Optics Advisors is partnered with certain retailers who sell optics and related products. When Optics Advisors links to these retailers’ websites, we may earn a commission on qualifying purchases. The presence of an affiliate link does not in any way impact our recommendations or advice. We only recommend products that we believe in and use ourselves.
When you think of looking up into space, your mind will probably conjure images of larger-than-life telescopes and tons of other high-end astronomy equipment.
However, the world of optics has evolved – these days, it is entirely possible to view the wonders of the universe with a pair of binoculars. Now, do not get too excited just yet – while you can get very, very solid views of the stars with a pair of binoculars, do not expect your set to be able to compete with NASA-level gear.
That said, I have spent some unforgettable nights getting lost in the stars with a great pair of binoculars, and I firmly believe that everyone should experience this at least once in their lives.
There is something very special about observing the wonders of the cosmos and getting a feel of just how miniature you are in the grand scheme of things.
Ok, enough with the sentimentality – let’s get down to business and take a look at what I believe to be the best binoculars for stargazing on the market today. I kept my list relatively short by design so that it will not be overwhelming. 5 products are more than enough to cover all possible bases and find the perfect set of binoculars for your needs.
Here are the 5 best binoculars for stargazing in 2022:
Nikon Monarch 5 Binocular – 20x56mm
With those massive objective lenses, you would expect this stargazing binocular from Nikon to be true heavyweight. Fortunately, this is not the case. At all.
In fact, the Monarch 5 is incredibly easy to hold and operate for long periods of time – I have personally used this binocular for hours on end without feeling any fatigue whatsoever.
The views through the Monarch 5 are also exceptional. No wonder, too. This thing has a magnification of 20x – the level of detail and clarity that you can see with this binocular is simply astounding. In addition, Nikon’s ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass is also a gamechanger when you are trying to view faint objects in the night sky.
The only real downside of this binocular is its relatively high price tag. However, I firmly believe that the Monarch 5 20x56mm is worth every single penny if you are serious about astronomy and want to get the best bang for your buck.
Celestron SkyMaster 25x100mm Porro Prism Binoculars
When I make lists like these, I always focus on selecting and testing products that are suitable for a wide variety of people. As such, I include at least one pair of binoculars that is a fine fit for those who wear glasses.
This model from Celestron is one such binocular. The grip is comfortable, the field of view is solid, and the overall feel of the binocular is not affected. Even if you do your stargazing while wearing glasses.
Of course, it also has other winning features such as its massive objective lenses (which allow for exceptional views), and the fact that it comes with a tripod adapter. This latter feature is particularly useful if you want to use your binocular for extended periods of time or even if you are like me and just have a pair of shaky hands.
The price is also solid – considering that you get a pair with 20x magnification, you get more than your money’s worth with this binocular.
Oh, and one last thing – the carrying case that comes with the binocular is actually of high quality and is a useful addition instead of something that is thrown to the order as bait for the buyer.
Barska 16x70mm Encounter Jumbo Binocular Telescope
Ah yes, Barska – a company known for combining amazing design with some rugged outdoorsy features that make their products attractive and effective.
The Encounter Jumbo fits this bill perfectly. These binoculars have a very sleek and modern design, but they are also clearly built for a high-end to professional stargazer. You have features such as 16x magnification and 70 mm lens that make this Barska binocular one of the most powerful ones on the market.
The Encounter Jumbo is also built like a tank. Drop it, bang it, throw it in the water…nothing will happen. The sleek beast will look just as beautiful as the day you first bought it.
That said, harsh weather conditions are generally not the best time for stargazing. As such, the more rugged features of this binocular are worthless unless you also do some nature viewing or other outdoor activities where you might need a binocular that can take a beating. For example, this Berska model can double as a whale watching binocular.
Kowa 32×82 High Lander Observation Binoculars
If you have the budget, then this is as good as it gets when it comes to stargazing binoculars.
For starters, the 32x magnification is possibly the highest that you can get without going down the route of a telescope. In addition, the 82 mm objective lenses allow for some pretty stunning views – even faint objects are visible with great clarity.
Of course, there are other perks as well – most notably, the Individual Focus system. The IF is a feature where each ocular lens can be adjusted independently. As such, you can fine tune the lens in according to your eyesight. This is a fantastic feature that ensures that everyone can get the perfect view through the binocular.
