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Best hunting binoculars under $200

Last Updated: 30.11.20

 

Hunting binoculars under 200 – Buying guide & Comparison

 

If you want to get your hands on the best hunting binoculars under 200 but don’t know where to start looking, you’re in luck, because we’re here to help. The market is filled with various models, some better than others, and choosing one with good optics, extra features, and an affordable price can take quite some time. We’ve scoured the internet to bring you the most appreciated products by hunting enthusiasts and birdwatchers alike. After looking closely at the features they have to offer, we’ve decided to recommend the Vortex Optics Crossfire. These binoculars come in two variants, an 8×42 and a 10×42, have rugged exteriors that can match the harshest weather, and benefit from superior optics that can provide bright and highly detailed views every time. If you find that this model has been sold out, you should look at the next in line product, the Bushnell Legend L-Series 10×42.

 

 

Comparison table

 

The Good
The Bad
Verdict
Price

 

 

Finding the best budget binoculars for hunting is always a tough task, especially given the plethora of characteristics and technical specs you need to compare. You probably don’t have the time or the knowledge to be confident that you choose the right ones for your needs. Here are a few essential things to look out for when buying binoculars.

 

 

How much magnification and field of view do you need?

When looking at binoculars for sale, it is important to know what sort of magnification you’ll need. Depending on what you want to do with the binoculars, you’ll either want a smaller version with lower magnification, or a heavy unit with high magnification powers.

For hunting, it will depend on your particular style and game you’re after, so perhaps a variable zoom would provide you with the versatility you need. However, since these can get quite heavy, you may want to go for a smaller 8x or 10x variant in case you want to travel light.

With a narrow field of view and high magnification, you can see even tiny details on animals and birds. However, it is a lot more difficult to get far away targets into view, especially if they’re moving fast, so getting binoculars with a wider field of view of at least 300 feet at 1000 yards would be a good idea.

 

Quality optics can make a difference

While magnification and field of view are definitely important aspects to look for in binoculars, you should also be interested in the quality of the glass elements and which types of coatings they have. ED or extra-low dispersion coatings improve contrast and remove chromatic aberrations, while others increase light transmission and make for brighter views.

Some higher quality prisms such as Porro or BaK-4 are also covered in special coatings to increase reflectiveness so that you get accurate images with lots of details.

 

Choose rugged binoculars for extreme conditions

Hunting binoculars or those intended for extreme weather conditions or tough terrains should have strong bodies made of magnesium or even aluminum, as well as rubber armors to protect against accidental slips or bumps.

Waterproofing and fogproofing are also essential since the last thing you want is to have water vapors compromising your observations or fogging the lenses.

 

Objective size

If you are going through reviews looking for the best binoculars under 200, then it’s a good idea to keep in mind that the objective lens is one of the key criteria that you should take into account. First of all, those of you who are not familiar with using a pair of binoculars might not know that the size of the objective lens is indicated right on the unit. 

For instance, if you see 8×55 written on your pair of binoculars, this means that the unit comes with an 8x magnification power, as well as with a 55mm objective lens. For hunting purposes, you should look for a model that has an objective of 40 or 42mm, given that this is a versatile alternative. 

The general rule says that the larger the objective lens, the more details you are able to spot. On the other hand, if you go towards the 50mm models, they may be somewhat pricier, so the choice may depend on the allocated budget as well. A large objective lens can be very helpful if you are hunting in low-light conditions, as it gathers more light and, thus, renders a brighter image. 

The downside is that if you go for a unit that comes with a large objective lens, it will also be heavier, which can become burdensome at some point. If you want to stick to a certain price range and get excellent results, especially for daytime hunting, then a 40mm pair of binoculars is going to do the job very well. 

 

Type of prism 

As you are browsing through the best binoculars under 200, you may be wondering if you should go for a Porro or a Roof prism. Just as is the case with many other things, there are both advantages and disadvantages to each option, so let’s take a look at what these are. 

A pair of binoculars that includes a Roof prism is considered by many people to be more user-friendly, given that it’s a bit more compact and lightweight than its Porro counterpart. On the other hand, a Roof prism usually means that the unit is more expensive, so the choice may depend on this factor as well. 

