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Best budget binoculars for under $100 in 2021

Included in this guide:

Best budget binoculars under $100
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Looking for the best budget binoculars under $100? Then you are in the right place, we have picked out some pairs that will do a great job without spending a fortune - and we'll even help you find the best price.

Binoculars come in a wide variety of sizes, different types (such as roof or porro prism) – and inevitably at very different prices; the best binoculars can cost you hundreds, if not thousands. But not everyone wants to spend a fortune.

Inevitably if you’re hunting a bargain, you might want to cast your eyes over models that have been around for a few years longer than the very latest and greatest examples, which for most intents and purposes function just as well of course. While it’s tempting to cast our eyes towards a few no-brand examples too in the hope of saving a few shekels, fortunately there are enough lower priced examples to be found from reasonably respected names. We’ve detailed them here. A further advantage with buying from a recognized manufacturer is not only the peace of mind that comes with a long lineage but also, typically, warranties of up to 10 years in some cases.

So what do we mean when we talk about budget binoculars? Here we’ve avoided including any product north of $100 or £100, with many options retailing for a good deal less. In short, even if you’re pockets aren’t particularly deep, we’re helping to provide you with a few options to suit whatever your budget may be.

So without further ado, let’s drill into what we consider the best budget binoculars all round.

Best budget binoculars for under $100

(Image credit: Nikon)

1. Nikon Aculon A30 10x25

Rubber and plastic constructed folding binoculars offering plenty of poke and portability for the pocket money price

Specifications
Magnification: 10x
Objective diameter: 25mm
Design: Roof prism
Field of view at 1000m: 87 metres
Closest focusing distance : 3 metres
Eye relief: 13mm
Weight: 275g
Dimensions: 122x115x44mm
Reasons to buy
+Fairly priced binoculars from a trusted brand+Lightweight and foldable with rubber coated grip+Multi layer coated lenses for brighter viewing possibilities
Reasons to avoid
-Not water resistant-No zoom function-No tripod mount

Available in regular black, silver or, in some territories even camouflage design, this small yet perfectly formed budget priced roof prism pair are foldable so they’ll slip easily into a pocket. A centrally located focus knob allows for quick and easy adjustment, while a dioptre control is also provided via the right eyepiece to allow our view to be fine-tuned. A 25mm objective lens married to a 10x magnification further ensures these are a usable option for a wide variety of subjects. 

OK, so for the entry-level cost you don’t get features found on higher end binos, such as water resistance for one, but many prospective buyers will inevitably find they’re prepared to make certain compromises at this price point. In short, this Nikon example is lightweight, low cost, yet provides decent optical quality with it.

(Image credit: Olympus)

2. Olympus 8x40 DPS-I

Rubber coated roof prism binoculars in black

Specifications
Magnification: 8x
Objective diameter: 40mm
Field of view at 1000m: 143 metres
Closest focusing distance : 4 metres
Eye relief: 12mm
Design: Porro prism
Weight: 710g
Dimensions: 139x182x58mm
Reasons to buy
+Anti reflective lens coating+Fold down rubber eyecups for comfortable use+Extra wide angle of view
Reasons to avoid
-Relatively weighty-Durable but not waterproof

Another small, portable and affordable traditional porro prism binocular option for discovering mother nature in all her glory, thanks in part to the extra wide 65° field of view, comes via the Olympus brand.

Operation is straightforward enough, focus adjusted via a central knob, while the surface of the binos is rubber coated to improve grip. Recommended uses include the likes of bird watching, sports viewing and even astronomy, with the promise being that the construction is durable, complete with a UV protected eyepiece.

(Image credit: Bushnell)

3. Bushnell 10x42 All-Purpose Binoculars

Nitrogen purged anti fogging roof prism binoculars in black

Specifications
Magnification: 10x
Objective diameter: 42mm
Design: Roof prism
Field of view at 1000m: 102 metres
Closest focusing distance : 4 metres
Eye relief: 19mm
Weight: 720g
Dimensions: 178 x 102 x 152mm
Reasons to buy
+Nitrogen purged construction to avoid fogging+Plenty of poke provided courtesy of 10x magnification+Budget priced jack-of-all-trades option
Reasons to avoid
-A little weighty compared with competing budget brands-Construction is a tad plastic-y-Not waterproof

This purposeful looking pair of 10x magnification binoculars features an attribute of higher cost options that many budget models don’t – namely a nitrogen purged construction to avoid them inconveniently fogging up in damp conditions. A slim design and a bright images is what is provided here.

