Best Astronomy Binoculars 2021

Binocular Reviews Home > Astronomy > Annual Binoculars Awards > BBR's Best Binoculars for Astronomy 2021

Intro

In this section, I highlight the winners of the BBR awards for the Best Astronomy Binoculars of 2021 as well as those from past years that are still available and which I feel are still worth your consideration.

Also, please note that this article just highlights the award winners. For more information on the different types, configurations and the most important features to look for in a good pair of binoculars for stargazing, viewing the moon and/or planets as well as links to all the astronomy binoculars that I have reviewed. take a look at my Buyers Guide to the Best Binoculars for Astronomy.

BBR's Award Winners

Annual Binocular Awards LogosAbout the BBR Binocular Awards
From humble beginnings and as a good way for me to highlight the very best binoculars, scopes, night vision devices and accessories that I fully tested and reviewed in the past 12 months, the BBR awards started all the way back in 2010! They and have now grown into what I believe are the most important and prestigious awards for binoculars anywhere on the web. For more and to see the winners in all the other categories take a look at the main BBR Awards Page here.

Best Binoculars for Astronomy

I come from a more wildlife, birding background and this was why I got my first pair of binoculars many, many years ago now. However, as my personal interest in astronomy continues to grow, the amount of instruments that I am getting in to test for this particular use is increasing and thus the award for the best astronomy binoculars over the past few years has become more and more keenly contested and now rather than just having one winner, I have decided to split the awards up into a number of sub-categories:

Best Value Astronomy Binoculars 2021 (Under $200 /£/€)

Celestron SkyMaster Pro 15x70 Binoculars

Best Value Astronomy Binocular 2021 - Celestron SkyMaster Pro 15x70 BinocularsA huge step up in quality from Celestron's very successful SkyMaster series, these SkyMaster Pro binoculars offer many important improvements and refinements which take them to the next level and whilst they are a little more expensive, I feel that it is well worth it and these must now surely be one of the best value for money astronomy binoculars on the market and should still be well within the reach of most amateur astronomers.

Designed for astronomy, but also a very capable binocular for long-range terrestrial uses, during my testing I was impressed by how well-built and sturdy they were, resulting in them looking and feeling far superior to most of the competition at this price range.

These Celestron SkyMaster Pro Binoculars have large 70mm objective lenses and an optical system that is fully multi-coated using their proprietary top specification XLT coating technology reserved for higher-end instruments.

Other highlights and improvements over the standard SkyMaster include the use of an all magnesium chassis that is both water and fogproof. High-end Porro prisms made from Bak-4 glass.

As you would expect with a binocular for stargazing, these are tripod adaptable and they come with an adapter included which also has an RSR (Reflex Sight Ready) rail attached to the top of it.

I also very much like the side-shield eyecups that do an excellent job of eliminating any distracting light from the periphery of the view and is a good example of the very good attention to detail that Celestron show with these.

Main Specs & Features:

  • Mid Range Binoculars - approx $166 / £130
  • Aluminium Chassis
  • Central Focus Wheel
  • Waterproof & Fogproof
  • Standard Folding Eyecups & Side Shield Eyecups
  • 15x Magnification, 70mm Objective Lenses
  • Fully Multi-Coated
  • Porro Prisms made from BaK-4 Glass
  • Field of View: 77m wide at 1000m (4.4 degrees)
  • Eye Relief: 17mm
Current Price & Where to Buy: Celestron SkyMaster Pro Binoculars

Best Astronomy Binoculars 2021 (Under $300 /£/€)

Bresser Spezial Astro SF 15x70 Binoculars

Best Astronomy Binoculars 2021 - Bresser Spezial Astro SF 15x70 BinocularsThe Spezial Astro SF 15x70 binocular from the German brand Bresser is a tough, extremely well built binocular with good quality optics that in turn deliver a quality of view and user experience that is well above what I would expect to find at this price level.

Major highlights include the fully waterproof, all-metal body, bridge, and barrels. The fact that the instrument is also filled with Argon to prevent internal lens fogging is also an important. Not only as it is a good indicator of quality, but can be very useful if should you happen to go outside stargazing on a cold night from the warmth of your house when the internal glass surfaces on unprotected instruments are quite likely mist up.

