Which Brand Makes The Best Binoculars? (best manufactures 2023)
There are 100’s of binocular companies who make great optics, but which brands make the best binoculars?
In this guide we will give you our picks for the top companies to choose from and explain some of the key features their binoculars have to offer.
So by the time you finish reading this guide, you will know exactly which manufacturers are worth spending money on, as well as which models in particular make a great investment.
Best Makes Of Binoculars Available In The UK
Whether you like watching: nature, sports, astrology, airplanes or anything else – few of us get to spend as much time as we’d like doing what we enjoy most. And so investing in a pair of binoculars that makes that experience that little bit more enjoyable can really pay off in the long term.
Here are the top companies we recommend you choose from when buying binoculars.
One of, if not the best, euro binocular brands will always be Zeiss. They have been manufacturing binoculars for over 100 years and are one of the most-respected manufacturers of optical equipment.
Based out of Oberkochen (Germany), Zeiss produce binoculars for a wide range of uses, mainly focusing on nature lovers, bird watchers and hikers. Their binoculars are extremely well suited to these activities due to their lightweight, ergonomic designs, plus their popular pocket models make them easy to carry for long periods of time.
Some of the other reasons why Zeiss binoculars are so popular with nature lovers is that they give better visibility during the night and twilight hours, allowing you to see sights you wouldn’t have otherwise been able to see with a regular pair. Plus many models feature sharp focusing, giving you much better image quality, and have an extraordinary ability to reduce colour fringing.
But the main reason why Zeiss come so highly recommended by thousands of people across the world is because there are pairs of Zeiss binoculars being used right now that were purchased decades ago, that are still working as good as they were the day they first bought them. And that level of reliability isn’t common in the world of binoculars.
Zeiss Binoculars Price Range
The price of Zeiss binoculars range anywhere from around £350 – £7,000 depending on the particular model you decide to buy and the company you are buying them from.
Top 3 Zeiss Binoculars Reviewed
With so many great models available on the market, it can be difficult to know which pair is the best for you. So here are our picks for the top 3 binoculars by Zeiss:
Zeiss Terra ED Pocket 8×25 Black Binoculars
A lightweight, robust and affordable pair of binoculars from Zeiss that fit comfortably in your pocket and won’t let you down. This pair of compact binoculars from Zeiss offers a remarkable 88% light transmission, giving you a surprisingly bright image for such a small objective lens diameter. The 8x magnification makes them perfect for any sightseeing/bird watching activities you may be planning to use them for.
Zeiss Victory Pocket 10×25 Binoculars
A versatile pair of binoculars that can be used for a wide range of activities. Whether you’re planning to use them for bird watching, hiking, sports spectating, whale watching, or anything else you may get into in the future – this may be the only pair of binoculars you ever need. They’re small enough to fit comfortably in your pocket, and so lightweight you might not even notice them there. Plus, if you get any dirt or water on them while you’re out in the field, it’ll drip right off, thanks to their LotuTec coating. And what’s more, they also give 91% light transmission, giving you a really bright and clear image, which is very impressive for a 10×25 pair by anyone’s standards.
Zeiss Victory SF 10×42 Binoculars
The Zeiss Victory SmartFocus 10×42 binoculars are well suited to any serious bird watchers/nature lovers due to their versatility and lightweight design. They’re a premium model, which puts them a little more on the expensive side, however the price is certainly worth it when you factor in all the benefits these bring. The SmartFocus design allows you to quickly focus in on moving objects, making it less likely that you miss that special moment. This is due to the fact that they’re designed with a triple link bridge, which means your fingers naturally rest on the focusing wheel. They also feature a very wide field of view (120m / 1000m), which means you won’t miss any slight movement birds make in the bushes. And with a 92% light transmission – you’ll see them clearer than almost anyone else.
Based out of Suffolk (England), Hawke Optics started manufacturing binoculars over 40 years ago as a small family-run business and are now one of the leading companies in sport optics, selling 10,000’s of pairs across over 60 counties.
Popular among: bird watchers, sightseers, hiking enthusiasts, shooters and more – Hawke binoculars have a long track record of designing high quality optics that can be used for a wide range of activities.
Every pair of Hawke binoculars comes backed with their no-fault lifetime warranty, which guarantees they’ll work as good as new for the rest of your life. And if anything ever does go wrong with them (outside of them getting stolen or deliberately damaged etc.), Hawke will fix them free of charge.
Hawke Binoculars Price Range
Hawke Binoculars cost anywhere between £100 to over £700, depending on the retailior that you purchase them from and the specific binoculars you choose.
