Best Binoculars for Birding: Making the Right Choice

Best Binoculars for BirdingIf you want to take in the beauty of the world’s most exotic birds, you’ll need the best binoculars for birding.
Of course, every make and model out there is going to claim it alone has that distinction.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t make it true. In order to make the best decision possible, continue reading.

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The following will discuss what it takes to find binoculars that will deliver the best birding results.

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The Best Binoculars for Birding

The below table highlights the best binoculars for birding currently available for sale.

Zhumell Signature Binoculars 10x42342 ft.29 oz.4.4$$
Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Binoculars 10x42340 ft.23 oz.4.5$$$
Bushnell PermaFocus Wide Angle Binocular 10x50294 ft.31 oz.4.5$
Nikon 7245 Action Ex Extreme Binoculars 10x50342 ft.30 oz.4.6$$
Leica BCR Ultravid Compact Binoculars 10x25273 ft.9 oz.4.8$$$$
Leupold Acadia Roof Prism Binoculars 10x25367 ft.23 oz.4.5$$
Bushnell PermaFocus Roof Prism Binoculars 10x42305 ft.18 oz.3.9$
Nikon Monarch 7 Binoculars 8x42419 ft.23 oz.4.7$$$
Nikon Action Extreme Binoculars 8x40429 ft.30 .oz4.6$$
Zeiss Conquest HD Binoculars 8x42384 ft.24.7 oz.4$$$$

Table Legend:

  • Size: Size of the binoculars e.g. Magnification x Lens Diameter
  • Field of View (FOV): Measurement of what can be seen through the binoculars
  • Weight: Weight of binoculars
  • Rating: Rating provided by reviews on
  • Cost: $$$$ = Very High Priced, $$$ = High Priced, $$ = Low Priced, $ = Cheap


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Finding the Best Binoculars for Birding

Before we go any further we should address one of the important specifics of this challenge. And that is that the best birding binoculars will differ by person.
Best Binoculars for BirdingThe below instructions will certainly help you narrow the field and keep you from making some regrettable mistakes. But this process will also involve your own needs.
Where do you like to go birding? If the ecosystem is a lake, you’ll want a different pair of binoculars than someone who goes birding in dense wood.
So keep things like that in consideration as you continue reading about the best binoculars for birding.


When it comes to binoculars, magnification is the name of the game. After all, you buy binoculars so you can better see your target.
Best Binoculars for BirdingThis is especially true with bird watching when you need to zoom in as close as possible in order to make out any telltale distinctions so you can make a positive ID.
That being said, don’t get carried away. The best binoculars for birding aren’t necessarily the ones that can magnify the most.
With more magnification comes a diminished depth of focus, a smaller field of view and a duller overall image. It can also be tough to hold the binoculars steady when you’re confronted with greater magnification.
Generally speaking, a magnification of 8x is considered best for a wide range of birding needs.

Field of View

When it comes to binoculars, your field of view (FOV) is basically how wide the image is when you glimpse it through your lenses.
For the most part, there is no such thing as too large a field of view. For one thing, it will make birding all the more enjoyable as you can take in far more of the animal as well as its surroundings.
Often this will be absolutely essential to making a positive ID of the bird as well.
This is especially true for those of you who favor small birds that are capable of extremely fast movements. Without the wider field of view, you’ll easily lose them. But be careful not to ruin your larger field of view by magnifying in on small birds too much.

Best Binoculars for Birding

If you do this, you’ll quickly lose out on pinpoint details or lose track of where you are should the bird fly away.
Never let the field of view sacrifice magnification. You really do want the best of both worlds when you’re looking for the best binoculars for birding.
Find the magnification that best fits your birding needs and then look for a field of view that fits comfortably inside of it.

Focusing Capabilities

The best binoculars for birding need to have superior abilities when it comes to focusing in on images. As you probably know, birds aren’t always fans of standing still, especially the smaller ones.
Best Binoculars for BirdingSo you’ll want binoculars that can quickly zoom in on the species you’re observing. In this way, your binoculars’ ability to zoom in is as important as the field of view it offers.
In order for the focusing capabilities to be optimal, the focusing wheel needs to be situated conveniently and move smoothly in both directions.
It’s possible that, at first, the wheel may be cumbersome. This is understandable if it’s located in a different spot than your prior pair of binoculars. However, it shouldn’t be somewhere that will force you to take your eyes off the bird. Nor should the wheel cause your binoculars to shake when you’re adjusting it.
To get the smooth transition you want when focusing, look for a wheel that has a nonslip surface.
Usually, when you’re zooming in on a bird, you always zoom too far at first and then compensate by pulling back out. Without a nonslip surface, it becomes very difficult to do this correctly.

Size and Weight

These days, binoculars can have a wide range of sizes and weights to them. It goes without saying that the best binoculars for birding will be ones that are most comfortable for you to use. However, let’s consider this characteristic in further detail.
Best Binoculars for BirdingSo long as they’re comfortable, the size and weight of your binoculars may not seem particularly relevant. Again, however, this will depend on the type of birding you do and where you do it.
Compact binoculars are very popular these days as their smaller size no longer means they completely lack in the magnification department.
Even when they don’t have the same numbers, however, compact binoculars can often allow you to see even more than their much larger rivals. That’s because compact binoculars are easier to wield and pull to your face in time to see a certain species.
That being said, the compact varieties simply can’t pull in as much light as larger binoculars. This means, no matter what, they will never make as bright an image as a larger version.

The Best Binoculars for Birding

Keeping in mind what we said earlier about the best binoculars for birding being a subjective measurement, I submit the closest we’ll get to a model that suits everyone is the Swarovski CL Companion 8X30 Binoculars. Let’s take a look at their credentials:

  • 17.06 oz
  • 4.7 inches by 4.5 inches
  • Swarotop and Swarodur coatings for reflection-resistance
  • Swarobright coatings for brighter images


To put this in English, these binoculars are the perfect size to take traveling just about anywhere, but won’t sacrifice performance.
They’re the best binoculars for birding as they provide the kind of image that would best suit the vast majority of bird watchers, no matter what species they’re after.

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