Whether you are a target shooter, game hunter, or a bird watcher, having access to the best spotting scope on the market is making an investment that can pay off over time. While spotting scopes are less portable than binoculars, they often have the best clarity and magnification possible for spotting targets at a distance.
Spotting scopes come in a variety of types and offer the option to see farther on the field. Hunters can detect animals at a longer distance, while bird watchers can see more details as they take in various species of winged animals. There are many factors that go into choosing a spotting scope, including the field of view, magnification, eye relief, aperture, and focus.
Our spotting scope reviews will break down the 11 best spotting scopes on the market today, so you know what your options are. We’ll also share buying information so you can be sure you select the scope that is right for your needs. Whether you are looking for a beginner’s model at an inexpensive price or something that offers the newest technology, there are plenty of options out there.
Best Hunting Spotting Scope: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide
This scope by Gosky might be the best budget spotting scope on the market, which makes it a great option for anyone who wants to save a little extra cash. It offers 20x to 60x magnification through a dynamic lens focusing system that makes it easy to zoom in on a bird or animal.
The scope is fully multi-coated with a green film 80mm objective lens that can offer a view up to 1,000k yards. It offers BAK4 Porro prism optics for exceptional light transmission along with a clear and bright image. The device comes with an adapter for your smartphone, a carrying case, eyepiece, lens cover, and a cleaning cloth, so you don’t need to make extra purchases.
- Features a digiscoping smartphone adapter to take easy photos and video footage
- Comes with a metal tripod and tripod mount for steady observations
- Waterproof and fog-proof design withstands even the toughest environment
- Fully multi-coated green film lens offers a field of view from 82 to 1,000 yards
- Some have experienced improperly attached components
This hunting spotting scope by Celestron features sharper and brighter images than many spotters with a 60mm lens. It is refractor style with an Achromatic objective lens for top light transmission. The lens has a multi-layer, anti-reflection coating on the lens, zoom, and prisms. The zoom ranges from 20x to 60x magnification.
This scope comes with a padded soft case with zippers on the end so it can be used while mounted on a tripod while staying protected. The design is waterproof so it can be used in all sorts of weather. The scope is just over 18 inches long and weighs less than four pounds, making it easy to transport. The 45-degree eyepiece allows the use of a shorter tripod while viewing or taking photos.
- Offers multi-coated optics with an 80 mm refractor spotting scope
- Features 45-degree viewing angle and 20x to 60x zoom
- Waterproof and comes with a carrying case for the top durability
- Features a limited lifetime warranty
- Eye relief may be too narrow for those who wear glasses
Another top option from Celestron is the Regal M2 65ED spotting scope. It is built out of high-quality materials, including ED glass, to promise a great view from nearly any distance. The extra-low dispersion glass helps eliminate most visual defects so users can enjoy enhanced contrast and resolution.
The lenses are multi-coated with XLT optical coatings which are used in telescopes. This ensures the best light transmission even in a dim environment. This spotting scope is fog-proof and waterproof with a magnesium alloy body and a dual-speed focusing mechanism for quick and easy focusing on targets. It comes with the scope, a padded case, objective cover, eyepiece cover, T-mount adapter, and cleaning cloth.
- Comes with rotating tripod mount with indents for best viewing position
- 16x to 48x zoom eyepiece offers the level of magnification you need
- Body is made of a magnesium alloy to be durable but lightweight
- Some experience issues with focusing and fine-tuning images
When it comes to the best spotting scope for birding, this option from Huicocy is one of the least expensive while still offering great quality. This scope has 20x to 60x magnification so you can use the level best for your needs. The fog-proof and waterproof design offers a large range view with a 60mm objective lens.
The device comes with a table tripod and a kit to mount it to your smartphone. It features a 45 degree angled eyepiece so you can stay comfortable while it is in use. The field of view ranges from 39 to 1,000 meters to bring all the things you want to see right to your eye. It can be used for hunting, shooting, viewing, or any other purpose you have.
- High maximum magnification is ideal for target shooting range
- Constructed of rubber armor with a non-slip grip and textured focus range
- Scope is fog-proof and offers a wide view range for convenient use
- May be harder to focus than expected for some users
If what you want is a top of the line spotting scope, you can’t do much better than the Vortex Optics Razor HD. It has a magnification of 11x to 33x with a 50mm objective lens. It has been designed to weigh very little, so you can pack it around with you without any trouble. The Apochromatic lens offers high resolution and color visibility. It also includes an anti-reflective coating for the most brightness possible.
