Best Spotting Scope Reviews of 2018: Buyer’s Guide


If you are getting started with hunting or birding binoculars will just do, but eventually, you will end up needing a spotting scope for greater magnification and view. The best spotting scope has much greater light gathering ability, resolution, and clarity than a pair of Binoculars. So in the long run Spotting scope is a better choice for you.

A spotting scope is similar to a portable telescope. In another word, a spotting scope is a miniature version of the telescope with shorter focal length typically used for terrestrial observation where binoculars are less effective. They are used for bird watching, Astronomy, and Hunting enabling the hunters to locate and evaluate from a great distance without being detected. In this review, I will help you decide what the best spotting scope for you is.

In this best spotting scope reviews, I will give you an idea about 12 different Scope in the market now and the best one for you. It's not something you go and buy from a store; you have to consider some factors to choose the best.

What is Spotting Scope?

In the world of the telescope, Spotting Scope is a small portable telescope which makes closer any things form long distance. It used by scientists to enlarge distant objects. It is one of the smallest telescopes and used in birdwatching, ships, hunting, sporting, casual astronomy and target shooting. Also used in many cameras for capturing good quality pictures. The scopes have the ability to survive the stresses of use in the middle of nature. So that, it should be rubberized, waterproofed and filled with an inert gas (nitrogen) to prevent the formation of molds.

It also very helpful for long distance hunter. Its image erecting system make it more reliable and popular than other telescopes. If you looking for zoom power, high magnification, long distance shooting, portability and compactness we prefer to use the spotting scope. It is more handy than binocular. Trekkers and mountain climbers use this scope.

In case you're worried overweight and set up, use a minimal and lightweight scope that can be operated freehand simply. It is important to buy it with a magnification value and features appropriate to the use you want to make of it. On the other hand, you can buy a spotting scope that has strongly fabricated and very much adjusted quality. Confirm you have a high quality, flexible tripod to manage.

Different Type of Spotting Scopes

You can find 3 types of spotting scope in the market. Straight, angles and shoulder mounted types scope. Let’s know about them:

Straight spotting scope

Straight spotting scopes are best for circumstances where the client must move rapidly. For example, while birding, shooting, hunting. They are also the easiest type of spotting scope to use because of their basic structure. They just require a restricted measure of understanding to utilize successfully. You use it where the target is on a hazy spot from the way that the light goes on its way through the focal points.

Angled spotting scope

Angled spotting scopes are scopes whose target are mounted at an approximately 45-degree edge to the optimal way. The setup is irregular, yet it is famously suited for long-haul perception. Especially that of feathered creatures, where the client can take a seat and set on the side his opportunity to put his objective in his sight picture. Also, spotting scopes can take a look at higher rises from a similar position without putting in another, taller, tripod.

Shoulder mounted spotting scope

Shoulder-mounted spotting scopes are not exactly a third kind of spotting scope. They are spotting scopes that have fitted with a stock that enables them to support on the shoulder much like a rifle would. Their power is, they give a great part of the soundness of a tripod mount, yet without the dull setting up and pull apart. One would need to experience while moving from area to area.

99% of people have like the telescope forms a small angle with the eyepiece. Because they are the most comfortable for observation when leaning slightly over the telescope. It is not necessary to have it at your eye level as it happens with the rectum.

It also has three advantages :

By not having to put the tripod so high, the set is more stable.

If you are several observing. For example on a trip, you can all look good without changing the height of the tripod. Some will angle the head more than others, but all will adapt better to observation.

If the bug is flying over you and you are forced to tilt the telescope a lot, with a fixed one. You would have to bend your legs to lower yourself a lot and follow the bird. Once again the layered wins.

The only advantage that attributed to the righteous is that they say it is easier to locate birds in flight.

Things To Consider Before Buying A Spotting Scope

Some environmental factors like the heat mirage, air turbulence, humidity, haze, dust, etc. all affect the image quality of shooting scope while you are using it. We cannot control these environmental factors, but there are some factors that we can control before buying a Spotting scope, such as-

Magnification Power

Spotting scope usually has magnification ranging between 15x to 60x. A Spotting scope represented by two sets of number, for example, 15-60x70. The first set refers to the magnification power and the second one is focal length. So before buying one, check the magnification number as your need of work.

