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Top 10 Best Spotting Scopes
- Celestron Ultima 22-66×100 (Editor’s Choice)
- Celestron 52305 Regal M2 80ED 20-60×80 (Luxury Choice)
- GoSky 20-60×80 (Best Value)
- GoSky 20-60×60 (Best With Accessories)
- Praktica 20-60×77 (Best for Birding)
- Svbony SV28 25-75×70 (Best for Beginners)
- Landove 20-60×80 (Best Waterproof)
- ESSLNB 20-60×80
- Celestron C90 15-39×90
- USCAMEL 20-60×80
If you enjoy bird watching, target shooting, viewing wildlife and scenery, or simply viewing objects at far distances, a spotting scope could be just the tool you need. Spotting scopes are highly portable and are a great piece of equipment for hiking or camping trips. Some of the more powerful spotting scopes can even be used to view the night sky with surprising clarity and sharpness. Many spotting scopes also allow you to connect a camera, phone or more advanced to improve the zoom further and take digital photos.
However, finding the best spotting scope in the UK can be confusing considering all the available options today, especially if you don’t exactly know what to look for in a device. That’s why we researched the possibilities and compiled this list of the top 10 best spotting scopes to help you find the perfect tool for your particular viewing preferences and expectations.
Regardless of what objects you plan to view with your spotting scope, there is a fantastic spotting scope on our list for you. Keep reading to learn all about them!
How We Compared Spotting Scopes
To find the right Spotting Scopes we considered multiple factors, including:
- Design style
- Build quality
- Objective lens
- Image quality
- Ease of use
Our experienced team created the following list after spending countless hours researching products and fact-checking customer reviews. We carefully chose a range of products suitable for every nature lover out there, analysing and assessing the comparison points above.
To know more about our review process, have a look here.
Spotting Scope Reviews
Providing you with advanced features and outstanding image quality, the Celestron Ultima 22-60×100 angled spotting scope makes an excellent all-around choice. You can use it for all kinds of viewing activities, including bird watching, hunting, target shooting, and viewing wildlife and scenery.
This refractor spotting scope is built with multi-coated optics for sharper images. It contains an extra-large 100mm objective lens that facilitates bright, crisp images, even in low light conditions. You can achieve crystal clear images quickly using the large focus dial that is smooth and easy to turn. Thanks to the soft eyepiece, you can also count on effective eye relief and comfort.
We love this spotting scope’s armoured exterior and waterproof features, which are designed to make the spotting scope durable and suitable for wetter outdoor conditions. It also has an inbuilt T-mount adapter for connecting your DSLR camera to take photos.
Included with the purchase of this spotting scope, you get a soft carry case, objective and eyepiece covers, an off-set balance rail, an eyepiece case, an eyepiece pouch, a cleaning cloth, and a limited lifetime warranty. With all of these accessories, you should be all set to start viewing the moment it arrives.
Like most gear, the Celestron Ultima 22-60×100 is not perfect for everyone. It might produce less clear images at the highest magnification, and it is a bit heavier than other top options on our list. The carrying case may not be as durable as expected, but don’t let these minor inconveniences discourage you; it can still compete against other high-end scopes.
- Excellent image quality
- Easy to focus dial
- Comfortable eyepiece
- Durable armoured exterior
- Variety of included accessories
- A bit heavier than other options
- Higher magnifications could be less sharp
- The included carrying case may be less durable
Our top luxury choice is the Celestron 52305 Regal M2 80ED 20-60×80 high-quality spotting scope. It contains advanced optics and premium features that make it perfect for all kinds of viewing activities.
Whether you will be bird watching, target shooting, or simply viewing scenery, the angled zoom eyepiece on this spotting scope has got you covered. It contains an objective lens made from extra-low dispersion glass, which improves contrast, resolution, and colour fidelity while also minimising chromatic aberration. Its larger size and proprietary XLT lens coatings also produce brighter images with great clarity.
