Best Spotting Scopes For The Money – 2019 Top 5 Ranking

Whether you’re delving into extreme long-range shooting or just want to step up your game for observing wildlife, a spotting scope can be an excellent investment. The key, though, is to avoid buying the first spotting scope you find on sale at Cabela’s or Gander Mountain. You need to make sure you carefully research what’s out there, checking prices and poring over reviews to find out what’s hot and what’s not. Fortunately for you, you’ve found, where we handle that research for you and provide you with reviews that are comprehensive and cover all of the fine details of the various models available. On this page, you’ll learn what to look for in a spotting scope. Before we cover that, though, let’s take a look at our picks for the Top 5 Best Spotting Scopes for the money:

Our Top 5 Picks:

ModelMagnificationObjective LensField of View @ 1000 yards (min. / max. magnification)Water/Fog Proof?
Vortex Razor HD

Vortex 20-60x85 Razor HD Spotting Scope Review

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20X - 60X85mm117 ft. / 60 ft.

Our Review
Vanguard Endeavor HD

Vanguard Endeavor HD 82mm Angled Eyepiece Spotting Scope Review

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20X - 60X82mm360 ft. / 170 ft.

Our Review
Redfield Rampage

Redfield Rampage Spotting Scope Review

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20X - 60X60mm114 ft. / 51 ft.

Our Review
Alpen Spotting Scope Kit

Alpen 20-60x80 Spotting Scope Review

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20X - 60X80mm113 ft. / 55 ft.

Our Review
Celestron Regal

Celestron Regal 27x80 Spotting Scope Review

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27X80mm110 ft.

Our Review

Best By Brand

Best Spotting Scope on a Budget

If budget is a major concern to you and you don’t want to spend too much money on your spotting scope, the Best Budget Model we’ve come across is the Redfield Rampage 20–60x60mm spotting scope. Redfield has given this Rampage spotting scope a nearly bulletproof body, and the scope provides bright, crisp images with an excellent field of view. The only drawback to the Rampage is a slight amount of image shift when you zoom to maximum magnification.

Best Spotting Scope Overall

If you have a fat wallet and want to get the best of the best, take a look at our Best Top of the Line spotting scope, the Vortex 20–60×85 Razor HD spotting scope. Vortex has built the Razor HD with excellent optics that provide fantastic light transmission. The scope features both coarse and fine focus controls, for an outstanding capability to get the crispest image possible. There are a large range of accessories available for the Razor HD, including camera adapters. The main downfalls of the Razor HD are the weight, a whopping 67 ounces, and the lack of an included hard carrying case.

Okay, now that you have your list of the top spotting scopes we’ve come across, what makes for a great choice? Each of our reviews examines the following characteristics of the spotting scopes we evaluate, so read on to find out why we might have chosen one spotting scope over another in our assessments.

What Comes in the Box?

The first thing to look at is what you get for your money. There are usually a wide range of accessories available for different spotting scopes, but the main ones you want to make sure are included are crucial to making the most of your scope and protecting your investment. Any spotting scope that does not include eyepiece and objective covers is one to be avoided, and so is a spotting scope that doesn’t come with some sort of carrying case. Many spotting scopes will also include a tripod, but our experience is that these tripods are usually of little use and are better replaced with more practical and functional ’pods.

What’s the Magnification?

When you’re observing wildlife or doing long-range shooting, it’s important to have enough magnification to get the job done easily. The range of magnification is important, but so is the clarity and crispness of the image across all possible magnifications. Our reviews look carefully at this aspect of the scope, and we let you know how each spotting scope stacks up to the competition in terms of the magnification and image quality.

How Easy is the Spotting Scope to Use?

If a spotting scope is difficult to use, it probably isn’t worth much and you will likely end up putting the scope on a back shelf somewhere to languish in disuse. We thoughtfully examine every spotting scope and report back on the ease of use, letting you know whether a particular spotting scope is easy to use or not.

What Is the Light Gathering Capability of the Spotting Scope?

Depending on how and when you plan on using your spotting scope, this category might not be so important to you. If you do much early morning or late evening shooting or birdspotting, though, light gathering capability is vital. We examine what type of glass the spotting scope incorporates in its optics mechanism and lenses, as well as the use of anti-reflective coatings. Heck, some people will even use a spotting scope for impromptu star- or moon-gazing, and we will let you know how well-suited the spotting scope is to that purpose.

How Are the Optics and Focus?

Next, you want to take a look at the quality of the optics and focus mechanism. In this section, we will typically let you know if the spotting scope is using a porro prism or roof prism design, and what that means in terms of image quality and performance. You will also want to look at the field of view provided by the spotting scope, so we provide you with both the specifics and the real-life experience we have with field of view. Finally, you should make sure the focus controls are easily adjustable, but still stiff enough to prevent accidental adjustments. This section of the review will give you the information you need about the focusing quality of the spotting scope, too.

What’s the Housing Like on the Spotting Scope?

Some people prefer angled-body spotting scopes, while others would rather have a straight-bodied scope. We look at that, and much more, regarding the housing of the spotting scope. For instance, you also want to make sure your spotting scope will be stippled enough to maintain a solid grip on the glass, and also scratch-resistant enough to withstand a bit of bumping around. Other important features, like rotatable tripod rings and usefulness with camera adapters, are also covered in this part of the review.

How Durable is the Spotting Scope?

The last thing you want to examine is the durability of the spotting scope. Let’s face it, accidents happen, and you want to ensure that your spotting scope can withstand the occasional bump or even fall without becoming an oversized paperweight. We’ll look at how indestructible the scope is or isn’t, while also examining the ability of the spotting scope to withstand water damage or fogging.


At the end of each spotting scope review, we sign off by providing our summary and final recommendation. If you don’t read anything else in the review, you should at least read the pros and cons and the summary. In the summary, we’ll briefly cover what we like most about the spotting scope, and what we hate the worst.

When you’re investing in a new spotting scope, it is essential that you review the models you’re interested in before you thrown your money on the counter. It isn’t difficult to find reviews, and we make it even easier by providing detailed reviews on any spotting scope we can get our hands on.