Light-Gathering Ability / Aperture

The light gathering ability of a Spotting scope depends on the size of the objective lens and the aperture, which is a hole in front of the lens which allows the light through the lenses to the eyepiece. You should buy one which has maximum aperture there could be at any zooming condition.

Eyepiece Placement

There are two different types of Spotting scope regarding Eyepiece placement. Angled and a Straight Spotting Scope. Since the object/ target is moving hundreds of yards from the ground, so eye relief highly recommended. So, in my opinion, I would go for an angled one.

Focusing Mechanism

Focusing is normally done in two different ways in a Spotting Scope. One is with a Collar, and another is with a focusing knob. With the Collar, just twist the whole barrel to focus on the object and make the image sharper. Another design uses a smaller focus knob which is typically mounted on the top of the scope near the eyepiece. Which is a bit slower than the Collar system but gives more precise and much sharper image. So select as you like it or whichever one seems easy for you. My opinion should be going for the Collar mechanism as it is a fast process and the target is always moving.

Shopping Tips

The price should be considered before buying. But don't just go and buy a cheaper one, the low-cost manufacturing process gives the Spotting Scope a lesser performance and quality. So buy one which is in the range of your budget and meet the criteria you are looking for and most importantly have a better quality.

Top 10 Best Spotting Scope Reviews

01. Celestron 52250 80mm Ultima Zoom Spotting Scope

Spotting scopes are perfect for bird watching, hunting or observation of moving or stationary targets at a great distance. There are different types of spotting scope in the market. But the Celestron 52250 80mm Ultima Zoom Spotting Scope has a balance of portability and excellent light gathering ability. The Celestron Ultima 80 Portable Spotting Scope System features excellent multi-coated optics in a refractor design with durable rubber armored housing. My research on user review speaks to the quality of this device.

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The Celestron Ultima is a well-built device to be used in bumpy conditions. The 18 inches long light body device can be fitted in a much smaller space in your backpack. It’s zooming capacity is pretty good. It has up to 60x zooming capacity starting from 20x. And the zooming control is very smooth. With a few turns, you can quickly magnify from 20x to 60x.

The best thing about this Spotting scope is its clarity at any magnification. The sharpness of the image doesn’t compromise with zooming. This device has both angled and non-angled version, giving you the choice of your personal need. But the 450 angle is preferable, which helps you with the great view and lesser use of the tripod.

  • Smooth focus knob can be turned with a single finger.
  • Waterproof ability gives a huge advantage in much rough condition.
  • 450 eyepiece angle gives much more comfortable viewing.
  • Compatible with a variety of tripods.
  • 900 vertical platform
  • The build and quality ensure a better stability in rugged conditions.
  • Multi-coated lenses
  • Camera adaptable
  • The price is reasonable compared to other spotting scopes in the market.
  • The magnification beyond 20x gives a chromatic aberration, but still, the quality and sharpness of the image are good.
  • A little bit over rated on the price.

The review for the Celestron Ultima 20x60-80mm speaks for itself. The better quality and flexibility of this device makes it a brilliant accessory for both beginners and pros. The magnification ability, sharpness, and quality of image make it a whole package. If you are looking for a budget friendly and a good quality Spotting scope, Celestron Ultima 80 Spotting Scope is worth considering.

2. BARSKA 20-60x60 Waterproof Straight Spotting Scope

The BARSKA 20-60x60 Waterproof Straight Spotting Scope has optics that allow more satisfactory views about its low price. These are designed in a way; they maximize the image quality, clarity, and sharpness at any point of zooming. Compare to its low price, and its features are more than satisfactory. The optics are not the only features that make it a good Spotting scope. Its waterproof and fog proof design allow you to use it in rough weather without any damage. In spite of its very low price, it comes with a Pan head made of steel tripod and a very attractive carrying case. Users review on this product on Amazon shows how rewarding this Spotting scope is that this price.

