Binoculars can be a big investment, but they certainly do not need to break the bank. Choosing the best cheap binoculars can be daunting, but it is totally doable. At the end of the day, you should be able to choose an affordable pair that suits your needs well.
For people looking for professional quality binoculars, however, cheap binoculars may be a bit disappointing. It is true that a higher end pair will likely be better quality, but, for a casual user, there are plenty of affordable options. There is no reason to spend your whole budget.
Even though it can seem impossible, it is totally possible to find a decent pair of binocular at the cheapest price. This guide will provide you a comprehensive list of helpful cheap binocular reviews. Read on to ensure you end up with the perfect pair for your specific needs!
How to choose the best cheap binoculars:
The first thing to consider when choosing the best cheap binoculars is your own personal needs. Since cheaper binoculars often do not have the most adjustability, you will have to narrow your focus, so to speak. Choose something suited to your own unique needs.
Another thing to consider is the environment you plan on using the binoculars in. If you plan on stargazing, you will need a different type of binoculars than someone looking to go birdwatching. Reading this article of cheap binoculars reviews will certainly help with this.
Finally, decide on your budget. Cheap is a relatively broad term, so knowing how much you intend to spend (or are willing to spend) will help you narrow the options. It will help you limit your search to only those items in your specific price range and it will focus the search.
What to look for in the best cheap binoculars:
The first thing to look for in the best cheap binoculars is clear image quality. Even though you are not paying for top quality optics, a blurry image quality defeats the purpose of binoculars in the first place. Also, look for bright and color-true image quality in the best cheap options.
Another thing to look for in the best cheap binoculars is something lightweight. Cheaper binoculars, because they are typically less powerful, do not need the added weight. There is no sense lugging around heavy equipment if you do not need to. Look for something lightweight.
Also, look for some degree of durability. You cannot expect the same level of durability from a cheap pair of binocular as you would from an expensive pair, but you do not want them to break on the first use. Make sure you are purchasing something that will last reasonably well.
The Backyard Safari Field Binocs are an excellent choice on the very low end of the price spectrum. Marketed as children’s binoculars, they are extremely lightweight and compact. At only 6.4 ounces and under five inches long, these can be tucked away in a pocket easily.
The exterior of the binoculars has rubberized grips for comfortable and stable holding. Additionally, they have adjustable rubber eye cups. Not only does this make them comfortable for people who wear glasses, but it also makes them safer for small children.
One especially nice feature of the Backyard Safari Field Binocs is their durability. Despite the fact that they are made from inexpensive plastic, they can hold up to a fair amount of abuse. This is an especially valuable asset if you intend on letting a child play with them.
One disadvantage, however, is that the optics are less than spectacular. Because they are so lightweight and inexpensive, these binoculars simple do not have the optical power of more expensive binoculars. Also, some users may notice some optical aberration around the edges.
Another downside is the focusing ability. The focus knob is a bit difficult to adjust on the go. This is partly because the binoculars need to be held securely in both hands in order to keep the distance between the pupils correct. Trying to focus at the same time is difficult.
Despite the few setbacks, the Backyard Safari Field Binocs are a great cheap choice, especially for children’s binoculars. They are durable and comfortable on the eyes while maintaining a lightweight status and easy to grip body style.
The Educational Insights GeoSafari Compass Binoculars are another good option for all ages. At only slightly more expensive than the previous pair, these are an excellent cheap option. One especially nice feature of these binoculars is the built-in compass, setting them apart.
Like the previous pair, these binoculars are also very lightweight at only 6.4 ounces. They are actually a bit more compact overall, however, so they can be tucked literally anywhere you can think of. They also incorporate a good, solid construction with a rubberized grip.
For the size and price category, the magnification on the Educational Insights GeoSafari Compass Binoculars is actually quite impressive. The image quality is also fairly decent for their category. For children, especially, these are an especially good option.
One significant downside is that the compass is not super durable. After a few uses, it tends to lose its direction. It would be a good idea, therefore, to not rely on the compass for all your directional instructions on a hike. You may end up very lost in the woods that way.
Another unfortunate downside is that the field of view is rather small. Keeping in mind the low price tag and the compact size, however, it would be difficult to find a particularly wide field of view. For children, the expanse will likely be fine, but it will feel a bit tight for sure.
At the end of the day, the Educational Insights GeoSafari Compass Binoculars are a good buy for the money. While they are not perfect, they are more than functional. The lightweight status and built-in compass are both certainly nice touches which set them apart from the crowd.
If you are looking for something a bit more grown up, the Tasco Essential Binoculars are another great cheap binocular option. These binoculars are built durably and lightweight specifically for hiking and traveling. They incorporate shock absorbing armor for even more protection.
One nice feature is that they have 8x magnification, which is a reasonably strong level for cheap binoculars. They also have a wide field of view, correcting the issue of the previous option. Plus, they are only slightly heavier at 6.5 ounces in weight.
The focusing wheel is also a very nice feature. While it is sensitive enough for small adjustments, it is not overly sensitive to bumps and accidental touches. It is extremely user-friendly. Also, the image quality is bright and clear.
