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14 Best Binoculars Under $100: Birders Guide (Top Picks, Budget)

Looking for the best birding binoculars? In this guide, you'll learn how to choose the right binoculars for you and you'll find our picks of the best binoculars under $100.

Best binoculars under $100

14 Best Binoculars Under $100: Birders Guide

Maybe you're an avid birdwatcher. Maybe you're just getting into the hobby, and you're wondering where to start.

The good news is that you'll have plenty of options when it comes to binoculars. There are tons of magnifying products on the market, and they come with a wide range of lenses, focuses, apertures, adapters, and other special features.

Don't rush your decision with such an important piece of equipment, you'll have to do some research before you commit. But don't worry! We've put together a list of the best binoculars for birders, and none of them cost more than $100. Let's dive in!

If you want the best pair of binoculars for spotting cool birds, here is our top pick. Want more options? Keep scrolling.


Top Pick: Bushnell 20×50

Bushnell Powerview Wide Angle Binoculars

These made our top pick because of the staggering amount of magnification (20x), InstaFocus technology, shock absorbancy, and good glass.

  • Magnification: 20x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 50 millimeters
  • Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Price: Under $100. See current price.
  • Waterproof: No
  • Fogproof: No
  • Other features: InstaFocus technology, roof prism, neck strap and carrying case included

There's a reason why we consider the Bushnell PowerView to be one of the best binoculars under $100. It's a reliable tool for both amateur and experienced birdwatchers, and it won't break the bank.

Best binoculars for birders


Binoculars for Birders: Buyer's Guide (6 Factors)

It can be intimidating when you start shopping for binoculars and are suddenly confronted with all kinds of numbers, measurements, and fiddly little attachments.

Let this guide help you cut through the riff-raff and focus on what's truly important. Before you go birdwatching, use these tips to choose the right binoculars for the job!

In this guide, you'll learn about these 6 factors: magnification, objective lens diameter, field of view (FOV), stability, eye relief, and weight.

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King vulture in flight. Learn more here.

1. Magnification

The first thing to know is that high magnification isn't always better. You might think “okay, I want to see the birds as clearly as possible, so I need to go with the highest possible magnification that I can afford,” but the truth is a bit trickier than that.

You see, high-magnification lenses also increase the visibility of things like vibrations and hand tremors. If your grip is even slightly unsteady, your image quality will actually suffer more with a high-magnification lens than a lower one.

The magnification range for bird watching binoculars is usually between 7x – 20x. The latter will allow you to see farther than the former, but it'll also be more prone to the shakes.

It's up to you to decide which magnification is right for your needs. Do you want a long-range view no matter what, or would you prefer something steadier even if it means sacrificing a bit of distance?

2. Objective Lens Diameter

This is the second number that you'll see on binoculars. It's measured in millimeters. If something comes with the label “8×32,” it means that its magnification is 8x and its objective lens diameter is 32 millimeters.

Objective lens diameter refers to the size of the lens on the front of the binoculars. Bigger lenses allow more light to pass through them, so they'll give you a brighter picture.

On the flip side, bigger lenses are heavier than smaller ones. A few extra ounces might not seem like a lot when you're just browsing products in a catalog, but it can cause a strain when you're using the binoculars for hours at a time.

Most binoculars have objective lens diameters between 20 – 50 millimeters.

3. Field of View

Your field of view (FOV) relates to how much of the landscape that you can see at once. For example, a larger field of view might encompass an entire tree while a smaller field of view is limited to a single branch.

FOVs can be measured in both angles and feet. The most common ranges are 6° – 7.5° or 300 – 375 feet at 1,000 yards. They mean the same thing.

There's no right or wrong answer when it comes to the field of view that you prefer. Birders looking for wild cardinals might want a broader FOV to scan entire forests and fields, but if you just want some binoculars for the finches gathering at your backyard bird feeder, a narrow FOV will do.