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BARSKA 20-60x60 Waterproof Straight Spotting Scope has a 60mm fully Coated Objective Lens which ensures the compact operating body. Has a 20-60x zooming capacity. Even at its full zooming mode, it gives a high quality and sharp image. And allows you to focus at any point within the range. It has a BK-7 Porro Prism for analyzing and reflecting the light and objects image. Which actually determine the quality and proper image positioning.

The BARSKA 20-60x60 Waterproof Straight Spotting Scope is available in two shapes, one is the angle, and another is straight. The Spotting Scope has a rubber Armor housing which made it sturdy enough. It gives the spotting scope extra strength at any extreme weather. It has a Smooth focusing knob on the right front side of the body. And the focusing quality is pretty good in any short time. This Spotting Scope is waterproof and fog proof. It enable the user with its highest performance at any weather condition.

  • Appropriate for hunting, bird watching and Nature observing.
  • Full 60mm chemical coating in the objective lens.
  • Soft and secure carrying case.
  • Made of metal tripod and Protective lens.
  • Waterproof and fog proof Rubber grip housing.
  • 20x-60x wide range zooming ability.
  • The fine quality of image within the range.
  • Field of view is may be little short for some user.
  • Lightweight of the scope can cause little damage sometimes.

In one term, the BARSKA 20-60x60 Waterproof Straight Spotting Scope is an outstanding spotting scope at a very low price. It has more than satisfactory performance in respect to its price. It's the perfect Spotting Scope for beginners in hunting, nature observing and bird watching field.

3. Gosky 20-60X 80 Porro Prism Spotting Scope

Here another spotting scope reviews is the Gosky 20-60X 80 Porro Prism Spotting Scope is one of the underrated product I the market. If you love hunting, get ready to be fascinated with this ultra-clear imaging capability. Adding to that, an attractive waterproof design and armored housing had taken its appeal to next level. You can get to explore on its secret features right that the next section.

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A super-clarity 20x to 60x magnification power. With such a ranking magnification, observing your target in any weather condition will be easier than never before. The Gorsky 20-60X 80 Porro Prism Spotting Scope is capable of producing the quality image from my height position and gives the, best result with a high position on a dry and sunny day.

What we liked most from its long list of features is its rubber-armored and rugged housing. As a result, each of the body parts is hundred percent waterproof. So, you don't have to hesitate to go outdoor hunting with knife and scope even in rainy weather.

Another unique feature that comes up Gosky 20-60X 80 Porro Prism Spotting Scope is its compact tripod design. Most of the hunters know how important is to set a proper focus. With this spotting scope, you won't even miss flying bird from your vision. All of its parts are aimed to be highly durable and string. The 20x- 60x zoomer, the 65 mm objective lens, rubber armored exteriors, etc. are the best of their competitors.

  • Fully multi-coated optics offers excellent image quality.
  • Real-time impressive zooming ability.
  • Durable waterproof and fog proof ability.
  • A Porro prism design.
  • Impressive product quality.
  • Easy to use and mount on the tripod.
  • Reasonable weight for frequent use.
  • Compact tripod.
  • Both availability of soft and hard cases.
  • Some user reviews say the tripod is not very stable.
  • For some user the field of view is low.
  • Some users drips and flecks of debris inside the scope.

As a verdict, we would like to declare it as one good one to go. The powerful lens, eyepiece lens, and waterproof capability are more than a hunter can desire. With a better quality imaging and a promise of producing sharp images have to turn out to be one of the most trusted models.

4. Barska Blackhawk Spotting Scope 20-60x 60mm with Tripod

The Barska Blackhawk Spotting Scope 20-60x 60mm with Tripod is designed to provide a better quality. With its magnificent zooming ability, it provides an extreme and comprehensive pleasure for all users. It has 88mm objective lens diameter. Which allows it to gather more light? And the zooming capacity is the highest there could be at its price range. Most importantly, it is designed to provide stunning performances and ruggedness.This Spotting Scope is known for producing quality and as economical product. The features of Barska Blackhawk Spotting Scope makes it an ideal choice for all users.

spotting scope reviews

The best feature for this spotting scope is its high zooming capacity. The Scope 20-60x zooming capacity allows the user to get a clearer view of the object at about 1000 yards away. Though the zooming capacity is high, theoretically the light gathering capacity should be low as we know it. But this spotting scope has 66mm objective lens diameter. It can gather much more light in even at its highest zooming position.

