Binoculars Outdoor Optics

Best Low Light Binoculars (2021) : Top 10 Low Light Binoculars Review with Buyer’s Guide

Not all binoculars perform the same way in different light conditions. In fact, most of them are completely useless when ambient light is scarce. For that reason, binoculars for night activities should be more powerful and have a greater light gaining.

The top-notch low light binoculars usually have a more advanced optical system that allows them to gather as much light as possible. These devices usually have bigger lenses and are bulkier and heavier than regular binoculars.

In this buying guide you’ll learn some tips that will help you find the best low light binoculars for you. In addition, you’ll find a top 5 list with the best-selling models of 2020.

Top Low Light Binoculars : Comparison Chart

Pick NameThumbnailProduct NamePrice
1stAdorrgon 12×42 Powerful BinocularsCheck Price
2ndSkyGenius 10X50 Powerful BinocularsCheck Price
3rdAurosports 10X25 Folding High Powered Compact BinocularsCheck Price
4thOccer 12×25 Compact BinocularsCheck Price
5thCelestron SkyMaster Giant 15X70 BinocularsCheck Price

Why You Need Low Light Binoculars

Light is an important part of binoculars. Thanks to light, the images are reflected in the eyepiece and captured by the eye. However, when the amount of light entering the binoculars is low, the images lose brightness and sharpness.

Low light binoculars solve this problem by gathering as much light as possible and reducing light reflection. Thanks to low light binoculars, observation of distant targets at night is now possible.

Below, you’ll find a list with some benefits of using low light binoculars:

  • Improve your vision at night
  • You can take them with you everywhere
  • They’re portable and lightweight
  • Resistant to high impacts and external agents
  • They require minimal maintenance to function

Low Light Binoculars: Buying Guide

best low light binoculars

1. Power

The power of binoculars is defined by two factors: light gathering and magnification. The higher any of these factors is, the more powerful the binoculars are. Having more power means that you can get clear images without distortion at greater distances.

If you check the technical specifications of binoculars, you’ll always find a couple of numbers separated by an “X”. For example, 10X25, 12X25, 12X42, etc. These two numbers are the magnification and the diameter of the objective lenses.

2. Magnification

The number to the left of the “X” is the magnification, which is the maximum zoom the binocular can achieve. For example, 10X magnification means that the targets look 10 times bigger than that seen with naked eyes. However, the higher the magnification, the lower the image quality. So, if light gathering isn’t enough, magnification is useless after a certain limit.

3. Light gathering

On the other hand, the number to the right of the “X” is the diameter of the objective lenses in millimeters. Light gathering is closely related to the diameter of the lenses. The larger the diameter, the greater the light gathering.

As said in the beginning, low light binoculars should have a greater light gathering than regular binoculars. For that reason, you need big lenses to obtain clearer images in low light conditions. The high-end ones usually come with at least 22 mm of lenses in diameter.

Smaller lenses could work but images may look blurry at distances greater than 1000 yards. As you can see, having too much magnification doesn’t guarantee a clear image. You should be able to choose the perfect balance between magnification and light gathering.

4. Lenses

Cheap binoculars usually use untreated lenses made of glass or plastic. These types of lenses tend to reflect much of the light they receive. When this happens, the image quality considerably decreases. For that reason, always choose multi-coated lenses.

Multicoated lenses are treated with chemicals that reduce the reflection coefficient of lenses. For example, untreated glass lenses tend to reflect 5% of the light they receive. However, after being coated, these lenses reduce light reflection to 0.25%.

However, glass lenses have a major flaw. They’re too fragile and their surface may be scratched easily. In this case, it would be better to choose something more resistant, for example quartz. Quartz lenses are incredibly resistant and optimize light gathering.

5. Night vision

Most expensive low light binoculars are equipped with night vision to improve visibility in absolute darkness. These devices consume a lot of energy, which is why they require large batteries. This also makes them bulkier and heavier.

Night vision binoculars use natural light amplifiers and infrared light to highlight the least visible areas.

6. Exit pupil

The exit pupil is the width of the light beam that escapes through the eyepiece. To calculate it, you just need to divide the diameter of the objective lens in millimeters by the magnification. For example, 15X70 binoculars would have an exit pupil of 70/15 = 4.67 mm.

