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Binoculars for kids aren’t that different than the ones adults use. The binos my 11-year-old son uses are better than the ones I had up until a half-decade ago, and no, I didn’t drop one thousand dollars on them to make sure he’d be the best-outfitted 11-year-old on the mountain. Like all pieces of outdoor gear, optic manufacturers have come a long way in recent years. The glass and prisms have improved, which boosts optical clarity and light gathering. The central focus wheels don’t take a pair of channel lock pliers to turn, eyecups twist in and out for extended eye relief, and bino ergonomics are remarkable. 

My son’s binoculars have a lifetime guarantee, are water and fog-proof, and the open-bridge design reduces weight and boosts balance. They are also tripod adaptable, and I paid less than $200 for them. You don’t need to drop a fortune on optics, either. Here are the best binoculars for kids.

How We Made Our Picks

What makes a binocular suitable for one person doesn’t make it ideal for another, and we kept that in mind when making our selections. We focused on features like balance, functionality, durability, price, and optical clarity. Below are some of the considerations and questions you should be asking when looking at binoculars for kids:

  • Weight: How heavy are the binoculars? Will carrying them around wear out a kid too quickly?
  • Durability: Can these binos withstand being dropped and banged around? Kids are tough on gear.
  • Fit: Are the binoculars comfortable in the smaller hands of children? Will they be able to hold them securely?
  • Magnification/Clarity: How powerful are the binos? Is it clear enough for kids to see at a distance?
kid using binoculars
The author’s son uses a pair of Nikon binoculars to glass during a hunt. Jace Bauserman

Best Binoculars for Kids: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall: Leupold BX-1 McKenzie HD 8x42MM


  • Weight: 22 ounces
  • Length: 5.5 inches
  • Magnification: 8×42


  • Leupold’s Lifetime Guarantee
  • Tested in the harshest conditions on the planet
  • High-definition clarity


  • Lowlight glassing can be a struggle
  • Limited eye relief during extended glassing

You won’t find a better 8-power binocular for $160. The binocular lenses come with scratch and smudge-resistant lens coatings, and since kids often smudge and scratch glass, this is a nice bonus. The binoculars are also easy to clean and mount to a tripod for extended glassing sessions. The open-bridge design reduces weight, and the size-to-weight ratio is suitable for a youngster that spends a lot of time (most do) glassing offhand. The light transmission rivals top-tier Leupold bino models, and the glare reduction will keep kids excited about glassing and not asking mom or dad for Tylenol when it gets bright outside. The binoculars are water and fog-proof, and the removable twist-up eyecups allow you to replace them in the field if they get damaged.

Best Under $500: Maven C.1 8×42


  • Weight: 24 ounces
  • Length: 5.7 inches 
  • Magnification: 8×42 


  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • Phase correction coating
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Extra-low dispersion ed glass


  • Expensive
  • Bulky

Maven’s mid-range C.1 8x42s would also make the cut if this were a budget-binocular review. Believe it or not, a price tag of $425 is considered “budget-friendly” in the optic world. These binoculars have remarkable light-gathering and color transmission via the extra-low dispersion glass and phase correction coating. They produce bright, clear images even in failing light, and though a bit bulky for youngsters, the polymer frame is generally lightweight and tough as nails. Maven’s lifetime warranty covers these binoculars so you don’t have to stress about your son or daughter breaking them. The C.1 binos also made the cut in our 9 best cheap binoculars for serious hunters.

Best Budget: Bushnell Engage 10×42 


  • Weight: 21.8 ounces
  • Length: 5.9 inches
  • Magnification: 10-power


  • EXO barrier protection
  • Rubber armor grip w/texturing
  • Solid light gathering


  • Eye relief
  • Long distance glassing

These binoculars are leaps and bounds ahead of the budget price tag they wear. The Engage sports an open-bridge design, and you’ll be pressed to find a binocular with a more durable, easy-to-handle housing. The focus wheel is smooth, and Bushnell’s EXO Barrier is a permanent coating applied to the exterior lens surface that repels water, oil, fog, dust, and debris. Kids get glass dirty, and these fully-multi coated optics provide a bright and clear image no matter how many greasy fingerprints are on the lenses. The binoculars are tripod adaptable, and the twist-up eyecups make it easy to spot game even when wearing eyeglasses.