The optics is fully coated, not multi-coated. It can be a little bit uncomfortable to use. The housing for this spotting scope is made of aluminum and rubber coated to protect against bumps and scuffles. The Barska Blackhawk Spotting Scope 20-60x 60mm with Tripod has a fast focus ring in the objective lens. Which can zoom faster in difficult conditions?

  • Fully coated objective lens for better and brighter image.
  • 100% waterproof and fog proof.
  • Adjustable zooming power ability.
  • Comes with a tripod and pistol grip.
  • Focusing difficulties in some zooming conditions.
  • Poor eye relief system.

The price and the features make this spotting scope a fair and ideal choice. But the poor design and some user reviews raise some risk call. So I would recommend you to try it out if you are looking for a high featured scope at a low price. But if the quality and performance matter more than features. You may skip this Spotting Scope.

5. Vortex 20-60 x 85 Razor HD Spotting Scope

We have reached almost at the bottom of our review. What’s special about the Vortex 20-60x85 Razor HD Spotting Scope is it’s dedicated to bird lovers. From the reputed American company, this product has been able to gather many if the bird lovers attention from around the globe. Let's look at the detailed features of Vortex 20-60x85 Razor HD Spotting Scope.

best spotting scope for shooting

A Porro prism is what Vortex 20-60x85 Razor HD Spotting Scope has got inside. With this prism, makes this petty large and heavy. An angel body design is what you get with this scope. In the creation of this, there is Armor Tek which is fairly known as scratch resistant and ultra hardcover. This prevents harms from getting the lens scratched.

Vortex 20-60x85 Razor is very extremely durable spotting scope. Most of the users have claimed it to be the last longing device. Also, it's a perfect one for any situation of hunting.

Though the Vortex 20-60x85 Razor HD Spotting Scope is a little bit over-pricey and over-weighted, but from expert’s point of view, it’s a pretty good one. To make it work in any situation, you have to just make the lens work properly. Again, it’s a featured one for birds lovers. But people from any hunting fascination can love it.

  • An extra low glass of dispersion.
  • Anti-reflective XR proprietary for better light transmission.
  • O-ring sealed optics to resist moisture.
  • Low chromatic aberration by the lens.
  • Highly protective lens coating.
  • Good image quality from this scope.
  • A weight of 8.4 pounds.
  • A bit over-pricey than other similar scops.
  • The eyepiece is a bit loose.
  • Complained to be a bit heavy.

Finally, I will say use one word to describe this Vortex Spotting Scope. It’s a complete package. The stability and zooming capacity is quite good as a spotting scope. No spotting scope in the market can beat its quality and performance.

6. Barska Blackhawk Spotter with Hard Case

The Barska Blackhawk Spotter with Hard Case is one of the best Spotting scopes in the market. Its manufacturer the Barska is one of the leading spotting scope manufacture company. This spotting scope is well known for sports optics. But Bird watching, sight-seeing, hunting and Nature observing is also as good as other spotting scope. The Barska Blackhawk Spotter with Hard Case is a compact scope and has a relatively low price. This makes it more popular to the users. This Spotting scope is surprisingly durable as well as by far portable.

best spotting scope for target shooting

The Barska Blackhawk Spotter with Hard Case has multi-coated optics. It allows this scope to gather more light in low light condition. It has both angled and straight eyepiece system. The performance of both systems is same. You can set the eyepiece on the position of your target. This spotting scope is 100% water and fog proof. It gives you the advantage to take the scope for outdoor activities.

It has a great zooming capacity(20x-60x) with great light gathering ability. This particular spotting scope can gather much more light in any condition. Which gives the advantage of using it also in night condition. The Barska Blackhawk Spotter has a soft and premium hard carrying case. It protects the scope from dust and sunburn.

  • The multi-coated optics help to get a high quality and clear image.
  • 20-60x zooming ability is great for viewing sharper and brighter images.
  • It is easy to use and durable.
  • Waterproof and fog proof for outdoor shooting.
  • Comes with a good premium hard case.
  • Usability is a rugged condition with the rubber armor.
  • Extendable sunshade for protection from sunburn.
  • 18mm eye relief for a comforting look.
  • Field of view is little short for some users.
  • The tripod is fixed. Hence you cannot expand it for extra height.

