• Reading time:25 mins read
  • Post category:Scopes
  • Post last modified:April 16, 2023
  • Post published:December 7, 2020

If you have one of these hobbies: bird watching, hunting, or astronomy, you can be interested in spotting scopes. There are 2 body types: angled (have a better setup for digiscoping and the lower tripod height for better stability) and straight (spot targets faster while stalking).

Best Spotting Scope For The Money - Editor's Choice

Scopes for birding can be mounted on a tripod and carried over the shoulder, for hunting it’s better to carry it in a lightweight backpack.

Why do we need a spotting scope?

A spotting scope is a handheld powerful telescope with additional optics to provide a straight image while viewing overland objects and some close astronomical ones (spotting scope has less powerful magnification than a telescope, and doesn’t have interchangeable eyepieces). The more objective lens diameter (usually from 2.0 to 3.1 in), the more spotting scope light-gathering power and resolution. Spotting scopes have higher magnification than binos, but they have a smaller viewing field, that’s why it’s not easily follow moving targets or objects. So the spotting scope can be a good idea for hunting on a large game in wide-open fields, assisting long-distance shots; whereas the binocular will be effective in wooded and confined areas. You can use the spotting scope with a digital camera or mobile phone if needed, just line up the scope eyepiece with the camera lens.

TOP-20 Spotting Scope for The Money

Vortex Razor HD 27-60x85 Spotting ScopeVortexBUY
Vortex Razor HD 11-33x50 Spotting ScopeVortexBUY
Celestron 90 mm Maksutov with TripodCelestronBUY
Redfield Rampage 20-60x60mm Spotting Scope KitRedfieldBUY
Vortex Viper HD 15-45x 65mm Spotting ScopeVortexBUY
Celestron Ultima 80 Angled Spotting ScopeCelestronBUY
Celestron Ultima 80 Spotting Scope with 20-60x Zoom Eyepiece & TripodCelestronBUY
Redfield Rampage 20-60x80mm Full-Size Spotting Scope KitRedfieldBUY
Bushnell Legend T-Series 15-45x60mm Spotting ScopeBushnellBUY
Barska 20-60x60mm Blackhawk Waterproof Spotting ScopeBarskaBUY
Pentax PF-80ED-A Spotting ScopesPentaxBUY
Meopta Meopro 80 HD 20-60x80 Spotting ScopeMeoptaBUY
Barska Gladiator 20-60x90 Waterproof Spotting ScopeBarskaBUY
Barska 8-24x58mm Bench Mark DFS Waterproof Spotting ScopeBarskaBUY
Vanguard Endeavor HD 65A 15-45x65mm Spotting ScopeVanguardBUY
Celestron Ultima 100 Spotting ScopeCelestronBUY
Celestron LandScout 10-30x50mm Spotting ScopeCelestronBUY
Nikon Prostaff 5 20-60x82mm Zoom Spotting ScopeNikonBUY
Celestron TrailSeeker 20-60x80mm Spotting ScopeCelestronBUY
Celestron C5 Spotter 5" 127mm Spotting Scope Schmidt-CassegrainCelestronBUY

#1 Vortex Razor HD 27-60×85 Spotting Scope

Vortex Razor HD 27-60x85 Spotting Scope

Vortex Razor Porro Prism Spotting Scopes have ED Glass XR fully multi-coated. Ultra-sleek green spotting scopes, with variable 27 – 60 x magnification, are available in 2 body type models: angled and straight. Premium precision-ground HD glass lenses, 85 mm objective diameter, provide color accuracy, razor-sharp, true-to-life viewing. Vortex Razor Spotting Scopes are designed with adjustable twist-up eyecups, helical focus (close one -16.4 ft), built-in sunshade, rotating tripod ring, including such accessories as: lens covers, eyepiece cap, and a view-through case for carrying. Vortex Razor Spotting Scopes are appropriate for target and long-range shooting and nature watching and can be a bit heavy for forest hiking or carrying while hunting.

