6 Best Binoculars Under $500 of 2020

$500 is not a small number. With this amount, you could find some great binoculars for a wide range of purposes: from hunting, sightseeing to birdwatching and stargazing.

Here are the best binoculars under 500 you can buy in 2020:

  • Best For Safari: Nikon 7577 MONARCH 5
  • Highest Image Quality: Vortex Optics Viper HD Roof Prism Binoculars
  • Best For Bird Watching: Nikon 7548 MONARCH 7
  • Best For Hiking: Upland Optics Perception HD 10x42mm Hunting Binoculars
  • Best For Hunting: Maven C1 10X42mm ED Binoculars
  • Best For Alaska Cruise: Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Roof Prism Binocular
Top 6 Best Binoculars Under $500
Best For Safari
Nikon 7577 MONARCH 5
    Read Our Review
    Highest Image Quality
    Vortex Optics Viper HD Roof Prism Binoculars
      Read Our Review
      Best For Bird Watching
      Nikon 7548 MONARCH 7
        Read Our Review
        Best For Hiking
        Upland Optics Perception HD 10x42mm Hunting Binoculars
          Read Our Review
          Best For Hunting
          Maven C1 10X42mm ED Binoculars
            Read Our Review
            Best For Alaska Cruise
            Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Roof Prism Binocular
              Read Our Review

              Best For Safari: Nikon 7577 MONARCH 5

              Nikon 7577 MONARCH 5
              Nikon 7577 MONARCH 5
              9.2Outstanding
              Pros
              • Sharp and clear view
              • Lightweight
              • Premium ED glass
              • User-friendly features
              Cons
              • Lack of right eye diopter

              When it comes to safaris, you’ll need a pair of binoculars that not only have a wide field of view but also be lightweight and easy-to-use. Nikon 7577 MONARCH 5 meets all of those requirements.

              Nikon 7577 MONARCH 5 is one of the most lightweight pairs of 10x42 binoculars on the market. It is only 1.35 lbs and has a compact design that will fit neatly into your palm. The binoculars have many convenient features, including Turn-and-Slide rubber eyecups, an extended eye relief distance, a smooth central focus knob, and flip-down lens caps. It is also waterproof, fog proof for extreme weather conditions. You'll be ready for every hunting trip.

              The field of view is not so wide, just medium - 288 feet at 1000 yards, but that is enough for fast-tracking the prey. The lenses are made with Nikon's premium ED (Extra-Low Dispersion) Glass and are fully multicoated for more light transmission, providing you with a sharper, clearer and more brilliant view.

              Nikon 7577 MONARCH 5 doesn’t come with an eye right diopter, which is a big minus for eyeglass wearers.

              Nikon 7577 MONARCH 5 Specifications

              Magnification

              10x

              Field of View (degrees)

              5.5 degrees

              Field of View (feet @ 1000yds)

              288 feet/1000 yards

              Prism

              10x42

              Eye Relief (mm)

              18.4 mm

              Weight

              1.35 lbs

              Highlight Features

              Turn-and-Slide rubber eyecups

              Extended eye relief distance

              Flip-down lens caps

              Waterproof

              Fog proof

              Verdict

              Nikon 7577 MONARCH 5 is a durable and convenient pair of binoculars, ideal for safari.

              Highest Image Quality: Vortex Optics Viper HD Roof Prism Binoculars

              Vortex Optics Viper HD Roof Prism Binoculars
              Vortex Optics Viper HD Roof Prism Binoculars
              9Outstanding
              Pros
              • Exceptional image
              • Right eye diopter
              • Rubber-armored chassis and armortek coating
              Cons
              • Nothing to complain

              Vortex Optics Viper HD has a high-density optical system that delivers an exceptional resolution, crystal clear, and edge to edge image. The lenses are coated with XR anti-reflective that helps reflect more light and give a bright image, even in dark environments.

              The prism system is 10x42 - 10-time magnification power and 42 mm of objective lenses, pretty standard specs.

              There is a right-eye diopter for you to adjust the focus to each eye differently. This feature helps nearsighted/farsighted people to use the binoculars without wearing eyeglasses. You can also wear eyeglasses using Vortex Optics Viper HD as the eye relief is long enough and the twist-up eyecups for customizing the eye relief are comfortable.

              Vortex Optics Viper HD has a rubber armor chassis with thumb indents, offering you a firm and easy grip.

              Argon purging, O-ring seals, and scratch-resistant armortek protects the binoculars from water, fog, scratches, oil, and dirt.

              Vortex Optics Viper HD Roof Prism Binoculars Specifications

              Magnification

              10x

              Field of View (degrees)

              6.5 degress

              Field of View (feet @ 1000yds)

              341 feet/1000 yards

              Prism

              10x42

              Eye Relief (mm)

              17 mm

              Weight

              1.56 lbs

              Highlight Features

              XR anti-reflective

              High-density optical system

              Right-eye diopter

              Twist-up eyecups

              Argon purging

              O-ring seals

              Scratch-resistant armortek

              Verdict

              Vortex Optics Viper HD is a premium choice with an outstanding image quality.

