The Best Binoculars Under 300 Dollars: A Complete Guide

Binoculars don’t have to be an expensive investment.  You can spend less than 300 dollars and still get a quality pair.

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed and aren’t sure where to start, this is the guide is for you! I’m going to take you through everything you need to consider when looking for the best binoculars under $300.

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Complete Guide to the Best Binoculars for Less Than $300
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There are so many great options out there so we’ve put them all in one easy to digest article. On top of that, we’ll even talk about all the features you should consider and explain some of the technical jargon you might hear being thrown around.

So, whether you want the best 10×42 binoculars under $300, best 8×32 binoculars under $300 or even have no idea what any of that means – I’m here to help!

Our Pick for the Best Binoculars Under 300 Dollars

What Are the Best Binoculars Under 300 Dollars? 

Our pick for the best rated binoculars under $300 has to be the Vortex Diamondback 10x42s. They give 10 times magnification but they still have a great 330 feet field of vision and the HD optical system gives a super sharp image and great resolution.

See the Vortex Diamondback 10x42s binoculars on Amazon HERE

See the Vortex Diamondback 10×42 binoculars on REI HERE

Best Binoculars under $300 Comparison Chart

Here’s a quick comparison of all the best $300 binoculars or cheaper reviewed in this article. It highlights key features of each pair of binoculars and key benefits of each product listed.

If you are reading this on a mobile device, you might need to swipe to scroll across to see all the details of the best binos under 300 dollars.

NameImageStrengthRating (/ 5)Price
Diamondback HD


10x424.8CHECK NOW


10x424.7CHECK NOW
Prostaff P7


10x424.7CHECK NOW
Karma PRO


8x324.3CHECK NOW
Diamondback HD


8x324.8CHECK NOW
Nature DX


8x324.7CHECK NOW
Aculon A211


8x424.7CHECK NOW
Monarch 5


8x424.8CHECK NOW
Outland X


8x424.5CHECK NOW
Diamondback HD


10x504.8CHECK NOW
Roof Prism


10x424.5CHECK NOW


10x424.7CHECK NOW

Do You Need Porro or Roof Prism Binoculars?

There are two main types of binoculars – porro prism and roof prism. One is not really better than the other, but each is better suited to particular activities.

Porro Prisms

Porro prism binoculars have been around since the 19th century and are still commonly used today. They have a zigzag shape to them since this is how the light must travel to reach your eye.  The shape usually makes them bigger and heavier than the alternative roof prism design.

Porro prisms typically give you a clearer image and larger field of vision than other binocular types. They’re perfect for shorter range viewing. Porro prisms are the simplest binoculars to make and therefore the cheapest. 

Roof Prisms

Roof prisms are a newer design of binoculars. The light doesn’t need to travel in a zigzag shape in this design, which means the design can be more compact, lighter, and streamlined. Many prefer this variety because they’re easier to carry around than porro binoculars.

Roof prism binoculars are more expensive to make because of their more complex internal configuration. The difference in how the light travels through these binoculars means that they allow for a much higher degree of magnification and a brighter perceived image.

Binoculars Buying Guide: What You Need To Know

Read our binoculars buying guide to learn everything you need to know about binoculars including all about that technical jargon.

Magnification and lens size

Binoculars list their magnification properties using a set of numbers e.g. 7×35 or 8×40. The first number is the strength i.e. how much closer the object will appear in comparison to the naked eye. 

The second number indicates the size of the lens in millimeters. The size of lens will affect how much light can enter — the higher the number, the more light that can enter, and therefore the brighter the image and better viewing, but the bulkier the binoculars. If you need a compact pair of binoculars, opt for a smaller lens.

Exit pupil

Exit pupil refers to the size of the circumference of light that is visible when you hold the binoculars a short way from your eye. You can calculate the exit pupil size by dividing the objective lens size by the magnification of the binoculars. For example, a pair of 7×35 binoculars would have an exit pupil size of 5mm. 

You should aim for the exit pupil size to be around the same size as your pupil when looking through the lens. Remember that when we are in dim light our pupils expand and vice versa. Therefore, you should first determine what the light conditions are likely to be when you’re using your binoculars. If you want to use binoculars in low light, look for a pair with a 5-7 exit pupil size. 

