8 Best Binoculars under $500

Are you in the market for the best binoculars under $500? If so, you are in luck as you have come to the right place. We have put together this binocular’s buying guide to help you find the best model under $500 for your needs.

Like any other optics, binoculars come in different prices. There are the high-end models that cost thousands of dollars and the budget-conscious models that are available under $500. Despite the varying price tags, each set of binoculars is unique in its traits so it is important to find the model that works best for your individual needs.

$500 is a good budget to start with when looking for a superior quality pair of binoculars. Under this price tag, you can expect the binoculars to have premium build quality, good glass and be multifunctional. But with so many models available on the market today, the selection process becomes a daunting task.

To offer a helping hand, we have taken our time and compiled a list of the best binoculars under $500 available on the market today. Additionally, we have included a buying guide to educate you on the important things to look for when making a selection. But first, lets begin by looking at the attributes that make a great pair of binoculars.

What Makes a Great Pair of Binoculars?

Binoculars are one of the invaluable optics available out there. They are widely used for a ton of applications both indoors and outdoors. There are a couple of things that separate a great pair from a cheap one and the first one in quality glass.

Binoculars made with high-end glass yield stunning resolution and color accuracy which is important when viewing objects in different environments. On top of that, a great binocular should have a large objective lens to optimize low light performance and quality lens coatings to ensure high levels of light transmission.

Quality construction is the other important feature that the best binoculars under $500 should have. The binocular’s chassis should be crafted with premium materials that guarantee durability. In addition to that, the binocular should be rubber armored and weatherproofed to be usable even in the less ideal weather conditions.

The other important attributes that make a great pair of binoculars include:

  • Long eye relief for snug glassing even with eyeglasses on
  • A lightweight and portable design
  • Large field of view which is important for activities like hunting and bird watching
  • A focusing system that is smooth and easy to operate

Best Binoculars under $500 – Top Picks

If you are an outdoors enthusiast, investing in a quality pair of binoculars will get you the best experience when outdoors. It will get you closer to nature and ensure that you have the best views of the subjects you are glassing.

Without further ado, let’s now take a look at the best binoculars under $500 that are available on the market today.

1) Zeiss Terra ED 10×42 Binoculars

Best Binoculars under $500



Zeiss Terra ED 10×42 binoculars are by far the best binoculars under $500 available on the market today. These binoculars are made with the outdoor enthusiast in mind where they offer the best balance between value and functionality.

Built with a 10x magnification power, this pair of binocular is ideal for a wide range out outdoor expeditions. To complement the high zoom power, the binocular features a large 42mm objective lens that draws in ample volume of light to optimize performance in low light settings. The large aperture also provides a wide field of view which comes in handy when tracking mobile targets.

Another highlight of this binocular is the compact and lightweight design that makes it ideal for any outdoor adventure activity that requires light packing. Other than that, the binocular is well-made with high-quality materials to ensure long term durability. It also features a waterproofed body for use in all weather conditions.

Optically, the binocular boasts Schmidt-Pechan glass and anti-reflective lens coatings that offer brilliant, high-contrast image views even in low light settings. It is also built with a smooth, easy-to-grip focus wheel that makes it simple to use even for the beginners.


  • 10x magnification power
  • Schmidt-Pechan glass
  • Waterproof and fog proof construction
  • Anti-reflective lens coating
  • Large and easy to grip focus wheel
  • Hydrophobic lens coating
  • 42mm objective lens


  • Long eye relief
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Crisp clear views in all environments
  • Versatile


  • Sensitive focus wheel

2) Nikon Monarch M7 10×42

Best Binoculars under $500



The name Nikon is always synonymous with optical excellence and this is clear in the Monarch M7 10×42 binoculars. Built with versatility in mind, this full-size set of binoculars offers the best balance of quality, functionality and value.

A defining feature of this binocular is the optical performance. It boasts ED glass that virtually eliminates chromatic aberrations, distortions and color fringing to optimize image quality. Additionally, the binocular features dielectric highly reflective multi-layer prism coating that ensures uniform and superior light transmission across the entire visible spectrum.