Video review

  • Makes quality pictures;
  • Edge to edge clarity;
  • Fog resistant and waterproof;
  • Seen clearly targets at 300 yards;
  • Quality Japanese glass and images;
  • Warranty and reliable customer service.
  • Rather small cover of the objective lens;
  • Needs to be stable to work properly.

#2 Vortex Razor HD 11-33×50 Spotting Scope

Vortex Razor HD 11-33x50 Spotting Scope

Vortex Razor Porro Prism spotting scope is compact with 50 mm objective lens, 11 – 33 x variable magnification, and linear view field of 96 – 191 feet at 1000 yds. The Vortex has taken care of dust, moisture, or debris not getting inside the spotting scope, and sealed it with O-rings. No matter whether you wear glasses or not, you’ll be able to conveniently adjust eyecups, folding them up or down. The triplet apochromatic lens ensures high-definition images over the entire viewing field without color fringing, resolution worsens, or color fidelity dilution at longer spotting distances.

Video review

  • Military Discount for anyone US Armed Forces, Law Enforcement, or an Emergency First Responder;
  • Lightweight, reliable, and durable;
  • Package comes with a view-through case for carrying;
  • Fogproof and waterproof due to the technology of argon gas purging.
  • Short eye relief when you zoom in: the image disappears down into the eyepiece;
  • Gets dark at a max magnification of 33x;
  • Side covers hinder eye alignment with the exit pupil light shaft, cover does not facilitate scope adjustment, zipper gets in the way of adjustment.

#3 Celestron 90 mm Maksutov with Tripod

Celestron 90 mm Maksutov with Tripod

C90 Mak black Spotting Scope, equipped with 90mm objective lens (with 1250mm focal length), erect image finder scope (8×21), video and photographic tripod, gives stable top-grade optics view for terrestrial or celestial targets, and even dim subjects. This spotting scope is suitable for 100-300yd targets viewing and the moon, or even Saturn’s ring observing. Celestron tripod comes with panhandle control, quick release bracket, and horizontal & vertical bubble level. The Celestron package 52268-OP includes a nylon backpack.

  • 32mm eyepiece (the magnification about 39x) is angled at 45 degrees to ensure more comfy observing;
  • Accurately clear images on wide areas are provided due to the multi-coated optics;
  • Equally good for both long-distance and short-range viewing;
  • SLR Cameras adapting is possible thanks to built-in T-Adapter threads;
  • Light and portable tripod fits any other middle size optical device;
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty.
  • Warning of California’s Proposition 65;
  • Not waterproof metallic aluminum tube;
  • The tripod stand is a bit flimsy, it is loosely made, so the scope moves around: it should be replaced while using as a telescope;
  • 8 power spotter scope is not sharp.

#4 Redfield Rampage 20-60x60mm Spotting Scope Kit

Redfield Rampage 20-60x60mm Spotting Scope Kit

The Redfield Rampage 20-60x60mm Spotting Scope (67600) is filled with nitrogen to make them proof against shock, water, and fog. This BAK4 prism spotting scope is designed with a matte black finishing polycarbonate body, equipped with fully multi-coated lenses (has retractable lens shade), twist-up eyecup, compact tripod adaptable mount. The Redfield Rampage Spotting Scope has 20x fixed magnification, 60 mm objective lens diameter, linear field of view is 51 – 114 feet at 1000 yards.

Video review

  • Easy to adjust;
  • Legs are stable;
  • Full Lifetime Warranty;
  • PhoneSkope makes an adapter for this spotting scope;
  • Good low-cost alternative.
  • Eye relief is too short for people with glasses;
  • A little heavy after using awhile;
  • Poor low-light visibility;
  • Not a good clarity for long-range distance images.

#5 Vortex Viper HD 15-45x 65mm Spotting Scope

Vortex Viper HD 15-45x 65mm Spotting Scope

Vortex Viper HD Spotting Scope has 65mm multi-coated HD premium glass lenses and 15 – 45x magnification, providing clarity and accuracy of viewing images. The compact Vortex Viper HD Spotting Scope can be used for long-distance spotting of the large game: helical-style focusing helps quickly catch the target and always capture all details. This dielectric coating Porro Prism Spotting Scope is represented in green color, equipped with adjustable twist-up eyecups, built-in sunshade, and adaptable tripod.

