Best High Powered Binoculars for Hunting

bushnell hunting binoculars

I recently had a question sent into me by someone looking for a pair of binoculars for hunting where they specifically wanted them to be of high quality, have a powerful magnification and where weight was not an issue. I thought that my reply may be of interest to others out there and so have posted it below:

Have A Question For Me?Question:

I am looking for a pair of high magnification binoculars to be used primarily for deer hunting from a blind or stand. Weight and price are not constraints. I want the best optic quality and balance between light gathering and magnification. I am typically aging and rough scoring deer from 100+ yards, which is why the magnification is important to me. I appreciate any suggestion you might have for me.


Many people ask me about hunting binoculars, wanting to know what to get and don’t really give me any more details than that, so it is great that you are being a little more specific. As I suggest in my section on Binoculars for Hunting, the general rule is that a wider field of view is more important than the magnification and an easy to carry binocular is better than a larger bulkier one.

But this is a general rule and assumes that there is tracking involved, possibly in dense vegetation, meaning that you need to carry the binocular with you, possibly for great distances. Try the thermal vision goggles for you next adventure and the best spotting scope under 200.

So what if you are hunting from a hide (blind or stand) and there are some wide open areas where you can spot game at larger distances?

The good news is that because you are in a hide, the extra image shake that you get with a high powered binocular can be countered by you either being able to rest your elbows on a steady surface or you could even consider mounting the optics on a tripod, car Window Clamp/Mount or Hide Clamp using a Binocular Tripod Adapter. If you do decide to go down this route, you can get a very high powered pair of binoculars, you just need to make sure that they are tripod adaptable. Another option would be to get a pair of image stabilized binoculars.

The other downside to high powered binoculars is that the field of view tends to get smaller the higher you go. For most terrain a magnification of between 12x and 15x will be sufficient and you will easily be able to age and score deer from well over a 100 yards. It will also mean that you can also use your binoculars without any form of a steady base (unless you have very unsteady hands) and can be used in a variety of different situations. But for extra image detail, a much further reach and as an alternative to a scope, you could consider going even higher with an 18x binocular, where there are some great options available.

Again because you are hunting from a hide, you rightly say that weight and size are not an issue, so we will mostly be looking at full sized and large binoculars (with an objective lens diameter of about 42mm or more).

The advantage here is that the larger objective lens diameters will let in more light, producing a brighter image, which means that the binoculars will work far better in poor light conditions than compact or even mid-sized versions.

As most wildlife, including the deer and antelope that I am used to is most active in the early morning and late afternoons, early evening when the light is not at it’s best, this is a real bonus.

Waterproofing & Toughness
The general advice when choosing top hunting binoculars is to look for a pair that will easily handle anything that you can throw at them, again this usually assumes that you will be tracking the animal. I assume that this is not too important for you, so it’s nice to have but not critical and to be honest because you want a high-quality pair of optics, they usually have an excellent quality exterior and are 100% fog and waterproof anyway.

I mentioned in the magnification section above that you could consider a pair of binoculars that come with image stabilization. I wouldn’t normally recommend them as a pair of binoculars for deer hunting because of the added weight and the electronics make them less “tough” than standard optics, but in your case, this may be a viable option?

You say that price is not a constraint, which is great and means we can look for an excellent quality pair of deer hunting binoculars. Remember one of the worst combinations you can put together in the world of optics is a cheap high powered pair of binoculars – if you are looking for a high powered pair of optics, it is best to get the best quality you can afford.

If you have a good budget but is not unlimited but still need a really high end pair of optics, then I would suggest looking at either the Athlon Midas 12x50 ED, the Celestron Granite ED 12x50 or if you want more than 12x power, take a look at the Steiner HX 15x56, Minox BL 15x56 or 13x56 BR Binoculars.

If price is no object and you simply want the best high powered hunting binoculars that you can buy then the 12x50 Swarovski EL’s, the Vortex Kaibab HD 18x56 or Vortex Razor HD’s should most certainly be on your very short list:

BinoWizard’s Top Picks:

Objective Lenses on the Maven B.5 18x56 Binoculars

Maven B5 18x56 Binoculars

Maven B5 18x56 BinocularsSuper high powered binoculars with an equally high level of renowned Japanese optics, coatings, components and a build quality to match, the 18x56 Maven B5 binocular is designed to deliver high quality, highly detailed views at long distances and whilst not cheap they are at a price that is well under that of most other “alpha” level instruments.

