Best Cheap Binoculars 2020 (Under $50 / $100)

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From hunting to watching live sports, the best binoculars under $50 / $100 are also made to be versatile. Apart from good physical construction, these binoculars should also count on good optics. On a budget, it might seem impossible to find good optics. However, things are different for many users who simply want to enjoy the best results as binoculars can be made for various objectives.

Features to Consider in Good Binoculars

While binoculars can be similar in a few perspectives such as grip and design, they can be different with elements that are not visible, such as the optics. Here’s what to look for when seeking the best and most efficient optics.

Lens Size and Magnification

From 10X magnification to 25X magnification, there are a few good options to consider. While not all of them are needed for certain types of activities, such as sporting events, higher magnification can be useful with certain objects such as birds.

Lens Coating

Lens coating is crucial. Even the best lenses can suffer from glare and they can even allow too much light to pass through the glass. Hikes know the important of multi-coating on a bright summer day, which is the same for sunglasses as for binoculars.

Size

The size of the binoculars is important as well. Not all of the options of the moment are made for the ultimate durability. This is why it can be important to find a suitable design for each type of use. Those looking to take their binoculars on stadiums to see their favorite players better might need smaller binoculars. Those watching birds might need larger alternatives for a better grip.

Best Cheap Binoculars 2020 (Under $50)

For some, finding the best binoculars in this affordable range can seem like a daunting task. But some elements such as the sturdiest construction can be sacrificed for good optics when price matters. Here are the best binoculars to count on within the budget.

1. SkyGenius 10 x 50 Powerful Binoculars

Why we like it: Made with large 50mm lens, the binocular suits various uses from bird watching to sports.

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Design features
It is often believed that the 50mm lens is the best when it comes to the field of view. In some cases, this can prove to be true. The SkyGenius design is one of the truly versatile solutions which is also affordable. Out in nature, it can be used for anything from birds to landscape watching. Hikers can consider it for orientation purposes. In limited spaces such as stadiums, the multi-layer lens improves contrast and it blocks out annoying hard sun rays.

The binoculars are not compact as a result of its large lenses. It even comes with a weight of 1.75lbs. But this is not as much as many would believe, especially when compared to other waterproof alternatives. But the good news is its versatility doesn’t stop here. Users planning to watch birds or animals with it can even place the binocular on a tripod as it has a dedicated shoe design for quick lock-in.

Convenient features
Apart from case features and strengths such as an anti-slip surface, the binoculars are also made with powerful optics. Made with multi-layer coating, it allows good light transmission. Chromatic aberration is also reduced considerably as a result, making for more qualitative images.

In this case, the reduction of chromatic aberration makes the optics suitable for mid-day use, when the sun is at its highest point and when the light can be the harshest. The issue arises with the contour of various objects which can even appear under un-natural colors and the coating on the lens fixes this problem to a certain degree.
The magnification power of the binoculars sits at 10X. It is one of the lower magnification options but this is not its strength. The large field of view is the main strength of the binocular, even if this means users have to deal with a larger product compared to the average alternative.

Verdict
These large binoculars are made with multi-coated optics and it is used in open spaces for its large field of view.

Pros
  • Based on 10X magnification
  • Made with a large anti-slip surface
  • Included carry bag with accessories
  • 50mm optics made with a coating
Cons
  • Thick neck strap proves hard to adjust

2. Adorrgon 12×42 Roof Prism Binoculars for Adults

Why we like it: At 1.1lbs, the binoculars are ideal for travel. The BAK-4 multi-coated prism helps with image quality.

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Design features
Compact binoculars are always interesting to use. Even those who need the best optics still miss a reliable compact design. This is why the Adorrgon binoculars stand out with their capacity to offer the best optics under generally good weather conditions.

Of course, the HD optics come with reliable multi-coating which helps issues such as chromatic aberration. Another important consideration comes with the benefits of low light conditions. Apart from complete darkness, the binoculars can offer further contrast improvements.

