10 Best High End Binoculars Worth the Money (2020)

A good pair of high end binoculars can be very useful for a multitude of reasons. Without a competent pair, you won’t be able to clearly watch birds, and if you are an outdoor hunter, you especially need to be mindful of your surroundings by having binoculars give you help.

We Recommend

Best for the money

Swarovski EL

Best price/value ratio

Vortex Razor UHD

Best for hunting

Steiner HX

High end binoculars

1. Swarovski 10x42 EL Binocular with FieldPro Package

Paying great attention to detail, the Swarovski EL 10×42 features optimized glass coatings, enhanced lenses and prisms, that guarantee excellent color reproduction at a high transmission level. 

You are guaranteed picture sharpness with the help of a field flattener mechanic that is built into these top of the line binoculars. 

The field flattener enables even the smallest details to appear with razor-sharp clarity in any part of the image. 

Having a magnification of 10x, and an Exit Pupil diameter and distance of 4.9 and 20 millimeters respectively, the EL achieves a great balance between sharpness and field of view for eyeglass wearers.

It also helps that the EL Binoculars provide fluoride-containing High-Density lenses to go along with its innovative optical design, which ensures that there will be less color infringing and a strengthened color fidelity. With these binoculars you are guaranteed significantly better resolution and a higher contrast that consistently performs every time you use the binoculars.

What is also noteworthy is the focusing wheel on these binoculars is both non-slip and solid, which is very user-friendly. When you grip the binoculars, the EL wrap-around grip, an original Swarovski design, you are given great comfort, especially if you use binoculars for long periods.

Check the price of Swarovski 10×42 EL Binocular with FieldPro Package here

What we liked

  • Enhanced lens and prism coatings
  • High-Density lenses help ensure less color infringing and a strengthened color fidelity
  • 20 mm Eye Relief is great for eyeglass wearers 
  • The field flattener enables stunning picture sharpness for even the smallest details
  • Swaroclean makes these binoculars weatherproof

What we didn’t like

  • Don’t have a range finder
  • Sometimes the strap may get disconnected from the binoculars

Aperture: 4.9 mm
Magnification: 10x
Lens coating: Swarotop
Lens diameter: 42 mm
Field of view: 399 feet at 133 yards
Eye relief: 20 mm
Weatherproof: Yes
Weight: 29.5 ounces

2. Vortex Optics Razor UHD Binoculars 10x42

Vortex Razor UHD binoculars provide ultra high definition optical quality and prescription for great image resolution. 

The objective lenses of these binoculars also promote exceptional color fidelity, edge-to-edge sharpness and light transmission. 

These binoculars just meet the right eye relief level at 16.7 millimeters, giving users enough comfortability. 

The lenses are index-matched which correct color across the entire visual spectrum. 

The coatings of these lenses are anti-reflective, which provide maximum light transmission for clarity and sufficient low-light performance.

What sets this pair of binoculars apart from many other pairs is that they give a very impressive field of view range. The Razor UHD Binoculars have a field of view of 420 yards per 8 degrees. The Center Focus mechanic is used along with the diopter to adjust for vision differences in each eye. 

The eyecups can be simply twisted up or down to see the full field of view. The eyecups can be kept fully extended if you don’t wear glasses. These binoculars are also compatible with a tripod adapter, which allows for use on either a tripod or a car window mount.

Check the price of Vortex Optics Razor UHD Binoculars 10×42 here

What we liked

  • Exceptional color fidelity, edge-to-edge sharpness 
  • Meets the ideal eye relief level at 16.7 millimeters
  • Features superior ergonomics while decreasing total weight and bulk in its design
  • Made up of scratch-resistant armortek which protects the lenses from scratches, oil and dirt
  • O-ring seals provide lifetime protection from water and fogproof performance
  • Return policy that lasts a lifetime

What we didn’t like

  • While compatible with a tripod adapter, it requires a converter piece that connects the two devices
  • If you want more eye relief, you may not want to consider these binoculars

Aperture: 4 mm
Magnification: 10x
Lens coating: Scratch-resistant armortek
Lens diameter: 42 mm
Field of view: 420 feet at 1,000 yards
Eye relief: 16.7 mm
Weatherproof: Yes
Weight: 32.2 ounces

3. ZEISS VICTORY SF 10x42 Binoculars

The Zeiss Victory SF is specifically designed for birders and those who appreciate nature. 

