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Top 5 Best Leupold Binoculars for Hunting • (2024 Reviews)

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As a continuation of my guides dedicated to my favorite optics brands, today, I’m sharing my guide to choosing the best Leupold binoculars for hunting. Earlier this week, I shared my guide to choosing the best Vortex binoculars for hunting, and this guide is the perfect complement. While both brands offer outstanding glass for a fair price, it can be hard to choose between the two.

Oftentimes, it takes time to test both brands to land on the right one for you. My job is to help you figure out why you would want to choose one brand over the other without wasting any time. For starters, I can tell you that Leupold is an innovator in the field of optics and has been around since the beginning of time. On the other hand, Vortex is a newer company – founded in 2004 – that focuses on binoculars first.

Since this article is dedicated to Leupold, let’s start with a quick look at the company itself.

Who is Leupold?

Leupold, now Leupold & Stevens, started as a small family-owned surveying equipment company all the way back in 1908. The founders – Fred Leupold and Adam Vopel – had been brothers-in-law for eight years before launching the company.

Since then, the company has obviously transformed into a full-blown optics company that manufactures scopes, binoculars, rangefinders, spotting scopes, and more. Where the company truly shines is in the riflescope category. Way back when in 1947, Leupold introduced the first fog-proof scope, the Plainsman, by replacing the internal air with pure nitrogen.

This is now a common practice across all brands to prevent fogging. Outside of its scope production, Leupold does manufacture a fine set of binoculars. Its popular BX line is perfect for hunting, and in this guide, you’ll find my top picks to bring on your next hunt.

Leupold Binoculars Reviews

I ranked my top picks starting with the best. Under each review, you’ll find the highlights of each model along with some valuable pros & cons to consider. If you’re on the fence now, you won’t be by the end of the reviews.

#1) Leupold BX-5 Santiam HD Binoculars

Leupold BX-5 Santiam HD 8x42mm Roof Prism Binoculars, Sub Alpine, 174482

The most innovative and premium set of binoculars for hunting in the current Leupold lineup is the BX-5 Santiam HD. If you were to draw a comparison to Vortex, the BX-5 is in direct competition with the Razor HD. However, Leupold has yet to release a UHD model, unlike Vortex. Currently, the BX-5 is available in various sizes with the 8×42, 10×42, and 12×50 models being ideal for hunting.

One feature I do like offered by Leupold not found offered by Swarovski or Vortex is the optional camo Sub Alpine finish. On the flip side, one feature I don’t like is the grips. They’re not quite as comfortable in the hand as Swarovski or Vortex UHD wrap-around grips. The tradeoff for less comfort is the lower price. At the time of this writing, Leupold’s premium binos are the most affordable.

Moving right along, let’s discuss image resolution and overall quality. This is where the Leupold BX-5 Santiam truly shines for the money. Leupold’s Twilight Max HD Light Management System makes the Bx-5 one of the best low-light binoculars on the market. Leupold advertises up to 30 extra minutes of shooting light, and this holds true. So, if you’re torn between the Razor HD and BX-5, the BX-5’s low-light performance could be what convinces you to choose the BX-5 over the Razor HD.

Pros

  • Top-notch low-light performers
  • Edge-to-edge clarity
  • Twist-up eyecups and ample eye relief for long glassing sessions
  • More affordable than comparable models by competing brands such as Vortex
  • Full lifetime guarantee
  • Lightweight at just 23.6 oz (8×42)

Cons

  • Not quite as comfortable as the Razor UHD or Swaro
  • The included case could be roomier

#2) Leupold BX-4 Pro Guide HD Binoculars

Leupold BX-4 Pro Guide HD 10x42mm Roof Prism Binoculars, Kryptek Typhon Black, 172667

One rung down the ladder is the BX-4. However, the jump down the ladder is fairly significant, especially when compared to lineups by other brands. At the time of this writing, the BX-4 HD costs about half the price of the BX-5. Consequently, the BX-4 Pro Guide is easily one of the best bang-for-your-buck sets of HD glass available. While I would lean more toward the 8×42 for the BX-5, the 10×42 is the better choice for the BX-4.

First, the BX-4 is lightweight for a 10×42 at 24 oz and sports just about the same shape as the BX-5. Second, the BX-4 features the same must-have Twilight Max HD Light Management System as the BX-5 for excellent low-light performance. The differences between the two models lie in the coatings and focusing mechanism.

What’s the difference between the BX-5 Santiam vs BX-4 Pro Guide? Well, there are several missing features in the BX-4. Those are the smooth focusing system, Guard-Ion Lens Coating for shedding dirt & water, the Advanced HD Lens System for optimal resolution, and the DiamondCoat 2 for the highest abrasion resistance offered by Leupold.

Overall, those are the features to consider when comparing the drop in price between the two. It’s up to you to decide whether the upgrades in the BX-5 are worth the cost.

