Hunting

Best Low Light Binoculars Reviews: Complete Buyer’s Guide

Low light binoculars are an essential piece of outdoor gear for hunters, outdoorsmen, and nature enthusiasts. We explore the top options on the market today

Low light binoculars are an essential piece of outdoor gear for hunters, outdoorsmen, and nature enthusiasts. Usually during dusk or dawn is the best time for viewing animals, but the natural light conditions during this time make it nearly impossible to see clearly.

Low light binoculars magnify both the ambient light and image to provide a clear line of sight under poor light conditions.

In addition to hunters, many trail hikers use low light binoculars when exploring dense forests, dark shaded trails, and rocky caves

When looking for a great set of low light binoculars, it’s important to consider a few key factors like field of view, or the amount of area that you can see while looking through the binoculars, magnification, and objective lens diameter.

Typically, the higher the magnification of the lens, the lower the image steadiness. Likewise, the larger the objective lens diameter, the more detail that will be visible within your view.

In this guide we’ll explore the top options for best low light binoculars on the market today while taking into consideration all three of these key factors.

1. Vortex Optics Razor HD 10X50 Roof Prism Binoculars – Our Top Pick

When it comes to visual optic products, Vortex is a brand that is consistently at the top of the charts in terms of durable, crystal clear, high quality products. Their binoculars are no exception.

The brand has knocked it out of the park again with a spectacular pair of low light binoculars – the Vortex Optics Razor HD 10X50 Roof Prism Binoculars.

Sale
Vortex Optics Viper HD Roof Prism Binoculars 10x50
  • 10x magnification and 50mm objective lenses, the Viper HD is a high-end, full-size yet compact binocular that is suited for any hunt. An easy-to-grip, rubber armored chassis with perfectly placed thumb indents provides superior ergonomics.
  • A high density optical system delivers exceptional resolution and edge to edge clarity. XR anti-reflective lens coatings give bright, full views even in low light situations.
  • A locking, right-eye diopter tailors each barrels' focus to your eyes. The smooth, center focus wheel provides fine focus control and quick sharp views. Twist-up eyecups rest comfortably against the face and provide customized eye relief.
  • Argon purging and o-ring seals provide a lifetime of waterproof and fogproof performance. Ultra-hard, scratch resistant armortek protects the exterior lenses from scratches, oil, and dirt.
  • In the field, you should have no trouble reaching them at a moment’s notice with the included GlassPak Chest Harness providing comfortable, protected, strain-free, all-day carry.

It’s worth noting that the Vortex Optics Razor HD Binoculars are available in a variety of sizes. The 50mm objective model, however, is the best and most recommended for low light conditions.

The body of these low light binoculars is made from a magnesium alloy, making them much lighter than other competitors who construct their binoculars with aluminum. Lighter binoculars are much easier to manage, especially when you anticipate using them for long periods of time.

Features on the Vortex Binoculars

Magnifying power is one of the most important features to consider when shopping for your own set of low light binoculars, and Vortex’s Razor Binoculars do not disappoint. With a magnifying power of 10x, even the most minuscule details are easily viewed.

To add to this, these binoculars are equipped with an objective lens diameter of 50 mm, making them wide enough to grasp ample amounts of light, making images appear crisp even in low light conditions. These low light binoculars provide an impressive 315 feet field view at 1000 yards.

The lenses themselves are made from extra-low dispersion ED glass and are fully multi-coated. This glass is made specifically to prevent the images with sharp edges from experiencing color fringing while providing vivid, bright and color true views.

Beyond the lens, these low light binoculars feature a rubberized body and extremely comfortable grip. An O-ring seals out any kind of debris and moisture making it almost impossible to seep into the binocular meaning the unit is both water and fog proof.

Pros
  • Rubberized body and extremely comfortable grip
  • Extra-low dispersion glass for sharper images
  • Water and fog proof
Cons
  • Heavier than expected with the lightweight build

2. Bushnell PermaFocus Wide Angle Porro Prism Binoculars – Best Unique Features

In their Porro Prism PermaFocus binoculars, Bushnell did not compromise when it comes to the width of the angle reach. Equipped with a 12×50 wide angle configuration, these binoculars are a serious competitor in the low light binocular market.