              Best For Bird Watching: Nikon 7548 MONARCH 7

              Nikon 7548 MONARCH 7
              Nikon 7548 MONARCH 7
              9.2Outstanding
              Pros
              • Outstanding image with perfect colors
              • Super wide field of view
              • Rugged construction, water and fog proof
              Cons
              • Lack right eye diopter

              Nikon 7548 MONARCH 7 has an exceptionally wide field of view - 419 feet/1000 yards (8 degrees), making it much easier to find subjects. The lenses are dielectric high-reflective multilayer-coated for high-contrast images and accurate color reproduction.

              The stabilizing feature helps the view stable without using a tripod. All these make MONARCH 8x42 perfect for birdwatching. You will see every feather crystal clear with the binoculars.

              The durable rubber-armored coating helps you to hold the binoculars firmly and comfortably. Nitrogen-filled housing for fog proof and waterproof. And rugged construction for durability even in extreme weather conditions.

              Nikon 7548 MONARCH 7 and Vortex Optics Viper HD are two premium choices on my list. You'll have nothing to complain about both. However, MONARCH 8x42 doesn't come with a right eye diopter, and has a lower magnification power than Vortex Optics Viper HD.

              Nikon 7548 MONARCH 7 Specifications

              Magnification

              8x

              Field of View (degrees)

              8 degrees

              Field of View (feet @ 1000yds)

              419 feet/1000 yards

              Prism

              8x42

              Eye Relief (mm)

              17.1 mm

              Weight

              1.3 lbs

              Highlight Features

              Outstanding image with perfect colors

              Super wide field of view

              Stabilizing feature

              Dielectric high-reflective multilayer-coating

              Verdict

              Nikon 7548 MONARCH gives you a perfect image with nearly perfect colors, ideal for birdwatching.

              Best For Hiking: Upland Optics Perception HD 10x42mm Hunting Binoculars

              Upland Optics Perception HD 10x42mm Hunting Binoculars
              Upland Optics Perception HD 10x42mm Hunting Binoculars
              9.2Outstanding
              Pros
              • Clear and sharp view
              • Waterproof, Fogproof, and a Durable Rubber Body
              • Hiking-ready features
              Cons
              • Narrow field of view

              Upland Optics Perception HD is built to survive in the most extreme weather: Waterproof, Fogproof, and a Durable Rubber Body. But in a lightweight and compact design - 1.44 lbs.

              The prism system is 10x42 - standard prism for general purposes. The lenses are made with Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) glass for clear and sharp images.

              The binoculars come with Soft Carry Case, Flip Down Lens Protectors, Lens Cloth, and Neck Strap. You will be ready for all the trips.

              However, a big con of Upland Optics Perception HD is that it has a very narrow field of view - just 113 feet at 1000 yards.

              Upland Optics Perception HD 10x42mm Hunting Binoculars Specifications

              Magnification

              10x

              Field of View (degrees)

              2.5 degrees

              Field of View (feet @ 1000yds)

              113 feet/1000 yards

              Prism

              10x42

              Eye Relief (mm)

              17.2 mm

              Weight

              1.44 lbs

              Highlight Features

              Clear and sharp view

              Waterproof

              Fogproof and a Durable Rubber Bod

              Hiking-ready features

              Verdict

              Upland Optics Perception HD is a compact and convenient pair of binoculars, ideal for hiking.

              Best For Hunting: Maven C1 10X42mm ED Binoculars

              Maven C1 10X42mm ED Binoculars
              Maven C1 10X42mm ED Binoculars
              9Outstanding
              Pros
              • Clear and sharp image
              • Rugged build with waterproof, fog-proof, scratch-resistant.
              • Affordable price
              • Works with a standard tripod stand
              Cons
              • Lack right eye diopter

              Maven C1 10X42mm is a solid pair of binoculars. It has a well-balanced lightweight polymer frame. The lenses are scratch-resistant coated, and 100% waterproof, fog-proof. Moreover, Maven offers you an unconditional lifetime warranty for all their products. You are assured of the durability of Maven C1 10X42.

              The lenses are made with extra low-dispersion (ED) glass and are fully multi-coated for a sharper, clearer and brighter view. The field of view is wide - 314 feet at 1000 yards. And the eye relief distance is enough for eyeglass wearers to use comfortably.

              Maven C1 10X42 is a high-quality pair of binoculars with an affordable price (compared with other binoculars on this list) - A worthy choice for all-purpose.

              Maven C1 10X42mm ED Binoculars Specifications

              Magnification

              10x

              Field of View (degrees)

              6 degrees

              Field of View (feet @ 1000yds)

              314 feet/1000 yards

              Prism

              10x42

              Eye Relief (mm)

              16 mm

              Weight

              1.53 lbs

              Highlight Features

              Extra low-dispersion (ED) glass

              Scratch-resistant coating

              Waterproof, fog-proof

              Verdict

              Maven C1 is the most durable pair of binoculars with waterproof, fog-proof, scratch-resistant and rugged frame.