Best Versatile: Burris Droptine HD 10×42


  • Weight: 25.6 ounces
  • Length: 5.8 inches long
  • Magnification: 10×42


  • Excellent focusing
  • Solid eye relief
  • Minimal color loss


  • Bulky
  • Hard to handle

The 10-power magnification of these binoculars is excellent, and though a tad bulky, they are a good choice if you and your youth hunter chase a variety of game. They are compact enough for a treestand or ground blind but powerful enough to study mountain slopes and unsullied alpine basins. The binoculars perform well in any lighting condition, and they are fully waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof—features you won’t often find in a binocular with a low price tag. The rubber body armor with a diamond texture boosts fit and feel, even when the housing is wet, and this diamond texture gives the binos a good look.

Best Compact: Vortex Diamondback HD 10×42


  • Weight: 21.3 ounces
  • Length: 5.1 inches
  • Magnification: 10×42


  • Lifetime warranty
  • Included GlassPakTm harness
  • HD Lens Elements


  • Lowlight clarity

These Vortex binos could have easily been branded as Best Overall, but they are so easy to handle that they deserved the Best Compact award. Combine the ArmorTec coating on the exterior lenses with Rubber Armor and Shockproof housing, and you get binoculars that will answer the ready-to-hunt call season after season. The fully multi-coated lenses have HD elements that increase clarity and light transmission as well as a phase correction coating on the roof prism that ups resolution and contrast. The grip on these binoculars is sure and secure, and there’s no need to worry even if you drop the binos.

Best Compact: Hawke Frontier HD X 10×32


  • Weight: 19 ounces
  • Length: 4.7 inches long
  • Magnification: 10×32 


  • BAK-4 roof prisms
  • Magnesium alloy chassis
  • Dielectric coatings


  • Durability

You won’t find a lighter, more compact binocular for the money. The tubes are easy to grip, and you can’t beat the color clarity and lowlight gathering these optics provide. An excellent choice for the whitetail woods or the western mountains. The color control and phase correction are remarkable. The lenses have water-repellent coatings, and the stay-on lens covers help the kiddos keep dirt and debris off. Light transmission is excellent via the Dielectric Coated prisms. The binoculars are covered by Hawke’s No-Fault Lifetime Warranty, which is as good of a warranty you will find in the hunting industry. 

Things to Consider Before Buying the Best Binoculars For Kids

Keep the sales rep at the box store you visit from talking you into any binoculars over $500. I promise your son or daughter will do fine with any of the options mentioned in this article. The most important thing is to ensure the binoculars fit them and that you find a system that allows the binos to travel on their chest and not beat them up. A good binocular harness is worth its weight in gold, and I recommend those from Marsipual Gear

The binoculars should also have a housing that fits small hands and a weight rating that doesn’t make a youngster feel like they’re at the gym whenever they lift their binos to glass. Most importantly, though, the best binoculars for kids should be built like a German tank. Find a pair with a durable housing that resists shock and has lenses that don’t scratch like a $5 pair of sunglass after a short day at the beach. 

Remember, kids break loose things often, and you don’t want to be out a bunch of money when they walk off and leave a pair on some rock in the middle of the wilderness. Find a durable, balanced, and generally clear pair of binos, and they will have no trouble spotting and watching game animals.


Q: How much do kids’ binoculars cost?

Don’t spend over $500 on a pair of binoculars for kids. Try to stay in the $125-$300 range.

Q: How long will a pair of binoculars for kids last? 

Many will last a lifetime. The binoculars my oldest son (17 years) uses were passed down to him by an older hunter that had trusted them in the woods for six years. They are still in excellent working shape, and this year, when he glassed for elk, he won the father/son glassing contest by finding the first bull and, later, the biggest bull.

Q: How do I make sure my kids’ binoculars are comfortable for them?

Get your youth a good bino harness, and that means not a single strap that goes around the neck. A single neck strap will rub their neck raw, allowing the binoculars to swing carelessly on the chest when moving quickly through broken terrain.

Q: Does it matter if my kids’ binoculars are camouflaged?

Not at all. As long as the binocular isn’t cloaked in shiny metal, color means very little. Most binoculars have a solid black, OD green, grey, or brown body. 

Best Binoculars for Kids: Final Thoughts

Good glass is essential, and as long as your youth hunter can handle the binoculars you purchase for them and can see through them well enough to glass distant game, you’ve done your job well. Remember to also consider weight, fit, and magnification. If you check all those boxes, you’ll find the best binoculars for kids.

Why Trust Us

For more than 125 years, Field & Stream has been providing readers with honest and authentic coverage of outdoor gear. Our writers and editors eat, sleep, and breathe the outdoors, and that passion comes through in our product reviews. You can count on F&S to keep you up to date on the best new gear. And when we write about a product—whether it’s a bass lure or a backpack—we cover the good and the bad, so you know exactly what to expect before you decide to make a purchase.