  • Dustproof, water- and fog proof;
  • Scratch-resistant ArmorTek finishing;
  • Unlimited Lifetime Warranty;
  • Military Discount for anyone US Armed Forces, Law Enforcement, or an Emergency First Responder;
  • Crisp clean viewing at 1200 yards.
  • Tripod mount is forward of balance point;
  • No reticle;
  • A little heavy;
  • At full 45 power, loses a bit of sharpness.

#6 Celestron Ultima 80 Angled Spotting Scope

Celestron Ultima 80 Angled Spotting Scope

The Celestron Ultima series include Spotting Scope with 80mm objective diameter, the aperture from the 65mm, and 20-60x magnification, ensuring brighter images. The green coating color of durable metal refractor optical tubes helps subtly observe in the natural environment.

Video review

  • Single-finger turning of focus knob;
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty;
  • Water-resistant;
  • Clear with good light transmission at mid-ranges;
  • Rubber armored body;
  • Initial subject location by quick peep sight.
  • California’s Proposition 65;
  • Chromatic aberration is unpleasant for eyes (blurred images) while viewing on higher magnification;
  • Focus adjustment could be finer;
  • Doesn’t come with a mini tripod.

#7 Celestron Ultima 80 Spotting Scope

Celestron Ultima 80 Spotting Scope with 20-60x Zoom Eyepiece & Tripod

The Celestron guarantees that portable multi-coated lenses Spotting Scope has a reliable light gathering ability. 20-60x zoom 45-degree angled eyepiece makes viewing of birds, other targets, and even the moon, comfy. Rubber armored coating provides refactored-design optics with durability. Celestron photographic & video tripod (27 inches folded height) comes with a fast release plate on the 3-way pan head, 2-position bubble level, 90-degree vertical platform, and a column with geared elevator and adjustable tension.

  • Camera adaptable;
  • Good for short-range spotting (at 50 yards);
  • Fog- and waterproof due to the nitrogen filling;
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty;
  • Easy turning of focus knob with one finger;
  • Glance is enough to find the initial subject location.
  • Light tripod with weak construction: the pan head wobbles, so it’s impossible to see the target holes at 100 yards;
  • The poorly located and balanced mount point;
  • Flimsy tripod mounting bracket;
  • Not weatherproof;
  • Can’t rotate the scope body around the mount.

#8 Redfield Rampage 20-60x80mm Full-Size Spotting Scope Kit

Redfield Rampage 20-60x80mm Full-Size Spotting Scope Kit

The Redfield Rampage BAK-4 Prism 80mm full-size angled Spotting Scope with a magnification range from 20x to 60x and well-balanced field-of-view comes with a tripod, a soft storage view-thru case with a strap, lens covers for objective & eyepiece. The standard 1/4-20 thread tripod adapter port can be installed on any standard window or tripod mount to get more stable long-range spotting.

Video review

  • BAK4 prism is professional-grade optics;
  • Tough polycarbonate body with matte finishing;
  • Low level of blare due to retractable lens shade;
  • Optics are clear, even at 1,000 yards;
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty.
  • Hazy at high power;
  • Tripod is not sturdy.

#9 Bushnell Legend T-Series 15-45x60mm Spotting Scope

Bushnell Legend T-Series 15-45x60mm Spotting Scope

A Mil-Hash reticle is joined to a Mil-Base riflescope reticle to speed up the zeroing process in the Bushnell Legend Tactical Spotting Scope. PC3 Phase lens coatings improve resolution and contrast, optics that are fully multi-coated for anti-reflection. This Bushnell Spotting Scope comes with the necessary mounts to fix extra riflescopes, lights, or other accessories. The Spotting Scope body has matte finishing in Flat Dark Earth color, equipped with 60 mm objective lens diameter, giving 15 – 45 x magnification.

