Best Spotting Scope Under 500 – Top 10 in 2023 [Guide & Top Picks]

Finding the right spotting scope for the right price quite hard. All of us don’t have that high of a budget to work with. Spotting scopes are a necessity for hunters and birders. Even digiscopers are leaning towards spotting scopes more and more over binoculars.

Spotting scope is an essential part of hunting. They are better and more powerful than binoculars. They can used for sight-seeing, hunting, Digi-watching, star gazing, etc. Anything you want to watch from afar, you can do that with a spotting scope.

You can guess why hunters prefers to keep one at their bay when needed. But, finding out which one is the best and works the best for you is quite hard job. That’s why reviews exist. We do this so you don’t have to go in blind without knowing anything.

A spotting scope from a reputable brand can set you back for as much as $2000. But today we are not discussing those giants. Today I am going to show you guys some of the best spotting scope under $500. Without further ado let’s jump straight into it.

What Is The Best Spotting Scope For Under 500 USD?

That’s what we are going to find out today. Don’t worry, if you don’t have time to finish reading the complete review, then take a look at some of the best chosen by us for you.

Best Value For The Money

Redfield Rampage 20-60×80 is an amazing spotting scope that has almost everything you could ask for in a spotting scope. It’s also quite cheap and readily available for purchase.

Editor’s Choice

Vortex Diamondback 20-60×60 Call me Vortex shill all you want. But Diamondback is one of the best lineups of spotting scopes, period. Yes, they are that good. Vortex proved that countless time they deserve all the fans they got.

Best Overall

Celestron Trailseeker in this lineup of spotting scopes, you will find a lot of spotting scopes in different configuration and magnification. Celestron has one Trailseeker for everyone.

Best For Hunting

Barska Blackhawk 25-75×80 has the most powerful magnification on the list today. For hunting, you will need as much magnification as possible. Or Vortex

Best For Digiscoping

Gosky 20-60×80 is a fully-fledged digiscoping scope through and through. It comes with a digiscoping capable phone mount. The objective lens and the magnification is also quite good for digiscoping. You can also do a bit of night photography shoots with this as well.

1. Vortex Diamondback 20-60x80mm Spotting Scope

Objective Lens80mm
Eye Relief20-16.5 mm
Close Focus22 ft
Linear FOV @1000yds105-51 ft
Exit Pupil4-1.3 mm
Length15.7 inches

Whether you are a newbie or veteran doesn’t matter. You have heard of Vortex and their famous Diamondback series by now. They are known for their variables and reliability. The one we have here is the angled 20-60×60 model.

What Do We Like

Better Build Quality

Diamondback 20-60×80 straight spotting scope starts from $499. The entire scope is built on a single tube design. The tube is made out of high-grade aluminum. On top of the body, there is a rubber armor coating all over it.

Good Lens Quality

The lenses on this scope is fully multi-coated. The lenses also have some protective coating to protect them from scratches and other problems. The lens clarity is just awesome. No matter what you do, this scope won’t fail you at all. Wide field of view for hunters, excellent zoom for birders, and excellent lens clarity for everybody.

Massive Objective Lens

The objective lens on this scope is 60mm wide. The lens is wide enough to capture any of the view that you are enjoying. It’s also wide enough to capture any running animals. It will also help you to take better pictures while digiscoping.

Great Price To Performance Ratio

The pricing of this scope is not that high. It’s within the reach of most hunters and digiscopers. And who doesn’t like some good budget products?

360 Rotatable Tripod Mount

The 360 rotatable tripod mount is an excellent feature to have too. As the scope is a straight version, you can digiscope with this too. It will be a bit of hassle but you can do it with the correct mount. Diamondback is definitely one of the best spotting scope under 500 in the market.

Keep That In Mind

The angled version might not be suitable for everyone. Don’t worry, there is a straight version of this as well. Go for that one if you don’t like angled version.

Who Is This For

For hunters, digiscopers, and slight star gazing. The lenses aren’t coated to stargaze. But you can still do that to some degree.

