12 Best Spotting Scopes Worth the Money (2020)

Tori Rhodes
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If you like to observe wildlife, sports, or other activities in the wild, then you probably need a spotting scope. These are great for wildlife photography, bird watching, racing, fishing, and more.

These are just a few of the things you can use these for. There are plenty of other activities you can use a spotting scope for.

So, what things should you look out for when shopping around for spotting scopes? Read on to find out what you need to know.

(BTW, this list includes the best spotting scope under 1000.)

NameCategoryProduct
Zeiss Conquest Gavia 85Best Overall
Zeiss Conquest Gavia 85
Celestron – Ultima 80 Angled Spotting ScopeBudget Pick
Celestron – Ultima 80 Angled Spotting Scope
Swarovski Optik HD-ATS-80 HD Spotting ScopeUpgrade Pick
Swarovski Optik HD-ATS-80 HD Spotting Scope

1. Zeiss Conquest Gavia 85

Our rating: 9 / 10


Zeiss Conquest Gavia 85

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Pros:

  • Great quality
  • Made of tough aluminum
  • Functional and useful accessories
  • Comes complete with a soft carry bag

Cons:

  • The eyepiece can be tough to use without hands
  • Only a limited lifetime warranty

Each year, I have the pleasure to try out a lot of the best products on the market, and I always have a few favorite spotting scopes that I recommend. Of all the different spotting scopes I’ve tried out, I think my number one pick would be the Zeiss Conquest Gavia 85.

It features a 45 degree twist-up eyecup that keeps your eyes focused on the target or object. The Zeiss Conquest Gavia is a quality made, sturdy, and durable spotting scope. This model includes a soft carry case built-in with a divider to protect the eyepiece.

The Conquest Gavia is very easy to use, and very functional. If you’re looking for a high quality spotting scope for a reasonable price, I strongly suggest you take a look at the Gavia.

2. Celestron – Ultima 80 Angled Spotting Scope

Our rating: 8 / 10


Celestron – Ultima 80 Angled Spotting Scope

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Pros:

  • Fully Multi-coated lenses
  • Fully waterproof and fogproof design
  • Tripod easily attaches to scope

This 80mm spotting scope from Celestron is a great choice for anyone wanting to get the most they can out of their scope without spending too much.

This setup makes it easy to share the sights with your friends, and the included tabletop tripod is designed to fold away when you’re not using it.

This is a great scope for your next outdoor adventure.

3. Celestron Regal M2 65ED Spotting Scope

Our rating: 8 / 10


Celestron Regal M2 65ED Spotting Scope

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Pros:

  • Reasonably priced
  • Has lots of great features
  • Build quality is solid
  • Includes two eyepieces
  • Includes a padded soft case

The Celestron Regal M2 65 ED Spotting Scope is one of our favorite options if you want to have a nice spotter for bird watching and other outdoor hobbies.

We appreciate that this Celestron spotting scope is very easy to use and versatile. It is also very affordable, which is always great if you are working on a budget.

Another thing is that the scope comes with a few accessories. There are two eyepieces included, one low power ocular with a wide angle view, and one high power ocular with a zoom eyepiece.

4. Vortex Optics Razor HD Spotting Scopes

Our rating: 8 / 10


Vortex Optics Razor HD Spotting Scopes

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Pros:

  • Price Affordable for Most
  • Long Range and Clarity

The Vortex Optics Razor S2 HD is distinguished by its 6061-T6 aircraft grade aluminum and Noctura coating that is highly durable and weather resistant. The lens is multi-coated for maximum light transmission and has a special hard coat which minimizes scratches and smudges on the lens.

There are 3 color choices with two different weight options available in all 3 colors. Choose your favorite color, weight and you're set. The products are made in the USA and are backed by a lifetime guarantee.

The Razor's design, durability and clarity make it a popular choice among wildlife watchers that demand quality.

5. Vortex Optics Viper HD Spotting Scopes

Our rating: 8 / 10


Vortex Optics Viper HD Spotting Scopes

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Pros:

  • Amazing quality optics with a glass lens
  • Strong and durable construction
  • Incredible images provided by the rangefinders
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Clear and bright image
  • Ballistic reticles available
  • Can be mounted to a tripod
  • Multi-coated lenses providing the clearest images
  • Tripod adaptable
  • 6x to 24x magnification

Cons:

  • Can be a bit heavy
  • Rangefinders can be a bit hard to use
  • The eyepiece's cap can be a bit hard to remove and replace
  • The eyepiece can only be flipped up and down
  • Expensive

If you are looking to buy the best spotting scope, you should consider this first. It is not only powerful and high quality, but also quite affordable. Plus it comes in the amazing array of colors that might attract a child's attention.

All in all, it has only good reviews, and the product on sale is just as amazing as it was described in them. There is a case that comes along with the equipment for easy transportation, and you could use the case separately as a backpack!