In this case, the larger the exit pupil, the clearer the image. In addition, the diameter of the exit pupil should exceed or at least equal the diameter of the human pupil. That way, the eyes receive as much light as possible for better vision.

During the night, the human pupil reaches a maximum diameter of 7mm. Therefore, low light binoculars with an exit pupil greater than or equal to 7mm will provide the best image quality.

7. Eye relief

The eye relief is the distance existing between the eye and the eyepiece or ocular lens. At this distance the eye gets a clear vision and a complete field of view. In the case of binoculars, it’s recommended to have at least 10 mm of eye relief. However, 15 mm of eye relief will provide a higher comfort level for glasses wearers.

Getting too far from eye relief will make you lose image quality and filed of view. On the other hand, if you get too close to the eyepiece a black ring may appear around the field of view.

Our Top 5 Low Light binoculars

1 Adorrgon 12×42 Powerful Binoculars

With only 1.1 lbs of total weight, these are among the lightest binoculars on the current market. However, their low weight isn’t their most interesting feature, but their power. These binos have 42-mm objective lenses to gather more light and give you HD quality images in low light conditions. Without discussion, this is our best recommendation for night hunting.

They also have 12X of magnification that’s enough to give you sharp and crystal clear images of targets at 650 yards. These binoculars have 12-mm eyepieces. This configuration gives 2.25 times the image size that regular 12-mm eyepiece binoculars can give. That means, you’ll be able to watch the smallest details that usually seem blurry in most binoculars.

Adorrgon 12×42 binoculars use an ultra reflective BAK4 prism that catches most of the light that comes in through the objective lenses. The multicoated lenses maximize light gathering, giving you an outstanding performance in the most unfavorable conditions. The barrels are strong and sturdy, keeping all optical elements protected from high impacts.

With the purchase of these binoculars you also take home a carrying case, eyepiece protector covers, a neck strap and a cleaning cloth. This is one of the main reasons why this device is our top rated selection. Not many binoculars on the market give so much for such a low price.

Another interesting feature of these binos is their external rubber armor. It helps cushion high impacts, preventing broken lenses and gas leaks. The rubber is odorless and resistant to high temperatures. So, you can be sure the rubber won’t become soft and sticky when exposed to UV rays.

This pair is 100% waterproof and fog-proof. So, you can use them in humid environments or near water bodies without risk.

Specifications

  • Objective lens: 42 mm
  • Eyepiece: 18mm
  • Magnification: 12X
  • Weight: 1.1 lbs
  • Field of view: 367 ft/1000 yards
  • 6 mm BAK4 prism

Pros

  • Durable and resistant
  • Waterproof
  • Fog proof
  • Lightweight
  • Portable
  • Low price

Cons

  • Images may seem blurry at maximum magnification
  • The lenses may fog

Our Verdict

When light is scarce and visibility almost null, Adorrgon 12×42 can still give you crystal clear images. These binoculars are incredibly powerful and can gather more light than regular binoculars. The adjustment system is precise and the optical elements are designed to reduce light loss to minimal levels.

2 SkyGenius 10X50 Powerful Binoculars

best low light binoculars: SkyGenius 10X50 Powerful Binoculars

These binoculars are extremely powerful in low light conditions, thanks to their 50-mm objective lenses and unsurpassed optical system. As a result, this device can offer up to 12X of magnification and a vision range of 367 ft/1000 yards. Although these binos are slightly larger than normal ones, they’re still light enough to be easy to carry.

The barrels are covered with rubber, which helps absorb impacts and prevent water entrance. Around each lens there are thick rubber o-rings that prevent gas escapes when the binoculars hit the ground. The lenses are sturdy and resistant to scratches. So, neither high impacts nor abrasion will ruin the image quality.

The lenses are multi-coated to correct image and color distortion. This feature ensures more real colors and sharper images. The eye relief is adjustable, so glass wearers can have a clear view from a comfortable distance.

The right eyepiece has an adjustment ring so you can correct vision imbalance and have the same focus level in both eyes. This feature is incredibly useful, since imbalanced vision can cause tired eyes and dizziness. For this reason, this device is indisputably the runner-up on this top 5 list.

To further extend the life of the lenses, these binoculars include rubber caps that prevent dust build-up. The dust is the worst enemy of your binos because their abrasive particles can easily scratch the surface. However, that will never happen while the caps are on.