2. Redfield Rampage 20-60x80mm Angled Spotting Scope

Objective Lens80mm
Eye Relief16.5 – 20 mm
Twilight Factor40 – 69.3
Linear FOV @1000yds51 – 105 ft
Weight47.1 oz

Redfield has always been well with naming their scopes. The Rampage 20-60x80mm is an angled spotting scope. At first, the targeted audience of this scope was hunters. But as years went by and people started to talk about this scope more, it got more interesting over the time. Let’s find out some other use of the scope besides hunting, shall we?

What Do We Like

Rugged Build Quality

The build quality of this scope is quite good. You wouldn’t feel like it’s under $300 when you pick it up for the first time. The subtle rubber like coating around the body gives the scope a bit heft and a protection layer. It can survive a bit of drop without any issues. You don’t have to worry about the warranty a bit. Redfield is the child company of Leupold after all.

Vivid And Colorful Lenses

For a spotting scope, the main attraction is the lens. If the lens is not good and not clear, might as well use a cheap binocular. The objective lens on this one is 80mm. That’s huge! You have field of view for days. The lenses are coated with multiple layers of chemicals to protect it from any natural calamities. That includes water and fogs as well.

Bak-4 Prism

The scope uses a BaK4 prism and all of the glasses involved in the scope are fully multi-coated. The fully multi-coated lens is scratch proof and quite clear. The clarity on them is far better than non-coated or single-coated lenses.

Tripod Inside The Box

Redfield generously provides a decent tripod for free inside the box. The tripod is decent, not good, not terrible. Will get the job done but won’t recommend to use it always.

Water/Fog Proofing

The entire housing is also waterproof. There aren’t any fancy O-ring sealing to make it submergible. But for the price you are paying, I am ready to give that up. The inside is nitrogen purged. There won’t be any fogging issue that’s for sure. Even if there is (due to some quality control issue) then you can always ask for a replacement unit.

Keep That In Mind

While Redfield tried their best to include a carrying case and a tripod, they are not the best. The tripod is quite flimsy and the case is not that durable.

Who Is This Scope For?

Besides hunting, the scope is fabulous for digiscoping. You will catch pictures of such wonderful scenarios and birds with ease. Birding has always been a hobby for me. This scope will help you a lot if you are anything like me. Definitely one of the best spotting scopes under $500.

3. Gosky 20-60×80 Dual Focusing ED Spotting Scope

Objective Lens80mm
Smartphone AdapterYes
Linear FOV @1000yds105-52ft
Best ForAll-Rounder

Gosky is one of the most famous spotting scope manufacturers right now. They have an excellent reputation of providing good spotting scopes. But is it a good enough scope for you? Should you consider it? Let’s find out.

What Do We Like

ED glasses

The lenses of this scope is constructed from ED glasses. ED is short form of extra-low dispersion. This type of glass helps you watch clear and better at night and during low-light. It’s a great advantage to have if you are a hunter.

Big Objective Lens

Big objective lens for better light transmission. If the scope is gathering more-light, you will see brighter and clearer picture. While having humongous lens will help, it might also come as problem to some. It can be too big to carry at times. The huge 80mm objective lens provides a wide field of view.

Great For Stargazing

It’s one of those few spotting scopes that can grab the sight of a beautiful night without any issues. It can also capture the beauty of stars in a dark night as well. Overall, it’s a great scope for anyone that loves to capture tons of footage through a spotting scope.

The Eyepiece

The eyepiece is not interchangeable. You don’t need to change it either. The variable 20-60x magnification is more than any task you do. As long as you are not zooming in to see Mars you are good to go. The tripod mount is rotatable and you can fixate it at any angle.

Dual Focus Knobs

It provides a great value for the money as a spotting scope alone. The dual focus knobs are quite a nice feature to have. Thanks to them you can focus on the smallest of the object. With 60x massive magnification no animals shall escape your sight.

Keep That In Mind

There is no straight version of this scope. Some of us would definitely love to have that option.

Who Is This Scope For? Digiscopers!

For $350 it offers an insane value. I can assure you that this is a best spotting scope under 500. The scope comes with a universal smartphone mount. You can mount any smartphone on the mount. It will help you with digiscoping a lot.

