Best Spotting Scope For The Money – Top 11 in 2020 [Guide & Top Picks]


The best spotting scope for the money means, this spotting scope is providing the best value for that money. That’s why there will be more than one spotting scope on this reviews. All of them are best at their respective price point. 

This is not a review of the best spotting scope in the world. Quite contrary, we are trying to provide you the best value for your money. These two terms are very different. Let’s start the main portion of the show. 

Best Spotting Scope For The Money

1. Swarovski HD-ATS 20-60x80 HD Spotting Scope

Magnification 20-60x
Objective Lens 80mm
Eye Relief 17mm
Exit Pupil 3.3 to 1.1mm
FOV @1000yds 108 to 60 feet
Twilight Factor 36.1 to 62.4mm
Weight 9.12 Ounces

Well, this is best high end spotting scope. Earlier I mentioned something about spending money and getting value in return. I never said they are going to be cheap. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of cheaper options down below. 

As I was saying, Swarovski Optik HD ATS 80 is a top of the line spotting scope. It’s as good as they can get. The build quality on this one is excellent. Made out of aluminum, there is a rubber armor coating around the body. 

Swarovski uses HD glasses with multiple coatings to enhance the vision of their spotting scopes. They also use a coating called Swaroclean on the outside of the lenses. This coating makes removing residue, minerals, insect repellent, etc removing super easy. 

The lenses are also coated with scratch resisting coating. Don’t worry, a simple scratch from your nail won’t do any harm to the scope. This scope is only available with an angled eyepiece. 

You are paying for a lifetime. You didn’t hear me wrong if you invest your money on this scope. It will support you till you decide to ditch for some reason. Unless you throw it under a road roller, I don’t see it naturally getting damaged either.

I know it’s a lot of money, Swarovski will back you up with a lifetime warranty too. It’s a long-term investment. In that sense, ATS 80 is worth the price. 

2. Zeiss Conquest Gavia 30-60x85 Spotting Scope

Magnification 30-60x
Objective Lens 85mm
Focal Length 494 mm
Exit Pupil 2. 8 – 1. 4 mm
FOV @1000yds 99 - 69 ft
Length 15.6"
Weight 60 Oz

Zeiss is one of the most well-known lens brands in the world. They make lenses from glasses to cameras. The price difference between this and ATS 80 is quite significant. Almost $1000 difference. 

Conquest Gavia 85 is compact and easy to carry. It’s an anywhere carry tool that will take your vision game to the next level. 

The opportunity with this scope is endless. If you want to do regular good old birdwatching. You can do that for hours without feeling bored. The fully multi-coated lenses with compact roof prism design produce incredible pictures. 

For digiscoping, you can buy a kit from Zeiss. But if you want to get a third party mount, that’s okay too. The build quality is excellent, you can see it’s a premium spotting scope. 

This scope has an outer layer coating on the lenses to keep them clean. You don’t need to wash the lenses. All you need to do is, blow a little air on the dirt or use a soft brush to clean the surface of the lens. 

The price of this scope is not low, it’s nearly $2000. In return for that money, you are getting a scope that will last you for at least 10 years. If you do the math yourself, you can figure out how the scope will give an incredible value for the money in the long run. 

3. Kowa TSN-553 Compact 15-45x55 Spotting Scope

Magnification 15-45x
Objective Lens 55 mm
Angled Viewing 45°
Exit Pupil 3.3 to 1.1mm
PROMINAR Glass Ultra-Low Dispersion
Length 10.6"
Weight 28.6 Oz

Kowa TSN 553 is a spotting scope that is loved by birders. This is the angled version of their Prominar series. If you want a straight eyepiece one, then you need to take TSN 554. 

The lenses of this scope are made out of natural fluorite crystal. Kowa uses this material for its flagship series only. TSN 553 is the first 55mm objective lens scope from Kowa to receive fluorite crystal. 

The max magnification of this scope is only 45x. Compared to other scopes this is quite low. For 45x scope, I can bet my money on the line it will defeat any $1500 60x scope. In terms of clarity and color accuracy. The lenses on this are just extraordinary.