SkyGenius binoculars use a Porro prism, which has an extremely smooth surface to prevent image distortion. It also maximizes light gaining, always giving you something to watch in the darkest conditions.

Specifications

  • Objective lens: 50 mm
  • Magnification: 12X
  • Weight: 1.8 lbs
  • Field of view: 367 ft/1000 yards
  • Joint prism
  • Diopter system for vision imbalance correction

Pros

  • Rugged constructed
  • Resistant to high impacts
  • Waterproof
  • Fog proof
  • Easy to carry
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Wearing them for a long time may cause double vision
  • Images may seem blurry at maximum magnification

Our Verdict

This is by far one of the finest choices for glasses wearers. This device offers an impressive optical system and high impact resistant lenses. The external structure is quite solid, so it can withstand the harshest treatment without trouble.

3 Aurosports 10X25 Folding High Powered Compact Binoculars

best low light binoculars: Aurosports 10X25 Folding High Powered Compact Binoculars

These binos are compact, lightweight and have a great value. They only weigh 0.75 lbs and you can easily carry them in your pocket. In addition, they’re foldable, considerably reducing their volume after folded. They’re perfect for birdwatching and other recreational purposes.

Aurosports binoculars use 25-mm objective lenses to provide a maximum magnification of 10X. This configuration guarantees excellent image quality at a maximum distance of 1000 yards. However, external lighting should be good so this is possible.

The right eyepiece allows you to make dioptric adjustments so you can have the same focus on both eyes. The focusing handwheel is bigger for better handling. In addition, it has a textured surface to improve grip and prevent slips when your hands are sweaty.

This unit uses a green BAK4 prism and multicoated lenses that are the best for low light and night vision. In addition, the lenses are completely sealed to prevent fog and water entrance. These binos are water resistant, but not completely waterproof. So, it isn’t recommended to immerse them in water for a long time.

Their whole structure is made of ABS plastic, which is highly resistant to impacts and extreme temperatures. However, this material may scratch so easily. So, these binoculars aren’t the best for use in abrasive environments. The barrels have a textured surface that prevents binoculars from accidentally slipping out of your hands.

Specifications

  • Objective Lens: 25 mm
  • Magnification: 10X
  • Weight: 0.75 lbs
  • Field of view: 362 ft/1000 yards
  • BAK4 prism
  • Diopter system for vision imbalance correction

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to carry
  • Easy to use
  • Water resistant
  • Foldable
  • Compact size

Cons

  • Fragile product
  • Made with plastic

Our Verdict

If you’re looking for the best low light binoculars for birdwatching, you should try these. They’re incredibly lightweight and you can carry them in your pocket. These binos are cheaper than most binoculars on the market because they’re made with plastic. But they can withstand high impacts and temperature changes like the metal models.

4 Occer 12×25 Compact Binoculars

best low light binoculars: Occer 12x25 Compact Binoculars

Occer 12×25 Binoculars are quite similar to the Aurosports 10×25 in terms of specs. However, these are lighter, with a total weight of 0.65 lbs. The objective lenses are 25 mm in diameter, but the maximum magnification is 12X in this case. These binoculars are foldable and you can easily store them in a small space.

These excellent compact binoculars work so well in low light conditions, thanks to their multi-coated lenses and BAK4 prism. The combination of these elements guarantees maximum light gaining and minimum image distortion. The end result is simply amazing. Sharper images with a more realistic look.

The eyepieces are 15 mm in diameter that guarantees well-defined images at a maximum distance of 1000 yards. The field of view is also good, 273 ft/1000 yards. Having a wide field of view is important for hunting birds and game animals. Birds and some game animals tend to move constantly and to having enough field of view will prevent they escape of your sight.

What we find most amazing is the peculiar combination of lens coatings. The objective lenses use FMC green coating while the eyepieces use FMC blue coating. This combination is proven to be much more effective than using the same type of coating on all lenses. As a result, the images look much better.

In general lines, these binoculars are quite easy to manipulate. The external rubber cover cushions impacts, so lenses don’t break so easily.