The focus wheel on the spotter has numerous adjustment levels with macro adjustment for quick focusing and micro adjustment for fine-tuning the image. The eyepiece makes it easy to adjust the magnification level and can be folded up or down for use with or without glasses. This scope has a clear-focus of 6.6 feet, so it works up close or at a distance.
- Features micro and macro adjustments for the most nuances focusing power
- Argon purged and sealed with O-rings for fog-proof and waterproof performance
- Very lightweight option is easy to pack up for transport and travel
- One of the most expensive shooting scopes on the market
This is one of the most inexpensive options on our list, but you wouldn’t know that by looking at the features available. The scope comes with a portable tripod, lens cap, and a carrying case, so you don’t need to pick up accessories right away. It has a 45-degree angle eyepiece from comfortable viewing and hunting.
This scope has a weatherproof rubber construction and includes a non-slip grip so it can be used nearly anywhere. The eyepiece is retractable with or without glasses and has an extendable sunshade to cut down on glare. The glass is military-grade and features BAK4 prism for the top light transmission and brightness when viewing.
- Comes with accessories including tripod, lens cap, and carrying case
- Optics are created of military-grade high definition glass for excellent viewing
- Rubber armor construction prevents slipping and adds durability
- Protective case is not as high quality as the scope itself
This spotting scope by Gosky offers a fully multi-coated 82mm objective lens, BAK-4 prism, and an ultra-wide eyepiece for a sharp and how powered view of your surroundings. It has a 20x to 60x zoom level for closer and farther viewing, depending on your needs.
The kit comes with the scope as well as a smartphone adapter, carrying case, lens and eyepiece protection covers, handy straps, and a cleaning cloth. The lens is fog-proof, dustproof, and waterproof to offer use in any sort of environment without extra worries. It has a rubber armor construction that withstands harsh weather and an eyepiece shield that can be pulled out for use.
- Features shock-absorbing rubber armor and durable framework
- Variable magnification ranges from 20x to 60x with an 82mm objective lens
- Fog-proof, waterproof, and dustproof for the top performance
- Smartphone adapter may not be of the highest quality
The second scope from Vortex Optics on our list is the Diamondback which comes in an angled style for comfort while you use it. This is a lightweight device that can easily be carried around, but it has the features you’d expect of a heavier and more expensive model. This includes a multi-coated lens with a built-in sunshade to optimize light transmission and ensure clear images.
This model has a twist and lock collar that allows you to move the scope however you like for the best positioning. The eyecup also moves up and down so you can ensure comfort. It has convenient features, including a powerful zoom of 20x to 60x and a focus wheel that is simple to use.
- Light and compact scope that works as well as the heavier models
- Offers powerful zoom eyepiece and simple to use focus wheel
- Features a close-focus feature at up to 20 feet away
- Images not as sharp at higher magnification levels
The Emarth angled spotting scope is both waterproof and fog-proof so it can be used in almost any weather conditions. The spotter scope is sealed with O-rings to keep out dust, moisture, and debris while the barrel is filled with argon gas to prevent fogging. This is also a scope that comes with a lifetime warranty, which makes it a good choice for the long run.
This scope has a magnification of 20x to 60x and a 45 degree angled eyepiece with an ergonomic design. The field of view is from 39 to 1,000 meters, so nearly nothing is out of your viewing reach. The lens is fully multi-coated and uses BAK4 prisms to offer the best contrast with your images, even in situations with low light.
- High magnification to 60x and a 45-degree eyepiece for comfort
- Fully multi-coated for hunting, spotting, bird watching, and more
- Fog-proof and waterproof for the best performance when it counts
- Images may not be as clear at 60x magnification
This Landove spotting scope features a dynamic focusing system which makes it simple to zoom in any target at between 20x and 60x magnification. The optics are fully multi-coated 80mm green film objective lens with a quality prism and eyepiece to offer the clearest, crispest, and brightest possible images.
This includes a waterproof, antifogging, and shockproof design that can be used in any situation, even where it is humid or moist. It is ruggedly constructed to offer versatility for all types of hunting, viewing, and shooting. It comes with a cell phone adapter that lets you take images and videos of things far away. It also comes with a tripod and mount, eyepiece and lens protection, a carrying case, and a cleaning cloth.
- Fog-proof, waterproof, and shockproof design for durability in any environment
- Offers dynamic lens focusing system for 20x to 60x magnification
- Comes with a cell phone adapter for taking videos and photographs
- Doesn’t offer the best image at longer distances
This spotting scope from Vortex Optics is angled for comfort and has tons of features to offer the best performance. The optical system uses premium components to ensure high-definition images. XR coatings offer anti-reflectiveness for brighter visuals if you are in a situation with a limited amount of light.
