Binoculars are a must-have for so many applications. If you have a boat, are a hunter, love bird-watching, or enjoy watching stadium sports, you need a reliable pair of long eyes to help you out.
While top-notch binoculars can run you upwards of a thousand bucks, there’s no reason for the average person to have to pay so much.
Luckily, a few hundred dollars can buy you a pretty darn good pair of binos these days. But, you have to shop around. Or better yet, read this article because I’ve done the shopping around for you and can confidently say that these are the best binoculars under $200 that your money can buy.
So, let’s get started with the…
Top 8 Best Binoculars Under $200 In 2023 Reviews
1 Steiner Safari UltraSharp – Best Budget Price Binoculars Under $200
Size: 10 x 26
See? I told you that you didn’t have to shell out thousands to grab a decent pair of binos. We’re starting this list from the cheapest to the most expensive binoculars, and right away, we hit on a top brand.
German manufacturer Steiner, now owned by Beretta, has been making top-quality optics for decades, and we’ve come to expect a lot from them. The Safari UltraSharp binoculars are selling for around $125, which is an absolute steal. Certainly, some of the most affordable binoculars under $200.
These are 10×26 binos, which means they have 10x magnification. They have a fast close-focus mechanism that allows you to get into focus perfectly and easily.
They can focus as close as 11 feet (3.5m). Their field of view is a bit narrow for 10x binos, giving you 302 feet of view at 1000 yards distance.
They weigh just 10.5 ounces (298g) and are nice and compact at 4.7” x 4.6” x 1.8”. So, these binos are very light and convenient to carry around. Therefore, they’re some of the best lightweight binoculars under $200 you will find.
The Makralon plastic body here is ultra-durable and can take all sorts of abuse. It’s also rubber-armored with an excellent grip to make sure they stay in your hands.
They’re also waterproof (to what degree, I don’t know) and nitrogen-purged to make them fog-proof. But, just in case, they also come with a lifetime warranty.
The glass here is quite impressive, as you’d expect from Steiner. The roof prisms and small-diameter (26mm) objective lenses do reduce the brightness a bit, creating an exit pupil of just 2.6mm. This is less than the human eye (4mm) on a bright day, so you will find them a bit dark. But the fully multi-coated lenses do help. And you’ve still got excellent clarity from these optics.
The disappointing thing here is the fold-down “ergonomic” eyecups. These aren’t terribly comfortable, nor do they stay in place all that well. Even though these are pretty inexpensive binos, I would have expected something better. Still, these are some pretty tough, clear binoculars for the money.
- Very tough and durable.
- Water- and fog-proof.
- Excellent clarity with very little distortion.
- The eyecups are poorly designed.
- Not the brightest binoculars around.
2 Celestron Nature DX – Best Low Cost Roof Prism Binoculars Under $200
Size: 8 x 42
Next up, we have a new brand that has been doing well in optics over the past few years. Celestron’s Nature DX binoculars have less magnification power than the Steiner (8x vs. 10x) but also have much bigger objective lenses. This makes them a very different animal.
The Nature DX binos use a roof prism design as well. They measure 5.6″ x 5”, so they’re a bit bigger than the Steiner. But, they weigh a whole lot more at 24.9 ounces (705g). This can make these binoculars a bit fatiguing if you want to use them for long periods. They also cost a little more, just under $150.
But I’m pretty impressed with the optics here. We’re looking at (or through?) ED or extra-low dispersion glass lenses that make these binos sharp and clear. The phase-coated BaK4 prisms also add to the sharpness and light transmissibility.
The exit pupil is 5.25mm, and this makes them nice and bright during the day. And somewhat useable in dusky conditions. These are sharp and clear binos, although they’re not quite as sharp as the Steiner.
The field of view here is impressive. You get 393 feet at 1000 yards’ distance which is impressive. And they can still focus as close as 6.5 feet (2m) away.