4. Celestron TrailSeeker 80 – 45 Degree Spotting Scope

Objective Lens80mm
Eye Relief18 – 15mm
Close Focus24.6 ft
Linear FOV @1000yds105 – 52 ft
Exit Pupil4 – 1.3mm
Weight54.6 oz

Celestron is one of the most well-known spotting manufacturers of all time. They have history with NASA. Their scopes were used in space shuttles as well. Celestron C5 is still one of the most used astrography spotting scope.

What Do We Like

Build Quality

Like always, Celestron is a boss when it comes to making a durable spotting scope. I know from the picture the scope doesn’t look durable at all. But pictures can be deceiving. The construction material isn’t clear but I can assure you it’s not completely plastic.

Available In Tons Of Different Configuration

You don’t like the huge objective lens or straight eye piece? No problem. Celestron got this spotting scope in tons of different configuration and styles. Take whichever that you need/want.

XLT Fully Multi-Coated Lenses

All of the lenses involved in this scope is fully multi-coated with XLT coating. It’s a 3 layers protection coating that saves the lenses from scratches and other oily residues. The scope is also waterproof and nitrogen purged. You don’t have to worry about a thing.

Tripod Compatible

Without a tripod it’s not possible to enjoy stargazing or digiscoping. Tripod mounting can be a pain on unconventional mounting system. Luckily, Celestron didn’t do anything like that. You can mount the scope on regular tripods as well.

Objective Lenses

The objective lens is huge 80mm. It’s enough to provide a good amount of field of view. There are options available to include a smartphone mountain the packaging. But that will cost you a tad more. But if you are into digiscoping then I recommend you to go for that package.

Keep That In Mind

The eyecups on the scope could have been a lot better. It’s understandable that you can’t expect to have everything on one scope. Still, you can expect a bit better from Celestron. Besides this, I don’t have any complaints regarding the scope. Don’t worry, the eyecups won’t interfere with glasses user. The eye relief is more than generous.

Who Is This Scope For?

This scope is excellent for long range sight-seeing. It’s an excellent option for hunters and digiscopers. Although you need to purchase your own digiscoping equipment. That can get expensive really quick.

5. Leupold SX-2 Alpine HD 20-60x60mm Spotting Scope

Objective Lens60 mm
Eye Relief17.5-16.5 mm
Exit Pupil4.2-1.4 mm
Linear FOV @100 yds88-44 ft
Close Focus32ft
Weight4.85 lbs

Leupold is not a new name when it comes to lenses. Like Vortex and Canon, Leupold makes some of the best lenses around. But just the lens alone can’t carry it to the finish line. Don’t worry, it has other redeeming qualities. Otherwise, it wouldn’t make the list.

What Do We Like

HD Glasses

HD glasses are a lot like ED glasses. They also get bright with a low amount of light. You don’t need to worry about gathering enough sunlight. They are also clearer and more colorful than regular lenses. The HD lenses are also fully multi-coated with different sorts of coating. While they are not as durable as sapphire, you don’t need to worry about minor scratches.

Beginner Friendly

The controls on this scope is nothing complex. Someone that never used a spotter before will have no issues using this scope. The learning curve isn’t stiff but the build quality is. That brings me to the next point.

Excellent Build Quality

The build quality on this scope is much better than what you expect in this price range. The scope is completely waterproof and shock proof. The inside of the housing is purged with nitrogen. Making it immune to internal fogging.

Keep That In Mind

Leupold didn’t mention anything about using any ED glasses. While HD glasses are good at performing in low-light, they are not immune to chromatic aberration. That’s the only thing concerns me about this scope.

Who Is This Spotting Scope For?

It’s a killing machine for hunters. The accuracy with the Helical focus knob is a deadly combo. There is no digiscoping gears included with the package. You need to buy your own if you want to digiscope with this. But that’s possible as well.

6. Pentax PF-65ED II Spotting Scope

Objective Lens65mm
Viewing AngleStraight
Close Focus16.4 ft
Prism TypePorro (BAK4)
Weight37.0 oz

Pentax is not a new name to hunters. Many of us used their other products and other spotting scopes over the years. There is a reason for that. They are reliable and customer service is on point.