Top 3 Hawke Binoculars Reviewed
With so many pairs available on the market, it can be hard to know which one to choose – here are our top 3 pairs we recommend you consider if you’re interested in purchasing a pair of Hawke binoculars.
Hawke Nature-Trek 8×32 Binoculars
One of the most affordable pair’s Hawke has to offer is the Nature Trek 8×32, which is a really good, lightweight and robust pair of binoculars that won’t set you back more than £150. They are perfect for a variety of uses, including birdwatching, nature watching, hiking and more. This is because they only weigh around 0.5kg, making them light enough to hold steady for long periods of time. They feature high grip rubber armour, which makes them less likely to slip out of your hands during poor weather conditions. Plus they’re waterproof and fog proof, an absolute must if you’re doing anything outside in the UK. And considering they come in at such a low price, they give an exceptionally sharp image, thanks to their fully multi coated lenses.
Hawke Endurance ED 10×42 Binoculars – Green
Next up we’ve got the Endurance ED 10×42 which is the next level up from Hawke. One of the main things that sets this pair above the previous pair is the inclusion of ED glass, which really reduces chromatic aberration – giving you a nice close-up view, without the colour fringing. They’re a little bit heavier than the last pair we looked at (around 0.7 kg), which is still considered lightweight. But it is worth taking this into account if you’re using them for an activity that requires you holding them up for long periods of time without support. Popular among birders, these binoculars are usually available for less than £300, depending on the stockist.
Hawke Frontier APO 10×42 Binoculars – Green
Finally we’ve got the Frontier APO 10×42, which is the best of the best when it comes to Hawke (and binoculars in general for that matter). They’ve got just about everything you could ever need from a pair of binoculars, making them great for a variety of uses. The dielectric coated prisms and high performance lens coatings give a remarkable level of light transmission – giving you a much brighter image than most other pairs (especially during low light conditions). And when it comes to image quality, it really doesn’t get much better than this. If you can afford the Frontier APO range, you likely won’t regret it.
Based in Kansas (USA), Bushnell have been selling high quality, affordable binoculars across the world for over 70 years. They’re a good name in the industry that are well known for producing durable binos that won’t let you down.
Many people in the UK use Bushnell binoculars, whether it’s for: general sightseeing, bird watching, hiking, boat watching, hunting and more.
Bushnell Binoculars Price Range
It’s hard to beat Bushnell when it comes to value for money. You can literally pick up a pair of binoculars from Bushnell for £200 that other manufacturers would charge £300 for (and no one would complain).
Their entry level pairs start from around £100, rising to about £900 for their high end “Forge” range.
Top 3 Bushnell Binoculars Reviewed
Bushnell make a lot of great quality binoculars, many of which you won’t go wrong with, but it can be difficult to know which ones are the best, so we’ve picked out our top 3 below:
Bushnell Prime 8×42 Binoculars
The Prime 8×42 binocular is the perfect blend of magnification and field of view, allowing easy viewing of moving animals and birds. The EXO Barrier and fully multicoated optics deliver bright images in any weather conditions. On top of that, they’re covered by a our transferable full lifetime Ironclad warranty so you can buy with confidence. Prime binoculars give you the important features you need at a reasonable price. Exclusive EXO Barrier Protection – Bushnell’s…
Bushnell Engage X 10×42 Real Tree Bone Collector Binoculars
The Engage X 10x42mm Binoculars deliver quality glass in a lightweight package. The fully multi-coated optics provide you with a brighter and clearer image at dusk and dawn when you need it most. These binoculars are IPX7 waterproof rated, and have Bushnell’s exclusive molecularly bonded EXO Barrier for a clear image no matter the weather. An adjustable diopter ensures that these binoculars are fully adjustable to meet your eyes needs. The ultra-smooth focus wheel allows…
Bushnell Forge 10×42 Binoculars
The 10X42 in the Forge binocular line defines clarity. With low light performance that rivals even the most respected optics brands, this binocular features ED Prime glass, PC3 phase and dielectric coated BaK 4 prisms, Ultrawide Band anti-reflective coatings, and Bushnell’s exclusive EXO Barrier technology. With a split bridge design and waterproof construction, this binocular is designed for use in extreme conditions and yields extreme results. Exclusive EXO Barrier Protection – Bushnell’s newest and best…
SIG Sauer Binoculars
Though not as popular among the average bird watcher, SIG Sauer binoculars are incredibly popular among the hunters, archers, military and US law enforcement.
