Spotting scopes look like telescopes, but they differ in how they work and how they are used. You can use a spotting scope for hunting, game viewing, bird watching, and various other outdoor activities. Because they offer the best magnification and sharpness, making them ideal for sighting objects from long distances.
Compared to other optical devices, spotting scope can be used in precarious weather conditions. In fact, all the high-quality spotting scopes are equipped with protection systems against humidity and fog.
However, the price is the fundamental criteria to buy this object. In our product comparison, we will introduce you to 8 spotting scopes under $200 from different manufacturers and discuss the essential technical features that are important for each model.
Best Spotting Scope Under $200 in 2021
Among the optical instruments we have seen, choosing the right spotting scope under 200 dollars is not very hard because the range of spotting scope is very small compared to other optical devices. However, the optical properties and robustness of the housing are particularly important because of course it is specially designed for the outdoors. If you want to use it in a variety of ways when hiking and traveling, then take our comparison table to hand.
Comparison Table of Top 10 Best Spotting Scopes Under $200 in 2021.
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1. Gosky Updated New Spotting Scope with Tripod – Top Pick
If you are looking for a spotting scope to enhance your wildlife viewing we would highly recommend Gosky. This is an amazing upgraded spotting scope under 200 dollars. It has variable 20x to 60x magnification and comes with dynamic lens focusing system which provides more stable image, even in bad weather conditions.
The glass is high quality and the cellphone attachment works flawlessly. It comes with fully multi-coated 80mm green film objective lens which provides a field of view at up to 1000 yards. It also has adjustable eye-cups for comfortable viewing with or without eyeglasses.
The quality BAK4 Porro prism optics increase transmission light and make the view bright and clear. It is a versatile device suitable for target shooting, hunting, bird watching, wildlife watching, hiking, camping, scenery, and all other outdoor activities. It will perfectly fit any phone with a back face camera.
This device designed with waterproofness and the O-ring seals able to prevent the device from moisture, dust and debris. Also, the nitrogen gas purging delivers further waterproof performance. This model includes everything you need. And the eyepiece and carrying bag are really high quality.
It built with durable magnalium framework with shock-absorb rubber armor, making it usable in the toughest weather conditions. The focus knob is silky smooth and the phone attachment hooks up very easily. Overall, this spotting scope is good for the price you pay and does not feel cheap in the long run.
2. Landove HD Multi-Coated Spotting Scope – Editor’s Choice
The model now we present to you is what we consider to be one of the best spotting scopes under $200 of 2021. This is because it is a powerful scope model capable of giving you excellent performance. Its high power setting is rather clear and impressive compared to other models at this price.
Landove spotting scope built with HD 24mm 2inch big eyepiece and 45 degrees angled eyepiece which allows more comfortable and professional user experience while viewing. It has coaxial coarse and fine focus dials so that you can quickly clarify the image.
With fully multi-coated optics, it comes with big 80mm objective lens, BAK4 Porro Prism and 9pcs lens. This spotting scope includes a carrying case, lens covers, tripod and cellphone camera attachment. It also has a sunshade and the ring can be pulled out to make the sun shade.
This device is suitable for target shooting, archery, hunting, bird watching, wildlife watching, even astronomical observation. Its high-quality rubber outer layer ensures long-lasting protection. You can withstand in the toughest environments because it is completely water and fog-proof.
Landove comes with New Design Large smartphone digiscoping adapter so that users can take photos and videos. You can also share the moment with your friends and families to post on the social network site. This dual focus spotting scope is also lightweight, only is 2.5lbs.
3. Vanguard Vesta Versatile Advanced Spotting Scope Kits
VANGUARD is a global well-known company, producing high-quality sporting optics, tripods, travel bags, and other adventure accessories for over 30 years. They always offer quality products at a reasonable price. However, the Vesta spotting scope is a good choice for bird watchers, travelers and nature enthusiasts, not good for Surveillance.
Vanguard spotting scope made of advanced multi-guard coatings for higher light transmittance and it is so much refined in construction. It comes with heavy-duty design with a matte black rubberized finish that looks pretty good.
It is completely waterproof and fog proof, so you don’t need to worry about the weather condition. It is also a compact optical device that you can carry wherever you go. The Vesta spotting scope is adaptable for mobile and stationary applications. It is lightweight and has high magnification level.
It is ergonomics designed and features rubber-armored aluminum alloy, and a quick focus adjustments system allows you to acquire your subject with clear focusing. This unit also comes with a beautiful carrying bag and sling compact tripod.
