Best Spotting Scopes Under $300

What is your go-to when you need a spotter? Do you just go with whatever spotting scope your buddy has with them? Or are you a more serious shooter and know exactly what magnification level and prism you need for great image quality?

Spotting scopes are used for so many diverse situations it can be hard to find the perfect one to fit your individual needs. This article will help you choose a spotting scope based on proper application, magnification, and of course, price.

Spotting scopes are used for birding, surveillance, hunting, viewing landscape, wildlife, and other distant objects. With magnification ranges from 15x - 60x it can be hard to determine what type of spotting scope is best for your needs.

I didn't use a spotting scope for a long time. I purchased an expensive pair of binoculars and was convinced I would be able to just use them accurately to spot with as well. I had a fine time using my binoculars to spot my buddies on their shots, to an extent, but it was hard to hold them steady.

My biggest realization that I needed a dedicated spotting scope was the day I asked my wife to spot me while I shot at our local range. Before you start laughing as you read, I genuinely understood her struggle trying to hold binoculars still while I yelled at her, “where did it hit?!”

When she responded with, “next to that one part of the target you talked about” I realized not only did I need a dedicated spotting scope, but I needed to review the directional indications I was sure we had already gone over.

Whether you have a dedicated range buddy or not, a spotting scope is a great investment if you shoot often. A high-quality adjustable tripod is a good investment as well because it allows you to set the spotting scope at a height that you can verify shots without breaking your shooting position.

Here is a list of some considerations when choosing the right spotting scope for your needs.

PRODUCT

DETAILS

Products

BEST FOR VALUE

Celestron Ultima 80 Scope

Celestron Ultima 80 Scope

  • Diameter: 80mm
  • Magnification: 20-60x
  • Weight: 3.31 lb
BEST HUNTING SCOPE

Leupold SX-1 Ventana 2 15-45X60

Leupold SX-1 Ventana 2 15-45X60

  • Diameter: 60mm
  • Magnification: 15-45x
  • Weight: 30.6 oz
BEST FOR EVERY WEATHER

Vanguard Endeavour 15-45x60mm

Vanguard Endeavour 15-45x60mm

  • Diameter: 60mm
  • Magnification: 15-45x
  • Weight: 1,280g
BEST FOR BIRDING

SVBONY SV46 20-60X80

SVBONY SV46 20-60X80

  • Diameter: 80mm
  • Magnification: 20-60x
  • Weight: 1695g
BEST FOR LONGEST RANGE

BARSKA 30-90x90 Colorado Scope

BARSKA 30-90x90 Colorado Scope

  • Diameter: 90mm
  • Magnification: 30-90x
  • Weight: 3 lb
BEST BUDGET SCOPE

Emarth Waterproof

Emarth Waterproof

  • Diameter: 60mm
  • Magnification: 20-60x
  • Weight: 22.56 oz
BEST HD SCOPE

LANDOVE 20-60X80 BAK4 Prism Spotting Scope

LANDOVE 20-60X80 BAK4 Prism Spotting Scope

  • Diameter: 80mm
  • Magnification: 20-60x
  • Weight: 4.4 lb
BEST COMPACT SCOPE

Bushnell Trophy Xtreme Spotting Scope

Bushnell Trophy Xtreme Spotting Scope

  • Diameter: 65mm
  • Magnification: 20-60x
  • Weight: 36.5oz

Considerations When Choosing A Spotting Scope

Magnification power

The magnification power you require is based on what your application of the spotting scope will be. If you are looking to be a spotter for your buddy at the range a lower power scope works. If you are searching for wildlife or hunting, a higher power scope would be best.

Glass/ image quality

The type of glass and prism system are all pretty much equal at this price point, but looking for higher quality will get you better image quality.

Objective lens size (light gathering capability)

The bigger the objective lens size, the more light enters the scope, and the brighter the image appears.

Eyepiece angle

Eyepiece angle is important to keep in mind if you are searching for a spotting scope for hunting purposes. You are almost always guaranteed to not be on equal footing as your prey. Differing eyepiece angles can help you compensate for different elevations.

Application of usage

Application of individual usage is important as some spotting scopes are designed with a target customer in mind. A hunting specific spotting scope may have extra features than a birding scope and visa versa.

Now that we are on the same page on what qualifications to look for in a spotting scope, here is a list of the eight best spotting scopes you can buy today for under $300. 

