Space Gear

7 Great Astronomy Binoculars Under $500 (2023)

While telescopes get a lot more attention when it comes to stargazing equipment, there’s something really nice about binoculars. What is it….? A bifocal view of the wonders of space, of course!

For that reason, I’ve always been a big proponent of binoculars and telescopes here on this site; I think everyone has their own preference and it’s important to let people choose the equipment they feel comfortable with and which meets their astronomy needs.

Binoculars Under $500 Hero

In this post, I’ll cover your mid-range options for astronomy binoculars; these are the best binoculars under $500. They aren’t as budget-friendly nor will they break the bank – they’re all a great option if you’re looking to upgrade from starter astronomy binoculars but aren’t yet ready (or don’t have the funds) to buy something much more expensive.

Short on time?
The best astronomy binoculars under $500 is the Athlon Optics Midas Binoculars.

No matter which ones you choose, all of these binoculars under $500 will help you further unlock the wonders of space from the comfort of your backyard, local park, or favorite stargazing spot. You can’t really go wrong – other than to choose a pair that doesn’t meet your needs or you can’t properly use. (Luckily, binoculars are much easier to use than telescopes, which is another reason I love promoting them for astronomy use!)

Note: Lens and binocular prices have been very volatile in the past two years due to supply chain issues. Note that prices might vary widely from the prices I reported when this post was last updated.

This post was originally published in January 2022, and was updated most recently in February 2023.

The Best Binoculars Under $500 (Ranked)

When it comes to choosing astronomy binoculars, you want to keep a number of factors in mind, including price, (magnification) power, binocular style, and quality. This can be hard to compare on your own, so I put together a ranked list. To come up with this ranking, I considered price, popularity, and review scores from Here’s the list I came up with, using updated data for 2023.

(from 2022)
1Nikon MONARCH 5 10×42 Binocular↑1~$325Link
2Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 BinocularsNew!~$350Link
3Carson 3D Series High Definition Waterproof BinocularsNew!~$370Link
4Celestron Skymaster 25×100 Astronomy Binoculars↑1~$360Link
5Vortex Optics Viper HD Binoculars~$500Link
6Maven C3 ED Binoculars↑3~$400Link
7Orion Giant View 25×100 Binoculars↑3~$400Link

If these all sound interesting, you can read on to discover more of the details about each one and choose the pair of binoculars under $500 that’s best for you.

​1. Nikon MONARCH 5 10×42 Binocular

  • Type: Porro Prism
  • Price: ~$325

With superior quality, these Nikon Monarchs are close to being the best binoculars under $500. The binoculars feature conventional Schmidt-Pechan prisms with phase coatings for crisp and clear views, especially in low light at dawn or dusk. They also incorporate the ED Glass to correct chromatic aberration.

The construction is sturdy and very durable, with built-in lens covers that stargazers can flip off during use. Designed with the typical Monarch look, the binoculars have rubber armor and a high-quality composite interior. The black armor is grippy and makes them very secure in your hands, whereas the composite body makes them compact and lightweight.

2. Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 Binoculars

  • Type: Roof Prism
  • Price: ~$350

Another from the Nikon family, the Monarch 5 8×42 Binoculars is worth considering when looking for mid-range priced binoculars. The highlight of these binoculars by far is their image brightness. The Monarch 5’s lenses gather more light than other models in this price range. They also come with fully multi-coated eco glass lenses to provide sharper and clearer images.

Despite being lightweight, the Monarch 5 has durable materials. The exterior design features rubber coating and a smooth focus knob. The main disadvantages you’ll find in the Monarch 5 is their limited close focus range at 7.8 feet and field of view at 1000 yards 330 feet.

3. Carson 3D Series High Definition Waterproof Binoculars

  • Type: Roof Prism
  • Price: ~$370

The Carson 3D Series has a legion of fans who rave about their quality and optics. Just take a look at the Amazon reviews. They come in various sizes, with the 8×42 and 10×42 being their most popular and versatile ones. Carson 3D binoculars stand out among other astronomy binoculars under $500, thanks to the stunning images they provide in low-light conditions.

The company has designed its own blend of E.D. glasses, which, combined with their dielectric prism coating technology, help reduce chromatic aberration and provide the brightest and clearest image possible. These binoculars feature a rubberized armor coating, making them waterproof and shockproof. They are a bit on the heavy side, but their extra weight is worth it, considering the superior optics.

4. Celestron Skymaster 25×100 Astronomy Binoculars

  • Type: Porro Prism
  • Price: ~$360

The Celestron Skymaster 25×100 is one of the best astronomy binoculars. This powerful binocular makes celestial bodies appear roughly twenty-five times larger than your eye alone would see. It comes with giant 100mm objective lenses that make images brighter in low-light and long-range conditions – like while stargazing!

The Celestron Skymaster is also designed with a built-in tripod adapter rod for easy hand-free use and portability that comes in handy in longer viewing sessions. 

5. Vortex Optics Vulture HD Binoculars

  • Type: Roof Prism
  • Price: ~$500

The Vortex Optics Vulture HD Binoculars are popular among hunters, but stargazers can benefit from their excellent optic quality; this is why they make my list of great astronomy binoculars under $500. They feature HD (High Density) extra-low dispersion glass and dielectric multilayer prism coatings, which deliver impressive resolution and color fidelity.

They operate just as well in low light conditions and manage to pick up details in fog that other binoculars wouldn’t be able to pick up. The edge-to-edge clarity is outstanding in these binoculars, and there’s minimal chromatic aberration. They have a good field of view of 328 feet/1000 yards and a close focus at 9.8 feet.

6. Maven C3 ED Binoculars

  • Type: Roof Prism
  • Price: ~$400

“Amazing value” is all I can say when I think about the Maven C3 ED Binoculars. Like most people, their build and optical quality will impress you, especially for the money.

For $500, you get 10 power magnification, 50 mmm objective lenses, and outstanding low light performance. They have a dielectric coated Schmidt-Pechan prism system and extra-low dispersion (ED lenses). There’s almost no chromatic aberration and 2.5 meters of close focus distance regarding image quality.

The only downside of these stargazing binoculars under $500 is their narrow field of view. It is only 86 meters, considering the 10x magnification is relatively narrower than many other 10×50 binoculars.

7. Orion Giant View 25×100 Binoculars

  • Type: Porro Prism 
  • Price: ~$400

If you’re looking for one of the best binoculars for stargazing, you should consider the Orion Giant View 25×100. This big Astro-binocular features large-aperture, fully multi-coated optics that provide exceptional light gathering for a perfect stargazing experience.

It also provides generous magnifying power that allows stargazers to appreciate the most subtle details of the celestial bodies. Since this binocular weighs 10.1 lbs. (the word “giant” is in their name for a reason), getting a tripod is necessary to use it comfortably.   

Have any questions about these great binoculars under $500 for astronomy and stargazing? Let me know in the comments.

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Valerie is the founder and editor of Space Tourism Guide. She grew up in Alaska, has lived across the U.S., and traveled around the world to enjoy the night sky from many different perspectives. Join her on this journey to explore space right here on earth.

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