Optical Highlights
  • Japanese Made Components
  • Abbe-Koenig Roof Prisms
  • Fully Multi-Coated Optics
  • Fluorite Glass Lenses
  • Scratch & Oil Resistant Exterior Lens Coatings

Body Facts:

  • Single Top-Hinge Design
  • Magnesium Chassis
  • Water & Fogproof
  • Right Eye Diopter
  • Twist-up Eyecups
  • Dimensions: 8.2in (20.8cm) x 2.5in (6.4cm) x 6.1in (15.5cm)
  • Weight: 45oz (1276g)

Main Strengths:

  • Excellent build quality using a very high level of components: e.g.: the metal focus wheel and all-metal eyepiece housings and removable eye-cups
  • Alpha level optical components made in Japan which directly results in a much higher than average quality of view, far less color fringing and greater image brightness than what I would have expected with such a high magnification
  • When you consider the build quality & components and a price that is far lower than much of their direct competition it makes the Maven B5 18x56 binocular great value for money
  • Long eye-relief with excellent quality metal eye-cups make these an ideal choice should you wear some sort of eye protection or glasses
  • One of the best focus wheels and focus mechanisms in the business: looks great and works even better!
  • Excellent image detail as a result of the 18x magnification and use of high-quality optics

For More, read my full Maven B5 18x56 Binocular Review

Price & Where to Buy
Whilst not cheap, these top-end binoculars still cost way less than much of their direct competition from Europe. At the time of writing, they cost around $1500 / £1500. Check the links below for current prices in the US, UK as well as other countries:

Maven B.5 18x56 Binoculars with MOA/MIL Reticle

Maven B.5 18x56 Binoculars with MOA/MIL Reticle Winner of the BBRaward for Best High-Power Binoculars and reaching an "outstanding" 88% on the Best Binoculars Ratings scale, it is no secret that after fully testing the Maven B5 18x56 Binoculars, they are a firm favorite of mine and in my opinion certainly one of the very Best High Powered, Long Distance Viewing Binoculars on the market.

But did you know, Maven Optics now also produces a modified version of these B.5 18x56 binoculars by integrating a fixed reticle into the view.

Maven B.5 18x56 MOA / MIL with Reticle

More Information:

Prices & Where to Buy
As with all other Maven binoculars that I have reviewed, including the standard Maven B.5 18x56 Binoculars and this version with the MOA/MIL Reticle, Maven foregoes the normal retail channels and instead uses a direct-to-consumer business model they can keep unnecessary costs to a minimum.

Even so, this level of quality does not come cheap: Maven has set an RRP for the Reticle version at $1,700, whilst the standard Maven B.5 18x56 binoculars have an RRP of $1,600. Current Retail prices are sure to be lower than this:

High Power Hunting Binoculars with Rangefinder

ATN BinoX 4K 4-16x Day & Night Vision Binoculars with Laser Rangefinder

Winner Best Night Vision Binoculars 2024 - ATN BinoX 4K Day and Night 4-16x BinocularsMuch more than just a laser rangefinding binocular, the ATN BinoX 4K Binoculars work during the day and have night vision (with built-in IR illuminator), they have a variable magnification range of between 4x to 16x, BIX (Ballistic Information Exchange) and on top of this, you can also record what you see in 1080p resolution!

Range Finding:

  • The rangefinding capability of these ATN binoculars enables precise distance measurement (± 1 y/m) during the day or night, thereby improving accuracy in targeting and identification of objects no matter when you go out.
  • The laser rangefinder is particularly useful for hunting and long-range shooting (it has a range of 5-1000 y/m), aiding shooters in estimating target distances and making necessary adjustments for precise shot placement.