Pros

  • About half the price of the BX-5 at the time of this writing (unbeatable quality for the money)
  • Twilight Max HD Light Management System
  • The 10×42 weighs just 24 oz
  • Same ergonomic design as the BX-5 with twist-up eyecups
  • The same full lifetime guarantee
  • Locking diopter

Cons

  • Missing some of the premium coatings found in the BX-5
  • The lens caps could be better
  • Eyecups might feel harder than you’d like

#3) Leupold BX-1 McKenzie Binoculars

Now for my top budget pick. Once you go beyond the BX-4, there’s a noticeable drop in quality and price. However, the difference between the BX-1 and BX-2 isn’t big enough for me to choose the BX-2 over the BX-1 as an upgrade. Because if I’m going to go down to the budget realm, the BX-1 is the clear winner and very reasonably priced for glass in this category.

Similar to my top two picks, the BX-1 is available in 8×42, 10×42, and 12×50 sizes for hunting. At first glance, you’ll notice that the ergonomic grip design is just about the same as the BX-4 and 5. Clearly, Leupold cares more about innovations in glass than grip design. Next, it’s important to consider that the BX-1 model does deliver most of the core features of Leupold’s premium models.

In total, the BX-1 has the BAK 4 Prisms, Multi-Coated Lens System, and they’re Phase Coated. However, two key missing ingredients are no Twilight Max HD Light Management System and HD Lens System. All things considered, the BX-1 is a great selection for first-time bino owners and hunters on a tight budget who want reliable binos for glassing.

Pros

  • Lightweight at 22 oz (10×42)
  • Excellent definition for budget glass
  • Nice neck strap and case included
  • Good performance in low light
  • Durable construction

Cons

  • No Twilight Max HD Light Management System
  • Not HD quality
  • People with large heads may not be able to adjust them wide enough

#4) Leupold BX-1 Rogue Compact Binoculars

Leupold BX-1 Rogue 8x25 mm Porro Prism Compact Binocular, Black, 59220

If you’re on the hunt for an affordable set of compact hunting binoculars, Leupold’s BX-1 Rogue is worth a look. Similar to the BX-1 McKenzie, the Rogue is mighty affordable when compared to the BX-4 and BX-5 models. Yet, that also means it’s important not to expect the world in terms of image quality. Most people who are disappointed by the BX-1 models are experienced hunters and people who expect BX-5 quality from budget binocs.

For hunting, the BX-1 Rogue is good as an auxiliary pair of binos when stalking in on elk or as your main pair if your goal is to cut down on weight & size in your pack. Additionally, you’ll find that the 8×25 performs reasonably well from a blind.

Regarding exact weight & size, the 8×25 measures just 4.3″ and weighs only 12.64 oz. Additionally, the Rogue is the most affordable binocular by Leupold featured in this guide at the time of this writing. Lastly, a couple of final features to consider are the same BAK 4 Prisms and Fully Multi-Coated Lens System found on the McKenzie model. To maintain image quality in a smaller package, Leupold uses what it calls its Inverted Porro Prism Design.

Pros

  • The smallest and lightest Leuopold binoculars in this guide
  • 8x and 10x magnification available
  • The most affordable binos featured here
  • Preferrable for deer hunting
  • Waterproof design

Cons

  • Adjustments could be easier (controls might feel stiff to you)
  • Not great for long-range viewing
  • People with big faces might find them to be too compact

#5) Leupold BX-2 Alpine Binoculars

Leupold BX-2 Alpine 10x42mm Roof Prism Binocular, Shadow Gray, 176971

Filling out my Top 5 is the BX-2 Alpine model. As I mentioned earlier, once you jump down from the BX-4 model, the drop in quality is considerable. For this reason, I ranked the BX-1 models above the BX-2. Does that make the BX-2s bad? No, not at all. I just wouldn’t choose them before numbers 3 and 4 on this list.

At the time of this writing, the BX-2 costs about half as much as the BX-4. First, it’s important to consider the weight of the BX-2. Comparatively, these do weigh more than the preceding models at 28 oz for the 10×42 edition. That’s 4 oz heavier than the BX-4 10×42 model. Outside of weight, the barrel chambers carry the same form.

The greatest selling point for the BX-2 is that it’s the most affordable Leupold bino that features the Twilight Max HD Light Management System. As you already know, this feature is one that sets Leupold binos apart from its competitors for low-light performance. Lastly, a couple of missing features are the premium lens coatings, and the BX-2 is not an HD model.

Pros

  • Most affordable pair with the Twilight Light Max Management System
  • Good image quality and clarity in this price range
  • Good budget binoclurs for deer hunting
  • Waterproof & fogproof design

Cons

  • Heavier than other models
  • Not HD quality
  • BX-2 is made in China

Bottom Line

For the money, the BX-4s are the best Leupold binoculars for hunting that I would personally choose first. Some of the upgrades in the BX-5 are worth the price to some, but for double the cost, it’s important to make sure the upgrades are worth the extra coin to you. In comparison, Swarovksi is the first place I look for alpha binos, and Vortex’s Razor UHD is better than the BX-5.

Nevertheless, Leupold binoculars are great for hunting, but it’s important to know that Leupold is more well-known for its riflescopes. In fact, the company does not manufacture its binoculars in its Oregon factory. Currently, Leupold outsources its binocular production to Japan and China, while it manufactures its red dot sights, riflescopes, and other optics in the US.

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