4. Stability

You've already read about the dangers of a hand tremor with high-magnification lenses, but you should also consider the overall stability of your chosen binoculars. This can be measured in several different ways:

  • How are the binoculars affected by movement? Will you see half-moon shadows on the lens whenever you blink, or will your image quality suffer when you shiver in the wind or shift your weight to another foot? You might want to buy some binoculars with automated image correction technology.
  • Are the binoculars waterproof, shockproof and fog-proof? Will they malfunction if they're exposed to the elements? Have they been purged with nitrogen or sealed with O-rings?
  • Can the binoculars be enhanced by any accessories? Can they be mounted to a tripod to prevent vibrations? Do they have special lenses that can be filtered or replaced? There are even binoculars that come with smartphone holders if you want to capture photo and video.

5. Eye Relief

In the world of binoculars, eye relief refers to the maximum distance between your eyes and the back lenses before your view starts to blur. It's a measurable length that you can usually find listed with things like magnification and objective lens diameter.

Why is this important? For starters, if you wear glasses, you'll need your binoculars to have good eye relief so that you aren't handicapped by the extra distance between your eyes and the lens. The same thing applies to sunglasses on bright days.

You should also pay attention to eye relief if you buy a pair of binoculars with adjustable eyecups. These rubber attachments can make a big difference in your field of vision whenever you fiddle with them.

6. Weight

Last but certainly not least, think about the weight of your binoculars. Not only will this impact the steadiness of your hands, but it will also determine whether you experience neck strain after long hours of birdwatching.

Compact binoculars can weigh less than a single pound. Bigger, high-tech models can climb up to three pounds (or more).

Some binocular models can be worn or attached to straps, holsters and carrying cases. You'll want to look for these capabilities as you shop. If they don't have any slits or holes for things like neck straps, you won't be able to carry them that way.

How to Focus Binoculars

Here's Dawn Hewitt, Managing Editor at Bird Watcher's Digest explaining how to focus binoculars for your eyes.

Watch on YouTube

Best affordable binoculars


14 of the Best Binoculars for Under $100

Now that you know what to look for in a good pair of binoculars, it's time to take a look at our full list of the best binoculars under 100. This isn't meant to be an exhaustive list. These are our picks for the best birding binoculars – ranging from compact to full size.

1. Bushnell Powerview Wide Angle Binoculars 20×50

  • Magnification: 20x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 50 millimeters
  • Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Price: Under $100. See current price.
  • Waterproof: No
  • Fogproof: No
  • Other features: InstaFocus technology, roof prism, neck strap and carrying case included

The first thing that you'll notice about the Bushnell PowerView is its staggering amount of magnification. 20x is strong enough to see the faintest of hairs on a bird's beak, so if you're looking for crystal-clear image quality, these are the binoculars to buy. These are our Top Pick – as featured at the top of the post.

Another great thing about the Bushnell PowerView is that it comes with InstaFocus technology. Like the name suggests, it will immediately and automatically focus your lens, so you won't have to worry about manually correcting things like depth, distance and light exposure. The InstaFocus feature will do it for you. This can be particularly helpful for newbies who aren't sure how to work with buttons and dials to get the view that they want.

Check current price on Amazon.

Finally, the Bushnell PowerView is a sturdy piece of birding equipment. In addition to the no-slip rubber armoring on its handheld parts, it's also made with shock-absorbent materials that will protect the binoculars during fumbles and falls.

There's a reason why we consider the Bushnell PowerView to be one of the best binoculars under $100. It's a reliable tool for both amateur and experienced birdwatchers, and it won't break the bank when you buy it.


2. Eyeskey Binoculars 10X42

  • Magnification: 10x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42 millimeters
  • Weight: 1.35 pounds
  • Price: Under $100. See current price.
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Fogproof: Yes
  • Other features: Advanced lenses, multiple user controls, accessories and cleaning supplies included

Unpacking the Eyeskey Binoculars is a bit like opening an elaborate present. Not only will you receive the binoculars, but you'll also get a neck strap, carrying bag, eyepiece cover, objective lens cover, cleaning cloth, color box, and user manual.

Check current price on Amazon.