One disadvantage for some users is that the Tasco Essentials Binoculars do not adjust very wide. If you have wider set eyes or simply a larger face, these can be uncomfortable or even impossible to see through correctly. For smaller people, however, they should work just fine.
Another issue is that the rubber eye pieces are rather flimsy. With repeated adjustments, they will wear out and eventually fall off. Once they fall off, it is very difficult to reattach them. While the binoculars are inexpensive, you still want them to last as long as possible.
Despite a couple issues, the Tasco Essentials Binoculars are still an excellent choice for your adventuring needs. The image quality, magnification level, and lightweight status make them a solid choice for your next hiking adventure. They will be a valuable asset on the road.
The Learning Resources Primary Science Binoculars are another good, cheap option for binoculars. They are designed for children with bright colors and a compact frame, making them easily accessible to little hands. Additionally, they come with a lanyard so they do not get lost.
The durability of these binoculars is also quite impressive. They have a solid plastic body – keeping them lightweight – but enough rubber armor to protect them from drops. Kids do have a tendency to drop things, so the durability is a great asset to look for in binoculars for children.
At the very compact size, the bright colored exterior is also a great asset. You can easily throw them into your bag or in the car glovebox and find them easily thanks to the bright color palette. Plus, the lanyard really helps keep them from falling and close at hand at all times.
Unfortunately, the Learning Resources Primary Science Binoculars do have some significant setbacks. For instance, the magnification says it should be 6x per the specifications, but in actuality, these binoculars barely magnify at all. For adults or older kids, it could disappoint.
Another problem feature is the focus knob. Although it should help the binoculars focus while in use, in reality, it does not make any significant difference to the focus. As a toy, kids will likely still have fun with these binoculars, though functionally, they pose some problems.
Despite the couple setbacks, if you are looking for a fun toy for your kids, the Learning Resources Primary Science Binoculars still provide a viable option. If you are looking for something with powerful optics, however, these binoculars may disappoint you a bit.
If you are looking for something a bit more grown up than the previous options, the Bushnell Powerview Compact Folding Prism Binoculars are a great choice. Bushnell is known for producing great optics. These are an excellent value for a good brand at a cheap price.
One especially nice feature of these binoculars is the easy adjustability. They have a center focus knob, which is a common feature on many pairs of binoculars. They adjust easily and precisely, especially given the low price. You will not need to fuss around to focus them adequately.
The super lightweight status is another great feature of these binoculars. They weigh under a pound and can be folded down and slid into a very small pouch. If you plan on taking these hiking or traveling, they will not take up too much space or weight in your pack.
Though they have many good qualities, the Bushnell Powerview Compact Binoculars also has some downsides. For instance, in low light, the image quality really suffers. If you are planning on stargazing, or using these at dawn or dusk, the image quality may underwhelm you.
Another potential setback for these binoculars is the small amount of eye relief. This makes them less comfortable for people who wear glasses. For any extended viewing time, these binoculars may give people with glasses a bit of a headache or sore eyes from the lack of relief.
At the end of the day, even though there are some setbacks, the Bushnell Powerview Compact Folding Prism Binoculars are a great buy for your money. They offer some helpful features and quality Bushnell is known for without the high price tag attached.
The Binoculars with 10×25 Portable High Definition and Blue Film by Merytes are another great, cheap pair of binoculars. While they are one step up in the price scale, they will by no means break the budget. Plus, they come with a strap, lens cloth, and carrying case.
One nice feature of these binoculars, unlike the previous pair, is actually the eye relief cups. They are adjustable to a good degree, making the binoculars comfortable for people with glasses. Also, they stay properly adjusted throughout the use, unlike other options that unroll in use.
The image quality of these binoculars is also quite impressive for their price class. Depending on the light levels and light source location, some users may experience some aberration. Overall, however, the image is bright, clear, and relatively crisp. They are a great value.
Unfortunately, it is not all good news for these binoculars. The focusing knob is rather finicky and overly sensitive. This means more small adjustments need to be made in order to achieve a good focus. While it is not the end of the world, it can certainly be annoying to need to fiddle.
Another issue which will likely bother some users more than others is that the binoculars have a rubbery smell, especially when first opened. This is likely due to the inexpensive materials used in their construction. If you are willing to let them air out for a few days, this should wear off.
Ultimately, even though they are not without defects, the Binoculars with 10×25 Portable High Definition and Blue Film by Merytes are a great value for the price. The image quality and eye relief are both invaluable assets in cheap binoculars, not to be underestimated.
The Merytes 10×25 Portable High Definition and Blue Film Binoculars are another great option. They are nearly identical to the previous pair, but a slightly different model. For instance, unlike the previous pair, these are constructed from metal aluminum alloy for a more durable build.
The focusing wheel on these binoculars works very well. It has a rubber coating which prevents it from slipping easily. This means you can make precise focusing movements and limit overshooting your desired focus level. The image produced will easily be in perfect focus.
The lightweight and compact nature of these binoculars is also a valuable asset. They will easily fit in a pocket or bag without adding too much weight. Combine that with the good, clear image quality, and these are a great choice for your next traveling or hiking adventure.
