Top Waterproof Binoculars: Buying Guide and Reviews

Whether you’re heading out in search of wild birds or setting off on the water, you need to know your binoculars are protected against the elements.

Waterproof, fog proof, slip resistant.

All these features will enable you to focus on what really matters: a great view of the action.

But not all binos are equally good for every purpose — you need the best binoculars for you.

That’s why we prepared this definitive guide for buying binoculars in 2020 to make it easy to find the best one for you.

This guide features binoculars with some of the best reviews and waterproof and fog proof features. All are O-ring sealed and filled with nitrogen to reduce internal fogging or misting, ensuring they are fully waterproof and fog proof.

Best of the Best:

With 8x magnification and an objective lens diameter of 42 mm, this is the perfect balance between a wide field of view and a clear, light picture, even in the dark.

When you’re using your binoculars for bird watching or observing nature, the Nikon Monarch 7 is arguably the best pair of binoculars to have on hand. The lenses and prisms feature dielectric high-reflective multi-layer coatings, which helps to prevent loss of light, creating a clearer picture. The Monarch’s extra-low dispersion glass (ED) corrects color defects, so light and color is depicted with a high level of accuracy.

These binoculars feature a very wide field of view, which makes them the best for birding.

Firm rubber coating makes the binoculars easy to grip, perfect for using in any weather conditions. The Monarch comes with a carrying case, making it easy to transport. The case is not the most solid for keeping the binoculars secure, however, and the lens caps can easily become loose. The eye relief of approx. 17 mm makes them suitable for those who wear glasses.

The Nikon Monarch 7 is a top of the range waterproof binocular, completely sealed, and one of the best rated of its kind, so it comes with a suitably expensive price tag. With that being said, it certainly isn’t the most expensive out there, and has fantastic features for an aficionado.

Pros Cons
  • Clear and accurate optics
  • Very wide field of view
  • Easy to grip rubber coating
  • Good eye relief
  • Accessories are (a bit) disappointing
  • One of the more expensive models

Standout Marine Feature — Floating Binoculars:

If you’re looking for a pair of binoculars to take out on the water, you can’t go wrong with waterproof, floating binoculars, like the Hooway 7x50.

These marine binoculars are 100% waterproof, they work under extreme weather conditions, and you needn’t fear losing them out in the ocean, as they will float on water for 30 minutes.

With a field of view of 396 feet (120 m) at 1000 yards (910 m), the Hooway 7x50 are the ideal marine binocular, perfect for boating and fishing.

The binoculars even feature a navigation compass, which also illuminates at night. However, the illuminating light can be overpowering, making it difficult to use.

The Hooway uses BAK-4 prisms, fully multi-layer coated lenses for lighter images. With a wide, adjustable lens diameter, and a weight of 2.20 pounds (ca. 1kg), the Hooway 7x50 is a bulkier choice of binoculars. Magnification is about average at 7x, making it less suitable for hunting, where you may need a closer view of the targets.

Pros Cons
  • Float on water for 30 minutes
  • BAK-4 prism, fully multi-layer coated lenses
  • Built-in navigation compass
  • Adjustable lens
  • Eye cups can be folded down for use with glasses
  • Heavier weight
  • Average magnification
  • Night light on the built-in navigation is overly bright

Best for a Budget (and Hunters, too!):

With a wide field of view of 325 ft (ca. 99 m) for a magnification of 10x, the Bushnell H2O will help you to spot targets at great distances with ease, making these our top choice for best hunting and best budget binoculars.

The BAK-4 prisms and multi-coated surfaces create crisp and sharp pictures, so you can see every last detail with these binoculars in HD, even in fading light.

BAK-4 prisms are widely considered as the superior glass for optics, as they show a more even picture, with better clarity and light transmission.

As well as being waterproof to avoid fogging, these roof prism binoculars are durable, featuring strong shock-absorbing non-slip rubber armor, which maintains grip when you’re on the move, making it easier to continue hunting or birding in the harshest conditions.

These may not be the absolute best binoculars out there, but expensive features in an inexpensive model makes the Bushnell H2O not only a brilliant pair of hunting binoculars, but a fantastic pair overall that offer the best value for your money.

Pros Cons
  • Wide field of view
  • 10x magnification for spotting distant targets
  • BAK-4, multi-coated prisms
  • Shock-absorbing rubber armor to maintain grip
  • Heavy for its size
  • Eye cups have been reported being uncomfortable

Handy for hikers:

The Nikon 16000 Prostaff 7S 8x30 gives a fantastically clear view, with waterproof, fully multi-layer coatings to minimize light loss, and special phase-correction coating to improve contrast.

Weighing under a pound, these roof prism binoculars are waterproof to keep out moisture, lightweight and easy to hold over long distances, even for kids, making them the best compact waterproof binoculars and the best for hiking and travel.

Wear glasses? These compact binoculars ensure a full field of view with turn and slide rubber eyecups, which allows the user to customize the distance between their eye and the eyepiece.

However, one review mentions issues with using the eyecups at night, as they do allow some light through. The lens caps also come loose regularly.

The Nikon 16000 Prostaff 7S 8x30 is light enough to simply carry in the hand or in a pocket, with non-slip rubber grip providing added support.

Pros Cons
  • Lightweight binoculars for travel
  • Good contrast and light distribution
  • Turn and slide eyecups for glasses wearers
  • Eyecups less effective at night
  • Lens caps become loose easily

Best Marine Binoculars:

These binoculars feature the 7x magnification and 50 millimeter objective lens configuration recommended by the Coast Guard, so they are perfect for boating and marine purposes.

Field of view is wide (380 feet (120 m) at 1000 yards (910 m)), with the binoculars using the Porro prism system. This makes them useful for looking out to sea at long distances. With an exit pupil of 7.1 mm, these binoculars are also perfect for seeing in the dark.

Like the Bushnell H2O, they feature BAK-4 prisms and are fully multi-coated with UV protection for a crisp, well lit view.

The focus of each lens is adjusted individually, which may be off-putting to those not experienced with marine binoculars. However, individually adjusted lenses can also be useful, as they allow users to minutely customize each lens to their specific optical needs.

The Bushnell Marine 7x50 is one of the heavier binoculars on this list, weighing around 2.2 pounds (ca. 1kg), which makes it difficult to travel with. Featuring a stylish blue color, it’s also one of the most visually striking designs.

Pros Cons
  • Perfect binoculars for watching long distances
  • Individually customizable lenses
  • Striking blue color
  • UV protection offering crisp, well-lit picture
  • Heavy weight makes them less portable
  • Individual lens adjustments can be off-putting

Now you have our binoculars reviews, you can focus on discovering which pair is the best binoculars to buy for you.

If you want to view distant landmarks on your journeys, consider the option with the best magnification.

If you’re looking for waterproof binoculars with a crisp, clear view from dawn till dusk, a higher objective lens diameter or multi-layer coating will light up your world. Literally.

Choosing an O-ring sealed waterproof pair will ensure rain and fog can’t ruin your fun (or your binoculars).

Whatever pair you choose, keep one piece of advice in mind: it’s not just about choosing the best binoculars, it’s about choosing the best binoculars for you.