It might seem like a lot, but thankfully, the binoculars themselves are pretty simple. Here's a breakdown of their controls:

  • The central “focus wheel” can be used to adjust your lens from nearsighted to farsighted. Even better, it's made with a one-handed design so that you don't have to remove your binoculars while fiddling with your view.
  • The “diopter ring” is meant to balance the focus of the left and right eyepiece. This will provide a completely customized visual experience when you have control of things like distance and sharpness.
  • The front cover can be added or removed if you'd like to operate the binoculars by hand or mount them on a tripod.

As you can see, the Eyeskey Binoculars have a lot of features for birding. They even come with sealed O-rings to prevent dirt, dust, water, fog and other elements from ruining your picture quality.


3. Gosky Roof Prism Binoculars 10X42

  • Magnification: 10x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42 millimeters
  • Weight: 1.55 pounds
  • Price: Under $100. See current price.
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Fogproof: Yes
  • Other features: Green film objective lens, blue film eyepiece, hang rope design, a smartphone adapter

With a 10x magnification, 42-millimeter objective lens and 307-feet field of view, the Gosky Roof Prism Binoculars pack a lot of power into a relatively small package. While they aren't quite compact enough to be considered a lightweight pair of binoculars, you can still use them in a variety of environments without significant strain.

Their lenses are some of the best for the price. They provide great optics with vivid colors and sharp, clear angles, and you can adjust both their depth and distance with easy-to-use hand dials. Their adjustable eye cups will let you find the perfect fit during your birdwatching.

Check current price on Amazon.

Their coolest feature, however, is one that's easy to overlook: the smartphone adapter. You can mount your iPhone or Android directly over the right eyepiece to make its camera peer through the ocular lens. It's not the same as directly snapping a photo with a pair of fully integrated binoculars, but for less than $100, it's an innovative and affordable compromise.

Consider the Gosky Roof Prism Binoculars if you want something with a low price but a high quality.


4. Nikon Aculon A211 10×42

  • Magnification: 10x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42 millimeters
  • Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Price: Under $100. See current price.
  • Waterproof: No
  • Fogproof: No
  • Other features: Eco-glass lenses, turn-and-slide eyecups, carrying case included

Nikon is a well-known brand in the world of binoculars, and they prove their value with the Aculon A211. Between its impressive optics and ergonomic design, it's a pair of binoculars that you'll reach for again and again. You won't limit yourself to birding; you'll also want them for hunting, camping, traveling and attending concerts and sports events.

The lenses are top notch. Not only are they made with Nikon's patented eco-glass, but they're also multi-coated with 10x magnification and 44-millimeter objective lens diameter. They'll provide sharp, clear images from a range of distances, and a smoothly-turning focus wheel will allow you to control their exact positioning.

Check current price on Amazon.

The construction of the Aculon A211 is solid and strong. Rubber armor protects the binoculars from wear and tear, and their ergonomic, non-slip texture will keep them from taking a tumble out of your hands.

They're comfortable for anyone and everyone. Their eye relief is 11 millimeters, and they have turn-and-slide eyecups if you'd like to fiddle with the exact distance between the lens and your eye. This can really come in handy if you wear glasses.

All things considered, the Nikon Aculon A211 will serve as a good tool for everything from fishing to birdwatching. It's the kind of product that will become your go-to during outdoor excursions.


5. Occer Compact Binoculars 12×25

  • Magnification: 12X
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 25 millimeters
  • Weight: 0.65 pounds
  • Price: Under $100. See current price.
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Fogproof: Unknown
  • Other features: Night vision, FMC broadband coating

Measuring 4.0 x 4.0 x 2.5 inches and weighing just 0.65 pounds, the Occer Compact Binoculars live up to their name. Despite all of their advanced features, they're remarkably light and portable, and they can be tucked away in the smallest of backpack compartments for birding, camping and even stargazing.

Their optics are pretty great, too. In addition to fully multi-coated (FMC) broadband lenses, they have a strong magnification and wide field of vision. You can rotate the right eyepiece with a focal dial. There's a green and blue film to ensure crisp color correction, and you can see both near and far objects with crystal clarity.