Field of view

Field of view refers to the size of an area that can be viewed through the binoculars. If two trees are at either peripherals, and the trees are 400 ft apart, the field of view of the binoculars would be 400 ft. Usually, higher powered binoculars will give you a smaller field of view and vice versa. A good field of view for birding is around 390 feet and up.

Material & build quality

Many modern binoculars are made from aluminum, but a few use other materials such as a magnesium alloy. The material is then coated with silicon or gutta percha. The lenses and prisms are made from glass and all good quality pairs will be coated with an anti reflective material.

Types of Binoculars

Night vision binoculars

Night vision binoculars allow you to see in the dark (obviously!) They work because objects, including the ground, buildings, trees, animals and humans, give off heat in the form of infrared light. Night vision goggles pick up this infrared light allowing you to see what would usually be invisible to us. If you need to see in the dark, night vision goggles are for you.

Compact binoculars

You may choose to purchase a pair of compact binoculars if size is a concern to you. For example, if you will be walking a long distance, have limited space in your bag, or wish children to be able to hold the binoculars, large, heavy binoculars may not be suitable. Roof prism binoculars are generally smaller and lighter than porro prisms.

Long range binoculars

If you need to be able to see far, far into the distance, you need long range binoculars. Look for binoculars with at least a 10x magnification. Very long range binoculars are generally not suitable for bird watchers because the field of view is limited and this makes watching birds in flight difficult.

Birding binoculars

Most birders go for a 7 to 10 power magnification pair of binoculars since these have a wide enough field of view to see birds in flight and give a bright image, making locating the birds easier. 

FAQs when buying binoculars

Who makes the best binoculars?

If you wish to purchase the absolute best of the best binoculars and are willing to pay a premium price for the privilege, you should look at the following brands: Leica, Swarovski, and Zeiss. If forking out a small fortune doesn’t appeal to you, some of the best budget brands include Celestron, Nikon, and Bushnell.

What is the best type of binoculars to buy?

It depends – what will you be doing with your binoculars? If you’re going to be using your binoculars outside then a waterproof model is a safe bet. If you wish to use them in low light, look for binoculars that are designed for this. Go for roof prism optics if you want a smaller and lighter pair of binoculars. Choose porro prisms if you wish to have a super clear image with good contrast.

Are Swarovski binoculars worth the money?

For many happy Swarovski customers, they are absolutely worth the money. Swarovski binoculars are like the Ferraris of the binocular world. They are the most premium brand on the market, and come with a premium pricetag too.

If you’re simply looking for a nice pair of binoculars to use occasionally for birding etc. you should probably avoid letting your bank account take such a big hit. If you need the absolute clearest, vivid, and brightest image and are keen to make a big investment in binoculars, then Swarovski could be for you.

What are the best 10×42 binoculars under $300?

Summary of 10×42:

  • Magnification is 10 times closer
  • Lens size is 42 mm >> lets in light, but bulkier (less bulky than 50)
  • Exit pupil is 4.2

Vortex Diamondback HD 10 x 42 (Best binoculars – 10×42 Category)

These roof prisms from Vortex are fantastic quality, multifunctional binoculars. It’s no surprise these are some of the best rated 10×42 binoculars on the market! They magnify up to 10x but still have a great field of vision (330 feet). You can use these for a range of different activities including birdwatching.

These binoculars have an HD optical system – this means you get amazing resolution, color fidelity, edge to edge sharpness, light transmission, and reduced chromatic aberration. The lenses are coated with ArmorTek branded coating to avoid glare, as well as scratches, oil and dirt.

They have adjustable eyecups which can twist up or down, allowing you to use the binoculars with glasses. They come with a case which fastens around your body – much better than carrying around your neck all day. The lens caps are attached to the binoculars so you won’t lose them.

The best thing is, Vortex gives you a lifetime warranty!

These are our pick for the best 10×42 binoculars under 300 dollars.


