Best binoculars under 300 - header

There’s a lot of beautiful scenery outdoors for your enjoyment. Whether you are birdwatching, hiking/sightseeing, hunting, astronomy, or camping, you need quality binoculars. A quality binocular will provide sharp and crystal clear images for a superior viewing experience.

The real question is ‘How much should be spent on a binocular?’ Or more accurately, ‘How much are you prepared to spend on a binocular?’ If you’ve ever searched for binoculars, you’ll see the price ranges from less than $100 to over $1000.

Now not everybody has the luxury of spending thousands of dollars on a binocular. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get high-quality binoculars. If you have a budget below $300, there are a number of top-notch binoculars you can get. And believe us when we tell you these binoculars can give some of the high-end models a run for their money.

Let’s face it. It’s generally difficult to know if you are getting a good deal when buying stuff online. As a result, we compiled a list of the best binoculars under 300 dollars. We assure you these binoculars are absolute bargains and you’ll be getting value for your money.

There is also a buying guide that will educate you on things to look out for in a binocular. This will be especially useful for those that have never owned a binocular. So here we go.

The 6 Best Binoculars Under 300 Dollars for 2020

Hawke Endurance ED 10×42 Binoculars

Hawke Endurance ED 10x42 Black Binoculars (36206)

$259.99  in stock
9 new from $259.99
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as of July 7, 2020 3:38 pm

The Endurance series of Hawke Optics features some pretty powerful binoculars. What we really like about this binocular is the high-quality images it produces. As stated in the name, this binocular has lenses made of ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glasses, which isn’t very common in a binocular within this price range. The effect of this is reduced chromatic aberrations and color fringing in the images produced. Simply put, you get images of the highest quality.

The body of this binocular is covered with high-quality rubber. This makes it able to withstand impacts. At the same time, you are also able to maintain a firm grip on this binocular. And this greatly reduces the chances of you dripping it. The lenses are ‘fully multi-coated’ having several layers of anti-reflection coatings. The effect of this is a huge improvement to the image quality and brightness.

This binocular is waterproof as the internal compartments are completely sealed from the outside. The sealing also keeps dust away, which is just as important as keeping water out. The internal air of this binocular is replaced with nitrogen (nitrogen purged). And this makes this binocular fog proof.

Focusing this binocular is effortless. The high magnification and wide field of field ensure you don’t miss anything. Thanks to the 18mm eye-relief and the twisted eye-cups, this binocular can be easily maneuvered and used by people wearing glasses. The higher functionalities of this binocular means it’s a bit heavy. But you can easily mount this binocular on a tripod for extending viewing sessions.

This binocular also includes accessories and is extremely rugged and durable.

 Quick Specifications

  • Magnification : 10x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42 mm / 1.65 in
  • Dimensions : 12.7 x 10.2 x 7 cm / 5 x 4 x 2.8 in
  • Weight : 652 g / 23 oz
  • Field of view: 304 ft @ 1000 yards

Pros

  • Powerful optics resulting in excellent image quality.
  • Easy to focus.
  • Waterproof and fogproof.
  • Long eye relief.
  • Tripod adaptable.
  • Rugged and durable.
  • Includes accessories.

Cons

  • A bit bulky but easy to transport and handle nonetheless.

Celestron Trailseeker ED 10×42 Binoculars

Celestron Trailseeker ED 10x42 Binoculars

$288.95  in stock
4 new from $288.49
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Celestron is a well-known and trusted brand in the binoculars space. And this product is one of their best binoculars in the mid-level series. If you’ve ever used a Celestron binocular before, you’ll notice this particular one has a different look. And that’s because the manufacturers have upgraded this model to be more modern-looking, a feature we really love.

The chassis is made of magnesium alloy which provides a stunning balance between strength, weight, and durability. Usually, you’ll find the less durable polycarbonate in binoculars belonging to this price range.

The incorporation of ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass is one of the standout features of this binocular. This allows the binocular to direct light better and reduce chromatic aberrations. And you get quality images that can be compared with what you’ll get in some high-end models.

By being ‘fully multi-coated’, this binocular has multiple layers of anti-reflection materials. And you see the effect of this in crystal clear images you enjoy. There is also the BAK 4 prism for crystal clear images. As you can see, this binocular has superb optical performance.

The Celestron Trailseeker ED is also weatherproof. The interior is fully sealed to ensure this binocular is waterproof and dust proof. It is also fogproof being ‘nitrogen purged’. This protects the internal optical surfaces and makes this binocular last longer.

The twisted eyecups are padded for comfort during viewing. And it also makes this binocular comfortable for people wearing glasses. The package includes accessories such as carry case, lens cover, rain guard, cleaning cloth, and carry case.

