Bestselling Binoculars on Amazon – June 2012

Back in January 2011, I wrote a short piece about the Best Selling Binoculars on which was based on the best-seller lists that Amazon publish on their website. These lists are updated hourly, available in many different categories (including binoculars) and as the name suggests are the most sold items within that category.

It always makes for interesting reading as it gives you an insight into what other people are buying as well as an idea of current market trends. Back in January 2011 the US Best Sellers in Binoculars list was dominated by Bushnell binoculars with 6 pairs in the top 10. Other stand out features were that of and high magnifications and generally low priced optics.

So has anything changed in 2012? Well I thought it was about time that I revisited Amazon’s best-selling pages on optics, to see what, if anything has changed:

This time as well as the US Market on, I will also be going to take a look and compare the best selling ones across the pond here in the UK on and in Germany on in future articles. But for now lets take a look at the US market:

USA: Best Sellers in Binoculars on

View the current list here:

Bestselling Binoculars on Amazon

The Top 10
Once again this 10 ten list makes for some interesting reading and quite a bit has changed since 2011:

Nikon Dominance
In 2011 Bushnell had an incredible 6 pairs in the top 10, today there is only one. Now Nikon binoculars are the most popular with 3 of their models on the list.

Cheap Binoculars
Because this is a list of the 10 most commonly sold binoculars, it is not really surprising that it is dominated by cheap binoculars (all but 3 cost less than $150) as this is what the mass market opts for. Things are improving however as back in 2011, there were only 2 binoculars on the list costing more than $150, this year there are 3, two of which are what I would describe as more “serious” pairs of optics costing $250 or more.

Porro Prism Binoculars
What is also striking looking at this list is just how many porro prism binoculars are on in the top 10. This is probably because as the list is dominated by cheap optics and on the whole a decent quality porro prism binocular is cheaper to make than a roof prism binocular of the same quality.

Staying Power
There are three binoculars that are on this list that were also on the top 10 list in January 2011, which I think is really impressive and you can only imagine just how many of these models must have been sold in the last year and a half:

High Power
What has not changed is that most people still seem to opt for high powered binoculars as on this top 10 list there are 5 binoculars with a magnification of 10x or more, 3 of which have a magnification of 15x or more! I am afraid that to most people who are less knowledgeable about optics, the bigger the magnification the better, which on cheap binoculars can really be a big mistake.

The reason for this is the larger the magnification, the less bright the image produced usually is. This is because of a couple of reasons: a) high powered binoculars need thicker glass, which in tern transmits less light through them b) They will have a smaller exit pupil compared to less powerful binoculars with the same sized objective lenses which is an important measure if you want to know how well a binocular will perform in dim light.

Combine this with cheap lenses, prisms and coatings and you can find yourself with a very poor pair of binoculars, that will probably be ok in good light conditions, but will probably be pretty poor in low light.

If you are after a high powered pair of optics, I would highly recommend that you spend a little more as better quality binoculars use high quality lenses, prisms and coatings which can make a huge difference in getting as much of the light as possible to your eyes and therefore produce better quality and brighter images.

USA: Best Selling “Serious” Binoculars on

Amazon actually list the top 100 most popular (most sold) binoculars on their site and not just the top 10 and so I thought it would also be interesting to filter these and make a list of the top 10 “serious” pairs of binoculars – By “serious”, I mean Mid-High Value Binoculars that I would consider as being of a fairly high standard and aimed more at the frequent and “more serious” optical user.

As you can see from the results on the right, I could only find 8 higher specification binoculars in the top 100 best sellers on Amazon. What is more is this list also contains very few “standard” high quality optics – By standard, I mean that they don’t have features like image stabilization and range-finders, which makes the device more expensive and I guess stand out from the crowd. The only really standard roof prism binocular is the 8x42mm Nikon Monarch 3.

As you can see the Canon Stabilized Binoculars sell very well and Steiner binoculars are also popular, but not necessarily with the models that I would have assumed.

I guess what this shows is that the majority of people out there buying binoculars from Amazon are either choosing the cheap pairs (under $150) or ones that come with all the bells and whistles blowing!

So what can we learn from this? Well to me it seems that if you are an optics manufacturer and want to shift your product in bulk on Amazon, you either have to produce a fairly cheap pair of binoculars and spend a huge amount on marketing it, or come up with a feature like image stabilization that makes them different from the norm.

Dedicated Optical Retailers
Would would be very interesting to me is to find out what are the most popular binoculars sold from a more dedicated and serious optics retailer like Adorama or B&H – my hunch is that we would find far more “standard” + “serious” binoculars on their list!

… that gives me and idea – watch this space, perhaps I can convince them to provide me with some information…..

Further Reading

Comments & Feedback

I would love to get your comments on these best seller lists as well as any feedback that you may have regarding this article – just use the form below:

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