It’s true that among the best binoculars under 200 you can find many reliable models that come with a Roof prism, so if portability is something that is crucial to your hunting needs, then you will probably find a device that meets all the requirements. 

A Porro prism, on the other hand, needs a larger body and it reflects the light approximately four times. For comparison, a Roof prism can reflect up to five times the light. One of the main drawbacks of Porro prism models is that devices tend to be more difficult to handle, given that the prism is not directly aligned with the eyepiece. 

Still, binos that come with a Porro prism can deliver very good results and they are usually more affordable, which is always a good thing if you need to stay within a certain price range. 

 

Eye relief

While the choice between a Porro or a Roof prism may be easier to make once you understand the pros and cons of the two options, when you are looking at the best binoculars under 200, there are other factors that you need to take into account as well. One of these is the eye relief, which is a crucial element for those who wear glasses. 

The eye relief indicates the distance at which a user can hold the pair of binoculars from the eye, while still being able to see all the details and the entire image. Those who wear glasses know it all too well that the eye relief needs to be able to accommodate prescription glasses for a truly comfortable experience. 

As a rule of thumb, if you fall into this category, you want to look at models that come with an eye relief that goes between 14 and 15mm. The good part is that you will probably be able to easily find such a model that comes with all the other necessary features and falls within your price range. 

 

Optical coatings and construction 

When you are looking for the best binoculars under 200, you want to keep optical coatings in mind, as the quality of the image is greatly influenced by this aspect. These special layers added to the lenses are designed to reduce light reflection, which means that you are going to have a much more comfortable experience in your hunting adventures. 

Moreover, they also work to enhance light transmission, so you will obtain bright and clear images. Many units today are fully or multi-coated and, even though they may be more expensive, this is an investment that you want to make, as it can significantly improve the device’s performance. 

On the other hand, you want to make sure that you ensure the proper maintenance by following the manufacturer’s indications. Using various substances to clean the lenses can end up damaging the coatings, so this is something that you want to avoid. 

Just as you can imagine, when you are looking for a pair of binoculars for your hunting activities, you should always choose one that features a rugged construction. Still, there are some other very important factors to keep in mind, especially if you are planning to spend full days out and about. 

Looking for a unit that comes with a waterproof and fog proof construction means that you won’t have to worry about changing weather conditions and, thus, enjoy peace of mind when you are out in the hunting field. Moreover, you want to look for units that come with rubber coating as well, as they are more durable and easier to handle.

 

 

5 Best Hunting Binoculars under $200 (Reviews) in 2020

 

We know how hard it can be to find the right binoculars, especially when it can take so much time to decide on one of the countless options you can find online. We’ve prepared a list of our top choices, complete with hunting binoculars reviews for each product so that you get to choose from the very best the market has to offer.

 

 

1. Vortex Crossfire 8×42 Binoculars

 

If you are looking for some quality binoculars that offer excellent performance without costing a fortune, then the Vortex Optics Crossfire are just what you need. With two optical configurations to choose from, a rugged exterior built to withstand harsh weather, and quality optics, these binoculars are ideal for both hunters and outdoor enthusiasts.

The Crossfire series come in 8×42 and 10×42 variants. You can choose the smaller model for fast action tracking and superior handling, or go for the 10x magnification and enjoy everything in higher detail. All glass optics are multi-coated to reduce flare and color fringes and to improve transmission so that what you get are crystal clear images every time.

These binoculars are nitrogen-purged and weather-sealed so that they are both waterproof and fogproof. You don’t just get a reliable binocular you can trust in wet weather, but also a rubber armor for a firm hold that never lets you down. The eyecups are easily adjustable for extra comfort when viewing while the center focus wheel brings everything into focus easily.

 

Pros

The binoculars come with an 8x magnification and 42mm objective lenses, both of which are capable of delivering quality for your next hunt.

The fully multi-coated lenses promote excellent light transmission and enhance clarity for impressive views even in low-light conditions.

The unit also rocks a wide field of view and an impressive depth of field to help you promptly find what you are searching for when scanning the environment.

Design-wise, it sports twist-up eyecups, a smooth center focus wheel, and rubber armoring with a clean, sleek styling that provides a durable non-slip grip for use in humid environments.

