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5 best hunting binoculars under $1000 for 2020

Published on: 
March 11, 2020

The Zeiss Conquest HD binoculars are the best hunting binoculars under $1000 you can buy and have been our choice of sub $1000 binoculars for years. And still; nothing beats them for price, quality, clarity, durability, and comfort. They are the most consistently recommended hunting binoculars under $1000 out there.

Our pick
Zeiss Conquest HD
Best hunting binoculars under $1000
The most recommended sub $1000 binoculars out there.
Check current price on Amazon

Good quality hunting binoculars aren't cheap. And in all honesty, circa $1000 is the minimum we would recommend spending if you want the best binoculars for hunting.

Luckily, right around the $900+ mark the quality of binoculars jumps considerably compared to anything cheaper. Conversely, with binoculars above $1,500 - the cost to value ratio begins to decrease.

The sweet spot sits between $900 and $1,500. With most of the best hunting binoculars now sitting comfortably under $1000. 

Buy once, cry once.

While binoculars are a hugely subjective thing, there's one thing we can say for sure, there are certain binoculars that just work. And work for most people.

More outdoor goodness -

Are binoculars necessary for hunting?

Yes. Many people seem to believe binoculars aren’t an essential piece of hunting gear. Especially if they hunt with a rifle and use a rifle scope. But binoculars are absolutely one of the most necessary pieces of gear when hunting, not just for more accurate hunting but for safety.

While binoculars’ primary usage is for you to target prey easier, binoculars also make sure you are actually targetting the correct species. While you might think that that’s far fetched, it happens.

What is the best magnification for hunting binoculars?

The best magnification for hunting binoculars is generally between 8x and 10x.

If you’re hunting in brush or other close-range environments then an 8x binocular would probably work best as they offer a wider field of view.

However, if you hunt from a treestand or in other long-distance terrains, a 10x binocular would offer more clarity. 

5 Best hunting binoculars under $1000

Best hunting binoculars under $1000
Our pick
Zeiss Conquest HD
Best hunting binoculars under $1000
The closest sub $1000 binoculars we've found that come close to Swarovski's SLC binoculars.
Check current price on Amazon

If you don’t fancy reading or scrolling through this entire article then please just read this next sentence. The Zeiss Conquest HD binoculars are the best hunting binoculars you can buy for under $1000. They have the best glass, fantastic ergonomics, rugged build quality, and come with a limited lifetime warranty. 

These have been our go-to hunting binos for the past 5 years. Whilst many of the binoculars featured in this article are just as good or even better in certain features, nothing beats or is even equal to the overall quality and experience of using the Zeiss Conquest HD’s. While the Conquest’s use a traditional aluminum chassis they are still super lightweight, feel great in your hands and balance extremely well. 

One major reason these binos are so great for hunting is that they are made for use in twilight conditions. This makes them the perfect companion for your early morning hunting trips. We tested the Conquest’s 30 minutes before sunrise and sunset, and no bino on this list came even close to the clarity these offered. We could spot wildlife through the Conquest’s before our friends could even walk safely without a torch. The best way to explain just how good the optics are is this: the glass comes extremely close to the quality of the Swarovski SLC’s

The field of view on the Conquests is fantastic. Especially on the 10x42 where FOV is usually limited for clarity’s sake. The FOV of the 10’s is the best you’ll get for an under $1000 10x binocular.

Another fantastic quality of the Conquest HD’s is their eye relief settings. They are the most comfortable binoculars to look through for hours on end and are especially great to use if you wear eyeglasses. And while we are on the subject of eyes - the eye width mechanism caters to people with smaller heads. So if you have a shorter eye width and struggle to find binoculars that adjust to fit your needs then the Conquest HD’s will likely be your best bet. 

We’ll go out with what we stated in our introduction: these are the most consistently recommended binoculars for hunting under $1000. And for good reason. They are solid in every category and offer the best bang for your buck in this price range.

