Charles holds a Master’s degree in Physics Engineering (optics and photonics specialization), has been teaching physics at school for almost 15 years and recently has star read more
Last updated: December 07, 2022
The Optics is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Binoculars are a useful tool for bird watchers, sunset lovers and any other person that would love to marvel at the beauty of nature. Good binoculars offer you great value and several features but you are likely to fork out a decent amount for it. That said, you can find the best binoculars under 50 dollars that is equally good but you need to do some time-consuming research.
Luckily, we took several weeks out of our schedule to try out various binoculars under 50 to ensure you get the best deal. We consider several features of a binoculars, in our quest to help you find the perfect field-glasses. Of course, magnification and field of view were some of the important features that we were keen on in the review. After all, you need something that sees far and wide. We also considered the weight, dimensions, objective diameter, warranty, durability, and even the feel of the hand straps.
More features: BK-7 porro prism, water resistant, aluminum case, tripod adaptable, carrying case included, FMC optics
Celestron is a household brand for those that have used several brands of binoculars. It offers some high-end binoculars that come with several features but they also have budget field glasses that do the job too. Celestron UpClose G2 is an astonishing pair of binoculars that give you a lot of features for its price.
One of the main things that we loved about the Celestron UpClose G2, apart from the price, is its observational power. It features a BK-7 porro prism that gives you a great level of clarity. And while roof prisms are generally smaller, the high level of clarity of the porro prism compensates for this model’s bulkiness.
This pair of binoculars comes with a 10x to 30x magnification power that allows you to tailor it to your specific activity. If you are in a stadium watching some high-paced soccer then you should use the 10x magnification. The 30x magnification setting will allow you to watch birds that are far in the air or ships that are out in the sea.
Celestron UpClose G2 is also quite durable. It has a tough aluminum body that comes with non-slip rubber coating to ensure you have the perfect grip. Some thumb indents are also featured on the body to improve the binoculars’ ergonomics. If you want a great pair of binoculars with a wide magnification range and good FMC optics then this is worth every penny.
More features: tripod adaptable, BAK-4 prisms, central focusing, FMC optics, anti-slip rubber exterior, 2-year warranty
If you just started your hobby that requires a pair of binoculars then you may want to get the Konus Military Binoculars 2170 before advancing to a pricier model. This is a great option for any beginner, sports-person or even pros that want a rugged pair of binoculars whose performance would exceed their expectations.
One of the first things that you notice about this pair of binoculars is its rugged yet beautiful look. It comes with two extra-large eyepieces, which ensure you have a wide view when using the field-glasses. Your eyes are protected by fast roll-down eye cups that allow you to close and open the lenses with ease. This means that you will never have to lose a moment because of jammed eye cups.
The Konus Military Binoculars 2170 comes with multi-coated optics and BAK-4 prisms that enhance the quality of the binoculars to give you a clear vision and excellent light transmission. Aside from roll-down eyecups, this pair of binoculars also has eye relief to ensure that every moment using the pair is comfortable.
The material that makes the Konus Military Binoculars 2170 is very durable. Moreover, this pair of binoculars is fitted with robust rubber to give you extra protection even when using it in the field or rugged surfaces. It is also tripod adaptable.
More features: BK-7 prism, FMC lenses, carrying pouch included, rubber
Whether you are hunting in a small area or want to watch a sporting event, the Carson Scout Plus is the perfect binoculars under 50 for the task. Carson Scout Plus is a renowned company that makes high-quality binoculars for a fraction of its rival’s prices. And while they strive to ensure that you get affordable gear, they still uphold their brand standards.
One of the things that most people love about this binocular is its compact size and design. This pair weighs a measly 6.2 pounds making it easy to carry and move around with it. Moreover, their compact size makes one hand use easy, which may come in handy when you are multitasking.
With a BK-7 prism, you can rest assured that these binoculars are not only clear but they are also bright too. It is also worth noting that these pair of binoculars have a surreal camouflage pattern so may want to take note of where you place them each time. It is easy to lose them when you are in the woods.
With the great functionalities and its ease of use, Carson Scout Plus works well for both beginners and professionals. It can work well in most extreme conditions but you should watch out for water as it is not waterproof.
More features: center focus system, case included, rubber anti-slip exterior
Rothco is a popular brand that manufactures quality military, survival, and outdoor products. The company has been in existence for more than five decades, which means that you can rely on the process and quality parts that they use when making their products. And while the company offers a wide range of goods including binoculars, Rothco Binocular 10291 is one of the best picks that you can get.
We loved several things about this particular pair of binoculars. However, the impressive 8x to 24x magnification power is one of the things that we loved most. You can use its 8x magnification for bird watching or you can switch it up to 24x if you want to watch high impact sports. It also has a wide field of view of about 1000 yards too.