Video review

  • Correct light scattering due to the o-ring seal and water-repellent coatings, purged with nitrogen, which prevents beading up moisture (during rain, sleet, snow) and condensation;
  • Extra-low dispersion prime glass;
  • Lightweight and compact;
  • First focal plane.
  • California’s Proposition 65;
  • Clarity gets worse above 35x: blurry at higher magnification;
  • Minor edge distortion;
  • Lens caps fit a bit lose;
  • Reticle off-centered;
  • No numbers on mil marks.

#10 Barska 20-60x60mm Blackhawk Waterproof Spotting Scope

Barska 20-60x60mm Blackhawk Waterproof Spotting Scope

Barska offers 3 models of 20-60x60mm Black-Hawk Waterproof Spotting Scopes: the first two comes with a green finishing body and a hard case, they differ by the scope body type and linear view field (one is angled with 45 – 91 ft at 1000 yds, another is straight with 15 – 45 ft at 1000 yds); the third model has Mossy Oak, Break-Up Camo finishing casing with soft and hard cases, it’s straight with linear view field of 15 – 45 ft at 1000 yds. These multi-coated optics Spotting Scopes have a 60 mm objective lens, 20 – 60 x variable zoom magnification, providing bright and crisp clear images in low-light conditions and fixation on the subject in detail.

  • Value for money;
  • Durable shock-absorbing rubber housing;
  • Reasonably sharp and clear target picture;
  • Easy to set up and use;
  • Extendable sunshade decreases glare.
  • California’s Proposition 65;
  • No option of night vision scope;
  • A bit flimsy lens caps;
  • No eye relief for wearers of regular eyeglasses or shooting glasses;
  • Tripod does not have a height adjustment.

#11 Pentax PF-80ED-A Spotting Scopes

Pentax PF-80ED-A Spotting Scopes

Angled Spotting Scope black housing is equipped with a brand renowned original Pentax 70509 20X-60X SMC Zoom Eyepiece with 80 mm objective lens. Magnesium-alloy body is sturdy and shock-resistant for internal parts, and not heavy.

  • Compact and lightweight;
  • Chromatic aberrations are decreased due to the high-resolution ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass;
  • Water – and fog proof;
  • Crisp images even in low-light environments;
  • Solid mount connection;
  • The carrying bag can be partially opened and still usable on the tripod.
  • No reticle for range estimating;
  • No reliable focus knob;
  • Stiff Zoom.

#12 Meopta Meopro 80 HD 20-60×80 Spotting Scope

Meopta Meopro 80 HD 20-60x80 Spotting Scope

A large fluoride objective lens of Meopta Meopro 80 HD Spotting Scope gives high resolution, vivid colors, excluding any chromatic aberrations or color fringing. The integrated 20x – 60x eyepiece ensures distant objects’ sharp clarity and edge-to-edge sharpness. This spotting scope is compatible with the Meopta MeoPix iScoping Adapter for iPhone (57mm), letting you take quality long-distance photos.

Video review

  • The CentricDrive mid-body focus control allows to use it even with gloves;
  • Water – and fog proof;
  • Transmission and ruggedness;
  • Durable due to the rubber-armored magnesium chassis.
  • A little pricey;
  • Non-removable eyepiece.

#13 Barska Gladiator 20-60×90 Waterproof Spotting Scope

Barska Gladiator 20-60x90 Waterproof Spotting Scope

Barska Gladiator Straight Spotting Scope has multi-coated optics with 20-60x Zoom and 90mm objective, improving light transmission and giving higher-ranking clarity and brightness. This Zoom Spotting Scope is appropriate for big game hunting and spotting at a long distance. O-ring sealed makes spotting scope waterproof and dry nitrogen-purged prevents moisture damage, fogging, and clouding. The Barska Gladiator Spotting Scope is equipped with a micro-adjustable tripod with a standard mount and carrying case.

  • Armored rubber absorbs shock;
  • Powerful resolution, it’s possible to see .223 holes in cardboard at 200 yards;
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty.
  • California’s Proposition 65;
  • Tripod is flimsy for the large size of the scope;
  • Focus dial turns constantly and hardly brings an object into crisp focus – even at the lowest zoom.

