A couple of years ago, you would have had to fork out at least $700 to get top-shelf binoculars. Not anymore. With a budget of $300, you can absolutely get mid-range binoculars that are a good value for your money.
We’ve tested a number of binoculars for the price of $300 or less and settled on 5 of those which give the best view from a distance. Dive into our guide and discover the top 5 best binoculars under $300
#5: Bushnell Legacy WP
Price: $126.69 at present (check latest price on Amazon here)
Another Bushnell model takes our 5th pick. This particular product has an elegant build. It also provides impressive image clarity and is very durable.
It has an extendable magnification of 10 to 22x and a 50mm objective lens. These numbers are very impressive for its price. Its field of view is also wide at about 126ft to 199ft at 1000 yards.
Fully multi-coated, these binoculars allow a high percentage of light enters its prisms, making images appear bright and sharp.
It is also comfortable to use, having a rubber armor that acts as a shock absorber and grip fixer. Other features it has are long eye relief, a central focus and twist-up eyecups.
The Bushnell Legacy WP is fully fog-proof and waterproof.
- Offers a limited lifetime warranty
- The body doesn’t scratch easily, making it very durable
- Magnification and objective lens is top-notch.
- Its rubber armoring is great at absorbing shocks.
- The grip feels clumsy when your hands get wet from sweat or rain
- It loses its glossy design sooner than expected.
#4: Bushnell Legend L-Series 10x42mm
Price: $146.51 at present (check latest price on Amazon here)
Of the same manufacturer as its predecessor in #3, our fourth pick of the ‘best buy under $300’ goes to the Bushnell legend L-series. The manufacturers of the Bushnell launched the Legend series to make top-notch features available on a cheap to their customers. The result: a growing fan base. In fact, the top-rated binoculars on Amazon right now are all Bushnell binoculars.
This particular model has fully multi-coated lenses that optimize the amount of light it receives. This makes images look clearer and brighter all the while keeping the color resolution sharp.
This model is fog proof and waterproof. It can be used in all types of weather including wet seasons.
Its images have maximum clarity and brightness due to its dielectric coatings which allow over 92% light transmission. For the price it goes for, this is pretty impressive.
- Measure an only 5.5 inches meaning the model can fit into any size of bags or into your pockets.
- Has a field of view of 340ft at 1000 yards.
- Made of strong durable material
- Image clarity is very impressive.
- Doesn’t come with doesn’t accessories on purchase
- It isn’t so comfortable to use, especially on the eyepieces.
#3: Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Roof Prism
Price: $214.48 at present (check latest price on Amazon here)
At #3, the Bushnell Legend is not only affordable but reliable and lightweight.
Having ED Prime Glass, the model offers a 10x magnification and a 42mm objective lens, pretty standard for a mid-range binocular its price.
The manufacturer claims the binocular has a super-wide field of view. That much is proven with its wide-angle view set at 65°.
Its lens has water repellent coatings that protect it against rain and wet conditions.
The model is very comfortable. It has very good long eye relief. It is also equipped with a locking diopter which makes it easy to lock onto a specific measurement without accidental adjustments.
Users are provided with a nice carrying case, a microfiber carry-around bag, and a comfy neck strap.
- Its lead-free glass improves focus stability, image quality and color contrast.
- Due to its fully multi-coated optics, more light enters the lens, making it a great bin for low-light conditions.
- Fog proof and waterproof.
- Wide-angle view of 65°
- Magnification is not exceptional
- The hinge is stiff and only loosens up after a lengthy period of use.
- General use
#2: Nikon 8252 ACULON A211 10-22×50 Zoom
Price: $155.96 at present (check latest price on Amazon here)
Our #2, the Nikon Aculon is globally accredited by users and specialists worldwide. The manufacturers stated that they design the model to be lightweight and ergonomic.
This model gives a remarkable magnification of 10 up to 22x. For its price range, that is impressive. Also, the diameter of the objective lens is set at 49.2 feet. These are high numbers for midrange binoculars which makes it a good value for money.
Ease of Adjustment is enabled by a fingertip zoom control knob which allows users to easily adjust the bin’s magnification.
In addition, the bin comes with flexible rubber eyecups that turn and slide meaning you can use it for long periods of time.
The bin’s clarity and brightness are great in normal lighting conditions. Images appear bright and clear.
As for Comfort, the model has a rubber armor which makes it easy to grip during wet seasons.
- Lightweight and easy to carry around.
- Can adjust magnification with ease
- Field of view is great
- Glass wearers and people with sensitive eyes can use this binocular.
- Although you can hold this bun for long hours, your eyes may come under strain from looking through the lens.
- The focusing system is a bit slow
#1: Vortex Optics New Diamondback 10×42 Roof Prism (top 1 best binoculars under $300)
Price: $159 at present (check latest price on Amazon here)
This deserves its number one spot on our list. In fact, it would easily make the top spot on any ‘best buy under $300’ review. The Vortex Diamondback delivers top-notch performance. It has a magnification ratio of 10 with a lens of a diameter 42 mm which makes it field of view wide enough to be a 10/10.
Dust and waterproof, the model has O-ring seals that protect the binoculars and image quality from being affected by debris.
Onto clarity and brightness, this binocular has multi-layer coatings that make images crystal clear and color precise.
The comfort is great as the bin is lightweight and compact. It has a rubber armor and thumb indents that allow for a secure grip. It also comes with a fine neck wrap that feels fine about the neck.
The construction quality is high grade. To back its optical quality, the binoculars are very durable.
- Very budget-friendly. You’ll find a few cheap alternatives to high-grade bins
- With a 10x magnification and 42mm objective lens, its optical quality is immense.
- Images appear brighter and sharper
- Field of view allows for easy identification of targets.
- Not as durable as it appears to be
- Customers complain of parts falling off, like the ocular protection and lens caps.
The market for binoculars has something for everyone. From high-grade bins that cost upwards of $2000 to mid-range bins that cost $500 or lesser. It is funny that both low-end and high-end binos are often described using the same terms. Both a $40 bino and a $2000 bino will offer, according to their description, “superior performance”, “fast focus”, “amazing brightness and contrast”, “waterproof construction” etc.
Of course, this is just advertising. They may hype themselves in similar ways, but they’re not the same. A budget binocular will not offer anywhere near the optical performance, brightness, color fidelity, build quality or resistance to elements are a multi-thousand dollar one.
In the range of best binoculars under $300, these binoculars can serve you some basic needs only. They work best when that is your first time joining the binoculars worlds, for occasionally using or general sightseeing which doesn’t need any special features in use.
However, when you are more seriously on your optics, you should start looking for a more edge-to-edge optical performance. And of course, there is no shortcut other than spending some extra bucks if you look for best-in-class material.