8 Best Spotting Scopes Under $300

1. Celestron Ultima 80 Scope

best spotting scope under 500

Celestron has been making spotting scopes since 1960. Based in Torrance, California, Celestron produces spotting scopes, telescopes, binoculars, and microscopes. When looking for a quality spotting scope, it is an added benefit that the company is also involved with other forms of optic development.

The Celestron Ultima 80 spotting scope comes in various size options which can be viewed on amazon.com. To stay under the $300 dollar price point the options on the Celestron Ultima are the 65-45 degree, or 80-45 degree scope. The spotting scope is also offered with various tripods and accessories that increase the price offered.

This Ultima angled spotting scope is an outdoor enthusiasts’ best option for an all-around spotting scope. With an objective lens diameter of 65mm, and the 45 degree viewing angle, there is not much you can’t do with this spotting scope. The scope is great for observing nature as well as long-distance viewing at the range.

A Celestron Ultima purchase comes with an extended tripod mounting plate, zoom eyepiece, T-adaptor for digiscoping, carrying case, eyepiece lens cap, port cover, lens cloth, and smartphone adapter. You aren't just purchasing a spotting scope with the Ultima, your purchasing a whole spotting scope package.

All lenses on the Celestron Ultima are coated in anti-reflective coatings to improve both color and contrast for images and maximum brightness. This presents brighter and sharper images in all lighting conditions. This comes in handy on a bright range day, or a low-light hunting morning.

The 65-40 variant of the Ultima features a large focus dial, allowing for razor-sharp focus within seconds. All of these features are included in the Celestron Ultima’s limited lifetime warranty inclusive of technical support. The Celestron Ultima weighs in at 3.56 pounds, is nitrogen filled, is completely waterproof, and the optic glass is Bak-4 glass.

Celestron Ultima 80 Scope

Celestron Ultima 80 Scope

The price of Celestron Ultima 80 Scope varies, so check the latest price at

2. Leupold SX-1 Ventana 2 15-45X60

best spotting scope under $500

The Leupold SX-1 Ventana 2 is built with hunting in the forefront of its design. Leupold is a big name in the scope and optic world, for hunters, shooters, and recreational spotting scope users alike. The Ventana 2 utilizes Leupold’s fully multi-coated lens system and provides bright, crisp images. 

In all lighting conditions, the Leupold SX-1 Ventana 2 performs like the high-quality spotting scope it is. With a built in retractable lens shade, the Ventana 2 efficiently reduces glare and protects the 60mm objective lens. Since the Ventana 2 was built with hunting at the forefront of design, the outer material is made of matte armor coating providing an extremely rugged spotting scope.

The Ventana 2 is completely waterproof, and fog-proof allowing the scope to endure the outdoor elements you encounter while hunting. The Leupold SX-1 Ventana 2 is offered in a kit that includes an adjustable tripod, hard carrying case, soft case, neoprene strap, and lens covers.

With a magnification range from 15x-45x this scope is a straight body designed spotting scope; weighing in at 30.6 ounces, the Ventana 2 is light enough to bring on any hunting expedition. The magnification range is extremely smooth to operate, and the eye cups are twist up style. 

With the Leupold lifetime guarantee, this is a great hunting spotting scope option for all the hunting readers we have.

Leupold SX-1 Ventana 2 15-45X60

The price of Leupold SX-1 Ventana 2 15-45X60 varies, so check the latest price at

3. Vanguard Endeavour 15-45x60mm

svbony spotting scope

Right at the limiter of our $300 mark is the Vanguard Endeavor 15-45x60mm. Built with a Bak4 roof prism, this spotting scope is a fully coated prism based optic with great light transmission in challenging light conditions.

The body of this scope is made of rubber armored magnesium and includes a built in sunshield. The built in sunshield eliminates glare in direct sunlight allowing for spotting in more situations than the competitors.

The Endeavor features a large angled eyepiece providing excellent eye relief and has a comfortable quick adjust focus wheel. With a magnification range of 15-45x and an objective lens diameter of 60mm the light collection of this scope is magnificent.

The Vanguard Endeavor is completely waterproof and fog-proof, and weighs in at 45.2 ounces lending itself well to backpacking or hunting with. The Endeavor also offers great eye relief at high settings and an excellent field of view of 47 - 23 at 1000 meters.

