The human race was designed to look far!
And to push limits when looking even farther.
So we invented the binoculars.
Ever since then, bird watching, recreation sports and visionary hobbies at large have never been the same again.
But hobbies are good hobbies only when they respect your pocket. Binoculars are a seemingly high-tech and pricey investment. Or what if I told you they are not?
Yes, the best cheap binoculars under $50 offer you all the mileage for your favorite pastime without summoning costly accessories.
Glad now? Well, it is still difficult to sort and sift through all that high end tech and equipment. In this article, I take you through some of the most important points you need to note. Plus, there’s an insider’s review of seven of my favorite binoculars under $50.
- If you are hurry, checkout our straight recommendation: Bushnell 133450
My top 7 affordable binoculars under $50 reviews
1. Bushnell 133450 Falcon 10×50 Wide Angle Binoculars – When you Feel Flying with the Birdies
Imagine having to spend just above $30 for a pair of binoculars that offer stunning quality with optics and a vibrant HD display. That is the Bushnell Falcon 133450 for you.
A combined set of elements work to make the Falcon my first choice for binoculars under $50. For example, it utterly nails it with 10X magnification with still a few dollars to spare for 50. The, the lens diameter of 50mm makes capturing long views an act of play.
And you do not get Porro prism under 50 unless a) the manufacturer is overly generous or b) you are plain lucky. For the Bushnell Falcon, it looks like a bit of both. That has already made me simmer with excitement. But there’s more.
The Falcon 10×50 weighs just 27 ounces. That’s just about as heavy as my perfume bottle, in fact two of my bottles. You can sit watching birds for hours and you will not even feel it is there with you.
The close focus range of 25 feet is also a win if you ask me. It allows you to keep in touch with every nuance at hand and make observations others are most certain to miss.
The 9mm eye relief, the 5mm exit pupil and a breath taking field clearance of 1000 yards make the Falcon an even better pair when you look at the thin price range.
Bushiness has well and truly made a falcon with this one. The 133450 is just the start you need. For an exciting new hobby waits you.
2. Bushnell Falcon 133410 Binoculars – Watch Indoor Sports like Never before
The Bushnell Falcon 133410 is a mini dynamite of a device that does not cost you even half of $50. Yes, that is right; not even half. And boy, does it not throw some exquisite features at you.
To start the play, the optical quality is what you find in some of the more accomplished mid-range models. The stunning HD clarity of the device only gets more alluring as you settle with its size.
Unlike some of the pricier models within the Falcon series, the 133410 does not feel like it is made of cheap plastic. While there is not much of a difference in the quality of material that builds it, it somehow feels a lot more compact and sturdy.
If you are used to a larger pair of binoculars, odds are you will not even notice the 133410 in your hands. Because it weighs just 21 ounces; and that is a pack of cigarettes.
The Bushnell Falcon 133410 comes with a stunning 7X magnification. It is not really huge compared to others from the series. But you will have to bear in mind that the model was designed to make indoor sport more of a luxury.
And that is why the 133410 is just the pair you need if your next Tennis star is in town. The 20 feet close focus distance is just what you need if you have already grabbed the front row seats. And you can nevertheless make use of the racing 420 feet field of view that the Falcon offers.
3. USCAMEL Folding Pocket Binoculars Compact Travel Mini – Your Pocket Explorer
If you are holding the USCAMEL Folding Pocket binoculars in your right hand, your left hand won’t blink an eye. That’s how small this thing is.
With a size like that and ticked under $50, it does not really matter what you are using the USCAMEL binoculars for. It should just stay inside your pocket anyway. But that’s not all about this pocket rocket.
With the USCAMEL Pocket binoculars’ power magnification, you can dig your nose into anything that is within a 100 feet of your earth.
The optics quality is sufficiently high in quality, so much so that you can hold it directly at a bird passing the sun and the anti-glare will make sure you do not feel a thing.
With the USCAMEL, there is no definition to the range of activities that you can think of. It is competitive enough for sports, discreet for wildlife, lively about concerts and all game for birdwatching. But it really comes to its own the moment you utter ‘travel’.
It really does not matter what terrain you are travelling – mountains, river lands, plains or even deserts. The USCAMEL makes travelling in all directions a veritable reality that is hard to ignore.
Despite being a budget offering from USCAMEL, the Finding Pocket binos offer perfect grip and excellent build quality that is sure to shame some of the big-ticket pros out there. The focusing is so easy you will not even notice it.
And the print-box in which they pack the pair makes it a real gift for your loved ones too.
4. Bushnell 138005 H2O Waterproof/Fogproof Compact Roof Prism Binoculars – Inexpensive but worthy
The Bushnell 138005 H2O looked sturdily built even before laid my hands on it. And it looked even more promising when I did.
