Best Spotting Scope for the Money: Hunting, Target Shooting & More

In the world of sports optics today, things can be overwhelming with the different sizes, configurations, and price range and that is no different for a spotting scope. When it comes to optics, the old saying is true, the best spotting scope is not a cheap spotting scope, but comes down to personal preference. Many questions come up like, what is the best spotting scope for the money? You do get what you pay for!

A spotting scope is one of those items that is always nice to have whether you are on the hunting in the mountains, target shooting and the range or just scouting around the neighborhood looking for the target buck.  They are not a necessity but are great to have in your arsenal.  They give you the opportunity to observe the animal without spooking it and decide if you would like to pursue after him or even at the range target shooting at long distances without having to walk to the target to see if you hit your spot.

In this article we will go over some of the best spotting scopes for some of these different situations and give you our option on what we recommend from many different spotting scope brands. 

Best spotting scope comparison (9 top rated spotting scopes)

Below you will find the top spotting scopes and the best rated spotting scope in the following categories.

ProductBest CategoryPrice
Vortex Razor HD 27-60×85 mm Best Overall Spotting Scope $$$
Athlon Argos HD 20-60×85 mm Best Spotting Scope on a Budget $
Leupold Pro Guide HD 15-45×65 mm Best Spotting Scope for Hunting $$
Vortex Viper HD 20-60×85 mm Best Spotting Scope for Target Shooting $$
Leupold Mark 4 12-40×60 mm Best Tactical Spotting Scope $$$
Sig Sauer Oscar8 27-55×80 mm Best Long Range Spotting Scope $$$
Nikon Fieldscope ED 13-30×50 mm Best Compact Spotting Scope $$
Zeiss Victory Harpia 22-65×85 mm Best High Dollar Spotting Scope $$$$$
Leupold Golden Ring 10-20×40 mm Best Lightweight Spotting Scope $$

Below we you will find spotting scope reviews for several different categories to help you make a choice that will meet your needs or expectations. When you have browsed through them, you will be able to find each of these spotting scopes in our store, and we also have a wide variety of rifle scopes for sale that may interest. Check out the other types of scopes that we offer.

What is the best spotting scope for the money?  Here’s our 2023 Top 9 list:

When trying to find the best spotting scope for your situation, you must look at a few factors to help you decide.  Are you going to use it for a long-range spotting scope, a spotting scope for hunting or just everyday use?  Other factors are how much power do I want or need?  Is a straight or angled eyepiece better for my situation?  Is the image quality worth the money? Now days, all quality spotting scopes will be waterproof and fog proof for those rainy and cold conditions. We will discuss some options for the best spotting scope for the money for each situation. 

1. Vortex Razor HD 27-60×85 (Best Spotting Scope 2023 Overall)

Vortex Razor HD 27-65×85 mm Angled Spotting Scope

To be chosen for one of the best spotting scopes overall, there are many factors that are taking into consideration: Clarity, field of view, weight, warranty, and others.  This is why the Vortex Razor HD 27-60×85 is out top rated spotting scope.  It hits most of these features that make an outstanding spotting scope. The APO System, XR Plus, ArmorTec and the HD lens elements offers the clearest, sharpest edge-to-edge image along with the great resolution and color accuracy.  A nice barrel style focus rings make focusing that image with ease.  The Razor HD scope is half the price of the best high end spotting scopes but does not sacrifice on quality. 


  • Great Optical Performance
  • Nice Eye relief
  • Good Field of View
  • Rugged
  • Custom Neoprene Cover


  • On the heavy side

2. Athlon Argos HD 20-60×85 (Best Spotting Scope on a Budget)

Athlon Argos HD 20-60x85mm Straight Spotting Scope

If you are looking for the best budget spotting scope, look no further than the Athlon Argos HD 20-60×85.  Offered in both a straight and angled eyepiece, this spotting scope gives you the flexibility of your choice.  With Athlon’s low dispersion lenses, the HD glass produces clarity, brightness and a sharp image that is hard to find in a spotting scope in the price point under $400.00. This is not a cheap spotting scope, but rather one of the best affordable spotting scopes on the market.


  • HD Glass
  • Retractable sunshade
  • Phase Coated prisms
  • Includes Soft Case
  • Tripod Ready 


  • On the heavy side
  • Relatively long

3. Leupold Pro Guide HD 15-45×65 (Best Spotting Scope for Hunting)

Leupold Pro Guide 15-45×65 HD Straight Spotting Scope

When it comes to a spotting scope for hunting, you are going to want one that provides all day viewing comfort.  That is where the Leupold Pro Guide HD spotting scope shines.  With Leupold’s Elite Optical System, it offers great light transmission when needed most – Dusk and Dawn in low light viewing.  It offers rugged performance whether you are hunting or driving down those rough backcountry roads.  An oversized eyepiece and twist up eyecup make for less eye strain during those long days.  In a hunting situation, a straight eyepiece is always preferred compared to an angled eyepiece.  These features are why we recommend the Leupold Pro Guide HD 15-45×65 as the best spotting scope for backcountry hunting!  