When it comes to using this spotting scope, a sliding sunshade plus a sightline help you find objects faster. It also features a dual-speed focus dial for quick adjustments and easy refinements, which is excellent for bird watchers. It is also waterproof making it safe for wet conditions, and is equipped with a standard sized eyepiece mount making it compatible with a variety of other astronomical tools.
A robust magnesium alloy body helps the Celestron 52305 Regal M2 80ED 20-60×80 spotting scope remain in pristine condition for as long as possible. It also comes with a soft carry case for extra protection and a T adapter ring for attaching a DSLR camera.
The front lens cover on this spotting scope may be slightly tricky to remove, at least until you get the hang of it, and the zippers on the carry case may wear out more quickly than expected. Other than those minor things, the only downside we could find for this spotting scope is that it is somewhat heavier by design.
- Versatile and compatible design
- Speedy dual focus mechanism
- Strong magnesium alloy body
- ED glass objective lens
- Proprietary XLT lens coatings
- It might have a trickier front lens cover
- Somewhat heavier by design
- The zippers on the carrying case could wear out quickly
The GoSky 20- 60×80 spotting scope has a newly updated design that still provides you with the excellent value of the previous model but with a few key improvements. This is our top recommendation if you are in search of the best budget spotting scope available.
This angled spotting scope is built with a multi-coated objective lens and BAK 4 prism optics to bring you superb image quality. The large objective lens allows ample light in, so you can expect brilliant images that are true to colour, even in lower light conditions. A fine-tune focus knob helps make all this possible.
For user ease, this spotting scope features an adjustable eyecup that establishes eye relief for people with and without glasses. It also has an adjustable elevation knob for a more customised viewing experience and a sight bead for quicker your targets, which is excellent for bird watching and more.
To top it off, the GoSky 20- 60×80 spotting scope is waterproof, so feel free to take it out in damp weather. In addition to the scope itself, you also receive a phone adapter, carrying case, and a tripod to reduce image shakiness during more stationary pursuits.
You should know that while this makes a great value option, it may be less ideal for advanced users; it also has a somewhat smaller eyepiece and comes with a lower quality phone adapter.
- Large objective lens
- Good in low light conditions
- Waterproof design
- Adjustable eye relief
- Excellent value option
- It has a slightly smaller eyepiece
- It could be less ideal for advanced users
- Lower quality phone adapter
You shouldn’t underestimate accessories when choosing a new spotting scope. The right accessories can seriously improve the user experience. The GoSky 20-60×60 spotting scope is our top recommendation if a user-friendly design appeals to you.
The GoSky 20-60×60 spotting scope comes with all the things you need to get started straight away. It comes with an adjustable tripod, a phone adapter, a carrying bag, a cleaning cloth, and a lens and eyepiece cover to keep your scope’s lenses protected.
This spotting scope is great for portability as well due to its lightweight build weighing in at only 1200 grammes. Even so, it has a durable body with rubber armour to improve grip and protect the spotting scope. In addition, it is fully waterproof and weatherproof, thanks to nitrogen gas purging and an inbuilt O-ring.
The zoom eyepiece on this device features a swivel scope design to help you achieve the perfect viewing angle according to your height and conditions. It also has an adjustable eyecup for the best eye relief possible. Paired with the green film fully multi-coated lenses and BAK4 Porro prism optics, you can expect actual colour, accurate images, and user ease every step of the way.
This spotting scope may not be ideal for more advanced users, and the images could be somewhat less clear, particularly at high magnification. The swivel clamps could also be less durable, but it still makes an excellent choice if you are searching for quality accessories.
- Lightweight build
- Great for beginners
- Tripod plus a variety of other included accessories
- Advanced weatherproofing
- Rubber armoured exterior
- The images could be slightly less clear
- It may not be ideal for more advanced users
- The swivel clamps could be less durable
In our opinion, the Praktica 20-60×77 is the best spotting scope for birding. It has a wide objective lens and allows for a rapid focus which comes in handy as birds don’t typically stay in one place don’t for very long.