For the users in need of a cheaper and compact spotting scope, this is the perfect scope. The magnification, quality, and sharpness of the image are more than average. Its low price doesn't make it less compatible, rather make itself user-friendly. This scope is unique at its low price. So, for my personal point of view, The Barska Blackhawk Spotter with Hard Case is the top rated Spotting Scope.

7. Bushnell Trophy XLT Waterproof Compact Spotting Scope

Bushnell spotting scope is one of the best spotting scopes of the world. You can find a great combination of features here. Moreover, a 65mm lens will provide you a greater facility of spotting. While you'll go to hunting, this spotting scope will simply be a nice companion for you. Also, you can find it as a well-protected partner too. No need to pay greater concern to its safety. A waterproof spotting scope like this is also safer in the watery spot like mangrove forests. Moreover, easy carrying facility will be another beneficial feature for.

best spotting scope under 100

You can get 65mm lens here. You can activate this lens from a large distance. Only 1.4 inches' length allows you to put it into any kind of backpack. Tiny weighs of 42.3 ounces will give a great facility to carry it. We taste all the materials 100% in the lab. So, there is no compromise with the quality. It is totally rubber-armored and gives you a 100% water-tight facility. You'll get 20 to 60* magnification in the lens in it, and that's why we regard as one of the best spotting scope under 300 dollars.

  • Fully multi-coated optics offers excellent image quality.
  • Real-time impressive zooming ability.
  • Durable waterproof and fog proof ability.
  • A Porro prism design.
  • Impressive product quality.
  • Easy to use and mount on the tripod.
  • Reasonable weight for frequent use.
  • Compact tripod.
  • Both availability of soft and hard cases.
  • Some user review says the tripod is not very stable.
  • For some user the field of view is low.
  • Some users drips and flecks of debris inside the scope.

When you are in hunting or traveling, a great spotting scope like Bushnell Trophy XLT 20-60x 65mm Waterproof Compact Tripod Spotting Scope will be the best companion for you. So, without any hesitation take this. It will provide the more facility co see more and more views of your traveling spot. Therefore, your travel will be more significant.

8. Konus 7120 20x-60x80mm Spotting Scope

Do you want 3 in 1 facility in your spotting scope? Then Konus 7120 will be the best spotting scope, you’ve gained. It is especially the summation of camera adaptor, tabletop tripod and also a carrying case. Among all of these probably the best feature you’ll get here is camera adaptor facility. Along with this the accommodation of 60 mm spotting scope along with 80 mm spotting scope will give you a complete package here. After all, the extremely relevant price will add an extra interest to you to take it.

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Moreover, easy carrying facility is simply greater for you. Therefore, while you are in travel, these types of companion probably help to make your journey more significant one. Two-way aperture makes the product special. The first is 60 mm aperture and while you’ll find it fade then you can activate 80 mm aperture for greater magnifications. Only 55 Oz weight will give you a nice facility to carry you.

You can rotate it 360 degrees and get the benefit of greater view. Lockable collar and extendable sunshade provide you a nice option to view. Eye relief of 18mm at 20* and 12 mm at 60* will provide the nice comfort of view. Only 16.5 inch of length is a perfect package for putting in your bag. It has a range of 157 feet for perfect viewing. Obviously, it's a huge range while you are rotating it 360 degrees.

  • More aperture ensures a nice package of perfect view.
  • You will be able to use multiple lenses.
  • Camera adapter will allow you to direct place of camera in your eyepiece at the same time of focusing
  • 360 rotating of the tripod will allow a larger range to cover.
  • You’ll also get here a universal adaptor for your smart-phone.
  • You are also getting sightline aids to spot your subject.
  • You won’t find weatherproof facility here.
  • You need to a bit careful about the watery area because you won't find it as water resistance.

If you want the greater number of facilities accommodating in one device, Konus may take top place on your list. You can save more price than any other spotting scope whether you buy it.

