The Best Rated Spotting Scope Reviews For The Money 2018

The best spotting scope is important for a successful bird-watching, hiking, or hunting trip. The quality of the product you choose will largely determine how effective your party is. Therefore, it is important to make the best choice if you really are into adventures.

Not sure which one is the best for you? We have prepared a selection of the most valuable spotting scopes for diverse activities. 
Image Product
Budget-Friendly Product Emarth Waterproof Angled Spotting Scope
  • Super affordable price
  • Waterproof and fog-proof
  • Argon-purged
Best For Target Shooting Product Vortex Optics Viper HD Spotting Scope
  • High-contrast images
  • Solor glare prevention lenses
  • Eliminates chromatic aberration
Best For Birding Product Gosky Porro Prism Spotting Scope
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Magnalium framework and rubber armor
  • Universal-fit digiscope adapter
Best Under 200 Product Celestron 52250 80mm Ultima Zoom Spotting Scope
  • 80-mm objective lens
  • Compfortable eyepiece
  • Rugged armor exterior
Best For Hunting Product Bushnell Trophy Xtreme Spotting Scope
  • 100% waterproof and fog-proof
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Great price and value

Best Spotting Scope For The Money Reviews

Binoculars might help you spot a coin at 400 yards from where you are, but a spotting scope will help you determine the value of the coin.

Best Spotting Scope Reviews

Top 3 Rated Spotting Scope Under 200

Spotting scopes come at different prices depending on the quality of materials and performance, of course. Luckily, manufacturers still put up their best quality even in spotting scopes with a rather low price tag. 

We made a sensitive selection of spotting scopes under 200 that meet quality, performance, and value.

1. Celestron 52250 80mm Ultima Zoom Spotting Scope  – Best Under 200

Our best-valued spotting scope under 200 comes with interesting features that make this a pretty option. As you already probably know, Celestron is known for giving optics and performance keen interest in their products and this spotting scope is no exception.

Everything you expect from a high-end spotting scope, you can find on the Celestron 52250 Ultima Zoom Spotting Scope. The field of view ranges from 105 to 52 feet at 1000 yards and with a comfortable 45-degree eyepiece. 

Just a few turns on the know will give you a focus that ranges from 27 feet to the far horizon. A BaK-4 porro prism ensures a sharp image even at high magnification. A folding eyecup and eye relief of 15-18 mm makes it very comfortable to use, even if you use eyeglasses.  It also comes with a T-mount adapter to connect DSRL cameras to it. 

  • Easy to vary magnification
  • High visibility in low-light conditions
  • Twisted eyecups with great eye relief
  • Long focus range
  • You might experience chromatic aberration at the highest zooming
  • No tripod included
The Good/What I like

We definitively enjoy the versatility and performance of this one. We get sharp images with great contrast even in conditions of low light. This spotting scope has put a special focus on the eyepiece, which is very comfortable. To this, you must add the durability thanks to the rugged, armored exterior.

The Bad/What I don't like

There is pretty much nothing to hate from this Celestron spotting scope. You should know that the product does not include a tripod. We do trust, though, that you will pass by this when you see the quality of the scope itself.

2. Meade Instruments 126001 Wilderness Spotting Scope

This product comes in three variations but thanks to its ease of management and performance, we prefer the 20-60x80mm one. It is flexible, versatile, and easy to carry and handle. You will soon discover that you get amazing specs for a great price.

Meade has created a great product with amazing clarity thanks to its BAK-4 porro prism and precision ground lenses coated with multiple layers of anti-reflective coats. This and the large aperture of 80 mm ensures that you get a pretty crispy image with colorful details. 

It feels well built with a rubber coating to protect it from getting hurt if it drops. It is easy to grab and the rubber gives it a nice texture. The eyepiece is at a 45-degree angle to make its use more comfortable.

  • Nitrogen purge guarantees durability and 100% waterproof and fog-proof
  • Fast viewing with full-color thanks to the BaK-4 porro prism
  • Large objective lens
  • Tripod is not included
The Good/What I like

This product provides great value for its price and is highly recommended. We enjoy the visuals that the BaK-4 porro prism allows you to enjoy. The multiple coating actually makes it stand next to higher-end scopes.

