Binoculars are one of those items that require some thought about what your future needs might be too. These, like computers, are constantly being refined and upgraded and might become obsolete quickly. So the best solution is to know how you plan to use the binoculars, and then buy the best that your budget allows.

Binoculars are perfect for hunting and many other activities

It’s highly recommended that you do not make this purchase online (or if you do, first go out to a store and try several pairs). Why? Because the weight, the eye comfort, and the overall visual impact is going to be different in each set you review. This way you can find something that not only has the range you want, but fits easily into your lifestyle. After that, if you want to comparison shop online you know you’ll be happy with your purchase.

As your shopping step one is understanding power levels. Each set of binoculars will have two numbers next to each other with an “x” in the middle. The second number represents the lens size. An 8, for example, would mean the subject is 8 times closer than it appears unaided. The first number is magnification or power. The lower this number is, the wider and brighter the area viewed becomes.

Some lenses come coated. This changes how much light gets through. Coating is an option that increases the cost of binoculars and there are different coatings for different scenarios. If you’re interested in having contrast options, ask the salesperson what’s available in the set you like most.

These state of the art Marine binoculars will show things in a whole new light

Another important consideration in binoculars is not simply how far you can see, but how close up you can focus an image. If you’re sitting in your back yard and want a good look at a flower, you may find that you can’t get resolution that close. You can test this at the store by trying to focus in on objects near you. Measure the distance between you and the first thing you can see clearly. If that’s too far for your viewing pleasure, you need a different set. While you’re doing this, see how wide an image you get too. Do you want it that wide? Wider? Less? Remember, the lower the magnification number the more you’ll see width wise.

If you’re planning on taking these beyond your home, you definitely want to consider the set’s weight and weather or not the binoculars are resistant to the elements. You want these to last, but if they’re too heavy you’re less likely to use them, and if they’re not protected they could easily be damaged when hiking, biking, or whatever.

Finally for those who wear glasses look for a set that adjusts for viewing with or without your glasses on.

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