What sets these binoculars is the 12x magnifying power it’s designed with, which is much higher than a large amount of the company’s competitors. The only drawback to the higher magnification is a slightly reduced field of view of 265 feet at 1000 yards.

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Bushnell PowerView 10x50 Wide Angle Binocular
  • Beautiful design and durability built to last
  • Wide-angle, Perma Focus binoculars with 10x magnification and 50-millimeter objective lenses
  • Fixed-focus operation dials in focus at any distance automatically
  • Fully coated optics for improved clarity and light transmission
  • Ergonomic rubber housing for a secure grip and shock resistance

Another awesome feature of these low light binoculars is the focus-free function. This function is extremely helpful when trying to observe moving targets.

The high quality lenses and prisms of these Bushnell binoculars are multi-coated allowing for clearer, shapers, and more enhanced quality images.

The outer portion of these low light binoculars are covered with a rubber armor. This feature is provides a non-slip surface and shock protection.

This is a perfect binocular on a budget.

Pros
  • Non-slip surface and shock protection
  • Fantastic wide angle configuration
  • Perma-focus feature to aid in viewing of moving targets
Cons
  • Focus-free function can make it difficult to focus on objects that are within a close range
  • Reduced field of view

3. Nikon Prostaff 5 10×50 Binoculars – The Bargain Binoculars

Nikon, the camera giant, is no stranger when it comes to visual optics.

Knowing that some outdoor and nature enthusiasts can’t afford fancy high dollar optical equipment, Nikon created their line of binoculars that are fantastic for both viewing and your pocketbook. These are some of the best most affordable low light binoculars on the market today.

Nikon 7572 PROSTAFF 5 10X50 Binocular (Black)
  • See the outdoors up close in bright, lifelike color thanks to fully multicoated lens and prism system.
  • Large 50mm objective lenses enhance viewing capability in lower light, lower contrast situations accompanying dawn and dusk.
  • PROSTAFF 5's turn-and-slide eyecups and long eye relief provide a comfortable view for everyone, even when wearing eyeglasses,

The body of Nikon’s Prostaff binoculars is made of fiberglass reinforced resin. This reduces the weight of the binoculars while increasing the durability making them now only lightweight but also sturdy.

These 10×50 binoculars provide a wonderful low light performance at a reasonable price without compromising quality.

Another great feature of these low light binoculars is the adjustable eyecups that make utilizing the binoculars comfortable for both those who wear glasses and those who don’t.

The lenses of these binoculars have a very unique composition, they are made of eco-glass. The eco-glass rids the lenses of harmful metals like lead and arsenic and provide staggeringly good views all while being environmentally friendly.

These lenses are also both water and fog proof, adding in yet another bonus to the binoculars. They are also fully multi-coated allowing for bright images with sharp colors all the way to the edges.

Pros
  • Fiberglass reinforced resin body
  • Extremely affordable price
  • Adjustable eyecups
  • Eco-glass lenses
Cons
  • Field of view is slightly less than competitors

4. Vortex Optics Viper HD 10×42 Binoculars – A High-Quality, Water Resistant Competitor

Vortex Optics has done it again with their Viper HD 10×42 low light binoculars. These binoculars are very similar to the other product by Vortex reviewed in this guide.

Like the other model, Vortex’s Viper has an O-ring that locks out all debris and moisture creating, again, both a waterproof and fog-proof device.

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Vortex Optics Viper HD Roof Prism Binoculars 10x42
  • 10x magnification and 42mm objective lenses, the 2018 Viper HD is a high-end, full-size yet compact binocular that is suited for any hunt. An easy-to-grip, rubber armored chassis with perfectly placed thumb indents provides superior ergonomics.
  • A high density optical system delivers exceptional resolution and edge to edge clarity. XR anti-reflective lens coatings give bright, full views even in low light situations.
  • A locking, right-eye diopter tailors each barrels' focus to your eyes. The smooth, center focus wheel provides fine focus control and quick sharp views. Twist-up eyecups rest comfortably against the face and provide customized eye relief.
  • Argon purging and O-ring seals provide a lifetime of waterproof and fog proof performance. Ultra-hard, scratch resistant armortek protects the exterior lenses from scratches, oil, and dirt.
  • In the field, you should have no trouble reaching them at a moment’s notice with the included Glass Pak Chest Harness providing comfortable, protected, strain-free, all-day carry.