The Victory SF Binoculars feature a 10x magnification, which is suitable for a person’s viewing needs. 

Only the most expensive binoculars offer fully multi-coated optics, and products made by Zeiss are no exception. 

You will also be getting extra-low dispersion fluoride lenses, and along with the optics and the phase corrected prisms they work together to create clear and bright images without having any distortion across the entire field of view.

High contrast and resolution enable colors to be accurately represented with these binoculars. The field of view is a wide 65 degree angle which provides expansive views. 

These binoculars have a short Close Focus of 5 feet which ensures that you won’t miss a single detail. Inside the binoculars are compact Schmidt-penchant prisms. 

The physical design of these binoculars is what Zeiss calls a “triple link bridge” design, which means there are three bridges linking the two ocular tubes: one both above and below the focus knob, and a third one down by the objective lenses. The focusing mechanics of these binoculars is very smooth and nearly effortless.

Check the price of ZEISS VICTORY SF 10×42 Binoculars here

What we liked

  • Fully multi-coated lenses deliver a fantastically crisp, clear and bright image
  • “Triple link bridge” design makes these binoculars sturdy and serviceable
  • T* and LotuTec fully multi-coated Optics – weatherproof
  • Focusing mechanics are smooth and nearly effortless
  • Zeiss guarantees a lifetime warranty
  • Very lightweight
  • Interpupillary distance range of 55 to 76 mm (broader than average)

What we didn’t like

  • If you are looking for a greater field of view, consider 8x magnification binoculars instead
  • Diopter mechanism locks, meaning the knob must be popped upward to unlock if for adjusting

Aperture: 4.9 mm
Magnification: 10x
Lens coating: Fully multi-coated
Lens diameter: 42 mm
Field of view: 360 feet at 1,000 yards
Eye relief: 18 mm
Weatherproof: Yes
Weight: 27.5 ounces

4. Leica Noctivid 8x42 Binocular 40386

The Leica Noctvid series has proven to be some of the best rated binoculars on the market. 

This pair of binoculars fits the needs of many wildlife enthusiasts as it is perfect for birding, hunting, or any outdoor activity that requires optical perfection. 

Fairly lightweight at 30.3 ounces, you will have no problem handling these binoculars. 

Considering that this pair has the 8x magnification – great field of view range ,which is 443 feet at 1,000 yards, making this the best long range binoculars on this list.

What sets these binoculars apart is that it was designed to cater to the needs of your eyes. Having a great eye relief of 19 millimeters and a solid exit pupil of 5.2 millimeters, your eyes will get the right amount of comfort. 

Along with the sleek ergonomic body for a physical appearance, these binoculars provide a sharp, high contrast view with the help of High Transmission glasses. 

The texture of the glass is weatherproof, which means you can take these binoculars out in just about any weather condition. A Roof Prism System and a Center Focus System make up the viewing mechanics of these durable and stylish binoculars.

Check the price of Leica Noctivid 8×42 Binocular 40386 here

What we liked

  • Lightweight at 30.3 ounces, which is easy to handle
  • This pair is very eye-friendly with the eye relief and the exit pupil
  • Extremely sharp and birght image
  • Contains a water resistant mark of 5 mm, and has weatherproof glass textures
  • Dimensions are 4.88 x 5.91 x 2.68 in., compact and convenient to take on trips

What we didn’t like

  • Nothing remarkable

Aperture: 5.2 mm
Magnification: 8x
Lens coating: HDC Plus-multicoating, AquaDura
Lens diameter: 42 mm
Field of view: 443 feet at 1,000 yards
Eye relief: 19 mm
Weatherproof: Yes
Weight: 30.3 ounces

5. Swarovski 15x56 SLC Water Proof Roof Prism Binocular

The Swarovski SLC 15×56 features a High Definition optical system that produces an extremely high-contrast image with natural colors and outlines that are convincingly sharp. 