To complement the outstanding optical features, the binocular comes with an incredibly wide field of view which ensures that you are able to see more details of the scene at once. Additionally, this optic features turn-and-slide rubber eyecups that maximize eye comfort during use, with or without eyeglasses.

When it comes to construction, the binocular is made with a durable chassis that is rubber armored to provide non-slip grip during use and added protection from bumps and bruises. On top of that, the optical tubes are O-ring sealed and nitrogen filled to be usable in all weather conditions.


  • Hydrophobic lens coating
  • Rubber armored exterior
  • Waterproof and fog proof
  • Extra-low dispersion glass
  • Turn and slide rubber eyecups
  • Large central focus knob
  • Advanced multilayer lens coating


  • Large field of view
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Smooth focusing
  • Stunning picture quality


  • The eyecups adjustment wears out quickly

3) Athlon Optics Midas Binoculars

Athlon Optics Midas



When it comes to multifunctionality, the Athlon Optics Midas 8×42 Binoculars are hard to beat. These binoculars are designed for use by both adults and kids. They are also ideal for a multitude of applications including birding, hiking, hunting and shooting.

This versatility is attributed to the robust construction. This pair of binoculars has a ruggedized magnesium chassis that provides the strength of a metal chassis without being bulky. Furthermore, the internal optics are argon purged to drive out internal moisture and provide better thermal stability.

Optically, this compact and lightweight pair of binoculars is built with ED glass to offer sharp and crisp image views with accurate color reproduction. It also has phase corrected prisms to enhance light transmission and yield bright image views even in the low light settings.

Above all, the Midas UHD 8×42 Binoculars are built with a shock-absorbing rubber armor that defies all elements and provides a secure, anti-slip grip even in wet environments.


  • Waterproof and argon purged
  • Rugged rubber armor
  • Premium ED glass
  • Sturdy and durable magnesium chassis
  • Phase corrected prisms
  • 8x magnification power


  • Easy to use
  • Incredible picture quality
  • Versatile
  • Generous eye relief


  • Cheap lens caps

4) Celestron – Nature DX 8×42 Binoculars

Celestron – Nature DX



Celestron – Nature DX 8×42 Binoculars are the best binoculars under $500 for bird watching. These mid-size binoculars offer the best combination of moderate magnification, close focus distance and large field of view. These three feature are very essential for bird watching.

This pair of binoculars yields spectacular image views even in the not so ideal lighting conditions. This is thanks to the fully multi-coated lenses that provide high levels of light transmission. Besides that, the binocular comes with twist-up eyecups that make it comfortable to use with or without eyeglasses.

Another facet that makes this binocular outstanding is the premium build quality. It has a robust framework to withstand rigorous outdoor use. Additionally, it is sealed against moisture and dust, and filled with dry nitrogen gas to prevent internal fogging of the lenses.

All these essential features are packed in a compact body that weighs a mere 22 ounces for easy portability and comfortable handling during use.


  • Phase coated BaK4 prisms
  • Waterproof and nitrogen filled
  • 8x magnification
  • Rubber armored polycarbonate housing
  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • Twist-up eyecups


  • Rugged and reliable construction
  • Easy to hold and use
  • Bright and clear optics
  • Great value for money


  • Slightly heavy

5) Maven C1 10×42 mm ED Binocular

Maven C1 10x42 mm


The Maven C1 10×42 mm ED Binocular is another premium-quality binocular that is optimized for versatility. It makes a handy glassing tool for birding, hunting, target shooting and hiking where it provides great views of the targets even at extended ranges.

With a weight of 24.5oz, this full-size binocular is one of the lightest models in its category. This makes it super easy to carry around and hold steady without the need to use a tripod. Furthermore, it has a ruggedized body to maximize durability and scratch resistant lenses that offer added shield in the field.

When it comes to the optical features, the binocular is built with 10x magnification and extra-low dispersion glass that maximize resolution and color accuracy. In addition to that, the binocular has fully multi-coated lenses to limit glare and ensure high levels of light transmission. It is also waterproofed and fog proofed to ensure unimpeded use even in adverse weather conditions.