The professional roof prism binoculars are durable. Their durability is backed by a 2-year warranty. Based on 12X magnification, they can be used for various objectives for a long period, as long as they don’t come in contact with too much dust.

Convenient features
The optics of the binoculars remain the main place of value. With simple 12X zoom and 42mm lenses, this binocular has a large field of view of 367 feet. The images are clear and even in low light, they remain cleaner than many other alternatives at this low price.

The result of this general-purpose optics construction is the real versatility of the binoculars. Practically, they can be used for several situations which even include sporting events. But the size of the optics and the binocular itself recommend it for outdoor purposes. Carrying heavy gear is an issue for many hikers or bird watchers. These are just of few potential uses for this little HD-capable release.

Verdict
Judging by portability, the binoculars are a sustainable solution for any active user.

Pros
  • Mad with HD optics
  • Lens coating improves low light contrast
  • Backed by 2-years warranty
  • Low weight at just 1lbs
Cons
  • Not the best waterproofing

3. SkyGenius 10×25 Compact Binoculars for Bird Watching

Why we like it: With HD images under 362 feet, this binoculars is one of the truly affordable options which fits inside the pocket.

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Design features
With such a compact design, the binoculars can be seen as a leading option for portability. However, its affordability is still its main strength. For several users, the binoculars represent a reliable design for long outdoor activities, such as bird watching.

The rubberized grip ensures users can hold it properly with a single hand. But the biggest design advantage is given by its foldable profile. Since it folds, it can even fit a pocket so that it is always within arm’s reach when chasing birds. Users who might not be looking to necessarily keep in a pocket can also consider using the included pouch of the binoculars.

Convenient features
The diopter adjustment of the optics is one of the main reasons these binoculars are so versatile. Also used by those wearing glasses, it allows a bit more clarity adjustments compared to similar options. With multi-layered coatings and a roof prism, the binoculars are made to offer constant results, even in harsh light.

Color reproduction is at a realistic standard as well. This can be an issue for other affordable binoculars. However, the 25mm lenses do a great job at color reproduction. Even if they are smaller than lenses seen on other cheap binoculars, the optics are still capable, especially with high magnification needs such as those required in bird watching.

Of course, the binoculars also works for other activities as well. Those who might also be into sports can use it at a football or hockey game without making another purchase. In this case, its compact design is even better suited for such crowded locations.

Verdict
25mm lenses prove to be just the right size on these foldable binoculars with their HD image quality.

Pros
  • Lightweight design at just 0.5lbs
  • Made with a foldable design
  • Based on small 25mm lenses
  • Minimum chromatic aberration
Cons
  • Harder to focus than with large binoculars

4. Kylietech 12X42 Binoculars with Phone Adapter

Why we like it: Based on 12X magnification and 21mm eyepieces, the binoculars are ready for any use, including photography.

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Design features
Designed with a rather compact body, the binoculars still features large 21 mm eyepieces. The multicoated optics make the binoculars as reliable as possible in the affordable segment for all types of outdoor use need.

The main benefit of the design is that it features a smooth focus-adjustment knob. Regardless of how far or how close a certain object is, having the ability to focus properly means it appears clearer to the user. But the most interesting design characteristic is given by a smartphone adapter. As a result, impressive pictures can be taken using binoculars.

Photographing favorite sports players, birds, animals, and even landscapes are supported by cheap binoculars. With extra practicality and the capacity to be installed on any tripod, this accessory is mainly recommended for enthusiasts and for those who have the time to set up the photos when out in nature.

Convenient features
A night vision mode is also characteristic of the optics. It is not something which makes seeing during the night possible, but rather coating which improves images brightness in low light conditions. As long as it’s not completely dark outside, users still can see brighter images.

Waterproofing is also an appealing binoculars characteristic. Its allows users to go out in any type of weather condition. It also works to keep dust out of the optics. In time, small dust particles can get inside the lens and it’s reassuring the know this won’t happen with the Kylietech binoculars.

Verdict
Ready to photograph whatever the user sees, these binoculars can handle bad weather, dust, and mild shocks.

