A Complete Buying Guide To Finding The Best Bird Watching Binoculars Under $100

August 8, 2020 // 9 minute read

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best bird watching binoculars under $100

When I first got into birding, I wanted to find the best bird-watching binoculars under $100. I did a lot of research and checked out a bunch of birding binoculars in the under $100 price point.

There were a few things I took into consideration such as…

  • Did I want them easily accessible, for instance, was I going to keep them in the car for any time I spotted an interesting bird?
  • Or, were these going to be in a single location, like my favorite birding room at home?
  • How heavy are they going to be?
  • How easy to focus are they?
  • How strong of a magnification power would they have?

I found that identifying the best bird watching binoculars under $100 for my birding goals proved to be a bit tricky.

In this article, I lay out the top 7 binoculars that I found, taking into consideration:

  • Durability
  • Magnification
  • Weight
  • Field of view
  • Amount of light allowed to pass

Let’s get on with it, shall we?…

Top 7 Best Sellers: Best Bird Watching Binoculars Under $100

BirdInformer BESTSELLER # 1
10X50 Binoculars for Adults with Phone Adapter, Virtual High Powered Binoculars for Hunting, BAK4 Prisms FMC Lens Waterproof Binoculars for Bird Watching Sport Hiking Travel Outdoor Activities
  • 【Powerful 10x50 Binoculars】Binoculars with a large field of view at 430ft/1000y, 10X magnification, 50mm diameter objective lens, present a larger and brighter image for better viewing of details. Binoculars with non-slip handle design, wide compatibility for travel, watching football games, archery, observing outdoor scenery, birding, wildlife, concerts, hiking, mountaineering and etc.
  • 【High Definition Binoculars】BAK4 prism and FMC lens in this product are only for high-end professional binoculars, which can dramatically enhance light transmittance, and bring optimum brightness and true color across the entire light spectrum. You can get a clearer view than ever before.
  • 【Easy to Use】Adjust the Barrel inward and outward according to the distance between the eye and the eyepiece, and adjust the central focus ring to make the image clear. The diopter (located on the right eyepiece) balances left and right eye parallax even wearing glasses does not affect the comfort of use.
  • 【Lightweight Compact& Waterproof & Fog-proof】This Binoculars feature a lightweight and compact design with shoulder straps and a backpack for easy portability. The perforation design on the left and right of the eyepiece cover is different. The left is a notched design, the right is a closed design. And our10x50 binoculars for bird watching is waterproof and fogproof.
  • 【Unbelieable Accessory】 Eyepiece and objective lens covers keep the lens intact and the cleaning cloth makes it cleaner. A phone Adapter enables your cellphone to connect to the binoculars. Just capture and share every breathtaking moment with your friends. The neck strap and pouch offer convenience to carry and store. Last but not the least, a manual.
SaleBirdInformer BESTSELLER # 2
Hontry Binoculars for Adults and Kids, 10x25 Compact Binoculars for Bird Watching, Theater and Concerts, Hunting and Sport Games
  • 10 magnification with 25mm objective lens provides high definition without a color-changed or blurred image. The 10 magnification boasts a viewing field of 362ft at 1000 yds, so you'll be able to observe a great deal without actually adjusting their position.
  • Fully multi-coated optics provide for a brighter view and sharp images. All glass surfaces have multiple coatings, resulting in light transmission of 96.48% for bright, sharp and contrast images, and non-chromatic aberration. Based on this these binoculars also provide low light night vision.
  • Lightweight, small, compact binoculars. The foldable design and only 0.6lb lightweight make them can be folded into palm-size, so it's ideal for an even broader range of long-distance pursuits. You wish there were binoculars set in your backpack. No need to keep regretting about your trips when get these affordable and compact binoculars.
  • The rubber armor ergonomic design and steady grip allows for accurate focusing, and have shock-resistance, anti-skid features while the design is slim and simple. Rugged construction rubber eye relief provides comfort for spectacle wearers, as do a dioptric adjustment ring and the strap mount.
  • Binoculars for adults and kids. These binoculars are fully competent and able to work for bird watching, hunting, hiking, travel, sports events, theater and concert. Also ideal great gifts for Chrismas, Father's Day and boys girls gifts.
SaleBirdInformer BESTSELLER # 3
UBeesize 12x42 HD Binoculars for Adults with Upgraded Phone Adapter, Professional Binoculars with Clear Low Light Vision, Waterproof Binoculars for Bird Watching, Hunting, Travel and Outdoor Sports
  • ⭐【Lightweight 12X24 HD Binoculars - Only 1.1 pounds】With 12X high power magnification and 42mm objective lenses as the perfect professional-level binoculars, these lightweight binoculars (only 1.1 lbs) are great for birdwatching, wildlife, football, etc. Birding binoculars feature a 367/1000yds large field of view, and delivers large and clear details, Ideal gift for friends and family.
  • ⭐【Clear & Bright Even in Low-Light】All lenses and prisms in UBeesize binoculars are fully multi-coated lenses and large BAK4 prisms. BAK4 prisms and FMCs are commonly used in professional binoculars for higher light transmittance and natural color fidelity. Our binoculars do exactly that, so you can see vivid details even in low light, dawn or dusk.
  • ⭐【Professional Powerful Binoculars】The tight-fitting protective and waterproof design allows the UBeesize binoculars to withstand the harshest weather conditions. Suitable for everyday use and most outdoor environments. The body of the hunting binoculars is made of magnesium alloy, and the rubber panels further enhance the slim body profile for a reliable grip in all conditions.