These binos are also nitrogen purged to make them fog-proof. They’re also claimed to be waterproof, but like the Steiner’s, we’re not given an IP rating. The body doesn’t seem as durable as the Steiner, and there’s no lifetime warranty here.
At the same time, the twist-up eyecups here are much more comfortable and stay in place properly. They also have 17.8 mm of eye relief to enable you to wear your glasses with them comfortably.
- Relatively compact.
- Extra-low dispersion glass lenses for great clarity.
- On the heavy side.
- Waterproofing level is unknown.
3 Vortex Optics Crossfire HD – Most Durable Binoculars Under $200
Size: 10 x 42
Also priced at just under $150, the Crossfire HDs from Vortex Optics is another compact roof prism design. Vortex has some great binoculars on the market, and they’re normally none too cheap. This pair used to sell for $200, so it’s already looking like a deal.
These are aluminum-bodied binoculars with a rubber non-slip armor for added durability. They’re a bit bigger than the pairs we’ve already seen at 6.0” x 5.2”. But, at 23 ounces (652g), they’re lighter than the Celestron, though a lot heavier than the Steiner. Once again, these are waterproof (but with no IP rating given) and nitrogen purged to make them fog-proof.
These are 10x binos like the Steiner. They give a wider field of view (FOV) of 325 feet at 1000 yards and can also focus closer at just 6 feet. The eye relief here is 15mm, which is more than ample for people who wear glasses. The twist-down eyecups work well and stay in place to get a comfortable fit for your eyes.
The Crossfire sports fully multi-coated lenses to reduce glare and increase brightness and clarity. The exit pupil here is 4.2mm, which is significantly bigger than with the Steiner as well. They’re visibly brighter binos, though still not great for low-light situations.
The Steiner’s are still the sharpest image binoculars for under $200 we’ve seen so far, but just barely. The Crossfire gives good clarity and no visible color aberration.
There is a downside…
The only real complaint here is with the focus. It’s quite sensitive, and the depth of field is quite shallow. This means that you’ll be working the focus knob a lot if you’re spotting moving objects.
On top of being a great little pair of binos, the Crossfire HDs come with two extra bonuses – a lifetime warranty and a Vortex Glasspak bag and chest harness for super-convenient carrying. All the more reason to include these on a list of the best binoculars under $200.
- Clear and sharp with strong 10x magnification.
- Rugged, durable body.
- Includes a great harness and lifetime warranty.
- Focus is finicky.
- Depth-of-field is tight, making it harder to focus on moving objects.
4 Bushnell Marine Binoculars – Best Waterproof Binoculars Under $200
Size: 7 x 50
Next up, we’re looking at another well-known name in binoculars. Bushnell makes a wide range of binos, and their Marine Binoculars are a pretty solid option. Especially for the under $180 price tag.
These Porro prism binoculars have the lowest magnification power (7x) and the biggest objective lenses (50mm) that we’ve seen so far. This means that they’re going to give you a less magnified view. At the same time, they should take in the most light and offer the widest field of view. Furthermore, while the FOV here is 350 feet at 1000 yards, so it’s a fair bit less than the Celestron.
Built for the open water
The body of these binos is durable plastic. Additionally, the body is completely salt-water corrosion resistant. It is also designed to float in water should you ever drop them overboard. And for the first time, we get an IP rating with these binoculars.
These are rated IPX7, which means that they can be submerged in three feet (one meter) of water for up to 30 minutes without being damaged. Of course, they float, so submerging isn’t going to be an issue, but it’s nice to know just how watertight they are.
With BaK4 prisms and fully multi-coated lenses, plus those big objective lenses, these binoculars are pretty bright and clear. They’re not as clear as the Steiner, but they do have some extra special features.
There is a range finder built in here to help you estimate object distances. There’s also an analog compass to help you take bearings if you’re out on the water. So, if you want the best marine binoculars for under $200, give these binos a closer look (pun intended).
What’s not to like?
These are big and bulky, heavy binos. At 37 ounces (1050g), they’re by far the heaviest we’ve seen so far. They also have a pretty tricky focus mechanism. Rather than a central focus knob to control both oculars, each eye has to be focused separately.
