How to Choose the Best Spotting Scope for the Money

How to Choose the Best Spotting Scope for the Money

June 30, 2019

Features of the Best Spotting Scope for the Money

If you plan to hunt out west next season, one of the first things you should consider is buying a spotting scope. In the vast terrain of the western mountains, the best strategy usually involves posting up somewhere and glassing the surrounding countryside for game animals. In these situations, it’s a complete waste of your time and money to buy cheap spotting scopes that will underperform. The higher priced spotting scopes will hold up much better, last much longer, and perform well when you need them to. But here’s some advice: get the best spotting scope for the money, whatever your price point is. You can find a very affordable spotting scope that still has many of the features you want. So how do you know which is the best spotting scope?

Features of a Great Spotting Scope

The best spotting scopes will be constructed with care and high-quality materials, including some kind of a warranty to stand by, and be practical for actual field situations. Here are some of the things you should look for when it comes to how to pick a spotting scope.

Quality of the Glass Lenses

One of the most overlooked items with optics is shockingly the quality of the glass lenses. Many people assume that glass is glass. But the best spotting scope for the money will contain high definition (HD) and extra-low dispersion (ED) qualities. What does that mean? Basically, the image you see will be very crisp and show clear, true-to-life colors.

Lens Coatings

The number of coatings on the glass lenses also improve its performance. Spotting scope lens coatings essentially improve the light transmission of the glass by reducing glare and reflection. This oddly helps it transmit the most light through the lens to help you clearly see your target.


Using that western hunt as an example, you will need to carry your spotting scope with you for many miles and set it up several times. Because of that, you want something that is lightweight, easy to pack, and simple to set up and take down. On backpacking hunts especially, every ounce matters and so the best spotting scope for the money should be light.

Built Solid

When you are using a spotting scope in the field for multiple days and carrying it across miles of terrain, you can bet it will occasionally be bumped or dropped along the way. That being said, you need a durable spotting scope that can take the abuse without sacrificing the performance. The middle of nowhere is a bad place for you to break it, so the best spotting scope for hunting should be very durable.


Because you will be spending the bulk of your time glassing fields or mountainsides, the best spotting scope for the money will also be comfortable to use for extended periods. You will need to decide if you want a straight or angled spotting scope. The straight scopes have a higher profile generally because you will need it to be at eye level when seated, while the angled scopes aren’t as tough on your neck because you can gently look downward into the eyepiece.

Price and Warranty

Last, it wouldn’t be the best spotting scope for the money if it’s not listed at an affordable price. As mentioned above, you can find some high-quality scopes for budget-friendly prices. The best scopes should also come with some kind of warranty to protect your investment.

Best Spotting Scope for the Money?

Are there any best value spotting scopes that can meet all those criteria? We think the Vanguard Endeavor HD series does. It comes in two models: the Endeavor HD 65A Spotting Scope with a 15-45x zoom and 65mm objective lens, and the Endeavor HD 82A Spotting Scope with a 20-60x zoom and 82mm objective lens. Compare the features below with the features listed above.

  • The series features an ED lens system and BaK4 prisms, which both work together to maximize light transmission and improve the quality of the image you’re looking at.
  • Both models in this series have lenses that are fully multi-coated, meaning that they have multiple anti-reflective coatings on both sides of the lens.
  • The housings are both constructed from lightweight (yet very strong) magnesium, which makes them very durable and easy to carry. In addition, they have rubber armor around the body to further protect the scope from drops and mishaps. They are compatible with all Vanguard tripod heads that have the universal mounting plate. More importantly, both of them are filled with nitrogen gas and sealed to provide a 100% waterproof and fog proof design.
  • Both of these models have angled eyepieces and a rubber eyecup to improve comfort when using them. They come with a built-in sun shield to further eliminate glare in direct sunlight, and they include a custom-fit, padded raincoat with a sling for field usage.
  • Last, they are both very affordable when you consider the price of many other premium spotting scopes, and they come with a lifetime warranty.

Hopefully, you now know how to choose a spotting scope, based on the budget you have. As you can see, you can get many high-end features without having to pay premium spotting scope prices.