To check out the Best Binoculars broke down by price range, click here: Best Binoculars By Price

Binoculars are an essential part of many hobbies.  There is no question that whether you are a bird watcher, hunter, or sports fan, a good set of binoculars can enhance your hobby. The question is though “how to choose binoculars?” because we all have different needs and most of all, different budgets.  In this article we will look at the considerations that need to be taken into account when purchasing a set of binoculars, then at the end of the article you can click the link to go to my website where I suggest specific models.

How to Choose Binoculars
If you want the best binoculars, then you had better be ready to spend some cash. These Swarovski Binoculars cost well over $2000. Fortunately not all are this expensive. Click the link at the bottom of the page to see a list of the best binoculars in different price ranges starting at under $200.

To ensure you choose the best binoculars for your own needs, there are several factors that you will want to consider before making such an investment.

These factors include:

  • Price & Quality
  • Size
  • Power
  • Field of View
  • Objective lens


Price and Quality: go with the best you can afford

Perhaps the most important factor when choosing a set of binoculars is the price you are willing to pay.  This is so important because it will directly affect the type of quality you will be getting.  If you are willing to spend a lot of money (upwards of $2500) then you can expect the best binoculars money can buy and you will be able to enjoy extremely clear images and a great feel.  Unfortunately, for most of us, spending this kind of cash is far from realistic, so these will not be the best binoculars for everyone.  The key is to go with the best binoculars you can afford.  That way you will not wish you had gone with a better pair or wish you would not have spent so much, because you went with the best you could.

How to Choose Binoculars

You do not have to spend a fortune to get high quality optics. These Vortex Talon binoculars offer high quality at well under $500. Click the link at the bottom to see our list of binoculars ordered by price.

Another thing to remember with price and quality is that there is what I like to refer to as a law of diminishing returns.  What I mean is that in the lower price ranges you see a huge difference in quality with a small jump in price.  This however fades away as price and quality increase.  For instance, a typical $400 set of binoculars will be far superior then a typical $200 set, and that $200 pair will be a lot better quality than a $100 set.  However, if we take a look at more expensive binoculars, a $2,000 set will not be a whole lot better than a $1000 set.  It will definitely be superior in most aspects, but unless you have them side by side you are not going to notice a huge difference.  That is why it is important to go with the best camera you can afford.

Power: the amount of magnification a binocular has.

The power you decide on is important.  There are so many different options out there that it is hard for a person to know what power is best for their situation.  For the most part, most people will be happy with a 10 power.  This gets you a good combination of power, clarity, and field of view.  The more power you have, the less field of view you will have, as well as less clear.  This becomes more noticeable with inexpensive binoculars and less noticeable with expensive binoculars.  If you are determined to buy cheap binoculars you may want to think about going with an 8 power as to not magnify the downfalls.

Field of View: The amount of area that is visible through an optical instrument

Choosing Binoculars

Our list of the best binoculars to buy (with regard to price) has several with huge fields of view, yet priced quite low. These Bushnell Excursions have a field of view of 341 feet at 1000 yards. This is very good for having a price tag of under $200.

In the United States, field of view of binoculars is typically referred to as how many feet are visible horizontally at 1000 yards.  For instance, an average set of 10X (10 power) binoculars will have a field of view of 300 feet or so.  Field of view and magnification are inversely related, so if you move up in magnification then the field of view will decrease, and vice versa.

Field of view is important because the higher it is, the easier it will be to find objects as well as stay on them if they are moving.  Field of view is specific to each model of binoculars, but is not a direct indicator of price, although most high end binoculars will beat out their lower end competitors in this as well.  All the more reason to go with the best binoculars you can afford.

Exit Pupil: virtual aperture in an optical system

What exit pupil boils down to is the distance your eye can be away from the lens and still get a clear, full field of view.  The industry standard is a 15mm-20mm exit pupil.  If a person wants to use binoculars while wearing eye glasses, then he will want an exit pupil of at least 16mm.  Most binoculars these days offer twisting eye cusps that move back and forward to give your eyes a comfortable rest at whichever distance is most comfortable from the lens.

Objective Lens: the optical element that gathers light from the object being observed and focuses the light rays to produce a real image.

Ojective Lens

The lenses you can see here are the objective lenses of a set of binoculars. We here at Artifact Outfitters suggest objective lenses in the 40mm range, give or take a few. That way they usually fit well in your hand and aren't too big or too small, while capturing ample light.

The optical lens is the larger lens of the binoculars that is opposite of the side looked through.  The main thing that you need to know about the objective lens is that the bigger it is, the more light it will capture, thus giving off a sharper image.  Of course quality of glass has a lot to do with light gathering and image sharpness as well, but this is the main job of the objective lens.  For the most part, an objective lens of 20 mm is not going to capture as much light as a lens of 40mm, and so on.

The average binoculars’ objective lens is typically between 30 and 50 mm.  The thing to remember is that as the objective lens gets larger, so does the overall size of the set up.  A 40mm objective (give or take a few) is a good size to stick with as that size will bring in ample light for most situations, as well as making the binoculars the right size for viewing comfort.


Now that you have a good understanding of the components that make up binoculars, you can make an educated decision on how to choose binoculars.  At the link below, we’ll go over what binoculars I feel are the best in their price range, as I know we all have different budgets.   I have it setup for hunting, but what you want out of binoculars is the same whether you are bird or sport watching.  For more information, click here:

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