 Quick Specifications

  • Magnification : 10x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42 mm / 1.65 in
  • Dimensions : 5.5 x 4.9 x 2 in / 14 x 12.4 x 5.1 cm
  • Weight : 666 g / 23.52 oz
  • Field of view: 340 ft @ 1000 yards

Pros

  • Excellent optical performance.
  • Crystal clear images.
  • Waterproof and rainproof.
  • Can be used by people wearing glasses.
  • Includes accessories.
  • Very durable.

Cons

  • Eyepiece cover may seem a bit bulky. But it’s all to protect the optics and improve durability.

Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 Binoculars

Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 8x42 Binocular (Black)

$276.95  in stock
15 new from $276.95
3 used from $244.95
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It’s very likely you’ve heard of our used Nikon products before. The brand is popular for their high-quality optics and imaging products. Nikon Monarch 5 comes with an array of features that provides a redefined viewing experience. This binocular comes with a high eyepoint design which makes viewing clear and easy. And people using eyeglasses can also comfortably use this binocular.

The optical surfaces (lens and prism) both have multilayer coatings. And this brings about improved optical performance bringing about a brighter and clearer view. The body of the Monarch 5 is covered with high-quality rubber which provides cushion against impacts. We must also mention the use of ED glass which brings about clearer and brighter images without any aberration.

There is also the anti-slip design which ensures the binocular doesn’t slip from your hands no matter the condition. The central focus knob is very easy to use. Bringing objects into focus is completely straightforward and hassle-free. Thanks to the sealed O ring, this binocular is waterproof and can withstand the elements of the outdoors. It’s also fogproof thanks to the interior being filled with nitrogen.

This binocular is very rugged and durable. And you’ll be using it for a very long time.

 Quick Specifications

  • Magnification : 8x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42 mm / 1.65 in
  • Dimensions :  5.7 x 5.1 x 2.4 in / 14.5 x 13 x 6.1 cm
  • Weight : 589 g / 20.8 oz
  • Field of view: 330 ft @ 1000 yards

Pros

  • High eye point design for easy viewing.
  • Easy to focus.
  • High-quality images.
  • Anti-slip design.
  • Waterproof and fogproof.
  • Long eye relief.
  • Very rugged and durable.

Cons

  • Lens cap could be of better quality.

Carson 3D Series 10×42 Binoculars

Carson 3D Series High Definition Binoculars with ED Glass, 10x42mm, Black

$259.00  in stock
4 new from $259.00
Free shipping
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The ergonomic design of this binocular and precisely placed thumb grooves makes it very easy to handle. You’ll see rubber coatings all over the binocular. This makes this binocular very rugged and shockproof. It also helps maintain a firm grip so the chances of you dropping it are reduced.

The ED glass is of course one of the best features of this binocular. It provides brighter and clearer images and eliminates the chromatic aberrations found in many binoculars. BAK 4 prisms, which are incorporated in this binocular, are the best type of prisms that can be found in binoculars. They have superior optical performance and provide high-quality images.

The long eye relief and twist down eyecups allow you to manoeuvre this binocular easily for better viewing. Also, people with eyeglasses also get to use this binocular as there is sufficient distance between the eyepiece and their eyebrows. If you need a wide range of view, this binocular won’t disappoint you. And it makes activities such as birdwatching more fun as you can see farther and clearer.

The nitrogen filling in the interior prevents this binocular from fogging and this increases the lifespan of the optics. Also, the sealed O-ring prevents water from penetrating the interior, making this binocular waterproof. Dust is also prevented from reaching the interior.

We also love that the package includes a number of accessories like neck strap, shoulder harness, lens cloth, lens covers and bioArmor deluxe carry case.

 Quick Specifications

  • Magnification : 10x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42 mm / 1.65 in
  • Dimensions : 5.5 x 2 x 4.8 in / 14 x 5.1 x 12.2 cm
  • Weight : 658 g / 23.2 oz
  • Field of view: 314 ft @ 1000 yards

Pros

  • Ergonomic design.
  • Excellent optical performance.
  • Fogproof and waterproof.
  • Long eye relief.
  • Long-lasting.
  • Includes accessories.

Cons

  • Lens cap not included. However, the carry bag will help keep it safe.

Athlon Optics Midas 8×42 Binoculars

Athlon Optics , Midas, Binocular, 8 x 42 ED Roof,

$211.59
$210.29  in stock
10 new from $210.29
1 used from $193.47
Free shipping
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According to Athlon, King Midas, who turns everything he touches to gold, must have laid his hands on their binoculars in this range. Why? Because these binoculars set the gold standard for other binoculars in the market. While we appreciate Athlon’s attempt at humour and creativity, we have to agree they make a valid point.