These low light fully multi-coated binoculars feature a high-density extra-low dispersion glass that provides spectacular image quality. This glass allows the binoculars to perform exceptionally well in low light conditions.

The lens in the Viper binoculars has an innovative coating applied that enhances the light to keep it all together in your eyes—the result? A crystal clear image without color blending.

This model does, however, have a little smaller of a field view compared to some others on our list. One stand out feature of these binoculars is the completely rubberized body, which gives the binoculars an extremely comfortable grip.

A perk when buying from Vortex –the company is known for it’s exceptional customer service and the low light binoculars come with Vortex’s Lifetime Warranty.

Pros
  • HD extra-low dispersion glass
  • O-ring to lock out debris and moisture
  • Lifetime Warranty
Cons
  • Smaller field of view than competitors
  • Slightly lower image quality after 50 yards

5. Celestron Skymaster 25×70 Binoculars – Top Choice For Hunters

Celestron is known in the hunting world as being one of the best when it comes to optics makers. The Skymaster 25×70 Binoculars are no exception.

At the magnifying power of 25x, viewers are able to view distant object with extreme precision and crispness. The high magnification is perfect for both sky and land viewing.

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Celestron - SkyMaster 25x70 Binocular - Large Aperture Binoculars with 70mm Objective Lens - 25x Magnificiation High Powered Binoculars - Includes Carrying Case
  • 25x magnification Porto prism binocular
  • Large 70 mm objective lens offers maximum image brightness in low-light and long-range conditions
  • Ultra sharp focus across the field of view. Linear Field of View (at 1000 yds.) at 1000 m): 141 feet (47 m)Exit Pupil: 0.11 inches. Eye Relief: 0.51 inches
  • Multi-coated optics for sharp, clear views
  • Suitable for terrestrial or astronomical viewing. Ipd max: 2.83 inch

In addition to the high powered magnification, the objective lens is 70mm allowing for a great amount of light to pass through the binoculars. The result of this is very high quality brightness which is exactly what you should be looking for in a low light binocular. This feature inspires us to list this on our best binocular for concerts post as well.

The high magnification also provides a field of view of 141 feet at 1000 yards.

These binoculars are somewhat bulky in comparison to some of the other low light binoculars on our list, but they do come with a tripod that assists in stability when viewing for longer periods of time. These binoculars are also not quite as compact as some others in the category.

Pros
  • Great image quality and clarity
  • Tripod for stability assistance
  • Very high powered – great for viewing objects far away
Cons
  • Somewhat bulky
  • Narrow field of view due to high power

