The Best Binoculars for Kids in 2022
Kids are naturally curious and love to explore the world around them. They love to be adventurous, and that includes being outdoors and enjoying nature. Binoculars are a great way for kids to get more from their outdoor adventures, and if your child loves the stars too, they’re an excellent way to introduce your kid to astronomy before you commit to buying a telescope.
The good news is that children’s binoculars don’t have to be toys, and they don’t need to be expensive either. We’ve done the research for you and picked out the best binoculars that both your child and you can enjoy.
Table of contents
- 1 Why Buy Binoculars For Kids?
- 2 How to Choose the Best Binoculars for Kids
- 3 The Numbers You Should Know
- 4 Our Top 3 Best Binoculars for Kids
- 5 In Conclusion
- 6 Frequently Asked Questions
Why Buy Binoculars For Kids?
If your child loves to explore, as so many do, they’ll love binoculars. Children want to see things close-up, and being unable to reach those fascinating, far-off sights can be frustrating. That’s where binoculars come in. Binoculars can bring those unreachable objects closer and allow children to safely explore and investigate their world and the universe beyond.
Whether it’s for bird watching, whale watching, star gazing or simply enjoying the scenery, binoculars are a great way for kids to learn more about the world around them. Not only can they help children to identify birds and animals, but they can also help kids to learn the stars and constellations too.
How to Choose the Best Binoculars for Kids
When it comes to choosing childrens’ binoculars, one of the primary considerations should be weight. Traditional porro prism binoculars (shaped like a W) can be heavy, whereas the newer, more compact roof prism binoculars (shaped like an H) are designed to be more lightweight. As such, these are easier for kids to hold and use and are therefore a better choice for children.
Another factor that affects the weight of the binoculars is the aperture of the objective lenses. More specifically, objective lenses are the larger lenses that point toward your target, rather than the eyepieces you look through.
Aperture can be important as it determines how much light the binoculars can gather, but since the lenses are made of glass, larger lenses will cause the binoculars to weigh more. The aperture is measured in millimeters, and typically ranges from anywhere between 20mm and 70mm.
If your child is interested in bird watching, whale watching, hiking or simply enjoying the scenery, then an aperture between 20mm and 35mm is probably sufficient. However, if they also enjoy stargazing, then you’ll need to look for an aperture of 30mm or more.
Lower apertures are usually fine for daytime use, when there is plenty of light available, but many astronomical objects are faint and require larger aperture binoculars that can gather more light.
Many amateur astronomers therefore like to use 10×50 binoculars – but what does that mean, exactly?
The Numbers You Should Know
All binoculars have two numbers associated with them, and you’ll often hear people using these numbers to describe the binoculars they’re using. For example, you might hear someone talk about 8×40 binoculars, or 10×50. But what do these numbers mean?
Fortunately, these numbers are easy to understand. The first indicates the magnification. So 8×40 binoculars have a magnification of 8x, while 10×50 binoculars have a magnification of 10x.
The second number is the aperture of the objective lenses, measured in millimeters. As discussed above, the aperture determines how much light the binoculars can gather. The more light they can gather, the fainter the object you can see – an important factor for astronomy. You’ll also see more detail with larger aperture binoculars, and, in theory, the image quality should be better too.
Detail and image quality is also determined by the quality of the optics (ie, the lenses and prisms), but while this is important for bird watchers and amateur astronomers, it’s typically not so important to children, especially since this is usually only an issue with cheaper, generic-brand binoculars. (Each of our selections is from a reputable manufacturer, so quality is not a concern.)
Our Top 3 Best Binoculars for Kids
As you might expect, choosing the right binoculars can really depend upon who’ll be using them and what they’ll be used for. As mentioned earlier, weight is important, especially for younger kids, while stargazers will need a larger aperture. We should also consider a middle-ground option for kids who’ll want to use their binoculars during both the day and the night.
Above all else, regardless of which binoculars you choose and who’s using them, safety must always come first. NEVER use binoculars to look directly at the Sun, as this can cause damage to your eyes and permanent blindness!