6. Burris Signature HD Spotting Scope 20-60x85mm Angled Body Sand Scope

Our rating: 8 / 10


Burris Signature HD Spotting Scope 20-60x85mm Angled Body Sand Scope

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Pros:

  • Full-featured with swing-away eyepiece and rubber eyecups
  • Simple thumb screw to adjust the focus
  • Optically correct
  • Compact and light weight
  • You can fold away the angled body for convenient storage
  • Waterproof
  • Fully coated optical lens
  • Versatile and powerful enough for most outdoor activities
  • It makes an impressive gift for any outdoor enthusiast

This ultra-modern optical masterpiece is a joy to use. The build is solid and feels really good in your hand. The size is slightly smaller than expected but nothing to worry about. The scope can be adjusted and locked in position when needed and is easy to use.

The span of this spotting scope is amazing. One end is suited for long distance viewing and the other is perfect for close up viewing. The vision quality and clarity is hard to fault, whether you are viewing through a wall or spotting a bird.

All in all, this is a perfect spotting scope for hunting, birding, and observation.

7. Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A Angled Eyepiece Spotting Scope

Our rating: 7 / 10


Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A Angled Eyepiece Spotting Scope

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Pros:

  • Tripod included
  • Angled eyepiece that rotates to adjust the view
  • Nitrogen purged
  • Coated optics
  • Ground prism design
  • Bottom loading and twist locking eyepiece
  • Fast focus eyepiece
  • Ground glass alignment
  • Fast focus tightening knob
  • Right angled eyepiece

Cons:

  • No case is included
  • Tripod is relatively heavy

The Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A Angled Eyepiece is a top of the line spotting scope and has some pretty impressive dimensions to back it up: 82mm objective lens, 24x magnification, and eye relief of 19mm.

The Endeavor has a great variety of features. A single eyepiece and hinge mechanism allows for easy angling and rotating for the perfect view. It has a 0.5x zoom which will allow for a little bit closer view.

The Endeavor is nitrogen purged which helps reduce internal fogging as it remains drier. It is also waterproof and corrosion resistant.

8. Celestron Hummingbird 9-27x56mm ED Micro Spotting Scope

Our rating: 7 / 10


Celestron Hummingbird 9-27x56mm ED Micro Spotting Scope

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Pros:

  • * Incredibly lightweight

The Celestron Hummingbird is a popular spotting scope for driving, hiking, and birding due to its lightweight body and easy to carry tripod mount. It’s a great choice for beginner and intermediate birders, won’t weigh you down on those quick trips to the park.

You can use the Hummingbird with or without the tripod mount. It’s made of plastic, not metal, but the components seem solid and withstand regular use.

The lens is crisp and images are clear, the tripod mount is high enough to get you close to the ground depending on the terrain, and once you get a look with the Hummingbird, you may just find yourself hooked on using it regularly.

9. Swarovski Optik HD-ATS-80 HD Spotting Scope

Our rating: 7 / 10


Swarovski Optik HD-ATS-80 HD Spotting Scope

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Pros:

  • Amazing Optics
  • Crush Proof
  • Waterproof
  • Hard Carrying Case
  • Erect Image & Backsight

Cons:

  • Limited Eyepieces
  • Tripod is Cheap Plastic

This scope has the same outstanding optics that has made Swarovski Optik famous, which is to say the lens clarity, contrast, and definition are excellent for a spotter of this size.

There are multiple eyepieces, which are also excellent, namely the 20-60 and 67, depending on your needs. The 80mm objective lens allows a view of 36.8 feet at 1000 yards or 30.1 feet at 1000 yards with the 67mm eyepiece. Obviously, price goes up with the eyepiece options, and attaching the Swarovski eyepieces is an extra cost as well.

This scope does not have the typical tripod style mount, but if you use the provided metal plate it works as well as any. The weight of the scope is a little more than many competitors, but the added heft makes the scope significantly more accurate, which is particularly important for a spotter.

10. Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 20-60 x80

Our rating: 6 / 10


Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 20-60 x80

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Pros:

  • Waterproof
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Best optical clarity
  • Can be used with smartphone
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Eyepiece lock keeps eyepiece secure

Cons:

  • A bit pricey
  • Unsuitable for low light conditions

This spotting scope, while very bulky, is quite easy to mount to a tripod. It can be adapted to be handheld, but maximum weight allowance is 3 pounds. It is water resistant as well, making it ideal for use outdoors.

The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 20-60 x80 has 20-60 magnification and a 45-degree eyepiece. The objective lens is 80mm. The lens has multi-coating which greatly improves performance in inclement weather.

It is certainly a high-end piece of equipment. Why risk your performance while hunting if you can use the best equipment available?

