Looking for the best cheap binoculars?
I've advised in my binocular reviews throughout this site of not getting too cheap binoculars which would include most under $100 for several reasons.
Typically anything under $50 is going to be so cheaply made with inferior glass and mechanisms that you'd be better looking at something with your bare eye.
Because you'll get frustrated with trying to find and focus on the object and the resulting magnification from those cheap binoculars won't help much or be an advantage.
This would be especially true with birdwatching, but also any type of wildlife watching in my opinion.
That being said, I'll give you some suggestions below for the best budget binoculars under $50 if that is all your budget allows.
We have reviewed below the best cheap binoculars into price categories:
Again, I don't recommend getting binoculars this cheap, but if it's all you'll budget allows, then here are a few that I recommend, but don't expect too much out of these.
They will magnify, but the image will not be as clear and bright as in more expensive binoculars with better optics.
If you do a lot of birding in forests where you are searching for birds moving about in trees, I would not recommend binoculars in this category.
It will be more difficult to locate the birds through these and in a shaded enviroment under the forest canopy where there is less light, these cheap binoculars will make it more challenging to identify birds.
The Celestron UpClose binoculars come in several magnifications (7x35, 8x40, 10x50, 20x50).
I would recommend the 8x40 for the ideal combination of magnification and field of view in a cheap pair of binoculars.
These are porro prism binoculars with multi-coated BK-7 prism glass and rubber armoring which is pretty good for binoculars under $50.
Spending more than $50 but less than $100 will certainly be a step up in quality, especially in the prisms and lenses.
Nikon Aculon Binoculars come in 7x35, 8x42, 7x50, 10x42, 10x50, and 16x50.
For birding and wildlife watching, we recommend either the 8x42 or 10x50 (which will be heavier, but better than the 10x42 for a wider field of view (FOV), and more light gathering capacity with the larger objective lens size.
Notable features on the Aculons are the Aspherical Multicoated Eco-Glass Lenses and easy-positioning turn and slide rubber eyecups.
The Celestron Outland X 8x42 binoculars just missed the under $50 category (~$60) but for a little more you get a pair of fogproof and waterproof binoculars with multi-coated optics. Their optics will be a little inferior to the Aspherical glass in the Aculons.
I think if you are on the fence and can afford something slightly over $100 then this is when it will be worth it and when the quality of the optics start to improve over binoculars that are under $100.
The Celestron Nature DX is a great deal for under $150 with features such as BaK prisms, fully multi-coated lenses, and a fogproof/waterproof design.
I recommend the 8x42 for the wide FOV at 344 feet, but the 10x42 is also a good choice if you prefer more magnification. They also come in two compact sizes at 8x32 and 10x32.
The Bushnell Trophy Binoculars share the same features with the Celestrons, but are slightly cheaper. Bushnell also has their 100% Bulletproof Guarantee.
Also, check out our Nikon Action Binoculars page which includes several top picks under $150 and our best pick for economy birdwatching binoculars
If you can afford it, this would be the best you can get for your money in the budget category. Better optics, better housing, focus knob, eye cups, etc..
The Nikon Prosaff 7S Binoculars comes in 8x42 and 10x42 as well as in the compact sizes of 8x30 and 10x30.
Features fully multicoated eco-glass lenses and phase-correction coated roof prisms minimizes the loss of light due to reflection, thereby ensuring a more natural, clearer view.
Also features a waterproof/fogproof, rubber armored body.
Celestron Nature DX ED - These are an upgraded version of the same Celestron's listed above in the under $150 category which includes extra low dispersion (ED) glass.
The ED glass eliminates color fringing, providing you with true color sharper images of birds and other wildlife.
The Celestron's were also Audubon's pick for best cheap binoculars for bird watching in this category.
More reviews here:
Best Compact Binoculars (Mini)
These Steiner's are lightweight and small for travel on a safari, yet exceptional wide field of view for a compact binocular.
These Bushnell's are great for hunting - fogproof/waterproof and great in low-light such as at dawn and dusk.
The Celestron SkyMaster 20x80 Binoculars are a great choice of a high power binocular for stargazing at an affordable price.
Note: Going cheap in the Night Vision category can lead to disappointment but the Creative XP binoculars aren't a bad choice if you're budget is tight.
Also, click here for more of the Best Night Vision Binoculars (Infrared) reviews.
You don't have to spend thousands of dollars on a pair of Swarovskis, Zeiss, Leicas, etc...but you should choose just as wisely when buying a pair of budget binoculars.
Of course if you can spend up to $200, either the Nikon Prostaff 7S or Celestron Nature DX ED would be your best choice, but if you can't spend more than $50, then give the Celestron UpClose G2 a try.
Getting the tiniest little thing repaired on the most expensive binoculars will cost more than it costs to buy a perfectly workable brand new pair of cheap binoculars. - Joey Slinger (Down and Dirty Birding).
And you don't have to worry so much when you drop, bang, ding, or accidentally drive over your binoculars like you would with a pair of $2,000 Swarovski, Leica, Zeiss, etc.. :-)
Bird Watching Binoculars, Squirrel-Proof Feeder & Hummingbird Feeder
Read Our Reviews:
Nikon Monarch M5
Best mid-priced bird watching binoculars. Waterproof, shockproof, multi-coated ED-Glass.
No batteries, adjustable, easy to clean...and no squirrels!
"Best New Product" Award.
Best Hummingbird Feeder
Drip-Free, Ant-moat, Durable, Easy to Fill and Clean.
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