  • ⭐【Upgraded Universal Phone Adapter & Carrying Case】Bird watching binoculars for adults are suitable for all kinds of smartphones with or without cases, including but not limited to iPhone, Samsung, Sony, Google, LG, Motorola, HTC, etc. A carrying bag, lens cap, cleaning cloth and neck strap are also included for convenience.
  • ⭐【What You Get】1*Binoculars, 1*Binoculars Harness Strap, 1*Objective Lens Caps, 1*Binoculars Case, 1*Cleaning paraphernalia, 1*Rainguard eyepiece cover, 1*Top Phone Clamp, 1*Welcome Guide
SaleBirdInformer BESTSELLER # 4
200x25 Compact Binoculars for Adults and Kids, High Powered Mini Pocket Binoculars, Waterproof Small Binoculars for Bird Watching, Hunting, Traveling, Sightseeing, Concert, Theater, Opera
  • 200X COMPACT BINOCULARS - Our binoculars is high powered with 200x magnification zoom and 25mm large field of view, letting you observe and focus on target on great details of 1000 yards away. It's ideal binoculars for adults and kids bird watching, hunting, camping, climbing, hiking, safari, travel, opera, concert, sports events.
  • FMC BROADBAND COATING TECHNOLOGY - The lightweight cruise binoculars is covered with BAK4 prism texture. The objective lens use optical FMC multilayer broadband green film, and the eyepiece-optical is made of blue FMC coating. With 25mm objective lens, the compact binoculars provides the brighter, clearer images and more comfortable observation for you. All design to ensure to make you have an extraordinary experience. It's best gifts for Christmas' s day, Father's day, Children' s day, birthday, etc.
  • EASY FOCUS BINOCULARS - This binoculars is very easy to focus and use: Just adjust the binoculars to the correct position according to your eyes, then rotate the center wheel to focus, no double visions. The central focus wheel is sensitive and non-slip, can be easily turned effortlessly with one finger to obtain a clear image. Focus wheel surface is soft rubber design, preventing the fingers from wearing out during long-term rotation. So it is very convenient when you watch something for a long time.
  • COMPACT PALM SIZE & LIGHTWEIGHT - Our compact binoculars is made of eco-friendly ABS and rubber, it also comes with a cruise binocular strap. Compared with other large and heavy binoculars, this pocket binoculars only weights 0.4lbs (more lighter than your cell phone) with moderate size of both kids 8-12 and adults to use. Easy to hold and fit in the palm of hand, suitable enough to get child's attraction for nature. For anyone looking for a pair of lightweight but powerful binoculars that will allow them to enjoy bird-watching and sightseeing.
  • 5 YEAR WARRANTY - In order to provide clearer viewing and great customer experience, our 200x25 compact binoculars is disigned and made under strict quality control system, our high quality binoculars come with 5 year warranty and 24 hours customer service. If you have any issues, please feel free to contact,we’re glad to support.
BirdInformer BESTSELLER # 5
Professional Binoculars for Bird Watching – Premium Bird Watching Binoculars for Adults - Lightweight Binocular kit for Birding - 10x42 Long Range and High Powered Binoculars
  • 🔝 TOP QUALITY BIRD WATCHING BINOCULARS FOR ADULTS – Made of a durable body covered in shock and water resistant rubberized armor, our high power binoculars are the ideal travel binoculars that will help you capture astonishing scenery. Use it as your professional bird watching binoculars, binoculars for hunting, best binoculars for stargazing, lightweight binoculars for hiking, or as the most compact professional sport binoculars and enjoy every outdoor activity at its best
  • 🏆 PROFESSIONAL HIGH POWER BINOCULARS – Our hunting binoculars offer the highest value for money on the market. We’ve created our bird binoculars using top quality materials and ultimate technology features: Premium features for premium results.
  • 🏖STRESS-FREE USAGE&TRANSPORTATION - Designed with a roof prisms system, our birding binoculars for adults become compact and easy to carry, effortless. With a slim shape and weighing only 1.2 pounds, the birding binoculars can be handled with one single hand and without any risk of damage. Due to the eyecups that twist up and down, you can use the bird binoculars for adults with or without your eyeglasses. Moreover, to obtain more stability, the configuration allows you to anchor it to a tripod
  • 🌊 BEST WATER-RESISTANT HIKING BINOCULARS KIT – We’ve designed our professional binoculars as a complete kit created to satisfy all your needs while exploring the outdoors. The package includes one powerful binoculars, 2 removable protective eyecups, a cleaning cloth designed to keep your birdwatching binoculars clean, a carry-on bag and easy to follow instructions. All packed in a beautiful box that makes it the best binoculars for bird watching to be offered as a gift.
  • 💰12 MONTHS GUARANTEE– Don’t waste your money on expensive field binoculars when you can get the same quality for half a budget. Make the smart decision and invest in our Crony Optics lightweight and easy to handle binoculars for hunting and for many outdoor activities. We guarantee the quality of our product and offer our clients full refund, replacements products and technical assistance with no hesitation. Get your own professional binoculars and look farther, brighter and clearer!
SaleBirdInformer BESTSELLER # 6
Binoculars 20x50 for Adults,Waterproof/Professional Binoculars Durable & Clear BAK4 Prism FMC Lens,Suitable for Outdoor Sports, Concert and Bird Watching
  • Binoculars, with 20X magnification and 50mm objective lens, provides wider field of view at 1000 yards.
  • Binoculars for adults, Binoculars with BAK-4 Prism and FMC film lens, which minimizes the loss of light due to reflection.
  • Waterproof binoculars, these binoculars perfectly fit adults and some children,it comes with adjustable twist-up eyecups for comfortable use with glasses or without, Easy to focus to obtain a clear image.
  • Binoculars 20x50 , O-ring sealed optics with fog-proof coating prevents moisture, dust, and debris from getting inside the binoculars.
  • Professional binoculars, high quality, high power binoculars for a variety of scenarios, including concerts, football games, bird watching, hunting and more.