This is also one of the durable binoculars that you can find on the market. It is made from rubber material, which also works as an anti-slip material. The porro prism in the Rothco Binocular 10291 ensures that the images formed on the binoculars are of the best quality. Its prism is fully coated to reduce the amount of reflection in the field glasses. Other accessories included with this model include a carrying pouch and a neck strap for the bird watchers.
More features: aluminum casing, rubber anti-slip exterior, 20.5 twilight factor, carrying case included
Barska Lucid View AB11364 is what you get when you want a tough pair of binoculars that can perform well in almost all conditions. One of the first things that you notice about this pair of binoculars is its compactness. This makes it a great companion for anyone that enjoys hunting, bird watching or even hiking, thanks to its 15 oz weight and its portability.
You also note the high-quality images that this pair of binoculars makes when you use it for the first time. It features BK-7 prisms that are also coated to ensure you get a high-quality image. The large size of the lens increases the amount of light that goes in the binoculars, which means that you get brighter images too. Its magnification power of 10x is suitable for a wide range of activities such as hunting or bird watching.
This pair of binoculars has a strong and sturdy construction. It is made from a durable aluminum casing meaning that you can rely on it for long. Moreover, its exterior is fitted with anti-slip material to make handling it a breeze even in wet or the most humid conditions.
More features: BK-7 prism, IPX-4 water resistance rate, anti-slip rubber exterior, FMC lenses, 5.8 degree viewing angle
Firefield FF12020 allows you to always be there for any great moments. Whether you are bird watching or watching sports in a stadium, this pair of binoculars will ensure that you get all the action. The binoculars have an attractive yet strong housing made from rubber armor, which houses the multi-coated lenses. This body allows you to use the binos in rough terrain without worrying about them breaking.
Despite having a rugged look, the manufacturer has gone a step forward to guarantee users of a comfortable experience when they use this model. For example, Firefield FF12020 binoculars come with adjustable eye cups, which can be retracted and adjusted for maximum comfort. Another impressive feature that you don’t see in the cheap binoculars is its customizable inter-pupillary distance. This is the distance between the two eyepieces and its unique hinge design allows users of every size to comfortably use them.
The BK-7 prism in this particular model delivers high quality images and a clear viewing experience. This is further enhanced by its multi-coated optics that reduce reflective light and allow just the right amount of light to enter your binos. The anti-reflective coating of Firefield FF12020’s lenses also improves color, reduces reflections, and enhances an image’s resolution.
Whether you are a bird watcher or just want to use them for stadium games, you can always rely on Firefield FF12020.
More features: BK-7 prism, fold down eyecups, FC lenses, non-slip rubber exterior
Anyone that is an avid user of binoculars knows that Bushnell is a household name in the industry. The company is dedicated to making quality outdoor gear, which is why they are known for their quality binos. The PowerView series is a line in the company that offers affordable binoculars to people who have a lower budget.
With the Bushnell Powerview 131632, you get a stylish pair of binoculars that does not compromise on functionality. These binos are easy to use and you will not face any complications even when using them for the first time. They feature roof prisms, which are known to be effective at drawing clear and bright images.
Like most Bushnell binoculars, the Bushnell Powerview 131632 is also durable and will serve you for a long time. It has a black rubber armor on the exterior that allows you to use it even in dangerous outdoor environments. The rubber exterior is non-slip and offers the users a good grip, which will come in handy in wet or humid conditions.
A unique feature that we thought is convenient is the fold down eyecups. They enhance the comfort of the binoculars and protect its lenses. You also get a carrying pouch and a neck strap when you get the Bushnell Powerview 131632. These accessories will help protect your binoculars so that you can use them for years.
More features: 6.2 degrees viewing angle, 13 mm eye relief, 6.7 brightness index, BK-7 prism
Are you looking for a compact pair of binoculars that even your kids can use? Pentax UP is a compact binocular that works surprisingly well. It produces crisp, clear, and bright images that can really capture a beautiful sunny afternoon. They also produce some great images even when there is little light like when touring a forest covered in a canopy of trees.
Pentax UP is fitted with multi-coated lenses and BK-7 glass prisms that not only allow more light to enter but also reduce any reflection of light. The porro prism fitted in the Pentax UP are a bit wider than roof prisms but they produce a decent quality image for their price. These prisms are also shorter, which means that this binocular can be folded into a square shape and fitted into your pocket. It also comes with a strap that you can use to hang it on your neck.
This is also one of the easy to use binoculars no wonder your children can also use it. For example, using the center focus wheel is a breeze with the Pentax UP. It also comes with comfortable rubber eyecups but unfortunately, they are not adjustable. All the same, they are comfortable enough.
What makes it special?