The Bad/What I don't like

If you try the greater magnification, it does not perform that well, as expected. It delivers at a 45, even 50 magnification, but the image might turn blurry when you reach a 60x magnification. The product does not come with a tripod included.

3. BARSKA Waterproof Straight Spotting Scope 

This spotting scope is nice and sleek. It has all the properties you need in a spotting scope. Wherever you take this one, it will not disappoint you.

This scope with fully multi-coated lenses is great at performing and delivering. The smooth focusing knob makes it a breeze to zooming in your images. It comes in a rather compact size and weight of 1.87 pounds that makes it carrying even more comfortable. 

It has a straight body design and comes with its own pan-head tripod and a nice bag to store it in.

You get a good image thanks to the BK-7 advanced lens coating and for the price, this is a deal you probably do not want to miss. The Barska Waterproof Straight Spotting scope is 100% waterproof and fog-proof.

  • Images at less than 400 yards are pretty clear and with detail
  • Waterproof and fog-proof
  • Good price and a great value
  • Images are not too clear at larger ranges
  • Tripod is not of good quality
The Good/What I like

This is really a great gadget that delivers what it promises. We like the flexibility and ease of use of its 20-60x magnification lens, which together with a 60 mm objective, create enhanced and clear images. The coating feels comfortable to touch and with an easy grip.

The Bad/What I don't like

We did notice that this product loses great optics at distances beyond 350 yards. Once you hit 500 yards, you will lose any fine details you might be looking for. So, consider this when deciding on the activity you will be using this scope for. 

Also, we do not like the tripod because it is of low quality. You will probably have to invest in a decent tripod to hold your scope. It is still a good product for the price you pay for it.

Top Rated Spotting Scope Under 300

Now we move unto scopes that you are willing to pay a little more for. These offer better optics, higher durability, flexibility, and better overall performance. Still, the choice might not be easy, so we have made a review on the most popular.

1. Konus 7120 Spotting Scope – Best Under 300

We found our favorite spotting scope under $300 and it comes with a case and a tripod. This spotting scope is ideal for pretty much any kind of adventure. 

Take it to your hunt, to your birding, to take photographs, and have the best viewing experience of your life with the Konus spotting scope.

You get a magnification of 20x to 60x built into a spotting scope that has an objective diameter of 80 mm and has the name Konus on its side and you get a pretty successful product. Despite the objective lens of 80mm, the Konus 7120 Spotting Scope actually only weighs 3.4 pounds which makes it pretty comfortable for outdoor trips.

It comes with a camera adapter for you to take all the pictures you like. The metal is covered by a strong rubber armor. This spotting scope delivers high definition and clear images thanks to its amazing prism settings. Other cool features there include a forward-expanding lens hood, a tissue and case, and a tabletop tripod.

  • It is lightweight and easy to carry
  • Tabletop tripod included
  • Forward expanding lens hood protects from the glare from day watching.
  • It does not include a carrying bag
The Good/What I like

We like how strong the build feels on your hand. The site is really nice and colorful, just like it is supposed to be. The field of view is also pretty good at 157.2 feet at 1000 yards for the 20x magnification.

The Bad/What I don't like

We do not really find anything bad about the Konus 7120. It does lose some clarity when it comes close to 50x, especially when it is cloudy but this is the occurrence in most spotting scopes. Regardless of your type of adventure, we are sure you will find this spotting scope of great value.

Top 3 Spotting Scopes for Target Shooting (Long & Short Range)

It is not difficult to see how the success of target shooting will largely depend on our spotting scope. But how to make sure what is the proper power, size, and optical quality needed for a great hunt? Yes, there are many products out there that offer their best job at spotting scopes for target shooting. Take a look at these three favorites. 

1. Redfield 114651 Rampage – Max Range: 200 Yards

The Redfield Rampage is a great option if you are looking for a combination of value and quality. This 20-60x80mm is designed to spot shots at a distance of 200 yards. Clear images and a retractable sunshade makes your target shooting a lot easier.

The clear and bright picture of the Redfield Rampage allows you to have a prime target shooting experience. You get great details and a bright picture thanks to the fully multi-coated lenses and high-quality BaK-4 prism.  