This is an argon-purged and O-ring sealed product for fog-proof and waterproof use. It features an ArmorTek coating to help protect it from dirt, oil, and scratches. The rubber armor housing offers a great grip and durability for the user. It also has an eyepiece that is movable with a locking collar so you can swap between various viewing positions.
- Argon purged and O-ring sealed for fog-proof and waterproof performance
- Smooth helical focus lets you easily dial in the image for sharp viewing
- Includes XR anti-reflective coatings for brighter images in low light
- One of the most expensive spotting scopes on the market
Why Are Spotting Scopes a Great Addition to Your Tools?
You will find that many people are going to be able to get a lot out of their spotting scope, as they have a number of great uses. Those who simply love getting out into nature will find that the scope is a fun way to check out nature and wildlife. You could sit at a bottom of a mountain and get a better view of what’s happening at the top. You might be at the top of that mountain and want to see the bear that’s making its way across the field in the valley below.
With a digicam, you will be able to do more than just look at the landscape and the wildlife. You can add the digital camera to the scope and then take pictures and video. It’s a great way to get shots that you would not have a chance of getting otherwise.
You will find that they can be used for hunting, as well as for target shooting. They are even helpful when it comes to surveillance. Even though they might be larger and bulkier than binoculars, they can provide clear views at very long distances.
These are just some of the many great ways that you can start using a spotting scope. It’s time that you choose the best spotting scope.
How to Select the Best Spotting Scopes for Your Needs
A spotting scope is essentially a small telescope that is made to use when there is daylight. When looking through a spotting scope, the image is magnified based on the lens the manufacturer includes in it. These scopes are smaller than a telescope and meant to be carried out into the field. Some of them are created to be used in all types of weather.
While a spotting scope doesn’t have as much magnification as a telescope, most of them have more than the typical pair of binoculars. You can typically get an excellent look at objects that are hundreds of yards into the distance. Scopes can be used with a tripod if you have the right mounting hardware, which can make them comfortable to use long-term.
Nearly every scope on the market these days offers fog-proofing and waterproofing, which means inclement weather won’t cause a problem. You also benefit from higher magnification for bird watching, hunting, or viewing landscapes. Some spotting scopes can also be used with camera attachments to take fantastic photos.
Features That Matter in a Spotting Scope
The main things to be aware of when choosing a scope are the optics quality, the material of the body, the weight, and whether it is a straight or angled model. Magnification is also important, especially if you are using the scope for hunting or watching wildlife.
There are three numbers that you should watch for on a scope. For example, a scope might read “20-60x” and “80mm.” If the scope has a higher magnification, this can sometimes lead to a reduction in clarity, so a balance is often the best choice. The first two numbers relate to the magnification options, while the second is the size of the objective lens.
Why is the objective lens size important? The size of the lens will give you an idea of just how much detail you will be able to see. The larger the objective lens is the more detail that will be available. With higher magnification, you need a larger objective lens if you hope to see all of that detail. In addition to the size, you will also want to consider the type of glass that is being used. Better glass often means you are getting one of the best spotting scopes.
Other things to consider when choosing the best spotting scope for the money include:
● Close Focus – This can be a great feature if included on a scope you are already considering. If it has a close focus feature of under 20 feet, that’s an excellent choice. Some of the best scopes on the market can let you view things as close at six feet from you.Always take the time to think about how and where you are likely going to be using the spotting scope to ensure you are getting the best option for your specific needs. Look at the strengths and the weaknesses of the scope before committing.
● The Eyepiece – Something else that you will want to consider when you are making your choice is whether you are choosing an angled eyepiece or a straight eyepiece. The angle that you choose is more about personal preference, as they can both work very well.
However, you will find that the straight eyepiece tends to be a better option for those who might be going prone while they are using it. Hunters, for example, will find that the straight angle works very well for their needs. It allows them to easily scan and track targets naturally. You will also find that it can help make scanning targets that are below you easier. This could be a benefit if you are in a tree stand or if you are on top of a ridge or a hill. Another benefit of the straight scope is that it is easy to use with a vehicle mount.
Angled eyepieces, on the other hand, work well when it comes to digiscoping, and many of the best spotting scopes for digiscoping are angled. This is because attaching a camera to a straight angled scope can be difficult. It can even cause the tripod to be off balance, which means there is a chance the camera and the scope could fall. the last thing you need is a broken camera and scope, even if it was a cheap spotting scope.
These work well one of the best birding scope options, as well. The angle makes it easier to view the sky and the trees, which is likely where many of the birds will be. Additionally, people who are tall tend to like the angled spotting scopes for more comfort while shooting.