The Athlon Midas series have features you’ll find in high-end binoculars. And this makes this binocular an absolute bargain. As indicated in the name, it comes with ED glass. We wouldn’t even include it in our list if we doesn’t

By now, you should know that ED glasses bring about superior optical performance leading to sharp and clear images. This binocular also comes with BAK 4 roof prisms which are better than other types of prisms in the market. The chassis is made of magnesium alloy and the entire body is covered with rubber. And this makes this binocular rugged and long-lasting.

The lenses are fully multi-coated bringing about an improved viewing experience. Argon purging makes this binocular fogproof and protects the internal optical components. Also, this binocular is waterproof and dustproof due to the internal sealing. The long eye relief is particularly beneficial to people wearing glasses as they also get to see the entire field of view.

You’ll see accessories such as straps, lens cap, and cleansing cloth in the package.

 Quick Specifications

  • Magnification : 8x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42 mm / 1.65 in
  • Dimensions : 5.2 x 3.3 x 5.7 in / 13.2 x 8.4 x 14.5 cm
  • Weight : 708 g / 25 oz
  • Field of view: 426 ft @ 1000 yards

Pros

  • Great build quality.
  • Waterproof and fogproof.
  • Excellent image quality.
  • Long eye relief.
  • Comes with different accessories.
  • Durable and long-lasting.

Cons

  • Focus is somewhat stiff. It’s still easy to use though.

Vanguard Spirit ED 10×42 Binoculars

Vanguard 10x42 Sprit ED Binocular (Black)

$299.99  in stock
2 new from $299.97
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as of July 7, 2020 3:38 pm

We were really impressed with the superb functionality of Vanguard’s binoculars in the Spirit series. Their lightweight, high image and optical components quality are some of the features we really love. The icing on the cake is the ED glass which provides clear and sharp images by reducing chromatic aberration.

This binocular is very comfortable to handle thanks to the ergonomic design and thumb indents on the underside of the barrels. The rubber armoring makes this binocular shockproof and provides cushion against falls and impacts. Being completely sealed from the interior, this binocular is 100% waterproof. And this allows it to withstand some of the harshest weather conditions.

It’s also fogproof as it’s filled with nitrogen gas. The optical performance of this binocular is further improved by the use of BAK 4 prisms. That’s not all. Vanguard also included phase correction coating on the lenses to improve overall image quality. The optical components are fully multi-coated leading providing near perfect light reflection. All these features allow this binocular to function well in low light situations.

The improved focusing wheel makes it easy to fine tune this binocular. You can easily mount this binocular on a tripod for extended viewing sessions. And you’ll also find a carry case, neck strap, and plastic lens cap in the package.

 Quick Specifications

  • Magnification : 10x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42 mm / 1.65 in
  • Dimensions : 5.71 x 4.92 x 1.65 in / 14.5 x 12.5 x 4.2 cm
  • Weight : 640 g / 22.6 oz
  • Field of view: 314 ft @ 1000 yards

Pros

  • Comfortable to carry.
  • Easy to focus.
  • High-quality optical components.
  • Excellent image quality.
  • Waterproof and fogproof.
  • Includes accessories.
  • Very durable.

Cons

  • No major shortcoming.

Best Binoculars Under 300 Dollars – The Guide

Now that you know the best binoculars under 300 dollars, we’ll be taking you through a comprehensive buying guide. This buying guide will inform you of things to look out for in a binocular. And if you are just buying a binocular for the first time, you’ll get familiarized with essential features of binoculars here.

What is ED Glass?

Extra Low Dispersion Glass, simply called ED glass, is a special type of glass used in optical instruments. Due to its excellent functionality, it’s used in high-end camera lenses, binoculars, scopes, and other devices where precise image quality is important.

Until recently, ED glass was only used in high-end binoculars. Now, some manufacturers now use it in mid-range binoculars. ED glass improves the image quality of your binocular by reducing what is called chromatic aberration. It’s a complex process involving a lot of physics jargon but we’ll keep it simple for you.

Light passes through the lens of your binocular. The light is then focused onto a single point. But not the entire light will be focused as some will be dispersed. This phenomenon is called chromatic aberration. And it causes fringes of color on the image of the binoculars resulting in poor image quality.

This is where ED glass comes in as it prevents or reduces chromatic aberration. Lens produced with this glass will be able to focus light more effectively and the result is brighter and clearer images. ED glass is very expensive and used only where image quality is deemed important.

How To Choose Your Binoculars

Size and Weight

When it comes to size, binoculars are generally divided into three – compact, midsize and full-size. The size of the objective lens also has an effect on the size of a binocular.

Compact binoculars generally have objective lens size that is less than 30mm (8×25, 10×28, etc.) Midsize binoculars have objective lens sizes that range from 30mm to 40mm (10×30, 8×32, etc.). While full-size binoculars have objective lens size that is greater than 40mm (8×42, 10×50, etc.). We’ll be talking more about objective lenses later.