This spotting scope features an angled design and contains multi-coated optics. Its larger objective lens allows more light in than other spotting scopes, so so that you can expect brighter images with advanced clarity. The focus dial is also smooth and easy to manipulate at a moment’s notice. Simply point, focus, and enjoy.
This spotting scope is also waterproof and fog-proof due to a nitrogen purge during construction and a sealing O-ring. For portability, this scope is also lightweight by design, even though it has a somewhat larger overall size. Additionally, it remains durable and robust thanks to its top-quality construction.
With this spotting scope, you also receive a carrying case, two lens covers, and a cleaning cloth to get your viewing started in the right direction. If you are not into bird watching, don’t worry, this spotting scope is excellent for other viewing activities as well.
The Praktica 20-60×77 may not be the best choice for advanced users, and you may experience reduced sharpness at the most substantial magnification level. It also has a slightly bulkier design, so we recommend getting a tripod to help make it more user friendly.
- Lightweight and durable build
- The rapid focus dial is excellent for bird watching
- Wide objective lens for low light conditions
- Waterproof and fog proof
- Fully multi-coated optics for clear images
- It might be less sharp at the top magnification level
- It may not be ideal for advanced users
- It has a relatively bulkier design
If you are looking for your first spotting scope, the Svbony SV28 25-75×70 makes an excellent beginner option. It may also be the best spotting scope in the UK for more advanced users as it is easy and convenient to use.
This spotting scope has an angled eyepiece for comfortable viewing. The fully multi-coated optics are paired with a BAK4 Porro prism for added brightness and clarity overall. It establishes a 1000 yard field of view, and the zoom eyepiece gives you the opportunity for extra high magnifications. It can zoom up to 75x, which is a bit more than many other scopes.
This spotting scope features an easy to use dial that allows you to achieve focus quickly. It also has an inbuilt, retractable sunshade for reducing glare in maximum light conditions. It is also safe for outdoor use in wetter conditions thanks to it being nitrogen filled and sealed with an O ring. These traits combined make it both fog proof and weatherproof.
The Svbony SV28 25-75×70 spotting scope comes with a variety of valuable accessories. A table tripod with an easy adjustment handle, a phone adapter, a cleaning cloth, and a carrying case all come included. Even without the shoulder bag, it is still shockproof.
With this spotting scope, you may experience slightly lower quality optics, especially at long distances, but it still makes an excellent choice for new users. The tripod that comes included might also be a bit flimsier than expected, and the lens caps have been known to be somewhat tricky to remove quickly.
- Great for beginner users
- Carry case and cleaning cloth included
- Phone adapter for digiscoping
- Retractable sunshade
- Fog proof and weatherproof
- Flimsier tripod included
- The lens caps could be a bit tricky
- Slightly lower quality optics are possible
Considering most people intend to take their spotting scope outdoors to use it, choosing a waterproof and fog proof device can make it significantly more convenient and easy to use without unnecessary restrictions. That’s why it is no surprise to find the Landove 20-60×80 spotting scope, our favourite waterproof option, on our list.
This angled spotting scope is ideally suited for a variety of viewing purposes, including bird watching, camping, hunting, and more. It has multi-coated optics with a quality BAK4 prism to achieve sharp images that are clear and visible. It also features a wide objective lens that increases light transmission and improves image quality in low light conditions.
This spotting scope was built with an adjustable eyecup to increase user comfort and viewing capability further. If you wear glasses or even sunglasses, this can help you get the best quality images by adjusting the distance between your eye and the actual eyepiece.
In addition to being fully weatherproof, the Landove 20-60×80 spotting scope comes equipped with a dynamic focus dial system to help you make adjustments quickly, which is highly convenient for bird watching. Its durable build with added rubber armour on the exterior also makes it shockproof.
This spotting scope is easily attached to a standard sized tripod, and lucky for you, it actually comes with one to help you get the most out of the device. It also comes with a cleaning cloth, a carry case, lens protection covers, and a phone adapter included.