The Endeavor is equipped with a universal mounting plate, allowing you to attach it to a tripod of your choosing. The provided mount allows for angle adjustments, optimizing viewing of any outdoor recreational activities to include birding, landscape viewing, hunting, and range day verification.

Vanguard Endeavour 15-45x60mm

The price of Vanguard Endeavour 15-45x60mm varies, so check the latest price at

4. SVBONY SV46 20-60X80

best spotting scope under 300

The SVBONY SV46 20-69x80 as reviewed is inclusive of the optional tripod, not with the more expensive multifunction tripod which would put us over the $300 price range. All of the optional tripods and packages can be found on amazon.com which gives you four different package options with this spotting scope.

The SVBONY SV46 offers a large 80mm objective lens with nine piece six groups lens’ with increased light transmission and delivers a bright, clear image. Built with a Bak4 prism and multi-coated lens’ this scope is great for target shooting, archery, hunting, and birding. This spotting scope can actually be utilized for astronomical observations as well.

Bird watching is at the forefront of design with this spotting scope with a dual focus specialized design for birding, quickly clarifying images then slowly clarifying using the focusing wheel for that perfect view. I personally do not do much birding, but I have a couple of friends who do and the SVBONY SV46 is a popular choice among avid birders.

The SV46 has an IPX7 waterproof rating, allowing this scope to be completely submerged in water and handle whatever nature throws at it. Built with a high quality rubber outer layer, this scope offers a sunshade to reduce glare and protects the lens from accidental damage.

The tripod included in the package being reviewed is a four section tripod with quick release locks allowing you to adjust from 17 inches to 54 inches. Applications include surveying, range shooting, birding, and amature astronomical study.

With a magnification range of 20-60x and a field of view 105ft - 51ft at 1000 yards the SVBONY SV46 is a great choice for a spotting scope without breaking the bank. Weighing in at 59.79 ounces, this is a heavier hunting scope for those looking for something to hike with.

SVBONY SV46 20-60X80

SVBONY SV46 20-60X80

The price of SVBONY SV46 20-60X80 varies, so check the latest price at

5. BARSKA 30-90x90 Colorado Scope

best scope under 300

Barska is a company based in Pomona, California and they have been making optics since 1994. Barska makes optics that range from riflescopes to magnifiers and everything in between. The Barska Colorado is a great example of the Barska name, and the quality high-magnification you can expect from this optic company.

The Barska 30-90x90 Colorado is built with a BK-7 prism and is fully-coated providing anti-glare properties. The objective lens is 90mm in diameter making this the largest objective lens on our list today. Having a larger objective lens allows for greater light collection, providing a clever more crisp image.

The Colorado spotting scope is built strong utilizing a straight body design, fully waterproof, shockproof, and fog-proof. Why does shock proofing matter if the optic isn't mounted to a rifle you ask? To handle the ruggedness of your hunting expeditions and anything else you can throw at this scope is your answer. The Colorado is compact and portable at 16.5 inches, and weighs in at 35 ounces.

Great for hunters, weekend range goers, and birders alike. Built with a multi-coated lens in a weather sealed housing, the Barska Colorado is backed by Barska’s limited lifetime warranty. Great for long-range shooting as well, the Barska Colorado utilizes a Porro prism design and angled eyepiece.

Complete with an extendable sunshade, the purchase of a Barska Colorado also includes a carrying case and tripod. The Barska 30-90x90 Colorado is a great budget friendly spotting scope with an excellent magnification range of 30-90x and has a multitude of applications.

BARSKA 30-90x90 Colorado Scope

The price of BARSKA 30-90x90 Colorado Scope varies, so check the latest price at

6. Emarth Waterproof

bushnell spotting scope 20-60x60

The Emarth 20-60x60mm spotting scope is a good choice for the value conscious outdoor enthusiasts and bird watcher. This scope is outfitted in 20- 60x magnification for both up close and long-range viewing. Utilizing an angled eyepiece, built for upward viewing from a lower vantage point.

Great for hunting, archery, range shooting, birding, and landscape applications, the Emarth is coated in rubberized surface material providing grip and waterproofing the optic. The Emarth 20-60x60 uses a BAK-4 prism system, and has a 60mm objective lens size for better clarity and light absorption.

The lens’ in the Emarth 20-60x60 are fully multi-coated for fast and fine-tuning focusing. The multi-coating also provides glare resistance and correct light transmission producing high-quality viewing.