Pros
  • Suitable for low light use
  • Made with waterproofing
  • Keeps dust particles out of optics
  • Includes a smartphone adapter
Cons
  • Doesn’t include a small tripod

5. Bushnell Falcon 10×50 Wide Angle Binoculars

Why we like it: The large 50mm binoculars can be used for a wider field of view and carried in the included case.

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Design features
At such an affordable rate, the binoculars are one of the cheapest methods of getting into Bushnell’s range. Unlike many other smaller brands, Bushnell is immediately associated with reliable products. Even a few corners have been cut, such as with waterproofing, the binoculars are nearly as good as many other options from the brand which cost nearly twice as more.

The autofocus system is reliable as well. From 25 feet and onwards, it comes with reliable results. Allowing users to set the binoculars position is also a must-have with the best products. Users should always take the time to set the binoculars to form a perfect circular field of view for the best visibility.

Convenient features
For landscapes, the 50mm optics of the binoculars do a great job. Most users will consider them for outdoor adventures such as trekking or bird watching. There are a few other characteristics to take into account with these uses.

Build quality is solid for an affordable product. Even if the binoculars are not waterproofed, they still offer a sturdy construction. However, when birdwatching, it is important to note these binoculars can’t be mounted on a tripod. It also means that a bit of shakiness will reduce stability, especially when fully zoomed-in.

Verdict
Made by Bushnell, the binoculars allow diopter setting to fit all possible users.

Pros
  • Allows interpapillary distance adjustments
  • Included push-down eyecups
  • 25-feet minimum focus distance
  • Made with full lens coating
Cons
  • Doesn’t fit tripods for extra stability

Best Cheap Binoculars 2020 (Under $100)

Spending a bit more can come with sharper images, better brightness, and improved physical durability. For many users, this is the right price range for the ultimate binoculars to use for years to come and the competition makes them better and better. Here are the top choices to count on.

1. Celestron 71008 SkyMaster 25×70 Binoculars

Why we like it: Made for long-distance and astronomy view, the binoculars are impressive in magnification.

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Design features
While it’s not designed to replace actual telescopes, the binoculars’ main objective is to help view stars and planets. Looking into the distance on the ground is possible as well. Its size is impressive as a result. Those hoping to see some versatility from the binoculars will need to look elsewhere, especially for events such as sporting games.

Being made to go the distance, the binoculars are heavy and shaky at the highest zoom levels. This is why it needs to be based on a solid tripod when looking up towards the sky. Designed to resist possible water infiltration, these binoculars can be used outdoors in changing the weather, which is often the case early in the morning.

Convenient features
The 70mm optics are capable in the right hands. Their 25X magnification is what makes the binoculars so different. But at the same time, there’s plenty of hope for anyone looking to improve astronomy hobby results with more planets and stars under observation.

While the tripod shoe is not the sturdiest option, it certainly represents one of the top choices for added stability, even with long-distance terrestrial views. Offering a friendly design for glass wearers, these binoculars can be used in different conditions. Like all products of this class from the manufacturer, the binoculars feature a folding design, which can help with mobility, even if the product is quite large.

Verdict
Suitable for astronomy fans, the binoculars are based on some of the most capable optics in the affordable range.

Pros
  • Based on 70mm lenses
  • Recommended for astronomy
  • Alternative for terrestrial long-distance viewing
  • Features a folding design
Cons
  • Visible chromatic aberration

2. Nikon 8248 ACULON A211 10×50 Binocular

Why we like it: Made by one of the world leaders in optics, the binoculars are among the reliable and versatile multi-purpose options.

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Design features
Nikon branding is recognized as a top name in optics. The binocular might not be at the same level as the professional products, but it is very close to what still is an affordable price. At around 2lbs, the binoculars are not the most lightweight design, but it is one of the main reasons why many would consider it for all types of outdoor activities. The ergonomic grip helps as well, especially when holding the binoculars comfortable for up to a few hours.