What Do We Like

Detachable Eyepiece

By first look you will be confused. Why is the eyepiece on the picture so big? Well the thing is, in the picture there is no eyepiece included. It’s just the top side of the scope where you insert the eyepiece. This gives you the option to use any magnification eyepiece you want. Now that’s something I would love to have in all of my scopes.

Excellent For Digiscoping

Digiscoping is getting more and more popular. A lot of us digiscope with macro lens with our smartphones. Just imagine the improvement when you use a spotting scope for digiscoping.

Good Build Quality And Protection

As the scope has a removeable eyepiece, it needs extra protection so that water does not go inside the scope. Water inside will create moisture and that will make the lens blurry. Don’t worry, you won’t face anything like that at all. The scope has O-rings to protect it from water. The eyepiece is a tight and securely locked in one place as well.

Keep That In Mind

Finding the right eyepiece for this will take some time. And this will cost a bit of extra money as well.

Who Is This Scope For?

It’s for everyone that is looking for a versatile spotting scope. It can do everything besides stargazing.

7. BARSKA Blackhawk 25-75x100mm Spotting Scope

Objective Lens100 mm
Eye Relief16.7 mm
Optical CoatingGuard-Ion
Linear FOV @100 yds50-106 ft
Weight60 Oz.

Barska has been around in the market for a long time now. They make many outdoor optics related products. Their spotting scope lineup is one of the best in the budget segment. It’s not wonder you are seeing the Blackhawk here.

What Do We Like

Huge Objective Lens

The objective lens of this scope is huge. The diameter is 100mm. That’s larger than everything we have on the list so far. For birding and Digi-watching, the scope is excellent. Just excellent. Light gathering power of this crossbow is also quite good. You don’t need to worry about low light performance either.

Massive Magnification

I know spotting scopes supposed to have huge magnification, but 75x is no joke. You can watch from miles away. That’s both scary and fascinating at the same time. Keep in mind, at maximum magnification you might see some blurriness on the edge of the scope. That’s expected. Yes, it’s normal.

100% Water And Fog Proof

The scope is constructed like tank and ready for war. It has multiple layers of protections built around the scope. The inside of the scope is purged with nitrogen. Making the scope fog proof and removing all blurriness from it.

Keep That In Mind

The included accessories aren’t that good for the scope. You definitely need a better carrying case. As this scope is great for birding, you must buy a tripod as well.

Who Is This Scope For?

If you love birding and sightseeing, this is an amazing spotting scope for you. For hunting? Not so much. Why? It’s a bit heavy for hunters.

Frequently ASK Questions

Q1: What To Look For In Spotting Scopes Under $500?

A1: You could look for many things. Here are some pointers that we think every spotting scopes should have.

  • Good build quality. It’s quite necessary for the scope to be built well.
  • Good magnification. If the magnification is lower than binoculars or riflescopes, what’s the point?
  • Glass. The material of glass is quite important. You should definitely try to get something with ED glass if you can.
  • Coating. Lens coatings are equally as important as glass materials. They will keep your scope safe and running for a long time.

Q2: Is Angled Or Straight Crossbow Better?

A2: Angled scope is ideally better than straight spotting scope. Hunters and digiscopers prefers angled eyepiece over straight ones. That’s why a lot of companies makes specific models of spotting scope angled only. Technically, the advantage is quite thin. But it’s there. Unless, you used both type, you won’t feel the difference that much.

Q3: Is Spotting Scope Under $500 Worth It?

A3: Absolutely. They are worth every penny you are spending. You don’t need 3000$ to buy a decent spotting scope that will serve your needs. Those days are over when you used to pay and get less. It’s completely opposite now. So, yes, the spotting scopes under $500 are completely worth it.

Best Spotting Scope Under 500: Conclusion

Honestly, I would have featured a lot more than these. But that wouldn’t make it the best post would it? All of the scopes featured in the list are quite good. Worthy competitors. No matter which one you go for you won’t be wrong to choose that one.

If you still have further questions left, you already know we always welcome a healthy discussion. Make sure to shoot them down the comments. Sadly, we have to part ways here. But I hope to see you again soon.

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