Consider how you are going to use the scope and then make the angle a part of your buying decision.
● Wide Angle View or Round View – This is another consideration to keep in mind when choosing what you hope to be the best spotting scope. The eyepieces might have a traditional round view, or they may have a wide angle view instead. Many will find that the wide angle view is going to be more comfortable when using the spotting scope for an extended period. It also lets the user more easily capture movement even at magnification. The traditional round view works well, too, but it tends not to be quite as comfortable when using the scope for a long time.
There are some scopes that will offer interchangeable eyepieces, too. This will often allow the users to change out the interior angle, change the degrees of the scope, and change the eye relief, which is discussed next.
● Eye Relief – This is another detail to consider while shopping and relates to how close your eye can be to the eyepiece to offer a full view. Those who wear glasses for vision or otherwise need the eyepiece farther back should look at a 16mm or farther eye relief number.
● Lens Coating – Many lenses have a coating applied by the manufacturer that helps improve the way light is delivered to your eyes. You may see different scopes that are described as fully coated or double-coated, among others. The top shelves often feature both multi and fully coated lens for the best visibility.
● Prism – A prism is offered so you can be sure you look at an image right side up and right to left. While this might seem like something obvious, older scopes did not always include this feature and it could lead to some confusion.
● Digiscoping Capability – If you want to take pictures and video with the scope, you will also want to make sure that it allows for camera connections. In some cases, you might need to buy an adapter with your scope to ensure that it will work properly. Many of the best spotting scopes today will offer this capability, but you should always check if it is an important feature for you.
● Durability –When you are buying a spotting scope, one of the other things that you have to keep in mind, even when you are looking for the best budget spotting scope, is the durability. If you are going to be using these out in the field, as most people will, you want to have something that is going to last. Always consider the quality of the materials, how it stands up to the weather, and if it has the ruggedness to last as long as your other equipment when you are out and enjoying nature.
Other things to watch for when choosing the right spotting scope are the size and weight along with the level of waterproofing. Spotting scopes can vary in weight a great deal and the heavier ones tend to work well when using a tripod. However, there are also lighter scopes that work just as well that are easier to transport and carry along with you.
Take Care of the Spotting Scope
In addition to finding the best spotting scope for the money, you also want to makes sure that you are taking proper care of the scope, so it will last for longer. You want to keep it in a safe location, you don’t want to drop it or have anything hit it. You also need to be careful when you are using a tripod, so it doesn’t fall over.
Proper cleaning is important, too. You will want to start by using a soft brush to remove loose dirt. You can then use a lens-safe cleaning solution and a cotton swab to wash the lens. Make smooth circular motions to clean the entire surface of the lens. You can use a clean, soft microfiber cloth to dry the lends. You can use a blower to remove dirt that might have gotten into crevices in the scope and use a clean, wet cloth to wipe down the body. Follow those steps and stow it properly, and it should last a long time.
What Else Do You Need?
In addition to having a high-quality spotting scope, you will also want to make sure that you have all of the proper accessories to go along with it. Always check to see exactly what is available with the make and model you are buying. The top spotting scopes might come with some accessories, but they might not always be what you need and want. Let’s look at some of the types of the top spotting scope accessories you will want to have.
One of the items that you are surely going to want to have is a tripod. Even a lightweight spotting scope can become a chore to hold after a time. In addition, when you are glassing something that’s far away, even the slightest movement in your hands will make the scope move and sway. It might only be moving a small amount in your hands, but it will cause the view to sway a lot since they provide such high magnification. A quality tripod is going to eliminate this issue for you. With scopes that are very lightweight, you might not need a tripod unless you are going to be doing extended viewing. See how the scope works for you and then make a decision.
You will want to make sure that you have a high-quality case for your spotting scope, as well. A case is going to ensure that it is not going to get damaged as easily, and it will make it easier to carry with you and to store away with confidence.
Of course, there are plenty of other accessories that you might want to have, as well. You might be looking for some eyecups to improve on the ones you have or to replace old ones. You may need to get an extra objective lens cover in case you lose the one you have. Maybe you need a balance rail, a mount for your vehicle, or camera adapters.
There are plenty of different accessories available. Consider what comes with your scope and what else you might need. As always, try to buy the best quality possible.
With these spotting scope reviews, you can easily determine the right one for your hunting, bird watching, or landscape viewing needs. Each is going to offer value for the money you spend and includes some of the most modern features possible. Once you find the right one, you can experience just how advantageous it is to see things from far away that you may never have noticed in the past!