Improving correct eye-point with turning slide eyecups, the binoculars is a top choice for daily practicality. Used in a large number of instances which include hikes and local soccer games, the binoculars are versatile even if it’s not the most compact design.

Convenient features
Made with quality aspherical lenses, the binoculars are ready to offer clear images. Multiple coats have been added to the glass to treat it for the best brightness. Based on Nikon’s Eco-Glass technology, the optics are also recommended for high clarity. Even more, the optics are a bit better than the average alternative for crisp images or reduced blur.

With rubber-armored coating, the binoculars are also made to last. Even small bumps and shocks won’t affect its optics. Given its robust profile, it is easily one of the shortlisted options for any type of outdoor adventures such as trekking, skiing, kayaking or bird watching.

Verdict
Sharp images recommend the binoculars in low light conditions and as an upgrade from an entry-level alternative.

Pros
  • Made with Nikon optics
  • Includes Nikon Eco-Glass image clarity
  • Based on a rubber-armored coating
  • Lightweight for a 50mm design
Cons
  • Shortest eye relief from Nikon

3. Gosky 10×42 Roof Prism Binoculars

Why we like it: Lifetime warranty, smartphone compatibility, and rare 42mm lenses make these binoculars a must-have design.

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Design features
Made as one of the rare breeds in this affordable range, the 42mm binoculars is arguably the balanced design made to be used for life. For this reason, it is even covered by a lifetime warranty. Many users simply find it better than others with its large field of view. But it’s not 50mm as its 42mm wide field of view offers a different perspective, highly suitable for trekking.

With 10x magnification and an included smartphone adaptor, these binoculars are ready to be taken on all types of outdoor adventures. A carry bag, a cleaning cloth, and a neck strap are included in the pack as well. But most importantly, at a weight of just above 1lbs, the binoculars are ready for all types of activities on the go.

Convenient features
With blue film multi-coating and BAK 4 prisms, it is ready to tackle demanding light conditions. Simply put, the optics are adjusted for better brightness, even when many would not even expect it. Sharp images also characterize the optics, even if not quite up there with its premium alternatives.

However, all of these characteristics are based on lightweight design. As it is one of the lightest performers of its class, the binoculars are ready for some real action away from home. Animal watching can be one of these activities and even taking the binoculars on a safari is recommended, as the multi-coats of the lens reduce harsh light specific to these conditions.

Verdict
The 1lbs binoculars are ready to immortalize unique and remote outdoor locations with smartphone photos.

Pros
  • Only weighs 1.2 lbs
  • Includes a smartphone adapter
  • Based on simple 10X magnification
  • Includes cleaning accessories
Cons
  • Not as sharp around lens’ edges

4. Nikon 10×42 ProStaff 3S Binoculars

Why we like it: Small and sharp, the Nikon binoculars can be used for various objectives such as bird or whale watching.

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Design features
With a compact design, Nikon’s binoculars are the response in the 42mm range. While its design is small, the binoculars offer a balanced performance and sharp images. Even in difficult conditions such as with whale watching, it still offers sharp images to count on.

At 575 grams, it is also one of the smallest Nikon designs to count on. It can fit pockets and it can be added to any small backpack as needed. Its rubberized design also makes these binoculars a strong contender among the options to be taken on hikes, where users can leave it out on rocks or directly on the ground.

Convenient features
Made with Nikon’s Eco-Glass optics, the binoculars sustain bright images. Going back to the whale watching example, the lenses do a great job at balancing contrast where most other optics fail. Chromatic aberration is not eliminated, but the crispness of the images and subjects are the bread and butter of the lenses.

In some conditions, the binoculars can also deal with accidents such as water drops. As long as it doesn’t go below 1 meter inside the water, its optics are still protected from leaks. Fog-free optics’ treatments have been applied to the binoculars as well.

Verdict
Suitable for demanding outdoor use, these small binoculars are as sharp as they can get at this price.

