When you’re out on the water, it’s critical that you have the ability to see what’s in front of you, even when it’s far away. Marine binoculars are a must for all boaters. Not any ol’ binoculars will do. You need tough, waterproof, sealed, float-capable binoculars with solid image stabilization and magnification. Many boaters will also want features like range-finding and compass capability as well.
In this article, we’re going to be reviewing the best marine binoculars so that you can make an informed choice. We’ll start with the top marine binoculars available, the Steiner Navigator Pro 7×50.
Our Top Pick: Steiner Navigator Pro 7×50
Key Points at a Glance
- N2 injection technology seals high pressure nitrogen into the binocular, providing water-resistant coverage as deep as 16 feet.
- Sports-Auto Focus System allowing you to focus only once and then keeps moving objects perfectly sharp from 20 yards to infinity
- HD stabilized compass
- High-performance range finding reticle
- Weight : 2.45 lbs
We’ll start off our list with this amazing product. Although it’s not for everyone as it’s a high-end answer to what navigators demand, Steiner is a highly established and trusted name in the world of binoculars. They use high-quality German optic technology to bring the finest binocular lines in the world.
Steiner Navigator Pro comes with 7x magnification that’s marine standard, delivering stable and wide images. Additionally, the high contrast optics ensure that you see sharply contoured objects. The natural color definition and quality makes it suitable for use by both beginners and professionals. They utilize the floating prism system that has a flexible silicone lens mount to tolerate abuse, severe shock, and impact without causing any damage to the optics.
With Makrolon housing and NBR long-life rubber armoring, these binoculars will provide a lifetime of use for all kinds of water enthusiasts, be it sailors, cruisers, or skippers. They’re also lightweight and have a non-slip design.
The Best Marine Binoculars
The Steiner Navigator Pro 7×50 are the best marine binoculars available.
- 7x magnification is the marine standard with a...
- High contrast optics provide bright sharply...
- Floating Prism System uses flexible silicone lens...
- Sports-auto Focus System lets you focus each...
- Makrolon housing is durable polycarbonate with NBR...
Best Marine Binoculars: Comparison Table
Our Runner Up: ESSLNB 7×50
Key Points at a Glance
- Internal range finder and illuminated compass
- Waterproof and floating (for up to 30 minutes)
- 23mm larger eyepiece diameter for high definition images
- Individual focusing with right and left diopter adjustment
- Angle of vision: 7.5 Degree
- Exit pupil diameter: 6.8 mm
- Exit pupil distance: 23 mm
Next up on our list are the ESSLNB 7×50 upgraded waterproof floating marine binoculars with illuminated rangefinder and compass. It will be a great companion for all your outdoor adventures such as marine navigation, hunting, fishing, hiking, and more. It comes with a neck foam strap that can be easily floated in the water and a carrying bag which makes it convenient for you to carry the binoculars along and store them. Caps for eyepieces and objective lens keep them safe from abrasion or injury.
BAK-4 prisms are equipped with completely multi-coated green wideband film technology (FGMC+FMC) that diminishes reflection, glare, color distortions and errors and improves the transmittance of light. The prism is 20 mm thick providing a larger field of view and high-quality optics such as premium image quality, color difference, and reduced image distortions.
The 7x magnification helps you achieve a steadier image even under rough sea conditions and doesn’t put stress on your eyes. The design is ergonomic with heavy-duty and shockproof rubber armor, making it suitable to withstand all weather conditions.
The ESSLNB 7×50 binoculars are our runner-up choice among the top marine binoculars.
- Military Binoculars with Rangefinder and...
- IPX7 Waterproof Binoculars:Dry nitrogen filled and...
- Floating Binoculars Optical Systems with 7x...
- Double Focusing System: Military standard with...
- Marine Grade 7x50 Binoculars with Bag and Strap,...