Low Light & Night Vision

  • Impressive digital NV enables excellent observation during very low light
  • The inclusion of multiple color modes enhances the viewing experience, allowing users to adapt to different lighting conditions and environments.
  • Integrated night vision technology delivers enhanced visibility at night, extending the binoculars’ utility to nocturnal activities such as wildlife observation and security monitoring.
  • The integrated IR illuminator further enhances nighttime visibility, providing additional illumination for clear observation even in complete darkness.
ATN Binox 4K Binoculars – Sample Video (Day & Night) – Full Video on YouTube

Daytime Binoculars & Laser Rangefinder

  • Crisp and clear daytime viewing thanks to a high resolution screen, providing excellent detail and clarity.
  • The 4-16x magnification range allows for versatile zooming, enabling users to observe distant objects with precision enhancing the binoculars’ utility for various outdoor activities such as hunting, birdwatching, and surveillance.

Recording What You See:

The built-in video recording capability allows users to capture high-definition footage of their observations, making it convenient for documenting wildlife encounters, surveillance footage, or outdoor adventures.

Main Specs & Features:

  • High-End Binoculars, RRP Approx: $900
  • 4K resolution for high-definition viewing
  • 4-16x magnification range
  • Multiple color modes for versatile viewing
  • Built-in rangefinder for distance measurement
  • Night vision technology for low-light and nighttime observation
  • IR illuminator for enhanced visibility in the dark
  • Photo and Video recording capability

Overall, the ATN BinoX 4K Day and Night 4-16x Binoculars offer a comprehensive solution for any outdoor enthusiast, providing excellent performance both during the day and at night. With its array of features, including high-definition recording and rangefinding capabilities, these binoculars are well-suited for various recreational and professional applications.

More Information

Buy & Compare Prices: ATN BinoX 4K Binoculars

Objective Lenses on the Steiner HX 15x56 Binoculars

Steiner HX 15x56 Binoculars

Steiner HX 15x56 BinocularsWinner of the award for the Best High Power & Hunting Binocular 2018, these Steiner HX binoculars are most certainly up there with the very best high power hunting binos that I have ever tested and reviewed. Thus in my opinion if you are looking for the very best in this category, then I highly recommend taking a close look at them.

Designed and made in Germany specifically with hunting in mind they contain many features and details that as a hunter you will appreciate:

This includes an almost bomb proof, water and fog proof chassis with a tough rubber armouring exterior. They also have shields on the eye-cups designed to block out light and distractions from the periphery of your view.

A quick-release neck strap system that can also quickly be swapped over to a hunting bino harness with the included split rings near the connectors.

Optical Highlights
  • Large 56mm Objective Lenses
  • Fully Multi-Coated Optics
  • Protective hydrophobic exterior lens coatings
  • N-BaK1 Roof Prisms that are both Phase Corrected wand Dielectrically coated
  • Field of view: 241ft at 1000yds

This very high level of optical components, coatings and obvious expertise that we have come to expect from optics made in Germany, all come together to deliver an image that I thought was not only incredibly bright for a 15x power, but had surprisingly low levels of color fringing.

Read my full Steiner HX 15x56 Binocular Review

Price & Where to Buy
This superior quality does not come cheap, but then again you do in my opinion get what you pay for and that is a seriously great pair of binoculars. At the time of writing, they cost around $1000 / £1000, which has to be said is less than some of the other alpha brands from Europe. You can check for the current prices in the US, UK as well as other countries by following the links below:

Best Hunting Binoculars – 15x Magnification or More

Below are a few suggestions, I am sure there are many other options for you to consider, but the models below are the ones that I can confidently recommend to you:

Vortex Kaibab HD 18x56 Binoculars

Vortex Kaibab HD 18x56 BinocularsIf you are looking for a very high quality, very high power hunting binocular, then the 18x50 Vortex Kaibab is most certainly worth taking a very close look at and I am sure will make most hunters shortlist.

Whilst the massive 18x magnification will get you greater image detail at longer distances, there is no doubt, it does also bring with it a number of compromises that you will have to accept.

For instance, the increased image shake you get with high magnifications means you will most probably have to use it with a tripod. Indeed Vortex Optics recognizes this and as such these Kaibab binoculars come bundled with the Vortex uni-adaptor tripod mount.