              Best For Alaska Cruise: Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Roof Prism Binocular

              Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Roof Prism Binocular
              Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Roof Prism Binocular
              9.4Outstanding
              Pros
              • Rain guard HD water repellent coating
              • Magnesium chassis with 100% waterproof and fog-proof
              • Sharp and clear view
              Cons
              • Short eye relief

              Extreme weather like Alaska's cold, hoarfrost, heavy rains might harm your binoculars badly. For those conditions, Bushnell Legend Ultra HD can perform properly and safely. It has a magnesium chassis that is 100% waterproof and fog-proof. The lenses have a Rain guard HD water repellent coating that keeps water, fog, snow, sleet, and oily fingerprints from wrecking your vision. Even in the heaviest fog, you won't miss any precious moment.

              The prism system is quite standard, 10x42 - 10 magnification power and 42mm diameter of the objective lenses. The field of view is wide - 330 feet at 1000 yards (6.4 degrees). The images are great since the lenses are made with ED Prime Glass and Ultra Wide Band Coatings.

              Just a minor drawback is that the eye relief distance is quite short - 15.2 mm. However, this range is enough for eyeglass wearer to use the binoculars comfortably.

              Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Roof Prism Binocular Specifications

              Magnification

              10x

              Field of View (degrees)

              6.4 degrees

              Field of View (feet @ 1000yds)

              330 feet at 1000 yards

              Prism

              10x42

              Eye Relief (mm)

              15.2 mm

              Weight

              1.54 lbs

              Highlight Features

              Rain guard HD water repellent coating

              Magnesium chassis with 100% waterproof and fog-proof

              Verdict

              Bushnell Legend Ultra HD is suitable for those who usually travel to extreme weather places like Alaska.

              How To Choose The Best Binoculars Under $500?

              $500 is not a small number. So you will want to do some investigation before choosing your binoculars. Follow are some important specs you need to know

              • The prism system - '10x42mm', '8x42mm': The first number is the magnification power, for example, 10 means that you’ll the image 10 times closer through the binoculars. The latter number is the diameter of the objective lenses - the bigger it is, the more light that can go through the lenses, and the brighter the image is.

              • Eye relief: It is the longest distance from the last surface of the binoculars to the user’s eyes. Within this distance, you can get the full viewing angle.

              • Field of View - degrees and feet: It is the maximum distance from left to right of the scene that you can see at 1000 yards through the binoculars. It can be measured by degrees, which is the same as when measured by feet.

              • Additional Features: Eyecups (for more comfortable), Right eye diopter (for near/far-sighted people), Waterproof and shockproof.

              Base on your purpose and personal preferences to determine suitable ranges of specs, and find the binoculars have specs fit in these ranges.

              Which Brands Make The Best Binoculars Under $500?

              Vortex Optics

              • 30 years in the optics industry, Vortex is always one of the most stylish brands. They are an American owned, Veteran owned, and Family owned company. They produce lines of scopes, including riflescopes, red dots, and binoculars. They are also well known for the great customer service - an unconditional and unlimited VIP Warranty that can cover a very wide range of problems.

              Upland Optics

              • Upland Optics was founded by hunters and for hunters. Their binoculars are made to be reliable tools for serious hunters when they are deep in the wilderness. Upland Optics has some exceptional hunting binoculars that you need to have a look at.

              Nikon

              • No need to introduce Nikon since they are one of the biggest optics and imaging brands in the world. They headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, and make from binoculars, lenses, to cameras, even microscopes and rifle scopes. You are assured of the best quality when it comes to Nikkon’s products.

              FAQs

              How far can you see with 8x binoculars?

              8x is the magnification power of the binoculars. It'll make an object 8-time closer. A normal person can see something 12 miles far away and understand what it is, so, with 8x binoculars, he can see 96 miles far away! But you wouldn't see so many details.

              Can you see the space station with binoculars?

              Yes, you can. But it is very difficult as the ISS moves so fast through the sky. And you'll need at least 60x binoculars to do so.

              Are there any special features to look out for if I wear glasses?

              You wear eyeglasses, you’ll binoculars with long eye relief distance - at least 15mm. Or if your binoculars have a right eye diopter, you can adjust the sight of each scope individually to fit your eyesight, and you can use the binoculars without eyeglasses.

              Will I need a tripod to my binocular?

              For low magnification binoculars, you don’t need to use a tripod. But when using a high magnification pair (20x), if the binocular doesn’t have image stabilization, you’ll need a tripod.

              How do I clean my binoculars?

              It is a bad idea to rub the lenses as the dust can scratch the glass. First, you need to remove all the dust from the lenses using a lens cleaning brush. You can moisten the tip with water or lens cleaning solution. Then, you can gently rub the lenses with a soft cloth (nonwovens is recommended).

              Conclusion

              Above are my full review of the best binoculars under 500. Hope that the information in this article will help you find the suitable binoculars for you.

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