Other Best Selling Options

SaleBestseller No. 1
Steiner Predator 8x42 Binoculars - Versatile Lightweight Performance Hunting Optics for Early Season or Heavy Cover Hunters, Black
  • COLOR ADJUSTED TRANSMISSION (CAT) amplifies contrast in the peak human vision sensitivity range, to spot game in any environment.
  • FAST-CLOSE-FOCUS central focusing wheel requires minimal rotation for quick, absolute sharpness from close up to infinity.
  • N2 INJECTION SYSTEM seals 14-psi pressurized dry nitrogen inside the optic, for fogproof clarity in any condition - from artic cold to desert heat.
  • CLICLOC SYSTEM attaches and releases neck strap or harness with instant push-button ease and keeps binoculars hanging straight and action-ready
  • HERITAGE WARRANTY - We stand behind our products. Period! We will repair/replace defective products at no charge for the lifetime of the product. Warranty does not cover damage, loss or theft.
SaleBestseller No. 2
occer 12x25 Compact Binoculars with Clear Low Light Vision, Large Eyepiece Waterproof Binocular for Adults Kids,High Power Easy Focus Binoculars for Bird Watching,Outdoor Hunting,Travel,Sightseeing
  • 【HIGH-POWERED LARGE EYEPIECE BINOCULARS】 This binoculars has 12x magnification, 25mm objective lens and wide field of view, 273ft/1000yds, letting you look farther and see wider. Coating with FMC Broadband coating and premium BAK4 prism, it ensure imaging verisimilar.
  • 【ADJUSTABLE EYE CUPS FIT EYEGLASS WEARERS OR NOT】The binocs can be pull down the rubber eyepieces and more fit the glasses wearer, getting close to lens and see easily. The long eye relief combined with large eyepiece give you a comfortable viewing while wearing sunglasses or eye glasses. For those who do not wear glasses, will gain more focused slight and feel more easeful through rising eye cups. The compact binoculars has 15mm large eyepieces, can see more clear image than other binoculars.
  • 【FMC BROADBAND COATING TECHNOLOGY】The lightweight cruise binoculars is cover with BAK4 prism texture. The objective lens use optical FMC multilayer broadband green film, and the eyepiece-optical is made of blue FMC coating. All design ensure to provide a good image and make you have a amazing experience.
  • 【PORTABLE, COMPACT AND SMALL BINOCULARS DESIGN】 One hand can be mastered when you use the birding binoculars for opera,bird watching camping, traveling,wildlife watching,football games,cruise or other outside activity, the low light night vision goggles(Not for completely dark night) is more convenient for using and carrying.
  • 【DURABLE AND LIFE WATERPROOF, COMFORTABLE TOUCH】 The binoculars are made of ABS plastic and it also come with a cruise binocular strap, you can use this item in different situations. And rubber armor is made for secure grip.The pocket size binoculars is not only suitable for men and women,but also suitable for kids.It is wonderful to be a gift on Father's Day and Children's Day.
Bestseller No. 3
Steiner Commander 7x50 Binoculars - Performance Marine Optics to Navigate Low Light or Fog
  • HD OPTICS - Incorporate the finest index-matched glass and advanced lens coatings for best-in-glass image clarity
  • NANO PROTECTION - Hydrophobic molecular coating creates a lens surface so smooth water sheets off and dirt dust snow and fingerprints are repelled for easy cleaning and a clear view
  • SPORTS AUTO FOCUS - Delivers once shot always sharp briliant 3D images from 20yds to infinity without refocusing perfect for your active life
  • MAKROLON HOUSING - Durable polycarbonate with NBR rubber armoring creates a lightweight rugged chassis that withstands 11 Gs of impact Impervious to harsh conditions for generations of use
  • HERITAGE WARRANTY - We stand behind our products. Period! We will repair/replace defective products at no charge for the lifetime of the product. Warranty does not cover damage, loss or theft.
SaleBestseller No. 4
12x42 HD Binoculars for Adults with Upgraded Phone Adapter, Tripod and Tripod Adapter - Large View Binoculars with Clear Low Light Vision - Waterproof Binoculars for Bird Watching Hunting Travel
  • 【Powerful 12x42 Binoculars, but Lightweight Enough, only 1.1 pounds】 Adorrgon 12x42mm binoculars deliver 367ft/1000yds large field of view. Capable of delivering a clear face from more than 650 feet away. Perfect for bird watching, hunting, sports events.