If you are needing to identify even the small critical details of an image when you are hunting at twilight, then these binoculars would be a great choice for you.

These binoculars also feature a Center Focus wheel diopter adjustment mechanic. 

This mechanical focus system enables precise focusing that is quick, and the minimum focus distance of these binoculars is 13 feet. The lenses are specially protected by twist-up eyecups that have 3 click-stop positions. The lenses are also nitrogen-filled for legitimate fogproof and waterproof performance.

Swarotop anti-reflective lens coating, one of the many brilliant Swarovski innovations, reduces the glare of any images and improves the contrast. An Abbe Koenig prism design is used for these binoculars, which maintains a streamlined form-factor without having to sacrifice image quality. 

The physical appearance of these binoculars is unique because it contains rugged materials that are ideal for the tough conditions of activities like hunting. Swarovski also promises an extensive warranty for this product should anything happen to it.

Check the price of Swarovski 15×56 SLC Water Proof Roof Prism Binocular here

What we liked

  • The signature Swarotop anti-reflective lens coating
  • The signature Swaroduescratch-resistant lens surfaces
  • Center Focus wheel and mechanical focus system are easy to use
  • Convenient twist-up eyecups have 3 click-stop positions
  • Stunning light transmission of 93%
  • Impressive 62° apparent viewing range

What we didn’t like

  • Aside from price tag nothing remarkable

Aperture: 3 mm
Magnification: 15x
Lens coating: Swarotop
Lens diameter: 56 mm
Field of view: 234 feet at 78 yards
Eye relief: 16 mm
Weatherproof: Yes
Weight: 43.2 ounces

6. Leica Ultravid 12x50 HD Plus Binoculars

The Leica Ultravid HD provides crystal clear vision with this pair of binoculars that has a 12x magnification. 

The lenses are covered by AquaDura coating, which allows you to clearly see the images you want to view. 

This coating will prevent any weather conditions from penetrating the lenses, so there will be no scratches nor any abrasions. 

The size of these binoculars is pleasantly small and compact at 4.7 x 7.2 x 3.0 inches. The Leica Ultravid Binoculars meet the standards for focusing as internal focusing by way of a central focusing device is included. 

The interpupilary adjustment of these binoculars is a range of 58 to 75 millimeters. These binoculars were designed with a roof prism that comes with a phase correcting coating P40 and Highlux-system HLS. The Ultravid is also mechanically sound because of the automatic diopter compensation it has for the user.

The High-Density optics make a real difference with the Ultravid as extraordinary details will be revealed on objects that are a few hundred meters away. When using these binoculars you can expect there to be a light transmission of around 92%, so you will be assured enough brightness in the images you focus on.

Check the price of Leica Ultravid 12×50 HD Plus Binoculars here

What we liked

  • The deep sculpts set close to the eyepiece give perfect comfort and balance
  • Diopter is very easy to adjust
  • Leica’s AquaDura lens coating makes it weatherproof
  • Watertight to a depth of 5 meters at 16 feet
  • Impressive Twilight Factor of 24.5 
  • Easily removable eyepieces with two 4 click stops

What we didn’t like

  • The 12×50 setup may not be ideal for every occasion

Aperture: 4.2 mm
Magnification: 12x
Lens coating: AquaDura coating
Lens diameter: 50 mm
Field of view: 299 feet at 1000 yards
Eye relief: 13 mm
Weatherproof: Yes
Weight: 36.7 ounces

7. Steiner 398 10 x 50 Military BRF Binocular RF

The Steiner 398 binoculars were made with military forces in mind. 

This is a top choice for military services and tactical units. 

You will notice right away just how powerful these binoculars are as a laser rangefinder is included. 

This laser rangefinder contains a class 1 / eye safe laser and a measuring range of 27 to 1,860 yards on reflective targets. 

Being small and compact in size, these binoculars can be easily connected to a tripod mount. The setup of these binoculars regarding the viewing mechanism would be a floating prism system that has a flexible silicone lens mount.