  • Multifunctional
  • HD optical system
  • Comes with a case/waist harness
  • Lifetime warranty


  • Vortex isn’t the cheapest brand on the market (but they are good quality)

Read additional reviews for the Vortex Diamondback HD 10 x 42binoculars HERE

Bushnell Trophy Roof Binoculars

These binoculars are porro prism binoculars which prioritizes light transmission, clarity, and durability. They are also 100% water and fogproof.

They have 10x zoom and a 325 feet field of view. You get both a neck strap and body harness with these – ideal for if you’re out stalking for a long time. The lens caps are attached so no worries about them getting lost.

You get a lifetime warranty against defects with these binoculars, so you know you’re getting quality you can trust.


  • Professional grade hunting binoculars
  • 100% water and fogproof
  • Comes with neck strap AND harness
  • Lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects


  • Field of view a bit short of ideal for birdwatching

Read additional reviews for the Bushnell Trophy Roof binoculars HERE

Nikon Prostaff 7S 10 x 42

These Nikon roof prism binoculars are designed to be used on boats and for wildlife watching – they provide a steady view which will help to minimize any shakiness. The field of view is 367 feet. This is a bit short of what most birdwatchers consider ideal, but they can still be used for this purpose. 

The body uses durable fiberglass reinforced polycarbonate resin which is also incredibly lightweight. These binoculars are shock resistant and shouldn’t break if dropped. You can use them if you wear glasses because of their turn and slide eyecups and long eye relief design.


  • Steady view – great for use on boats
  • Lightweight and durable fiberglass design
  • Shock resistant


  • Field of view a bit short of ideal for birdwatching

Read additional reviews for the Nikon Prostaff 7S 10 x 42binoculars HERE

What are the best 8×32 binoculars under $300?

Summary of 8×32

  • Magnification is 8 times closer
  • Lens size is 32 mm >> lets in less light, but is more compact, so the best compact binoculars under 300 dollars are in this category
  • Exit pupil is 4

Levenhuk Karma PRO 8×32 Compact

These roof prism binoculars by Levenhuk have a wide field of view (388 feet) making them a good fit for birdwatchers. The view is crisp and colorful. These binoculars are a compact size, as well as lightweight – a good choice to save space/cut down on baggage weight. 

They are 100% waterproof so no worries if you get caught out in a downpour. You can even submerge them in water of up to a meter for 30 minutes. Along with the binoculars you get a strap, cleaning wipe, and a pouch.


  • Wide field of view – great for birdwatching
  • 100% waterproof
  • Compact


  • Magnification not suitable for super far distances

Read additional reviews for the Levenhuk Karma PRO 8×32 Compact binoculars HERE

Vortex Optics Diamondback HD

These roof prisms from Vortex are super compact and offer superb quality. They have HD optics meaning you can view with exceptional resolution, cut chromatic aberration, color fidelity, sharpness and light transmission. You get a fantastically wide field of view with these binoculars (426 feet).

The eyecups twist up or down so you can still use these if you wear glasses. You can use these binoculars along with a tripod to provide superior stabilization, and they can also be mounted to a car window. The lenses use a top quality, multi-layer coating which significantly increases the transmission of light, so you get a brighter, accurate, and clear image. 

The coating is also anti reflective as well as protective against scratches, oil, and dirt. They are 100% water and fog proof. These come with a neck strap but you’ll need to purchase a harness separately if you need one.


  • HD optics
  • Twistable eye cups
  • 100% water and fogproof
  • Compatible with tripod or window mount


Read additional reviews for the Vortex Optics Diamondback HD binoculars HERE

Celestron 71330 Nature DX 8×32

These Celestron porro prisms are designed to be multi purpose yet effective binoculars. They have an 8x zoom, meaning they can be used for birdwatching and other mid range viewing activities. These binoculars are compact, sturdy and inexpensive.

They’re completely waterproof and the lenses are multi coated to ensure you get bright, properly contrasted, and high resolution images. These binoculars have a 6.5 ft close focus function, perfect for birding in the garden. The field of view is 388 feet making them a good fit for birders and or sport matches.

You can twist the eyecups up and down to accommodate eye glasses. Included along with these binoculars you get a compact carrying case, an eyepiece rain guard, a neck strap, and a lens cloth. You get a limited lifetime warranty as well as free access to support from technical experts with your purchase.


