Binoculars are an essential piece of equipment for any bird-watcher, giving you a much better view of nearby birds, without having to get too close.
Whether it’s robins, sparrows, woodpeckers or finches, a pair of decent binoculars will allow you to see your garden birds in all their feathery detail. Many binoculars are also compact and lightweight enough that you can hang them around your neck, or put them in your pocket, and take them on your travels.
New bird watchers will be pleased to know that you don’t have to spend loads for high-quality binoculars, including those which offer 8, 10 or even 12x magnification, as well as Bak-4 prism lenses, to improve the brightness and clarity of your view.
Last update on 2021-04-17 / All Pricing & Imagery from Amazon Product Advertising API
To help you find the best binoculars for bird watching, we’ve put together this selection of our 5 favourite options on the market, based on their magnification power, lens quality, portability and durability. It’s time to tick some birds off your bucket list.
Our favourite bird watching binoculars aren’t the cheapest, but they are high-quality, durable, and specifically designed for nature enthusiasts
Cost: Price not available
Get ready to view birds in all their splendour with these Olympus 8 x 40 DPSI Binoculars. They offer 8 x magnification, and are specifically designed for bird watchers and nature enthusiasts.
These high-quality binoculars have a durable, sure-grip rubber coating, to make them comfortable to hold. They measure L 139 x W 182 mm (at widest position), and at 710g, they’re lightweight, and easy to carry.
Built-in UV protection means you can enjoy gazing upon your garden birds, without worrying about the effect of the sun on your eyes, whilst aspherical optics ensure a distortion-free view. A wide angle lens also offers you a broader view, and helps you to glimpse even fast-moving birds.
The binoculars come with a neck strap, so you can keep them close to hand when bird watching, and a carry case, to make them easy to transport and store. A lens cover will protect the lenses when not in use, and ensure they remain scratch-free.
These binoculars are high quality, durable, and designed to give you a clear view of fast-moving subjects – we think they’re the best all-round binoculars for bird watching available. They are the most expensive binoculars on our list, but they’re still well-priced, considering the quality on offer.
- Durable and high-quality binoculars.
- Sure-grip rubber coating.
- 8 x magnification.
- Built-in UV protection, to shield your eyes from the sun.
- Wide angle view helps you to see fast-moving birds.
- Aspherical optics for a distortion-free view.
- Includes neck strap, carry case and lens covers.
- These are our most expensive binoculars.
Our best value binoculars offer 10x magnification, excellent portability, and a fully adjustable view and fit.
If you’re a novice birdwatcher, you might not want to invest quite so much in your first pair of binoculars. In that case, these High-Powered Binoculars by SGODDE could be more of interest.
These small-yet-mighty bird watching binoculars will give you a clear view of your garden birds, thanks to the 10x magnification, and adjustable focusing knob. The fully-coated optics and Bak-4 prism lenses increase light transmission, offering you a brighter picture, even in low light.
The design of these binocular is particularly suited to mobile bird watching and taking on walks – they’re compact, lightweight and foldable, and can be easily transported in the included carry case. You can also store them around your neck, using the convenient neck strap.
They’re waterproof, so you can take them out in all weathers, and the adjustable style means they’re suitable for adults and children – although they may not open wide enough for the largest users. These are also our most affordable binoculars, and represent incredible value for money, considering the quality on offer.
Overall, these pocket-sized, budget binoculars are a great choice for anyone wanting to begin their bird watching journey, either at home or when travelling.
- 10 x magnification.
- Fully coated optics with Bak-4 prism lenses, to increase light transmission.
- Central focusing knob to easily adjust your view.
- Lightweight and foldable, which makes them easy to fit in your pocket.
- Includes carry bag, neck strap and cleaning cloth.
- Waterproof to grade IP4.
- Suitable for adults and children.
- Highly affordable – our cheapest binoculars.
- May not open wide enough to accommodate larger adults.
- No lens covers included.
These professional-grade, 12x magnifying binoculars come with an included tripod, and the option to mount your phone, so you can take photos of the view
These sleek and stylish Usogood 12 x 50 Binoculars offer 12x magnification and a 367ft large field of view, so they’re perfect for professional bird watching.
Multi-coated optics and Bak-4 prism provide you with a brighter view, even in low light. Adjustable eye relief means you can alter the binoculars to fit your face perfectly, and ensures they are comfortable to use, even for those who wear glasses.
One of the best things about these binoculars is that they’re set up for taking photographs of your feathery subjects. An included tripod allows you to keep the binoculars still, and a phone adaptor enables you to position your phone in front, so you can easily take photos of the view.
The binoculars have a rubber coating, which is shock-absorbent and abrasion-resistant. They are also water-resistant – although not fully waterproof so they shouldn’t be used in heavy rain. Included with purchase is a carry bag and strap, for better portability, as well as a cleaning cloth and lens cover, to protect the lenses.
These are high-quality and durable binoculars and come with a 24-month guarantee, for further peace of mind. They make the perfect solution for anyone wanting to take photos, to keep a record of the birds they’ve seen.
- 12x magnification.
- Multi-coated optics and Bak-4 prism for a brighter view, even in low light.
- Includes a tripod stand.
- Phone holder included to allow you to attach your phone and take photos of the view.