The build is pretty strong and durable. It is a light scope at 5.15 pounds which should be fine for target shooting activities. It is waterproof and fog-proof so you can be cool if it begins to rain (no pun intended.)

  • Pretty lightweight and comfortable to wear
  • Sturdy body with a good grip
  • Clear and sharp images
  • Poor performance in conditions of low light.
The Good/What I like

We like the price and the great optics this spotting scope has to offer. The adjustable eyepiece allows the eye relief to be modified

The Bad/What I don't like

There was a little haze on the top part, it can be seen on the horizon or on paper targets. It is nothing to worry about and should not be a deterrent to purchasing. We also saw some ghosting at the higher magnification but that is pretty normal and should not make you worry. You will probably not be needing such magnification anyway

2. Vortex Optics Viper HD Spotting Scope  – Max Range: 200+ Yards

When it comes to target shooting and you are serious about it, you need a versatile piece. 

The Viper HD from Vortex Optics is definitively what you need when it comes to spotting scopes. This spotting scope is strong, durable, with amazing optics technology put into it. Definitively a winner.

The Viper HD is equipped with essential and exceptional optics that guarantee a prime experience with high quality and crystal clear images. The 65-mm objective lens plus a zooming power of 14-45x provide images of high contrast in low-light conditions.

An impressive field of view of 140-65 ft/m per 1000 yards makes this a great tool for spotting target holes. The prism has a multi-layer coating that prevents glare from the sun, making it ideal to use at any time of the day.

It is lightweight and can be comfortably carried to your target field. If rain catches you in the middle of your target shooting, the fun does not have to stop as these are fully waterproof and fog-proof. 

  • It is lightweight and easy to carry
  • Tabletop tripod included
  • Waterproof and fog-proof
  • Forward expanding lens hood protects from the glare from day watching.
  • It does not include a carrying bag
The Good/What I like

We especially like the effort put into preventing sun glare from getting in the way of your sharp images. The low-dispersion glass of the lenses eliminates aberration at long distances, crucial for long range target shooting.

The Bad/What I don't like

There is no tripod included. Nevertheless, you can acquire the Vortex Optics Summit SS-P Tripod, which is perfectly compatible to this device.

2. BARSKA Colorado Spotting Scope – Max Range: 150 Yards

If the budget is tight but the spirit is up, we believe you will love what Barska has to offer. The Colorado Spotting Scope is a great combination of price and performance.

It has a decent magnification and objective lens diameter. This one is intended for ranges no longer than 150 yards, which is nice, especially if you are a beginner.

This is a straight eyepiece that uses a porro BK-7 prism, which is expected at this price. Being compact and lightweight, turning the magnification ring is actually a breeze.

The Colorado is built to resist impacts but do not abuse it. It is a nice scope with not too many details but it gets the job done with amazing optics.


  • Lightweight and easy to handle
  • Great price
  • Easy to use
  • Good quality optics
  • Tripod included is not too useful
  • Loses clarity close to 150 yards
The Good/What I like

This product is our best option when the budget is tight or if you are a beginner target shooter looking for a cheap one to get started. The range it can reach is pretty good, we do not have any complaints there. Good optics are there along with a sturdy armor.

The Bad/What I don't like

The product comes with a table tripod but you are better off with a sturdier one. Just get yourself a better tripod and sell the one included. It works just fine for photography, for example. Right beyond 150 yards, the image becomes blurry

Top Best Rated Spotting Scopes For Birding

There is nothing like having an extreme close-up of a bird in the wild. It takes the top scopes in the market to have the best experience ever.

That being said, we do need to point out that it is actually hard to find a good birding spotting scope at a low price. We strongly suggest you to never buy a spotting scope for birding below $100. Scopes at that range have terrible optics for birding and will make you frustrated. We have selected three for you to take a look at

1. Gosky Porro Prism Spotting Scope – Best Birding Option

We will start with the least expensive option. This spotting scope is designed for birding and, given the price, it is a great option if you are on a budget. You get the crisp images that you are looking for in a good scope plus a performance that comes really close to higher-end spotting scopes.

The Gorky Porro Prism Spotting Scope is lightweight and compact. The 45-degree angle eyepiece can be rotated to adjust to any viewing situation.