Just so you know, it may be somewhat trickier to attach your phone to this spotting scope’s adapter. In addition, it might not have the sharpest images at its high magnification level, and it is slightly heavier by design, so holding it for extended periods of time might be less comfortable.
- Dynamic focus dial system
- Completely fog proof and weatherproof
- Durable shockproof design
- Phone adapter and tripod included
- Adjustable eyecup
- Slightly heavier by design
- It could be less clear at the top magnification level
- The phone adapter system could be a bit trickier
If you are searching for a spotting scope with a larger objective lens, the ESSLNB 20-60×80 could be the spotting scope for you. It makes a solid choice for target shooting, wildlife observation, bird watching, and other types of general observation as well.
The ESSLNB 20-60×80 spotting scope has a variable zoom ranging from 20x to 60x. It is built with a BAK4 fully multi-coated objective lens giving it high-quality optics with a 1000 yard viewing field. This design also makes it excel in low light conditions, which is excellent for bird watching and wildlife observation.
This angled spotting scope comes with a solid adjustable aluminium tripod with advanced adjustability for user ease and ideal spotting conditions. If setting up your scope for activities like target shooting appeals to you, the sturdy tripod is a huge bonus. This spotting scope also comes with a convenient storage bag, lens covers, a phone adapter, and a cleaning cloth to get you started.
You can even feel good about carrying this spotting scope in your carry on luggage or on an outdoor adventure thanks to the reinforced aluminium body and rubber armour which give it added durability and protection. This scope has also got you covered in inclement weather as it is both waterproof and fog proof.
Regretfully, the phone adapter that comes with this spotting scope could be at a slightly less comfortable angle, making it somewhat uncomfortable when used for extended periods of time. It is also somewhat heavier by design, and we have reason to believe that the lens cap covers could be a bit tricky due to their heavy threading.
- Waterproof and fog proof
- Sturdy aluminium tripod included
- High-quality optics
- Variety of included accessories
- Good in low light conditions
- It may have trickier lens cap covers
- Somewhat heavier by design
- Less convenient phone adapter angle
When it comes to the best spotting scope for astronomy, we think the Celestron C90 15-39×90 stands out amongst the competitors. It features an excellent build quality and comes with Celestron’s limited lifetime warranty.
A large 90 mm multi-coated objective lens allows plenty of light into the scope to help you achieve clear, crisp, and bright images in a variety of viewing conditions. The erect image finderscope is also comfortable to use and makes finding objects more accessible. The scope also excels in low light, something crucial for viewing the night sky.
This spotting scope’s design is highly versatile. It comes with a 32 mm eyepiece but also allows you to attach additional astronomical eyepieces for higher magnification. It also has the option to be mounted on either a camera or an astronomical tripod. Finally, it features a T mount for creating a telephoto lens with your DSLR camera.
For varying eye relief, a folding eyecup further improves user-friendliness. Included with this spotting scope, you’ll also get a custom backpack carry bag, a cleaning cloth, and a lens cover.
Unfortunately, the Celestron C90 15-39×90 comes standard with a lower magnification, so most people will want to invest in some additional eyepieces. It also has a slightly heavier build, so we anticipate you will want to use it with a tripod. Lastly, it might take a bit longer to achieve focus with this spotting scope until you get used to the controls.
- High versatility
- Suitable for viewing the night sky
- Excellent build quality
- Erect image finderscope
- A quality backpack comes included
- Somewhat heavier by design
- It has a lower magnification without additional eyepieces
- It might take a bit longer to achieve focus
Top-quality construction and durability make the USCAMEL 20-60×80 spotting scope an excellent choice. This highly portable spotting scope is also lightweight for user comfort and gives you a variety of perks in one optical system.
This user-friendly angled scope features a fully multi-coated BAK4 Porro prism objective lens that brings you good quality optics. The objective lens also has a wide diameter for brighter images, even in lower light conditions. The zoom range of 20x to 60x makes this spotting scope an excellent choice for a variety of different outdoor activities.