The Emarth is built to take a beating with high-quality rubber armor providing non-slip grip, and shock-proof durable external protection. A built-in retractable sunshade helps to further reduce glare. When you purchase an Emarth 20-60x60 you also receive a tripod allowing rotation of the eyepiece.

This rotation allows the spotting scope to angle sideways, providing adjustable viewing angles. Complete with an easy to use zoom knob, and VIP customer service the Emarth 20-60x60mm is a great spotting scope for the budget conscious shooter.

Emarth Waterproof

Emarth Waterproof

The price of Emarth Waterproof varies, so check the latest price at

7. LANDOVE 20-60X80 BAK4 Prism Spotting Scope

best rifle scopes under 300

The LANDOVE 20-60x80 is a high-quality mid-priced 60x magnification spotting scope. Equipped with a fully multi-coated green lens, the LANDOVE 20-60x80 is a high definition spotting scope with a BAK4 prism, which reduces stray light from entering the lens. This prism assists in providing a more clear and crisp image.

Utilizing high 60x magnification and dynamic lens focusing, this is a great spotting scope for birding, target shooting, and astronomical observation. Made of high quality rubber armor, the LANDOVE is nitrogen-filled waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof. With a built in sunshade and eyepiece shield, image clarity is the least of your concerns.

Your purchase of a LANDOVE 20-60x80 is inclusive of a digiscoping cell phone adapter, enabling you to take pictures and videos through your spotting scope lens. This is a really cool feature that is offered on some of the other spotting scopes, but not automatically included.

I really enjoy using the digiscoping attachment I have on my spotting scope to take pictures of my hunting expeditions to bring home and show my children. They look forward to going over the pictures I took in the field while I tell them the background stories behind my experiences.

LANDOVE sells you a package deal when you purchase a 20-60x80 with a carrying bag, tripod, smartphone adapter, cleaning cloth, lens covers, and to top it all off the LANDOVE lifetime warranty guarantee. Weighing in at 70.4 ounces this is the heaviest scope on our list, not lending itself well to hunting.

LANDOVE 20-60X80 BAK4 Scope

LANDOVE 20-60X80 BAK4 Scope

The price of LANDOVE 20-60X80 BAK4 Scope varies, so check the latest price at

8. Bushnell Trophy Xtreme Spotting Scope

Bushnell Trophy Xtreme Spotting Scope

The Bushnell Trophy Xtreme spotting scope is the most portable, compact scope on our list today. Perfect for backcountry hunting or birding, the purpose is built into the name, “Trophy.” With a multi-coated lens this spotting scope provides accuracy from sunrise to sunset.

Magnification range on the Trophy Xtreme is modest at 12-36x. Great for mid-range clarity, light is captured through a 50mm objective lens. Built with rubber armor, this scope is waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof.

This scope comes complete with a compact tripod for long-range viewing, a car window mount, soft carrying case, premium hard-sided case, and a scope glove. The Bushnell Trophy Xtreme also comes with Bushnell’s limited lifetime warranty.

The Trophy Xtreme weighs in at 36.5 ounces, and is 15 inches in length. The Trophy Xtreme uses a Porro prism with BaK-4 glass, providing a very capable spotting scope for a great price. Built with an adjustable sunshade and built-in objective cover this scope is damn near indestructible.

Bushnell is a prominent name in the optic world and for good reason. When looking for a spotting scope you want to consider the specs of course, but you also want to consider the company behind the parts list. With Bushnell you know you are getting high-quality field tested equipment.

Bushnell Trophy Xtreme Spotting Scope

Bushnell Trophy Xtreme Spotting Scope

The price of Bushnell Trophy Xtreme Spotting Scope varies, so check the latest price at

Parting Shots

In this article we have gone over various spotting scopes offered by different companies for a wide array of outdoor usages. With magnification, glass quality, objective lens size, eyepiece angle, and application in mind; you now have the necessary tools at your disposal to choose a spotting scope that best fits your needs without breaking the bank.

Next time you use a spotter, quiz them on some of the information you have learned through this article and see how qualified your spotter really is. Whether you are looking for low-magnification or high-magnification, quality spotting scopes can be had for under $300.

In the backcountry, at your local range, or at your local park these spotting scopes can take any challenge you throw at them. You truly do not need to spend a lot of money to receive the benefits a spotting scope can provide.

Which of these spotting scopes did you like best? Do you plan on adding a spotting scope to your collection? Let us know in the comment section below.

Leave a Reply

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