Budget Pick: Aurosports 10×25
Key Points at a Glance
- BAK4 prism, 25mm big objective lens, Full HD FMC multi-layer broadband green film green film that provides superior light transmission reaching up to 99.5%
- Can resist light water
- Very lightweight and compact design that’s easy to carry around
- Tripod adaptable
- Field of view: 362 ft/1000 yards
- Field Angle: 6.9 Degrees
- Weight: 0.75 lb
With their compact and lightweight design, these binoculars are perfect for outdoor activities like bird watching, sports, and games. They can be used during day time and for low light vision. However, they are not for technical military application of night vision.
The 10x magnification together with 25 mm objective lens makes objects 10 times closer with superior image clarity. The binoculars are extremely comfortable to carry as they can easily fit into your pockets. It uses ABS plastic and nonstick rubber armor that makes it skid proof and shockproof. It can, therefore, tolerate rugged environments and tough weather conditions.
The binoculars do have waterproof protection but cannot be submerged into water or used in heavy rain conditions. It can withstand ordinary rainwater droplets with ease.
Keeping the specialized military features aside, these binoculars can offer almost everything that advanced binoculars provide at a much higher price. They are among the best boat binoculars around, especially given their price point.
- Perfect compact lightweight binoculars for bird...
- Large field of view. Focusing in on your target...
- Fully multi-coated lenses, waterproof,...
- 10x magnification with 25 mm objective lens allows...
- Suitable for both adults and kids, fit for...
Great for Range Finding: Aomekie Marine Military Binoculars 10×50
Key Points at a Glance
- BAK4 Porro prism eliminates stay light and improves color reproduction
- Nitrogen-filled waterproof, fog proof and anti-shake design
- Illuminated compass and range finder that can work in low light conditions
- Durable rubber-armored coating
- Angle of vision:7.5 Degree
- Exit pupil diameter:6.8mm
- Exit pupil distance:22mm(Long eye relief for eyeglass wearers)
- Weight: 2.2 lbs
Aomekie is known for its professional, high cost-performance optical products for the last 7 years. Aomekie’s10x50 Waterproof Marine Binoculars are one of their top sellers.
These marine binoculars come with 10x magnification, 50mm lens, 22mm eye relief, 6.8 mm exit pupil and a viewing field of 396 feet at 1000 yards or 132 meters at 1000 meters. You can further improve the view and fine-focus with its ±5 left and right diopter rings.
These night vision binoculars have an illuminated compass built-in for location and direction and an internal rangefinder. You can use them to easily calculate the size and distance of the object on the left eyepiece directly. These binoculars are perfect for night vision as they’re equipped with a ruler, illuminated compass and batteries, providing maximum brightness of the image even in low light conditions but not complete darkness.
They are O-ring sealed for total waterproof protection and can float in water. The non-slip rubber armor acts as a shock absorber and a comfortable holding aid.
- 10x50 Binoculars:Binoculars floating with 10x...
- BAK4 Binoculars: High refractive index BAK4 Porro...
- Waterproof Fogproof Binoculars: This binocular...
- Military Surplus Binoculars with Rangefinder &...
- Binoculars with Bag and Strap:It is easy to carry...
Best High-Powered Binoculars: Celestron 71008 SkyMaster 25×70
Key Points at a Glance
- High powered magnification
- Multicoated lens BAK4 prisms
- Diopter range of -4 to +8
- 141 feet field of view at 1000 yards distance
- Weight: 3.34 lbs
Celestron SkyMaster 25×70 is a large aperture product created for high performance, long distance viewing. These high precision binoculars are engineered to meet the demands and expectations of people who require advanced magnification boost to bring objects nearer and clearer.
The high level of magnification set at 25x gives a highly detailed view of very distant objects. The 70mm objective lens further complements the magnification power by providing maximum brightness of the image in both long-range and low light conditions. Multicoated optics and BAK4 prisms deliver excellent light transmission. These features make this product is a favorite among people who view in dim light conditions or for astronomy.