The binoculars are waterproof, fog proof and look like one compact unit right out of the box. Just the build of it gives you the feel that Bushnell has designed it more like an all-terrain explorer and less like the hobby-filled birdwatcher.
But it does not do badly as a birdwatcher too. With an 8X magnification and 25mm objective, it has got almost everything running for it if you really mean bird watching. Then there’s multi-coated optics that make for great transmission of light.
But it is really terrain trotting that makes full use of the waterproof character of these binoculars. The BaK-4 prisms that are installed on it come to their own in the mountains – offering bright and crisp visuals.
The rubber armor on the body of the H2O further defines and accentuates its character as an explorer. It does not just provide the best grip in class. But it also protects the binos from minor bumps and scratches.
As you would expect, there is nitrogen purging and O-ring seal for complete protection against frost. The many grooves on the body and the sides of the H2O make it all the more loyal even if you are not holding on to it too lightly.
And if your concern is the performance of the H2O indoors and while birdwatching, do not even bother. It does just as well as your custom-built pros.
5. DAXGD Waterproof Fogproof Night Vision Binoculars – Night Life was Never Better
You really thought I was going to leave this list without a pair great night vision binoculars? Nah, that’s not happening here.
If you are anything of a nocturnal junkie like me, the DAXGD Night Vision is just the best money can buy. Well not truly, but definitely the best limited budget purchase out there. And it starts with powerful lenses.
The optical lenses of the DAXGD are strong enough to make it your only purchase both for solar and lunar type max visions. But again, the kind of vision is only what you pay for.
You do not expect infra type night vision like they use in Nat Geo. But the HD LLL night vision of the DAXGD is good enough to give you clean vision in almost every lowlight city street.
With auto-focus and 8X magnification, these binos have a truly amazing visual field range of 9800 feet. The lens diameter is a standard 50 mm. But it is designed with a set of ultra-wide system for angle optics.
This further expands the scope of observation for the binos. And that means, this could pretty much be the all-grosser for you. In daytime, you can use these oculars for stadium sports, travel and even birdwatching.
Even if you are looking at concerts or something like adventure sport, you will find this pair of binoculars ready to make the move. And it works great both for hunting and hiking.
And you can always rely on DAXGD for the best customer service out there.
6. Merytes 10×25 Portable High Definition and Blue Film Binoculars – For Sturdy Metal Lovers
Before anything else, the mercury and black lines of the Merytes 10×25 takes you straight back to the thriller Hollywood of the ‘70s.
And that pretty much defines the character of these binoculars too. Only, the Merytes 10×25 is a much refined and High Definition tribute to some of the best binos from the past.
For one, you got a good deal at hand if your portable binoculars are built of durable aluminum alloy and do not even cost you $20. And yet, it weighs only about a fifth of a kilogram. Now that’s some achievement.
Additionally, the model employs a skidproof handwheel that allows you to merely turn the handwheel so you have a much better experience with the visuals.
The glass lens of the Merytes 10×25 guarantees superior quality optical. The FMC blue film on top of the lens gives you even better images that are actually devoid of any color difference whatsoever.
Even if you are placed under flimsy light, the transmittance of light via the composite and broadband film is far better than anything else in the same price range.
Unlike so many binoculars out there, the Merytes 10×25 is a veritable kid-friendly design that means business for both adults and kids.
Included in the pack is a pair of binoculars, a cloth for cleaning glass, a bag for the device and an additional wide sling.
The company provides a year full of warranty and you may contact them anytime for quality clinks here and there.
7. G4Free 12x25 Waterproof Binoculars
Talk about binoculars that look and feel like sport, and the G4Free 12x25 is here for you. At just about half of $50, we’re talking 12X magnification. That got to be kidding me!
The green films on the optics glass of the G4Free 12x25, you can see things crisply even in low light. That does not indicate night vision though. There’s a 25mm objective lens that does give you good High Definition viewing.
But the vision does get impacted sans the presence of a 50mm lens. In my view, this would have been a top pick straight away if they added a 50mm lens with it. But we got to take that at this price.
The low price and sturdy build of the G4Free 12x25 means that it is a great fit for both adults and kids. In fact, the build is good enough to protect the device even if your kid happens to drop it by accident.
The integrated XMC technology that comes with BAK4 prism makes sure there is a 100% reflection of light to give you a clean image of your surroundings irrespective of the quality of lighting.
The adjustable knob is buttery easy to operate. Yes, even your child can do it at the turn of a finger. There is custom hand finishing on the body of each pair and I have a hunch that polish will stay for life.
Among the bonus accessories of these binoculars are a cleaning cloth, a carrying pouch and a hand strap.
What are Binoculars?
Put simply, binoculars are mini telescopes.
