A pair of binoculars can make or break a safari trip. Get something too heavy, and you’ll be cursing yourself for having to carry a freaking cantaloupe for the better part of the day. But get something too small, and you won’t be able to get a good view of the animals.
It’s important to find binoculars that are somewhere between ultra-portable and ultra-clear images. And we have ten great options in mind, which we will tell you all about in this detailed review.
At A Glance: Our Top 3 Binocular Choices
Oh, and if you’re traveling with a partner, be sure to get a pair of binoculars for safari for them as well. You don’t want to rely on just one pair for the two of you – that can break not just a safari trip, but also a marriage!
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The Nikon Monarch binoculars are iconic. If you’re not exactly sure how to choose a pair of binoculars, these are by far the safest bet. They perform incredibly well in all sorts of weather conditions, they offer extremely sharp and clear images, and they’re pretty lightweight and portable.
The only issue is the price point – the Monarch is a pair of premium binoculars, which will set you back several hundreds of dollars. But you won’t have to get another pair of binoculars in your life, and you can easily pass them on to your kids and then grandkids – definitely a worthwhile investment.
Another downside of these is that they don’t have the screw that lets you mount them on top of a tripod. There is an adapter for them, but you have to purchase it separately, and it will set you back at least another $20-30.
These are wide-angle binoculars, with a field of view of 1000 yards. They offer 10x magnification, with a lens diameter of 42mm that ensures bright images even in low light conditions. And the Multicoated Eco-Glass Lenses allow even more light to enter the lenses, for sharp and bright images at any time of the day.
On top of that, the Monarch binoculars are fully waterproof and fog proof, so you can safely use them in all sorts of weather conditions. They have a rubber-armored body that is both lightweight and very grippy, so they feel comfortable and sturdy in your hands.
One thing to note is that the Monarch 5 is a vast improvement over the older models. The glass on the Monarch 5 is much higher quality, which allows for clearer and sharper images. So, if you want to enjoy the safari in all its glory, this is by far one of the best pairs of binoculars for you.
The Gosky binoculars are a great mid-range option. They have 10x magnification with a large field of view, which means clear images of animals that are very far away. Especially with the 42mm lenses, which perform really well even in low light conditions.
These binoculars are equipped with BAK4 prism, which ensures bright and crisp images. In addition to that, the eyecups are padded, for ultimate comfort even after prolonged viewing periods.
These have a rainproof and fog-proof body, so they’re going to be easy to use in all sorts of weather conditions. Moisture, dust, and various debris are prevented from entering the optics, ensuring that your binoculars remain functional and perfect no matter when and where you decide to use them.
A really cool thing about these binoculars is that they have a smartphone adapter. That’s right – they let you attach your smartphone to the lens so that you can take effortlessly take awesome images and immediately share them on social media. It’s not enough that all your friends know you’re on an African safari – now you can also rub it in their faces.
Jokes aside, that is a very useful feature for taking memorable photographs. Sure, you can always use a phone to take cool photos through the binoculars, but that’s so much easier to do when you don’t have to worry about keeping your phone aligned with the binoculars’ lenses.
If you’re primarily looking for portable safari binoculars, then these binoculars from Aurosports are a decent option. They fold down, and they are small enough to fit into your hand, making them an awesome option for travel. On top of that, these safari binoculars weigh only 12 ounces, so you won’t even feel them in your bag. And they come with a soft carrying pouch that will protect you from the contents of your bag.
The max magnification of these is 10x, which is actually really good. But their lens diameter is only 25mm, so don’t expect great performance in low light conditions. They are equipped with night vision, which is pretty cool, but it’s still not enough to guarantee bright and sharp images at dusk.
Additionally, the night vision only works well in low-light conditions, and not in total darkness. When it’s pitch black outside, you won’t be able to see a thing with these binoculars.
The Aurosport binoculars have rubber eyecups, which will keep you comfortable after long periods of use. In addition to that, they also have rubber grips that help you hold on to them in rainy weather.
Bear in mind that it’s okay to use these in light rain, but you should avoid using them in heavy rain. And you should never submerge them entirely.
Overall, this is a decent pair of entry-level binoculars. But don’t expect incredibly clear images or outstanding low-light performance – after all, you get what you pay for.