If you’re the only user, this might not be a big issue. But, if you need to pass these around to take turns spotting, be aware that you’ll be taking a lot of time with the focus.
- Truly waterproof (IPX7 rated) and fog-proof.
- Range finder and compass built-in.
- Bright and clear.
- Big and heavy.
- Individual eye focus can be hard to get used to.
5 Bushnell Legend L Series – Best All Weather Binoculars Under $200
Size: 10 x 42
Bushnell is best known for its hunting binoculars and scopes, so this time we’ll look at a pair of binoculars better suited to that activity. For the same price as the Marine Binoculars, you could pick up Bushnell’s Legend L Series binos instead. These are very different binoculars, as you’ll soon see.
The Legend is roof prism binoculars that make use of Bak4 prisms and fully multicoated and ultra-wide band-coated lenses. They also use lead-free “eco” glass to provide you with a clear, sharp image that’s second only to the Steiner.
Unfortunately, while older models of the Legends used ED glass, the new updated version doesn’t. So, in this case, you’re luckier if you can get an older version.
Compared to the Marine Binoculars, the Legends are a whole lot smaller. They also weigh only 19 ounces (538g), making them a whole lot easier to wear and handle. But like the Marine binos, these also have an IPX7 waterproof rating and are nitrogen purged for fog-proofing.
As a bonus, they also have a “Rainguard HD” coating to help shed rain and snow and give you a better view in wet conditions.
All in all, these are tough and built for long-range spotting in all sorts of weather. The only issue here is that the rubber eyecups don’t stay in place all that well, which can cause some fiddling.
- Waterproof (IPX7) and fog-proof.
- Rainguard coated.
- Sharp and clear, especially the older version with ED glass.
- Eyecups don’t stay in place perfectly.
6 Nikon Prostaff 7s – Best Value for Money Binoculars Under $200
Size: 10 x 42
Next up is another familiar name in binoculars and optics in general. Nikon’s Prostaff 7s binoculars come in at just under $200. At 6.5” x 5.1” and weighing 22.8 ounces (646g), these are a compact and mid-weight pair of roof prism binos.
How about those Nikon optics?
These binos make use of Nikon’s lead and arsenic-free eco-glass. They use phase-corrected coated prisms and fully multi-coated lenses to provide a clear, bright image.
They don’t feature ED glass, unfortunately, but for what they have, the clarity is really good. I think these rival the Steiner Safari UltraSharp we began with.
The FOV here is a decent 325 feet at 1000 yards, and the close focus is 13.1 feet, which isn’t bad. They have an exit pupil of 4.2mm, which is bright enough for high light conditions but a bit dim for low light.
And the eye relief is 15.5mm, making these convenient to wear glasses with. The twist-down eye cups stay in place and are comfortable to use.
The binos are billed as “O-ring waterproofed.” Although, once again, we don’t see an IP rating to know the level of protection. They are, of course, nitrogen purged, so they’re fog-proof.
These are plastic-bodied with rubber armor for durability. They’re not going to be as tough as the aluminum Vortex binos, though.
- Great, sharp image.
- Waterproof and fog-proof.
- Good eyecups.
- Lead and arsenic-free glass.
- Lens covers provided are a bit loose.
7 Gosky EagleView – Best Smartphone Compatible Binoculars Under $200
Size: 10 x 42
Just squeezing in under $200 (we’re talking 199.99), Gosky gives us their EagleView ED binoculars for consideration. Gosky, an American company that makes its products in China, is known for producing good budget optics. So, I was a bit surprised to find the EagleViews priced near the $200 mark.
Let’s have a look to see if they’re worth the price…
These binos are a roof prism design that allows big magnification, like the 10x here, to be streamlined. They measure 5.51” x 6.3”, so they’re about mid-range for what we have seen so far. At 23.88 ounces (676g), they’re a bit on the heavy side but still totally manageable.