Their famous tactical design, lightweight body and high quality glass makes them great for a variety of outdoor uses, including birdwatching. This is because of the deflection armour trapezoidal surfacing, which breaks up the shape and visibility of the binoculars – making you less visible or likely to startle the birds you’re watching.
SIG Sauer Binoculars Price Range
SIG Sauer Binoculars can cost anywhere between £300 to over £1,500. This will depend on the shop that you’re buying them from, as well as the specific model you’re looking at buying.
Top 3 SIG Sauer Binoculars Reviewed
You can’t go wrong with a good pair of SIG Sauer bins, but with so much choice, it’s hard to know which ones are the best. So below we’ve picked out our top 3:
SIG Sauer ZULU3 8×32 Binoculars
Good things come in small packages and this compact, lightweight ZULU3 is loaded with features that deliver. These open-hinged binoculars feature low dispersion glass that offers maximized clarity and color. Our silver deposition phase-coated BAK4 prisms create unmatched resolution and image contrast. Holding your bow or rifle in one hand while glassing the countryside is easy because our ZULU3 is easy to hold and focus with one hand. The compact ZULU3 will fit in your…
SIG Sauer ZULU5 10×42 Open Bridge Binoculars
Created to meet the demanding requirements of professional hunters and guides around the world, the ZULU5 10x42mm provides rugged reliability in the field in all weather conditions while delivering razor-sharp resolution and superior light transmission across the entire colour spectrum. High definition HD glass offers superior clarity and colour correctness. Lightweight and durable magnesium body makes the ergonomic ZULU5 10x42mm ideal for extended use in the field. Lightweight and durable magnesium alloy body Broadband fully…
SIG Sauer ZULU9 9×45 Binoculars
Next to a zeroed rifle, a clear and bright pair of binoculars is the best piece of gear you can have. The ZULU9 combines superior optical performance with in-the-field utility. High quality glass, fully multi-coated Spectracoat lenses, and phase-coated Abbe-Konig prisms provide maximum brightness, contrast and crisp resolution. The ZULU9 performs in the harshest conditions, giving unmatched performance in inclement weather or rugged terrain. ZULU9 barrels are nitrogen-filled and will not fog in cold, wet…
What To Look For When Buying Binoculars
Now that we’ve established the good binocular brands you should be considering, we are going to now look at some of the key factors to consider when deciding which binoculars to buy.
The brand name is important as it can often indicate quality, however there are many other attributes to take into account before you make the purchase, such as the following:
One of the most important things to consider when buying binoculars is their magnification, as this will have a larger impact on your experience than most other attributes.
If the magnification is too high, you’ll likely have a small field of view and a shaky image. Whereas if the magnification is too low, you’ll likely not be able to see the object in as much detail as you’d like.
For bird watching, it is commonly advised that you purchase a pair with between 7 – 10x magnification, as this is enough to get a close up view of the birds, without the shaky image.
Tip: the binoculars’ magnification is usually displayed in the product title, for example the “Hawke Nature-Trek 8×32” has 8 times magnification, as seen by the 8x towards the end of the product name.
An often overlooked attribute of binoculars is their overall weight, as it often seems a more trivial aspect when initially purchasing. However it’s worth taking some time to think about how long you intend to use them for in any given period.
That extra 100g of product weight might not seem like a big deal, but it can be if you’re holding them up to your face for 2-4 hours consistently. With that being said, if you’re intending to use them with a tripod, you might not need to worry too much about the weight.
Field Of View
The field of view (also known as FoV) deterns how wide you can see through your binoculars. It is usually displayed as something like this: “120m @ 1000m“ in the product specifications.
“120m @ 1000m”, as a field of view, basically means that you’ll be able to see 120m across at 1,000m away. So if the FoV is too small, it can make it harder to see all of the birds you’re trying to see at one time.
Some of the cheaper pairs of binoculars don’t come waterproofed as standard. This might not be such a problem in the countries they were made in, but in the UK, this can be a serious problem.
It’s quite uncommon to spend any long period of time outside birding and not get rained on for at least a few minutes, so waterproof binoculars are an absolute must if you’re intending to use them outdoors in Britain.
Finally, a good indicator of reliability is a solid warranty. If the manufacturer or shop you’re buying from offers a decent warranty, you can expect to get a decent pair of binoculars.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best makers of binoculars are Zeiss, Hawke, Bushnell and SIG Sauer.
The best brands of binoculars for hunting are Hawke, SIG Sauer and Bushnell. All 3 of these are very well respected across the world by many thousands of hunters.
The best brands of binoculars for bird watching are Zeiss, Hawke, Bushnell and SIG Sauer.