  • Multipurpose and great for beginners
  • 6.5 foot close focus function
  • Wide field of view
  • Lifetime warranty


  • Not suitable for super long range viewing

Read additional reviews for the Celestron 71330 Nature DX 8×32 binoculars HERE

What are the best 8×42 binoculars under $300?

Summary of 8×42

  • Magnification is 8 times closer
  • Lens size is 42 mm >> lets in light, but bulkier
  • Exit pupil is 5.2.  This is good for low light conditions, so these options are good if you’re looking for the best night vision binoculars under $300

Nikon Aculon A211 8 x 42

For such good value, these binoculars deliver fantastic quality. You can use these even in low light (dawn & dusk) since they have an objective lens diameter of 42mm. You can twist the eyecups so that you can still comfortably use these even if you wear glasses. They have a super wide field of view (420 feet) meaning you can easily spot and track birds or sports players.

They use a multi coating with anti reflective properties so you get the best brightness, sharpness and resolution. They come equipped with a shock resistant rubber armor which will help protect the binoculars from any accidental drops.


  • Great value
  • Low light viewing
  • Use with glasses
  • Shock resistant


  • Not suitable for super long range viewing

Read additional reviews for the Nikon Aculon A211 8 x 42binoculars HERE

Nikon Monarch 5 8 x 42 Waterproof Binoculars

These roof prisms from Nikon do a superb job at keeping the colors looking vibrant but natural when viewing. The image is also sharp and bright. The design of these is super slimline and not heavy at all. They are perfect for birdwatching or other mid-range activities. The field of view is 330 feet.

The lenses and prisms are eco friendly since they are free of lead and arsenic. The exterior armor uses rubber to prevent damage from drops, as well as keep the binoculars grippy when used with wet hands. They’re also completely water and fogproof – they can even be submerged in water for up to 10 mins. The focus wheel is designed in a clever way so as not to be fiddly when wearing gloves.

The eyecups for these binoculars can be turned and slid to allow for glasses wearers.


  • Slim, lightweight design
  • Shock resistant
  • Water and fogproof – can be submerged in water
  • Large focus wheel – can be used with gloves


  • Not suitable for super long range viewing

Read additional reviews for the Nikon Monarch 5 8 x 42 Waterproof binoculars HERE

Celestron – Outland X 8×42

These binoculars are designed for rugged use — take them anywhere since they’re sealed with dry nitrogen to prevent water and/or fog getting in. The rubber exterior provides you with great grip even if you’re out in the rain. If you wear glasses, just twist the eyecups to view comfortably. You can also use the large focusing knobs whilst wearing gloves. The field of view is 330 feet.

These binoculars use multi coated optics which allow the viewer to see in a super crisp resolution with high contrast and enhanced color fidelity. They’re also fantastically good value! You’ll get a limited lifetime warranty and unlimited access to technical support with your purchase, so you have complete peace of mind with your investment. 


  • HD optics
  • Water and fogproof
  • Twistable eyecups — use with glasses
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Amazing price!


  • Not suitable for super long-range viewing

Read additional reviews for the Celestron – Outland X 8x42binoculars HERE

What are the best birding binoculars under $300?

Vortex Diamondback HD 10 x 50

These binoculars from trusted Vortex are roof prisms and have a super slimline design, as well as being lightweight since they use a magnesium alloy carbonate. They have a 315 feet wide field of view, meaning you get a good combination of magnification and view This makes them a great pair of binoculars for birding since you can see detail but also locate and track birds with ease, even during flight.

The HD optics system gives you brilliant resolution, color fidelity, edge to edge sharpness, light transmission and reduced chromatic aberration — everything just looks superb through these binoculars. The exterior uses a rubber armor which works to prevent damage from accidental knocks and drops, whilst also making the binoculars easy to hold even in wet weather. They are of course completely water and fogproof. 

You can use these binoculars with a tripod or car window mount too. Included along with these is a harness so you don’t strain your neck on long birding days. You also get a rain guard for the eyepieces included too, and they use tethered lens covers so you don’t have to worry about them getting lost.