The SkyGenius binoculars are a great affordable option. They’re under $50, so a great choice for those of you that are looking for a quick and cheap solution. And this is actually a really good pair of binoculars – with a lens diameter of 50mm, you can enjoy safari even in really low light conditions.
The images will always be sharp and bright since the lens is able to let more light in. And they have 10x magnification, which lets you really see the animals up close.
These binoculars are made from aluminum, with a rubber coating. They are very grippy, so you don’t need to worry about the binoculars slipping from your hands in rainy weather. In addition to that, the sturdy construction makes them resistant to rain, fog, and other weather elements. But only resistant – these are not waterproof, and you should never fully submerge them.
One thing to note is that the 50mm wide lens diameter means that these are heavier than most other binoculars featured here. They weigh 1.75 lbs, which isn’t exactly portable, but it’s still not ridiculously heavy.
On top of all that, the SkyGenius binoculars for safari feature rubber eyecups, for ultimate comfort after long periods of use. The eyecups are foldable, so even people who wear glasses can enjoy using these.
And they have a big, smooth focus wheel, which is very simple and intuitive to use. Plus, the corrective optical coating guarantees color fidelity and minimal distortion, which means sharp, clear, and natural-looking images at all times.
Nikon is a well-established brand when it comes to cameras and DSLRs, and they also make pretty good binoculars. The Aculon A211 is an awesome pair for safari – it features a 42mm diameter lens, for great clarity in low light conditions. And they have 8x magnification, so you can really get up close with the animals.
These are actually made with Aspherical Multicoated Eco-Glass Lenses, which guarantee a clear and sharp image in most lighting conditions. And they feature Turn-and-Slide rubber eyecups that are fairly soft against your skin. This helps you stay comfortable after prolonged use, and lets you use the binoculars for long periods of time without any soreness.
Another thing you’ll love about the Nikon safari binoculars is the ease of use. They have a focus knob at the center, which is very smooth and intuitive to use.
The exterior of these binoculars is coated with rubber, so they are very grippy. This also means improved performance in wet weather, since the rubber will keep them from getting slippery.
The only downside of these Nikon binoculars is that they are actually quite heavy. At almost 1.7 lbs, they’re amongst the heaviest safari binocular features here. But they’re also one of the best-performing pairs, especially considering the overall quality of build, ease of use, and image clarity.
The Bushnell binoculars are one of the best performing pairs out of the bunch. They feature a 42mm wide lens, which lets it just enough light to guarantee great visibility even in poor conditions. And you can actually choose between binoculars with 8x or 10x magnification, so pick up the pair that you think is best suited for your needs.
One thing I love about these is that they are entirely waterproof and fog proof. The textured rubber exterior ensures that you always have plenty of grips and that they don’t slip out of your hands even in rainy weather. In addition to that, these are O ring sealed, which guarantees fog-free performance.
The Bushnell safari binoculars feature BAK4 prisms and multi-coated optics, for crystal clear and sharp images at all times. And they have a large focus knob at the center, which is intuitive and very easy to use.
They are a bit heavy at nearly 1.6 lbs, but that’s a compromise you have to make if you want sturdy and reliable safari binoculars. And they have rubber twist-off rubber eyecups that are comfortable even after really long periods of use. Plus, those who wear glasses can twist them off, in order to use the binoculars quite naturally.
You get a neck strap and a travel pouch with these, as well as protective rubber covers for the lenses. Overall, this is definitely one of the best pairs of safari binoculars out of the bunch; they’re the perfect balance of quality, performance, and affordability.
Here’s a great pair of portable binoculars for safari – the Wingspan Optics FieldView binoculars weigh less than 1lb, making them an awesome option for travel. They’re lightweight and small enough that you can hold them in the palm of your hand, making them the perfect portable option.
On top of that, these actually have a decent lens diameter. With 32mm wide lenses, you will actually be able to see something in low light conditions, so they’re really not a bad option for safari evenings! Sure, the image won’t as bright and crisp as with a 42mm lens, but it’s going to be much better than the one from a 25mm lens.
Even though these don’t have textured rubber at the sides, they’re grippy enough that they won’t slip from your hands. You can use these binoculars in light rain, but they’re not fully waterproof so avoid using them in heavy downpours. Additionally, don’t ever fully submerge these binoculars underwater, since that could damage them beyond repair.