Powerful magnifications also reduce your field of view and can be a problem in terms of image brightness and quality. However, Vortex counters this with the use of large 56mm lenses that can gather more light and with the ultra-high level of glass and coatings that they use on this instrument. This includes an APO Lens System with ED glass elements and the very best dielectric prism coatings.

For all the details, check out my Vortex Kaibab HD 18x56 Binocular Review.

Main Features

  • Massive 18x Magnification
  • Large 56mm Lenses
  • Included Tripod Adapter (Vortex uni-daptor tripod mount)
  • High Definition ED Glass Lenses
  • APO Lens System
  • Fully Multi-Coated (XR Plus Anti-reflection)
  • Dielectrically Coated Roof Prisms
  • Field of view: 194 ft at 1000yds
  • 43.5oz
  • ArmorTek® Protective Exterior Lens Coatings
Price & Where to Buy These top of the range 18x56 Vortex Kaibab binoculars will set you back around $1000 / £1100 / €1100, so not cheap, but you can be confident that you are getting one of the very best high powered binoculars on the market:

Looking through the Vortex Diamondback HD 15x56 Binoculars mounted on a tripod

Vortex Diamondback HD 15x56 Binoculars

Vortex Diamondback HD 15x56 BinocularsWhilst these powerful Vortex Diamondback HD binoculars don’t quite match their Kaibab HD, they cost a whole bunch less and yet they still manage to pack in a bunch of high end features and optical components and achieve that very difficult balancing act of producing a reasonably priced, reasonably high power, reasonably high performance binocular that delivers a bright, high-quality image, which I think is seriously impressive.

For all the details, check out my Vortex Diamondback HD 15x56 Binocular Review.

Main Features

  • Powerful 15x Magnification
  • Large 56mm Lenses
  • Magnesium Chassis – Water & Fogproof
  • Fully Multi-Coated Optical System
  • Dielectrically Coated & Phase Corrected Roof Prisms
  • Field of view: 77ft at 1,000 yards
  • Weight: 34.8ozs (987g)
  • ArmorTek® Protective Exterior Lens Coatings
  • Included Tripod Adapter
  • Included Vortex GlassPak Bino Harness / Case

Vortex GlassPak Binocular Harness included with the Maven B5 18x56 BinocularsIncluded Accessories:
Worth mentioning here is that Vortex includes an excellent quality tripod adapter as well as their very popular fully covered GlassPak binocular harness/case with these 15x56 Diamondback HD binos, which for the money I rate as one of the Best Binocular Harness for Hunting.

If you had to buy this Vortex GlassPak harness/case separately, it currently retails for $30, so I think the fact it is included is worth highlighting as Vortex Optics could quite easily just have included a standard carry case in the hope that many would go out and purchase their bino harness as an extra afterwards.

Price & Where to Buy The mid-to-high end 15x56 Vortex Diamondback HD binoculars currently retail for around £350 / £350 / €350, which when you consider the level of components used, the coatings and included accessories, then I feel these make excellent value for money. For current prices and where to buy check the links below:

Best Hunting Binoculars – 12x Magnification or Greater

Whilst not quite as powerful as the models above, at 12x or more, these binos below are still considered high-powered and have the advantage of a wider field of view and generally an improved low light performance and thus can make a better option should you often go out hunting before dawn, just after sunset or in thick forests or woodlands where the light is often sub-optimal and the distance to your target is often less than out on the plains, open fields or high up in the hills.

Athlon Midas 12x50 Binoculars

Athlon Midas 12x50 BinocularsThe list of the main features on these mid-high end binoculars is impressive and included things like a tough magnesium chassis, argon purged interior, ED glass lenses, dielectric mirror coated prisms and Athlon’s own XPL extra protective exterior lens coatings.

As I have written about in the past, in my opinion the Midas as a whole is Athlon’s best value for money series as they have many of the same high-end features as their flagship ranges.

So being the largest in the series, these 12x50’s are also the most expensive Athlon Midas binoculars (larger lenses cost more to make), but I still feel they still offer extremely good value for money and most certainly make a great choice as a high powered hunting binocular.