For a miniscule range, they do just what a good telescope would do.
When you club two small-range modular telescopes, you have a pair of binoculars ready; Simple.
Types of Binoculars
Not all types of binoculars are the most effective when you speak of effective and affordable binoculars. Some are the real high-end ones that are designed for singular well-defined purposes. Here’s a quick synopsis.
- Niche binoculars
The niche binoculars are often considered the most advanced kind of binoculars in existence. These pairs are designed through the combination of several technologies and some high-end equipment to address one specific pursuit.
There can be Porro prism of Galilean elements in niche binoculars. It does not really make a difference as long as the singularity of purpose is served well.
- Galilean binoculars
These binoculars were named after Galileo, the famous Greek astronomer. The image these binos reproduce is an erect one. But as you would expect, watching something so far-fetched has to have a very narrow field of view.
The glasses used in opera and the theater frames can be categorized as Galilean binoculars.
- Giant Binoculars
Telescopes have been the more favored stargazing equipment in the traditional sense. But the giant binoculars are not far behind. These have been designed for stargazing too!
The giant binos are far beefier than the best budget binoculars. For one thing, those are ginormous lenses they carry. These binos are meant to let maximum light through.
- Roof-prism binoculars
Some of the most inexpensive binoculars that I reviewed here fall under this category. These bear a simpler semblance compared to the porro prism ones and are a touch costlier too.
Most manufacturers use multi-coating paints on the surface to make-up for the lack of a completely reflective surface. Overall, you have some equipment that is far easier to carry.
- Marine binoculars
This one is for the wet world enthusiasts. Marine binoculars are designed for deep sea divers and rescue personnel. These devices are also exclusive parts of marine warfare.
Marine binoculars are rugged, completely waterproof and also have the ability to float to the surface. The rangefinder ones are the costliest.
- Porro prism binoculars
These binoculars flaunt completely reflective surface which makes sure they are completely reflective. Since there is no loss of light, you get clear visuals.
Since these are relatively easier to manufacture, some of the cheapest yet best binoculars 2017 are placed within the folds of porro prism binoculars. These have greater than the roof prism binoculars.
- Prism binoculars
These binoculars have prims installed in the optical systems. The inverted image is rectified and projected by the lens itself. The optical path of light is also cut short with the prism.
I have already told you about the two variations in prism binoculars – porro prism and roof prism.
What makes a good pair of binoculars below $50?
- Optimum magnification
I do not expect military level magnification from a pair of binoculars under $50. But you should still go for anywhere between 8X to 10X magnification to make sure you derive optimum performance.
Moreover, the level of magnification should suit the kind of activity that you are looking to get placed with.
- Kid Friendliness
A good heap of people who buy binoculars below the $50 mark buy it for their kids. And that is one reason most manufacturers attempt to keep things unassuming technology-wise.
If you are looking for a pair for your child, make sure the build id sturdy. The functionality should be easily comprehensible.
- Hand Strap
It is a great help if the binoculars come with a hand strap as well. This allows you to walk carelessly with without having to grip the device firmly.
The hand strap might seem innocuous, but it is a great deal of help when you are looking to travel long distances.
By now, you would have known how important it is to have manageable weight on something that is operated with fingers.
The ergonomics of binoculars is as important as it is for cellphones. It should give you a comfortable grip and less hassle on the run.
Most binoculars are for use outdoors. If you are shelling out $50, you should be looking to get to a pair that has at least basic waterproofing.
Birdwatching and outdoor sport are two common occasions where waterproofing helps a lot. If these are on your bucket-list, waterproofing is non-negotiable.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
- Can binoculars be used without professional training?
As long as you are in tune with the owners’ manual, it should not really be a difficult thing to use binoculars under $50 without professional training.
If you are going for something more advanced than mere hobbies, there is a real range of professional trainings you can choose from. Just make sure, you are not imposing it unnecessarily. That shall do it.
- How much importance should you attach to type and technology?
Yes, for elementary pairs of binoculars, technology and type does not really play a major role. There are lots of things that you can consider, but you should overlook. And this includes the bino type and the adjoining technology.
Unless you are trying to achieve some goal that is highly technology-intensive and niche-specific, you should attach much importance to the technology or type being employed.
- What would I advise to someone buying niche binoculars?
If you are buying niche binoculars already, I will assume that is either related to your profession or it is more than just a hobby for you. In that case, you are advised to read up a lot.
The purchase should ideally be made in companionship of an expert in the niche. For a start, you cannot compromise on the sturdiness and durability of the models.
Getting cheap binoculars under $50 is no difficult job. Depending upon your need and method of use, anyone among the 7 models I reviewed could be a great fit for you.
You will still have to measure up the functionality versus the cost before you actually make a purchase.