- 25x magnification Porto prism binocular
- Large 70 mm objective lens offers maximum image...
- Ultra sharp focus across the field of view. Linear...
- Multi-coated optics for sharp, clear views
- Suitable for terrestrial or astronomical viewing....
Who Should Buy Marine Binoculars
Marine binoculars are an essential requirement for people who regularly sail and enjoy navigating the sea. No matter what kind of vessel they are on, be it a motorboat, a dinghy, a sail, a folding kayak, or anything else, a good pair of marine binoculars will always be in a navigator’s kit.
Binoculars will help you see important things that are otherwise hard to see with an unaided eye so that their journeys are always safe. Being able to view landmarks, buoys and other boats from far away can guide you through the waters.
With their advanced range-finding reticles and built-in compass help with estimating the distance from an object through its size and determining the direction. They can also spot ongoing thunderstorms or strong winds so you can avoid them.
A decent pair of marine binoculars will also give you a chance to get close to nature by watching wildlife such as swimming fishes, flying birds and even leaping dolphins. Another great thing about marine binoculars is that you will enjoy fishing great catches in no time.
Important Features to Consider
Marine binoculars are different from regular binoculars because they are equipped with a lot of advanced features to meet the needs of navigators. Here are a few features you should consider when choosing the right pair of binoculars for yourself.
The main reason for using binoculars is to magnify things. For example, a 7x magnification means the viewed object will look 7 times bigger with binoculars. There is a range of binoculars available out there in the market with different magnifying powers. However, the higher the magnification, the lower will be the brightness of the image and shorter will be your field of view.
Therefore, just stick to 7x or 8x power unless you have a very specific need for viewing very long-distance objects.
Size of the Objective Lens
This is the place from which incoming light enters and the wider the entrance, the brighter will be your images. Marine binoculars are typically made with 50 mm lenses which work well for most purposes. However, you can get away with less such as 42 mm provide the binoculars have a great optical quality.
Porro Prisms versus Roof Prisms
Prisms are responsible for correcting the image as light passes through them before exiting the back of the binoculars. They can be one of the two categories: Porro Prisms and Roof Prisms. Roof prisms (with straight tube configuration) are generally considered inferior to Porro prisms (binoculars with a dog-leg shape). This is because Porro prisms deliver greater light transmission that results in brighter images and higher depth perception.
BAK4 versus BK7 Prisms
Prisms come in two glass types: BAK4 and BK7. BAK4 prisms are better than BK7 because they are rounder, have light transmission properties and are much more efficient. This doesn’t mean that BK7 prisms are of poor quality but they cannot match the capabilities of BAK4.
Lens coatings improve the performance of the lens by decreasing reflections and enhancing contrast. Binoculars with good lens coating will result in greater user satisfaction because of sharp images. Lens coatings come in four different qualities:
- Coated – one or more surfaces are coated
- Fully coated – All air-to-glass surfaces are coated except for plastic surfaces
- Multicoated – One or more surfaces are coated
- Fully Multicoated – All air-to-glass surfaces are coated
Coated lenses are the lowest quality as they cannot stop reflections substantially. fully coated lenses are better and quite economical. Multicoated or fully multicoated lenses are the best choices. Fully multicoated lenses deliver the highest light transmission resulting in bright and crystal clear images. Therefore, they are the priciest.
This is very important for people who wear eyeglasses or contacts. Eye relief refers to the distance at which you can hold the binoculars from your eyes while maintaining a broader field of vision. It’s always recommended to go for a product that offers at least 16 mm of eye relief so you can easily use it with your glasses on.
A number of binoculars offer diopter adjustments to allow eyeglass-free viewing. However, if you want to keep your glasses on, be sure to choose binoculars with collapsing eyecups to give room to your eyeglasses. All you have to do is push those cups in or out to set the right distance. They come in two types: twist up cups or rubber cups.