Along with the floating prism system would be a Sports-Auto Focus system that allows the binoculars to produce razor sharp images from at least 20 yards away. On top of that would be an N2 injection system with 14-psi pressurized dry nitrogen that has been inserted into the optic.

What makes this pair of binoculars unique is the inclusion of a special Scan Mode where users are allowed to measure small or moving targets. This Scan Mode was built into the binoculars to meet military specifications, so you are getting a product that is both advanced and easy to handle.

Check the price of Steiner 398 10 x 50 Military BRF Binocular RF here

What we liked

  • Laser rangefinder
  • Scan Mode to measure small or moving target is included
  • Sports-Auto Focus system for razor sharp images from at least 20 yards
  • N2 injection system with 14-psi pressurized dry nitrogen into the optic
  • Compatible with a tripod mount for more viewing flexibility
  • Compact and ergonomic design

What we didn’t like

  • No rectile
  • Steiner’s warranty for these binoculars doesn’t cover for the rubber armor and eyecups

Aperture: 4 mm
Magnification: 10x
Lens coating: Fully multi-coated
Lens diameter: 50 mm
Field of view: 327 feet at 1,000 yards
Eye relief: 17 mm
Weatherproof: Yes
Weight: 36 ounces

8. Zeiss Victory HT 8x54mm Binoculars

The Zeiss Victory HT provides exceptional light transmission of 95%. 

This value is achieved by the combination of SCHOTT HT glasses, ZEISS T* multi-layer coating and an Abbe-König prism system that ensures maximum brightness. 

That means as a hunter you can enjoy observing your surroundings for long periods of time. 

It takes exactly 1.75 turns of the knob to go from minimum close focus to infinity, which takes some time, but not annoyingly so.  

What this translates to is very precise focusing in the field. The eyecups can be regularly adjusted, clockwise to close them down, counter-clockwise to open them up.

You will also be pleased with the ergonomics. The double-link bridge of these binoculars is embedded with the ComfortFocus Concept, which is a new and improved large focusing wheel. 

Being small and compact in size, these binoculars are easy to handle because of its extremely robust design. Users will be very satisfied with the field of view range this pair possesses as 427 feet at 1,000 yards is sure to keep outdoor enthusiasts engaged with their surroundings.

Check the price of Zeiss Victory HT 8x54mm Binoculars here

What we liked

  • 95% light transmission value is one of the best values in any binocular pair
  • Large focusing wheel and extra long translation
  • Zeiss T* Coating
  • Optimized objective lens diameter for reduced weight, ensuring smooth imaging in any situation
  • Width at an interpupillary distance of 65 mm: 142 mm 

What we didn’t like

  • You have to pull a hidden locking diopter knob up to access the diopter adjustment mechanism
  • These binoculars are not complemented with a lot of accessories

Aperture: 6.7 mm
Magnification: 8x
Lens coating: Fully multi-coated
Lens diameter: 54 mm
Field of view: 427 feet at 1,000 yards
Eye relief: 16 mm
Weatherproof: Yes
Weight: 36.5 ounces

9. Steiner Optics HX Series Binoculars

The Steiner HX Series was specifically built for hunters to enjoy as they are proven to be reliable in all types of weather, including rainfall, snowfall and fog. 

When it comes to performance, Steiner Optics HX delivers with a high-precision roof prism design and a unique Fast-Close-Focus system that only requires minimal rotation for quick and complete sharpness fro close up to infinity.

You are assured of quality optics as this pair incorporates index-matched glass and advanced lens coatings to have the best-in-glass image clarity. 

These binoculars are easier to grip thanks to the updated frame design. These binoculars are built with a Markolon housing, featuring a polycarbonate chassis with NBR Long Life rubber armoring, so they will be able to endure tons of impact.

Though this series doesn’t have 8x magnification, you will have a comfortable maximum interpupillary distance setting of 7.5 centimeters. 

The minimum distance is a little wider than a more compact pair of binoculars, but unless you have a really narrow set of eyes, the central hinge of 6 centimeters should work for most people. 

The gearing on the focus wheel mechanism is smooth as it it takes 2 full turns to move from one extreme setting to the other.