Cons

Some buyers agree that the binoculars do not offer the same impressive performance in overcast conditions.

They also seem to think the lens caps and the straps provided by the seller are useless. The disappointment feeling towards the provided accessories seems to be extended towards the case as well.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($139)

 

 

 

 

2. Bushnell Legend L-Series 10×42

 

The Bushnell Legend L-Series 10×42 are a great choice for both amateur and seasoned hunters, hikers, birdwatchers, and for just anyone who enjoys nature. These binoculars are highly versatile, providing 10x magnification for high-power viewing, and a wide field of view of 340 feet at 1000 yards.

Despite its modest price, the L-Series feature ED extra-low dispersion glass which ensures color accuracy and removes color fringing or other defects. All optical elements are multi-coated to increase light transmission up to 92 percent, ensuring bright and clear views wherever you go.

These binoculars also benefit from RainGuard HD water-repellent coatings which prevent fogging on the lenses and ensure you get crisp views even in damp and wet conditions. Thanks to the magnesium chassis, you get a lightweight device that doesn’t compromise strength. You also get to enjoy a good hold thanks to the firm and non-porous exterior.

These binoculars come in the Realtree Xtra color variant so that you can easily blend in the environment.

 

Pros

The ED Prime extra-low dispersion fluorite glass that the optics are made of delivers perfect color resolution and contrast while eliminating chromatic aberration and color-fringing especially in low-light conditions or in situations where you have to shift from light to dark quickly.

The premium binoculars also feature the RainGuard HD, which is water-repellent coating against moisture from rain, snow, and condensation.

There\'s also an anti-reflection coating for excellent performances in bright light.

Additionally, it rocks a 340 ft field of view at 1000 yards, and it has a lightweight magnesium chassis that makes it highly durable in rough environments. This also makes it suitable for both expert hunters and beginners.

Cons

There was one buyer that seemed very disappointed with how the objective lens covers are attached to the binocular and mentioned that she lost both on her first hunt. They also seem to pop off when you run or walk faster than normal, which is not ideal.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($186.67)

 

 

 

 

3.Bushnell Trophy Binocular

 

The Bushnell Trophy are binoculars which are widely appreciated among hunters and wildlife enthusiasts. With the 8×42 variant, you get to enjoy nature with an extra wide field of view of 395 feet at 1000 yards, while the 10×42 gives you more magnification and a field of view of 330 feet. There are also the smaller 8×32 binoculars which are great for fast-tracking and amateurs.

With the fully multi-coated lenses, these binoculars have improved light transmission and brighter views, as well as enhanced contrast and sharpness. You can use the large central focusing knob to get any object in view with ease even when you are wearing gloves.

The diopter adjustments will help you enjoy crystal clear views every time, even if you’re wearing eyeglasses.

The heavy-duty exterior is made to take a lot of abuse and use in tough conditions, and it is 100 percent waterproof and fogproof. The textured anti-slip rubber armor will give you a reliable grip and comfortable handling every time.

 

Pros

This piece is a thing of beauty, especially since the green it comes in also helps with camouflage.

The model has BaK-4 Porro prisms, which are fully multi-coated and housed in an armored chassis.

The optics are waterproof, fog proof and built to take a beating. Also, the unit has a tactile center-focus knob for precise focusing too, even if you\'re wearing gloves.

It was built with an aggressive, ergonomic design and the two-step eyecups offer an improved fit and comfort for extended use.

Moreover, in front, they feature a pair of attached rubbery lens covers to protect the lenses from scratches.

Cons

The only major downside to the Trophy model from Bushnell is the weight and size. While it offers an excellent field of view and great magnification, this is achieved by having a bulkier and bigger footprint. This also means that you\'ll need to invest in a harness.

Click to see the price on Amazon!

 

 

 

 

4. Nikon Action EX 12×50 CF Binocular

 

The Nikon Action 12×50 EX are reliable binoculars with high-power magnification that are ideal for sports enthusiasts, hunters, and birdwatchers. With the 12x magnification you can ensure that you get good, highly-detailed views of even distant objects. The BaK-4 prisms will deliver the world in high-resolution so that you don’t miss a rare sighting or a unique phenomenon.