#14 Barska 8-24x58mm Bench Mark DFS Waterproof Spotting Scope

Barska 8-24x58mm Bench Mark DFS Waterproof Spotting Scope

The Barska Bench Mark DFS Waterproof Spotting Scope AD10786 with fully coated optics, having 8-24x magnification, and 58mm objective lens, will fit nature researchers, hunters, or shooters. Barska has implemented a cutting-edge Dynamic Focusing System that helps the center by turning the objective lens. This Porro Prism Spotting Scope comes with a compact pan-head tripod, including ACCU grip manual mount and protective carrying bag.

  • Ruggedness and good performance;
  • Can be useful for range work;
  • Internal corrosion and fogging are excluded due to the nitrogen-purged and O-ring sealed;
  • Eyepiece with regulable zoom power;
  • Value for the money;
  • Sufficient to see about 11 yards out;
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty.
  • Focus is a little stiff;
  • Adjustment dials slightly tight at first but gets loosen up with time.

#15 Vanguard Endeavor HD 65A 15-45x65mm Spotting Scope

Vanguard Endeavor HD 65A 15-45x65mm Spotting Scope

The Vanguard Endeavor HD Angled-Body Spotting Scope is produced with a 65mm objective lens and 15-45x zoom magnification, fully multi-coated lenses (improves light transmission), made of ED glass shows the images without color fringing and gives realistic color rendition. The Vanguard Endeavor HD 65A Spotting Scope is equipped with other important parts such as an integral sunshade (excludes glare in direct sunlight), an extendable rubber covered eyecups, the eye relief option even at the highest zoom settings, an aluminum tripod with a universal mounting plate on the tripod head, and a carrying padded raincoat with strap.

  • ED (Extra-low Dispersion) optics;
  • Quick and precise dual focus turning adjustments ensures by fine and coarse castors;
  • The phase-coated Bak4 roof prism system provides clear spotting in any weather conditions without fogging or corrosion;
  • Rubber armored magnesium body;
  • Focus knobs are smooth;
  • Heavy a little;
  • A bit time-consuming to reach wide-angle zoom by the eyepiece.

#16 Celestron Ultima 100 Spotting Scope

Celestron Ultima 100 Spotting Scope

Celestron Ultima 100 is a 100 mm Refractor Spotting Scope with multi-coated optics of 22-66x zoom magnification, 45-degree viewing angle, and function of initial subject location just by having a glance. Rubber armored angled-body in green color is waterproof, is set with a soft carrying case. This scope in its price range is better than others: quite clear images at a short distance, but not sharp on high power.

  • Limited Lifetime Warranty;
  • Sight-tube for prompt targeting;
  • Focus knob easily turns with a finger.
  • Enough for indoor shooting up to 15 feet, but if you need to see and count bullet holes at 100 yards distance, this scope is not for outdoor target shooting;
  • Does not come with a hard case;
  • Heavy: it’s necessary to use a beefy tripod for this scope.

#17 Celestron LandScout 10-30x50mm Spotting Scope

Celestron LandScout 10-30x50mm Spotting Scope

Celestron LandScout Spotting Scope is a fully coated optics that transforms light transmission for bright and sharp viewing. Celestron LandScout is a portable Spotting Scope that can accompany you to any excursion, nature observing, or to the firing field. Rotating tripod mount allows setting the eyepiece in the most appropriate viewing position. 10-30x Zoom Eyepiece provides general or detailed up-close viewing while this magnification range.

Video review

  • Compact and lightweight;
  • Rubber grip for comfy magnification setting: large focus wheel can adjust even in gloves the focus on the subject;
  • Smooth focus and nice zoom.
  • Not good for shot beyond 100 yards;
  • A better tripod is necessary.

#18 Nikon Prostaff 5 20-60x82mm Zoom Spotting Scope

Nikon Prostaff 5 20-60x82mm Zoom Spotting Scope

Nikon declares that Prostaff 5 Spotting Scope is 20% lighter than the current models, and has minimal color aberration at the field view edges. An 82mm objective lens with a zoom eyepiece lens ensures long eye relief and a bright view field. The digiscoping mount is compatible with COOLPIX-series compact digital cameras with an FSB-series Digital Camera Bracket, although, due to two screw mounting holes on the main scope body, the scope can be fixed on the tripod even without this a digiscoping system.