9. ALPEN Waterproof Fogproof Spotting Scopes

When you are in travel a spotting scope which has safer to carry, aren't you? If you have to pay greater concern in the safety of your spotting scope, your enjoyment of traveling will be fade. For this, a fog proof, as well as waterproof spotting scope, will be the best choice for you. And Alpen's fog proof and waterproof spotting scope is ready to give you this facility. Along with this, it has more facilities also which has made it one of the best spotting scope for hunting existing in the world. So, you can simply include Alpen spotting scope on your list if you want to buy a spotting scope.

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You'll also get a package of the table-top tripod a field carrying case along with this. There are 45-degree models available in the market. So, without any confusion, you can take it. You can take any view from almost 300 feet away from your place if you use this spotting scope. Fog proof and waterproof feature are also available which can deprive you of the unnecessary concern of its safety.

You’ll get the scope for 15-45* magnification of spotting. A 60 mm lens is also available with this package. Bak-4 multicoated optics will provide a greater brightness and resolution facility. 45degree eyepiece will allow you to take the view without covering most of the sides around you.

  • Easy carrying facility may be a greater cause of taking this spotting scope for you.
  • Alpen will take the responsibility of the validity of this product forever.
  • The brighter view will give you a nice facility to observe almost all views from a greater distance.
  • Higher resolution will be beneficial to get the best quality of the view.
  • You need to pay less concern to your spotting scope when traveling in any watery-place.
  • The gray color creates some problems while visualizing, but you can take another color of this product
  • You can’t get the scope up to 60 while 40 doesn’t work.

A company will offer you life-time warranty at that time, when there has no confusion about the quality of their product. Obviously, Alpen is that type of company. So, you can easily keep your trust on their product.

10. Meade Instruments 126001 Wilderness Spotting Scope

Do you want to have a 20-60 power spotting scope in hand while traveling? If yes, Meade Instrument is giving you such kind of facility. You know, this type of spotting scope preserves a high-quality viewing capability which may be a great asset for you. So, while you are in travel, a Meade Instrument may be one of the best spotting scopes for you. Moreover, it'll be a great companion to you with a greatest overall package. By the way, a soft case and camera adapter you’ll also get along with.

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There are also some qualities which make it a multi-sport characteristic. Do you able to cope with it? If yes, then take it, and it'll show you its standard, I bet. This spotting scope is made of high-quality materials and contains a Zoom Porro prism of 20-60 power. In together, the entire scope will deliver ling usage without any deviation. It has got an 88mm objective on the scope. It gathers a good amount of light to have a clear vision of the scenario.

To protect your wilderness scope, the entire scope is covered by rubber armor. AS a result, it functions properly even during a foggy or rainy day. In the125001 Wilderness spotting scope, you will have a BaK-4 prism for extreme quality. The specialty of this prism is, it's has got several layers of the anti-reflection coating. The coating is aimed to provide master class optical performance. A sliding sunshade is provided in each model of Wilderness spotting scope. As a benefit, user will enjoy a reduced glare with this. Lastly, All of the models from Wilderness comes up with camera adapter and a soft case to hold it into.

  • 20-60x ultra magnification.
  • A Bak4 prism to protect reflection.
  • An anti-reflection fully multicoated lens inside.
  • The objective lens is larger.
  • Clear view of 87-44' even at a 100 yards field.
  • Waterproof, frog-proof spotting scope.
  • A nitrogen purged compartment inside.
  • A nylon carrying bag provided.
  • Free of abrasions and damages.
  • The perfect tool for hunters, bird watcher and anyone passionate.
  • Doesn’t come with a tripod.
  • No target view finder included.

Although, this best affordable spotting scope lacks a view finder, it's a much-appreciated spotting scope in the market due to its master class optimal performance. If you are one of the bird watchers or hunting lovers, we strongly recommend this view finder spotting scope for you.

Final Verdict

We have reviewed hundreds of spotting scopes from the market, and finally, we have ended up selecting these best spotting scope reviews. What we have considered most are the customer's review, expert analysis, and thorough research data. Finally, we sincerely ensure you that- whatever your requirement is, you will find the best spotting scope from any of the top 10 list.

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