  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • Waterproof and fog proof
  • Scratch resistant optics
  • Premium extra-low dispersion glass
  • 10x magnification power
  • Schmidt-Pechan prism


  • High quality optics
  • Sturdy and durable construction
  • Versatile
  • Compact and lightweight design


  • Less comfortable eyecups

6) Vortex Optics Diamondback HD Binoculars 10×42

Vortex Optics Diamondback



As one of the best binoculars under $500, the Diamondback HD 10×42 Binoculars smash the scale of price vs performance to deliver a workhorse of an optic that performs way better than similar models in its class. This binocular is easy to use and ideal for a wide range of outdoor expeditions that require close to long range glassing.

The selling point of this pair of binoculars is its optical performance. It is built with high-end glass elements to deliver high quality pictures that are free of chromatic aberrations and color fringing. On top of that, the lenses are fully multi-coated to increase light transmission and yield bright, vivid and color accurate image views.

Regarding construction, the binocular boasts a sturdy and ruggedized body to withstand recoil, impacts and rough handling. The durable rubber armor included provides added shield from damage and ensures that users have a secure grip even when wearing gloves. Moreover, the binocular has scratch resistant lenses which provide extra protection in the field.

For all weather use, this full-sized binocular is argon purged and O-ring sealed. Other than that, it is built with a right eye diopter that adjusts for differences in the users’ eye and a smooth center focus wheel for ease of use. It also boasts a long eye relief that enhances viewing comfort even with eyeglasses.


  • 10x magnification
  • Rubber armored body
  • Waterproof and argon purged
  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • Adjustable eyecups
  • HD lens elements
  • Right eye diopter


  • Quality construction
  • Lightweight and portable design
  • Great low light visibility
  • Incredible picture quality


  • Cheap quality lens covers

7) Carson 3D Series 10x42mm Binoculars

Carson 3D Series



Carson 3D Series 10x42mm is the best set of binoculars under $500 for hunting. It is built ready for use in any lighting or weather condition, and has a ton of quality features packed in a compact body for easy maneuverability in the field.

This full-sized 3D binocular yields spectacular optical performance, even in the less than ideal lighting environments. This is thanks to the HD optical coating technology that works together with the premium lens coatings to provide bright and crisp clear image views.

Moreover, the binocular has a tough construction to endure whatever punishment you throw at it. The entire body is wrapped with a shock proof and impact resistant rubber armor for added protection. Besides, the optical tubes are O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged to be 100% waterproof, dust proof and fog proof.

For added convenience, this pair of binoculars has an extra-long eye relief that’s perfect for eyeglass wearers. It also boasts a large field of view of 314feet at 1000 yards to help the hunter find game effortlessly.


  • Dielectric coated BaK4 prisms
  • Ergonomic thumb grooves on the rubber armor
  • Waterproof and fog proof
  • ED glass lenses
  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • 10x magnification


  • Extra-long eye relief
  • Large field of view
  • Bright and clear views
  • Solid construction


  • Heavy

8) Vanguard Endeavor ED II Binoculars

Vanguard Endeavor ED



Vanguard prides itself in making premium quality optics and the Endeavor ED II 8×42 Binoculars are not any different. This pair of moderately powered binoculars is built to meet the demands of outdoor enthusiasts where it offers superb performance in all situations.

Built with 8x magnification power, the binocular maintains a wide field of view of 377ft at 1000 yards to ensure quick target finding. The large field of view is made full use of by the premium-quality ED glass that maximizes image resolution and color accuracy. Even better, the binocular boasts phase-corrected BaK4 prisms that enhance light transmission in low lighting environments.

Furthermore, the binocular is optimized for durability. It has a lightweight and durable magnesium alloy housing to endure rough handling and rigorous use. Additionally, the optical tubes are nitrogen filled and O-ring sealed to provide a lifetime of dependable performance in all environments.

The other essential features included are twist-up eyecups that provide a custom fit eye relief and a locking diopter ring to prevent accidental adjustments.