It has a great magnification and with an objective lens diameter of 80 mm, you are guaranteed a large amount of light entering your pupils. The multi-coated porro prism and lenses ensure that the light is effectively captured to create a crispy clear image. 

The zooming is easy to handle and allows you to focus on target, while you get sharp, clear, and colorful images. It comes with a waterproof design that makes it useful under the rain, fog, or other conditions involving water. The magnalium framework and rubber armor make it resistant to shocks and highly durable. 

The scope comes with a universal fit digiscoping adapter to take awesome pictures of those birds. The objective lens features a retractable sun shade that helps reduce glare during very sunny days.

  • 45-degree angle eyepiece
  • Fully multi-coated 80 mm green film objective lens
  • Easy to zoom in on target
  • Very durable
  • Weather-proof
  • Comes with digiscoping adapter
  • Magnification seems to be faulty past 20x
  • Tripod included is not the best quality.
The Good/What I like

We love almost everything about this spotting scope. It is truly designed for birders. The digiscoping feature is just phenomenal because what is birding without being able to effectively capture those moments!

The Bad/What I don't like

Some users are reporting that the scope will not effectively magnify beyond 20x; it apparently goes blurry beyond that. This should not be a problem, though, as you have a lifetime warranty.

2. Celestron 52332 TrailSeeker Spotting Scope

You probably do not need a scope to only birding. If you are planning to use your scope for other activities, you must realize that this means that your budget should go up as well. But there is no need to fret, we got you covered. 

Celestron is always on the frontline of providing high-quality products at a great price and the TrailSeeker is one spotting scope you must lay your eye on.

The Celestron 52332 80-45 degree spotting scope offers durability, performance, and great optics. This gadget is equipped with some great features that make it more versatile. It is coated with a strong armor that gives it durability and it is also waterproof and fog-proof. 

 The image that you get thanks to the BaK-4 prism, propriety XLT, and fully multi-coated lenses, is crisp and sharp. You get vivid colors as this scope performs very close to those billed more expensive. It has an angled eyepiece and a really nice compact design as it is kept at a minimum for an 80-mm diameter objective lens. The eyecup is twist-up to allow a better focus and the eye relief is 18-15 mm. 
The rotating tripod setup of this spotting scope allows rotation of the scope in all directions. It also comes with a T-mount adapter to connect DSLR cameras to the scope. This one also features a dual-speed focusing (fine and coarse) to better get a focused image.
  • Good Price
  • Magnification can vary even more thanks to removable eyepieces.
  • Durable and armored
  • Relatively light and comfortable
  • Rotating tripod mount
  • Tripod is not included in the package
The Good/What I like

It is super easy to zoom and get the right focus with the TrailSeeker thanks to the ergonomic knob and the coaxial fine and coarse focus dials. We also love the fact that it is compact and lightweight. The eyepiece is also replaceable so you can vary the magnification at numerous scales

The Bad/What I don't like

This one does not include a tripod either, which would have been nice. Other than that, we believe that Celestron’s TrailSeeker is a great option for birders.

3. Vanguard Endeavor HD 65A Angled Eyepiece Spotting Scope 

We are notching up quality and performance here as well as the price tag. You will soon discover that this scope really delivers what you paid for. 

Features include extra-low-dispersion glass and BaK-4 phase-coated prism to ensure a crisp image. As far as bird-watching spotting scopes go, this is at the top of the list, so it is worth a look.

The Vanguard Endeavor HD is a users’ favorite, especially because it is so easy to carry and store. 

But it does not stop there, of course, as this one has a good touch of optics, durability, and performance. An extra-low-dispersion glass practically eliminates color fringing. Light is transmitted effectively thanks to the fully-multicoated optical system. The phase-coated BaK4 prism ensures high resolution. 

The housing is made of magnesium and coated with a rubber armor that guarantees durability and a long life. It is completely waterproof, even if immersed. The angled eyepiece is detachable and feature a soft rubber eyecup and with an eye relief of 20 mm. It comes with a gross and fine focus to more easily obtain the desired focus. 