With that in mind, here are our top 3 binoculars for children:
- Best Overall: Celestron Nature DX 8×32
- Best for Younger Kids: Steiner Safari UltraSharp 8×22
- Best for Stargazing: Vortex Optics Diamondback HD 10×50
Best Overall: Celestron Nature DX 8×32
If your kid needs something light enough for hiking but also good enough for stargazing, then you can’t go wrong with the Celestron Nature DX 8×32. Celestron is a world leading manufacturer of both binoculars and telescopes and their binoculars are rated highly by bird watchers, hikers and amateur astronomers alike.
As its name implies, the Celestron Nature DX binoculars have been designed for hikers and nature lovers, with a sturdy, waterproof casing that should protect the optics against accidental damage. You’ll also find a comfortable field of view of 388 feet at 1,000 yards, or the equivalent of 7.4 degrees of sky.
This makes them a great choice for any family that loves to both hike and go camping, but they’ve also got enough power and aperture to make them useful for stargazing too. The downside is that these are not the lightest, but at 567 grams (1.25 pounds) they’re still light enough for almost anyone to use.
Best for Younger Kids: Steiner Safari UltraSharp 8×22
If you’re looking for binoculars for younger kids, one excellent choice is the Steiner Safari UltraSharp 8×22. Steiner, like Celestron, are a very well respected brand and these binoculars in particular have a number of great features. For starters, they’re very lightweight; at just 228 grams (half a pound) kids (and adults!) of all ages will be able to carry them and use them for extended periods of time, without worrying about arm ache or any other fatigue.
The 8x magnification and 22mm aperture is great for daytime use, and with a field of view of 410 feet at 1,000 yards (7.8 degrees of sky), kids will love being able to see more of their surroundings. They’re also inexpensive, so if they’re lost or accidentally damaged, your wallet won’t be hurt too much.
The downside? While the magnification and aperture is fine for general daytime use, it’s not so good for stargazing. However, being large and bright, the Moon won’t be a problem, which is just as well as your kids will most likely be looking at that the most!
Best for Stargazing: Vortex Optics Diamondback HD 10×50
If your kids love stargazing as much as nature watching, then the Vortex Optics Diamondback HD 10×50 binoculars are a good choice. They have both the magnification (10x) and aperture (50mm) to provide some outstanding views of the Moon and other deep sky objects, and while the magnification means a smaller field of view (315 feet at 1,000 yards, or 6.0 degrees of sky) that won’t be too much of a restriction while you’re hiking or camping under the stars.
This means your kids can enjoy great views of whatever they want to explore – whether it’s during the day or night. On the downside, as these are larger than our other choices, they’re heavier (851 grams, or nearly two pounds) and they cost a little more, but if your kids are into exploring the universe above their heads as much as the earth below their feet, then this is a great option.
Binoculars for kids don’t have to be toys and they aren’t necessarily expensive. There are some excellent options for children, regardless of their age or interests and your budget. Good binoculars can help your children to explore more and open their eyes to the world and the universe they live in.
Frequently Asked Questions
Realistically, any child of about three years old or more can use binoculars. Probably the most important thing is that the child has good hand and eye coordination (so they know how to aim the binoculars) and is able to hold the binoculars without dropping them. If they’re also able to focus the binoculars, that’s a plus, but otherwise you may have to focus the view for them.
Weight and size will play a large part in the decision-making process, which is why our choices are all roof prism binoculars. These are specifically designed to be more compact and lightweight, making them suitable for hikers and children alike. Unlike the larger (and heavier) traditional porro prism binoculars, their small size and lightweight construction allows them to be taken and used for extended periods of time without causing arm fatigue.
Generally, a magnification of around 8x and an aperture of 20mm to 30mm is fine for most kids. This will allow them to get a great view of their surroundings and enjoy everything from tracking wildlife in the woods to watching whales in the water. If you need binoculars for stargazing and astronomy, it’s usually best to go for something larger, such as 10×50 binoculars, as the smaller options might not have the power to detect the fainter objects (although the smaller binoculars will be fine for observing the Moon.)