The only downside of this Kowa binocular is its price tag – I would hesitate to recommend this pair to a hobbyist just starting out with astronomy. However, if you feel as if you are ready to take your stargazing experience to the next level, then the Kowa 32×82 High Lander is the way to go.
Orion GiantView BT-100 ED 90-Degree Binocular Telescope
We finish up with something even more hardcore than the Kowa pair.
This product from Orion is not for a beginner and this is also reflected in the price – deals are often available online, but you will nevertheless pay a premium for this product.
The main selling point of the Orion GiantView is that you get an unparalleled view of the night sky. The 90-degree angle gives you a much wider field of view and also makes it easier on your neck as you do not have to constantly tilt your head upwards.
In addition, the 100 mm objective lenses provide great light gathering capabilities. This is essential for stargazing as you want to be able to see as much detail as possible.
If you do plan on purchasing this beast, then you should also know that this thing will require a tripod. At 16 pounds, this is not something that you can just grab and go. As far as the portability of this thing is concerned, it is more akin to a telescope not a binocular.
Picking the right binocular for stargazing is not an easy task. There are many different factors to consider such as magnification, lens size, weight, and portability.
The models that we have reviewed today are some of the best that money can buy. However, the right binocular for you will ultimately depend on your specific needs and budget.
We hope that this article has helped to give you a better idea of what to look for when choosing a stargazing binocular. Thank you for reading and clear skies!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best binocular for star viewing?
After analyzing several models, conducting extensive research, and drawing on significant personal experience, the top pick for the best binoculars to see stars is unequivocally the Celestron SkyMaster Pro. These astoundingly capable binoculars come with a fantastic 70-millimeter objective lens, ensuring higher light gathering capabilities, which in turn enables better visibility in low light situations – perfect for star gazing! They offer 15x magnification, a detail that is crucial when aiming to observe stars, allowing for a breathtaking close-up view of the heavenly bodies. And they do not compromise on durability either, with their fog-proof and waterproof capabilities, achieved by filling them with nitrogen gas. What’s more, they are clad in shock-resistant rubber armor, ensuring they can withstand any untoward drops or shocks. Having personally used these, their superior quality and design indeed stand out. They never fail to provide an awe-inspiring view of the night sky, making them worth every penny spent.
Which binoculars are the best to view the Milky Way?
When it comes to capturing the sprawling grandeur of the Milky Way, the Celestron 7×50 Cometron Binoculars are an absolute gem that I cannot recommend highly enough. They are conveniently compact and lightweight, which allows for prolonged viewing without discomfort. Best of all, they are equipped with a 50mm aperture, ensuring a good amount of light collection for stunning visibility of the galaxy. They come with a 7x magnification too, allowing for a wider view – you can take in up to 7 degrees of the night sky in one look! This is why I usually take these binoculars along when I go camping. Lying on the ground and gazing up at the Milky Way with these binoculars provides a breathtaking experience that’s hard to replicate. They indeed offer an unrivaled view of the Milky Way that will leave you star-struck, quite literally!
What is the necessary magnification of binoculars to see planets?
It’s a common misconception that a substantially high magnification is the key to observing planets. However, let me clarify, based on my years of experience with binoculars and stargazing, that light gathering power, which primarily depends on lens size, is just as crucial. Binoculars with 56mm objective lenses, nearly the most substantial size available for handheld versions, can gather double the light compared to 40mm ones. As for magnification, 7x power is an industry standard for astronomy-related usage. A set of 7x power binoculars indeed offers a wide, stable view that’s perfect for observing planets. This experience is akin to having a mini-planetarium right in your hands!
Are 10×50 binoculars a good option for stargazing?
Without a doubt, the Nikon Aculon 10x50s make an outstanding choice for both astronomical and general-purpose viewing. These binoculars excel in every aspect, from top-tier optics and excellent construction, to a high comfort level during use. The 10×50 configuration is particularly suited for stargazing because it combines a decent magnification (10x) with a sizable objective lens (50mm), the latter contributing to better light gathering for an improved viewing experience at night. This balance is what you ideally need for a stargazing session. My personal experiences with these binoculars have been nothing short of exceptional, with the wide and vivid star fields these binoculars portray being utterly memorable.