As with all Vortex binoculars you get a lifetime warranty. If you go for these you’re definitely getting some of the best birding binoculars under 300 dollars.

If you’re looking for the best 12×50 binoculars under 300 dollars, they also come in that size.


  • HD optics
  • Wide field of view – 315 feet
  • Use with a tripod/car window mount (not included)
  • Comes with a body harness


  • Not the cheapest option (but the quality is good for the price)

Read additional reviews for the Vortex Diamondback HD 10 x 50binoculars HERE

Gosky 10×42 Roof Prism Binoculars

These binoculars have been made with birding in mind. The field of view of 307 feet is enough to spot birds and keep them in view during flight. You can use these binoculars for countless other activities too such as watching stage plays, concerts, sports games and more. Perhaps the best thing about these is the price — such a great bargain!

They use a 42mm exit pupil so you can view even when there’s low light, such as at dawn and dusk. The multi-layer coating makes for a brighter, clearer and crisper image.

These binoculars are super tough and protected by a shock absorbing armor just in case of accidental drops.

With these binoculars you get a smartphone compatible mount – use with iPhone 11, 11 Pro, Xs, X, 8p, 8, 7p, 7, 6, 6p, Samsung S10/S10p, S9/S9p, S8/S8 Edge, S6/S6 Edge, Note, LG, HTC,Sony, and more. Also included is a case, cloth, and neck strap. You get a lifetime warranty with your purchase as well as a full money back and replacement guarantee if you’re not satisfied, so you really have nothing to lose!


  • Multipurpose
  • Use with low light
  • Includes mount to be used with smartphones
  • Lifetime guarantee


  • The iphone function can be a little confusing at first

Read additional reviews for the Gosky 10×42 Roof Prism binoculars HERE

Bushnell Legend L-Series 10×42

These are a slimline pair of binoculars but they offer superb functionality – 10x zoom and a field of view of 340 feet means you can see far but also wide. If you’re looking for binoculars perfect for birding these could be the ones.

The lenses are coated with a technologically advanced hydrophobic and oleophobic lens coating – it keeps water, fog and oil off the lenses. Plus water droplets that get onto the lenses will shrink to form smaller droplets – this prevents the droplets from scattering too much light, which would ruin the image.

The attainable brightness and clarity are just fantastic with these binoculars due to the optics coating which ensures 92% light transmission and accurate color vividness. With the binoculars you get a neck strap and case.


  • Wide field of view – 340 feet
  • State of the art lens coating – prevents water droplets
  • Bright image


  • The rubber eyecups can sometimes detach too easily

Read additional reviews for the Bushnell Legend L-Series 10x42binoculars HERE

Which are the Best Binoculars Under $300 for You?

As always, we have only included the binoculars in this price range that we found to be the best.  If you’re searching for the best binoculars for the money, then you’re in the right place.  You can click on each link to read additional reviews for each option.

The top binoculars for you will clearly vary according to what you need them for, but we aim for this guide to give you a helping hand, saving you time and money in making the right choice of binoculars that balance quality and price. 

Whatever you are looking at, have an amazing time!

Do you have any other binoculars under $300 that you highly recommend?  Join my private Facebook group National Parks Collectors and comment and let me know.

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Complete Guide to the Best Binoculars for Less Than $300
The Best Binoculars Under $300_ Reviews and Recommendations

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About the Reviewer

James Ian Yosemite

James Ian is a national park, camping and hiking expert.

He has dedicated his life to travel, visiting more than 80 countries, all 7 continents and all of the main national parks in the United States. With over 35 years experience in the travel industry, James has worked on cruise ships, at resorts and hotels, and as a travel planner who’s helped hundreds of people plan successful trips to US national parks. 

Based on his experience visiting our national parks multiple times, in-depth research and expertise as a travel planner, James has published detailed itineraries for most of the major national parks in the US. These itineraries, as well as in-depth park guides, comprehensive camping and hiking gear reviews and buying guides, and helpful packing lists and gift guides will help you have your own incredible trip to US national parks without stress and hassle.

As a national park expert, James has contributed to many publications, including Time Business News, Savoteur, Best Trip, and Wired.

Read more…

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