You will get some of the best birdwatching experiences in the world. If you have read a few reviews about this scope, you know most reviewers declared this as the best 50-55mm objective lens spotting scope on the market. 

The lenses are fully multi-coated. With fluorite crystal glass and multi-layer coatings, you will get an excellent optical performance. This scope is also water and fogproof. You can use it in cold and the glasses won’t fog.

The price of this scope is around $1800. It’s a good amount of money. Investing that amount of money behind anything is a tough ask. But if you decide to do it, it will pay off big time. 

4. Leupold SX-5 Santiam 27-55x80mm HD Scope

Magnification 27-55x
Objective Lens 80mm
Eye Relief 16.6 - 19.2 mm
Water/Shock/Fogproof Yes
FOV @1000yds 105 - 73 ft
Length 15.70"
Weight 68.70 Oz

Leupold is a brand that can go toe to toe with all the other top-end companies. They are not someone who compromises quality when it comes to their products.

SX-5 Santiam is one of their high-end offerings. It’s a spotting scope with an 80mm objective lens and 55x maximum magnification. The design of this spotting scope is unique. The pattern, the outlook, the finish everything is nice about it. 

Or maybe I am just being me and loving the different shades of black.

If you know Leupold, you know the Twilight light management system. It’s a technology that Leupold uses in all of their scopes to enhance their power. Normally, without ED or HD glasses, a fully-multi coated spotting scope won’t perform that good under low-light. 

Leupold introduced the Twilight light max system to cope with that problem. I have to say, they coped quite well. The fully multi-coated lenses are scratch resistant. The inside of the scope is nitrogen purged to make it fogproof. 

On the outside, the durable body is closed from every side. Even underneath the knobs, there are waterproofing materials available. It’s safe to say this scope can pass a submerged test. 

SX 6 Santinam also costs $1800. Leupold also provides a lifetime warranty with their scopes. I don’t think you are going to need it, as I don’t see it breaking down anytime soon. 

5. Vortex Razor HD 27-60x85 Spotting Scope

Magnification 27 – 60x
Objective Lens 85mm
Eye Relief 16.7 – 17mm
Close Focus 16.4'
FOV @100 yds 117' - 68'
Length 15.5"
Weight 65.6 oz

Vortex Razor HD is one of the most loved spotting scopes that ever existed. Vortex released a lot of scopes under the Razor banner. The most expensive one being the 27-60×85 angled version. The straight version of the same scope costs a bit less. 

I don’t need to say anything new about Vortex. We all know how good their lenses are. Their budget options are some of the best. If you give them a good budget to work with, they can make an excellent scope. 

That’s exactly what happened with Razor HD. Coming at $1600, this scope nails everything that you might want in your first spotting scope. It has HD lenses. All of the lenses are also fully multi-coated. HD lenses are a direct competitor of ED glasses. HD lenses generate some of the best pictures a spotting scope can ever produce. 

Together with the multi-coated prism, Razor HD does manage to pull off some HD pictures. It’s like a digiscopers wet dream coming true. 

As for build quality, it’s also quite good. I would appreciate it if they were to go for a more robust and sturdy build. But the plain finish on top of an aluminum case is pretty good. Vortex uses O-ring sealing to seal the lenses securely in a place. Thanks to that, the scope automatically becomes water and shockproof. 

As for making it fogproof, Vortex chooses argon purging over nitrogen. Argon purging is equally good if not better. Because you will find nitrogen filling on lower ends too. But argon purging is mostly available on expensive spotting scopes. 

Depending on your preference, choose the eyepiece version you like. I can easily recommend this. You are set for over 5 years if you buy this scope. 

6. Burris Signature HD 20-60x85 Spotting Scope

Magnification 20-60x
Objective Lens 85mm
Eye Relief 20.0 to 18.0 mm
Exit Pupil 4.25 mm to 1.4 mm
FOV @1000yds 117 to 60 feet
Water/Fogproof Yes, Argon Filled
Weight 4.2 lb

Burris Signature HD is the next scope on our list today. This is not a budget scope. It’s not built like a budget scope either. From looks to build quality. Everything about this scope screams of quality. The performance of this scope is best in its category. For $1500, it’s almost impossible to find a better value scope than this. 