- Adjustable eye relief.
- Water-resistant, shock-absorbent and abrasion-resistant rubber coating.
- Includes carry bag, strap, lens cover and cleaning cloth.
- 24-month guarantee.
- Not fully waterproof.
- Attaching a phone can be a little fiddly.
A powerful pair of binoculars, with 12x magnification, 50mm lenses, and an impressive 1000m field of vision
Next up on our list of the best binoculars for bird watching are these Bfull HighPower 12 x 50 Binoculars. With 12x magnification and a 1000m field of vision, these high-quality binoculars will bring birds into sharp focus.
As with our other choices, these binoculars are specifically designed for outdoor activities, including bird watching. The fully-coated, 50mm Bak-4 prism lenses ensure you have one of the clearest views of any on this list, even in low light conditions. Filled nitrogen also helps with anti-fogging.
An integrated dioptre adjustment means your binoculars can adapt to meet individual vision needs, including those of glasses wearers. The rubber casing makes the binoculars waterproof and shock-absorbent, improving their all-round durability.
The binoculars come with a carry case and strap, so you can carry them around your neck, and always have them close to hand when you spot a new bird. They also come with detachable lens caps, which are attached to the binoculars with a string, so you don’t need to worry about losing them.
These aren’t as compact or lightweight as some of our other options, but they do feel robust. If you’re looking for a pair of powerful binoculars to view birds in detail, they are certainly another solid choice.
- 12x magnification.
- Bak-4 prism 50mm lenses, ensure a clear view, even in low light.
- Integrated dioptre adjustment can adapt to individual vision needs, including glasses wearers.
- Filled nitrogen serves as anti-fog protection.
- Waterproof and shock-absorbent rubber housing.
- Includes carry bag, strap and lens protectors.
- Not the most compact or lightweight option.
These green-lensed binoculars are compact and lightweight, and come with dual focus capability
Cost: Price not available
The final pair of bird watching binoculars on our list are these Mkocean High Powered 12 x 32 HD Binoculars. These binoculars are ideal if you’re looking for a more lightweight and compact option, which are easy to slip in your bag or pocket, and comfortable to carry around your neck.
The 32mm lens offers you 12x magnification, for a clearer picture of your robins, sparrows and blue tits. The Bak-4 prism lenses offer improved light transmittance, ensuring your view is brighter and easier to see.
Dual focus capability means you can easily adjust the binoculars – simply twist the eyecups and central wheel, until you get a single circular view, in sharp focus. The width between the barrels is fully adjustable, which makes them suitable for both children and adults, as well as users who wear glasses.
They have a durable, reinforced rubber housing, which is anti-slip, to give you a better grip on your binoculars. The casing also helps to prevent dust, debris and moisture from entering the binoculars (although it is still not recommended to use them in heavy downpours).
Ultimately, these binoculars are excellent quality for the price, and are suitable for bird watchers of all ages.
- 12x magnification.
- FMC multi-coated Bak-4 prism lenses, for improved light transmittance, and a brighter view.
- Dual focus capability.
- Anti-slip, waterproof rubber casing.
- Compact, lightweight (370g) and portable.
- Includes carry case, strap and cleaning cloth.
- Suitable for children and adults.
- No lens covers included.
- Could be brighter.
Bird Watching Tips For Beginners
Bird watching can be as simple as going outside and looking around – but there are things you can do to increase your chances of seeing a range of birds. Here are our top tips for bird watching beginners:
Wear dark clothing
You don’t have to go full on camo, but it is a good idea to avoid wearing white and bright colours, which will contrast with natural surroundings, and attract birds’ attention. Black, brown and green are the best choices for your bird watching attire.
Birds are likely to be alarmed sudden movement close by, and will fly away. Try to find a comfortable position with a good view, and then keep as still as you can. If you really have to move, do so slowly and carefully.
Make sure the sun is behind you
When choosing your position, try also to pick a spot with the sun behind you. This will reduce glare and improve your view of birds, as well as prevent you from looking directly into the sun, which can damage your eyes.
If you want birds to feel safe enough to come close to you, you need to avoid making any loud noises that might startle them. Once you’ve found your bird watching position, stay as quiet as possible, and if you have to communicate with a companion, do so only by whispering.
Study your birds’ habitat
If you’re looking out for a particular bird, research their preferred habitat in advance, and head to the nearest similar area, for a better chance of seeing them. For example, if you’re hoping to spot a woodpecker, you’ll need to be looking high up in woodland trees.
Look for flocks
To further improve your chances of seeing a particular bird, look out for flocks. If you’ve got hundreds of birds to search through, you’re much more likely to find the one you’re looking for, than if you’re waiting for individual birds to land in your garden.
Most importantly of all, be patient. You won’t see all the birds you want to see straight away. You might see the same bird over and over again. Don’t lose heart – just follow the above advice, and hang in there.
Keep a record
Keeping a written (or digital) record of all the birds you’ve seen will ensure you don’t forget any, as well as make a great keepsake to look back on, and see how far you’ve come on your bird watching journey.
April is a freelance writer who specialises in writing about home and garden design and the environment. She is an avid wildlife-enthusiast and adventure-seeker, and feels happiest when in the Great Outdoors.