As enjoyable as birdwatching can be, it is sometimes hampered by the poor quality of some bird watching equipment. However, you can enjoy your favorite activity by using any of the best budget binoculars for bird watching in this article. While many binoculars for birdwatching come with some premium features, you can get more than the basic bird watching binoculars features at considerably lesser prices.
If you do prefer to research some higher quality binoculars, check out our Best Bird Watching Binoculars full buyer’s guide with tons of birding tips and suggestions.
We’ll show you some of the cheapest bird watching binoculars someone can buy and explain their features to help you make that important purchase decision. Before then, you’ll have a summary of our top choices in the best budget bird watching binoculars comparison chart.
Best Budget Binoculars Comparison Chart
Best Budget Binoculars Models
POLDR 12×25 Small Pocket Binoculars
In low light conditions, the POLDR pocket binoculars are a perfect birdwatching binoculars option. These are sometimes considered rather heavy because they combine all its amazing features in a compact size.
Its BAK4 prism is perfect for allowing you to watch birds rouse from their nests early in the morning, when there’s little light. This is because it reflects 100% of the light that falls on it.
Also, it gives you a clear vision with its 12X magnification and objective lens of 25mm. It’s 16mm eye relief also contributes to the clear image you see. You’ll also get a large field of view of up to 126/1000 yards. It has a clear and simple focus that brings the image into clarity with a simple turn of the dial.
The POLDR pocket binoculars are suitable for adult and kids’ use as it is simple, adjustable, and compact.
- Amazon’s Choice
- It is lightweight and compact, hence, easy to carry around.
- It reflects 100% light for excellent birdwatching in low light conditions.
- It has a wide field of view for watching a large group of birds at the same time.
- It has adjustable focus and ample eye relief for excellent image viewing.
- While some users with eye glasses use this binocular without any issue, some may find the eye relief getting in the way of their birdwatching.
Maylehare 12×42 Binoculars
The Maylehare 12×42 binoculars is one of the best choices if you want a large field of view, image recording on a phone, and a crystal clear image. It is easy to carry around as it comes with a bag for the binoculars and its accessories, and its apparatus for parallax correction makes it a bargain for its price.
Its BAK4 and FMC roof prism ensures advanced light transmittance from the lens giving you a bright image even in low light conditions. The 42mm objective lens allows abundant light into the roof prism and it effectively transmits adequate light to have a wide field of view of up to 120/1000 yards.
Combining its 12 times magnification effect with its large objective lens, you can expect to have a clear and large view of the sky which should be covered with birds.
Also, with its smartphone adapter you can attach your smartphone, regardless of its model, and record images to import for your use. You can adjust for image clarity with the center axis focusing wheel and correct for any parallax error with its specialized wheel.
Also, because it is made of Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, it is waterproof and usable under wet conditions. Its multi-coated lens also provides additional protection from moisture.
- Its large objective lens, high magnification, and light transmittance through the roof prism allows for crisp and clear images.
- It has a large field of view while maintaining good image quality.
- It has a phone adapter for holding your smartphone in place to record important images and videos.
- It is waterproof and usable under wet conditions.
- Because it uses a manual focus, it can be difficult to use.
SkyGenius 10×50 Binoculars
If you’re usually enjoying birdwatching in the night time, and other times when there’s low light, you should choose the SkyGenius 10×50 binoculars. With its porro prism, it transmits light very well. Its aspherical lenses with multi-layering also contribute to its efficient light transmission. This allows you to bird watch in extremely low light, but not in total darkness.
With a large 50mm objective lens and a field of view that reaches up to 367 feet/1000 yards, you’ll watch more birds across the sky with a clear image quality, even with the fast movements of the birds. With its rubber material you can expect to have a durable bird watching binocular with anti-slip grip. It doesn’t damage easily and can be used on rough terrains, such as mountains.
Its center focus is easy to operate as a simple movement of the center knob helps to focus the images for both eyes. Also, the rubber cover on the eyepiece can be adjusted to make room for individuals that use glasses.
Additionally, you could also pair your SkyGenius binoculars with an affordable harness for backcountry birding. This way you can still have premium bird watching equipment without destroying your budget.
- It has a large objective lens of 50mm for clearer images.
- Its center focus is easy to operate
- Its material – rubber – makes it durable and possesses anti-slip grip.
- It’s suitable for birdwatchers that wear eyeglasses.
- It is adaptable to a tripod.
- It isn’t waterproof.
High Power 20×50 Military Binoculars
Here’s another binoculars option for use in low light situations and when you need to make efficient use of the available light. It is made of rubber, hence it is durable and waterproof. It is also anti-slip, making it usable in roof terrain.
The High Power 20×50 Military binoculars has a magnification of 20 times the original size of the image, and it provides a large field of view, which stands at 367 feet/ 1000 yards.
The image quality provided is dependent on the roof prism and lens features. And since it employs a BAK-4 prism and fully multi-coated lens, it transmits about 99% of light that gets in through the 50mm objective lens which produces crisp and clear images.
With its 24mm eyepiece, you have enough room to view every focus detail. Also, the central focus wheel is easy to operate to meet your image quality needs.