The Vanguard Endeavor also comes with an 82mm objective lens, which is great if you will usually go birding in conditions of low light, but we believe that the 65-mm version is great for most birding situations. It also features a digiscoping adapter to use the scope as a telephoto lens.

  • It has a digiscoping adapter
  • Lightweight
  • Detachable eyepiece
  • Really good eye relief
  • Nitrogen-filled to ensure 100% waterproof and fog-proof
  • Tripod not included
The Good/What I like

We like the clear, crispy, and sharp image we get thanks to an awesome combination of lens, prism, and coating technology. It is compact and great to carry around to the next birding adventure thanks to its relatively lightweight. 

The Bad/What I don't like

There is nothing bad about this scope except maybe it does not include a tripod. Other than that and that it will not perform as well as a $2,000 scope, the optics, and durability of this one really give it a great value and there is definitively no going wrong with this one. If you still were to run into an issue, you have a lifetime warranty.

Top 3 Spotting Scopes for Hunting

If you wonder why a pair of binoculars will not make the trick the way a spotting scope will do, we just have something to say: Binoculars might help you spot a coin at 400 yards from where you are. A spotting scope will help you determine the value of the coin. 

If you want to step up to your hunting game, you definitively need a good spotting scope for hunting. Granted, it is less portable since it needs a tripod. But, you will definitively get a better performance since many times it is about magnification and clarity.

1. Bushnell Trophy Xtreme Spotting Scope  – Best Hunting Option

All the precision and clarity that you need for your next hunting party is found in Bushnell’s Trophy Xtreme Spotting Scope. A compact design ensures efficiency and performance, no matter what the conditions or the place where you are at. Either during daylight or in the dusk or dawn, this one will not let you down.

The Bushnell Trophy Xtreme is a compact scope with great power. The magnification goes from 20 to 60x, which combined with an efficient light-gathering 65-mm objective lens, produces a top image clarity. It has fully multi-coated lenses that guarantee effective light-gathering properties along with the porro prism design.

Along with the rubber housing, you get a 100% waterproof and fog-proof scope, suitable for any weather condition. The product is all about mobility. It is lightweight to take it to wherever you bring your hunting gear. This one will not weigh you down. 

A hard rubber case ensures durability and long-lasting life. This is a budget spotting scope you should definitively take a look at.

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Waterproof and fog-proof
  • Comes with a compact tripod
  • Great value at a great price
  • Images are not too clear when you approach maximum amplification.
The Good/What I like

This is a Bushnell, so you know what to expect. We like the great optics that come with this. It definitively does not disappoint. The soft case and hard case this was shipped on is definitively a plus. It also comes with a tripod and mount which actually works great on the scope. As a special feature, it also includes a built-in window mount.

The Bad/What I don't like

The visual clarity is great but do not push these too far. It does say it increases to a maximum of 60x, but it becomes a bit useless at around 45x, at least for hunting.

2. Nikon Prostaff 5 Proscope 

When you really want to make a proper investment to ensure the best hunting experience, you can see no further than the Prostaff 5 Proscope by Nikon. Its 82-mm lens allows for maximum brightness for an effective light capture.

The Celestron 52332 80-45 degree spotting scope offers durability, performance, and great optics. This gadget is equipped with some great features that make it more versatile. It is coated with a strong armor that gives it durability and it is also waterproof and fog-proof. 

The image that you get thanks to the BaK-4 prism, propriety XLT, and fully multi-coated lenses, is crisp and sharp. You get vivid colors as this scope performs very close to those billed more expensive. It has an angled eyepiece and a really nice compact design as it is kept at a minimum for an 80-mm diameter objective lens. The eyecup is twist-up to allow a better focus and the eye relief is 18-15 mm. 

The rotating tripod setup of this spotting scope allows rotation of the scope in all directions. It also comes with a T-mount adapter to connect DSLR cameras to the scope. This one also features a dual-speed focusing (fine and coarse) to better get a focused image.

  • Lightweight
  • O-ring sealed to make it waterproof and fog-proof
  • Angled eyepiece for a comfortable view
  • Impressive optics power
  • Super easy to focus
  • No tripod included
  • Some chromatic aberration during max zoom
The Good/What I like

The lightweight and ease of use is definitively something to look at when using this scope. The zooming knob is so easy to turn and the body is pretty ergonomic. 