With the innovative click-stop design, the twistable eyecups can be easily adjusted to suit any pair of eyes with or without glasses. The central focus knob is smooth and allows you to focus fast in a long range so that you never miss the action. Your eyes will never tire even after extended viewing sessions thanks to the comfortable long eye relief.

The Nikon Action 12×50 EX don’t just offer quality optics, but also a rugged design that can excel even in the most extreme environments. The rubber-armor coating ensures superior shock protection, with the textured surface meant to provide a sure grip even when it is wet.

These binoculars are O-ring sealed as well as nitrogen-filled for 100% waterproof and fogproof performance.

 

Pros

The Nikon-made creation is an ideal instrument for hunters who often find themselves scanning for things that need to be seen in detail.

To help mitigate disorientation, it has a wide field of view and a generous exit pupil.

Plus, it comes with a comfortable eye relief that provides a more comfortable viewing position.

You\'ll also love its accurate colors and the rich depth of field and the fact that it’s ergonomic.

Its traditional Porro prism design, when combined with the unit\'s over-sized objective lenses, BAK4 prism glass, and fully multi-coated optics, delivers immersive high-contrast views which are both are bright and sharp.

Cons

A few voices in the hunting community mentioned that they are hard to focus, which is a letdown, especially in situations when speed is critical.

Others didn\'t like that they are only available in black and not in other colors that allow for better camouflage.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($180.83)

 

 

 

 

5. Bushnell Legacy WP Porro Prism Binocular

 

The Bushnell Legacy WP series are bound to satisfy a wide range of outdoor adventurers, from hunters to hard-core hikers. These series bring you several optical configurations to choose from. The smaller 8×42 are perfect for tracking of birds or other fast moving targets, while the 10×50 offer good all-around performance.

The 10-22×50 zoom binoculars are highly versatile and they can provide excellent performance for a plethora of activities. All binoculars are made from quality materials which ensure not only high-resolution optics, but also resistance to the elements. All of these optical devices are fogproof and waterproof so wet weather should never be a problem.

All prisms and glass elements are multi-coated to bring you bright, high-contrast, and highly-detailed views under most lighting conditions. These coatings also ensure that the views don’t suffer from chromatic aberrations or optical distortions. The heavy-duty rubber armor is shock-absorbent and it also offers a good grip even when wet.

 

Pros

This pair rocks fully multi-coated optics and BaK-4 prisms that guarantee enhanced light transmission and therefore it will project the best image quality. Furthermore, the optical glass is coated with magnesium fluoride.

It also has high-quality zooming lenses that enable you to focus even on faraway places. Also, note that the eyecups are twistable.

Because of their photosensitive abilities, the user can use the binoculars even in low-light conditions such as during dawn and dusk.

Additionally, they have hydrogen-filled chambers that prevent contamination of the inside sections by fog and moisture, so you can use them outdoors without worrying.

Cons

We\'ve noticed that some buyers seemed to think the texture of the binoculars is a bit too slippery, so you\'ll need to be careful when using them with wet hands.

The price is a bit steep too, which is normal considering they come from a world-renowned brand.

 

Click to see the price on Amazon!

 

 

 

Best Brands

 

There are few people in the world who have not heard about Nikon and about the brand’s innovative products. The company is mostly known for the optical-electronic devices it makes, as well as for adopting cutting edge technology. While the photography industry has been dominated by Nikon for a long time, the company has extensive expertise with optics, in general. 

Therefore, if you are looking at a Nikon pair of binos for your next hunting adventures, you are not wrong. You can expect plenty of features, technological innovations, as well as fine craftsmanship, all in the same unit. The company’s goal is to constantly contribute in new ways to people’s lives, and it does this in multiple ways. 

Some of the brand’s products are actually unique, given the technology that they use. Those of you who have given Nikon’s flat-panel displays a try know for sure that they are made with impressive attention to details and quality. 

Along the same lines, the company also supports medical research, including bioscience, healthcare, or regenerative medicine. While this might not mean that much as you are browsing for a pair of binoculars, it surely says something about Nikon’s overall expertise. 