- It has an anti-slip grip, making it usable in rough terrains.
- It is waterproof.
- It transmits up to 99% of light for clear images.
- Large objective lens and magnification power also helps you to view more.
- The neck strap that comes with it is narrow.
Occer 12×25 Compact Binoculars
The Occer 12×25 compact binoculars is one that prioritizes eye relief, especially for birdwatchers that use eye glasses. Further roving it’s quality, this Occer model is a #1 best seller on Amazon.
With its adjustable eyepiece, glasses wearers, who also enjoy birdwatching can easily remove the rubber eyepieces to get closer to the eye lens. Also, non-glasses users can also enjoy clearer images from the powerful eye lens without the eyepieces.
This binoculars provides you with clear and wide images with its 12 times magnification power. It also has a 25mm objective lens that admits light into the instrument, and offers a wide field of view, of up to 273 feet at 1000 yards.
Fully multi-coated objective lens with green film and a BAK-4 prism lens design ensures efficient use of light. Furthermore, the blue film on the fully multi-coated eyepiece lens also ensures that you receive and view crispy and clear images.
Made with a combination of rubber, plastic, and ABS – Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene – plastic makes it durable, anti-slip, and waterproof. It is also lightweight and suitable to use with one hand and in different situations.
- #1 Best Seller on Amazon
- It has a fairly large field of view
- Its objective and eyepiece lenses are fully multi-coated for efficient light use and clear images.
- It is waterproof
- It is compact and lightweight.
- Its eyepiece rubber is adjustable.
- It isn’t very useful in dark or inadequate light situations.
EACONN 10×50 Binoculars
Looking for binoculars that focus fast and have a wide field of view? The EACONNN 10×50 may be the ideal choice for you as a birdwatcher. It has a generously large objective lens and powerful magnification power to offer you the best arboreal view you can hope for.
It combines ABS plastic and rubber to create a long-lasting optical instrument for you. You also get to enjoy the extensive field of view that reaches up to 342 feet at 1000 yards, and maintains a clear image, with the support of the 50mm objective lens.
The light from the objective lens transmits effectively through the BAK-4 and fully multi-coated lenses to provide accurate images. It also employs a double-focus system, including the central focus wheel and a Diopter system, to adjust to viewing distances and correct for visual imbalances, respectively.
Its durability is also ensured as the optics are O-ring sealed and nitrogen-filled.
- It combines two materials – rubber and ABS plastic – for durability.
- It combines nitrogen filling and O-ring sealing to achieve waterproofing.
- It has a large field of view as a result of a large objective lens.
- It produces clear images with its powerful magnification and porro prism lens design.
- Its magnification can be more, especially with such a large objective lens.
Bushnell H2O Roof Prism
If you’ve been looking for premium features in a binoculars on a budget, the Bushnell H2O Roof Prism Binoculars is the one you should have. It is made of rubber to improve its shock absorption, hence its usability in rugged terrains. It is also waterproof and fog proof.
The Bushnell H2O Roof Prism gives you high definition clarity with its BAK-4 prism and multi-coated lenses that efficiently transmits light. It also allows an adequate amount of light into this optical instrument through its 42mm large objective lens. Its 8 times magnification power and 17 mm eye relief also contributes to the clear images it produces.
It is usable in rainy and foggy conditions due to its O-ring sealing and nitrogen filling that makes its lenses impervious to moisture. Its center focus wheel is also large and easy to turn while birdwatching.
- It is waterproof due to its O-ring sealing and nitrogen filling.
- Clear images are possible with this optical instrument due to its BAK-4 and multi-coated lens design.
- It has a large objective lens for more light.
- It’s not suitable for use under limited light conditions.
- You may also have to purchase accessories such as a carrying case, lens protectors, or straps, separately.
Nikon PROSTAFF 3S 8×42
If you do birdwatching in places where the rain is unpredictable or you like to see birds’ behavior during wet weather, you may want to purchase the Nikon PROSTAFF 3S. It is waterproof and provides clear images even under extreme weather conditions.
Its large eye relief also helps you get good images and experiences. It combines rugged performance and portability in the same piece of equipment.
The lenses are multi-coated, helping you to have clear images through efficient light transmittance. Also, the prism of the lenses have silver-alloy mirror coating for clear viewing due to their high reflectivity.
Its long eye relief makes it suitable for birdwatchers that use glasses, and also affords you a large field of view. Also, the eyecups are adjustable for ease of use.
A rubber armoured design makes it durable and anti-slip. Its center focus is also easy to access during use.
- It is waterproof and fog proof because it employs O-ring sealing and nitrogen filling.
- It uses high reflective silver-alloy mirrors and multi-coated lenses to achieve efficient light transmittance and image viewing.
- It has adjustable eyecups.
- You can’t mount the Nikon PROSTAFF 3S bird watching binoculars on a tripod.
Gosky 10×42 Roof Prism Binoculars
For a combination of sleek, rugged, and performance, the Gosky 10×42 Roof Prism Binoculars has them all. It is suitable for use in different terrains and conditions and it has a smartphone mouth that is compatible with different models. Its rubber-armor design makes for extreme shock absorption and durability.