How Binoculars Work

The prism inside your binoculars is what magnifies the image and turns it right side up. There are two basic formats of prism, or the coming together of magnifying glass: Porro and Roof Prism.

Porro Vs. Roof Prism

The Porro prism is configured by two offset pieces of glass. These binoculars are wider and tend to be water-resistant, not waterproof. For birding, you really want to invest in the roof prism design. These Bird Watching Binoculars will be narrower, easier to adjust, and better protected against the elements.

Field of Vision

Now that the magnification method has been decided, it’s time to talk about field of view. A larger lens will allow you to take in a bigger field of view. However, these binoculars will be heavier. While this weight may not seem like a big deal in the store or just out the box, at the end of a three-mile hike, it will matter.

If you choose the best bird watching binoculars under $100 with a larger lens, consider getting a pair that has a tripod attachment as well. You can load up your gear in a backpack, head out to the birding site, and line your binoculars up on a tripod for steady viewing that doesn’t put pressure on your hands and wrists.

This is particularly important if you’re watching birds in the wild. If you want binoculars to watch the finches at your feeder, a narrow field of vision may be a better option.

Magnification

When shopping for the best bird watching binoculars under $100, keep an eye on the dimensional numbers listed in the description. For example, an 8×32 pair of Wingspan binoculars offers a magnification of 8 with a lens of 32 millimeters at the viewing end of the binoculars. They offer decent magnification with a good field of view and are quite lightweight at 15.2 ounces.

The Pentax SP 12×50 Binoculars offer a magnification of 12 and a 50 ml lens. This pair of binoculars also weighs in at 1.9 pounds, so make sure you get the heft of any 50 ml or larger lenses before you buy.

Electronics

You can purchase binoculars that come with a camera to record everything you’re viewing while on the birding trail. While these binoculars are quite small and lightweight at less than 9 ounces, it’s important to note that they are inherently fragile if you’re planning to be out in all weathers.

For example, they probably won’t handle rain well and may be susceptible to damage from humidity. If video is critical, or if you really want great night vision take the steps necessary to protect them. If it isn’t, invest in binoculars that aren’t quite so delicate.

