What are the best binoculars out there today? Well, if you've clicked on this article, the chances are you're asking the same questions, and want to know what makes a good pair.
The two main things to look out for are magnification and lens size, in a similar vein to when you're picking one of the best telescopes, whether it's an expensive one, or one of the best telescopes under 200, for instance.
The first of these concerns how far you can zoom in to objects you want to look at, and whilst it's easy to assume that bigger is better, for astronomy, it isn't the case. This is because if you have a higher degree of magnification, your field of view will be smaller, so it's a case of balancing the two.
On the point of lens size, a larger lens size can make the things you see sharper and clearer, especially in low light, which is handy for stargazing.
Do note though, a bigger lens can make the binoculars a little bit bulkier, so it's a case of weighing up whether you want a larger lens or a more compact pair. You can read more about the impact of objective lens size on brightness right here.
Of course, price is also a key thing to consider. If you're just getting started, we'd say to go for more of an affordable pair, whilst of course, if you're more of an enthusiast, it's worth spending extra so you can get the best image quality possible.
With all that in mind, we’ve selected these binoculars based on their features, reviews, and other general points, that we think make them worth considering, plus, we’ve answered some of your most frequently asked questions so you can pick the best one for you.
So, let’s get to it – here are some of the best binoculars out there today.
- Celestron TrailSeeker 8x42
- Meade Instruments 15x70
- Astro Canon 10x42L IS WP
- Opticron Adventurer II WP 10x50
- Olympus WP II 8x25
Best All-Round Binoculars - Celestron TrailSeeker 8x42
Brand: Celestron | Magnification: 8x | Lens Size: 42mm | Angular Field Of View: 8.1 degrees | Weight: 655g
If you're on the hunt for a fantastic all-round pair of binoculars for general use as much as for stargazing specifically, then the Celestron TrailSeeker 8x42s look like a marvellous choice.
Right off the bat, they feature 8x magnification and 42mm lenses which can offer you a nice blend of tidy magnification and a wider field of view than the more traditionally recommended 10x50 binoculars out there.
This should result in some crisp images of everything from stars to planets and more, especially thanks to the multi-coated optics. In addition, these Celestron binoculars also feature nitrogen purging so the lenses won't fog up, and they're also waterproof, so will be good for use in practically any weather. You can read more about the benefits of waterproofing binoculars right here.
You won't find any false colour present with the Celestron TrailSeeker 8x42s either so there shouldn't be any blue or purple hues around any bright objects you look at which should ensure images are clear.
Best Binoculars For Stargazing - Meade Instruments 15x70 Astro
Brand: Meade Instruments | Magnification: 15x | Lens Size: 70mm | Angular Field Of View: 4.4 degrees | Weight: 1.4kg
For those wanting a brilliant set of binoculars for specifically stargazing, we'd say the Meade Instruments 15x70 Astros are a marvellous choice.
This comes courtesy of its 70mm lenses which should allow you to obtain some incredibly sharp images with great detail, and the 15x magnification can also give you the chance to get up close with planets and star formations alike.
Moreover, you shouldn't find that the lenses of the Meade Instruments 15x70 Astros will fog up thanks to their multi-coated optics with BAK-4 glass, which should also help to make the images even clearer. You can read more about the benefits of coated lenses right here.
At 1.4kg, they are a little bit heavy, so it may be worth investing in a tripod to go with these binoculars, although you can use them without if you prefer. You also get a convenient carrying case for when you want to transport the binoculars around, too.
Best Premium Binoculars - Canon 10x42L IS WP
Brand: Canon | Magnification: 10x | Lens Size: 42mm | Angular Field Of View: 6.5 degrees | Weight: 1.11kg
The Canon 10x42L IS WPs look like an incredible choice if you want to go all-out with a pair of premium binoculars.
They feature a 10x magnification alongside 42mm lenses so you get a great blend of a wide field of view and enough zoom for medium to long-range stargazing.
Where the Canon 10x42L IS WPs excel mostly though is the fact they feature Canon's image stabilisation so, with the click of a button, will allow you to get an incredibly steady image. You can read more about the powers of image stabilisation in binoculars right here.
Image stabilisation is usually reserved for cameras, but having them on a pair of premium binoculars like these does make a lot of sense, and can help you to properly focus on any stars and planets you may want to see with incredible clarity.