Pros
  • Based on Nikon quality optics
  • Good value for money in whale watching
  • Great gift idea for the outdoor enthusiast
  • Includes a strap and a soft carry pouch
Cons
  • Not as sharp as the Nikon ProStaff 7S

5. Bushnell H2O Waterproof/Fogproof Porro Prism Binocular

Why we like it: These 7X magnification binoculars are best for hand-held only use.

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Design features
Not everybody is going to use a tripod or a monopod. Not all users want to carry extra gear around. This is where a handheld design such as Bushnell’s can go far. In many situations, it is all about finding the right technique and the best solutions when it comes to travel needs. This is why at 7X magnification, the binoculars still offer stable images without any stabilization.

Suitable for animal watching as well as hikes and other outdoor adventures, the binoculars are fully protected against water. Even traveling on a cloudy day can prove better and safer with waterproofed binoculars. Seeing objects up to 400 yards is possible even in these conditions.

Convenient features
The multi-coated optics can take the binoculars far when it comes to their versatility. This is why Bushnell even allows users to go bird watching with the binoculars. Without too much effort, users can also rely on a neck strap to carry it around.

While it is not the most lightweight design of its 50mm range, there are always options to go for. Bushnell also offers 42mm alternatives with 10X and 12X magnification for those who need to get closer to their subjects.

Verdict
Best for stable images, the binoculars can be used by those with shaky hands.

Pros
  • Made with extra rubber on the grip
  • Suitable for handheld use
  • Sustains sharp images
  • Available in 50mm and 42mm designs
Cons
  • Not the best shock protection

FAQ

What is multi-coating?

Multi-coating refers to the various treatments applied to the optics of binoculars. They can have multiple purposes from filtering out UV lights to improving contrast and adding brightness in low light conditions. The quality of the lens’ coating is different from brand to brand, even if the description sounds similar.

Are all types of waterproofing the same?

There are various classes of waterproofing. Water-resistant or Class 1 or mainly made to deal with the occasional splash. Class 2 waterproofing is made to deal with top to bottom watering applications, such as the occasional light rain. Class 3 waterproofing binoculars are made to resist water submersion at low depths.

Can I use binoculars if I wear glasses?

Those wearing glasses can still use binoculars for various objectives. The adjustable diopters make this easier. Apart from focusing and adjusting the sharpness of the image, the diopter adjustment adds a new dimension to the binoculars as it adapts to each user’s needs.

I only hike on occasion, what else can I use a binocular for?
Those who only go out in nature on occasion might not be as motivated to purchase binoculars. But they can be used for sporting events as well. Some binoculars are even used in astrology and they can offer a better view of the universe from the backyard.

How do I take photos with a binocular?

Taking photos with binoculars is not too complicated. A smartphone adapter is needed. It places the smartphone right behind the binoculars so that it captures whatever goes through the lens. Such adapters are already included with some cheap binoculars.

Can I see during the night with a binocular?

Seeing during the night with regular binoculars is not possible. All binoculars above are made to be used during the day. Only some of them perform better in low light conditions during the morning or the evening, but never in complete darkness.

Guide to Buying the Best Cheap Binoculars (under $50 / $100)

Even when shopping on a budget, the best cheap binoculars can go far. As proof, they are even used by professional hikers, sportspeople or hobbyists. It goes to show that the most expensive binoculars are not always worth the investment. Since there are thousands of cheap binoculars to choose from, a few characteristics can set them apart and reveal the best options.

Ergonomic Shape

The actual shape of the binoculars is not a priority for many buyers. However, it is the first complaint whenever the fit in the hands is not right. The shape of the binoculars also affects how it is carried. Most of the time, the binoculars sit in the pocket or around the neck. The right shape is crucial as a result. For many users, the shape of the binoculars needs to fit specific purposes.

Those using binoculars for sporting events will not need the largest design inside a stadium or another sports facility. Those hiking for days also value more compact designs. There’s no clear distinction as to what can be considered for each type of use. However, users always prefer binoculars which offer clear images and may forgive larger designs as a result. A poor choice would involve large binoculars with optics around 50mm but which would lack image sharpness.

