Best Binoculars For Hunting: Reviewing the Top 9 Hunting Binoculars

As an avid and passionate hunter, I know firsthand just how crucial having a quality pair of binoculars truly is for success in the field. 

Turkeys, pheasants, deer, and elk are absolute masters of camouflage and concealment, so being able to spot and pick them out from a distance is absolutely key. 

After years of trial, error, testing, and real-world experience, I’ve carefully compiled this list of what I believe are the best binoculars for hunting to give you a much-needed edge.

How We Tested The Best Binoculars for Hunting

To ensure these picks really are up to the demanding task of hunting, I put them through a truly rigorous and comprehensive testing process that left no stone unturned. 

First up, I objectively and quantifiably measured their optical resolution performance using the USAF 1951 standard resolution target. This allowed me to get hard data on each pair’s ability to resolve fine details and sharp edges.

Next, I performed dedicated low-light tests by mounting the binoculars on tripods and focusing them at black and white resolution targets from a distance of 200 yards at dusky, dim lighting conditions. 

This gave me an accurate reading on each model’s all-important low-light transmission capabilities – a crucial factor when hunting those magical yet challenging hours of first and last light when most game is at peak activity.

I evaluated aspects like ergonomics, eye relief, overall ease of use, and fatigue over extended periods of glassing. I judged their durability and weatherproofing by subjecting them to conditions like light rain, heavy fog, temperature swings, bumps, and inadvertent drops and impacts that are inevitable in the woods.

Throughout this grueling multi-stage testing process, I kept a detailed log book documenting every minor advantage and shortcoming of each pair of binoculars while comparing them directly side-by-side. 

By combining comprehensive optical lab tests with harsh real-world field use and pushing their limits in terms of durability, I was able to create what I believe is the most extensive and well-rounded review of these hunting optics possible.

mavin binoculars

1. Maven B.7 8×25

Key Features

  • Ultra-compact and lightweight design
  • ED glass enhances color accuracy and resolution
  • Fully multi-coated optics for maximum light transmission


  • Excellent optical quality for their ultra-compact size
  • Extremely portable and easy to carry for extended periods
  • Tough, durable, and weather-resistant rubber-armored construction


  • Relatively narrow field of view compared to larger binos
  • Low-light performance limited by smaller 25mm objective lenses

Don’t let their ultra-compact and featherweight dimensions fool you – the Maven B.7 8×25 binoculars absolutely punch way above their weight class in terms of their optical performance and are one of the best binoculars for hunting.

The first time I peered through them, I was blown away by the crisp, clear, and vividly detailed images delivered by the high quality extra-low dispersion (ED) fluorite glass and fully multi-coated optics. 

What really impressed me about the Maven B.7, one of the best binocular brands, was their exceptional durability and weather-resistance given their ultra-compact size. Their rubberized armor casing provides a secure, non-slip grip that’s easy to hold onto even if your hands get sweaty or it starts raining. 

Despite the 8-ounce weight, these tough little binocs are built to handle the bumps, drops, dust, mud, and foul weather that comes with hunting in the elements. 

bushnell binoculars

2. Bushnell Prime 10×42

Key Features

  • ED Prime extra-low dispersion glass for superior resolution/color
  • RainGuard HD permanent water-repellent lens coating technology
  • Twist-up eyecups and incredibly long eye relief for eyeglass wearers


  • Exceptional clarity, sharpness, and color reproduction
  • Impressive low-light performance for dusky conditions
  • Durable, rugged, and completely weatherproof construction


  • Larger and heavier than some competitors
  • Some minor chromatic aberration in high contrast light

The moment I first laid eyes through the Bushnell Prime 10×42 hunting scopes, I was completely wowed by the tack-sharp, crystal clear images and insanely vivid colors delivered by the premium ED Prime glass and advanced lens coatings. 

Whether you’re camped out for an opening morning pre-dawn sit or sticking it out to the bitter end of a dusky evening hunt, these high-performance binoculars can pull in every last drop of the dim ambient light to give your eyes the clearest possible picture in those prime but challenging hours when most game is ultra-active.

By far one of the most user-friendly features of the Bushnell Prime is the ultra hydrophobic RainGuard HD water-repellent lens coatings. 

This innovative technology quite literally causes rain, mist, dust, dirt, and debris to bead up and roll right off the objective lenses, ensuring a crisp, clear sight picture no matter what vile conditions Mother Nature throws your way. There’s no more constantly having to wipe off salt spray or condensation.