  • Advanced lens coatings
  • 3-stage click-stop eyecups
  • Waterproof and nitrogen filled
  • Premium HOYA ED glass
  • Phase-corrected BaK4 prisms
  • Durable magnesium alloy chassis
  • Pebbled rubber armoring
  • 8x magnification power


  • Long eye relief
  • Outstanding picture brightness, clarity and quality
  • Wide field of view
  • Lightweight and durable


  • Slightly moderate chromatic aberration

What Magnification do you Need?

The binocular magnification that you get will largely depend on the application you will be using the binoculars for. Under this price category, it is best to get a moderately powered binocular with either 8x or 10x magnification.

For close range applications where a wide field of view is absolutely vital, it is best to get a binocular with 8x magnification. Such binoculars offer a wider field of view as magnification power is inversely proportional to field of view.

On the other hand, go for a 10x binocular if you plan to use the binoculars for long range observation. The high 10x magnification power will bring the distant targets closer and magnify the small sized targets so you are able to have a more detailed look.

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How to Choose the Best Binoculars under $500

Outlined below are the key factors you should take into account when looking to buy a pair of binoculars.

Picture Quality

The first thing to consider is the quality of pictures the binoculars yield. With an under $500 budget, you will want a product that yields crisp clear image views without any chromatic aberration.

Binoculars made with ED or HD glass offer the best picture quality by enhancing resolution and reducing chromatic aberration. The pair of binoculars you get should also have premium quality anti-reflective lens coatings applied on all the air to glass surfaces.

Build Quality

The next thing to consider is the binocular’s build quality. Look for a product that is made using premium quality materials. With solid construction, the binocular will endure rough handling and be usable for several years.

In addition having a solid construction, the best binoculars under $500 should have a rubber armored body to absorb shock and provide a secure, anti-slip grip. They should also have scratch resistant lenses to ensure unimpeded field use.

Size and Weight

Binoculars come in three different sizes: compact, mid-size and full size. Compact and mid-size models are more portable than the full-sized counterparts and great for outdoor enthusiasts who are always on the go. However, such binoculars have a smaller objective lens that makes them ideal for use in the good lighting conditions only.

When it comes to weight, it is important to get a pair of binoculars that weighs less than 2 pounds. This is irrespective of the application you plan to use it for. Lightweight binoculars are much more convenient to carry around and comfortable on the hands during lengthy glassing sessions.

Weather Resistant

When using binoculars, the weather conditions can change when you least expect it. It is therefore important to get a pair of binoculars that is built ready for use in all weather conditions. This means that the binoculars should be sealed against dirt, dust and moisture. The best binoculars under $500 also have fog proofed internal optics to prevent fog build up.

Eye Relief

Another important feature to take into account is eye relief, especially if you wear spectacles. Eye relief is a measure of the distance between your eyes and the eyepiece of the binoculars. The longer the eye relief a binocular has, the more comfortable it becomes to use. A tip is to look for a set of binoculars with at least 15mm eye relief.

Field of View

The other thing to consider is field of view. In binoculars, field of view is measured as an angle in degrees or in feet per 1000 yards. The larger the field of view the binocular has, the easier it becomes to spot and track the moving subjects. Irrespective of the application you plan to use the binoculars for, look for a model that has a large field of view of at least 300 feet at 1000 yards.


  • How much should I spend on binoculars?

This largely depends on your individual needs and how much one is willing to pay. As a general rule, it is important that you find a quality pair of binoculars even if it means paying hundreds or thousands of dollar for it. So, factor in your budget, then look for the best product for that budget.

  • What strength of binoculars do I need?

It depends on the distance you will be glassing at and the kind of activity you will using the binoculars for. For marine applications, 7x binoculars are the best. On the other hand, 8x and 10x binoculars are the most versatile of all the sizes available out there. They are ideal for hunting, birding, wildlife viewing and other outdoor adventure activities. On the other hand, you will need a high-powered pair of binoculars with at least 12x magnification power for astronomy, star gazing and long-range observation.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you have found this post on the best binoculars under $500 to be informative. Each of the binoculars we have listed above brings to the table excellent specs and quality construction to ensure longevity and durability. Look at the features that make each binocular outstanding and use this guide to find the pair that works best for your individual needs.