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According to a recent survey, the average person spends over $300 on a pair of binoculars – but why are they so expensive? There are different market prices when you visit the optical shops and notice that binos of almost every budget are available.
The question comes to me, if one binocular is available for $100 then why do people spend more money on them? Is there anything that makes costly binoculars more favorable than those cheaper binoculars? If you’re new to the optics world, these questions may be puzzling to you.
Modern binoculars are expensive due to the use of advanced materials and technology. High-grade glasses, features like image stabilization and waterproofing, and high labor costs contribute to the cost of binoculars. These factors also result in improved performance and durability compared to cheaper models.
The older binoculars were not very expensive, but they had very limited features. As the feature was newly introduced in optics, their prices also went high. In this guide, you’ll know all the possible things that will help you understand why binos are pricey.
Related Article: Are HD Binoculars Worth The Money?
What factors contribute to the price of binoculars?
It’s not about one, in fact, there are multiple factors that make binoculars very expensive. I have spent some time on the research and discussed with some seniors the prices of the binoculars. In the end, I have found some realistic factors which are actually good for the performance of binoculars and they are also contributing towards the prices of binos. Let’s dig out those factors;
1- Quality materials and construction
In the past, binoculars had lesser quality and their chances of deterioration were too high. But modern binoculars are made with strong material which makes them very durable and resistant to extreme weather conditions and harsh usage.
These robust materials are slightly more expensive. For example, imagine one binocular made of rubber, and another one with aluminum-magnesium material, which one will be more durable? Aluminum is a stronger material and will give binoculars more strength and durability as compared to rubber.
But aluminum is a premium construction material and costs a serious amount of money and making the binoculars expensive. But the rubber material is cheap, and it does not make binoculars expensive as well as durable and stronger.
The usage of premium materials like high-grade glass, aluminum or magnesium material, and top-class HD glasses makes binoculars expensive. However, the usage of such premium material makes the binoculars Resilient and reliable, and high-end in terms of performance.
Also Read: Best Binoculars Under $1500
2- Advanced features and technology
Compared to the past, modern binoculars come with many features which increase the usability and practicality of the optics. For example, you’ll never see the cheaper binoculars with range finding or image stabilization features. Even many budget topics don’t come with waterproofing features.
So, these advanced features and the technology increase overall prices of the products. For example, for waterproofing, the manufacturers fill the binoculars with glasses like nitrogen and argon which are very expensive. Their addiction to the binoculars costs more money to the manufacturers and they ultimately have to increase the price to get some profit margin.
3- Brand Reputation
Brands usually sell their products higher than those optical companies that are relatively new in the market. Due to the trust level and reliability of famous brands, people also seem to be willing to spend more on the brands; instead of going towards those companies which are new and selling binoculars at relatively lesser prices.
4- Labour Cost
The labor cost is something that cannot be controlled at all. However, optical companies are trying to rely on those countries where labor cost is lower and they import optical components for their usage. But the importation tax etc overall contributes to the prices of binoculars. In the United States, there are no optical companies producing optical components within the USA due to very high labor costs. All the brands import components from China and Japan where labor cost is low.
5- Advanced Prism Technology
In the past, the users had to bear the Porro prism whose performance was not really good. Things have changed and the latest prism technology has come. Modern binoculars come with roof prisms which are slightly more expensive and increase the visual quality of the binoculars especially when you use them in low-light conditions.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, not always. Although more costly binoculars may perform better and last longer due to the use of better materials and cutting-edge technology, this isn’t always the case. It makes no sense to get pricey binoculars with the latest technology if you only need them for simple purposes. Choose expensive binoculars when you use binoculars extensively.
Your particular condition and priorities will determine if it is worthwhile to spend extra on binoculars. It can be wise to spend more money on better-quality binoculars if you are a serious birdwatcher or nature enthusiast who intends to use them frequently. However, if you just want to use your binoculars rarely, a less expensive model can be fine.
Yes, there are many cheaper binoculars on the market that can be suitable for casual use or for those on a budget. But the durability and performance of these cheaper binoculars will be slightly compromised.
Yes, it is possible to find a good pair of binoculars for a reasonable price.
To be honest, the prices of binoculars and their quality go hand in hand. When you spend less, you get the optics that are not very good and you end up with some sort of regret. There are many valid reasons which force manufacturers to increase the prices of binoculars. I have mentioned all the reasons that could contribute to the price of optics.
I’m a passionate outdoor activist who has got special love for optics. The school studies in optical mechanics and the travelling experience has made me an expert in optics like binoculars, scopes, and other devices. Stay connected with us for in-depth knowledge!