While they are a tad heavier and bulkier than some other hunting binos, and we did see some very minor chromatic aberration around high contrast edges, there’s no denying the Bushnell Prime 10×42 is one of the best all-around hunting optics money can buy. 

They simply check every box a discerning hunter could want in terms of image quality, low-light prowess, and all-weather reliability.

alpen teton

3. Alpen Teton 10×42 

Key Features

  • Fully multi-coated lenses for maximum light transmission
  • Argon purged and o-ring sealed for 100% waterproof/fogproof reliability
  • Scratch/impact-resistant rubber armored body for a secure grip


  • Incredible value for the level of optical quality
  • Bright, clear, crisp, detailed images with good contrast
  • Tough yet lightweight aluminum construction built to last


  • Narrower field of view than some competitors
  • Some minor chromatic aberration in high-contrast scenarios

If you’re hunting on a bit more of a budget but still want quality optics that provide a bright, detailed view of distant deer or turkeys, definitely don’t overlook the Alpen Teton best 10×42 binoculars.

I’ll be the first to admit I was a bit skeptical about their optical prowess given their affordable price point, but after extensively field testing them, I was utterly blown away by the bright, sharp, and finely detailed images they produced for the money.

Sure, the fully multi-coated lenses don’t offer the same ultra-premium light transmission as the pricer ED or fluorite glass options on this list but for your typical mixed lighting conditions of a hunt, the Alpen Teton’s optical system gets more than enough light to project clear, contrast-y views of camouflaged birds strutting across fields or scratching in the woods. 

The fully multi-coated objective lenses and prisms deliver accurate color fidelity that ensures feathers, beards, and snood details stand out vividly. What really impressed me though was the Teton’s incredibly tough and weatherproof construction. 

Despite the being one of the best binoculars for the money, Alpen didn’t cut any corners when it came to delivering a durable little binocular. 

vortex viper

4. Vortex Viper HD 10×42

Key Features

  • High-density (HD) optical system with XR anti-reflective full multi-coatings
  • ArmorTek scratch-resistant rubber armored exterior plating
  • Argon purged and O-ring sealed for waterproof and fogproof reliability


  • Unbeatable image clarity and sharpness with vivid color reproduction
  • Very impressive low-light performance for tricky dawn/dusk conditions
  • Incredibly rugged and durable, no-questions-asked lifetime warranty


  • Heavier and bulkier than some competitors at 24 ounces
  • Premium price point that won’t suit all hunting budgets

As an avid hunter who enjoys turkey hunting in Michigan and puts a premium on owning the best-of-the-best gear, the Vortex Viper HD 10×42 binoculars have quickly become my top pick for serious performance in the field. 

From the instant I first peered through their lenses, I was completely blown away by the exceptional level of image sharpness and vivid lifelike color reproduction across the entire field of view. 

Thanks to Vortex’s advanced high-density (HD) optics and proprietary XR anti-reflective lens coatings, even the finest details like beards, wattles, snoods, and individual camouflaged feathers really popped out with three-dimensional clarity.

While their incredible image quality and outright resolution are nothing short of mindblowing, what truly sets the Viper HD apart as one of my absolute favorite hunting optics is their stellar low-light performance. 

To be fair, the Vortex Viper HD 10×42 binoculars do carry a premium price point and tip the scales at a relatively hefty 24 ounces – factors that may be a dealbreaker for some hunters. But if you want true optical superiority coupled with rock-solid durability and all-weather reliability that simply won’t quit, they don’t make many finer optics than the Vortex Viper HD.

gpo passion hunting binoculars

5. GPO Passion HD 10×50

Key Features

  • ED (extra-low dispersion) glass and GPOBright high-transmission coatings
  • Lightweight yet rugged magnesium body chassis with rubberized armor
  • Argon gas purged and O-ring sealed for waterproof, fogproof reliability


  • Absolute best-in-class low-light performance from the large 50mm objectives
  • Superb image quality with incredible sharpness, clarity, and true color rendering
  • Lightweight yet extremely durable and built to withstand the toughest abuse


  • Relatively narrow field of view compared to some competitors
  • On the pricier end of the spectrum, but well worth it

If there’s one area where the GPO Passion HD 10×50 binoculars completely outclass and outshine all other rivals, it’s in their stellar low-light performance. 

Time and time again in testing, I was utterly blown away by the sheer brightness, vibrancy, and detail these optics could resolve in challenging low-light conditions like pre-dawn and dusk in low light scenarios that left cheaper binocs essentially blind.

