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Best monoculars for bird watching – 2023 Reviews & Comparison

Last Updated: 27.09.23


Top birding monoculars reviewed & buying guide


If you don’t have the time to read our whole article and just want to find the best monocular for bird watching, this short paragraph should help you get the model you need. After looking at the options available, we have concluded that the Wingspan Optics Explorer PE-12501 is the best because of the features and quality that it can offer. The device is powered by lenses that can provide a magnification of 12x which is enough to offer clear and brighter range of view with the help of the 50mm lens. Taking this device on the most rugged terrains won’t be a problem as it features a durable body that is meant to last. As a plus, the waterproof and fogproof design means that you won’t have to fear about water and humidity getting in the way. If the Wingspan Optics Explorer PE-12501 is not available, the Wingspan Optics Outdoorsman makes for a good second option.



Comparison table


The Good
The Bad



Unless you have a lot of time at your disposal, finding a good monocular for birding is not the easiest of tasks. This is primarily due to the fact that there are a lot of options available for sale that you have to choose from. Knowing what to look for requires some research and this is why in order to make your decision easier, we have gathered all the necessary information in the buying guide below.

Quality optics

While going for a monocular that uses quality optics is recommended for any activity, this is especially true when it comes to bird watching. If when hunting or just admiring the scenery you can make due with a lower quality device, for bird watching it is recommended that you try and find the best product that your budget allows.

The reason why optics are so important is that you don’t want to get a product that will not help you discern between different bird species. Even when just admiring them, you want a device that will help you notice specimens in great detail, especially for birds that have gorgeous colorings.

As far as magnification goes, you won’t have to go for the alternative that has the biggest magnification strength. A 12x, 10x or even lower ratio should be more than enough to help you spot even the smallest of creatures. Options that come with a huge magnification tend to sacrifice on details.



You don’t want to have to carry a large and clunky device with you all the time, which is why a compact and lightweight product is what most hobbyists recommend. Whether you want to keep it in your pocket, around your neck or in your backpack, you can easily find an alternative that suits your needs.

If you want a portable option but still don’t want to sacrifice on stability and image quality, you should know that there are some alternatives that offer these features despite their small size. They can come with a small, yet effective tripod that will add stability as well as comfort, for when you want to use your device hands-free.

A portable product will also allow you to be ready at any time for a bird watching session during your outdoor adventures. You can just keep the monocular in your backpack, and since it won’t take a lot of space, you won’t even notice that it’s there, not until you need it. It can help you create some memorable memories that would have otherwise not been possible.


Built to last

When bird watching, you are bound to find yourself in places that are no that welcoming, places that require a device that is durable and able to withstand them. You don’t want to settle for a product that is fragile because it won’t last you a long time. What you need is an alternative that is durable and comes with features designed to protect it even in the harshest environments.

Besides the shock resistance, you also want to be ready to face any weather conditions. This is where a waterproof and dustproof and fogproof design can be really useful. It can help keep water, moisture, dust and any other foreign particles from getting inside your monocular.



5 Best Bird Watching Monocular (Reviews) in 2023


To help you choose the best birding monocular, we have showcased some of the top-rated models below. When compiling our list, we have analyzed carefully some of the most popular birding monocular reviews to see what customers had to say. We have also looked at the reliability and quality of each of our picks. Take a look below if you have the time.



1. Wingspan Optics Explorer High Powered 12X50 Monocular


With a magnification of 12x that is aided by a 50mm lens, the Wingspan Optics Explorer PE-12501 offers some of the best viewing experience on the market which makes it the favorite choice of customers.

It does not only help you get a better view of distant objects, but it also provides a clear view that does not lose its clarity even in the most extreme conditions.

It’s not just the quality of the optics that makes this product stand out from the crowd, but also the build quality that makes it quite durable. You can safely use it with only one hand as the non-slip grip will guarantee that you get a smooth experience without fear of dropping it even when your hands are wet.

In order for you to use this device wherever you want, it is also equipped with a waterproof and fogproof design. This means that you will get a truly durable device that is built to last.



This is one of the alternatives that can offer you a reasonable price and high-quality features all in one. For example, it has 12x magnification power and can allow you to get clearer and brighter images due to its great optical components.

It is protected by a durable external armor that provides a safe environment for the lenses and prevents them from suffering impact shock. It also offers a safer grip and prevents the device from slipping out of your hand.

Both waterproof and fog proof layers and protections are included, making this item an excellent choice for any kind of weather conditions.

By using the single hand focus function you can adjust the coordinates to focus on your target while only employing one hand.



The focal point of the field of view appears to be a little too narrow for a comfortable viewing, or at least that’s what some customers have complained about.


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2. Wingspan Optics Outdoorsman 8X42 Compact Wide View Monocular


Want to get a detailed and crisp experience and be able to see birds in their full splendor? The Wingspan Optics Outdoorsman offers a great experience for both newcomers and more experienced hobbyists due to its high-quality optics. With this alternative, you get a monocular that can provide a satisfying magnification of 8x.

Despite its small size, you get a product whose body can withstand shocks such as dropping it from your hand to the ground. It is also waterproof and fogproof, which allows you to use the device even during the rain or near lakes or rivers.