The optical system is fully multi-coated and not just multi-coated which certainly makes a big difference to both the image quality and brightness, which along with just how little color fringing and image softening there was also something that impressed me during testing and whilst comparing them to inferior products.

A small point, but I also really like the permanently tethered lens covers on these binoculars. They are robust, fit very well and so easy instantly replace as soon as you are finished observing, even in complete darkness.

Important Specs & Features:

  • Mid Range Binoculars - approx $260 / £230 / €240
  • Aluminium Chassis
  • Individual Eyepiece Focus System
  • Waterproof & Fogproof (Argon)
  • Tripod Adapter Thread
  • Fully Multi-Coated
  • BaK-4 Porro Prisms
  • Field of View: 77m wide at 1000m (4.4 degrees)
  • Eye Relief: 20mm
Current Price & Where to Buy: Bresser Spezial Astro SF Binoculars

Best High-End Astro Binoculars 2021 (Under $1000 /£/€)

I first tested these excellent 20x70 Echelon binoculars back in 2015, which was when they first one the award for best astro binocular and since then I have yet to test anything better. Assembled in America using Japanese made optics, they are still available (although sometimes you have to shop around a bit) and thus once again, they are my pick as the Best High-End (Under $1000 /£/€) Astronomy Binocular for 2021:

Celestron Echelon 20x70 Binoculars

Best Astronomy Binocular 2019 - Celestron Echelon 20x70 BinocularsDesigned for astronomy, but also a very capable binocular for long-range terrestrial uses, the Celestron Echelon features a powerful 20x magnification and very large 70mm objective lenses.

So, just like the windows in your house, large lenses are able to capture more light than smaller ones.

But this is just the start because to ensure the brightest, best quality views, you need more than just large lenses, what is also required is a really high-quality optical system and this is where this Celestron really excelled:

High-Quality Optics
Scoring an outstanding 9/10 for Optical Components on the BBR scale these Celestron Echelon binoculars use very high-end Japanese made optical glass and coatings to ensure that as much of the collected light gets right through the optical pathway and onto your eyes as possible.

With such a high magnification and for use in very low light situations, this is critical and is where I really notice that these completely outperform less expensive lower quality alternatives.

Body Quality: 8/10 82%
Outstanding
Body Stats: 9/10
Optical Components Quality: 9/10
Optical Stats: 8/10
Image Quality 8/10
Extras & Details: 7/10

Assembled in the USA
The quality doesn't end with the optics, indeed these Celestron binoculars are assembled by hand in the US where the focus is very much on precision and quality rather than volume. On top of this, Celestron uses an Aluminum Chassis on the Echelon. Whilst not as lightweight, it is certainly more robust and gives off a much better feeling of quality when compared to the may plastic polycarbonate alternatives on the market.

These binoculars are also completely sealed and filled with nitrogen gas, making them both fully water and fog proof. Now I know you may be thinking astronomy doesn't really work in the rain, so what is the point of this, well, for me it is a strong indicator of a higher quality instrument and on top of this, remember that these seals will also prevent tiny dust particles from entering the system.

Celestron Echelon 20x70 Binoculars on a tripod

Tripod Adaptable
Whilst it is just about possible to use these very powerful and somewhat heavy binoculars by hand for short periods of long-range terrestrial observation, for best results and rock steady, shake-free views that are especially important for astronomy, mounting them onto a tripod is essential.

So as you would expect these are tripod adaptable and thus all you have to do is unscrew the dust cap located on the front face of the hinge, where it reveals a standard sized 1/4inch thread.

This thread will then accept pretty much any standard binocular tripod adapter, that you screw in like this. Once attached you then fix the adapter either directly onto your tripod or to your tripod head depending on what setup you have.

Diopters on the Celestron Echelon 20x70 BinocularsAlways in Focus
Often somewhat misleading referred to as having some sort of "Auto Focus", these Celestron Echelon binoculars use an individual eyepiece focus system, which means that once you have calibrated the instrument by adjusting each of the eyepieces to match the vision in your left and right eyes, no further focus adjustments are ever necessary and everything from their minimum focus distance right to infinity will remain perfectly sharp and in focus.

For long distance and astronomy, this "Always in Focus" optical system works particularly well and makes the binoculars easier to use and it is often quicker to lock onto your subject.