The shape of the binoculars is also impacted by ergonomics. Some of the ergonomic designs of the moment can easily be held with a single hand. Others simply struggle to keep up when it comes to travel and accidents happen fast as a result. At the same time, some of the best ergonomic designs are also made with a rubberized contact surface to further improve grip strength and to avoid all types of accidents.

Water, Dust and Fog Protection

Even standard optics need good protection. Unfortunately, this is something many users find out too late. It is when sand or water particles get inside the lenses that they can cause real trouble. From developing a mold to fogging up the optics from the inside, there are many problems to avoid.

Some of them can be avoided by choosing binoculars which are properly protected. It means that waterproof binoculars should be a priority for all users. One of the best-kept secrets of waterproofing in the cheap binoculars range is that it is not the best users can get. It mostly protects the optics against the odd splash.

However, a few gems can be found in the affordable category as some binoculars can also survive a short submersion accident. For this to happen, the water depth needs to be low and the time underwater also needs to be short. However, as seen with some of the binoculars above, this can be the case, even within the budget.

Focus Adjustment Systems

The focus adjustment ring is one of the few moving parts of regular binoculars. As a result, it is also one of the first pieces to show signs of wear. With many binoculars, this is also a sensitive area in case of drops. A direct drop on the focus ring will automatically put many binoculars out of order.

But apart from the risk of accidents, the focus ring should be easy to adjust. It should be smooth. If jerky, the focus system is not going to offer the best user experience, especially with full zoom which is the case in situations such as bird watching.

Lens Diameter

The actual diameter of the lens has its role as well. Under general terms, the wider the diameter, the more light the binoculars can capture. The smaller the lens diameter, the more compact the binocular is. For many people, it is also the opportunity to get the best results when it comes to brightness in low light conditions.

Most users will not be going too far in low light. Others, such as bird watchers, might be waiting for the best dusk moment to see their subjects in action. This is one of the situations where larger lenses are recommended on binoculars. Furthermore, some of them can also struggle to keep up with the demands of modern users, who are now using binoculars for multiple purposes.

Apart from the size of the optics, the treatments, and further glass improvements play their part as well. Various lens coating options offer distinct advantages when it comes to dealing with UV light and mirroring. Reducing glare is an important benefit, as is offering better brightness. The good news is that brightness and contrast can be improved using multi-coating technologies. Even in cheap binoculars, they are used to further improve user experience.

Accessories

The accessories considered by those using cheap binoculars are numerous and they are not limited by the price of the optics. For example, smartphone adapters can work just as well on cheap binoculars as on premium binoculars.

But the list of accessories also needs to contain soft cleaning cloth. Such materials can remove dust and dirt particles from the optics without any scratches. A carry pouch might also be needed together with a carry strap. But accessories should always include eyecups. Used to protect the optics, they should be designed so that they don’t get separated from the binoculars easily. Their role is to protect the optics of the binoculars during travel.

Final Considerations

Some of the best cheap binoculars under $50 / $100 are now made to last for years. The days of plastic designs which struggle to get some type of serious use out of them are now gone. Within a low budget, binoculars can be used for all types of reasons.

As seen from the examples above, users can even get their hands on astronomy binoculars for a low price. This being said, not all cheap binoculars are a worthy purchase. Even if the physical construction doesn’t feel as reliable as many would hope for, hood optics can make the difference.

As seen with sharp optics such as those offered by Nikon or Celestron, finding reliable designs is not too complicated. Without a doubt, they can be found with many manufacturers. All major optics producers are now entering the binoculars world with affordable products and this is proof users rely on them. However, the compromises can be considerable in many cases and navigating these cheap optics should only be based on their performance in the most demanding light conditions.

Depending on the main use of the binoculars, the options above offer a pocket-friendly solution with magnification starting from 7X and up to 25x. Used for landscapes, most binoculars do their job well. It is with remote subjects in the distance that the highest magnification is preferred. However, finding the balance between the highest magnification and the best stability is important. In many cases, these two characteristics don’t have to be mutually exclusive.