Best Binoculars for Watching a Horse Race 4

[ Skip the details and just show me the best ones ]

Going to the races? There’s nothing like a good pair of binoculars to get you up close to the action. This guide covers the most important features to look for when choosing the best pair of race binoculars. We’ve also listed our top 3 binoculars for watching the races.

Horse Racing

 

What Do The Numbers Mean?

Two numbers always represent binoculars. The first number being the magnification also referred to as the power or zoom, and the second number being the lens size. 7×35, for example, means 7x magnification and 35mm lenses.

How Much Zoom Do I Need?

Obviously the more magnification (zoom) you have the further and more detail you will be able to see. Unfortunately, high magnification binoculars are too hard to stabilise handheld, especially standing up in the races. Every small shake of your hand will be magnified resulting in an unstable image. High magnification also comes with a narrower field of view; this means not being able to spot and follow the fast moving horses. For watching a race, you will be better off with lower magnification yet a wider field of view binoculars. 6x, 7x or 8x magnification is perfect for horse racing binoculars. Any more magnification than that is not recommended.

What is the Best Lens Size?

Big lenses in binoculars are designed to gather more light. This helps you achieve a brighter image, which means you can use the binoculars in low-light conditions such as dusk, fog or even nighttime. Since races are viewed in daytime, with relatively good light around, you don’t need to go overboard with big lenses. Big lenses also make the binoculars bulkier and heavier, something you really don’t want in horse racing binoculars. So compact to mid-sized lenses would work best as they are lighter and easier to carry around. Recommended lens size would be between 20mm to 36mm. These are definitely large enough for any daytime use.

What is a Good Size and Weight?

When watching horse races, you are often standing up so lighter and more compact binoculars are an advantage. Binoculars of around 600-700g or less are considered lightweight and will be very easy to hold, stabilise and follow the race.

Which Brand and How Much to Spend?

There are plenty of good binocular brands around. Basically, it all comes down to the price and quality of the optics. Leading in high-end binoculars are European manufacturers such as Zeiss and Swarovski. Nikon, Olympus, Vortex and Fujifilm are also well known for their great quality optics. In the low range, there are of course many other brands such as Tasco, Barska and others. For good quality racing binoculars, you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $800.

Conclusion

For watching the races, it is recommended to have 6x to 8x magnification. The ideal lens size is 20mm to 36mm. Compact to mid-sized binoculars, which are no more than 700g, are best. It is important to have a wide field of view to follow the fast moving horses. The cost for good quality binoculars can range from $100 to $800 depending on the brand and quality of the optics. Below is a list of our best-selling horse racing binoculars that we believe are also the best bang for your money:

 

Our Top 3 Horse Racing / Sports Viewing Binoculars for 2018

** Note: All 3 binoculars recommended below are suitable for eyeglasses users **

Discovery 8×21 – Pocket size, lightweight binoculars (165 g). Good magnification yet easy to stabilise. Relatively wide view, which is superb for a compact model. Good quality optics at an affordable price. They look great, work great and are easy to carry and use at the races. $79 inc. free delivery

 

Nikon Aculon 7X35 – An obvious pick for watching the races or other sports. Extraordinary wide 9.3 degrees view to follow fast moving subjects. Medium sized 35mm lenses provide clear, sharp images with Nikon’s outstanding optical quality. Solid choice for both racing and general use binoculars. $259 inc. free delivery

 

Zeiss Terra ED 8X25 – Looking for that extra quality and style? Designed by German manufacturer Carl Zeiss and built to perfection. Compact and ultra light (309g). Crystal clear views and detail rich high-contrast images. Our top pick for the races, for those who can afford them. $599 inc. free delivery

 
 

[ Show me all the other horse racing and sports viewing binoculars ]

4 Comments

  1. Hi I’m a racehorse trainer and I’ve always struggled to find a pair of binoculars that work for me without having to shut one eye could you recommend any that would suit?

    1. Hi Stacey,

      This is a very common issue with binocular users. Many people’s vision varies between their left and right eye. First of all we suggest getting mid-sized or even full sized binoculars as they tend to be easier to adjust than compact ones. Most mid to high-end binoculars these days have an adjustment on the right hand eyepiece which you can turn to make up for the differences between your eyes. We can recommend either the Avalon 8×32 Mini HD binoculars reviewed in the post above or their larger version the Avalon 10×42 PRO HD. Both models can be adjusted easily and also be used with glasses if necessary. You can read more about adjusting binoculars here: https://avalonoptics.com.au/product-support/ — if all else fails then your other option would be to use a monocular. The field of view with a monocular is narrower but it only required one eye for viewing.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  2. Hi,
    My husband would like some binoculars to watch his horses at the races, but he has bad tremor. He was wondering about a binocular that strapped to his head. Is there such a thing, or can you recomend something for him.
    Thanks Pennie

    1. Hi Pennie,

      As far as we know binoculars which come with a head strap are only common with night vision gear. So these would be night vision goggle that are designed to be used with a head strap. These will not help you though. There is no standard head strap for binoculars but there are other options. We suggest you look into “magnifying aids” rather then traditional “binoculars”. So basically just a different word for the same thing. Here’s an example of ones that could work well:

      http://www.magnifyingaids.com/Beecher_Mirage_Binoculars_7_x_30?zenid=0a74f535d6a6f3a000e0b4ce1ede64b6

      These provide 7x magnification and a wide view so good for horse racing. They fit on the head like glasses and are deigned for close range, indoor/outdoor events and spectator sports. Unfortunately we don’t stock these on Procular (yet!). We also suggest that your husband tries these before purchasing. Binoculars are not a problem but these head mounted aids might require a more personal fit. We hope this helps 🙂

      Adam Murray, Procular

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