Place it on your best tripod and you will have great performance for those hunting trips. Oh, and the fact that it is so light and yet has so many interesting features make this a really good acquisition.

The Bad/What I don't like

As pretty much all the spotting scopes, during the max zooming testing, it gave off chromatic aberration and the image was not too clear when there was little light. So, you might need to consider this when purchasing, which is fine; the scope gives you good clarity even at a distance of 350 ft.

3. Aurosports Folding Compact Binoculars 10X25

This low dispersion glass scope will definitively provide a prime experience when you go out there to the woods finding game. Either it is elk, deer, boar, or fowl, the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD is built to assess you in getting the perfect shot. This is easily one of the best scopes produced by Bushnell.

This spotting scope has so many great features that we do not know where to begin. 

This one comes with exceptional color-tuned and high-resolution viewing thanks to its ED Prime extra-low dispersion glass. With the power it has, you can view bullet holes at a distance of 500 yards away. 

The device is a bit heavy and bulky but you get great optics as a reward for your efforts. Where others miss, Bushnell Legend Ultra HD delivers effectively for a nice experience. Speaking of nice experiences, this spotting scope introduces the 2-Speed dual focus control. 

 To prevent any water from getting in the way of your viewing, the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD is coated with rain guard HD and waterproof repellents. Of course, it is also waterproof and fog-proof, meaning that no matter the weather, this scope can take. The rubber armor will protect it from harsh physical conditions.
  • ED Prime extra-low dispersion glass
  • Little to no chromatic aberration at max zoom
  • Great field of view
  • Rain guard HD coating makes images clear even during rain
  • 45-degree angled eyepiece for greater comfort
  • None
The Good/What I like

The fact that these lenses are coated with water repellents is already great. But having rain guard HD repellent to still provide a clear image even if it’s raining, is just genius. 

We definitively like the fact that Nikon always steps up with their optical devices, putting the utmost quality, even to their most affordable models.

The Bad/What I don't like

We did not really see anything to dislike about this model. If you feel disappointed about this product, you get a lifetime warranty that will surely get you the optics you deserve.

Buyer's Guide

Once again you realize that a scope is more than meets the eye. It might look like a simple tube with lenses in it, but there is so much technology and innovation involved there. This, of course, makes the choice a bit more difficult. 

If you take a look at our choices for each activity, you probably noticed that they have some common points in every group. Identify those common denominators and use them to decide what your scope is going to be like. Let us briefly take a look at what are the key features to look at when searching for a scope


The most effective spotting scopes usually have a power of 20-60x80mm. But keep in mind that most of them will become faulty at the maximum magnification. At 60x for instance, no matter how steady you are, the image will shake. At this magnification, chromatic aberration will show up almost all the time, which why we suggest you check out the best spotting scope tripod review to keep a stable image. 

If you get a scope with a 65mm objective you’d still be getting a great amount of light. Manufacturers of these gadgets usually work hard at providing a prime experience with optics. 

Field of View

Field of view will be important depending on the activity you will be doing. If you are birding, you probably need a rather large field of view if you will be using the scope to spot a bird. If you use the best spotting scope for target shooting, the field of view is probably not something you would like to focus on as much as you would do for a good focus distance, for example. 


Make sure that your scope has a fully multi-coated lens. This will guarantee that you get a product that will absorb light rather than reflect it. Speaking of light, sometime the sun will get in the way of your optics so a nice built-in shade is a good idea. 


The one reason you are getting a spotting scope is to have a better visual experience than with binoculars. You will be taking this gadget to the outdoors, woods, forest, and whatnot. You have to make sure that it is weatherproof and will perform even if the skies are falling over you. 

Final Words

Choosing the best spotting scope requires an educated decision. You basically have two choices. Either get a versatile scope that will meet most of your demands. But do know that some features will not be present. If you are an adventurous one, you can also pick a scope that works for every situation. Depending on your situation we suggest you check out the best budget spotting scope review or the best spotting scope under 500. After all, you do want to invest in what your passion is. If you liked our post check out other outdoor topics at our homepage. Thanks for reading and if your interested in learning how to help keep the environment safe visit here.