Because marine binoculars are used in fluctuating temperature, humidity and pressure conditions, they can’t be filled with regular air. A change in pressure may fog up your lens and at higher temperatures and humidity levels, this can lead to internal corrosion. That’s why nitrogen-purging is necessary so that the unit never fogs up and the optics function perfectly.
Water Proofing and Build
When you’re carrying binoculars on a boat, there is a high chance of water sprays from the waves or bad weather that can make things wet on the sea-faring vessel. Moreover, ocean air has high moisture content. Therefore, your binoculars should be able to withstand these conditions by offering waterproof and fog proof lenses. The good ones are even able to float in water if dropped accidentally.
A non-slip, sturdy design is also a must for marine binoculars because of the rough conditions they are operated in.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Higher Power Better?
This is not true because a higher magnification power means images are less bright and your field of view is narrower. Moreover, most users will not be able to keep a marine binocular steady which makes the image blurry or jumpy. Therefore, a 10x power or higher will make you see too much jumpiness.
What’s the difference between multi-coated and fully multi-coated lens?
In multi-coated binoculars, one or more of the air-to-glass surfaces are coated, whereas, in fully multi-coated ones, all of the air-to-glass surfaces are coated. A binocular can consist of a dozen or more air-to-glass surfaces and each surface contributes to light loss as a result of reflection. Therefore, these surfaces are coated several times to give the best possible light transmission. The best quality binoculars are multicoated on all surfaces allowing the highest level of light transmission and nearly perfect images.
How should I clean my Binoculars?
Most manufacturers supply a cleaning tool or cleaning instructions for you to use when you need to clean your pair. It’s extremely important to use a cloth that’s specifically made for this purpose. It must also be clean and free of any debris as that may damage the expensive optics.
You can also get a lens paper and specialized lens cleaning fluid for this purpose. Just wet the paper with the fluid and gently wipe off the lens in circular motions. After that, take dry lens paper to clean off any remaining fluid from the lens.
Trying to clean lenses using your sleeves or shirt or a regular towel is a bad idea!
How does the exit pupil diameter make a difference?
Exit pupil diameter is the size of the shaft of light exiting the binocular eyepiece and meeting your eyes. It’s a factor of both the objective lens size and the magnification power of your binoculars. It is especially important when using the binoculars in low light conditions as the wider the shaft of light the brighter the image as more light will make to our retina.
Therefore, binoculars with larger exit pupil diameters will help you better pick up objects and observe every detail when it’s darker outside. So if you’re going to use your binoculars in dark conditions, choose one that has a larger objective lens size and lower magnification power.
Do I need a tripod?
Tripods make your view more steady and enjoyable even with low power binoculars. But if you’re going for long-distance viewing using high power binoculars (10x or higher), tripods will become pretty much necessity otherwise steady view will be difficult to achieve.
Other Products We Looked At:
The Hooway 7×50 marine binoculars can perform perfectly in all weather conditions including extreme humidity and rainstorms as they are designed to meet military standards. They provide all the features and tools needed for your aquatic activities such as fishing, boating, hunting, marine navigation, water sports, bird watching, wild travel, hiking and more.
The binoculars are O-ring sealed for total waterproof protection and filled and sealed with dry nitrogen to keep it safe from moisture, clouding or fogging. They have the best floating features as well and can easily float in water under 1 m depth for nearly half an hour.
You can enjoy a large ocular vision with its 23mm large eyepiece diameter that gives a wide HD optics vision along with good clarity and brightness thanks to advanced prism and objective lens. You can also adjust the eyepiece range from 56 mm to 72 mm. People who wear glasses can fold down the eyecups easily.
The field of view is 396 feet at a distance of 1000 yards. Moreover, it can adjust sharp optics to match different vision requirements through the use of left and right diopter rings. This means it has an individual focus system based on your eyesight.