Check current price on Amazon.

These binoculars even come with low-level night vision if you're hoping to spot owls and other nocturnal birds. While not a true pair of night vision goggles, they're calibrated in a way that lets in the maximum amount of light in a variety of environments, so they'll be good enough for things like astrophotography.

The only real criticism that can be aimed at the Occer Compact Binoculars is that their lightweight nature can affect their stability. You might experience blurs or distortions at times.

For their price, however, these binoculars will serve as an excellent accessory for birders, and being able to use them during any time of day is a definite plus.


6. Wingspan Optics Spectator 8×32

  • Magnification: 8x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 32 millimeters
  • Weight: 0.95 pounds
  • Price: Under $100. See current price.
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Fogproof: Yes
  • Other features: High-quality optics, right eye diopter

Simple enough for children but advanced enough for adults, the Wingspan Optics Spectator will make a great gift for any birdwatcher in your life.

The best feature of the Spectator is its versatility. It comes with complex user controls for people who like to customize their image quality, but if you're a newbie who just wants a simple, easy-to-use pair of binoculars, you can ignore all of the fancy stuff and use their standard settings. They function quite well as a “grab and go” product that you can slowly learn and explore at your leisure.

Check current price on Amazon.

Another nice thing about the Spectator is that it's made with convenience in mind. For example, there's a slit in the eyepiece cover that allows you to thread it through your carrying strap, so you don't have to worry about losing your lens protection. There's also an indentation on each side of the binocular frame for your left and right thumb.

You can adapt it to tripods. You can hang it from a neck strap or attach it to your belt. You can toss it into the ocean without fear of damage.

Finally, you get a really good value for your money. In addition to the binoculars, you'll also receive the following: strap, mesh carrying case, microfiber cleaning cloth, eyepiece cover, lens cover.

The Wingspan Optics Spectator might not be the most high-powered item on the market, but when compared to other lightweight binoculars, they're definitely in the top tier.


7. Bushnell Falcon Binoculars 7×35

  • Magnification: 7x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 35 millimeters
  • Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Price: Under $100. See current price.
  • Waterproof: No
  • Fogproof: No
  • Other features: InstaFocus, fold-down eyecups

There's a lot to love about the Bushnell Falcon Binoculars. Not only do they offer excellent specs, but they also come with special features both inside and out.

The InstaFocus is back, and it's better than ever. It will automatically correct things like depth, light exposure, and field of view so that you always get the most clarity possible. The Bushnell Falcon Binoculars have a slightly lower magnification rate than other products on this list, so the InstaFocus will be useful when you're looking at fine details.

Check current price on Amazon.

The fold-down eyecups are another treat. Made of smooth, non-abrasive rubber, they'll protect both eyeglasses and sunglasses from getting scratched on your ocular lens.

The only real drawback to the Bushnell Falcon Binoculars is that they aren't waterproof or fog-proof. They come with a certain amount of moisture resistance as a matter of course, but you'll still need to be careful if you're hitting the woods in less-than-ideal weather conditions.

However, this is a small detail to weigh against a lot of pros. If you're looking for a steady, reliable pair of binoculars, consider the Bushnell Falcon Binoculars.


8. Bushnell Falcon 10×50 Wide Angle Binoculars

  • Magnification: 10x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 50 millimeters
  • Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Price: Under $100. See current price.
  • Waterproof: No
  • Fogproof: No
  • Other features: InstaFocus, fold-down eyecups, wide-angle vision

Bushnell has done it again. We've covered several of their products on this list, but we aren't playing favorites; it's just that multiple pairs of their binoculars deserve to be on a “best of” list.

As for the Bushnell Falcon Wide Angles, they have all that you'd expect from the brand and more. There are great optics, convenient user controls and simple instructions for using everything straight out of the box.

The 10x magnification is just the start of their specs. Between a 25 foot focusing distance and a 300-foot field of vision, you'll be able to see the faint dark spots on a blackbird's eggs even if they're on the other side of the clearing. You can also adjust the comfort of the lenses and eye covers by utilizing the push-down rubber cups and changing the distance between the left and right barrels as you see fit.