  • Multilayer coated lenses and prisms;
  • Arsenic- and lead-free Eco-glass;
  • Water-resistant and fog-free;
  • Build-in type slide hood;
  • Stay-on case comes with the scope.
  • The camera needs better adaptation.

#19 Celestron TrailSeeker 20-60x80mm Spotting Scope

Celestron TrailSeeker 20-60x80mm Spotting Scope

Celestron TrailSeeker Spotting Scope with the 80 mm objective of 20-60x zoom magnification allows to focus quickly on a subject, then fine-tune the image with a dual focus mechanism. Celestron TrailSeeker Spotting Scope is compatible with Celestron NexYZ 3-Axis Universal Smartphone Adapter that takes photos and video through the eyepiece. Celestron TrailSeeker Fluid Pan sturdy aluminum Tripod has four-section legs and a tripod case with shoulder strap.

Video review

  • 360°-rotating tripod mount gives the whole picture, the eyepiece can be set in any viewing position;
  • Easy-to-carry package;
  • Celestron NexYZ 3-Axis Universal Smartphone Adapter works with Apple, Google, and Samsung gadgets, aligning them with the eyepiece due to three directional knobs: X, Y, and Z-axis;
  • Tripod has a retractable hook to add weight if extra tripod stability is required.
  • The quick-release base isn’t sturdy but holds.
  • Fine-tune regulation could be a bit easier.

#20 Celestron C5 Spotter 5″ 127mm Spotting Scope Schmidt-Cassegrain

Celestron C5 Spotter 5" 127mm Spotting Scope Schmidt-Cassegrain

Celestron C5 Spotter 127mm Spotting Scope has 5″ Schmidt-Cassegrain Optical Design with StarBright multi-coating and 25mm (50x) eyepiece of 45° erect image diagonal and 8×20 straight-image finderscope.

Video review

  • Surgically sharp;
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty;
  • Water-Resistant Soft-Sided Case;
  • Easy to set up and focus.
  • The side mount is not sturdy enough.


Spotting scope magnification can be classified into 5 levels: up to 100 yards, over 100, 300, 400, and over 500 respectively (the last is mostly needed for judging air). The middle level of spotting scopes has a 50mm to 80mm objective lens and magnification from 15x to 60x; more powerful spotting scopes with higher magnification (over 60x) and objective lens to 90mm and up. The better spotting scope quality, including precise clearness and sharp image, the more expensive price for it. Keep in mind that a cheap spotting scope can be less effective than binoculars.

Best pick

#11 Pentax PF-80ED-A Spotting Scopes – Angled lightweight Spotting Scope has 20X-60X SMC Zoom Eyepiece with 80 mm objective lens. It’s a good choice in its price range and with reliable quality.

Budget pick

#3 Celestron 90 mm Maksutov  – Celestron C90 Mak Spotting Scope has 90mm objective, 32mm eyepiece with 39x-magnification. These features make viewing clear at 100-300yards distance, and enough to see the moon and even Saturn’s ring observing.

Tatiana Kursakova
Tatiana Kursakova
Professional shooter, traveller, survivalist
My love of guns is in my blood, since childhood I have spent hours enjoying the beauty of guns and adored going through their parts.

Tactical accessories are another passion of mine that I could write about endlessly - my house and garage are full of tactical gadgets, luckily my family shares my interests.

I'm infatuated with traveling that's why work at one place with a daily routine and standard schedule is not for me. I prefer copywriting and English tutoring as a freelancer. I live in a male family among constant talks about cars, guns, hunting, fishing, and, of course, dinosaurs 😊.

My husband is an obsessed hunter, and my two sons are fans of «Demolition Ranch» of YouTube blogger Matt Carriker. They are my best consultants about weapon and all-around ammunition topics. All together we share a love for adventures. Every camping or mounting hiking trip is a "small survival", giving irreplaceable experiences. Nothing can be better than the satisfaction of observing wild nature.

Motto: «Born in Ukraine, made is the USA».

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