With a smooth zoom control knob, you can easily adjust the zoom magnification range on this spotting scope. To help you achieve a clear image in all weather conditions, it also has an extendable sunshade and is completely waterproof and fog proof, thanks to an 0-ring plus a nitrogen-filled scope.
A rubber armoured exterior and a top-quality build make the USCAMEL 20-60×80 spotting scope durable and shockproof as well. You should still handle it carefully, but it can probably withstand a few accidents without being damaged. Conveniently, a carry case, lens covers, a fully adjustable tripod, and a phone adapter all come included.
Be aware that this spotting scope has good optical performance overall, but its images could be somewhat less sharp when compared to other top options on our list. The included tripod could also be a bit flimsy, and the phone adapter may not be all that sturdy, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make an excellent choice all around.
- Extendable sunshade for bright conditions
- Lightweight for user comfort and portability
- Smooth zoom control knob
- Suitable for lower light conditions
- Top-quality construction and design
- The included tripod may be a bit flimsy
- The images produced could be somewhat less sharp
- The phone adapter may not be the sturdiest
Choosing a Spotting Scope: A Buyer’s Guide
Spotting Scopes vs Binoculars vs Telescopes: What’s the Difference?
A spotting scope, also called a spotter telescope or bird watching telescope, is a fantastic viewing tool that resembles a hybrid mix between a telescope and a pair of binoculars. Spotting scopes are a midway point for viewing between a telescope and a pair of binoculars. This makes them much more portable than telescopes but with less zoom.
Spotting scopes often offer a higher, better quality of magnification than a pair of binoculars can achieve but are larger and heavier. Spotting scopes are also compatible with tripods and cameras, which are typical for telescopes but an unlikely trait for binoculars.
What Do the Numbers on Spotting Scopes Mean?
Like binoculars and telescopes, spotting scopes typically feature a set of numbers on the scope’s exterior. These numbers refer to the objective lens and zoom specifications of the scope.
If a spotting scope has a 20-60×80 specification, the first range of numbers refers to the potential zoom power compared to the naked eye. The final number refers to the diameter of the objective lens in mm. So, 20-60 indicates the ability to magnify images from 20 to 60 times their original size, and 80 indicates an objective lens with an 80mm diameter.
Important Features to Look for In a Spotting Scope
Finding the perfect spotting scope for your needs depends greatly on how it will be used, but if you keep an eye out for the following traits, you can evaluate a device’s potential functionality. Decide which characteristics will make the most significant difference for you, and make sure to prioritise them while you decide which spotting scope is the best choice for you.
The first thing to consider when choosing a spotting scope is the design style. There are two main types, those with a straight eyepiece and those with an angled eyepiece.
In general, angled spotting scopes are preferred. This is because they are less strenuous to use and remain comfortable for more extended periods. An angled scope allows you to view the sky and other higher elevation objects without putting excessive strain on your neck. They are also more convenient if you have multiple viewers using one scope. For the most part, once an angled scope is set, different people should be able to look through it without having to adjust it each time. Angled scopes also make connecting cameras and phones easier.
A straight spotting scope can be good for hunters who lie on the ground while waiting for prey. A straight scope allows you to lie down and have a direct view.
All of the spotting scopes on our top 10 list are angled scopes due to their added benefits and overall popularity.
As you may have guessed, the build quality is also essential in a spotting scope. Choose an option that is strong and durable. After all, you will probably be taking it outside, and you want it to be able to withstand outdoor conditions.
Many spotting scopes are built using strong aluminium shells and rubber armour to make them shockproof. This is a significant nod to the build quality overall. A warranty can also alert you to the build quality of a product.
Different spotting scopes have different levels of magnification. Typically, the range starts around 15 or 20x and maxes out around 80x. However, many models can only produce a magnification of 60x, so make sure you choose an option that has a range suitable to your viewing needs. If you like viewing extreme distances, choose something with more powerful magnification. If you prefer closer viewing, 80x may be unnecessary.
