Best Binoculars | 2023


There are many things to consider when deciding which pair of binoculars are best for you. One pair can be great for one person and vastly different for another. More often than not, it comes down to what you want to use them for. Binocular designs vary and depending on the intended type of viewing, they will be aimed at different types of users.

Do you want birdwatching binoculars or are you wanting a lightweight, compact pair to take on a family holiday? Are they just for you or will you be sharing them around? There are pros and cons to almost any pair of binoculars, and we hope that this comprehensive guide will help you with that all-important decision.

Are you wondering just how binoculars work? Well, you can head on over to our detailed piece on all things binoculars; what the numbers mean, how they function, prisms and all the technical jargon. Check it out here!

Best Bird Watching Binoculars

There are many, many, many different types of binoculars but first things first - you have to decide what you’re using them for. For birdwatching, you need to decide whether you need reach or the ability to scan and pan along the skies. Fortunately, we offer both options. The higher magnification binos allow you to pick out the fine details of your subjects. The lower magnification, lighter etc. binoculars allow you to acquire your subject and track them through the sky.

Swarovski NL Pure 8x42 Binoculars

Hurry, limited stock!

£2,630.00 View

Pro: Offers an exceptionally wide field of view

Pro: Premium optics and craftsmanship provide unparalleled quality

Con: A very expensive pair of binoculars (but worth every penny)

Con: Great for scanning large areas but not built for observing fine details

Hawke Frontier ED X 10x42 Binoculars - Green

£469.00 View

Pro: Nitrogen Purged meaning they’re waterproof and fog-proof

Pro: Affordable and comes with Hawke’s lifetime warranty!

Con: Not as ergonomic and tactile as other pairs

Opticron Natura BGA ED 8x42 Binoculars

£349.00 View

Pro: Compact and lightweight with a textured rubber armour

Pro: Long eye relief eyepieces giving the full field of view for glasses wearers

Con: Accessories are limited and some may find the included strap not robust enough

Best Astronomy Binoculars

It’s dark at night and because of that, when looking for suitable astronomy binoculars, you should look for a pair with large objective lenses. This will let the most amount of light in to help you view the stars! A larger objective lens will make the overall size and weight larger but for this, you can get accessories to mount them to a tripod for a steady, shake-free shot.

Pro: Shockproof design with a robust all-metal body construction

Pro: BAK-4 prisms fully broadband multi-coated optics offer exceptional image quality

Con: They’re heavy and generally will require a tripod or stand

Celestron SkyMaster 20x80 Binoculars

£169.00 View

Pro: Very affordable and ideal for those starting out with star gazing

Pro: 80mm objective lens offers maximum image brightness in low-light

Con: While perfect for beginners, its image quality may not be suitable for more seasoned users

Pentax Jupiter 16x50 Binoculars

£99.00 View

Pro: Affordable and versatile - along with astronomy, they’re ideal for safaris, hiking, trips and more

Pro: Surprisingly lightweight meaning you can hold the binos for longer without fatigue

Con: This pair offers an impressively far optical range, but as a result, the image quality can suffer in certain lighting situations

Best Marine Binoculars

If you’re looking for binoculars for marine observation, there are several factors to be considered. An absolute must is a pair that have gas-filled tubes - this will ensure that the lenses do not fog up and will be waterproof! You should also be on the lookout for corrosion/temperature resistant polycarbonate - it’s lightweight, durable, and will withstand saltwater environments.

Fujinon 7x50 WP-XL Mariner Binoculars

£270.00 View

Pro: Water and fog-proof built, and its 7x mag. is ideal for marine observation

Pro: Tethered objective lens caps keep the lenses protected from dust, dirt, scratches, and breaks

Con: They will float on water if the neckstrap is attached properly - but without the strap, they’ll sink!

Bushnell Marine 7x50 Bearing & Ranging Binoculars

£329.00 View

Pro: Its Porro prism design is built with premium optics and provides accurate depth perception - ideal for marine use

Pro: Nitrogen-filled tubes prevent fog or moisture formation on the lenses that would damage the optics

Con: The batteries installation can be tricky (but it’ll be worth it)

Nikon Action EX 7x50 Binoculars

£179.00 View

Pro: This pair will excel for marine use but can easily be used for most purposes

Pro: An ergonomic design that’s also waterproof, fog proof and shockproof

Con: Do not perform as well in low light as other binoculars, but it’s a small trade-off considering the price and overall performance

Best Safari Binoculars

More often than not, if you’re on a safari, you’ll be far away from your subjects (elephants, zebra, and more scarily - lions). Because of this, you’ll need a high magnification with a large objective lens to bring those subjects closer to you but also to produce a bright and highly detailed image. But if there’s not enough space in your bag, a compact pair of roof prism binos could be useful to help you scan the skies or identify landmarks.