Check current price on Amazon.

The InstaFocus is still here and it's a still a gift. Think of the time that you'll save when you aren't constantly fiddling with your binoculars to adjust aperture and field of view!

Again, you might have to deal with the occasional rain or mist affecting the visibility of your binoculars, but that's a small price to pay for everything else. There's a reason why Bushnell is considered such a good brand in birding binoculars. Their overall value is a prize, and their Falcon Wide Angle proves it.


9. Celestron SkyMaster Binoculars 15×70

  • Magnification: 15x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 70 millimeters
  • Weight: 3.8 pounds
  • Price: Under $100. See current price.
  • Waterproof: No
  • Fogproof: No
  • Other features: Large aperture, tripod mount, handheld diopter adjustment

We're going to be honest. These binoculars are designed for astronomers and stargazers, so they might not suit the average birdwatcher.

If you need something for owls and nightjars, however, or if you are an astronomer who just so happens to enjoy birdwatching on the side, the Celestron SkyMasters will be right up your alley. They offer sharp, clear views of long-distance objects, and they can be worn, carried, positioned or mounted to a tripod depending on your specific needs.

Their magnification is a 15x. They have BaK-4 prisms to transmit the maximum amount of light no matter how dark the clouds are. They're even made with moisture-resistant coating materials that will provide some protection in a storm even if they aren't totally waterproof.

Check current price on Amazon.

Admittedly, they're pretty heavy. This is how you can tell that they weren't created for birdwatchers who are hiking up cliffs for hours at a time.

The most important thing, however, is that they can get the job done when it comes to magnifying faraway objects. The Celestron SkyMasters are designed to show you stars and planets that are millions of light years away. They can definitely handle your local hummingbirds.


10. SkyGenius Full-Size Binoculars 10×50

  • Magnification: 10x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 50 millimeters
  • Weight: 1.76 pounds
  • Price: Under $100. See current price.
  • Waterproof: No
  • Fogproof: No
  • Other features: Foldable eyecups, shock-resistant coating

As advertised, these are full-sized binoculars, so they come with rather hefty specs. They measure 7.48 x 6.69 x 3.97 inches and weigh 1.76 pounds.

If you can look past their bulk, however, the SkyGenius 10×50 Binoculars have an impressive resume. They boast multilayered filters over their lenses to maximize light and minimize distortion. Their field of view is 367 feet at 1,000 yards, which is perfect for fast-moving subjects like birds.

Check current price on Amazon.

You can also customize a lot with the SkyGenius 10×50 Binoculars. They have everything from focus wheels to eyepiece rings to adjust your view to your satisfaction. This makes them a good multipurpose tool whether you're looking at nearby sparrows or distant eagles.

The SkyGenius 10×50 Binoculars might have a bit of weight to them, but they're also heavy hitters when it comes to optics and features, so it all balances out. They're worth the consideration if you want a strong pair of birding binoculars.


11. Celestron 71347 Outland X Binoculars 10×42

  • Magnification: 10x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42 millimeters
  • Weight: 1.36 pounds
  • Price: Under $100. See current price.
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Fogproof: Yes
  • Other features: Compact frame, weather resistant, accessories included

Are you tired of lugging around heavy, bulky binoculars? Or maybe you just want to avoid a future where you're trying to capture a dove in flight without shooting pains in your neck.

The Celestron Outland X is here to answer your prayers. Despite its impressive 10x magnification and the 42-millimeter objective lens, it only weighs 1.36 pounds. It's as compact as you can get without the binoculars being specifically designed for it.

Check current price on Amazon.

The Celestron Outland X is also a rugged, durable product that can withstand all sorts of weather conditions. Filled with nitrogen and sealed off from moisture, it's completely waterproof, shockproof and fog-proof.

If you like accessories, it can also provide in that regard. Here's what you'll get in the box: objective lens caps, eyepiece rain guard, neck strap, carrying case, lens cloth.

Are you ready to upgrade your birdwatching experience? The Celestron Outland X and its accessories can make it happen.