Features an adjustable pupil distance for kids
Comes with a neck strap
What cons did we find?
May feel uncomfortable for people with wider faces
Things to Consider
Choosing a pair of binoculars from the hundreds, if not thousands in the market is not an easy task. While it is imperative to find out some of the best binoculars, you also need something that meets your needs and preferences. That said, this buying guide can help you do your own research. It will let you know which pair of binoculars is ideal for your lifestyle even before your make the purchase. Let’s get started.
What to expect from cheap binoculars
As much as some people may be put off by the price of a cheap binoculars, these gadgets work pretty well if you choose the right one. Yes, price matters and you get what you pay for but there are some hidden gems that you can find if you look in the right places. You may have to sacrifice some features since $50 binoculars cannot have the same features as $1500 binoculars. Lenses in high-end binoculars, for example, are often distanced and well-calibrated to enhance their performance. The one in your cheap binoculars may not be accurately calibrated.
That said, you should always know the features and working parts of your binoculars whether they are $50 or $1000. This is why you need to review every product before making that final purchase. Once you understand everything that you need in a pair of binoculars, you can easily find one that suits you, even at a lower price.
Where can you use binoculars under 50 dollars?
Any pair of binoculars under 50 can do the same job as other binoculars in the market. If you love bird watching then you can find a great pair of binoculars such as Celestron UpClose G2, which offers a magnification of up to 30x. Such a pair is also useful for those that live by the beach and enjoy watching cruise ships from a distance. Barska Lucid View AB11364 is a great pick for those who frequent stadiums to watch sports. However, you can choose a pair of binoculars with a wide magnification range such as the Rothco Binocular 10291 as they are more versatile. Professional can also rely on binoculars under 50 to carry out any task that they use with regular binoculars.
How to pick the best binoculars under $50
It is easy to get overwhelmed by the large number of brands and models when looking for the perfect binoculars. You need to consider several features and factors before you find the best binoculars under 50. Luckily, we have compiled some of these important features to consider. Let’s get to it.
Dimensions and weight
Dimensions and weight are important considerations that most people overlook only to later complain about the product. Knowing the dimensions of a pair of binoculars beforehand will let you know if it is ideal for your particular purpose and if you can store it well. If you want a compact pair of binoculars then Carson Scout Plus can be a great companion. It only measures 5 x 2.5 x 4.5 inches. However, if you don’t mind bigger binoculars then you can try the Konus Military Binoculars 2170.
Weight is also important as it may impact your experience with the binoculars. Most binoculars with additional features such as night vision, heavy casing or even a large objective lens weigh much more. The extra weight may make using it a bother when you are on a safari or you are watching some birds on a sunny day. However, if you are doing some static activity then you can use a tripod to help you handle some of that extra weight.
Objective lens diameter
The objective lens is one of the most important parts of a binoculars. It is the large lens located on the opposite side of your binoculars that allows the light to enter the field glasses. Why is the objective lens diameter important? You must be wondering. Well, the objective lens is what makes viewing possible and a large diameter increases the amount of light that enters the binoculars. The more light that enters the binoculars the better the image quality. You also need to review the objective lens diameter as a larger diameter mostly means that the binoculars will be heavier.
You will be amazed by the magnification options that you can get even from binoculars under 50. Any binoculars brand worth its salt will give its users a magnification range of 8x to 10x. Most of the binoculars that we reviewed such as the Barska Lucid View AB11364 or Firefield FF12020 have a magnification of at least 10x. However, there were other binoculars with impressive magnification. Celestron UpClose G2, for example, has a wide magnification ra-nge of 10x to 30x, which opens up a whole new world of viewing possibilities. Rothco Binocular 10291 also has an impressive 8x to 24x magnification.
It is worth noting that the magnification that you choose should be informed by what you intend to do with the binoculars. Watching sports and doing some investigative work will probably need two different types of binoculars or magnification.
It is imperative that you always pay special attention to the warranty terms even before you make that purchase. A lot of people make assumptions about the warranty terms or period only to find out some conflicting information later. That said, you need to review each product’s warranty and find one that is suitable or acceptable to you. Of course, the longer the warranty period, the better.
The shell material of a binoculars is important as it impacts several things. For instance, the durability and the grip of your binoculars will be impacted by the shell material of your gear. Every brand will adopt different shell material for every binocular, which are also effective in different environments. For example, metal shells are the most durable of all but you are likely to experience problems with them when it rains or when its humid. Some metal binoculars are fitted with textured metal shells that make the binoculars more durable and gives them better grip.
You can also opt for a plastic shell material, which is generally cheaper but less durable than metal. They can easily get slick in wet conditions but many brands come with a rubberized layer to counter this problem. It is worth noting that the shell material is first line of defense and you should get a good material that won’t get damaged easily when it falls.