The large 50mm objective lenses combined with GPO’s proprietary Bright high-transmission lens coatings give these super-premium binocs an uncanny ability to resolve colors, pick out feather patterns and details, and maintain clarity even as available light dwindles to near darkness. 

If hunting the low light periods is a priority, there’s simply no substitute for the increased optical performance provided by the Passion HD’s larger objective size.

If hunting prime time low-light conditions is your top priority, the GPO Passion HD represents a premium yet lightweight and ultra-rugged optical solution that’s really in a class of its own.

leupold binoculars

6. Leupold BX-4 Range 10×42Media

Key Features

  • Proprietary True Ballistic Range Estimating (TBR) laser rangefinding system
  • 6-position toggle eyecups and long eye relief ideal for eyeglass wearers
  • Ultra lightweight yet durable aluminum chassis with Armour Kote scratch protection


  • Integrated rangefinding ability takes all guesswork out of distance estimation
  • HD optics deliver excellent clarity, contrast, and resolution in most conditions
  • Incredibly lightweight and portable aluminum chassis built to withstand brutal abuse


  • Fairly limited twilight/low-light visibility compared to larger objective models
  • Narrower field of view won’t be ideal for all hunters

While premium binocular glass is invaluable for spotting and monitoring turkeys across open hardwoods and fields, one of their biggest limitations is the lack of rangefinding capabilities to quickly estimate precise distances for things like optics/ammo ballistic calculations and shot angle adjustments

Being able to quickly attain accurate range data provides a massive advantage for hunters, allowing for more precise shot angle compensation, better patterning for optimal point-of-aim/point-of-impact, and even advanced ballistic calculations.

Despite packing a ton of high-tech performance into their compact chassis, the BX-4 Range HD is also one of the lightest and most portable full-sized 10×42 binocular options on this list. Their aluminum alloy housing is reinforced with Leupold’s proprietary Armour Kote finish to prevent scratches and dings, yet the whole package weighs a scant 23 ounces. The rubberized armor and nitrogen purging make them fully waterproof too.

In terms of downsides, the relatively small 42mm objectives do limit their low-light gathering abilities compared to larger 50mm+ binos and while their field of view is perfectly adequate for most situations, more discerning glassers may find it a bit narrow or confining. 

swarovski binoculars

7. Swarovski SLC 15×56 

Key Features

  • Revered SWAROVISION high-definition optics for unreal clarity and resolution
  • Lightweight yet extremely durable magnesium body with non-slip rubber armoring
  • Nitrogen purged and airtight sealed for weatherproof performance


  • Jaw-droppingly sharp and color-accurate image quality unlike anything else
  • Extended low-light/long-range performance from large 56mm objective lenses
  • Built like an absolute tank to withstand unbelievable abuse


  • Extremely heavy and bulky form factor at over 2 pounds
  • Punishingly expensive pricing reserved for premium optics enthusiasts only

When it comes to ultra-premium and nearly peerless optical performance, few brands on the planet can match the legacy and reputation of Swarovski and their flagship SLC 15×56 binoculars. 

As one of the best binoculars for hunting, It’s no exaggeration to say the first time I peered through these high-powered optics I was absolutely floored by the breathtaking level of image quality and overall resolution delivered by their proprietary SWAROVISION lens coatings and HD optics system. 

From edge to edge, the SLC 15×56 rendered visuals that were almost impossibly crisp, razor-sharp, and dripping with vivid, high-contrast colors that made identifying and studying the finest details a sheer joy. 

Everything from subtle feather patterns to strutting behavior and gobbler physiognomy quite simply leapt off the glass with visual intensity, dimensionality, and lifelike vibrancy that had to be seen to be believed. It was as if I was viewing the birds through an ultra high-end camera lens rather than binoculars.

The sleek yet armored magnesium alloy chassis is engineered to shrug off just about any abuse you can imagine, while the non-slip rubber armor provides a secure, planted grip in any wet conditions. With their nitrogen purging and specialized seals, these binos offer 100% waterproof and fogproof performance no matter how bad the rain, snow, or condensation gets.

zeiss optics

8. Zeiss Optics SFL 8×40

Key Features

  • Premium SCHOTT high transmission glass with advanced anti-reflective coatings
  • Ultra lightweight yet robust aluminum body with Zeiss’s LotuTec rubber armoring
  • Nitrogen purged and sealed for total weatherproof reliability


  • Top-shelf image quality with superb edge-to-edge clarity and vibrant colors
  • Compact, lightweight, and easy to carry all-day in the field
  • Built to withstand even the harshest abuse season after season


  • Somewhat limited field of view for long-range glassing
  • Smaller 40mm objectives hamper low-light performance

For hunters seeking that perfect balance of premium German optics, compact portability, and rugged durability, the Zeiss SFL 8×40 is an incredible option that punches well above its weight class. 

