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hunting binoculars what you need to know

Hunting Binoculars 101 - What You Need to Know

Optics can easily become the most expensive part of your entire hunting gear collection. Making the right choice will make a big impact on how you feel, how much success you find in the field, and how much you enjoy sitting behind glass for hours at a time. You can spend an entire weekend reading about binoculars or you can read our guide that takes only the best and curates it into a single resource.

The science behind what makes binoculars so expensive.

A routine question we get around the shop is: “Why are binoculars so expensive?” Like any product, there are many factors at play on the final retail price. However, the three main variables we take into account in terms of a quality product are: the quality controls that the glass manufacturer holds itself to, the proprietary fully multi coated lenses, and finally the materials of the binocular housing used to protect the internals. 

The question then becomes, “What could possibly account for such a large spread in price?” In this article, we aim to answer this question in detail and shed some light on the world of quality optics manufacturing.

Hunting Binoculars

What Do Binocular Lens Coatings Accomplish

Every manufacturer worth their salt has a proprietary lens coating reserved for their higher line of optics. Although all of the coatings are slightly different variations of very thin slices of metallic, oxide, or rare-earth materials, they all seek to accomplish the same goal. To reduce glare, increase glassing time during sunrise and sunset, and increase overall image contrast in all light conditions. 

The secrets to buying used binoculars

Binoculars, and optics in general, are one of those products where you really do get what you pay for. The difference between a high quality bino and an inexpensive bino is very apparent, especially when comparing them side by side. Differences in quality control, materials, and lens coatings are all factors that go into what makes a great pair of binoculars vs a lower quality and, subsequently, an inexpensive binocular. 

Fortunately for hunters, the resale market on used quality binoculars is very active. You can often find great deals on great glass if you’re willing to hunt them down and be patient. You can also find high-quality used binoculars and other sporting optics on our Optics Auction Page. The optics on auction have all been inspected by our shop and are guaranteed to be exactly what is shown in the images and descriptions. 

There are a few things to consider when buying used optics online, as well as a few different online communities we like to frequent when on the hunt - we’re willing to give up our secret spots for you here.

Hunting Binoculars 101

How to Clean and Store Binoculars

Maintaining your binoculars is an important and incredibly simple procedure. Unfortunately, it’s often overlooked or simply neglected by most hunters. So we created a simple step-by-step guide on how to clean and store your binoculars for the off-season.

Binoculars Types and When to Use Them

Binoculars are generally broken down into 3 different categories; low power, mid power, and high power. The term ‘power’ here does not indicate performance, in this case it’s an indicator of magnification. There is no ‘better’ category, they’re all different tools for different jobs. 

Low power binoculars are useful when the terrain doesn’t allow for long-distance observation due to the sheer thickness of the vegetation. When you’re glassing at closer ranges a wide field of view is preferred. The smaller form factor is also optimal for bowhunters who find themselves often glassing with one hand and a bow in the other.

Mid power binoculars are generally categorized as 10x magnification to 12x magnification power, and are considered the sweet spot for most hunters.

High power binoculars boast a 12+ magnification power and are specialized tools for picking apart every detail of nature. When put in the right hands they are incredibly effective.

A lot of hunters don’t have the budget to buy three different types of binoculars for each season, so identifying which binoculars will best fit your hunting style is important. 

Hunting Binoculars - Large Format

Should You Buy Large Format Binoculars?

Why would anyone consider buying full size binoculars that weigh as much and in some cases more than their rifle? The answer can be boiled down to two factors; comfort and detail. The comfort in using large format binoculars compared to a spotting scope is unquestionable. A hunter with average-at-best patience can sit behind a BTX for hours and not feel fatigued. Compare that to using a single-eye spotting scope and I would bet my lunch the average hunter can’t look through it more than a couple hours at a time.   

The details processed with two eyes compared to one are also an incredible advantage that you can try yourself! Take two steps back from your monitor, close one eye and instantly notice the area of center focus reduces a significant amount and more so in your peripheral vision. 

Many large format binoculars go under the radar here are some of our favorite.

Rangefinding Binoculars

Rangefinding binoculars have come a long way over the last decade. When first released to the market rangefinding binoculars were bulk, cumbersome and frankly not a great option for most hunters. Since then, we’ve watched as technology catches up with the concept. 

High quality rangefinding binoculars are now almost indistinguishable from standard binoculars in terms of form factor, and some are now actually lighter than having a traditional hand-held rangefinder and a pair of binoculars. Are they right for you? We took a dive into if and when to consider purchasing a rangefinding binocular.

Hunting Binoculars

How to Build the Best Glassing Set Up for your Binoculars

There is absolutely no question that mounting your binoculars to a tripod system increases your effectiveness in finding big game. Anybody who tells you otherwise is looking to watch you fail. Your tripod system will be comprised of; a tripod, a tripod head, an binocular mounting system. Building the best glassing setup is dependent on your budget of course, so we tried to make it easier with our simple guide, How to Build the Best Glassing Set Up for your Binoculars.

Binocular Glassing Like a Pro

Glassing isn’t exactly the hardest skill to master when it comes to hunting, essentially, it’s a giant game of Where’s Waldo. That being said, there are a few glassing techniques you can employ to help take your glassing game to the next level. Using a tripod, staying comfortable and ditching the grid pattern glassing techniques will have you out-glassing all your hunting buddies.

Best Hunting Binoculars for 2021

All that being said, your understanding of binoculars is probably as clear as mud now. Here’s a guide listing our favorite binoculars for 2021 to help clear up your eyes. We judged based on prices-point, quality, clarity, and versatility.

Hunting Binos 101

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