Best Spotting Scopes For 2021

Interested in buying a spotting scope to help you spot wildlife?  Here are a few things to look for that may help you choose the right one.

There are a number of important factors to consider when choosing a spotter scope for watching wildlife.  Before you rush into buying the most expensive spotting scope, think about your purchase and how it can serve your needs.

After considering more than two dozen different spotting scopes, I decided to buy the Gosky 20-60×80 Porro Prism spotting scope for watching wildlife (which you can find on Amazon here).  For me, it’s the perfect balance of price and quality.  It has many of the features of the high-end scopes with a 45-degree angled eyepiece, variable 20x to 60x zoom, retractable sunshade and it allows you to take photos on your phone.  I’ve been really happy with it, and I bought two more for my friends.

The most important takeaway from this article, I believe, is that I strongly encourage you not to purchase a sub $100 spotting scope.  I tested multiple cheap scopes trying to save a buck, and they aren’t very good.  I bought a cheap one to start, and it didn’t have enough magnification to view wildlife.  Also, cheaper spotting scopes aren’t as well built and shock-proof.

These Are The Top 3 Spotting Scopes for 2021:

Vortex Optics Diamondback Spotting Scopes (click to check current price on Amazon) – Vortex is a great brand name, and nobody will be disappointed if you choose the Vortex brand.

Vortex Optics Viper HD Spotting Scope 15-45x65 Angled
  • The Viper HD 15-45x65 Angled Spotting Scope is packed with features for incredible glassing and high end optical performance.
  • The HD optical system comprised of premium components generates vivid high-definition images. XR anti-reflective coatings on exterior surfaces help obtain brighter views in low-light situations.
  • The smooth helical focus helps dial in your image for ultra-sharp viewing and maintains a trim profile for ultimate packability. A built-in sunshade pulls out to help reduce glare.
  • A multi-position eyecup provides proper eye relief while a locking collar allows the scope to rotate into different viewing positions.
  • O-ring sealed and argon purged, the Viper delivers waterproof and fogproof performance. Armortek coatings protect the lenses from oil, scratches, and dirt. Rubber armor enhances both durability and grip for the user.

Gosky 20-60×80 Porro Prism Spotting Scope (click to check current price on Amazon) – The best all-rounder, great quality, crisp images, and great magnification.  It’s the best spotting scope you can buy.

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Gosky 20-60 X 80 Porro Prism Spotting Scope- Waterproof Scope for Bird Watching Target Shooting Archery Range Outdoor Activities -with Tripod & Digiscoping Adapter
  • Fully multi-coated 80mm green film objective lens, eyepiece and quality prism inside - guarentee the key elements of a spotting scope, and make your view brighter, clearer and delivers crisp images.
  • Variable 20x to 60x magnification and dynamic lens focusing system -- makes it easy to zoom in on target. Designed for birdwatching, watching wildlife and scenery.
  • Durable Magnalium Framework and Rubber Armor - Its tight fitting protection makes it usable to withstand the toughest weather conditions. The shock-absorbing rubber armor for maximum protection. And the eyepiece shield can be stretched out to protect the eyepiece.
  • Waterproof Design : Its sealing property ensures the living waterproof function.
  • Comes with a digiscoping adapter for digiscoping. (Note: for all spotting scopes, the original picture is in a circle, pleae zoom the camera to get a full screen picture.) It also comes with Carrying Case, Eyepiece and Lens Protection Covers, Cleaning Cloth and handy Straps.

Emarth High Power 10-20X50 (click to check current price on Amazon) – This is your budget option.  It has lower magnification, but the quality is fantastic for the price.  For a scope that you can take out without worrying too much if you damage it, this is a great scope.

Emarth High Power 10-30X50 Zoom Monocular Telescope BAK4 Prism Waterproof Fog Proof Men Gifts for Bird Watching Camping Hunting Wildlife Traveling
  • Portable Zoom Monocular - Emarth monocular features a powerful zoom magnification range that adjustable 10x to 30x magnification, use low magnification if you need to see a larger view and handle it steady, zoom in to high magnification when you need to see something longer distance and also want a specific picture
  • Suitable for Any Occasion - Variable 10x to 30x magnification and dynamic lens focusing system makes it easy to zoom in on target, perfect designed for hunting, camping, target shooting, archery, bird watching, watching wildlife, scenery and even astronomy
  • Advanced Configuration - With the BAK-4 crystal prism and FMC(full multi-coated) 50mm objective lens, Emarth monocular delivers brighter, clearer image, the highlight transmission will reach up to 99.8 percent of light reflection allowing for crisp and clear picture as using the Porro system
  • Durable & Tough - It is both fogproof and waterproof(IPX7,nitrogen-filled truly water poof guaranteed) and boasts a rugged external armor. These features make this monocular capable of withstanding inclement weather conditions so you can use it outside without worrying about damaging it
  • Satisfy Warranty - Emarth offers a 30-day money back guarantee and a lifetime quality warranty, you are welcome to contact us if any problem with our optics products, we promise will work hard to put you a smile back on your face

Why I Picked the Gosky 20-60×80 Spotting Scope

When you sit down and compare the Gosky spotting scope to the Vortex spotting scope, the difference is surprising.

  • The Gosky offers greater magnifications than the Vortex offers.  The Vortex do offer a model with the same magnification, but the price difference is even higher.
  • The Gosky has a digiscoping adapter that comes with it allowing you to take great wildlife photos with your mobile phone.
  • The Gosky comes with the high-end features of the Vortex with sun-shade and fully multi-coated lenses
  • The Gosky is made in Asia, as is the Vortex, at a fraction of the price of the more expensive scope. 
  • The Gosky comes in a straight and angled version
  • The Gosky is currently less than $150 with tripod, bag and digiscoping adapter.

Features to look for in a quality spotting scope:

  • Tough, durable and shock proof casing and mounts – these things can put up with a lot of hiking and trail walking.
  • The eyepiece has to provide clear vision, letting plenty of light through to deliver a crisp image.
  • Look for fully multi-coated optics.
  • Look for a higher magnification system to help bring the wildlife closer to you.
  • Simple to set up and operate
  • Included digiscoping adapter to take photos at distance through your mobile.
  • Look to see if it includes a sun-shade.
  • Check it has good quality glass.
  • Check the dimensions and weight of the spotting scope.
  • Look to see if the scope is fully weatherproof and fogproof?

“I’ve always thought about buying a spotting scope. Now I’m definitely going to get one! Cheers for the good advice.” – David

A spotting scope is ideal if you love looking at wildlife and want to take great close-up photos from a distance. 

Mobile phones, along with larger DSLRs, point and shoot cameras and bridge cameras can use an attachment to allow them to take photos with the extra zoom of the scope.  This will give the camera the magnification of the spotting scope.

An iPhone X, for instance has 2 x optical zoom whereas the Gosky, in comparison has 80 x optical zoom.    The addition of the digiscoping adapter is essential for easy and quick mounting to turn the spotting scope into a camera that can adapt to photos or even video.    

About Spotting Scopes

A spotting scope is a telescope perfect for watching wildlife.  Spotting scopes are lightweight telescopes that can help you see great distances.  The view they produce provides a fantastic view of the animal up close, and the great thing is the spotting scope doesn’t have to be large or heavy anymore. 

Another useful thing about them is you can use them to improve your wildlife spotting skills.  Whether out with the kids, or sitting in a hide somewhere, they provide a way of finding and identifying wildlife you may not normally be able to see.

Due to the advances in technology, the amount of people having access to a smartphone, along with lower costs, spotting scopes are becoming a must-have item, not only light-weight and affordable, but also providing an excellent quality to the photos and video.