Indeed, I was extremely impressed when I tested them, you can read about this in my full Athlon Midas 12x50 Binocular Review.

Main Features

  • Magnesium Chassis
  • ED (Extra-low Dispersion) Glass Lens Elements
  • Fully Multi-Coated
  • Dielectrically Coated & Phase Corrected Roof Prisms
  • Field of view: 281 ft at 1000yds
  • Weight: 33oz /936g
  • XPL Coating (Extra Protective Exterior Layer Coatings)
Price & Where to Buy At the time of writing, the 12x50 Athlon Midas was on sale for around $379 / £450:

Celestron Granite ED 12x50 Binoculars

Celestron Granite ED 12x50 BinocularsVery similar in terms of the features and specs as the Athlon, with the Celestron Granite, you once again know you are getting an excellent pair of bins and at a more than reasonable price.

I can say this with complete confidence, because even though I have not tested this exact model, I have fully tested and reviewed both the 8x42 Granite that that went on to win the award as the best birding binocular for that year and then also the more compact 9x33 Granite that won my award as the best safari & travel binocular a year later.

Main Features

  • Extra-low Dispersion (ED) Glass Lens Elements
  • Fully Multi-coated
  • Phase Corrected Roof Prisms with the highest reflective Dielectric coatings as well
  • Field of view: 279 ft at 1000yds
  • Weight: 30.4oz
Price & Where to Buy At the time of writing, the 12x50 Granite was on sale for around $380 / £430:

Swarovski EL 12x50 Binoculars

Swarovski EL 12x50 BinocularsIf you have a large budget and you simply want the very best hunting binoculars, then I can without hesitation highly recommend the new Swarovski EL 12x50 Binoculars. Yes, once again and as of yet I have not had the chance to test this exact configuration, I have reviewed a number of other Swarovski EL binoculars over the years (read my Swarovski EL 85.5x42 review here or look at all my Swarovski reviews here) and all without exception are truly superb. Important Features
  • Legendary Swarovski Optics and Coatings deliver the highest quality images possible
  • Includes new FieldPro package with their revolutionary neck strap
  • Very Wide Field of View: 300ft @ 1000yards.
  • Weight: 35.2 oz
Price & Where to Buy These top end Swaro binos will set you back around $2800 in the US or about £2000 in the UK:

Vortex Razor HD 12x50 Binoculars

Vortex Razor HD 12x50 BinocularsThis 12x50 Vortex Razor HD is another high end binocular that I can completely recommend without any reservations.

A while back, I tested and then fully reviewed the Vortex Razor HD 8x42 Binoculars and I have to say that I was completely blown away. They were and indeed still are one of my favorite binoculars of all time.

Don’t be mistaken, even though they went on to win the Binocular of the Year award way back in 2012, these are as relevant and state of the art now as they were back then (optics don’t improve at the same rate as electronics for example). In fact, this is a good thing as they are now far less expensive than when first released.

Also, keep in mind that all of the components contained in the 8x42 are found in the 12x50 model and so you can be sure that you are getting one of the best high powered hunting binoculars out there – indeed one of the best no matter what use you have for them.

Important Features

  • The very best APO optical system
  • High density, ED glass & Fully multi-coated Optics
  • Phase correction & dielectric coatings on the prisms
  • Open hinge magnesium body
  • FOV: 285 feet at 1000 yards
  • Weight: 28.7oz

Price & Where to Buy The 12x50 Vortex Razor HD binoculars cost about £1150 in the UK, or $1299 in the US:

A Few More Options:

Minox BL 15x56 or 13x56 BR Binoculars

Whilst I have not reviewed either of these specific models, every pair of Minox binoculars that I have reviewed has really impressed me, this is especially true for the Minox 8x33 BL Binoculars – that are also part of the BL series that these more powerful versions come under.

The large 56mm objective lenses will ensure that plenty of light enters the system, so are ideal in poor light conditions. They also have multi-coated lens elements which guarantee quality optical performance and natural color rendition of the subject in view.

Phase correction coatings have been added to the prisms, which is another sign of their high quality and will produce an image of exceptionally high detail and rich in contrast, even in poor lighting conditions.