Long Eye Relief
The 19.5 mm of eye relief is another impressive feature on the Celestron 20x70 Echelon binoculars and beats many of its competitors.

This very long eye relief makes sure that you are able to enjoy the full image without dark rings on the edges of the view whether you wear eyeglasses or not.

Waterproof Hard Case
Another major difference between these Echelon binoculars and lower-priced or lesser alternatives is the included hard carry case which is a massive improvement on the soft cases that I typically see.

This case is practically bomb proof in that not only does it have a rigid construction, but like a high-quality camera case it comes with a perfectly molded foam insert to ensure the binoculars survive the roughest of handling.

On top of this, the case has a rubber O-ring seal around lid and so whilst inside, these Echelons also completely protected against dust and moisture.

Indeed because it is completely sealed, there is also this cap that allows you to equalize the internal pressure when transporting the binocular between places that have different altitudes.

Weaknesses?
Whilst the neck strap and especially the hard carry case are truly excellent, I cannot say the same for the lens covers which have to be said are very basic.

To be fair to Celestron, they do fit well and work pretty much as intended, but, it would have just been nicer to have had them match the very high standard set by the rest of the binocular.

Main Features & Specifications

  • Japanese Optics, Hand-assembled in the USA
  • Ideal for Long Range Terrestrial or Astronomy
  • Large 70mm Objective Lenses
  • 20x Magnification
  • Fully Multi-Coated
  • BaK-4 Porro Prisms
  • Fog & Waterproof
  • Included Waterproof Hard Case
  • Tripod Adaptable
  • Field of view: 157ft @ 1000yds
  • 19.5mm Eye-Relief
Current Price & Where to Buy: Celestron Echelon 20x70 Binoculars Binoculars
 

Ultra Wide FOV Astronomy

These unique, quirky and truly excellent little Vixen binoculars are so good, I just had to come up with some sort of an award for them and thus they win the Best Wide Field Astronomy Binoculars for 2021. But in all seriousness, if you want a view of the stars that is in some ways quite similar to that what you get just with your eyes (in terms of the field of view), but at the same time with a fair bit more detail and reach which in turn exposes many more stars than what you can normally see just with the naked eye, then these are certainly worth considering:

Vixen SG 2.1x42 Widefield Constellation Binoculars

Vixen SG 2.1x42 Widefield Constellation BinocularsDubbed the "Constellation Binocular", these Japanese-made 2.1 x42 Vixen SG binoculars have been designed specifically with astronomy in mind. However, unlike most astronomy binoculars with their very powerful magnifications, this instrument with its very low power and resulting super wide field of view is designed to offer you a more rounded view of the night sky, allowing you to take in complete views of constellations and the milky way.

The Field Of View
As well as their ability in low light, the main selling point of the Vixen SG 2.1x42 binocular is the incredibly wide field of view which can be especially usefully for astronomy. Advertised as a super wide 25-degree binocular, it means that you are able to take in many star constellations all at once, but with more resolution and image detail than what you see with your naked eyes.

So for example, Orion spans 19 degrees, and thus when you look through this Vixen, you can enjoy all of it at once without having to pan about. Even the Plough at 25 degrees across is just about visible all at once. The Vixen SG also offers views of the Milky Way that far exceed that which you may be used to using just your eyes and is something that really has to be seen to be truly appreciated.

Important Specs & Features:

  • Mid Level Binoculars - approx $290 / £290 / €280
  • Metallic Chassis & Bridge
  • Individual Eyepiece Focusing
  • Tripod Adaptable
  • Galilean Optical Design
  • Fully Multi-Coated Optics
  • 8.4mm of Eye Relief
  • Super Wide FOV: 25°
  • Close Focus Distance: 2m (6.6ft)*
Current Price & Where to Buy: Vixen SG 2.1x42 Binoculars

Lower Cost Alternative

Helios Star Field 2x40 Binoculars

Helios Sart Field 2x40 BinocularsThese Helios binoculars may not quite match the Vixens above in terms of the overall optical quality with slightly smaller lenses and a fraction lower power, but priced at around £95 in the UK (I have not as yet been able to find then in the US), they do possess the same core design features and a field of view that is almost as wide and thus will make a good option should you be shopping on a tighter budget.

