Bird-watching, or birding, is one of the most popular pastimes in the United States, with more than 45 million people partaking in the hobby. While binoculars are ubiquitous with birders, there is a growing demand for bird-watching monoculars. A monocular is essentially a scope as it has only one lens. There are a plethora of monoculars on the market today. Numerous brands, powers, and features. For one looking to find the best monocular, it can be a daunting task. So to make things easier for you, we’ve found the top 3 monoculars in the following catagories: High-end, Mid-range, and budget.
Best High-end Monocular
Leica Monovid 8×20
The reviews are in and the experts agree: the Leica Monovid 8×20 is the best high-end monocular on the market. Measuring only 7.9×6.1×3.8 inches, the Monovid is one of the most compact and lightweight models currently available. But don’t be dissuaded by its size. The Leica Monovid is extremely durable, being shock, dust, and water resistant. The interior of the monocular is also filled with nitrogen rendering the lens fog proof as well.
Even though the Monovid only comes with 8x magnification, the use of advanced, high-quality roof prisms delivers a superior, crisp, bright image. The only downside is, that with a 20mm objective lens, nighttime viewing won’t be the best. Aside from that, this model also comes with a leather carrying case, eyepiece adapter for glasses, and a close-up lens that lets you see things like insects and plants in high detail while looking stylish.
Best Mid-range Monocular
Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Monocular 10×42
The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10×42 is an excellent monocular by a highly reputable brand. With 10x magnification and a 42mm objective lens, the Legend Ultra HD provides clear images, superb brightness, and a wide field of view. The body was ergonomically designed and is encased in rubber, making it shock resistant. The monocular is also fog and water proof.
With features such as a twistable eyecup that can be used with glasses, a tripod mount, multi-coated lenses, and a coated roof prism, the Legend Ultra HD monocular is a smart choice and an excellent value.
Best Budget Monocular
Wingspan Optics Explorer 12×50
For the price, the Wingspan Explorer is one of the best monoculars available on the market. With powerful 12×50 magnification, the Explorer delivers clear, bright images with a very wide field of view. You can see up to a 1000 yard distance with this model. Though not so good for nighttime viewing, this model comes with a tripod mount so as to combat the shakiness you are bound to get in your image. For those just starting out in bird-watching, the Wingspan Optics Explorer is an excellent, high-quality choice for a first monocular.
Other benefits include: single-handed focus, nylon carrying case, lens and eyepiece covers, and a durable, rugged body with a nonslip grip. If you’re still unsure about this model, you can rest assured, because with 4.5-star rating from 2000+ reviewers on Amazon, you can’t go wrong. The Explorer is one of the most highly rated monoculars online.
The list helps, but you’re left wondering what some of these terms mean? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Check out our other guides to get answers to some questions you might have after having read through this review guide.