Best Buys in Hunting Binoculars for 2020

Hunters spend countless hours behind their binoculars, glassing hills and valleys for trophy game movement. Good glass can make or break a hunt, and while cheapest is never the best, it’s also not necessary to break the bank to get a quality pair of binos.

While none of these models are the top of the company lines, they represent solid buys at much more cost-effective ranges. Each of these affordable options will excel in the hunting fields and woods this season.

Leupold BX-4 Pro Guide HD

Leupold BX-4


Leupold is one of the only American-made optics manufacturers, and its glass is also some of the best in the business. While the BX-4 Pro Guide HD line isn’t brand new, it is now readily available and makes a great pick for hunters.

Compact and lightweight for backcountry hunts, these binos use the company’s Twilight Max HD Light Management System to provide greater detail in less light. The binos use BAK-4 prisms in the open-bridge, roof prism design which is both waterproof and fog proof. We like the 10×42 and 10×50, though there are also options from 8×32 up to 12×50.

In addition to standard Shadow Gray, Leupold also offers the BX-4 in Kryptek Typhon Black, First Lite Fusion and Gore Optifade Subalpine camos. The newer Leupold BX-5 is a fantastic binocular but comes at more than twice the price of the already proven BX-4, which sells online from $399-$699.


Steiner Predator N2

Steiner Predator


Though German-engineered Steiner produces binos that occupy both ends of the price spectrum, the Predator N2 line represents an ideal mid-range choice for hunters. The Predator N2 is a lightweight roof prism binocular that uses the company’s “game revealing Color Adjusted Transmission (CAT)” coatings, which are intended to excel for both early season and heavy cover spotting.

The upswept eyecups are intended to fit the face while an injection system of pressurized dry nitrogen offers fog proofing. The Predator is built around a Makrolon rubber-armored chassis that withstands 11 Gs of impact.

We like the Steiner Predator N2 in 10×42, though there’s also an 8×42. Prices online start at $399.


Vortex Diamondback HD

Vortex Diamondback

(Photo: Vortex)

The Wisconsin-based Vortex optics sources quality glass from several countries. While they produce excellent options in their top-of-the-line Razor binos, practical hunters will want to shop the mid-range Diamondback HD family of binoculars.

The roof-prism design is Argon gas purged to be fully fog proof. Vortex builds the Diamondback HD’s in magnifications of 8x, 10x and 12x with objective lens diameters of 28mm, 32mm, 42mm, and 50mm. In addition to the included binocular case and harness, Vortex’s no-questions-asked Lifetime Warranty is hard to beat.

MSRP on the Diamondback HD runs from $189.99 to $319.99.

Sig Sauer Zulu5 HD

Sig Sauer Zulu5


Sig Sauer made a splash in the optics market with its lines of riflescopes, but the binoculars are a bit more underrated. Though Sig produces the higher-end—and equally high priced—Zulu7 and Zulu9 binoculars, we find the greatest value at the Zulu5 level.

These High Definition optics use a closed-bridge, roof prism design built of lightweight magnesium alloy along with an IPX-7 rating for complete waterproof immersion. The Zulu5 is available in 10×42, 12×42 and 12×50 magnifications. A rubberized coating provides a non-slip grip in the field.

MSRP on the Zulu5 runs from $649.99 to $759.99 with online prices starting at $479.99.


Meopta Optika HD

Meopta Optika Binos

(Photo: Meopta)

Built in the Czech Republic, Meopta’s European optics flew under the American radar for years. Hunters who have not looked through their new-for-2019 lines of Optika riflescopes and binoculars are doing themselves a disservice.

The roof-prism Optika HD binoculars, available in both 8×42 and 10×42, are built on a magnesium alloy chassis. They use durable removable aluminum eyecups that are rubber-coated, where most others use polymer. They’re waterproof and nitrogen-purged for fog-proof performance, as well as rubber-armor coated for grip and durability.

MSRP on the Optika HD binos starts at $339 with real-world prices sub-three-bills, which is a far cry in price from the company’s top-end MeoStar. Nonetheless, the Optika HD carries the company’s Lifetime Warranty.

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