Features

  1. Weight: 28 oz
  2. Fog Resistant
  3. Waterproof

Pros
Excellent eye relief, Limited lifetime warranty, Clarity in low light settings, Glass is almost comparable to Swarovski SLC’s, Wide FOV, Great for eyeglasses

Cons
Focus knob is quite sensitive, Supplied lens covers fall off easily, Heavier than other options

Buy Zeiss Conquest HD on Amazon here or from OpticsPlanet here

Vortex Razor HD hunting binoculars
Runner up
Vortex Razor HD
Runner up for best hunting binoculars under $1000
Vortex offer the best warranty and customer service for their binoculars. They offer lifetime support for damage including accidental. They're super lightweight and are perfect for all size hands including smaller than average hands.
Check current price on Amazon

The Vortex Razor HD binoculars have garnered a well-deserved following since their release in 2012. They offer amazing clarity and light gathering in a small but strong body. 

The Vortex Razor HD binos are predominantly used by hunters rather than birdwatchers. And this is likely due to just how lightweight they are to carry and use. The top-notch ergonomic design mixed with slender barrels and a magnesium body makes the Razor’s feel extremely light and comfortable to hold for long periods of time. They are one bino that definitely won't cause you hand ache, even if you have small hands.

Now that we’ve got the comfort factor down, let’s move on to the juicy stuff.  The quality of the glass. 

The Razor’s offer bright, crystal clear, super sharp optics. But where they really excel and show just how powerful they are is in low light, both morning and evening. They have absolutely no glare and the clarity of color and detail is equal to that of binos in a much higher price range.  

While the Razor HD’s optics are on a par with the Leica Trinovid and just below the Zeiss Conquest HD binoculars, what truly makes the Razor’s stand out is the unbeatable lifetime warranty (they even repair and replace accidental damage) and fantastic customer service offered by Vortex. 

Features

  1. Weight: 24.8 oz
  2. Waterproof
  3. Fogproof

Pros
Tripod ready, Lifetime warranty including accidental damage, Excellent customer service, Extremely lightweight, Good for smaller hands

Cons
FOV seems small compared to other 10x42’s, Eye caps fall off easily, Lesser established brand

Buy Vortex Razor HD on Amazon here or from OpticsPlanet here.

Leica Trinovid binoculars
Best for spectacle wearers
Leica Trinovid HD
Best hunting binoculars for spectacle wearers
Easy on the eye for spectacle wearers and don't create eye strain even after hours of use. The individual eye adjuster is super precise.
Check current price on Amazon

Leica, like Zeiss, is one of the most well-respected brands in the optics industry.  But where the Leica Trinovid’s differ from Zeiss and align with Vortex’s Razor binoculars is that the chassis is made from magnesium. This can clearly be seen when comparing the weights of the three models. The Leica and Vortex are two of the lightest binoculars you can get, while the Zeiss is slightly heavier. 

In terms of optics, there isn’t really anything negative we can touch upon. Sounds about right for Leica doesn’t it? The depth of field, the color accuracy, the light-gathering, the laser-sharp images. Everything is just on point. The clarity in low-light is exceptional, you can look far into dark wooded areas and see fine details. They are also exceptional in harsh weather: rain, snow or fog, you won’t have any issues. 

While the Leica Trinovids are on par optically with the Vortex Razors, we felt that the Razors were more enjoyable and comfortable to use than these were. However, where the Trinovid binos beat the Razor binoculars is for spectacle wearers. We tested both out whilst wearing eyeglasses and the Trinovid’s are much easier on the eye (excuse the bad pun) than the Razor’s are. 

One aspect where Leica fall vastly behind Zeiss and Vortex is their warranty policy. While Leica does offer a limited lifetime warranty on manufacturing defects and a 3-year no-fault warranty (they’ll repair accidental damage for free), they make you jump through hoops. You have to make sure that you are buying from an authorized dealer, that you have a warranty card and provide a receipt of your purchase. You also cannot pass on the warranty to anyone except your offspring, so if you want to potentially sell these and upgrade in the future, you cannot pass the warranty over to the purchaser. 

