Best binoculars for 2020 that are ideal for star gazing and bird

A great pair of binoculars is a brilliant investment, as they can be used for spotting wildlife, stargazing, birdwatching or even to take to a show or sports match (when we can) to get a better view.

The best binoculars will allow you to easily enjoy birdwatching or stop and take in a scene on a hike or weekend ramble.

Generally, the larger the magnification and lens, the bigger and weightier the binoculars are likely to be, so if you’re simply looking for a portable pair to whip out at any opportune moment on a walk, you may want to forgo a little bit of clarity for an easy-to-carry pair.

If you’re heading off on the safari holiday of a lifetime or are interested in a specialist subject, you may want to invest in a higher magnification and perhaps invest in a mounted tripod for really large pairs.

Whether you want to spot foxes or badgers in the garden, go birdwatching, or take in the sweeping scenery on walks, we’ve rounded up the best binoculars for the best views below.

Best binoculars

1. Nikon Prostaff 3S 10X42 Binoculars

When it comes to magnification and lens, you’ll usually see these in the numbers in the title. For example, these binoculars have a 10x magnification and a 42mm lens.

These are great all-rounders, being lightweight yet offering good clarity. They’re also anti-fog, waterproof and crafted with a durable, shock-resistant outer.

One Amazon customer said: “I love these. They are a quality product and worth every penny. They replaced a cheaper pair and the beauty of these is that even when viewing through a window (I use them mainly for watching the birds which visit my garden) they are as clear as a bell and I no longer get the ‘fog’ and lack of clarity that I did with my previous binoculars. Delighted with my purchase and would thoroughly recommend them.”

Price: £139, Amazon – buy here now

2. Celestron Skymaster 71018-CGL 20 x 80 mm Binoculars

Thought you needed a telescope to see the stars? Think again. You can peer into the universe with these binoculars for some impressive star-spotting.

The large 80mm lens offers brilliant image brightness for impressive views. Whether you’re stargazing or birdwatching, you won’t be disappointed with the clear view.

One customer wrote: “Excellent for viewing stars. Everything is so clear and it picks out things you would not see with ordinary binoculars. Would recommend this item to all my friends.”

Price: £129, Curries – buy here now

3. Olympus RC II 8×21 Binoculars

If you’re simply looking for a portable pair of binoculars to pop in your jacket pocket for when you stumble across points of interest on your walks or rambles, these are ideal.

These 8x magnification 21mm lens will offer a good view at a compact size. There’s also a convenient centre-focus knob for easy focusing and multi coated lenses for maximum brightness and contrast.

This happy Argos customer said: “For a pair of pocket-sized binoculars, these are, without reservation, the best I’ve owned. The focus is really sharp and I’ve found them excellent for bird watching. For the price, they are amazingly good.”

Price:£44.99, Argos – buy here now

4. Olympus DPS-I 8×40 Binoculars

Another great-value pair of binoculars, this pair is slightly heavier than the previous Olympus pair, but offers a wide-angle view that is great for tracking – and keeping up with – fast moving subjects, like birds.

The optics have UV ray protection and anti-reflective coatings for improved image brightness and clarity.

One reviewer said: “Took these on holiday to Skye and was able to use them to spot all kinds of wildlife. They are easy to use and come with a neat, light carrying case that’s easy to open for quick access, and a neck strap. They were fine for what we needed them for.” And another said they’d even used them to look at the moon.

And another said: “I needed a pair of good quality binoculars at very short notice and it was lockdown! The product did not disappoint. Two days later we were watching baby badgers at dusk through them.”

Price: £54.99, Argos – buy here now

5. Bfull High Power 12×50 Binoculars Compact Folding Bird Watching Binoculars

Haven’t really used binoculars before and don’t want to spend a fortune? Try these on for size.

The crisp 12x magnification is great for birdwatching and hikes, and is best for daytime viewing. They’re easy to focus, durable and waterproof.

An Amazon customer enthused: “If you like nature walks and bird or deer watching, you can’t go wrong with this powerful pair of binoculars. Light and compact yet solidly build with good quality lenses.

“It’s also handy when going to concerts or shows. The rubberised caps protect the front and back and it comes with a handy strap to feel like a real ranger in the woods.

“It can even be mounted on a tripod to look at the moon while you’re waiting for your favourite bird. Even in the bag, it’s not heavy and fits easily in a backpack or just strapped around your neck. The eye pieces are wide enough for me to use while wearing glasses too.”

Price: £24.99, Amazon – buy here now

6. DFlamepower Mini Compact Folding Binoculars

Want easily accessible binoculars that are so compact you’ll barely notice they’re there? Voila.

Ideal for taking on weekend walks or staycations, the 8x magnification will ensure you’re ready if dolphins start jumping in the sea, or a beautiful bird zooms past.

The anti-skid rubber outer helps prevent slipping or shaking, and they come with a neck strap and storage bag for easy use and portability.

One review said: “I wasn’t expecting how good these were! My kids loved them too! Magnification is really good. I took them on a loch cruise in Scotland and preferred using these as opposed to the ones provided on the trip.”

Price: £14 99, Amazon – buy here now

7. Nikon Monarch 7 Waterproof Binoculars

If you’re a really keen birdwatcher, you might want to splash out on a fancy pair of binoculars.

These all-weather binoculars are suitable for a wide range of outdoor activities and weigh less than 500g, making them the lightest in their class of high-performance binoculars.

What’s more, they’re waterproof, fog-free and are shielded in a protective rubber coating for shock resistance, which also gives a secure and comfortable grip.

A high-reflective multilayer prism coating produces more natural colours and brighter, more truthful images, and there’s a wide field of view.

One customer wrote: “The Nikon Monarch 7 binoculars are perfect for taking on a birdwatching trip. They are light, have excellent light-gathering properties, and give a wide field of view and are capable of good close-focus work. The X10 magnification permits close examination of bird colour and identification marks.”

Price: £449, John Lewis – buy here now

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