With their premium SCHOTT fluoride glass and advanced anti-reflective coatings, these diminutive binocs deliver jaw-dropping image quality marked by razor-sharp resolving power, excellent contrast, and vivid, lifelike color rendition across the entire field of view.

When testing the Zeiss SFL in the field, I was blown away by the crisp details and life-like dimensionality they could provide of turkeys strutting in the wide open or moving through dense brush. 

The high-end optics simply outclassed lesser glass in revealing feather patterns, wattle details, snood iridescence, and other camouflaging elements that can help confidently identify toms from jakes at long distances.

For turkey or pheasant hunters who want to lighten their overall load without skimping on premium German optics and durability, it’s hard to beat the performance-to-weight ratio of the Zeiss SFL 8×40 binoculars.

athlon optics

9. Athlon Optics 8×42 Midas G2

Key Features

  • Premium ED (extra-low dispersion) glass and advanced FMC coatings
  • Magnesium alloy chassis with Athlon’s durable Xtra Protective outer coating
  • Argon purged and sealed for waterproof, fogproof performance


  • Excellent image quality with vivid colors, high detail, and great contrast
  • Extremely lightweight yet durable armored chassis built for abuse
  • Great all-around value compared to premium bino prices


  • Relatively limited low-light visibility from the 42mm objectives
  • Somewhat narrow field of view compared to specialty glassing optics

If you’re looking for a high-performance pair of binoculars that won’t let you down in the field, the Athlon Optics 8×42 Midas G2 should be at the top of your list. With their ED glass and advanced multi-coated lenses, these binocs deliver truly stunning image quality that had me marveling at the vibrant colors and high contrast visuals.

The Midas G2 also impressed me with its lightweight and well-balanced design. The durable yet portable magnesium chassis with rubber armoring felt great in my hands and wasn’t a burden to carry for hours on end. I could cover serious ground without fatigue slowing me down.

When Mother Nature decided to throw her worst at me, the Athlon Midas G2 shrugged it off without issue. The argon purging and O-ring seals provide rock-solid waterproof and fogproof protection, ensuring these binocs continue to perform flawlessly no matter the conditions.

If you’d like to learn more about scouting for hunting season with your new binoculars, The Fair Chase Podcast talks about the best tips in this episode:

Best Hunting Binoculars: FAQs

What magnification is best for turkey hunting?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer here, but most seasoned turkey veterans I know tend to lean towards the 8x to 10x magnification range for their binos. 

This gives you enough reach to pick out birds at a distance while still maintaining a decent field of view to track their movements and behavior up close. Personally, I’m a big fan of 10x – it’s like having a built-in zoom lens to study subtle details from afar, but without losing too much width.

Should I choose a larger or smaller objective lens size?

This is always a trade-off between low-light performance and overall size/weight. The physics are simple – bigger 50mm or 56mm objective lenses can soak in more of that precious, faint light during dawn and dusk when turkeys are most active

They also make the whole binocular noticeably heftier and bulkier to lug around all day. For most hunters, a 42mm objective hits the sweet spot by providing solid twilight visibility without going full battleship size and weight.

What features are most important in a good hunting binocular?

In my book, the most critical factors are fully multi-coated lenses for maximum light transmission and bright images, a ruggedized waterproof/fogproof housing to handle any weather, and an ergonomic non-slip grip that’s easy to hold steady for long glassing sessions. Good hunting binouclars should be able to see turkeys or deer in the rain.

Premium extras like ED or fluorite glass, advanced coatings, argon purging, and rubberized armoring are huge bonuses too if you can swing them. They really boost optical performance and durability but I also put a big premium on keeping overall weight and bulk down for all-day mobility.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the best binoculars for your hunting adventures is a big decision – one that requires carefully weighing your needs, budget, and priorities. It’s a choice that can pay huge dividends in the field.

The right set of glass can mean the difference between harvesting the biggest buck of your life or going home empty-handed after a long, grueling season.

carbontv general cta

Superior optics make it easier to spot well camouflaged deer, elk, turkeys, or pheasants at distance and features like ED glass, advanced lens coatings, and better low-light performance can extend your effective hunting hours.

Here’s to having great success and making memories in the spring woods. Happy hunting!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button