Best binoculars 2024: Top picks for stargazing, wildlife, birding and more

The best binoculars should give you clear and vibrant views, feel comfortable to use, match your budget and work reliably in any weather. Whether you're into stargazing, observing wildlife or watching planes at events, the best binoculars should always deliver outstanding viewing quality, no matter the situation.

When picking binoculars for stargazing, there are important features to keep in mind. Opt for binoculars with large front lenses (facing the stars) to gather more faint starlight. Also, go for ones with powerful magnification to make distant specks of light in deep space look much bigger than they really are.

Some binoculars are so good for astronomy that they can be a budget-friendly alternative to the best telescopes and still provide excellent night sky views. For this guide, we've searched through our extensive range of binocular reviews from our expert panel, where we've thoroughly tested and rated models based on their performance and real-world use, not just ranked them based on the binoculars' numbers and specifications. 

But if you need something more specific check out the best compact binoculars guide for something smaller or our best binoculars for kids page. Alternatively, if you need something to photograph the night sky be sure to read our best cameras for photos and videos or best cameras for astrophotography pages.

Gemma Lavender Headshot
Dr Gemma Lavender

A contributing expert to Space.com, Live Science, All About Space and more, Gemma is the author of several books including 'Quantum Physics in Minutes'. She holds a degree in physical sciences, a Master's in astrophysics and a PhD in computational astrophysics and became fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 2011. Gemma is also the Communications and Outreach Office at the European Space Agency.

The quick list


Best binoculars we recommend in 2024

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Best overall

Best binoculars overall: The finest stargazing binoculars money can buy with in-built stabilization

Specifications

Magnification: 10x
Objective lens diameter: 42mm
Field of view: 6.5-degrees
Eye relief: 14.5mm (0.57-inch)
Weight: 39.2 oz / 1.1kg

Reasons to buy

+
Optical Image Stabilizer 
+
Rugged build quality 
+
Lots of eye relief 

Reasons to avoid

-
Bulky size 
-
Lens caps are loose 
-
AAA batteries required 
Buy it if

✅ You want the best of the best: Other than price and size, we really couldn't find major fault with these binoculars — we gave them 5 stars in our review.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You're a casual user: These are an expensive pair of powerful binos, so if you only ever do casual stargazing or wildlife spotting, they'll be overkill.

❌ You want a lightweight binocular: These are undeniably heavy and bulky, so if weight is important to you, we'd suggest looking elsewhere.

The bottom line

🔎 Canon 10x42L IS WP binoculars: They're not perfect, but they’re as close as you’ll get for hand-held astronomy. They're an outstanding choice for super-steady stargazing thanks to their image stabilization, waterproof design and large objective lenses. ★★★★★

These binoculars stand out as the best choice for observing the stars, despite being a bit pricier. They have fantastic optics and feature stabilization technology similar to what you find in Canon's pricey camera lenses. This stabilization is really useful when you're holding them by hand, especially with their strong 10x magnification. It reduces any shakiness, providing a steady viewing experience that feels like using an invisible tripod.

The glass in these binoculars is the same quality as the glass in Canon camera lenses, and it's marked with the 'L' designation. This 'L' label is reserved for some of the finest and most expensive lenses ever made for digital cameras. With these binoculars, you can expect clear, vivid and steady views.

While these binoculars have impressive features, there are a couple of minor downsides. Firstly, because of the stabilization technology and the added weight of the battery, they are a bit heavy, weighing 39.2 oz (1.1kg). Secondly, their top-notch quality comes with a higher price tag, which could be a concern for some stargazers. While we've picked out the 10x42 pair as ideal for astronomy, there are alternatives in the range, including Canon 18x50 IS AW and Canon 15x50 IS AW models that are not quite as painful on the wallet. 

In our Canon 10x42L IS WP binoculars review, we thought that even though they are pricey, they are almost perfect for hand-held astronomy, so we believe the cost is justified if you can afford it.

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Canon 10x42L IS WP
AttributesNotes
DesignRugged build quality, but bulky.
PerformanceProduce bright and colorful images.
FunctionalityOptical image stabilization.

Best optical performance

Best optical performance: Some of the best optics on the market in an easily transportable roof prism design