To ensure quality, VANGUARD spotting scope comes with a premium lifetime warranty.
The fold-down rubber eye cup allows you to use it with and without glasses. The fine focus knob easily adjusts with the tip of your finger. The table-top tripod is extremely quick to setup and works great off a table or bench. Overall, the price of this spotting scope is unparalleled for the quality.
4. Athlon 315001 Optics Talos 20-60×80 Spotting Scope
Athlon spotting scopes design with good optical quality and ease of use for the user’s mind. It features fully multi-coated lenses and K9 prisms which provide clear and bright views. The glass is clear and the angled eyepiece made viewing in several shooting positions.
This lightweight device is fog proof, waterproof, and filled with nitrogen gas so that it can able to prevent internal fogging and promote better thermal stability. The unit comes with a table-top tripod and soft case which allow you to carry the device in one package.
It also built-in extendable sunshade that will minimize any unwanted flare and reflection and provides you a better clear image. Its powerful lens is made to eliminate reflections. Athlon is actually a really decent spotting scope for the money comes with lifetime warranty after the date of purchase.
You can rotate the whole scope around the tripod because this device has high quality rotating Ring. The mountable tripod is also compatible with all regular camera tripods to have a steady mount that is ideal for long-range observation.
You can use this slim spotting scope for bird watching, observing the sky, travel, watching competitions and matches, hunting and fishing, concerts and admiring the landscapes. You can also use it indoors to get the feeling that you are closely watching what is happening.
5. Barska AD12756 Colorado Waterproof Spotting Scope
Barska AD12756 is the spotting scope suitable for all those looking for a device in good performance at an affordable price. In fact, it is what we consider among the best spotting scopes of 2021 with the best value for money. With 80mm of Objective Lens, it is particularly suitable for outdoor observation.
Barska AD12756 is equipped with a Porro prism lens and a multilayer optical coating that allows you to have a high refractive index and a very high optical efficiency. With powerful and versatile 20-60x magnification, it provides you a close and detailed look.
The large Objective Lens and a sun visor system reduce glare and protect the lens. It is filled with nitrogen for which makes it waterproof and anti-fog. You can also use this powerful scope in all weather conditions even for long sessions. Because this scope is made of aluminum alloy, rubber-coated, to ensure maximum protection and simplify adjustment.
Its weight is quite low, so you can easily carry it with your backpack. It also has a stable tabletop tripod and you will be provided with a soft carrying bag.
It features the focus knob and zoom ring that allow you to adjust it easily. This unit is also shockproof and has a straight body design for convenient use. Its performances are not professional but well compared to the price. The Barska AD12756 is easier to access for people of different heights.
6. Gosky GOSP001 20-60 X 80 Porro Prism Spotting Scope
Gosky GOSP001 spotting scope comes with fully multi-coated 80mm green film objective lens, eyepiece and quality prism inside which make your view bright, clear and provides crisp quality images. This durable spotting scope is easy to adjust in different angles and the quick set up manual is simple to follow up.
With variable 20x to 60x magnification, you can easily zoom on your target. It is designed for birdwatching, watching wildlife, even moon observation. The eye relief is adequate and the adjustable ring keeps the field of view the same no matter the power setting.
This device is completely waterproof and the super quality sealing property ensures optimal performance against the toughest weather condition. It is compact and handy, so you can use it for long observation sessions. The field of view is very large, however, if you use it against the light, you have a bright background.
Although the Gosky spotting scope is not heavy, it is long enough and the Full lens covers are sweet. The angle adjustment is also very useful especially for watching. It works with all smartphone models, and with a suitable adapter, it can become a powerful telephoto lens.
It comes with a digiscoping adapter and includes a lot of quality accessories such as carrying Case, Eyepiece and Lens Protection Covers, Cleaning Cloth and handy Straps. The mall tabletop type tripod keeps the scope at a low center of gravity which reduced Wind movement.
7. EACONN 20-60×80 Versatile Spotting Scope with HD Glass
EACONN is one of the best spotting scopes because of its superior quality and sharp zoom system. It built with remarkable high definition glass with fully multi-coating that provides high-contrast images without chromatic aberration. The outside construction material is pretty good and your hand will feel very soft when using it.
Its 80mm large objective lens and high-density BaK-4 prisms ensure a clear view even in low light conditions which make it great spotting scope for wild view. The images are very clear and bright especially if you are not zoomed in all the way 80X. Even when it is foggy and damp, it will perform well because it is completely weatherproof.