  • 【Clear Low Light Vision】Advanced Fully Multi-coated Binoculars with large 16.5mm BAK4 prism lens binoculars deliver brighter vision in weak light condition (e.g. Twilight). Perfect for Hunting or Concerts at night.
  • 【18.5mm Large Eyepiece & HD Vision , Larger Image, Brighter View】 2.25 times the image size of 14mm eyepiece (e.g. 10x25/10x21 binoculars), 1.28 times of 16mm eyepiece (e.g. 12x25 binoculars). Large eyepiece binoculars make full use of 12x magnification, deliver larger and brighter image, ensure clearer details.
  • 【2021 Upgraded Universal Phone Adapter, Sturdy and Easy to set up】 Soft anti-slip rubber and sturdy structure design ensure stable camera image when photographing. Suitable for all kinds of smartphone with or without phone case, including but not limited to iPhone, Samsung, Sony, Google, LG, Motorola, HTC, etc.
  • 【360° Rotatable and Sturdy Tabletop Tripod, Photographing without Shaking】 Rotatable designed tripod ensures 360° photographing. Thicker and sturdy tripod leg, Non-slip rubber feet, enable you to shoot clearer and brighter pictures without shaking. Capture the wonderful moments and share with your friends.
SaleBestseller No. 5
LTOOL 20×50 High Power Binoculars for Adults,Low Light Night Vision Waterproof HD,Using BAK-4 Prism FMC Lens 22mm Large Eyepiece,Binoculars for Bird Watching Travel Hunting
  • 【Easy to Use Binoculars for Adults】 The center focus knob is upgraded with big wheel guarantee fast and high precision focusing. While allowing both eyepieces to calibrate separately for a clearer view.
  • 【Large Field of View】20x magnifying mirror and 50mm objective lens. Offer perfect sights at 1000 yards. 22mm Large Eyepiece Binoculars, deliver larger image, ensure clearer details.Being used with tripod is OK. So it is very convenient when you watch something for a long time.
  • 【Professional Optics】High refractive index BAK4 Porro Prism eliminates the stray light and improves color reproduction to 99.99%. Green FMC anti reflective coating reduces the reflected light in the objective lens and improves light transmission、 image brightness and image sharpness.This binoculars can deliver vision in gloaming, (But not in complete darkness).
  • 【Powerful and Versatile to Use】powerful binoculars come with anti-slip armor on the surface, ensuring comfortable grip and offering excellent shock-proof and anti-drop performance. Full-sealing metal body prevents water, dust and debris. perfect for outdoor activities such as bird watching, travel, hunting and star observing. Clear and bright visual effect is also suitable for indoor remote activities such as concert and sports meeting.LNACXW
  • 【 Worry-Free Warranty 】 Binoculars are manufactured under our strict quality control system for a clear viewing experience. We also provide you with a 1 year warranty and 24-hour customer service. If you have any questions, please contact us. We are here to help you.
Bestseller No. 6
10x50 Compact Binoculars with Low Light Night Vision, Large Eyepiece Water/Fog Proof Binocular for Adults & Kids, Easy Focus for Bird Watching, Hunting, Travel, High Power Binocular
  • [Magnification] large eyepiece binocular which has 10x magnification, 50mm objective lens and wide field of view. Focusing on your target for viewing detail at 1000 yards out. view Angle of field: 7.5°
  • [ Coating Technology] Fully multi-coated lenses, waterproof, exceptionally durable. Light-weight, very convenient and easy to carry. The objective lens use optical FMC multilayer broadband green film, and the eyepiece-optical is made of blue FMC coating. Covered with BAK4 prism texture.
  • [Activities] used for outdoor activity Suitable for both adults and kids, one hand can be mastered when you use bird watching camping, traveling, wildlife watching, football games, cruise, or other outside activity,
  • [Size] Perfect compact lightweight binoculars for watching and easy carrying. Can be Used for both day and night (low-light-level night vision, cannot see anything in complete darkness.
  • [Main Material] The rubber armor ergonomic design and steady grip allows for accurate focusing, and have shock-resistance, anti-skid features while the design is slim and simple. Rugged construction rubber eye relief provides comfort for spectacle wearers, as do a dioptric adjustment ring and the strap mount.

