Expensive vs Cheap Binoculars: What Should You Choose?

Dan loves hunting, binoculars seem daily necessary to him. Once he was surfing online and a pair of beautiful and expensive binoculars grabbed his attention. He has a decent collection of binoculars with different magnifications and apertures, but he never thinks to buy more expensive binoculars. For the first time, he thought he would just give a try to the expensive binoculars to see their performances. Also, he wants to stand to compare expensive vs cheap binoculars. What do you think about expensive vs cheap binoculars? Except for the price, what are the key differences between them? Have any ideas? If don’t, nothing to worry about! We have arranged this article to discuss Expensive vs Cheap Binoculars.

Expensive vs Cheap Binoculars

The aim of binoculars is the magnification power to see distant objects. Most of the binoculars either cheap or expensive, almost look the same. But the main differences depend on the manufacturing materials, performance, and other criteria. Below 50 dollars binoculars are considered cheap and the $100 to $500 price range is considered mid-range binoculars. Where the expensive binoculars price can be up to 3000 dollars. There are huge differences between the price range, so it can be said that a lot of internal and external differences exist between cheap and expensive binoculars.

10 Noteworthy Differences Between Expensive vs Cheap Binoculars

1. Manufacturing

Brand value matters for any kind of product. The differences start with the manufacturing process. Some of the brands offer cheap to expensive binoculars targeting all types of customers. On the other hand, some bands only manufacture expensive or only cheap binoculars. The cheap binoculars are manufactured with cheap and few interior materials, less expert labor, and maintain minimum quality standards. The high-range binoculars come with premium materials, and expert labor maintaining all quality standards. They are also able to deliver higher performances. The materials, labor costs, and other expenses are directly dependent on the price range of binoculars. The labor, materials, and manufacturing of expensive binoculars are exactly why premium binoculars are expensive.

So the facts:

  • Expensive binoculars: Provide excellent materials, expect labor, higher precision, and long shelf life.
  • Cheap binoculars: Low manufacturing costs using cheaper materials and low labor.

2. Materials

It can be said that expensive binoculars are made of quality material whereas cheap binoculars are made of low-cost materials. Usually, aluminum, magnesium, plastic, etc are the most common making materials for binoculars.

So the facts:

  • Expensive binoculars: Mostly made of Aluminum, Magnesium combined with other metals. As a result, they will be more durable and lightweight at the same time.
  • Cheap binoculars: Mostly made of plastic, they will be lightweight and compact too. Some of them are made of aluminum. That may cause bulkiness.

3. Mechanical Strength

After the manufacturing and building materials quality, the key difference is found in the mechanical integrity of expensive and inexpensive binoculars. The assembly features like the bridges, lens, focus knob, adjustable eyecups, adjustable diopters, etc also differ between expensive and cheap binos. As we already mentioned, cheap binoculars are usually made of plastic, they have less mechanical strength than expensive ones. The metal-on-metal combination provides higher mechanical integrity on expensive binoculars. Quality binoculars should have the following mechanical integrities-

  • Eyecups should be easily adjustable and multi-positioned.
  • The focus knob provides smooth movement with free of stiff as well as sloppy play.
  • The diopter should offer sharp and clear focus with adjustability.

So the facts:

  • Expensive binoculars: Ensures higher mechanical integrity as well as consistent performance.
  • Cheap binoculars: The components have limited mechanical bonds so they will deliver comparatively poor performance than the expensive binos.

4. Glass Quality

How well you can see with binoculars is directly dependent on the glass quality. The construction of the lens and prism are done by the glass and coating in the binoculars. The BK7, BaK-4 glass es is used for good binoculars by grinding and polishing processes. Expensive binoculars have premium quality glass coating whereas cheap binoculars are not going through the precision processing of the glass and coating attachment. That will make a huge difference in the detailed view of the expensive and cheap binoculars.

So the facts:

  • Expensive binoculars: Expensive binoculars are manufactured with improved glasses and coatings to provide better and long-lasting performance.
  • Cheap binoculars: Cheap glass coating delivers imperfections in viewing object details with the chances of optical aberrations.

5. Prism Type

Porro prisms and roof prisms are mainly used in binoculars. The Porro prism binoculars are easy to focus whereas the roof prism binoculars come with an outward appearance. Based on the compactness, special coating, and water-resistant capacity, the roof prism binoculars are more expensive than the Porro prism binoculars.

So the facts:

  • Expensive binoculars: Mostly use the roof and SP prisms in high-price range binoculars. They also come with phase-correction prism coatings. The AK prism is a premium option for expensive binoculars. Because it doesn’t need any specialized coatings.
  • Cheap binoculars: Usually, Porro prisms are used in cheap binoculars. They also have a coating, though sometimes the lack of specialized prism coating may be found. As a result, the cheap binoculars won’t deliver higher output.

6. Lens Coatings

There is a major difference in the lens coating of the expensive and cheap binoculars. Good binoculars must have a high-quality lens coating. Otherwise, you can’t expect a good performance. The view will be dim, blurry, and hazy.