11. Vortex Optics Diamondback Spotting Scopes

Our rating: 6 / 10


Vortex Optics Diamondback Spotting Scopes

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Pros:

  • High quality lenses
  • Waterproof and fog-proof
  • Different packages available (tweezer, PL, and FL)
  • Collapsible for easy storage

Cons:

  • Larger than most spotting scopes
  • Larger than most spotting scopes
  • No eye relief

Now, you might be wondering why we’re making a list of 12 best spotting scopes worth the money in 2019 and 2020 if there’s no specific scope to purchase yet. But if you’re an avid hunter or outdoorsman, then you know that sometimes these type of purchases are made well ahead of time. So that’s why we made this list now. We want you to have all the information you need to make an informed buying decision .

When selecting a spotting scope, pay careful attention to the magnification you’re choosing. Ideally, your scope should have 20-50x magnification. Anything lower than that, and you’re not even in the range of spotting scopes. Anything higher than that and you’re starting to get into some pretty serious military grade spotting scopes that most people don’t really need in their arsenal.

12. MINOX MD 50 W Spotting Scope

Our rating: 5 / 10


MINOX MD 50 W Spotting Scope

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Pros:

  • Superb optics
  • Backed up by numerous awards
  • Fast and easy zooming and focusing
  • Compact, lightweight design
  • Waterproof and fog proof
  • Durable and reliable enough to guarantee satisfaction

Some people consider this spotting scope to be a small investment…but a big leap in quality. The German manufacturers have produced another top of the class product. This is a wonderful tool that is praised by many. It weighs less than two pounds, and it is a handy tool for hunting and bird watching. It is compact, and has an ergonomic design.

This product has a multi-coated lens that lets users to look at objects from a distance with high quality clarity. There is a big eyepiece that makes this product even more comfortable to use. The eyepiece has a rubberized ring that makes it easier and more comfortable to use.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best spotting scope for the money?

The best spotting scope for the money will depend on what you’re looking to get out of the scope, how much cash you’re willing to spend, and your accessory requirements.

Obviously, if you’re looking for the best in terms of image quality, comfort, ease of use, and included accessories, you can’t go wrong with the Opticron Quest. It’s premium-priced and is a top-shelf choice. Fashion and accessories might not matter to you, so then you can settle for something more affordable. Again, if image quality is your number one concern, then there’s no questioning the quality of what you’d get with Leica or Leupold.

Is a spotting scope worth it?

Typically, a spotting scope is considered one of the costlier accessories to a hunting rifle, and it can be an item that is over looked for when building the rest of the hunting package. While it may not be used as often as a hunting rifle, for several reasons a good quality spotting scope can be a very valuable hunting tool.

Spending a little extra on a good scope can reach a big benefit to the hunter in the field. A good scope can help you identify and tag a trophy, estimate the weight of your harvest, estimate range, spot during bad weather, and just for enjoyment. The benefit of the spotting scope can be used by the hunter or the hunter’s friends who are there to enjoy the sport.

How good is a 20 60×60 spotting scope?

I myself look to get a spotting scope at least to 70-80x. You mentioned a cheap scope with 30-60x is good. How is this possible?

A spotting scope with 30-60x magnification is good for basic purposes for bird watching, but it will not be sufficient to really look at details of birds and animals. And if you want to do this you better get a scope with 60-70x or more. I would never buy a spotting scope with less than 55x.

To make things easier just google a list for the best spotting scopes currently available and select the one that best meets your requirements.

Whats the difference between a spotting scope and binocular with 30x magnification? I understand that one is bigger and more powerful than the other, but would a binocular with 30x be too big to carry around outdoors?

What is a good spotting scope for 1000 yards?

The caliber of a spotting scope and its power are very important for getting a clear vision at distance. Mounted telescopes may conflict with your rifle but their magnification can be helpful sometimes. The amount of magnification on your scope is described in millimeters, so the higher the number, the greater the magnification.

A large objective lens is important as it provides a wider field of view. Additionally, it helps to separate the cross-hairs from the target, decreasing the shooter’s eye fatigue.

But a good spotting scope should also have a high light transmission. A scope should also be waterproof and shockproof. You could carry your scope in your backpack but it’s easier to set it on a tripod just before shooting. The high quality spotting scopes come with a tripod mount.

Conclusion

With the information within this article, you should be well able to select a spotting scope that will allow you to enjoy wildlife viewing or astronomy with a clarity you never thought possible.

Spotting scopes have been around for almost a century now, and you have probably seen many of them used on hunting programs by a variety of different people. The popularity of these devices has really blossomed in the past few years that a lot of people have taken up stargazing as a hobby and others have enjoyed being able to watch birds on their lawns from an up-close. This guide will help you with your quest for the best spotting scopes for yourself.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Zeiss Conquest Gavia 85Best Overall
Zeiss Conquest Gavia 85
Celestron – Ultima 80 Angled Spotting ScopeBudget Pick
Celestron – Ultima 80 Angled Spotting Scope
Swarovski Optik HD-ATS-80 HD Spotting ScopeUpgrade Pick
Swarovski Optik HD-ATS-80 HD Spotting Scope