The included eyepiece is a 20-60×85 one. Alternatively, you can get a fixed 30x eyepiece with either SCR-MIL or SCR-MOA reticles. If you are a hunter, you know how a long-range FFP reticle is going to help you big time. 

This is by no means a compact scope. It’s a big monster. You must buy a tripod for this scope. The mounting plate is rotatable. Meaning you can use this scope at any angle you might want. 

The optics are fully multi-coated. That huge sunshade with anti-glare coating makes the life of the prism easier. It gathers enough light to portray some of the most color-accurate images at this price point. Color accuracy and contrast plays a huge role in a good picture. Burris managed to nail them down.

Due to the wholesale business model of Burris, you can’t directly buy them from Burris. But you can buy it from our link down below. Don’t worry, Burris will still provide the full warranty and excellent after-sales service. That’s probably the only drawback of this spotting scope. Otherwise, it’s an excellent purchase even in 2021. 

7. Vortex Viper HD 20-60x85 Spotting Scope

Magnification 20-60x
Objective Lens 85mm
Close Focus 36 Feet
Length 18 Inches
FOV @1000yds 101 - 50 Feet
Eye Relief 17.8-19.6mm
Weight 76.4 Oz

Vortex Viper spotting scopes have 8 scopes under their banner. The model we got here is the most expensive and my recommendation for you guys. 

Coming at $900, it’s almost half of the price of Vortex Razor. But we all know Vortex Razor is an excellent scope. If your budget can be stretched that far, you know what to get. But if your budget can’t be stretched over $900 and you want the best spotting scope for the money. 

Give Vortex Viper HD a chance. As the name suggests, this scope includes HD glasses. HD glasses are equivalent to ED glasses. The main difference being, HD glasses performs better under sunlight than ED glasses.

Like most Vortex scopes, this one is also argon purged. Thanks to that the scope is completely fog proof. 

To make it further immune to moisture and water. Vortex uses O-ring seals. O-ring seals are known as some of the strongest waterproof sealing for spotting scopes. If a scope uses O-ring sealing, there is no chance of water going inside and the lens moving on their own. 

If you want to save money want to have the same parent scope. Just dip down on the magnification by a bit. Bam! You save $300.

8. Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 20-60x80 Spotting Scope

Magnification 20-60x
Objective Lens 80 mm
Eye Relief 18 mm
Exit Pupil 4 - 1.3 mm
FOV @1000yds 110 - 51 ft
Length 16.5"
Weight 80.1 ounces

A lot of you are here only to get a spotting scope for birdwatching. When you start to watch birds and terrain. Time flies quite fast. That’s why you won’t notice when the dawn becomes dusk. Most of the spotting scopes start to fade colors as the sun closes down. 

To fix that issue ED glasses were invented. Extra-Low Dispersion aka ED glass. They are one of the few glasses that require low light to capture an image. 

ED glasses are always the first choice of scope manufacturers. But due to their pricing, it’s not possible to include them in every scope.

As Bushnell Legend Ultra includes ED glass, you can do light star gazing on a starry night. Don’t expect to see the Milky Way, as this scope wasn’t meant for astronomy. It can do light astronomy but that’s it.

Besides astronomy, this scope is capable of doing mad level digiscoping. Buy a good mount and attach a good camera phone, you will take some frame-worthy pictures. The two-speed dual focus control helps a lot in improving the overall focus. It becomes easier to navigate the scenery.

This scope is only available in the angled eyepiece version. If you don’t have any issue with it. Then I can easily recommend this spotting scope. It’s an excellent value for the money. On top of that, you probably won’t look for another scope for a while.

9. Celestron Regal M2 65ED Spotting Scope

Magnification 22 - 67x
Objective Lens 100mm
Eye Relief 20mm
Field Of View 100-47 feet @1000yds
Lens Coating Fully Multi-Coated
Prism Bak-4
Close Focus 26.2'

The best spotting scopes for the money wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t include scope from Celestron. All I can say about Celestron are good stuff. They are making quality spotting scope before birdwatching became popular. Most of their spotting scope uses a roof prism or BaK4 prism glass. 