The eyecups on these binoculars are padded, and they feel comfortable even after longer use. They also twist off, so you can remove them entirely if you want to use the binoculars with a pair of glasses.
Overall, this is a great option if you’re looking for something that performs well and isn’t too expensive. But if you want mind-blowing performance in low light, you will probably be disappointed.
If you just want a crystal clear image, you can always go with a pair of professional binoculars. And that’s exactly what these ones by Steiner Optics are – they are primarily designed for hunting and shooting, and they offer sharp images in all sorts of weather and light conditions.
The focus knob is very sensitive, and you only need to turn it slightly to get a good close-up image. And the 42mm lenses of the Predator binoculars have Color Adjusted Transmission (CAT) – lens coating that amplifies the contrast and helps you notice animals easier.
In addition to that, these binoculars are entirely waterproof and fog proof, so you can use them in any sort of weather. The eyecups on the Predator are contoured and padded, for maximum comfort even with prolonged use. And they feature textured non-slip grips so that you never have to worry about dropping them.
The Steiner binoculars also feature a Clicloc System, which allows you to attach and release the neck strap with the push of a button. This is pretty useful if you want to lend them to someone for a moment, or if you’re planning to share a pair of binoculars on the safari.
These even come with a lifetime Heritage warranty. Steiner will replace any defects on the binoculars, and you don’t even need to bring in a receipt. But I think the extensive warranty is a must, considering the really high price point, which is off-putting for a lot of people.
Yes, these are expensive, but think of them like the Ferrari of binoculars. You’ll enjoy the safari in HD, and they are so well made that even your grandkids can get to use them one day.
The Adorrgon binoculars are probably the best affordable option you can get. They have a lot of great features, they are very lightweight and they cost only around $40 – pretty great for such a good pair of binoculars!
These have 12x magnification, which is amazing for observing animals that are really far away. And with 42mm lens diameter, they let enough light so that all images are sharp and clear any time of the day. These perform really well even in low light conditions, and they are a great option for evening safari tours.
The best thing about the Adorrgon binoculars is how lightweight they are. At 1.1 lbs, this is the lightest pair of binoculars that have wide lenses, and that’s reason enough to get them.
These have a durable, anti-slip exterior, so they are pretty grippy even without textured sides. The BAK4 prism ensures that the image is always sharp and clear, even when you zoom in 12 times. And the multi-coated lenses make the colors a bit brighter, while still keeping them as true as possible.
One downside of these affordable safari binoculars is that they are neither waterproof nor fog proof. They have some water resistance, so you can use them in light rain, but not in heavy downpours. And you shouldn’t ever fully submerge them, since that could permanently damage the lenses.
The padded eye cups can be individually adjusted, and fully taken off for enjoyable viewing with glasses.
The Xgazer binoculars are professional grade, and they’re a great option for people who are looking for something sturdy and durable, but not quite as expensive as Steiner. These are waterproof and fog proof, so suitable for use in all sorts of weather conditions.
The great thing about these is that you can actually choose the magnification and lens diameter. They range from 8×32 to 12×50, and each pair costs and weighs differently. Of course, the binoculars with smaller lens diameters are cheaper and lighter, while the wider ones tend to be more expensive.
But, at least you have the ability to choose, so you really can get a pair that’s exactly right for you. I would recommend the 10×42 as the best middle ground – they’re not too heavy, the magnification is more than enough for a safari trip, and the lens is wide enough for bright images in the evenings.
In terms of image quality, the Xgazer binoculars perform just as well as other high-end binoculars. Especially since these feature anti-reflective lens coating, which ensures crystal clear images in really bright weather.
On top of all that, they come with a bunch of useful accessories, including a hardshell carrying case, a neck strap, lens covers, and a microfiber cleaning cloth.
If this is your first pair of safari binoculars, I’m guessing you don’t know much about the meaning behind those numbers on them. Well, they actually tell you a lot about a particular pair of binoculars, so let’s talk about them.
The first number on the lens lets you know how much magnification it allows. So, 4x means that the animals will look like they are four times closer than they actually are, while 12x means they’ll appear twelve times closer.
The ideal binoculars for safari have 8x or 10x magnification. This lets you really zoom in on the animals, while still maintaining the sharpness of the image. Binoculars with higher magnification might seem appealing, but oftentimes you’ll find that the image you get from them is too blurry to actually enjoy it.