  • Good Eye Relief
  • HD Lenses
  • Armor Coated
  • Phase Coated Prisms
  • Tripod Ready


  • Heavier side
  • Smaller Field of View

4. Vortex Viper HD 20-60×85 (Best Spotting Scope for Target Shooting)

Vortex Viper HD 20-60×85 Angled Spotting Scope

If I was at the shooting range, I would have the Vortex Viper HD 20-60×85 sitting on the bench with me.  The optics in this target spotting scope are top notch and are comparable to spotters in a much higher price range.  The angled spotting scope version is a great option when target shooting by use a small tabletop tripod for better comfortable.  The high definition lenses provide incredible optical performance to see bullet holes with ease making the Vortex Viper HD 20-60×85 our number one target shooting spotting scopes to consider.


  • Excellent optics performance
  • Built-in Sunshade
  • Smooth Enlarged Focus Ring
  • Nice Field of View
  • Great Customer Service if needed


  • Bulky in size

5. Leupold Mark 4 12-40×60 (Best Tactical Spotting Scope)

Leupold Mark 4 12-40×60 Spotting Scope

When it comes to Tactical optics, Leupold is the name that comes to mind.  The Mark 4 spotting scopes offer best in class spotting scopes for tactical use.  With its Professional Grade Optical System which delivers unmatched light transmission and performance under the most extreme and challenging conditions that are trusted by professional shooters and military personal.  The Mark 4 offers a large selection of reticles making it our top-rated spotting scope in this category.  The Leupold Mark 4 is the top choice military spotting scope for all branches of the military.


  • Performance unmatched
  • Tripod Ready
  • Great Eye Relief
  • Reticle selection
  • Lightweight Magnesium housing


  • Lacking Field of View at higher magnification
  • Eye cup is on the smaller size
  • Expensive

6. Sig Sauer Oscar8 27-55×80 (Best Long Range Spotting Scope)

Sig Sauer Oscar8 HDX 27-55×80 Angled Spotting Scope

Our pick for the best spotting scope for long range shooting is the Sig Sauer Oscar8 27-55×80 spotting scope.  This spotter offers some surprisingly great optics and is a quality spotting scope.  All though it is not the most powerful spotting scope, it does offer that clarity and performance expected for long range shooting.  The Oscar8 is equipped with extra-low dispersion glass and Schmidt-Pechan prisms to give you an outstanding image that is clear and bright.  The color clarity is top-notch and performance just as good as spotters substantially higher in price.  Sig Sauer is a name you can trust, and this spotting scope is no different winning the best spotting scope for long range shooting.


  • Crisp image due to HDX optical system and SprectraCoat lens coatings
  • Adjustable Eyecup
  • Rubberized non-slip grip armor
  • Neoprene cover included
  • Easy Focus ring


  • Angled eyepiece only
  • Smaller Eye Relief
  • High Lower power compared to others

7. Nikon Fieldscope ED 13-30×50 (Best Compact Spotting Scope)

Nikon Fieldscope ED 12-30×50 Spotting Scope

Lightweight, small in size and great optics!  That is why the Nikon Fieldscope ED50 is recommended for the best compact spotting scope.  This little spotting scope offers Extra-Low Dispersion objective lens and multilayer-coated lenses that give you a bright and clear image.   Fits nicely in your hand to offer all day comfort and easy to pack if you are travelling.


  • Great Optics
  • Small in Size for easy carrying
  • Several different optional eyepieces available


  • Low light performance
  • Small eye relief

8. Zeiss Victory Harpia 22-65×85 (Best High Dollar Spotting Scope)

When you look through the Zeiss Victory Harpia spotting scope, I will guarantee the first words out of your mouth will be “WOW”.  The Zeiss Harpia offers the best optics and coatings you will find in any spotting on the market today.  The Zeiss T* coating and SCHOTT HT/FL glass provide a view extremely clear and crisp in all light conditions.  Also equipped with a DualSpeed focus that can be switched between rapid and fine adjustments. The 65 high end of the zoom range is one of the highest magnification ranges available. 


  • Outstanding Optics
  • Dual Focus ring
  • Field of View


  • Heavy
  • Expensive
  • Eyepiece sold separately

9. Leupold Gold Ring 10-20×40 (Best Lightweight Spotting Scope)

Weighing in at only 15.8 ounces, the Leupold Golden ring 10-20×40 is one of the lightest spotters on the market.  Fully multicoated lens system, Leupold’s Diamond Coat 2 and Advanced Optical System gives you great light transmission, reduced glare, clarity, and resolution found in all Leupold products.  Great optics and lightweight makes this our choice for the best of the best spotting scope on the market. in this category.


  • Leupold’s optics performance
  • Great Warranty
  • Lightweight Magnesium Housing
  • Tripod Ready


  • Lower Zoom Power
  • Side Focus ring

Which spotting scope is best for me? Our conclusion

Which spotting scope is best for you? That is something only you can answer, but we hope that the above information can help you make that decision a little easier.  Just remember you want the best spotting scope that you can afford, so the main three things to look at are the image quality, field of view and weight.  These three factors will help you narrow your choice down, whether you are a target shooter or for you hunting needs. With that in mind, why not take a look at the spotting scopes for sale in our store to see what we have for you?

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