Porro Prism vs. Roof Prism Binoculars – Which One is Better? 1

Binoculars are like any other product in the sense that you get what you pay for. Don’t expect cheaper binoculars to be everything that more expensive binoculars are, but don’t assume you have to buy the most expensive pair of binoculars in order to get what you want. There a few things you need to know to start shopping so you’ll know what you are buying. Let’s look at the two most common types of binoculars.

Porro Prism and Roof Prism Binoculars Work

Porro prism binoculars are the classic design that we’ve seen in World War II movies and in just as many Safari movies. If you’ve never seen them there, then just know that they are the ones that have a wide hinge between the oculars. That’s a nice feature if you need to adjust them for the size of your face. Porros are more common because they are usually cheaper than Roof binoculars.

Porro prism binoculars are usually not waterproof and are typically less durable than roof binoculars. But don’t judge them as inferior, they are simply built for a price. If you live where there’s a great view of nature from your balcony, or perhaps the city below and you simply want to admire things from the comfort of your deck chair, a pair of Porros will satisfy you just fine and you’ll save some money. Larger Porros are better if you want to look at birds or small objects at a distance.

Roof Binoculars have a narrow hinge tween the oculars and they look like a large letter H. These binoculars are for the more serious user who wants to get out and get dirty. If you are traveling with your binoculars, roof binoculars will be a better choice than Porro prism binoculars because they are designed to be a lot more durable and are usually waterproof.

Roof binoculars are in a higher general price category than Porro prism binoculars and represent a class of more-powerful viewing instruments. If you seek to buy roof binoculars, be prepared to spend more money. They may be overkill if you are just a recreational user who is looking at cool things from your deck chair.
It is the physical size of the binocular and magnification specs that dictate how much you can see. If you’re just looking at the trees from the deck (and not spying on your neighbours!), Porros may be all you need. If you decide that you want more powerful binoculars and that is your priority then skip looking at Porros and start looking at Roof binoculars.


Why Procular?

If you love the outdoors and always keen for a closer look then you’re in the right place! Featuring a huge selection of binoculars, telescopes, spotting scopes, monoculars and night vision – Procular’s got you covered! Be sure to checkout our expert buyer guides to see which product is right for you:


One Comment

  1. Not forgetting that Porro binoculars were used throughout WW1 and WW2, so it’s not like they’re fragile. Some models were produced by Zeiss for 50+ years, and while as a class they’re a little lumpy compared to the roof-prism sort, they can still be pretty compact overall. Quality costs though, no matter which type you use and the question to ask is whether a good quality Porro is more cost-effective than a more ordinary quality Roof-prism pair.

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