Check the price of Steiner Optics HX Series Binoculars here

What we liked

  • Durable Markolon housing and rubber armoring make up a strong chassis
  • These binoculars have a Twilight Factor of 29
  • Prisms inside the binoculars are dielectrically coated, providing more than 99% of reflectivity
  • Prisms are treated with a Phase Shift correction material
  • Focus wheel requires minimal rotating for quick, complete sharpness of images
  • Has hydrophobic lens coating 
  • Diopter adjustment ring is tight and takes effort to move

What we didn’t like

  • Apart from price tag, nothing remarkable

Aperture: 3.7 mm
Magnification: 15x
Lens coating: Fully multi-coated
Lens diameter: 56 mm
Field of view: 241 feet at 1000 yards
Eye relief: 15.4 mm
Weatherproof: Yes
Weight: 42.3 ounces

10. Leupold BX-5 Santiam HD 15x56mm Binocular

The BX-5 Santiam HD Binoculars feature a open bridge, dual-hinge design that is extremely lightweight and ergonomic, which means it is easy for users to handle. 

The lenses are protected by guard-ion lens coating which sheds water, dirt, and fingerprints for a sharp and clear image. 

This waterproofing technology pioneered by Leupold is designed to endure even the harshest weather conditions.

The Twilight Light Max HD Management System adds much value to these binoculars as it adds up to 30 minutes of extra glassing light at dawn and dusk. Along with advanced prisms, this system ramps up the light transmission and redefines low-light performance.

Your viewing needs will also be met with a friendly eye relief of 18 millimeters. The optical design of these binoculars is superior as it features field-replaceable eyecups, which adds to the eye relief. These eyecups eliminate eye strain for extended viewing that can last all day. 

An extremely smooth central focusing system included in this pair enables you to make fine and seamless adjustments while viewing an image. With this attention paid to detail, you can be assured that you will be getting high end binoculars with this pair.

Check the price of Leupold BX-5 Santiam HD 15x56mm Binocular here

What we liked

  • Eye relief is ideal length for eyeglass wearers
  • Field-replaceable adjustable eyecups will extend the comfortable viewing experience
  • Features an innovative open 
  • Central focusing system is extremely smooth for fine adjustments
  • Guard-ion lens coating makes it waterproof
  • Twilight Light Max HD System adds up to 30 minutes of extra glassing light

What we didn’t like

  • Somewhat heavy

Aperture: 3.7 mm
Magnification: 15x
Lens coating: Fully multi-coated
Lens diameter: 56 mm
Field of view: 231 feet at 1,000 yards
Eye relief: 18 mm
Weatherproof: Yes
Weight: 45 ounces

What do you get for the higher price tag?

Binoculars are an essential tool for outdoor activities, which include birding, but it can be difficult to tell which binoculars to buy on the market. When testing out binoculars, you should take into account factors like clarity, brightness, color rendition, and eye relief. High end binoculars offer the following perks that cheaper models don’t.

  • 7- or 8-power binoculars are bright and have a wide Field of View magnification.
  • Optics with objective lenses larger than 42 millimeters are heavier, more ideal than lightweight models.
  • The most expensive high end binoculars have fully multi-coated lenses.
  • They feature BAK4 prisms, which are superior to the more prominent BAK7 prisms.
  • They have an Exit Pupil of 5.5, which is ideal for those with pupil sizes 5 or greater.

In most cases, the best binoculars money can buy for outdoor enthusiasts would feature 8×42, which is often considered to be the best bird watching binocular size, though anything between 7x and 10x will work. 

General recommendations for top quality binoculars include the Vortex Viper HD, which provides great eye relief of 16-18 millimeters, and the Zeiss Kinsey’s Archery Terra ED, which has multi-coated hydrophobic lenses that ensure great clarity of images.

Are the expensive binoculars worth it?

High end binoculars can be used for many jobs, such as the following;

  • bring wildlife in for a great view from a safe distance
  • help you to see what wildlife is out there to hunt
  • help you participate in activities such as hiking, skiing and water sports
  • help you to observe backyard astronomy at night

People who avidly enjoy viewing wildlife will benefit from the best quality binoculars as they won’t need to get too close to any animals. Hunters benefit from using high end binoculars because they will be better positioned to catch wildlife. 