Built-in ranging ruler and orientation compass can help you calculate the object’s distance on scale. The compass comes with an illumination switch for easy night time operations. The binoculars can be easily adjusted to tripods and are totally non-slip with tough and secure rubber housing.
Key Points at a Glance
- IPX 7 waterproof and floating
- Military standard design
- Large ocular vision and individual focus system
These Bushnell binoculars combine good-looks with quality materials. This one also comes with a 10×42 configuration and an internal compass. The field of view is 102 feet at 1000 yards along with multicoated lenses and BAK4 prisms. That means you get crisp, clear images and improved light transmission. However, the problem with these binoculars is that they have roof prisms instead of Porro prisms and when in low light, the image will be sharp but not as bright as you would want.
The construction is quite sturdy and they are 100% waterproof and fog-proof. The adjustable eyecups will allow you to use it easily with or without glasses but the rubber eyepiece collars may feel a bit hard to work with. A good feature of this pair is that it actually floats ion water by itself so in case you drop it accidentally, you can quickly retrieve them.
Key Points at a Glance
- BAK4 Prisms and multicoated optics
- Waterproof and fog-proof
- Durable rubber-coated body, comfortable design and easy to hold
This one is another feature-packed pair of binoculars that can fit most budgets. It has a 12x magnification power, 25 mm objective lens and large eyepiece. However, the 12x magnification may be difficult to handle for many sea-farers.
These binocular are shockproof and made of rubber armor that gives a comfortable grip and durability. However, they can only resist small water droplets as their waterproofing capability cannot tolerate heavy rain or getting soaked in water.
The design is nice, compact and lightweight so you can easily hold it with one hand while enjoying bird watching, wildlife, traveling, football, cruise, and games.
The binoculars are covered with BAK4 prism texture along with FMC multilayer green film on the lens and blue FMC coating on the eyepiece-optical. These ensure you get superior image quality everywhere.
Key Points at a Glance
- High power with large eyepiece
- Easy to adjust eye cups for eye glass wearers
- FMC broadband coating technology
Designed with decent magnification and large objective lens, Steiner 575 Marine 7×50 Binoculars make for a good option for outdoor enthusiasts, boaters and hunters.
It comes with Sports-Auto Focus so your images are always sharp and brilliant from 20 yards to infinity without having to refocus. The combination of power and lens size combination results in a generous field of view and an impressive exit pupil that helps to minimize any disorientation.
It offers unmatched clarity and durability and can be used in all weather conditions and light levels. It produces bright and high contrast images and excellent colors with its 7×50 configuration and fully multicoated optics. The field of view is 356 feet at 1000 yards.
Key Points at a Glance
- NBR Long Life rubber armoring
- Fully multicoated optics
- Sports-Auto Focus system
The binoculars comprise two left and right diopter adjustment rings and can adjust sharp objects. The eyecups are designed for easy use by glass wearers as well. High-quality BAK4 Porro prism gets rid of stray light to produce excellent colors and improved light transmission is achieved by green FMC anti-reflective coating. It also has an illuminated compass and range-finder providing maximum brightness in low light conditions.
The unit is nitrogen-filled waterproofing with O-ring sealing for complete protection and water floating. It’s easy to carry around and store and with its durable rubber-armored coating, it’s comfortable to hold and can withstand rugged use.
Key Points at a Glance
- Excellent quality optics
- Heavy-duty and built to last with IPX7 water resistance
- Tripod adaptable
With that, you have finally arrived at the end of our comprehensive buying guide to finding the best marine binoculars. As you know, the marine environment puts specific constraints on the configuration and type of binoculars, but the good thing is that you have a lot of options when figuring out which one will suit you best.
Always determine your budget before you begin your search and remember that if you want quality you should be ready to make a considerable investment. While the Steiner Navigator Pro and ESSLNB Military Binoculars deliver unmatched quality and are the best marine binoculars available, you can still find great options at lower price points. The Aurosports 10×25, is outstanding if you’re tight on budget and don’t have advanced needs.
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