Main Specs & Features

  • 2x Magnification / 40mm Lenses
  • Galilean optical system
  • Fully Multi-Coated
  • Individual Eyepiece Focusing
  • CNC machined Aluminium body
  • Angular Field of View: 24°
  • Field of View: 445m@1000m
  • Eye Relief: 10mm
  • Minimum focus: 2m
  • Weight: 189g (238g with case)
Current Price & Where to Buy: Helios Star Field 2x40 Binoculars

Past Winners

Best Mid Level / Budget Astronomy Binoculars 2019

Not everyone will have the budget or will want to take the stargazing hobby to the level that warrants spending the amount it takes to buy a high-end Astro binocular like the Celestron above.

So below are some of the award winners for the best budget astronomy binoculars:

Levenhuk Bruno Plus 15x70 Binoculars

Best Budget Astronomy Binocular 2019 - Levenhuk Bruno Plus 15x70 BinocularsLike the Celestron above, these have large 70mm lenses and whilst they don't match them in terms of the quality of the optical components and coatings, they do partly make up for this by using a slightly lower 15x power which helps them maintain a very healthy 4.6mm exit pupil, which along with the use of a fully multi-coated optical pathway results in a bright image of the sky at night.

Main Features:

  • Mid Range Binoculars - approx $174 / £179
  • Aluminium Chassis
  • Tripod Adaptable
  • Waterproof & Fogproof
  • Twist-up Eyecups (3 fixed positions)
  • Dimensions: 280x210x90mm / 11x8.2x3.5in
  • Weight 1.3kg (2.9lbs)
  • Central Focus Wheel
  • Fully Multi-Coated 80mm Objective Lenses
  • Porro Prisms BaK-4 glass
  • Field of View: 77m wide at 1000m (4.4 degrees)
  • Eye Relief: 19mm

Please note, if you want more power, Levenhuk also makes a 20x80mm Bruno Plus that scored the same as these when I tested them and so could also have won this award, but at the time of writing as out of stock, so I decided not to include it. I am not sure if this is temporary or it is no longer being produced, but it is worth checking if you are interested.

The other advantage is that it gives them a wider field of view great for scanning the sky and it does make them less heavy and not so large.

Other highlights include the fact that they are waterproof and fog proof and have twist-up eye-cups where many of their competitors have simple folding rubber eyecups.

Unlike many budget astronomy binoculars that use polycarbonate plastic, this has an all aluminum chassis.

All in all, I was really very impressed with this Levenhuk Bruno Plus 20x80 binocular and they easily exceeded my expectations at this price range (approx $170 / £170) with both the quality of the view and the general build quality and materials that have been used:

Current Price & Where to Buy: Levenhuk 15x70 Bruno Plus Binoculars

Best Cheap Binocular for Astronomy 2019 (Under $50 / £50 / €50)

Levenhuk Atom 10x50

Levenhuk Atom 10x50 BinocularsWhilst a 7x50 binocular is a classic combination for astronomy and a good one especially if you are wanting a cheap binocular as you not only get a wide field of view, but also a massive exit pupil of more than 7mm, which should ensure a bright image for stargazing even with lower quality glass an coatings.

However, I also though that the 10x50 Levenhuk Atom 10x50 binoculars make a good choice if you are willing to sacrifice a little brightness and width of view for a deeper reach into space.

On the whole the Levenhuk Atom is better than what their very low price tag would suggest and so from that point of view, I think you are getting some good value for money.

Highlights included a good quality and bright image, wide view for a 10x binocular and a good build quality.

The fact that they use porro prisms helps with the image quality and brightness as they do not require a number of expensive treatments in order for them to deliver the same performance as a roof prism made from the same glass. However I think it is important to keep your expectations to a realistic level and thus mind that there are a number of areas where these and indeed every bin in this price range dol fall short when compared to more expensive products.

However if this is your maximum budget, then these Levenhuk Optics are not at all bad and far better than having not optics at all.

If you prefer a roof prism binocular, take a look at last years winner below, the Tom Lock Series 1 really surprised me when I tested them and still make a great choice for 2015/16:

Current Price & Where to Buy: Levenhuk Atom Binoculars