How to Choose Binoculars for Hunting

Binoculars are a great addition to anyone’s gear when it comes to hunting. In fact, most hunters have binoculars in their arsenal. If you have never bought them before though, knowing how to choose binoculars for hunting may not be familiar ground for you.

Before getting started in your search for the perfect binoculars, you need to figure out a couple of things.

  1. Budget. You will want to figure out how much you are willing to spend. There is no point looking at certain binoculars and getting hung up on one, if you simply do not have the money for it. Choose a breaking point before getting started.
  2. Needs. Make a list of MUST HAVES you want to get from your binoculars. What are things you NEED you to get out of them.
  3. Wants. This list could be things you would like to get out of your binoculars, but are not necessarily required. Create a list of features that in a perfect world you would have. You may get them, you may not.

Note: You may need to do some basic research to get a feel of your wants and needs. If you are very new to binoculars you may not even know what is out there for you to need and want. When choosing binoculars for hunting creating a list of needs and wants that come up as you research is a great idea.

Remember, like with anything knowledge is power. The more you know on a topic the more informed and smarter decisions you can make. Be sure to to do your research. This article is meant to help guide you in the right direction and give you knowledge on how to choose binoculars for hunting that are best for you.

When it comes to how to choose binoculars for hunting, you will want to start by looking at some basic features. Knowing the basic features will making knowing how to pick binoculars for hunting easier. You will need to decide exactly what you need from each of these features.

Basic Features Of Binoculars

  1. Magnification
  2. Objective Size
  3. Field of View
  4. Lens Coating
  5. Eye Relief

These features are important for you to consider when choosing the right pair of binoculars for you. Below we will explore in detail these features and what they are all about.


When you are looking at binocular specs you will often see something like “8×40”. The first number, in this case the 8, represents the magnification. Just because you can get binoculars with a higher magnification does not mean they are better, or that you need them. This is a common mistake among hunters. The more magnification you get, the less of a steady image you will get as well. There is a point where you do not want to sacrifice clarity for magnification.

Somewhere between a 7x to 10x magnification is good magnification for hunters. If you need more magnification than that you might want to consider a scope for those distances.

Objective Size

Whereas the first number in the “8×40” example above is the magnification, the second number – in this case the 40 – represents the objective size. The higher the objective size, the more details you will be able to make out while viewing.

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when looking at objective size:

  1. Anything below 30 will make it hard to see details at night or low light settings
  2. Most animals are active during the evening hours, when light is not as good. Hunters will prefer choosing an objective size that will allow them to see clearly during these low light hours. Objective lenses between 40 and 50 what most hunters will go for when choosing a binocular.
  3. The higher the number, the heavier the lens. If you want less weight, you may need a lower objective size. Just remember, a low objective size will limit your viewing clarity.

Field of View

Field of view refers to the amount of area you will be able to see through your binoculars. Larger field of views allow you to track fast moving game much easier than small field of views.

The larger the magnification, the smaller the field of view. The smaller the magnification, the larger field of view. You will have to find the right balance between magnification and field of view when making a binocular selection.

Lens Coating

Different binoculars will have different lens coatings. Lens coating are a special chemical that companies put on the lens of the binocular to help reduce glare, yet keep images as clear as possible. There are several different types of lens coatings. Your binoculars could have partial coating, full coating, or multiple coatings.

The better the lens is coated, the better you can see through your binoculars. Binoculars that have better coating work well in low light settings. Depending on when you plan on hunting, will depend on the degree of lens coating you need.

Eye Relief

Eye relief is the distance your eyes can be from your binoculars and still make out the entire image. This is something that people who wear glasses should really look into.

If you wear glasses of any sort you are going to want binoculars with a greater eye relief, since your eye is not as close to the binoculars, then if you had no glasses.

Features You May WANT To Consider

In addition to these basic features there are a lot of other things you can look at when choosing binoculars. These other features will often fall under the WANT category we will discussing above. Many hunters will swear by some of them, while others will think they are not as important. A lot of it comes down to preference and what is important to you.

Other Popular Binocular Features

These other popular features include:

  1. Waterproof
  2. Eye Cups
  3. Weight
  4. Size

Knowing how to buy binoculars for hunting can be tough. However, if you focus on these features mentioned, both the standard and the other popular ones, you will have a good point of reference in purchasing something right for you.

Final Thoughts

Really, once you know your price range, your needs and wants, and understand the features, you pretty much know how to choose binoculars for hunting. Once you go on your first hunting trip with binoculars you will see why they are so important. Adding binoculars to your gear will make a profound difference on your future trips. Happy shopping. Happy Hunting.