The zoom eyepiece determines the achievable magnification. This is why some spotting scopes allow you to switch out the eyepiece.
The size of the objective lens affects the light transmission received by a spotting scope. A larger objective lens will allow more light inside the area resulting in better, brighter imagery all around. A larger lens will also perform at a higher level in low light conditions.
Choosing an objective lens made from extra-low dispersion glass also improves image quality overall.
Regardless of the more technical details, the best spotting scopes should have excellent image quality. One way of achieving this is by using fully multi-coated objective lenses to reduce colour distortion and help to bring you crystal clear images with sharp features.
You certainly don’t want dark or blurry image reproduction, or it will seriously diminish your viewing experience.
All of the spotting scopes on our list feature fully multi-coated objective lenses.
We also think choosing a weatherproof spotting scope is essential. Almost everyone uses their spotting scope outdoors and in a portable fashion. With this in mind, you don’t want your equipment to be damaged by unexpected fog, rain, or snow while you are hunting, hiking, camping, and more. That’s why we only chose weatherproof spotting scopes for our list.
To make a spotting scope waterproof and fog proof, it is built with a sealing O-ring and undergoes a nitrogen flushing process that, interestingly enough, can also be used to preserve food.
Ease of Use
We think the best spotting scopes should also be easy to use. Ease of use can mean different things for different users, but many spotting scopes are designed with user ease and comfort in mind.
The weight of a spotting scope can either make it easier or more challenging to use. Many people prefer lightweight spotting scopes as they are easy to carry and transport. They also make holding them less strenuous. In general, spotting scopes are pretty lightweight, but a little extra weight can make a big difference if you are hiking with them or trying to hold them for more extended periods of time. You can always get a tripod, though, so try not to focus on this too much.
The size and quality of an eyepiece can also help improve ease of use. A super small eyepiece can make it more challenging to use. A larger, often softer eyepiece is generally more comfortable.
If you wear glasses, eye relief is another trait that can improve ease of use and overall comfort. Many spotting scopes have an adjustable eyepiece with variable eye relief for precisely this reason.
Finally, the design of the focus dial can also affect how easy a spotting scope will be to use. An accessible dial with a smooth adjustment that allows for fine-tuning is ideal. For bird watchers and other wildlife viewers, the ability to adjust the focus quickly can also be highly beneficial for the viewing experience. You can’t depend on wildlife to stay still for long, so if you want to view them through a spotting scope, you will need to be able to focus without delay.
Do You Need a Tripod for Your Spotting Scope?
Many people prefer to use a tripod with their spotting scope, but it is not truly necessary. Your spotting scope will still function properly without one, but if you enjoy a more stationary form of viewing, a tripod can be very beneficial for your function overall experience.
A tripod can reduce fatigue, particularly with heavier spotting scopes. A tripod can also be helpful for target shooting or group viewing of scenery and distant landmarks.
Instead of having to readjust and refocus for each person, a tripod allows you to set it up and leave it for multiple people to enjoy.
The Right Spotting Scope for You
The Celestron Ultima 22-60×100 angled spotting scope is the winner of our Editor’s Choice Award for the best spotting scope in the UK. Not only does it feature excellent image quality, but it also has an easy to focus dial, a comfortable eyepiece, a durable armoured exterior, and comes with a variety of included accessories. All of these traits combined make it a fantastic choice for bird watching, hunting, target shooting, viewing scenery, and more.
The only potential cons we could find for this model are that it is a bit heavier than other options, it is possible higher magnifications could be less sharp, and the included carrying case may be less durable than expected. Nonetheless, we still think you could be more than happy choosing this spotting scope for your next viewing adventure. If not, one of the other outstanding options on our best spotting scopes list should more than accommodate your needs and preferences.
Let us know what you think, and leave a comment below.
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Sam loves to learn about animals and their habitats. He has been a nature lover from a very young age, and has been writing papers and articles about wildlife for as long as he can remember.