Binoculars Vs. Spotting Scope for Hunting

Whether you are a newbie or a pro hunter, you need to see a clear and detailed image of your target before hunting them. A great way to track any game animal is, hide and shoot them or hit them properly. In this case, you cannot think of hunting accurately are spotting scopes and binoculars. However, these helpful devices have a similar function: they magnify far-off objects, but you should also know their differences between binoculars Vs. spotting scope for hunting.

Which one will be best for hunting depends on your hunting style and other things.  In this article, you will see details about spotting scope vs binoculars.

Binoculars Vs. Spotting Scope for Hunting

Scope Vs. Binoculars: Difference for Hunting

Scope and binoculars have many similarities, but what distinct them is the application and how they works. For hunting, understanding the differences is a must.


A spotting scope is a portable telescope, but it is mostly used in hunting. You can mount it on a tripod or stand to see objects and their tiny movement far away from you with your one naked eye. It is an optical device with excellent magnification capacities. It has an ocular lens, magnification adjustment ring, eyepiece, focus dial, prisms, tripod mount collar, objective lens, etc.; you can only use one eye to see things with scopes.

A standard hunting binocular is another optical device where you can use both your eyes to see far away things. It is small, lightweight has an ocular and objective lens, or can be mounted on a tripod. It also has a hand-free viewing option. The availability of a wide range or size makes it most portable.

Application Differences

Spotting scopes are mostly used in watching animals and nature, birding, and making the viewer close.  The animal or birds won’t be scared away because you will be far away from them or hide. You can see at least 100 yards or more with this scope to hit the target. Spotting scopes are best to watch herds or another target when you are in open meadows.

Binoculars also can be used for various purposes, yet hunters find them the most accessible tools for hunting. You can watch and track the prey as it has a wide-reaching base, and it is more compact and goes to tools than scopes and can be used in any circumstance. Also, it is easy to handle high power binos.

How It Works

With bino, you can observe things with your 2 eyes open in a broad spectrum. The lens has a focus light to examine the subject, and the prisms separate the lights when you see the image. Spotting scope also can be used for long-distance viewing but only with your one eye. You can set the view straight, angled with more powerful magnification than binocular.

Magnification of Binoculars and Spotting Scope

15X to 100x Magnification of Spotting scope

The magnification power of scopes is not so big or not so small. It has 15x to 100x magnification, but 15x magnification power is best for viewing the object as the image won’t affect much in atmospheric conditions.

However, a 15 times bigger picture means the scopes need a different instrument that adds weight to your bag. Yet you cannot ignore its excellent viewing capacity. You can see extra details more than binoculars, so it is a clear winner a hunting scope has a huge magnification range.

20x binoculars vs spotting scope

15x and 20x Magnification for Binoculars

Binoculars have lower magnification power than scopes, yet you can still see a wide range of views with them. It only has 15x and 20x magnification and starts with 4x magnification, so the device is not heavier and larger like scopes, but you can see a clear image. A typical binocular has 1x magnification.

You can also see herd with binoculars but cannot examine any spots or count points as you can do with scopes. Thus, a magnification increase means you can see a low field of view and you can see a larger field of view with binocular. Some company provides 15x binoculars but it is tough to handle unless it is a high quality thermal binocular.

Prism and Lens for Hunting

The spotting scope has large objective lenses like 45mm to 100mm that allow more detailed images in 50 to 150 feet at 1000 yards maximum. It is great for spotting a target that is not moving much because of its lower field of view. Sometimes you will feel fatigued in your eyes.

A compact binocular has less than a 30mm lens and is all-purpose. A larger binocular has a 40 to 50mm lens which is enough for hunting. It also has 3 types of prism such as roof prism, Gallien prism, and Porro prism. You cannot increase the magnification power much as it will decrease the field of view. The area could be seen at 300 to 400 feet wide in binoculars. The image quality is the same as spotting scopes.

Low Light Strength

The objective lens is larger in scopes, so it has more low light strength than binocular. If the binocular has quality glass, it can show brighter and clear views even in low light transmission.

Price of Binoculars and Spotting Scope

The scopes are expensive than binocular. The price starts at $500, and high-quality scopes for hunting are at least $1000. Binoculars are under $100, and for hunting, a good set of binocular is only $300.

FAQ on Binoculars Vs. Spotting Scope for Hunting

Are Binoculars Better than Spotting Scopes?

Both the binoculars and spotting scopes has pros and cons, yet if you consider the magnification power, your hunting style, weight and size, and ability to scan, spotting scope will be better if you are hunting in a large area.

FAQ on Binoculars Vs. Spotting Scope

But binocular also could be good if you are hunting in a thick place and on the move, as it is portable and does not add extra weight to your bag. In this case, bino is more preferable to scope activity. However, an experienced hunter can use both of them.

Are Binoculars Worth It for Hunting?

Binocular is an essential tool for hunting. You can easily track the wildlife at an ample distance, so it is a valuable tool with good optics. An 8x to 10x magnification is enough for hunting in an open environment.

How Far Can You See a Deer with a Spotting Scope?

If the glass quality is better, you can see a deer with up to 5 miles of the spotting scope. However, it is easy to spot deer in 2.5 miles.

Do Spotting Scopes Have Rangefinders?

Some spotting scope brand has a laser rangefinder, which makes the image more accurate than before. You can also see the long-distance target clearly in low light conditions. Most of the rifle scopes used this system.

When to Use a Spotting Scope

The spotting scope has a 60x magnification that helps see any object and detailed viewing from far away. So when you are planning to go far away to watch wildlife such as on the mountain, choose spotting scopes as it requires using a tripod and other accessories, so it will be easy for you to take those accessories in your backpack.

When to Use Binoculars

Binoculars can be used many times; even when you carry scopes, you can take binoculars too, as it is soo lightweight. However, if you plan to hunt not far and need small things to have, binocular would be the best choice. It is also perfect for hunting wild animals, nature watching and outdoor activities.

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