So the facts:

  • Expensive binoculars: Expensive pair of binoculars comes with a premium lens coating and you will get clear and bright output all the time.
  • Cheap binoculars: Most cheap binoculars are designed with a B-grade lens coating. As a result, it wastes most of the light and produces blurry images.

7. Rubber Armor

Rubber armor upon the core material of the binocular creates an extra layer on it. The binoculars will be protected from any shaking or abuse. The rubber armor acts as a shield for the binoculars and makes them scratch, and shock-resistant. Most of the high and mid-budget binos are designed with protective rubber armor. On the other hand, rubber armor is usually absent in cheap binoculars.

So the facts:

  • Expensive binoculars: Comes with thick, dense, and quality rubber armor to make an overall protective layer of the binocular body.
  • Cheap binoculars: Mostly absent in cheap binoculars. Some cheap binoculars come with rubber armor though they are thin, barely textured, and don’t cover the whole body completely. That may cause easy damage to the pair of binoculars.

8. Waterproof and Fog proof

As binoculars are mainly used outdoors, they should be weather sealed. Otherwise, water and moisture damage the device gradually by producing fungus on the lens or rust on metal parts. That reduces the lifespan of binoculars. However, the mid and high-range binoculars are usually weather-sealed. Engineered with O-ring seals and used the optical chambers with nitrogen or argon gas to make them fog proof.

So the facts:

  • Expensive binoculars: Comes with water, moist, and fog-resistant capacity. Additionally, Nitrogen or Argon gas is used to keep the inside moist and free.
  • Cheap binoculars: Most of them are not waterproof. Some of the brands offer water-resistant properties by using nitrogen-purged.

9. Image quality

The objective of using binoculars is to see distant objects clearly and properly. The detailed view will be clear when it comes with higher magnification, enough aperture, and premium glass coating.

So the facts:

  • Expensive binoculars: They are manufactured with premium glass coating, center focus, high-quality optics, and the proper combination of magnification, aperture, field of view, eye relief, etc to produce detailed and bright images for the viewers.
  • Cheap binoculars: Cheap binoculars come with lower glass coating, less magnification, a short range of eye relief, and an aperture for a low-cost manufacturing process. As a result, you won’t get a high-quality image of the targeted distant objects.

10. Features

The price range also depends on the features of the binoculars. More features added, usually cause a rise in the price range. The expensive binoculars provide additional features like rangefinding, night vision, an extra protection layer, etc with the common features. Whereas cheap binoculars only provide functional performance. And the range adjustment, durability, and effectiveness are limited for cheap binos.

So the facts:

Expensive binoculars: Have significant optical and special features like –

  • Night vision
  • Thermal imaging
  • Metal moving parts
  • ED glass coating
  • Multiposition and adjustable eyecups
  • Locking diopter
  • High transmission coatings
  • Premium Packaging
  • Necessary accessories included
  • Offers lifetime warranty

Cheap binoculars: Focused on the basic features and functionalities for recreational use.

Fujinon TS1440 14×40 vs Hontry 10×25 Binoculars

Fujinon TS1440 14x40 vs Hontry 10x25 Binoculars

Now here we are presenting the key differences between 2 expensive and cheap binoculars. We have picked the Fujinon Techno Stabi TS1440-14×40 as an expensive one and Hontry 10×25 compact binoculars as the cheap one. Have a look at their features and functionalities-

PropertiesFujinon 14×40 BinocularsHontry 10×25 Binoculars
Magnification Power14x 10x
Diameter of the objective lens40mm25mm
MaterialFiberglass-reinforced, PlasticRubber
Field of View210′ at 1000 yds362ft at 1000 yds
Light transmissionMaximum96.48%
Eye relief13 Millimeters10 Millimeters
Exit Pupil2.86 Millimeters2.5 Millimeters
Phase coatingPhase CoatedNot featured
Vibration correction±6°Not featured
Stabilization5 DegreesNot featured
Prism TypeBAK4 Roof PrismsPorro prism
Rubber armoredYes No
Weight4.00 lbs0.60 lbs
Water Resistance LevelWaterproofWaterproof
Fog Resistance LevelFog proofNot specified
Price RangeCheck on AmazonCheck on Amazon

Which one you should choose

It’s essential to know the differences between expensive and cheap binoculars. As a result, you won’t be deceived by the seller but rather get the right product at the right price. Now the question is which one you should choose? Well, it depends on your preferences, purposes, and obviously on your budget. Expensive binoculars have all the necessary specifications along with the required features. They produce bright and clear images with higher magnification and aperture.

The cheap one produces blurry output after a few uses. Sometimes it also causes eye fatigue and headache for poor image quality. They are not durable and no warranty is usually provided. So if you use it occasionally or just for kids playing purposes, you can go for mid-range binoculars. They deliver an expressive output and longtime stable performance. So far, inventing expensive binoculars is worth it if you are passionate about your work and professionally need to use binoculars.

About James William

My name is James William, and I am a professional writer with a passion for optics. With years of experience writing about binoculars, spotting scopes, monoculars, and rifle scopes, I have developed a deep understanding of these products and their technical aspects. I pride myself on my ability to convey complex information in a clear and concise manner that is accessible to readers of all levels of experience.

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