Depending on what you want to do with your pair of binoculars, hand straps offer you a great way to carry your field glasses. You can choose to put your binoculars in your backpack or you can get a model with cool hand straps. A binoculars with nice hand straps will give you the confidence to walk around the game drive without worrying about your binos falling. And while this may not be a deal breaker to most, it can be an extra reason to love your field glasses. It may also come in handy when walking or traveling for longer distances.
To understand eye relief, we have to delve into some science. The final image that you see on your binos is reflected a bit further from the lens. The distance between the final image and the lens is the eye relief. Why do you need to calculate this distance? Well, this distance helps to determine and to ensure that the image you see is crisp. That said, we recommend that you go for a movable eye relief instead of a binoculars with a fixed eye relief. You also need to find a pair of binoculars with a silicone coating around the eye relief for extra comfort.
Buying a binoculars at $50 doesn’t mean that you should not get a durable product that will serve you for years. All models should be able to withstand the occasional hits or the wear and tear that comes with being an outdoor gear. You ought to get terrain and waterproof binoculars if you want to use your binos for long.
Most binoculars under 50 come with an ABS plastic body, which may not be durable but it withstands all weather conditions. Regardless of the material that you use, you can get a binoculars with a rubber coating to improve its durability. This will ensure that you also have good grip when watching wildlife or sports on a rainy day.
Angle and field of view
While some features may be too much to ask even from the best cheap binoculars, it is important that you review the angle and field view of the binoculars that you would be getting. This will help you know if and how you can adjust the focus of your binos. Most binoculars on the market will come with a one-step system that allows you to adjust the angle of viewing.
With regards to field of view, most budget range binoculars will offer an average view of 300 to 400 feet. This is enough to carry out some tasks such as bird watching but may not be good for professionals such as snipers. Of course, the bigger the field of view, the better as it allows you to see more. Field of view can be measured in degrees or distance but you need to get one with the largest field of view. Having a small field of view will mean that you will need to adjust your angles often, which might be uncomfortable.
Accessories may not be a deal breaker for most but they surely add some spice to your binoculars. Any pair of binoculars that you choose should be able to give you one or two accessories. For example, some binoculars like Carson Scout Plus come with a case or carrying pouch where you can store them when they are not in use. This not only protects your field glasses but it also makes them last longer. You may also want a brand that comes with removable hand straps. All in all, accessories just improve the experience of using your binoculars and you should get as much accessories as you can.
Bird watching is one of the most popular recreational activity for many Americans. However, it is impossible to enjoy bird watching if you do not have the right equipment at hand. The best binoculars for bird watching should have a magnification level ranging from 7x to 10x but the latter is the standard for bird watching. It may be tempting to get a pair of binoculars with a higher magnification power but this will minimize your focus distance. Binos with higher magnification power also have a narrower field of view. Firefield FF12020 is our pick for the best cheap binoculars for bird watching due to its 10x magnification and 5.8 degree viewing angle.
Yes, it is safe to hunt with a binoculars that costs you less than $50. Like any other binoculars, most binos under 50 will give you a clear image and a wide field of view when hunting. A binoculars with a magnification power of 10x is good for hunting as it can reveal even the most subtle details. You also need a light pair of binoculars that allows easy glassing when out in the woods. Rothco Binocular 10291 is a great choice for those who love spending their weekends in the woods hunting.
Cleaning your binoculars is an easy task that should not take you too long. If your binoculars is waterproof then you can easily rinse it in water and wipe it off. However, you may want to ease off with the water if your binos are not entirely waterproof. Cleaning the lens is a bit different as they are very delicate. Most lenses come with a specific coating to improve their functionality, which is why you should only use the special clothing provided by the seller. Other materials such as paper towels, tissues, t-shirts or even ties can scrape off the special coating in the lens so you should avoid them.
Our editor’s choice, Celestron UpClose G2 is our top pick and for obvious reasons. It is an all rounded binoculars that will not disappoint you despite its price. Between its 10x-30x magnification, 50mm objective, and tough aluminum body, it is not difficult to tell why we loved it.
Our second pick is Konus Military Binoculars 2170, is the best binoculars under 50 dollars for beginners but professionals can also use it. This pair of binoculars has a rugged yet beautiful design that is covered with non-slip rubber for a firm grip. It features a 8x magnification power, which is great for bird watching.
Barska Lucid View AB11364 is our best value pick if you don’t have a large budget or want to try out bird watching for the first time. And while it may be affordable, it also works wonderfully well with a magnification power of 10x and a 42mm objective. This magnification coupled with its tough aluminum exterior makes it great for hunting or hiking.
How Do Binoculars Work?
Binoculars cleverly use the concept of optics to enable us to view distant objects with ease. They are based on the principles of refraction of light.