6 of the Best Binoculars to buy for Birdwatching in 2024
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6 of the Best Binoculars for Birdwatching in 2024

Looking for the best binoculars on the market? Whether you enjoy birdwatching from the comfort of your caravan or prefer to stake out in the hottest birding spots, this guide is a great starting point. Here you’ll find a list of some of the best binocular’s money can buy right now as well as a guide on what you should be looking for.

If you’re new to birdwatching, we’ve got a bird identifying guide to help you out. If you’re stuck on where to go once you’ve tested your new binoculars at home, check out our guide to birdwatching around our UK campsites for some location inspiration.

Basic guide to binoculars

There are various types of binoculars, coming in a wide array of sizes, with different magnifications and features. To simplify things, we've listed five things you need to consider when choosing the right binoculars for you:

1. Purpose

The main thing you need to consider when buying a new pair of binoculars is: What will I be using them for? If you're thinking of buying a new pair for stargazing, you're going to need a different pair than if you want to try birdwatching. If you're leaning towards the latter, you'll need a different pair for spotting a sparrow at the end of your garden, then if you're spotting birds of prey in the Highlands. Take a look at the specification and find the ones that match your purpose.

2. Price

Price is a huge factor when it comes to purchasing a new pair of binoculars. Depending on where you look, binoculars can range anywhere from £10 to £2,000 and beyond. Before deciding on a budget, you may want to decide on a few factors like what kind of birdwatching you're going to be doing, how often you're going and where you're going to be doing it. If you're going to be birdwatching for extensive periods in adverse weather, you may want to invest in a more expensive, albeit more reliable pair.

3. Size & weight

Generally, experts categorise binoculars into three size groups – compact, midsize and full-size. If you're planning on backpacking or hiking, then compact is the size for you as the binoculars will be easy to carry in your pack. Midsize models are bigger, but still comfortable to hold for long periods. They can also give you brighter images. If you want to maximise magnification, you may want to try a full-size model for something like stargazing. However, bear in mind that you may find these too heavy to hold for an extended period.

4. Type

There are two main body-types to choose from when choosing new binoculars. Today, roof-prism models tend to dominate the market and have objective lenses straight in line with the eyepieces. Alternatively, Porro-prism models were standard until the 1960s, and feature the more traditional zigzag offset shape. Experts in sports optics disagree on which is better, or if there's much difference at all – it all comes down to personal opinion.

5. Magnification

When choosing binoculars, you'll notice that each model's name will end in a specification, for example, 8x30. In this instance, 8 is the magnification figure and tells us how much larger objects will appear when looking through the lenses. For birdwatching, you'd want to see small figures located far away. Therefore, you'd need a greater magnification. For reference, the second figure is the size of the lenses. In the previous example (8x30), 30 indicates that the lenses measure 30mm across. The bigger the lenses, the more light the binoculars will gather.

Our favourite binoculars for birdwatching

Take a look at our top picks below and remember that Club members get exclusive discounts at selected retail partners. If you're not already a member, find out about the benefits of joining.

1. Celestron Nature DX 8x42

Nature DX

The perfect companion for birdwatching in the Great British countryside, the Celestron Nature DX binoculars are an award-winning model. If you're thinking about taking the first step into birdwatching, this is the ideal entry-level pair to try, with a reasonable price and excellent quality of views. The Nature DX boasts phase-coated, high-quality BaK-4 prisms to increase contrast and resolution. This means they are ideal for birdwatching, due to the bright, sharp views of distinguishable markings and features.

Buy it here from £192

2. Kowa SV II 8x32


The Kowa SV II are a compact, lightweight and waterproof pair of binoculars. The lenses and prisms are fully multi-coated, and the body is filled with nitrogen, protecting it against the elements. The stylish ergonomic design makes these binoculars ideal for birdwatching, due to their comfortability and simplicity of use. Tailor the binoculars to your requirements with the dioptre adjustment and twist-up eyecups.

Buy it here from £259

3. Leica Trinovid 8x20 BCA


Holding their own against many larger models, the Leica Trinovid BCA are a high-quality, compact pair of binoculars. If equipment volume and weight are a concern, these handy pocket-sized companions are the ideal choice. The Trinovid BCA boasts many impressive features, such as reliable functionality, sturdy construction, high-class optics, weatherproof, compact dimensions and low weight.

Buy it here from £450.00

4. Nikon PROSTAFF P3 8X42

Nikon Prostaff p3 

The Nikon PROSTAFF P3 binoculars are made for birdwatching and wildlife observation. This model is waterproof, fog-free and features an improved grip for handling during adverse weather conditions. The PROSTAFF binoculars not only deliver sharp images of exceptional quality, but they're also comfortable to hold for extended periods, at times like birdwatching. Also, the knurling on the focusing ring makes it easy and natural to adjust the binoculars.

Buy it here from £179.00

5. RSPB Puffin binoculars

Where better to find your new birdwatching binoculars than the RSPB? The RSPB is the UK's most prominent bird protection promotor and the largest wildlife conservation charity in Europe. The Puffins are excellent, entry-level binoculars. Perfect for adults or older children, this model's lightweight design is ideal for long periods of birdwatching in the Great British countryside. Also, when you purchase a pair, you'll get a case, strap, pin badge and an informative birdy identification guide.

Buy it here from £79.99

6. Olympus Standard 8x40 S

With a large objective lens, the Olympus Standard binoculars are the perfect birdwatching model due to their wide field of view, making it quicker and easier to locate a subject. Even in low light, these binoculars offer high-resolution images due to the size of the lenses. When designing this model, Olympus wanted to maximise comfort, functionality and portability. They've certainly succeeded on all three counts, as the slim design and ergonomic controls make the Olympus a fantastic companion for birdwatching.

Buy it here from £109

Try out your new binoculars by looking for wildlife at one of the UK's nature reserves. If you're looking for more advice on gear, take a look at our guide to the best backpacks for travelling.

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