Cases and Straps

You may want a case for your binoculars, particularly if they’re going to live in your vehicle so you can grab them at a moment’s notice while traveling. However, if you want to hike to a particular birding spot or enjoy birding on the trail, consider the expertise of hunters.

Even if the only thing you ever want to point at a bird is a camera, hunting gear is a great choice for protecting your binoculars. Hunters need their binoculars to

  • fit close to the body, to avoid distracting prey
  • survive percussive shock, such as from a rifle
  • keep the binoculars free of rain and condensation

Again, when trying on carrying cases and straps, consider how you’ll feel at the end of the hike. A shoulder harness may feel like overkill to carry your binoculars until you’ve been on the trail a couple of hours and the strap around your neck is digging a trench into your skin.

Most of these harnesses are quite lightweight, adjustable to your height and girth, and will keep the best bird watching binoculars under $100 protected.

Start Simple

If you’re looking for the best bird watching binoculars under $100 to make your morning walks or weekend hikes more enjoyable, don’t overbuy. Treat yourself to a lightweight pair of binoculars with at least 7 degrees of magnification and at least a 42-millimeter lens diameter. Take care to get a pair that is waterproof, and if you tend to walk in the morning, consider investing in a pair with a glare coating.

Play with your new toy. Get it outside and practice focusing, changing your position, and altering your view as you sweep from side to side. You may want to start playing while seated on a park bench until you’re familiar with the sense of movement as you turn your head. Practice focusing quickly so you don’t miss anything.

Bird Watching Binocular FAQs

Do I need InstaFocus?

Honestly, no. You can learn to focus your binoculars, and intensely studying and figuring out all the features of this remarkable tool are worth your time. That being said, InstaFocus is pretty nice, particularly if you’re using a high magnification product. To make sure you get what’s promised, check out the Bushnell line.

Does Waterproof Matter?

The first time you drop them in a puddle, yes. Waterproof will also matter if you leave them in your vehicle after a hike because the cooling process can lead to condensation and you want to avoid fog.

Carefully review the manufacturer’s recommendations for conditions when storing and using your binoculars. Fogged lenses may clear up with desiccants, or the view may always be less impactful after the binoculars get cold in your car. For long-term storage, try to keep them temperate.

Is a Tripod Worth It?

Yes, especially if you’re observing a particular nest. Especially if the magnification on your binoculars is very high, having a tripod to set up and hold the lenses stable while you study the nest of an eagle or any endangered creature. Set up the tripod, settle down, and get still. Your target will hopefully ignore you and return to normal behavior.

Also, once you have good binoculars you may start wanting to look at other things.

  • Are you viewing the night sky on the Darkness Trail in New Mexico? Binoculars and a tripod will definitely enhance your experience.
  • Do you have an interest in wolf conservation or grizzly bears? With a tripod, you can set up and get still so predators will ignore you as they live out their lives.

For consistent observation, having your binoculars lined up on a den or a nest can make your viewing much more enjoyable.

What About My Eye Glasses?

If you can see well up-close without your glasses on because you’re near-sighted, you can purchase binoculars that can be adjusted to serve your vision limitations. However, if you are far-sighted, you’ll want binoculars that will work over your glasses.

You will need to choose binoculars with adjustable eyecups to avoid scratching the lenses of your glasses. You’ll also need to get into the habit of holding your binoculars away from your face, at least far enough to keep them away from the lens of your glasses. This may lead to shakiness, so make sure to find a pair of binoculars that’s large enough to fit your hand well. Oddly enough, if they’re too small or too light, they’ll be harder to manage.

Does Night Vision Matter?

It depends on what you’re looking at. There are many creatures that spend the day in bed, or at least indoors and get active when the sun goes down. While night vision goggles aren’t a great option for birding, low light binoculars are a great choice for bird watching and can work from the grey light of early dawn to moonrise.

Be aware that most low light binoculars offer at least 12 degrees of magnification. You will want to learn to focus quickly to use anything with this magnification or higher, so again, be prepared to practice. However, low light binoculars are a great investment if you’re at all interested in predatory birds or nocturnal animal observation.

Start with a basic pair of binoculars that offer a magnification of at least 8. Consider a 50-millimeter lens for a broad field of vision. Get a pair that fits well in your hands, and take the time to turn focusing into a habit before you get on the trail. You’ll enjoy your birding expeditions a lot more if the action of the binoculars is automatic for you.

Best Bird Watching Binoculars Under $100 Wrapup

I enjoyed writing this article on the best bird watching binoculars under $100. I use these 12×42 Binoculars for Adults for my bird and nature watching. I especially like the smartphone adapter to allow me to take some great pics!

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