Swarovski NL Pure 8x32 Binoculars - Green

£2,210.00 View

Pro: Exceptional image quality and overall performance

Pro: This pair has an extended field of view that makes a substantial difference when viewing from a distance

Con: Expensive compared to similarly ranged binoculars, but when on a safari, this pair will offer the best optical clarity

Leica Trinovid 10x32 HD Binoculars

£910.00 View

Pro: Exceptional Leica-standard image quality, colour accuracy and high-contrast clarity

Pro: Nitrogen-filled and O-ring sealed; withstanding submersion in up to 4m of water and resistant to internal fogging

Con: Another expensive pair but a worthy and reliable investment that will never fail

Opticron Discovery WP PC 8x32 Roof Prism Binoculars

Save £20, RRP £169

£149.00 View

Pro: Affordable and perfect for those who are new to binoculars and who want a decent pair to get started

Pro: Long eye relief for spectacle wearers with twist-type eyecups and excellent close focus ability

Con: While an excellent pair for beginners, the optical quality may not meet the demands of seasoned users

Best Night Vision Binoculars

The days of night vision binoculars being exclusively a spy’s tool are gone. Nowadays we have various options available to us that allow us to make nighttime observations. We can enjoy watching wildlife at night - seeing what they get up when the sun goes down and light from our lamps go out. Not only this, the once costly and bulky night vision binoculars of the past are now, compact, lightweight and offer a much higher quality image.

Bushnell Equinox Z2 4.5x40 Night Vision Monocular

£409.00 View

Pro: It can capture high-quality 1080p video during both day and night

Pro: Its built-in IR illuminator allows for viewing long-range targets day or night

Con: The illuminator has only two brightness levels and the battery life isn’t as good as some other models

Pro: Two working modes including Infrared Beam and Low Illumination CCD

Pro: Delivers 4.5x optical magnification along with a 5.0x digital zoom

Con: The eye relief is not long and therefore is not suitable for glasses wearers

Bresser Digital Night Vision 3x20 Binoculars

£149.00 View

Pro: It has a large 4:3 display that is comfortable for longer periods of use

Pro: Impressive image quality, even in pitch black, considering the affordable price point

Con: The battery life isn’t amazing but to be expected. It's always a good idea to carry extra

Best Sports Binoculars

There are many cases where a pair of binoculars can improve your enjoyment of a sporting event. But as you’ll learn throughout this buying guide, there are many different types of binos that suit differing subjects - sports binoculars are no different. However, if you were to try and pin down an-rounder pair, you’d be looking at 8x42, or a 10x25, for something more portable.

Vortex Diamondback HD 10x28 Compact Binoculars

£159.00 View

Pro: Premium High-Density extra-low dispersion glass delivers impressive resolution and colour fidelity

Pro: Lightweight, compact and affordable!

Con: While its lightweight, compactness is a plus; it’s at the detriment of a more premium feeling casing

Olympus Sports 10x25 WP II Binoculars - Black

£119.99 View

Pro: The ideal pair for packing away and quickly viewing at a moment's notice

Pro: Waterproof, travel-friendly and should work for all users

Con: They don’t offer a huge field of view but are perfect for sporting events

Nikon Sportstar EX 10x25 Binoculars

£99.99 View

Pro: Waterproof (up to 2 m for 5 minutes) and fog-free with O-ring seals and nitrogen gas

Pro: Lightweight, compact and will easily fit in any bag

Con: They do not have the best optical quality but are more than adequate for casual viewing



What do the numbers on binoculars mean?

The first number indicates the magnification or strength and the second is the objective lens diameter. The second figure refers to the diameter of the objective lens in millimetres

Can I wear glasses with a pair of binoculars?

You can wear glasses and use binoculars but you’ll need longer eye relief to allow room for your glasses.

What’s the difference between BAK4 and BK-7 prisms?

These two types are made from different materials that offer different optical qualities. BaK4 offers the highest level of optical quality, whereas BK-7 prisms offer a high image quality but do not perform as well in lower light conditions.

What strength of binoculars is best?

This is all very much dependent on the subject you wish to observe. A lower magnification pair will be lighter and more portable but will not offer an image as zoomed in as a pair with higher magnification. But for everyday users, a lower magnification will be easier to use and pack away in your bag. 

How do we decide?

Our in-house photography experts, store staff and partners all work collaboratively to pour over these guides. The cameras and equipment recommended in our guides are based on their personal opinion, empirical experience and of course, feedback from our customers.

We way up price, features, quality and the all-important 'je ne sais quoi' to make sure we recommend products that will delight and inspire. 

If you would like more advice on any purchase our contact centre staff are here to help. Alternatively, you can reach us via email or social media

And don't forget. If you were to purchase anything based on our recommendations you'll be covered by our full returns policy

About the Author

Leo White has been a member of the Wex Photo Video team since 2018, working in a variety of roles ranging from the contact centre to the product setup team. With both a photography BA and MA, Leo has a wealth of knowledge he's ready to share. See more of his writing on Leo's author page.