The scope offers powerful variable 20X-60X magnification and built with sharp zoom eyepiece so that you can view clearly from a long distance with great details. It is also a perfect device for nature enthusiasts and hunters because it helps you see the target from long range.
The durable magnalium framework with rubber armor provides non-slip grip and external protection from shock. To ensure comfortable viewing, the scope has a 45-degree tilt with large eye relief and adjustable eyepiece. And the phone mount will fit any phone.
The multi-purpose tripod sits firmly on surfaces and holds the scope tightly so there is no way to move easily. The cellphone attachment helps you to take pictures and videos at the same time. It also comes with a full range of accessories, for example, a digiscoping phone adapter, metal-reinforced tabletop tripod, soft carry case, eyepiece, lens protection covers, even a cleaning cloth for ease of maintenance.
8. SVBONY SV46 HD Dual Focus Slim Design Spotting Scope
SVBONY spotting scope comes with HD 23mm and 45 degree angled large eyepiece, allowing a more comfortable and professional view. Its variable magnification level makes this device easy to zoom in onto your target. This lightweight spotting scope is very sharp and well-constructed.
It is a dual focus device that is especially designed for bird watching and hunting. For example, with this device, you can quickly achieve clear image from up to 1000 yards. The adjustable eyecups can also be easily and rapidly twisted up and down so that you are able to view with or without glasses.
This IPX7 waterproof shooting scope able to withstand the toughest environments. It also built with high-quality rubber outer layer, making it non-slip and shockproof. It looks pretty nice and durable, comparable with expensive scopes. You can use it for long-range shooting instead of rangefinder.
You can also adjust the body to any viewing position by simply loosening the adjustment collar on the center of the body. It is surprisingly light, so you can be easily carried on a short to medium hiking trip. The functions are easy to manipulate and for the price, it’s hard to really say anything bad.
9. ESSLNB 20-60X80mm Updated Target Spotting Scope
If you are looking for uncompromising high performance spotting scope at a reasonable cost, the ESSLNB is among the best professional models for you in 2021. ESSLNB Spotting Scope made of thick barium crown glass with multi-layer achromatic clearing lenses, which provides a super quality image.
The 360-degree rotatable spotting scope tube allows you to easily align the spotting scope and offers different viewing. Whatever you decide to use, it is a spotting scope designed to satisfy your every need in the best way. It is completely weatherproof so that you can use it in all climatic conditions, even extreme ones, and in lighting.
Its 23mm large eyepiece and 20-60X zoom magnification ensure clearer details of distant targets. The retractable sunshade keeps from glare and protects the lens from scratch and damage.
It is therefore exactly what is right for you for all outdoor observation activities, such as bird watching, wildlife observation and even for astronomical use. It comes with 20mm BAK4 prism lens that delivers brightness even in low-light conditions.
The included carrying bag is large enough to carry all accessories anywhere you want and making it more convenient to carry and maintain.
10. Gosky Newest 20-60×80 Dual HD Focusing Spotting Scope
Last but not least, this is one of the best spotting scopes under $200 of 2021 if you are looking for a professional quality model for observing wildlife. It is also the perfect device for bird watching, outdoor activities, concerts and stadium matches, camping, hiking, hunting, and more.
The GoskyNewest spotting scope comes with dual focusing knob which really helps to create quality photos and see great detail on the object you are viewing from a great distance. It is equipped with an aspherical BAK 4 Prism lens with multilayer film that limits distortion. In this way, it guarantees you a clear and defined vision, with balanced colors and better brightness and contrast.
The visual range is very large. The focus function of the lenses also allows you to use it even in dim light conditions. It has an adjustable zoom from 20 to 60 times. The adapter also allows you to attach your smartphone to the spotting scope to take your photos through the lens.
The design is ergonomic for a non-slip grip. It is waterproof and moisture-wicking, so you can safely use it in adverse weather conditions. It has all the essential features to allow users better handling. In fact, it is a compact spotting scope but at the same time very handy to carry.
This versatile spotting scope offers you a 45 ° angle view and brightness and the optics are of excellent quality. The package will come with a soft carrying case, eyepiece and lens protection covers, cleaning cloth and adjustable eyecup. If you try it, I hope you will be satisfied.
In this section, we are going to briefly discuss the main features and characteristics of the best spotting scopes under $200 that you need to keep in mind before making the purchase decision.
In most of the case, there are two types of spotting scopes that you can find on the market, straight spotting scopes and angled spotting scopes. Straight spotting scopes are better for observing from elevated positions downwards and the angled spotting scopes are more comfortable for observing on flat ground or for observation from the window of your room.