Hunting is an activity that requires high end optics. Even if you are not interested in viewing wildlife for any reason and you simply enjoy the outdoors, taking binoculars while you go on a hike will keep you visually alert. 

Anyone who is interested in astronomy will likely own a good pair of binoculars, which are a great entry piece for amateurs looking to get a better view of the night sky. 

The value of high end binoculars is long-lasting and they are mainly great for those who regularly view wildlife and who normally have trouble seeing objects from long distances.

What are the most expensive binoculars?

The top binocular brands understand that their products need to be both powerful and adjustable. While you want to be wise with your money, if you want the best high end binoculars, you will have to be willing to buy expensive binoculars. Here are some of the more popular brands.

Zeiss: This brand’s strength is in optics. Movie cameras, medium format film cameras, and digital camera lenses, Zeiss provides outstanding quality.

Swarovski: This brand puts a great emphasis on both the functional and aesthetic designs of their products. Solid mechanics in products like the CL Companion make for reliable optics.

Leica: This brand makes lenses that are practical, compact, and ergonomic. Their products like the Trinvoid-HD are made with reliability, durability, and sustainability in mind.

Steiner: German-engineered to deliver amazing visual quality, this brand makes binoculars suitable for hunting, adventure, marine, tactical and military activities.

Vortex: This brand features products like the Viper HD, which has High-Density extra-low dispersion glass for great edge-to-edge clarity, and low-light-conquering XR anti-reflective coatings.

Leupold: This brand makes binoculars that deliver brightness and edge-to-edge sharpness that will help eliminate glare. They are known for binoculars such as the BX-4 Pro Guide.

How to choose the best high end binoculars?

Looking for the quality binoculars that suit your needs can be confusing at first, so how do you know what to look for? The best binoculars for the money include these features.

High End Focus System: This system enables the binoculars to adjust within a range its mechanics are built for. Close or near focus is the distance between the scope and the nearest object you can focus on while maintaining a good image.

Field of View: The best binoculars for long-distance often have to compromise the field of view to get higher magnification. Recommended magnification levels would be from 7x to 10x.

Quality Glass Coatings: Color aberration can be noticed with refractor scopes, and light transmission can be increased by reducing reflections. You can mostly eliminate this with fully multi-coated glass coatings.

Eye Relief: If you wear glasses, your eye is further away from the spotting scope eyepiece. This means you need a longer eye relief such as 12-15 mm in order to see the entire field of view.

Quality Warranty: You get what you pay for in quality, so make sure you buy binoculars that have a guaranteed warranty of at least 3 years.

Frequently asked questions

What are the most expensive binoculars?

The most expensive binoculars would be the Zeiss Victory SF Binoculars.

Are expensive binoculars worth it?

It depends on your needs and resources. If you want the best binoculars ever, you should be willing to save up the money for quality.

Which is the best binocular?

What is the best brand of binoculars depends on your preferences. Each of these listed brands have their own strengths that appeal to various consumers.

What are the top rated binoculars?

Out of all the listed brands, the Steiner Optics HX Series Binoculars were the top rated binoculars.

What makes Swarovski binoculars so good?

Swarovski binoculars set themselves apart because of its enhanced lens and prism coatings. The best Swarovski binoculars are also those that are unparalleled in ergonomic comfort.

Which Swarovski binoculars are best?

The EL Binoculars are superior to the SLC Series because of the 8.5x magnification and 20 mm eye relief. The EL Binoculars are one of the most expensive binoculars in the world for a reason

What are the best Zeiss binoculars?

If the field of view range is your main concern, then the Zeiss Victory HT Binoculars is your preference. The 95% light transmission these binoculars produce is also hard to ignore.

Who makes the best binoculars for the money?

What is the best binoculars money can buy? It comes down to Zeiss vs. Swarovski binoculars, and the best binoculars for the money would be the Swarovski EL Binoculars because of its 8.5x magnification, its 20 mm eye relief, and High-Density lenses.

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