The 42mm objective lens of the binoculars are fully multi-coated with green film, improving light transmittance. Additionally, its eye lenses are multi-coated with blue film for sharp image quality. The BAK-4 Prism glass in the optics ensures that you have a sharp and clear image.
It offers a large field of view, up to 330 feet at 1000 yards, and you can keep quality images even at its highest magnification 10x power. It has a nice feature for holding your smartphone’s camera to the eye lens and recording the clear image the binoculars produce.
- It has a wide field of view and quality images can be preserved at the highest magnification power.
- It allows you to record images from the binoculars with your smartphone.
- Its center focus is easy to operate.
- It is durable and absorbs shock.
- The eyecups may not align to users’ faces if they are large.
Smithsonian Bird Watching Binoculars
Specifically made for birdwatching, this Smithsonian 10 times magnification binoculars, made by Omano, is the perfect optical instrument for birdwatchers. It has an impressive adjustable eyecup that gives room for glasses-wearers to see images clearly. Furthermore, this model is also waterproof and fog proof.
These binoculars provide high quality images through its roof prism that includes multi-coated lenses that transmit light efficiently. It also achieves sharp focus with its diopter system, bringing images from its wide field of view, about 354 feet at 1000 yards, into focus. The 42mm diameter objective lens contributes to the crisp and clear images.
The Smithsonian bird watching binoculars come with a bonus – a bird watching guide. It also has a smartphone adapter for recording your experience.
- It has a wide field of view and retains high image quality at its furthest view.
- It has a high light transmittance and magnification power.
- It’s easy to achieve sharp focus with its diopter system and central focus.
- The smartphone adapter does not easily accommodate certain smartphone models.
Budget Binoculars Buying Guide
If you’re new to birdwatching, you may feel overwhelmed by the need for optical equipment to closely see what these birds are up to in their natural habitat. Chances are, you’ve been told good binoculars are costly, but you need to make the purchase if you really want to enjoy your hobby.
While there are binoculars that range in the hundreds, some even in the thousands, you can achieve similar functionality with cheaper binoculars, some as cheap as $20. However, you need to ensure that the cheap binoculars you choose have features that’ll make your bird watching enjoyable. Hence, we give you the features to look out for in such binoculars.
Another important piece of equipment for a birder is a quality spotting scope. Spotting scopes have become more popular in recent years because they are kind of like a hybrid between a telescope and binoculars.
Important Budget Binoculars Features
Binoculars features, whether premium or basic, are usually the same, what differs are the little details that some individuals want. The most important features that impact your bird watching experience include:
Field of View
The field of view of binoculars is the extent to which a user can see the horizontal and vertical aspects of their environment. In other words, it describes how far you can see from a certain point.
Generally, the further away you are from your target, the more you can see the surroundings of that target. Although moving further away from the objects, in this case birds, you want to see may give you a wider field of view, it may negatively impact the image quality you’ll get.
Binoculars usually have 230 to 350 feet of FOV – Field of View – when you are 1000 yards from the birds, or other targets, you’re watching. However, with the aid of the central focus and lenses with multi layers and films, you can get clear pictures even at the furthest distance you can see. Therefore, choose binoculars that retain good image quality even at their farthest field of view.
Magnification is simply the enlargement of a focus object through the eye lenses. The magnification of binoculars serve the purpose of enlarging images to help you see and register details that you may miss otherwise.
While image quality is also important with magnification, you can expect some binoculars to sacrifice on that, especially if the objective lens isn’t large. A magnification of 10x will give you an image that appears ten times bigger than the actual object.
The best binoculars for birdwatching, such as the Adorrgon Roof Prism Professional HD model, that also give you good magnification and image quality should have a large objective lens. Hence, binoculars with objective lenses ranging from 40mm to 50mm in diameter are good.
The reason you can see an object through your binoculars is due to the presence of light, and its transmission through the optical instrument. The point of light entry into binoculars is the objective lens, and the larger it is, the more light it admits. However, the lenses that are specially arranged in the binoculars are responsible for the transmission of the light that comes in through the objective lens.
Roof prism and Porro prism are the two types of lens arrangements in binoculars and they differ in their weight and how they transmit light. While they both give you good image quality, Porro prism – BAK-4 prism, specifically – is deemed the best prism for the best image quality. Also, green films and blue films help to manage light and contribute to image quality.
Therefore, choose binoculars with Porro prism, they’re generally cheaper and better quality objective lenses.
Binoculars have two eyepieces, through which you can see an object, but that should appear as one. When the images you see seem to be out of order – one is clearer than the other – you can correct them by using the focus control.
The focus control is a wheel that is positioned between the two eyepieces. You only have to turn it to focus on an object and sharpen the image quality you can see.
You’ll love to get the best image quality when you go out for birdwatching, but the binoculars that can give you that, as far as you know, are premium. However, you can get the best image quality and bird watching experience with the best budget binoculars for bird watching.
Get the best birdwatching experience with less costly binoculars. Happy Birding!