A 20x to 60x magnification is usually the recommended choice to avoid spending a ton of money and have an excellent model. This is because the higher the magnification, the lower the sharpness of the image. In order to correct this, very expensive lenses must be used.
Always prefer the quality of the lens to the size of the objective. The large and better quality lens is required to achieve good performance. Therefore, better results can be obtained with a small objective. Usually the size of the objective ranges from 40 mm up to 100 mm.
You need to decide the size of the lens you want to buy very carefully, as it will have a significant impact on your experience while using the scope. A large lens, such as 80-100mm, has a better ability to collect light, even in low light conditions.
Obviously, spotting scopes with small objectives are lighter and easier to carry than large ones. To choose the size of the lens, it is necessary to consider the place of use.
If you intend to install your scope in a fixed position then a large lens will give you better images. On the other hand, if you have to travel a lot and often, it is better to consider a smaller, but lighter lens. Most 50 or 60mm lenses can be used without a tripod.
Lens coating is important to view clearer images. There are different types and qualities of coatings, such as the fully multilayer ones found in the best spotting scopes. This means that at least one of the optic lenses has been coated with multiple layers of a material designed to improve the flow of light through them.
A professional spotting scope with greater eye relief should always be preferred. This is especially important if you are wearing glasses, or if you intend to use sunglasses while using this device. When you are outside in the summer and the sun becomes blinding, wearing sunglasses can be not only useful but indispensable for the eyes.
For this reason, if you plan on using the spotting scope a lot in strong light conditions, and therefore wearing sunglasses, you should consider a high Eye Relief. This allows you to keep your eye slightly away from the eyepiece, but still see a full field of view.
The eyepiece can be removable or not because it depends on the price. Usually, the preferred eyepieces are the zoom eyepieces that allow you to easily change the magnification. A good spotting scope must have a minimum focusing distance of less than 6 meters.
You won’t always find yourself using your scope in ideal conditions. When you are out in the field and encounter adverse weather conditions, having a waterproof spotting scope on hand is the minimum to get the most out of your observation.
If the scope is waterproof and anti-fog, you will be able to get a clear image in most climates. These features also protect your device from water and corrosion, which are a common occurrence when using the tool near salt water.
As for image quality, you really get what you pay for. But, at the same time, most mid-range spotting scopes offer ideal image quality for most users. Hence, it is important to strike a balance between the required image quality and the price you are willing to pay.
Each person has his own spending budget and it is possible to buy a spotting scope even with a few tens of dollars, but if you want to buy a high quality and long-lasting product, you must expend around 200 dollars. However, 100 dollars spotting scope may be the best spotting scope in short time use.
If you really want to buy a good spotting scope, the price range goes from 200 to 1000 dollars. It should be noted that the size of the lens greatly affects the price.
What do the numbers 20-60 × 80 mean on a spotting scope?
These numbers are neither more nor less than the main characteristics of the telescope: 20-60x defines the magnification area of the telescope. This for example will offer a magnification ranging from 20x to 60x via the use of a zoom eyepiece. The number 80 which follows defines the diameter of the objective which, in this case, will be 80mm.
How much should I pay to have a good spotting scope?
Obviously, this will depend on your expectations and your budget.
We have already mentioned, you can start very well with a 100$ – 200, it will meet a lot of basic needs. However, If you want to achieve a good level of observation with an instrument that will allow you to distinguish the finest shades of color in plumage, the smallest details on a small bird, then it may be wise to invest between $ 200 and $ 1,000.
If money is not a problem for you, then do not hesitate to invest $ 1500-3000 in a spotting scope: the images it will give you will quickly make you forget the investment made and will bring you into another dimension of observation. In addition, this kind of instrument provides lifetime service if you take care of it!
Can I use my spotting scope without a tripod?
NO! Any optical instrument with a magnification greater than 12x or 15x requires support in order to avoid natural tremors and thus to have a good quality of observation. The spotting scopes all have a base with a 1 / 4-20 thread compatible with photo tripods.
Don’t sacrifice tripod quality to save a few bucks. If your tripod is not the right height or unstable by its construction or the materials used, the best spotting scope in the world mounted on it will be a poor tool. Also, the use of fluid heads of the “video” type makes it possible to easily follow an animal and make the movements of the scope easy, without manipulation, only with a single joystick in hand.
Spotting scopes added great value, especially when compared to the other optical devices. Because they are more powerful than binoculars, and these are a great addition to any sniper, bird watcher, wildlife photographer or anyone who wants to get a close look at things in very fine detail. However, if you have any questions leave a comment below.