Moreover, they're also waterproof and can therefore be useful to use in a lot of different weather conditions, and a rubberised grip can also make them rather comfortable to hold for extended periods of time.
Best Budget Binoculars - Opticron Adventurer II WP 10x50
Brand: Opticron | Magnification: 10x | Lens Size: 50mm | Angular Field Of View: 5.5 degrees | Weight: 770g
At the other end of the scale comes the Opticron Adventurer II WP 10x50 which will provide a great option for anyone on a budget or just looking to get into using a pair of binoculars for stargazing. We'd even go as far to say these are some of the best binoculars under 100 out there today.
You'll find these feature a great all-round blend of magnification and lens size with 10x and 50mm respectively, which is arguably the best you can get for astronomy and should result in some clear images with marvellous contrast and a convenient FOV.
With a weight of 770g, these are also relatively light and should mean you can use them for a good period of time before you may need to set them down and rest.
The Opticron Adventurer II WP 10x50s are also fully multi-coated with BAK-4 class which will allow you to experience a properly uninterrupted view of the galaxy with little to no aberrations present.
These are also handily waterproof, which can allow you to use them in any weather, as well as for more rugged tasks than a relaxing bit of stargazing if you so wish.
Best Compact Binoculars - Olympus WP II 8x25
Brand: Olympus | Magnification: 8x | Lens Size: 25mm | Angular Field Of View: 6.2 degrees | Weight: 260g
The Olympus WP II 8x25s look like a fantastic choice if you're on the lookout for some powerful binoculars but in more of a compact frame.
Their 8x magnification will be good for medium-range viewing and the 25mm lenses can offer you some great optics with clear imagery and can aid in making what you see that little bit brighter and sharper.
It's also worth noting that these binoculars' lenses are also fully multi-coated and feature BAK4 prisms with phase coating so anything you look at should look marvellous which is definitely helped along by the 8x magnification and 25mm lenses.
Read More: How To Clean The Inside Of Your Camera Lens
The optics of the Olympus WP II 8x25s are also nitrogen-filled meaning you won't be getting any fog appearing on the inside of the lenses, and they're also waterproof, as well as being dirtproof as well, which makes this Olympus offering quite the rugged pair, too.
They also feature a slightly smaller stature, weighing in at just 260g, which makes these a brilliant choice for taking on the go with you, whether you're camping and want to do some stargazing, or you're on a hike and fancy stopping just to marvel at the world around you.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are always a few questions that pop up time and time again when it comes to binoculars, so here are our two cents to help you make an informed decision.
What strength of binoculars is best?
This majorly depends on what you're going to be using the binoculars for.
Generally speaking, we'd say anything from 8x to 10x will give you a great all-round view, although if you do want to look at things further away, then upwards of 15x magnification will serve you well.
If you're wanting more information on what strength of binoculars is best and for what use case, then manufacturer Olympus has a useful guide on the matter, plus more of a general guide on what to look for in a pair of binoculars, too.
What should I look for in binoculars?
When it comes to binoculars, there are a couple of key things you want to look out for.
As discussed in the intro, magnification, or the strength of the binoculars is going to be key, as is the lens size. These correspond to either how far you can zoom in and sometimes, how detailed the images can be.
We'd say to look for upwards of 10x magnification and 50mm lenses, and then you can scale up or down depending upon your preferences.
In addition, the weight of your binoculars is going to be important from a purely functional perspective. If you're going to be using them for long viewing sessions, then opting for a lighter pair may be better, although heavier sets can be used, especially when paired with a tripod.
Moreover, you'll also want to make sure that the binoculars have multi-coated lenses with some decent glass (usually BAK-4) so your optics will offer some great clarity.
How much should I spend on binoculars?
This all depends on what you're going to be using the binoculars for.
If you're looking for a convenient pair you can carry around with you for general sightseeing, then spending around $200 will get you a good all-rounder. If you're wanting more of a premium and specialist choice, then we'd say to head north of $500.
What does 8x21 mean on binoculars?
In short, the first number refers to the magnification and the second refers to the size of the lens. So, in this example, a pair of binoculars will have 8x magnification with a 21mm lens.
Likewise, in taking the Canon 10x42L IS WPs as an example, these feature 10x magnification with 42mm lenses.
Can you hold 12x binoculars?
In short, yes. 12x binoculars should be light enough for you to hold and in a more general sense, give you good magnification and a decent FOV, which won't be too narrow and cause you to be shaky.