This website is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission.

Are Binoculars Better Than Telescopes?

Last Updated: 06.12.21


If you are considering purchasing Nikon compact binoculars, this buying guide is packed with info and models that you might want to check out before placing an order.

In this comprehensive article, we are set on providing you with the answer to the question of whether binoculars are better than telescopes. So, if you want to learn more about this topic, be sure to keep reading!

Binoculars or telescope?

Binoculars are devices that were designed to be mainly used for terrestrial observation. Structure-wise, they are made of two small telescopes that have been mounted together and that point in the same direction. To make the image provided to the user not placed upside down, binoculars include a piece called a prism.

By comparison, telescopes do not always show images that are upright. The term telescope is now widely utilized to describe all kinds of devices that are used in astronomy. Because of this, even wave detectors are now referred to as telescopes.

As expected, the market is filled with numerous models of telescopes and binoculars that one can purchase to use depending on one’s needs and interests.


Advantages and disadvantages of binoculars

The main advantage that all specialists point to when discussing this subject is that binoculars are portable and, thus, more practical than telescopes. You can keep your binoculars in your pocket or in your backpack and you can carry them with you whenever you want to go stargazing.

Because you have to use both of your eyes when watching through binoculars, you get a 3D image of the object that you are analyzing. Also, you get a broader field of view and a better in-depth perception that naked eye observation cannot provide you with. Therefore, binoculars are great to use when looking at large stellar objects such as the Milky Way.

Another plus that binoculars have is that they are easy to use. To do so, you just have to point the device in the desired direction and to focus them if necessary. This is not true in the case of telescopes. To operate a telescope, a user has to read the instruction manual provided by the manufacturer in order to get familiarized with how it works.

What is more, binoculars are maintenance free and they are relatively more affordable than telescopes are.

One disadvantage that binoculars have is the limited aperture that they feature, especially when compared to the aperture of a telescope. Consequently, binoculars have a limited range of use in poor light situations. Also, binoculars cannot supply users with detailed viewing of the celestial bodies.

Advantages and disadvantages of telescopes

As the experts argue, telescopes are the most important devices used in astronomy. They can be utilized to observe planets, stars as well as other objects in the universe. Because they have a high magnification ratio, they allow owners, for instance, to analyze the craters on the moon or to get a close look at planets and distant celestial bodies.

This is possible because of the wide aperture that telescopes have. What is more, these devices are suitable for astronomy because they can be utilized in the dark without the lack of light to interfere with their performance.

Most telescopes are also practical because they are compatible with other devices such as cameras and computer-assisted tracking. This way, a telescope is easier to use by novices that have difficulties locating various celestial bodies. Plus, if you decide that you want to take a close photo of the moon, you can do so effortlessly. Consequently, you can closely monitor your analysis of the sky.

Of course, there are also a handful of disadvantages that telescopes also have. To start, because they are built to feature a wide aperture, these devices are rather bulky and not at all easy to carry around. To install it outdoors, one also has to use a tripod and a specialized mount.

Differently from binoculars, telescopes are also not maintenance free. If you want to make sure that your unit functions correctly, you have to adjust it regularly. The steps that you have to take in order to maintain your device in working order might differ depending on the model that you own.

On top of that, using a telescope is not as easy as using binoculars. Although manufacturers have designed units that are as user-friendly as possible, you still have to read instruction manuals before you are ready to use a product of this kind.

Also, it should be said that telescopes are not at all suitable for terrestrial viewing. This is a major drawback that makes these units less versatile than binoculars according to most buyers.


Are binoculars better than telescopes?

Now that we have explained to you the advantages and the disadvantages of binoculars and telescopes, it is time to try to find an answer to the question of whether binoculars are better than telescopes. Well, the best answer we can give to you is that it depends on the way that you intend to use a device for.

For instance, if you need a product that can be used both during the day and at night, a powerful pair of binoculars might be the best choice for you. This is particularly true if you are just a novice astronomer that is not interested in observing details on the celestial bodies that you are analyzing.

However, if you are a dedicated astronomer, using both a pair of binoculars and a powerful telescope is indicated. This way, by utilizing the binoculars you will be able to get an overall view of the sky. Once you identify an object that stirs your interest, you can use the telescope to get a better view and to take photos of it.


Comparing telescopes and binoculars is not a realistic goal because these are two different devices that were designed for two distinct purposes. Binoculars are meant to be used for viewing terrestrial objects up close, while telescopes are great at providing you with a detailed close-up of various stars and planets.

If you are an amateur stargazer and you want to invest in a device that is portable and that can be used for stargazing, it is advisable that you purchase a powerful pair of binoculars. This way, you can use your brand-new acquisition whenever you go for hikes during the day, and for stargazing at night.

However, before you buy the first pair of binoculars that you set your eyes on, make sure that that product has been deemed suitable to be used for astronomy by fellow users and specialists.

Yet, if you pride yourself for being a hobbyist astronomer, a telescope might be better suited for your needs. Furthermore, as your level of skill when it comes to using a telescope increases, you will be able to upgrade your device accordingly.

Finally, if money is a topic that interests you, keep in mind that, generally, binoculars are more affordable than telescopes. So, if you are on a budget, it might be a good idea to start by using a powerful pair of binoculars at first and then to actually upgrade and invest in a telescope for beginners that includes innovative features such as computer-assisted tracking.


Ioana Moldovan

Ioana’s professional experience in the optics field has helped her understand the value of passing her knowledge forward. Her curious personality helps her gather useful information for her readers and her goal is to make technical information fun and accessible to everyone.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments Protection Status