Features

  • Weight: 25.76 oz

Pros
Great for use with eyeglasses, lightweight, individual eye adjuster is very precise

Cons
Warranty policy is poor compared to other brands on this list, Carry case is poor

Buy Leica Trinovid HD on Amazon here or from OpticsPlanet here

Meopta Meostar HD hunting binoculars
Best for larger hands
Meopta Meostar HD
Best binoculars for larger hands
The ergonomics and weight are more suited to larger hands. While being the heaviest bino's on the list, their design makes them feel well balanced. The glass is comparable to Swarovski's SLC binoculars. Virtually no chromatic abberation.
Check current price on Amazon

Meopta feels like an almost underrated manufacturer in the binocular scene. While we occasionally come across some glowing reviews online, they aren’t spoken about as much as some of the other brands on this list. Yet they offer some of the best glass we’ve ever seen. They are, as with the Zeiss Conquest HD’s, one of the only pair of binoculars we would even dare compare to the glass of the Swarovski SLC HD’s. Though that isn’t to say the general build quality and ergonomics match that of the SLC’s because they don’t. 

Now that we have dared to compare the glass of these to Swarovski, what made us be so brave? Well, almost everything about the quality of the optics is comparable to that of the SLC’s. The color saturation and accuracy are so good we struggled to even tell a difference between these and the SLC’s themselves. Color saturation is what makes everything “pop” when you look through a pair of binoculars and is what can make looking through a good pair of binoculars so life-changing. Another easily comparable feature is the quality of the image in low-lighting. All of the binoculars we have featured on this list are excellent in low-light conditions, but these are literally comparable to the SLC’s low-light performance.

The Meostar Pro’s are encased in a traditional aluminum chassis as opposed to the lighter magnesium, which explains the heavier weight than some of the other brands on this list. They are also chunkier than any other comparable binoculars, making them perfect if you have larger hands, but not so perfect if you have smaller hands. If you do have larger hands the ergonomic design balances out the weight pretty nicely that you may not really notice the heavier weight. 

Features

  1. Weight: 31.6 oz

Pros
Focusing knob is perfect for hunting, glass is comparable to Swarovski SLC’s, virtually no chromatic aberration

Cons
Heavier than others in this price range, more suited to larger hands, Glare control is average

Buy Meopta Meostar HD on Amazon here or from OpticsPlanet here.

Nikon Monarch HG binoculars
Best field of view
Nikon Monarch HG
Best for wide field of view
The widest field of view of any of the binoculars on this list. Even on the 10x42's the field of view is HUGE. Most lightweight binocular you will find under $1000.
Check current price on Amazon

We know, we know. No one really wants to admit that a pair of Nikon binos are good. But the Monarch HG’s are really, really good. The HG’s are the most lightweight binoculars on this list. So, if weight is an important aspect for you, these should definitely be a consideration if everything else ticks your boxes. 

As with all of the lightweight binoculars on this list, the HG’s are made with a magnesium body. One thing we really noticed about the HG’s besides their weight was the quality. They feel really nice, really well built and extremely rugged. In fact, the only thing we didn’t like about the build of the HG’s was the non-removable eyecups. This makes properly cleaning the eyecups impossible. But it’s something we can live with considering everything else about them is spot on.

Another feature of the HG’s that blows all other binos out of the water is the HUGE field of view. When we say huge we mean 6.9 degrees wide on the 10x42 model. No others in this price range come close. Being able to see more without giving up magnification is a massive advantage in a hunting binocular. Being able to see far and wide is a dream made true by Nikon.

Optically, the HG’s are superb. They offer very crisp viewing and clarity comparable to any other bino on this list. The brightness is outstanding and you are easily able to see fine details in the lowest of light conditions. Distortion is also kept to a minimum. 

Features

  1. Weight: 24.3 oz

Pros
Widest FOV, Lightest weight

Cons
Chromatic aberration isn’t as good as others on this list, Non-removable eyecups

Buy Nikon Monarch HG on Amazon here or from OpticsPlanet here.

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