 

If you are truly ready for adventure, then Bushnell has the right devices to tackle the challenge. This American brand has a very interesting history as well, dating back to 1948 when David P. Bushnell came back from a trip to Japan with an idea. 

He wanted to make available to the average American high-quality binoculars, and the first devices were imported from manufacturers across Asia. After a while, these manufacturers started making units based on patented specifications and the rest, as they say, is history. 

The company grew to the international presence it has today and expanded into other areas, such as spotting scopes. Therefore, you can surely rely on the brand’s extensive know-how when it comes to optical devices, and if you choose a Bushnell pair of binos for your gear, it will prove to be a reliable partner for a long time. 

Bushnell also developed its activities into the telescope industry, so those of you who are looking to get such a unit can check out the brand’s products, given that there are so many high-quality options. Just as is the case with all other optical devices, the most important thing is to ensure proper maintenance and avoid damaging key parts such as the lenses. 

 

A relatively new company, given that it was established in 2002, Vortex has quickly made its way into the optical devices industry, thanks to the quality and performance provided by its products. If you ever have a trip to Barneveld, in Wisconsin, you can also visit the company’s showroom and discover everything there is to know about its products. 

The great part about Vortex is that it makes its products keeping the user’s needs in mind, and many of these are specifically designed to withstand rough conditions. Besides binoculars, you can also find red dots, riflescopes, as well as many other products and accessories that are going to make your life a lot easier when you are out in the hunting field. 

Another aspect that’s worth noting about Vortex is that it stands behind its products by offering an unlimited lifetime warranty to every buyer. If you ever need to repair your Vortex device, all you need to do is contact the manufacturer and the company will take care of the rest. 

Needless to say, this is a great thing, especially since we’re talking about items that you take out into the hunting field and that can be accidentally damaged in more than one way. 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions 

 

Q: Are there any differences between hunting and regular binoculars?

There are many people who think that there is no actual difference between regular and hunting binoculars. On the other hand, you do need to keep in mind that for hunting purposes the device should meet some requirements. The manufacturers took this into account, which is why today you can get a pair of binos specially made to be taken outside. 

Hunting binoculars usually feature a sturdier construction, so if you accidentally drop them, there’s a high chance that nothing wrong will happen. As you are out in the hunting field, you don’t want to worry about potentially damaging your gear, and this is exactly what the manufacturers thought as well when they added elements such as rubber coatings to their products. 

Moreover, no matter if you go for a device that features a Porro or a Roof prism, it’s very important for it to be both waterproof and fog proof. This way, no matter how the weather changes in a short period, you will be well equipped. 

Q: How do I clean my pair of binoculars?

Cleaning your binos is not as easy as some might think, given that you first need to carefully remove any dust that may be present on the lenses. If you notice someone breathing on a lens and then rubbing it with a piece of cloth, you should know that they are not going to use that device for a very long time. 

Dust contains silica particles that are extremely small but very strong. The result is that you are basically scratching the lenses with tiny rocks. To prevent this from happening, you want to blow the dust away either using a special brush or a can of air. Don’t use your breath, as it contains droplets of water that can spot the lens and make things worse. 

Then you should use a Q-tip with a special cleaning solution, to carefully remove any remaining dust and then wipe it clean with a special cloth. If you have a waterproof device, you can simply run it under water. 

 

Q: Based on what criteria should I choose my hunting binoculars?

The first thing you want to do is think about your hunting preferences. Are you going out into the field during the day, or do you prefer dusk or dawn hours when the lighting conditions are different? This can help you determine the size of the objective lens you should go for. For instance, if you are a daytime hunter, then a 40mm model is going to work just fine. 

If you like to hunt in dim-lit conditions, then you should go for a device that has a larger objective lens to obtain bright images when less light is available. However, this means that the device is probably going to be larger and bulkier as well, so the next thing you may want to ask yourself is if you are going to have to carry it around for many hours. 

If that’s the case, you should find the right compromise between performance and size, since you don’t want the device to become a burden either. 

 

 

Ioana Moldovan

Ioana’s professional experience in the optics field has helped her understand the value of passing her knowledge forward. Her curious personality helps her gather useful information for her readers and her goal is to make technical information fun and accessible to everyone.

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