The second number marks the diameter of the lens in millimeters. This lets you know how much light the lens can let in – the higher the number, the more light gets in. But, wider lenses also mean heavier binoculars, which is why most travel-friendly pairs don’t really go above 28. Those don’t perform that well in low light conditions, so they’re not ideal if you’re looking to go on safari in the evenings.
The overall best lens diameter to look for is 42. This is the best balance of clarity and weight – the binoculars perform very well in low light conditions, but they’re still not so heavy that you’ll be put off by carrying them.
The ideal pair of safari binoculars would be portable and lightweight, but we don’t live in an ideal world.
Here’s the catch – you can find loads of small, portable binoculars, but their performance is often going to be underwhelming. The weight of a pair of binoculars is in direct correlation with the diameter of its lens and in turn the performance in low light condition.
So, what do you prioritize – portability or performance? If it’s the first, then look for binoculars that can be folded down and packed into a small pouch, as well as pairs that are very lightweight.
If it is the latter, you will need to sacrifice portability, and come to terms with the fact that you need to get a pair of binoculars that weight 1.5lbs+. But, at least you can be sure that they will perform exceptionally well in different light conditions.
If you want to get high-quality binoculars that can work in all sorts of weather conditions, you need to look for something sturdy. The best pairs are waterproof and fogproof, and perform equally well in different weather conditions.
If you get binoculars that are just water and fog resistant, you need to treat them more carefully. Those should never be fully submerged underwater because water could get inside the lens, which would permanently damage them.
So, do you want a pair of binoculars that works only for a hot, African safari, or a pair that you can use for birdwatching, hunting, and even surfing?
Binoculars that are not fully waterproof perform okay in light rain, but they shouldn’t be used in heavy downpours. In addition to that, the image won’t be as clear in wet weather, so bear that in mind.
How much can you afford to spend on a pair of binoculars for safari? I showed you options from $40 to $400, so there should be something for you here regardless of your budget.
But remember that you get what you pay for. A $40 pair of binoculars most likely won’t last you decades, The rubber might get worn out over the years, and the warranty will only cover the first couple of years of use.
That’s not the case with the $400 binoculars. Those usually come with lifetime warranties, and they’re an item that will remain in your family for generations. However, not everyone actually needs such an expensive pair of binoculars. If you won’t use them for anything other than that safari trip you have planned, then you’ll be fine with a more affordable pair.
But, if you want to bring them on hiking and camping trips, then it’s a good idea to go for a more expensive pair. It’s like with most things in life – if you’re looking to buy something that you know you will use a lot, it’s always better to spend more money now, because you’re saving money in the long run.
Not quite sure which of these binoculars is the best fit for you? Go with one of our top three choices and you will not be disappointed!
If you are prioritizing portability, get the Adorrgon Safari Binoculars. With a weight of only 1.1 lbs, they are the lightest pair that still offers clear and bright images. They have a lens diameter of 42mm, which is great for low light conditions.
These also allow you to zoom in up to 12 times, ensuring that you will be able to spot all those animals that are far away. And they are pretty affordable, making them an awesome option if you don’t really plan to use them for anything other than the safari trip!
If you’re looking to get a pair of binoculars that will last you for decades, I would recommend the Nikon Monarch 5. They are 10x42mm binoculars, so they’re actually perfect for a safari. The wide lens lets in a lot of light, making them great even in low light, while the magnification makes animals appear up to 10 times closer.
And they’re pretty lightweight at 1.35 lbs, so they’re actually quite travel-friendly. On top of that, the Monarch binoculars are entirely waterproof and fogproof, meaning that they perform equally well in all sorts of weather conditions.
For those of you that are looking to get the best affordable binoculars I recommend the SkyGenius ones. They are under $50, with a lens diameter of 50mm and magnification power of 10x.
These are actually really good binoculars – the image won’t as sharp on the ones that cost ten times as much, but it’s definitely not going to be ten times worse. They are great in low light conditions, and come with all the accessories you need to enjoy your safari trip!
Those are the top three pairs we recommend, but any pair of binoculars featured here will work well for a safari. Head over to Amazon to see and compare their prices!
And check out our post below to find the perfect harness for your new binoculars.
BEST BINOCULARS HARNESSES