Gosky has gone with ED glass in the lenses and dielectric coated phase-corrected prisms. Both of these elements help to produce a clear, sharp image with no visible distortion or chromatic aberration. The overall image is sharp and comparable to the Nikon and Steiner – I’m really surprised!
The oculars are nitrogen purged to make them fog-proof. Again, we see “o-ring waterproofing” but no IP rating to give more detail. The bodies themselves are plastic and covered in rubber armor. This seems durable enough.
The focus here has a pretty short throw which means that a little adjustment will take you a long way. It’s fine, just might take some getting used to for some users.
A modern tech extra
And like most Gosky products, the EagleView binos come with some accessories. You get a pretty thin neoprene carrying case and a smartphone adapter to help you take stills and videos straight to your phone.
This adapter is pretty versatile and can fit almost any phone. However, be aware that this will add a lot of weight and instability to the binos. And at 10x power, you’re going to have to have them on a tripod to use it effectively.
- Surprisingly sharp, clear image.
- Water and fog-proof.
- Smartphone adapter included.
- A bit on the heavy side.
- No lifetime warranty on offer.
8 Leupold BX-1 McKenzie HD Binocular – Best High Powered Binoculars Under $200
Size: 12 x 50
Our last pair of binoculars comes from an American company that has been making optics for over 100 years. Leupold’s BX-1 McKenzie HD Binoculars are yet another compact roof prism design for us to add to our list of the best binoculars under $200.
These are the highest-powered binoculars on my list at 12x power. This means that they’re just pushing the boundaries of hand-holding. You will almost certainly need to brace or lean on something or mount them on a tripod to hold these big boys steady.
Well, they’re not all that big…
At only 6.5 inches long and 27 ounces (765g), they’re not the biggest, heaviest binos on this list. But they are getting a bit heavy, especially for regular hand-holding.
On the other hand, that 12x magnification gives you a heck of a lot of power and the ability to see great distances. So, these are some of the best binoculars for game spotting under $200 you can buy.
Because they’re 12x, you get a tighter FOV for sure. Here it’s just 241 feet at 1000 yards, but that’s pretty decent for the magnification. The exit pupil is a surprising 4.1mm, meaning they’re pretty bright though not great in low light.
They can also focus at just 8.2 feet away, which is surprising for 12x binoculars. The eye relief of 17mm makes these some of the best binoculars for glasses wearers under $200 as well.
Built to perform
The BX-1 McKenzie binos are waterproof and submersible down to 33 feet, though I hope you never drop them that far down. They’re also fog-proof. And finally, they come with a lifetime warranty to give you extra security.
As for the image, it’s clear and sharp, but not as sharp as the Steiner or Nikon. There’s a bit of edge distortion here, but otherwise, these are some clear and bright, quality binos for just a penny under $200.
- Waterproof, submersible, and fog-proof.
- Lifetime warranty included.
- High 12x power.
- Tough to hand-hold.
- On the heavy side of things.
Want a Better View of the Bigger Picture?
We can help with that. Check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Binoculars For The Money, the Best Binoculars Under $100, the Best High Power Binoculars, the Best Binoculars for Theater & Opera, and the Best Binoculars for Sporting Events you can buy in 2023.
And don’t miss our comprehensive reviews of the Best Headband Magnifiers, the Best Budget Telescopes, the Best Handheld Magnifying Glasses, and the Best Magnifying Glasses for Reading for more great items on the market.
What Are The Best Binoculars Under $200?
We’ve just seen some great binoculars that have managed to stay under $200. Though, in some cases, I don’t know how they managed it. And let me tell you, it was pretty hard to choose a champion here amongst some really strong competition.
But in the end, if I have to pick one pair of binoculars to recommend, it’s going to be the…
These 10×42 binos have enough power to get the job done. And a great clear and sharp image with enough brightness. They’re durable, waterproof, and fog-proof. And, for the price, they perform very well as your go-to binoculars.
Until next time, keep an eye out.