Because comfort is important, holding this option is a straightforward and pleasant experience. With the help of the firm grips, you will get full control of the device.

The EyeComfort adjustable eye cup will allow you to find your optimal viewing quickly so that you can focus on what matters.



An excellent choice for birdwatching enthusiasts, this monocular offers you a crisp clear vision and allows you to observe in-depth details due to its high optical quality.

It’s one of the alternatives that is great in terms of protection, given that it has drop proof, slip-proof, debris-proof, waterproof and fog proof layers, so it’s basically safe to use in any type of environment or weather.

If you’re an eyeglass wearer and you’re worried about your comfort, you should know that this model features adjustable eyecups, so it will be comfortable for you to use it.

The one-hand focus wheel is also a nice addition, allowing you to easily maneuver the device and increase its usability.



Customers have stated that this model is good for daytime use, but doesn’t deliver great results when used during the night time, especially for astronomical purposes.


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3. Vortex Solo 10×36 mm Monocular


Sometimes what you need is a device that can be used anywhere, at any time without having to worry about carrying it around.

The Vortex Optics Solo 800900 is the most portable option on our list. It’s a great choice for people that want to be able to carry their product in their pockets without being hindered in any way by its size or weight.

When it comes to optics, the Vortex Optics Solo 800900 offers a magnification of 10x but makes a little sacrifice to accommodate the lower seize when it comes to the diameter of the lens which is just 36mm. Despite it, customers are more than satisfied with the quality of the images that this product can capture.

The adjustable eyecup will allow for people that wear glasses to use this monocular without having to wear them. The rubber case and the waterproof design adds durability to your purchase.



The 10x magnification power is one of the first features that will catch your eye when it comes to this particular alternative. This small lightweight product allows you to view your target at an enhanced level of detail.

Its full rubber armor prevents unfortunate accidents from breaking the internal optical system, a mishap that might render the product useless. The non-slip surface on the outer layer offers you a tighter and safer grip.

If you’re worried about fogging, you should know that the lenses are nitrogen purged and O-ring sealed, delivering waterproof performance as well.

Due to the adjustable eyecup, you can use this model whether you’re an eyeglass wearer or not, and you can do so just as comfortably.



The customers that have tried this product have complained about the lack of lens caps in the packaging in order to protect the lenses during storage and transportation. They can, however, be purchased separately.


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4. Premium Night Vision Monocular Optiscope Infrared


If you want to go for something extra, you can pick the OPTISCOPE Premium and get a monocular that is equipped with a night vision mode.

This is a great choice for enthusiasts that want to use their device even at night. While it does a great job at observing birds, this versatile option can also be used for surveillance due to its image and video capture capabilities.

What makes this device such a tempting alternative is the fact that it can offer premium features and quality at an affordable price. It has a night vision range of up to 100 meters which can allow for a great variety of uses, not just bird watching.

To make it even better, you can also capture videos and pictures with the push of a button. It requires a miniSD card to use, and OPTISCOPE includes a 4g miniSD card in the packaging, free of charge. With the help of the card, you will be able to easily transfer files to your phone or computer.



This monocular is ideal for nighttime use, due to the perfect balance that it manages to strike between price and quality. It has a 100m vision range and features a LED illuminator that allows you to see in dark environments.

The lenses are protected by multiple layers and have a built-in zoom function that provides up to 3x magnification.

By having a rather intuitive design, this model manages to be very usable and fit for any type of customer. You can easily record and transfer video data and display it on your tv screen or computer.

As many products from this brand, the device is made exclusively using high-quality materials and state of the art production techniques.



Apparently, a few customers have been disappointed by the fact that this item’s features are not professional enough to satisfy their expectations. The image quality could use some enhancement.


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5. Wingspan Optics Spotter 10X42 Compact Bird Watching Monocular


The Wingspan Optics Spotter LYSB01LYDVUD8 is the perfect alternative for people that want a really sturdy device that can still provide good picture quality at a good price.

It offers a magnification of 10x which makes it great for observing even the tiniest bird without losing any of its details or clarity.

The 42mm lens captures enough light to allow for a lifelike brightness and clarity which in turn will make every color vibrant and gorgeous to look at. All this fine equipment is protected by a rock-hard body that looks good to the eye and is also easy to grip with just one hand.

The easy one hand maneuvering will make it so that you can track your target faster and more comfortably.

Just as the best monoculars do, this product also features a waterproof and fogproof design. When you’re not using it, you can easily store it in your backpack or even in your pocket.



This model’s vision is so clear that it will allow you to view the tiniest detail on your favorite bird species, given that it’s best used by birdwatching enthusiasts.

Its hard-rock body has a good looking design, but it’s also very durable and manages to protect the optical system sheltered inside and prevent impact from damaging the lenses.

In case you’re worried about dealing with difficult weather conditions, you should know that this device is protected by waterproof, fog proof and climate-proof layers, and designed with O-ring sealed optics to prevent unwanted intrusions.

You can adjust the focal distance by using just one hand, meaning you can track a target on the move easily, without missing any detail.



Some customers have stated that the balance between the price tag of this model and the quality of the features that it offers could have been improved, and it’s slightly overpriced for what it offers.


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1) What is a monocular?

2) When to use a monocular?

3) How to Select a Monocular?

4) Night vision monocular



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.

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