Compact binoculars are generally lightweight and easier to transport. But their functionality is below that of mid-size binoculars which provide brighter and clearer images. Mid-size binoculars aren’t so bulky that they become a burden. If you don’t have any pressing luggage and weight restrictions, then you should totally go for a mid-size binoculars because of their improved performance. And they last longer than the compact models.

And we must remind you that the binoculars we’ve reviewed are all mid-size binoculars. The full-size binoculars have the best functionality of all. But they are larger and are too heavy for most people to use for extended periods. You are definitely going to need a tripod.

Also, they are not as travel-friendly as the others and are more expensive. Frankly, you don’t really need to go beyond a mid-size binocular as it’s enough to cater for your needs.

Best Binoculars Under 300 Dollars

Magnification and Objective

Every binocular comes with a set of numbers. It’s the identity of the binocular and they are usually written as 10×42, 7×20 and so on. Note that the assigned numbers will depend on the specifications of the binocular.

The first number is usually the magnification while the second one is the objective lens diameter, respectively. So in the example above (10×42), 10 is the magnification power while 42 is the objective lens diameter (which is usually in mm).

Sometimes, the magnification is written alone as 10x. And this means the binocular enlarges what you are looking at by ten folds. What would we do without binoculars?

The size of the objectives determines the amount of light that enters your binocular. Since larger objectives will allow more light to enter the binocular, it leads to brighter and sharper images. But should the objective size become too large, it’ll have an effect on the binocular size as it’ll become bulky. So manufacturers usually find a balance between objective lens diameter and binocular size.

Field Of View

The field of view is simply the width of the area you can view at a glance, 1000yards or 1000 metres from where you stand. A small field of view means it’ll be harder for you to locate objects when using the binocular. Also, less light will enter the microscope and image quality will be reduced.

Therefore, you should always go for binoculars with a large field of view. Note that the higher the magnification of your binocular, the smaller the field of view.

Weather Resistant, Waterproof, Fog Proof

We wouldn’t advise you to buy binoculars that have no weatherproofing. The conditions outdoors can be really unpredictable and you can find it raining suddenly. Also, you can mistakenly splash water on your binocular.

Binoculars are either waterproof, fog proof or both. Waterproof binoculars have completely sealed O rings that keep water from getting into the interior. And this allows them to be submerged for a period of time which depends on the model you are using. Now, don’t intentionally dip your binocular in water. The waterproofing is to guard against accidental splashes and drops in water.

Fog Proofing involves filling the interior of the binocular with an unreactive gas like nitrogen or argon. Fogging occurs when moisture gets into the optical tubes and condenses on the lens. This causes the lens to fog and affects image quality as well as durability of the binocular. There’s this debate about whether nitrogen is better than argon and vice versa. Don’t worry yourself about that. As far as performance is concerned, there’s no significant difference between two.

N.B: All fog-proof binoculars are waterproof, but NOT all waterproof binoculars are fog-proof.

Prisms

Three types of prisms are generally used in binoculars. And they are BAK4, BK7, and SK15 Prisms. The best type of prism you can find in any binocular is BAK4, or Barium Crown glass. It has the highest light transmission property of the prisms. BaK4 also has a higher refractive index and lower critical angle. All these fancy physics terms means BAK4 produces excellent image quality.

BK7 is more commonly used in binoculars because it’s not as expensive as BAK4. It’s also not as good as BAK4 but it still transmits light excellently.

SK15 isn’t commonly used like the other two. It’s a good prism material in its own right as it has some excellent qualities. For one, it has the highest refraction of all three materials and produces clear images with high contrast.

Coatings

It’s important that the lenses of binoculars are coated. This will lead to production of better images as there will be reduction in glare and reflections. Also, light will be more transmitted and less reflected. Coatings, quality ones anyway, are very important.

Some manufacturers can just give the lenses some colours to make you think they are coated. And that’s why it’s important to do extensive research before buying binoculars. Lucky for you, we’ve done all that.

A binocular can either be coated, multi-coated or fully multi-coated. All these are not the same. Coated lenses just have one layer of coating material. As the name implies, multi-coated binoculars have multiple layers of coating.

And the final one, fully multi-coated, has the entire surface of the lens coated with multiple layers of the coating material. A fully multi-coated lens has the best type of coating.

Eye Relief

This is an important specification people wearing eyeglasses should look out for. It’s essentially the distance between your eye and the eyepiece when you are using the binocular. And eye relief of 11mm or above is perfect for eyeglasses users.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, the best binoculars under 300 dollars and a comprehensive buying guide so you know what to look out for. These binoculars are absolute bargains and have features found in high-end binoculars. It’s when you actually start using these binoculars that you’ll realize what an amazing deal you got.

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