Specifications

  • Objective Lens: 25 mm
  • Magnification: 12X
  • Weight: 0.65 lbs
  • Field of view: 273 ft/1000 yards
  • BAK4 prism
  • Diopter system for vision imbalance correction

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Compact
  • Easy to carry
  • Easy to store
  • Water resistant
  • Foldable

Cons

  • More fragile than metal binoculars
  • Images may seem blurry at maximum magnification

Our Verdict

If you find most of the binoculars for sale too heavy, this is exactly what you need. Undoubtedly, this device is a great performer. The optical system optimizes light gathering using a combination of different types of coatings. As a result, you get more realistic images and unmatched definition.

5 Celestron SkyMaster Giant 15X70 Binoculars

Celestron SkyMaster binoculars are considerably heavier and bulkier than the rest of the options on our list. Their objective lenses are 70 mm in diameter, giving you all the light you need to observe stars and other celestial bodies. These binoculars are also rugged constructed, which makes them incredibly durable.

These binos have a maximum magnification of 15X, which makes them perfect for observing targets from more than 1000 yards away. Their multi-coated lenses and BAK4 prism maximize light transmission guaranteeing brighter and clearer images. Certainly, these binos would be the perfect gift for any astronomy enthusiast.

These binoculars can also be mounted on a tripod. That way, you won’t end up with tired arms after using them for long. They also have a long eye relief, preventing glasses wearers from   having to get too close to the ocular lenses. The entire body of these binoculars is covered with rubber to improve grip and prevent water entrance.

The right ocular lens has diopter adjustment, allowing you to correct vision imbalance. That way, your eyes suffer less and you get the best image quality as possible. With the package, you’ll also get a soft cloth, carrying case, objective lens protectors, neck strap and tripod adapter.

Specifications

  • Objective lens: 70 mm
  • Magnification: 1 5X
  • Weight: 3.28 lbs
  • Field of view: 230 ft/1000 yards
  • Joint prism
  • Diopter system for vision imbalance correction

Pros

  • High power
  • Durable and resistant
  • Easy to use
  • Resistant to high impacts
  • Rugged constructed
  • Water resistant

Cons

  • Too heavy
  • It may wobble on the tripodmc

Our Verdict

This device is by far the most durable choice on our top 5 list. It’s sturdy, heavy and made with the best materials. It withstands high impacts better than most binoculars on the market. Also, they give you sharp and crystal clear images at distances longer than 1000 yards.

Binoculars Cleaning & Maintenance Tips

best low light binoculars

In order to preserve the good condition of your binoculars, it’s important to apply periodic maintenance. Here are some valuable tips that you should follow:

  • Use a microfiber cloth to remove accumulated dust on the lenses and the surface of the binoculars. The dust contains abrasive particles that can scratch the surface.
  • In case you’re using night vision binoculars, replace the batteries when necessary. Don’t wait too long to do this because the batteries could explode inside the binoculars.
  • Use an alcohol-soaked q- tip to remove all the dirt accumulated in difficult corners. For example, around lenses and adjustment rings.
  • Never immerse your binoculars in water, especially if they aren’t 100% waterproof.

It’s Time to Wrap Up

As you can see, it’s easy to differentiate low light binoculars from the regular ones. The secret lies in the size of the objective lenses. Usually, the diameter of objective lenses is greater than or equal to 22 mm. Additionally, the lenses are multi-coated to reduce light reflection to minimal levels.

When looking for the best low light binoculars, make sure to follow all the valuable tips in our buying guide. That way you’ll be better prepared to choose correctly.

FAQs

1. What is the highest magnification for binoculars?

Ans. So far, 30X is the maximum magnification level that best binoculars can achieve.

2. Can you use low light binoculars during day?

Ans. Yes. You can use low light binoculars at any time of the day. In fact, during the day, low light binoculars are much more effective.

3. What is phase coating?

Ans. In roof prisms, the light that enters is split in two and then rejoined at the same point. However, in one half of the prism, the light travels faster, generating distortion when rejoined. As a result, some colors are reinforced and others canceled.

To prevent this, phase coating is applied. In this procedure, half of the prism receives a special coating, slowing down the passage of the light. That way, the two halves meet at the same point at the same time.

About the author

Robert Stevens

A Seasoned Hunter

It’s been several years that Robert, a retired teacher and a proud dad, has silently been piling up mature bucks down the South. This humble hunter began his hunting journey at quite an early age and since then, he spent countless hours in the woods and learned good lessons in terms of woodsmanship. Along the way, he also made money sharing his skill with his followers and well-wishers.

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