12. Simmons Prosport Series Binoculars 10×42

  • Magnification: 10x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42 millimeters
  • Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Price: Under $100. See current price.
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Fogproof: Yes
  • Other features: FMC lenses, BaK-4 prism

Offering sharp, colorful images with fully-adjustable user controls, the Simmons Prosport Series Binoculars will make a fine addition to your birdwatching backpack.

Their multi-coated glass lenses provide a 10x magnification and 303-foot field of view. Their eye relief is a good 16 millimeters. At any time, you can adjust their viewing power with the flick of a wrist; there are all kinds of dials and buttons on its barrels.

Check current price on Amazon.

On top of their configuration capabilities, the Simmons Prosport Series Binoculars also have built-in features that will go to work for you right away. For example, the multi-coated lenses will increase light transmission and boost viewing quality. The roof prism includes automatic phase correction for a crisp image resolution.

They aren't the fanciest model on the market, but the Simmons Prosport Series Binoculars are a solid, everyday choice in birding gear, and you could definitely find less attractive options for under $100.


13. Bushnell H2O Binoculars 7×50

  • Magnification: 7x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 50 millimeters
  • Weight: 1.68 pounds
  • Price: Under $100. See current price.
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Fogproof: Yes
  • Other features: Porro Prism system, HD optics, twist-up eyecups, carrying case included

One of the weaknesses of the Bushnell binocular series is that they aren't waterproof. They're resistant to mist and moisture, but that isn't the same as being truly waterproof, so that flaw has always been a knock against the brand.

However, the Bushnell H20 Binoculars correct this problem. Purged with nitrogen and sealed with an O-ring, they're 100 percent waterproof and fog-proof, so you can carry them without fear of an unexpected storm ruining your equipment.

Check current price on Amazon.

You'll also want to pay attention to the construction of the Bushnell H20 Binoculars. With their textured grips and non-slip rubber armor, these binoculars are truly ready to be taken into the world. They're tough and durable, and they've even been tested by the manufacturers to ensure their sturdiness. They'll function everywhere from the deserts of the African savanna to the wilds of the Amazon rainforest.

Invest in the Bushnell H20 Binoculars if you love the Bushnell brand but hate their lack of waterproofing capabilities. Their latest and greatest invention is here, and water will slide right off it!


14. Gosky High Definition Monocular 12×55

  • Magnification: 12x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 55 millimeters
  • Weight: 1.55 pounds
  • Price: Under $100. See current price.
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Fogproof: Yes
  • Other features: FMC optics, adjustable eye cups, tripod mount, a smartphone mount

We're cheating a little. This isn't a pair of binoculars; it's a monocular with a single barrel that you hold up to your eye like a handheld camera. However, it's such a great product for birding that we feel like it deserves a place on this list.

Between its 12x magnification and 55-millimeter objective lens diameter, you'll see images like they're right in front of your eyes. The field of view is an excellent 325 feet at 1,000 yards, and the 6.5° field angle is just icing on the cake.

See current price on Amazon.

There's a digiscoping adapter included with every order, so you'll be able to take advantage of even more features with a little bit of fiddling on your part. You can also mount the Gosky Monocular on both a tripod and a smartphone holder. Capture your birdwatching experience forever when you take photos and videos!

If you're willing to go a little outside of the box for your next piece of birding gear, consider the Gosky Monocular.

Best birding binoculars

Curious about premium binoculars? Here are the best binoculars under $500.

The Bottom Line

Binoculars come in all shapes and sizes. If you want something that doesn't cost as much as your house, however, these are the best binoculars for birders that money can buy!

Meet the Author

Drew Haines

Drew Haines is an animal enthusiast, travel writer, and content marketer. She loves to share her passion through her writing. She is the founder and owner of EverywhereWild Media, EverywhereWild, and co-founder and owner of JustBirding. She also guest blogs on LatinRootsTravel and GringosAbroad. She lived in Ecuador for 6 years and explored the Galapagos Islands. Currently based in N.S., Canada.

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