The Best Binocular Awards for 2014 Announced by OutdoorGearLab
From thirteen top performing binoculars on the market, testers selected winners in the categories of Editors' Choice, Top Pick, and Best Buy.
Editors' Choice: Nikon Monarch 7 10x30
In her previous review published in fall of 2013, Bennett had given the best overall award to the Nikon Monarch 3. In her 2014 update of her binocular review, Bennett gives this honor to the newer Nikon Monarch 7. The 10x magnifying power coupled with a reduced size and weight allows this pair to magnify to a strong degree without resulting in a shaky image, which can sometimes happen with strong magnifiers. The Monarch 7 is also made with Extra-low dispersion glass lenses, which reduces color aberration and produces a crisp and color correct image.
Best Buy: Nikon Trailblazer 8x25
The Nikon Trailblazer also receives a nod from Bennett for being the best pair for beginners. Since this compact pair is inexpensive, easy to adjust, high performing, and extremely portable, they are easy to pack along on any trip and ideal for someone just starting out scoping things from afar. This pair presents extremely good value for the price.
Top Pick for Bird Watching: Swarovski EL 10x32 Swarovision
The Swarovski EL is the deluxe model in Bennett's test. Costing over $2500, which is seven times more than the Nikon Monarch 7, these are best for serious bird watchers who have money to invest in their hobby. And if you are that serious about identifying feathered friends, these will be the ones you want. With similar qualities to the Monarch 7, the Swarovski have a 10x magnifying power with a portable size, are made from top of the line ED glass, and produce an extremely clear, colorful image that makes identifying a bird from subtle coloration possible.
Top Pick for Hunting: Nikon Prostaff 7 10x42
A portable set with real-tree colored barrels, this pair excels at viewing wildlife even when you are on the move. Presenting a clear image with 10x magnifying power, these can help hunters spot wildlife lurking in a dense forest. This pair excels at adjusting quickly and easily, which is very important when following moving objects. Bennett notes that they are reasonably priced and perform well, especially at this specific application.
Top Pick for Boating: Bushnell H20 10x26
A waterproof and durable pair with 10x magnification, the Bushnell H20 is the perfect companion for adventures on the water. Bennett states that they can withstand hard use but still present a clear image. This pair is lightweight and portable, which makes for easy packing when headed on an adventure. They are also very reasonably priced, making them a good choice for someone on a budget.
Bennett's full review of thirteen binoculars provides details and comparison between all the test models. This review is also accompanied by a detailed buying guide that provides a glossary of terms to educate consumers about the technical details when purchasing a pair of magnifiers, and steers consumers through the purchasing process so they can decide upon the pair that will best suit their needs. This buying guide comes complete with illustrative diagrams that makes it easy for the average person to understand the technical aspects of magnification and light refraction.
Based in Cheyenne, Wyoming, OutdoorGearLab, LLC is a free resource dedicated to assisting outdoors enthusiasts when making informed purchasing decisions. The website, www.outdoorgearlab.com, houses a wide range of comparison reviews of outdoor apparel and equipment targeted at those who participate in activities such as backpacking, hiking, camping, hunting, bird watching, running, and cycling. The test team performs detailed head-to-head tests of gear and publishes their findings in essays illustrated with photos. Each test model is scored across a range of weighted metrics, products are ranked, and awards are given to the top-performing models. Readers can then easily find the best possible product with minimal time invested in personal research because the OutdoorGearLab test team has already made important relevant observations.