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Best Binoculars For The Money  
Everything You Need to Know to Get Great Binoculars at a Great Price
Top Five for the Money (Based on our Frugal5 Formula)
How do we pick these products? We spend many hours doing unbiased research to only give you the highest rated products at the best price. We first come up with a list of features, which you can see below, that we feel the majority of people will need. We then look for the highest quality products with these features and only show you the top five with the best value. Our mission is to provide you with the best five options based only on the facts. Don't see the product you were thinking about getting? Click here to calculate it's frugal score.
Bushnell Powerview 8x21 FoldingTasco Essentials 8x21Celestron UpClose G2 8x21 71230Pentax 88045 TsBarska Lucid View Compact AB10116
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Product Rating
Average Price
Cheap ($13)
Cheap ($12)
Cheap ($22)
Cheap ($20)
Cheap ($15)
Frugal5 Score
Features Needed
300’ Field View or Greater
- 378'
- 383'
- 387'
- 366'
- 383'
30mm Lens or Smaller
- 21mm
- 21mm
- 21mm
- 21mm
- 21mm
8x Magnification
Diopter Included
Features Not Needed
Automatic Focus
Larger than 30mm Lens
Larger than 8x Magnification
What You Need To Know In 5 Minutes

Navigating options for binoculars can be overwhelming for the beginner. They are made with varying specifications and often crafted for specific applications, ranging from toys for kids to tactical and military uses. Assuming you’ll use your binoculars for everyday activities like bird watching or viewing sporting events, keep the options simple to find a great pair of binoculars for an affordable price. If you are searching for binoculars for a specialty application, it’s best to consult your local sporting goods store for detailed advice on what to buy.

Binoculars by the Numbers

When shopping for binoculars, two numbers are most important. The first is magnification. For everyday use, experts recommend binoculars that can make objects look 8 times bigger than when seen with the naked eye. Manufacturers list this specification as 8x in product descriptions. It may be tempting to choose 10x or even 12x for greater magnification. However, it’s important to remember that greater magnification means it’s harder to find the desired object in the viewer. Choosing 8x means choosing less frustration in finding the object you want to see.

Another important number is the size of the objective lens (the outer lens, farthest from your eyes). The size of this lens lets you know how large and heavy the binoculars will be. Larger objective lenses mean the binoculars can take in more light, making them better for low light viewing. These lenses fall under the category of specialty applications. 

For everyday use, a smaller objective lens is better because it makes the binoculars lighter and easier to manage. Look for 8x 30mm objective lens binoculars or smaller. This usually means they use roof prism technology, the most affordable and lightweight design for binoculars. After an hour of holding up a pair of binoculars at a football game, most people will appreciate the lighter weight. 

Other Important Features

The amount of area you can see when looking through binoculars matters. Look for a field view of at least 300’. Binoculars include a focus knob with an adjustable lever or dial called a diopter. Anything missing this feature falls under the category of a toy. Not all binoculars come with anti-reflective coatings on the lenses. You should choose this option for better clarity only if it doesn't cost you more.

Weather Protection

Binoculars are often used outdoors. While few of us will be using them in applications where waterproofing is needed, it’s nice to have a water-resistant pair of binoculars that can withstand rainy weather. If you plan to use these only at indoor and clear weather events, you need not worry about water protection.

Brands and Pricing

Most binocular manufacturers offer a lightweight and compact model for everyday use. The most affordable brands include Tasco, Pentax, Barska, Celestron and Bushnell. For about $20, you can get a solid, reliable pair for everyday use. 

Features You Need
300’ Field View or Greater, 30mm Lens or Smaller, 8x Magnification, Diopter Included
Features You Don't Need
Automatic Focus, Fogproof, Larger than 30mm Lens, Larger than 8x Magnification, Nightvision, Shockproof, Waterproof
What You Should Pay
Between $12.00 - $22.00
Top Of The Line Price
Over $400.00