Nitrogen gas filling prevents fogging of the optical surfaces on the inside, even with extreme temperature fluctuations. Based on a sophisticated sealing technology developed by MINOX engineers the BL 15x56 BR and the BL 13x56 BR are also fully watertight down to a depth of five meters.

The MINOX BL 15X56 has also been fitted with a tripod thread making it easier to attach a tripod using an adaptor.

  • Tough and 100% Waterproof
  • Phase Coated Prisms
  • Fully Multi-coated Optics
  • Tripod Adaptable
  • Field of view: 263 ft at 1000yds (13x56) / 215 ft at 1000yds (15x56)

Canon 18x50 or even 15x50 Image Stabilized Binoculars

If you are looking for a very high powered pair of binoculars and don’t want to use a tripod or clamp, then either of these are ideal as the Image stabilization works well. The quality of the optics and their coatings are also excellent. More on Canon Image Stabilization Binoculars
  • Very high powered 15x or even 18x Image Stabilized Binoculars
  • Water-resistant construction – will be fine in light rain just don’t get them drenched
  • Large objective lenses means they let in plenty of light
  • Ultra-low dispersion (UD) glass elements for exceptional image quality
  • Doublet field-flattener for sharp, distortion-free images from edge-to-edge

Steiner 12x42 Predator C5 Binoculars

The Steiner Predator C5’s use a new optical system – they now have new fully multi-coated optics and completely new shock and waterproof housing. The new Predator C5 now has a much higher degree of light transmission, image resolution and color contrast than previously available.

The Steiner Predator binocular was developed as a special tool for hunters and nature observers and for the American hunter, in particular, enabling them to more easily spot animals in a woodland setting.

Developed about 10 years ago, the concept is simple – boost the transmission of red and brown shades (the “right” side of the color spectrum towards infrared) while slightly reducing transmission of the “left” side of the spectrum (blue, green and UV light) to make animals and other objects “pop out” of the background.

  • Tough and 100% Waterproof
  • Fully Multi-coated Optics
  • Field of View – 276 feet @ 1000 yards

Steiner 12x40 Predator Pro Binoculars

These Steiner binoculars have been designed for hunting, and give you a high power magnification and amazing contrast with a high depth of filed into one. The Predator Pro binocular’s have a unique high contrast lens coating that helps you to more easily distinguish subjects (like deer) against green-colored foliage.

This latest Predator model, with the “Pro” designation, offers high light transmission while maintaining optimal levels of contrast.

  • The 12x40 Predator Pro uses what Steiner call their auto focus system that, once set for the user’s eyes, keeps all subjects in focus at distances from approximately 30 yards to infinity. These “Self Focusing Binoculars” make it easier for hunters to scan an entire landscape without having to readjust focus. It can also be faster in locating wildlife since the entire depth of field is constantly in focus. For more on this take a look at my page on Auto Focus/ Always in Focus Binoculars
  • Tough and 100% Waterproof
  • Field of View – 264 feet @ 1000yards
  • More on Steiner Predator Binoculars
Canon 12x36 IS II Image Stabilized Binoculars
  • Image Stabilized Binoculars
  • Water-resistant construction – will be fine in light rain just don’t get them drenched
  • Field of View – 262ft at 1,000 yards
  • The Image stabilization works well and as size and weight are not issues with you – this may be a real option. More on Canon Image Stabilization Binoculars

Steiner 12x30 Wildlife Pro Binoculars

I have included these Steiner binoculars as an option if you want to consider a smaller more compact pair, but still with a 12x magnification.

  • Mid Size Binoculars – Dimensions: (inches) 5.9Lx1.85Hx4.2W
  • Water & Fogproof
  • Field of View – 220ft at 1,000 yards
  • Quality optics including phase corrected roof-prism mirrors

Binoculars for Hunting – Further Reading

Have A Question For Me?Need Some Bino Advice?

If you have a question about a particular binocular, or just want to know about a technical term or feature that I have not already covered on BBR, I would love to try and answer it for you: Ask Me Here
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Thanks to your valuable article post. I read your article very carefully and really impressed me. Now I’m need a best binocular and I’m buy to your site.

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