For better viewing, Regal M2 65ED also uses BaK4 prism. The prism glass and all the lenses are fully multi-coated. The lenses are also XLT coated. It’s an extra layer of coating from Celestron. They use it on their scopes to make it more resistant to scratches and reduce glares. Have to say, it’s super effective.

Unlike Celestron C5, which is an astronomy spotting scope. This one is a multipurpose spotting scope. With the help of 16x-48x eyepiece and 65mm objective lens. 

You can do an extreme level of birdwatching and digiscoping. As for hunting, this is an incredible choice. If you hunt in a bushy area, this scope will shine the most. The ED glass will make you their fan for sure. 

If you want a bigger objective lens, you can increase it up to 100mm. Keep in mind that will also increase the price significantly.

As we are talking about the best value for the money spotting scope. We are suggesting the 16-48×65 version. It’s more than enough for your daily needs. It can act like a star gazing scope as well. So, what are you waiting for, click the link below to know the latest best price.

10. Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A Spotting Scope

Magnification 20-60x
Objective Lens 82 mm
Eye Relief 19 - 20 mm
Near Focus 14.8 - 18 feet
FOV @1000yds 144 - 68 ft
View Angle 2.75 - 1.3 degrees
Weight 51 ounces

Vanguard is a relatively small company compared to all the big names on the list so far. That doesn’t mean you should ignore their products. Vanguard in the past has made some really good spotting scopes. Endeavor HD 82A is one of them. 

Like many other scopes on the list, Endeavor has two versions of it. One is cheaper than the other one. The one made into our list is the smaller and cheaper version of the scope. 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that small. The eyepiece is a 15-45x one. That’s more than enough for a spotting scope. To accompany that eyepiece Endeavor has a 65mm objective lens. I was surprised when I saw the number. I was expecting a 50 or 55mm objective lens. A surprise to be sure but a welcome one. 

As for lens material, Vanguard used ED glasses on this one too (nice). In the previous scope review, I mentioned everything you need to know about ED glass. Make sure to scroll up and read it again if you haven’t already. 

It’s also a 100% water and fogproof scope. To keep fogs away, Vanguard purges the inside of the scope with nitrogen. Unlike Vortex who uses Argon, most of the budget end scope tends to use nitrogen purge. It’s less expensive and works like a charm. 

The focusing knob deserves some love too. Endeavor 82A did a good job regarding this. I am impressed and I liked it very much.

For only $315 you are getting a scope that is not a gimmick, provides incredible visual clarity with fully multi-coated ED glasses, good build quality, a premium lifetime warranty. What more could you ask for? It’s without a doubt one of the best spotting scopes for the money.

11. Celestron Ultima 20-60x80 Spotting Scope

Magnification 20-60x
Objective Lens 80mm
Eye Relief 18mm
Close Focus 26.2 Feet
FOV @1000yds 105 to 53 feet
Prism Bak-4
Lens Coatings Multi-coated

Another scope from Celestron. You shouldn’t be surprised. Celestron does make some of the best spotting scopes under $500As for the scope on the list, it’s a $220 scope.

For $220, it has a lot to offer. Most of which we can consider excellent value. This scope is available in a straight version and angled version. In the angled version you can choose from different angles. 

The package with the phone adapter is currently out of the stock. Make sure to check the link, by the time you read this review, it might be in stock. 

Instead of fully multi-coating, Ultima 80 features only multi-coated lenses. It was done to cut the price down by half. Celestron managed to do just that. As for build quality, it’s as you expect from a sub $300 scope. Not bad but pretty decent. 

The scope is fog and waterproof. It’s a good thing you don’t need to run away when it rains. Even in winter, you shouldn’t face any issue while using this scope.

Best Spotting Scope For The Money: Conclusion

That concludes. I hope I was able to provide you guys with valuable information. If you feel like this review was lacking in any terms, make sure to let me know down below. Once again I apologize for taking so long of your valuable time.

But I wanted to provide you the best value for money scope for you. If I didn’t take the time to explain why you should buy that product, this review wouldn’t have a base, to begin with. Anyway, I won’t take any more of your time. Thanks for reading, make sure to come back later for more reviews. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top