What Are Low Light Binoculars?

Low-light binoculars are binoculars designed specifically for poor light conditions. They are an affordable item that most hunters and wildlife viewers rely on during the hours of dusk and dawn.

Hunting in low-light is becoming more and more popular. Binocular manufacturers are supplying the demand by creating binoculars that can help you see in poor light conditions.

Low-light binoculars have exit pupils with a diameter of approximately 7mm, or the maximum value the human eye is able to use.

These kind of binoculars are built to gain as much light as possible. Low-light binoculars offer extremely high light transmission rates.

Usually, the objective lens is 50 or 56mm with a magnification of 7x or 8x using a Porro or Abbe Koenig prism system.

Even more importantly, low-light binoculars are usually built with individual focusing for each eye.

Hunting in low-light is becoming more and more popular
Hunting in low-light is becoming more and more popular

Why Would You Use Low Light Binoculars?

From a distance of a few thousand yards, you are waiting for elk to emerge from the trees and feed in the open field.

You are excited when they come out in the last hours of the evening, but grow disappointed when thirty minutes later, it has grown too dark to continue watching the animals through your binoculars.

If only you had your handy low-light binoculars. Low-light binoculars help hunters and wildlife viewers alike.

Many animals only come out in the safety of poor light conditions. In order to catch glimpses of very rare animals and situations, such as elk feeding, you will need to be ready with your pair of low-light binoculars.

How Do I Choose The Right Low Light Binoculars?

The best binocular for low light conditions has an exit pupil of 5mm or higher. The rest is arbitrary and depends largely on your preferences. Below is a list of three of the best low-light binoculars on the market:

  • Vortex Optics Razor HD Roof Prism Binocular 10×50: This low-light binocular has an anti-reflective coating that guarantees the highest level of brightness during critical low light periods.
  • Nikon 7572 PROSTAFF 5 10×50 Binocular: This binocular has turn-and-slide eyecups and long eye relief that will rest comfortably against your eyes.
  • Bushnell PermaFocus Wide Angle Porro Prism Binocular: This binocular has a fixed-focus operation dial that can focus at any distance automatically.

What magnification for Low Light Binoculars Is The Best?

Being able to see distant objects in dim lighting is a common necessity in various hobbies and professions.

Wildlife viewers and hunters depend on the hours of dusk or dawn, which is the time of high activity for many animals. Marine-related professions may also need low-light binoculars to navigate in the twilight conditions.

The most recommended low-light binocular magnification factor is 8x or 7x with lenses of 50 or 56mm.

Things to Consider When Shopping for the Best Low Light Binoculars

Field of View

The field of view of binoculars is the amount of area that you can see while looking through the binoculars. It is important when comparing these low light binoculars to pay attention to the magnification and diameter size of the objective lens of the binoculars as they both will affect your field of view. The simple rule when looking at field of view for comparison purposes is higher magnifications = smaller field of view, larger lenses = larger field of view.

Magnification

Magnification is most likely the first thing a person will look at when shopping for a set of binoculars. When it comes to magnification, bigger doesn’t necessarily always mean better. It really depends on what you are planning on using your low light binoculars for. For example, in hunting or hiking or watching whales from a ship, one may not want to take the time that is required to steady a higher magnified lens. The higher the magnification of the lens, the lower the image steadiness. You will almost always see the magnification of a pair of binoculars labeled with the diameter of the objective lens.

Objective Lens Diameter

The objective lens diameter is typically reflected as the second number you see when referring to pair of binoculars. For example: 10×50. The first number (10) is the magnification of the lens, the second number (50) would be the objective size in millimeters.

The larger the objective lens diameter, the more detail you will be able to see in your view. Typically when shopping for low light binoculars, you will notice that the higher the objective lens diameter, the higher the price of the pair of binoculars.

Higher objective lens diameter typically means better performance when it comes to low light. If you are planning on using your binoculars in both low and normal levels of light, you may be okay with getting a lower objective lens diameter if you are comfortable sacrificing a bit of view quality. It is also worth noting that the larger the binocular lens, the heaver the unit is.

Go For A Hike & Take Your Low Light Binoculars!

When it comes to a bargain low light binocular, you can’t beat the Nikon Prostaff 5. These binoculars are both inexpensive and powerful giving you quite the bang for your buck.

The focus-free function in Bushnell’s PermaFocus Wide Angle Porro Prism Binoculars makes focusing in on a moving target a breeze, making it a fantastic choice for wildlife spectators or hunters.

We chose the Celestron Skymaster model as the top choice for those who love to hunt. With it’s high magnification and 70mm objective lens, it is perfect for low light viewing.

Vortex has released two quality products including both the Viper and the Razor. In the Viper you will find Vortex’s signature quality lenses with an O-ring that seals out all dust and debris.

And of course, the Razor, which we chose as our top pick. This low light binocular is at the top of the charts when it comes to crystal clear, sharp images.

The design of these binoculars is impeccable and of the highest quality while also remaining durable and water resistant.

Jake is an explorer, he loves all types of outdoor pursuits such as hunting, fishing & hiking. Jake has been a full-time writer & blogger for many years now and he's here to share his passions with the BeActiveOutdoors readers. Contact Jake@beactiveoutdoors.com

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