Other than that these are the regular porro prism type binos fashioned in black plastic, with a standard central focusing knob and the benefit of a long eye relief for comfortable viewing if you’re wearing spectacles. While this model is not fully waterproof, for those seeking general-purpose binos and who are after a good deal for a relatively low outlay, this Bushnell option is well worth checking out.

(Image credit: Celestron)

4. Celestron Up Close G2 16x32 Roof Binocular

Water-resistant binos for the price of a hot meal

Specifications
Magnification: 16x
Objective diameter: 32mm
Design: Roof prism
Field of view at 1000m: 62 metres
Closest focusing distance : 8 metres
Eye relief: 10mm
Weight: 369g
Dimensions: 91x56x142mm
Reasons to buy
+Water resistant build+Lightweight yet sturdy aluminum construction+High magnification power, yet compact dimensions
Reasons to avoid
-No tripod mount-Small lenses means these are not the best at light gathering

Whilst not quite as cheap as chips, you can grab this pair with a powerful 16x magnification and dual-hinged foldable design for a similar price to a burger meal for a family of four. For that outlay we not only get an aluminum build, multi coated optics and rubberized housing, but one that is water resistant with it. 

Claimed as suitable for a wide range of uses, from watching concerts to sports, thumb indents and ridged surface on which to place the fingers reduces the possibility of them slipping from your grasp, while a soft carry case and strap is provided. A high quality build for a very affordable price and with a limited lifetime warranty thrown in to seal the deal – what’s not to like? Though you should note that the high magnifaction means these binos are not easy to hold steady, and are not particularly bright - so are best used in good light.

(Image credit: Bushnell)

5. Bushnell H20 Waterproof Compact 10x25 Roof Prism Binocular

Budget binoculars that are waterproof without needing to splash out

Specifications
Magnification: 10x
Objective diameter: 25mm
Design: Roof prism
Field of view at 1000m: 114 metres
Closest focusing distance : 4.6 metres
Eye relief: 12mm
Weight: 289g
Dimensions: 127 x 102 x 67mm
Reasons to buy
+O-ring seals for waterproofed performance+Nitrogen purged to prevent binos from fogging up+Non-slip rubber surface
Reasons to avoid
-Cheap looking neck cord and case 

For when you’re all at sea but want to keep your binos dry comes this compact, mariner-friendly, rugged non-slip rubber surfaced option from Bushnell. It’s 100% waterproof thanks to O-ring seals, fog-proof thanks to being nitrogen purged, plus lightweight with it. 

What’s more we get a large central focus knob and twist up eyecups, with high quality BaK-4 prisms and multi-coated optics providing optimum light transmission. Further peace of mind for taking these out in wet conditions comes from the fact that a limited lifetime guarantee provided is provided upon purchase. If you want some all-purpose ‘any weather’ unisex binoculars on the cheap for adventures on the high seas and in the great outdoors, then this example seems hard to beat for the outlay.

(Image credit: Opticron)

6. Opticron Adventurer II WP 8x42

Rubber textured nitrogen purged and waterproof binoculars at a low price point

Specifications
Magnification: 8x
Objective diameter: 42mm
Design: Roof prism
Field of view at 1000m: 119 metres
Closest focusing distance : 5 metres
Eye relief: 20mm
Weight: 627g
Dimensions: 148x125x52mm
Reasons to buy
+Waterproof+Multi coated optics+Tripod socket adapter provided

Opticron is another familiar name in the world of optical specialism that again shows that budget offerings can indeed be found from known brands. The chief headline here is that this roof prism design option is waterproof – hence the ‘WP’ in the model name – and nitrogen purged, while featuring a durable textured, non-slip rubber armoured exterior and a long eye relief for the comfort of spectacle wearers. Its lenses are also multi coated to ensure clarity of viewing, while, unusually at a budget price, a tripod adapter socket is provided. Put simply this is a value for money option for general-purpose use in the great outdoors and comes with a two year manufacturer’s guarantee.

Read more:

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• The best night vision goggles
• The best opera glasses
• The best telescopes for astrophotography

Gavin Stoker

Gavin has over 30 year experience of writing about photography and television. He is currently the editor of British Photographic Industry News, and previously served as editor of Which Digital Camera and deputy editor of Total Digital Photography


He has also written for a wide range of publications including T3, BBC Focus, Empire, NME, Radio Times, MacWorld, Computer Active, What Digital Camera and Rough Guide books.


With his wealth of knowledge he is well placed to recognise great camera deals and recommend the best products in Digital Camera World’s buying guides. He also writes on a number of specialist subjects including binoculars and monoculars, spotting scopes, microscopes, trail cameras, action cameras, body cameras, filters, cameras straps and more.