyable. It’s an especially popular pastime among nature enthusiasts, allowing them to not only spot beautiful birds in their environment but also observe their behaviors closely.

But before you begin bird watching, it’s important to make sure you have the right equipment with you— one of the most essential items being binoculars.

With so many different types on the market though, selecting binoculars for bird watching can seem tricky if you’re not quite sure which one would best suit your needs.

In this blog post, we’ll go over how to choose a pair of binoculars that will allow for optimal bird viewing experiences!

Absolutely Everything You Need to Know about Binoculars for Bird Watching

How to Choose Binoculars For Bird Lovers

1. Magnification

If you are a bird watcher, your magnification is first to consider. You should choose binoculars with higher magnification to observe birds’ details better. For example, a pair of binoculars with a high magnification will help you see the color of birds’ feathers, which is different from when seen in low power.

Moreover, if you are looking for binoculars for bird watching, it is best to go for the highest magnifications possible. The most common magnification for bird watching is 10x, the highest power you can find in compact binoculars.

2. Budget

When buying binoculars for bird watching, you should consider the budget. The price of the binoculars is always a factor that affects your decision, and there are many factors to consider. For example, the features, quality of construction, and many more should be considered.

In addition to that, if you are going to hunt birds, you will need binoculars with a long focal length. This means better quality optics and more challenging materials, and high-strength, durable glass will be required.

3. Size Of Binoculars

Binoculars for bird watching come in different sizes. Typically, the larger the size of the field of view, the more you will be able to see a scene. You should choose binoculars large enough to hold in one hand comfortably for your convenience.

In addition to that, it is also suitable for bird-watching binoculars to have an extended focusing wheel that can allow you to focus both lenses while getting a closer look at birds’ nests or eggs.

4. Durability & Ease Of Use

You should buy binoculars for bird watching that are easy to use and durable. Most importantly, they should be waterproof and fog proof.

A long focal length will also help you see birds better even in low light conditions, while a higher magnification will be good if you go hunting.

5. Field Of View

You should also consider the field of view when choosing binoculars for bird watching. Since they will be used chiefly outdoor, the broader field of view is more convenient.

There are different sizes of binoculars with varying fields of view you can compare to see which one offers you the best value for your money.

Do remember that you have to consider your budget and your purpose (bird watching or hunting birds) when choosing binoculars for bird watching.

6. Balance and Handling

When buying binoculars for bird watching, you should buy ones that are easy to use and comfortable to hold. On the other hand, you don’t want to have binoculars that are hard to handle and make you continuously change your grip or stance.

You should also buy binoculars with an excellent balance to avoid blurriness while handholding them. If they do not feel comfortable in your hands, they will be unusable when you want them most, especially when bird watching or hunting birds.

7. Waterproofing & Sealing

Bird-watching binoculars should be waterproof and fog proof. This is very important in helping you see better, especially if you will be bird watching in the rain.

In addition, if you buy binoculars for bird watching, it would be best if they are nitrogen-filled, which helps them remain dry and prevents fogging of the lenses.

8. Brand & Warranty

You should not just buy binoculars without choosing a brand or a model. It is always good to select binoculars associated with a reputable brand that guarantees the quality of their products.

You can choose from different brands, and this link will give you an easy bird-watching solution that will help you decide on which binoculars to buy for bird watching.

Warranty is also another thing you should not ignore when buying binoculars for bird watching. In case of a manufacturing defect or any other defects on the product that arise after purchase, it is always good to have the seller fix it for free or replace it if necessary.

You must keep those features in mind before buying binoculars for bird watching. They will help you make an easier decision on which binoculars to accept and ensure that they are perfect for your specific needs.

9. Adjusting Binoculars

Binoculars for bird watching should have a quick-focus eyepiece that can be adjusted quickly. This is very important to get a better view of the objects of your choice with ease.

It is always good to have the eyepiece adjusted to compensate for any aberration caused by different types of lenses and other factors.

10. Customer reviews

This is where you should look before buying binoculars for bird watching because you will find a lot of information in customer reviews about the product.

Reviews about the product will help you determine the essential features of a binocular. These are also great as they will give you an idea of how your binoculars for bird watching will perform in the wild.

11. Binocular Straps

Binoculars for bird watching come with different straps. If you are going to be using them for bird watching or hunting birds, it would be best if the belt is adjustable and strong enough.

It should also have a comfortable wrist strap and be made of sturdy materials resistant to oil and water so it will not become slippery in wet weather.

12. Porro Prism

Binoculars for bird watching are also available in different prisms. However, you should choose binoculars with a Porro prism for your convenience.

This is because it is more durable, allows better light transmission, and is easier to clean and maintain than the roof prism. The only downside to these would be the weight and that they are less efficient since they have an air chamber between the prisms.

13. Roof Prisms

Roof prism binoculars are also available. The main advantage of roof prism binoculars is that they are lightweight and compact.

The disadvantages would be that roof prism binoculars have less durability and would require the use of a tripod to view the images. They are also less accurate in in-depth perception and nighttime viewing.

14. Objective Lens Diameter

This would depend on your budget and the purpose of your binoculars. For example, larger objective lenses mean that more light can enter the binoculars through their objective lens, making it easier to see at night.

If you want straight distance viewing, then the larger, the better. In contrast, birders are not just after high magnification but also excellent quality images. Binoculars with smaller objectives will provide a clear and bright picture but a limited field of view.

15. Exit Pupil

This is the size of the beam of light that leaves the exit pupil at its widest point. A more excellent exit pupil indicates that better light is passing through the lens and would allow you to view better in low light conditions.

16. Eye Relief

Head binoculars should have a long eye relief. This means your eyes can move up and down without obstruction after adjusting them to focus on your object choice. When looking at something, they should not touch your eyes because they can cause discomfort and blurred vision.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What strength binoculars do I need for bird watching?

This is dependent on the bird watching you are planning to do. For example, a person looking for small birds or birds at a distance would need 7×35, 8×36, and 7×30. Bird watchers looking for raptors and large birds would need 8×42, 10×50, and 10×56.

2. What is a good magnification for bird watching?

This depends on what type of bird watching you are doing and what you plan to see the most. Generally for general use, 10x is recommended, but if you are hunting birds, you may need up to 20x magnification binoculars.

3. Which is better for bird watching, 8×42 or 10X42?

It is up to the user. The 8×42 gives a wider field of view, while the 10×42 has a long clear view at 1,000 yards. The field of view will depend on how you want to use them, but the magnification is solely dependent on what you plan to see.

4. Is 10×50 better than 8×42?

No, it depends on what you are looking for. Usually, 8×42 has a broader angle, whereas 10×50 has better image stabilization with less vibration for more explicit pictures.

5. Are 10×50 binoculars good for bird watching?

You can use 10×50 binoculars to bird-watch, but if you plan to target birds at a distance, you need to get 12×50 or 18×70 binoculars for better results.

6. What is the best magnification for hunting elusive birds?

There is a wide array of binoculars for each type of bird. For example, a person looking to shoot birds from a distance will need 10×50, and an experienced shooter would prefer 12×50.


There are many different types of birding binoculars, however, you should always choose the ones that will give you the best view of your target when you are bird watching.

10×50 binoculars are the most popular among bird watchers because they provide a wide field of view and a long clear view at 1,000 yards. They are best for bird watching because the magnification is just right, allowing the user to see what he is looking at clearly.

In addition, the 10×50 binoculars have a minimum focusing distance of 6 feet which allows the user to see objects from a very close range.

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