One downside of these binoculars, however, is their performance in low light conditions. Because they do not use the highest end optical prisms, they simply do not take in enough light to produce a clear and crisp image. If you are a stargazer, a different pair may be better.
The field of view of these binocular is also relatively narrow. This is largely due to the compact build of the binoculars themselves. If you are looking for something to see a wide area, these binoculars may disappoint you somewhat. For what they are, they do work well, though.
Even though they do have some issues, overall, the Merytes 10×25 Portable High Definition and Blue Film Binoculars are still an excellent buy for cheap binoculars. The image quality, lightweight build, and easy focusing makes them a valuable choice for binoculars.
The Bushnell Falcon 133410 Binoculars with Case are another great choice for cheap binoculars. They are another step up in the price spectrum, but well under the average for good binoculars. Unlike the other options on this list, these binoculars use Porro prism rather than roof prism.
The quick focus feature is an especially nice feature of these binoculars. It allows the user to focus the binoculars nearly instantly with one push of the focus paddle. It is sensitive enough to focus precisely, but not overly sensitive to overshoot the desired focusing mark.
The image quality of these binoculars is also very impressive for the price category. The color, clarity, and crispness are all excellent. The field of view is also nice and wide and the magnification is powerful. For birding, these binoculars provide an especially valuable choice.
One significant disadvantage of this binocular is the weight. At just over thirteen ounces, you will certainly notice carrying these around with you. Compared to the other options thus far, these binoculars are about double the weight of any other pair. It is very noticeable.
The included accessories also leave a lot to be desired. The carrying case has an odd synthetic smell to it, likely from inexpensive materials. The straps, while functionally alright, is not the most comfortable option available. Combined with the weight, your neck may be sore.
Despite the couple downsides, the Bushnell Falcon 133410 Binoculars with Case are still a valid and good option. The image quality and simple focusing function are worth the price in of themselves. With good optics, likely the other issues can be overlooked easily.
If you are looking for something a bit more rugged, the G4Free 12×25 Waterproof Binoculars are another great choice. Since they are waterproof, they can be taken anywhere, in any weather, with you. For hikers and adventurers, waterproofing can be a must-have feature.
Another lovely feature of these binoculars is their image quality in lower light conditions. While other cheap binocular options do not do well in lower light environments, these do quite well. The fact that the feature is built specifically into their design certainly helps the matter.
Given their durability, these binoculars are also very lightweight. For hiking, lightweight is a must-have feature. You do not want to add lots of weight with one item in your pack. These will barely be noticeable in your pack and will not tire your neck when you are using a strap.
One downside is the focusing ability of these binoculars. They are a bit overly sensitive to focus, meaning you have to fiddle for a bit longer to achieve the best focus. If you are wanting to focus on a moving target (like, for instance, a bird) this can be rather annoying to deal with.
Another issue is the magnification level. While the description says 12x, the magnification is much closer in reality to 10x. While this is not a huge disparity, it can be disappointing if you were counting on the higher magnification power. It is something to keep in mind when buying.
At the end of the day, despite the drawbacks, the G4Free Waterproof Binoculars are still an excellent cheap binocular choice for hikers and adventurers. They are very durable and lightweight, so they can come with you wherever you venture without breaking down.
The Emarth 10×26 Portable Compact Binoculars with High Definition Telescope are another good option, especially for birdwatchers. They have multi-coated lenses as well, which offer the best light transmission available, and good Bak-4 prism optics.
The eye relief, even for people who wear glasses, is quite impressive on these binoculars. For long duration activities like bird or animal watching, this eye relief is a crucial feature. They will be comfortable for long viewing excursions. For people wearing glasses, this can be hard to find.
The image quality of these binoculars is also excellent, especially for the lower price tag. The multi-coated optics offer superior light transmission even in lower light conditions. This means you will see true colors and relatively clear image quality no matter the time of day.
Though the colors and clarity of the image quality are overall very good on these binoculars, the edges are a bit fuzzier. This is likely because the optics are simply not as high-end as in more expensive pairs of binoculars. For their price tag, however, you cannot complain too much.
These binoculars are also a bit on the heavier side. They are just under a pound in weight, meaning that you will feel the weight after an extended birdwatching session. Keep this in mind when purchasing. You will get decent optics, but your arms will get tired a bit faster.
Ultimately, even though they are not a perfect pair, the Emarth 10×26 Portable Compact Binoculars with High Definition Telescopes are still an excellent option for cheap birdwatching binoculars. They offer good optical quality and excellent eye relief for prolonged use.
Conclusion and verdict:
When you set out to choose the best cheap binoculars, the number of options available can be daunting. By comparing the options side-by-side, however, you should be able to effectively narrow the options down and find the perfect pair for your needs.
Prior to choosing, review the cheap binocular reviews above and narrow down to the ones that suit your needs the best. If you are purchasing something for your child, you can likely get away with an even cheaper pair than you would need for hiking of birdwatching.
Good binoculars do not need to break the bank. Simply by spending a little time reviewing your options, evaluating your unique needs, and researching, you should find the perfect pair. Choosing the best cheap binoculars need not be rocket science; it is a totally manageable task.