The Takeaway:

1. Our Pick: Swarovski Optiks Spotting Scope

2. Runner-Up: Vortex Viper Model VPR80S

3. Also Great: Nikon Model 6975 Spotting Scope

As a Birder, with the next chase (or twitching, if you prefer) coming up, it may be time to purchase, upgrade, or replace that spotting scope.

There is no reason not to search for the best spotting scope for birding; after all, what will save the day out there will be the quality and durability of your optics. 

These scopes have the power and clarity you need for birding to see every detail and identify that one bird that needs to be ticked off your list.

Our Pick: Swarovski Optiks Spotting Scope

Our Pick
Swarovski Spotting Scope HD-ATS 80 HD

Recommended For: Anyone looking for high-quality optics and would not mind buying a separate eyepiece for the scope.

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Swarovski is one of the best spotting scopes for birding for many reasons, but the primary is that they never leave quality to chance. This 80mm high-density scope can be bought with the eyepiece lens, such as a 20-60 from Swarovski Optik (kind of like a package deal); however, normally, the eyepiece and the scope are purchased separately (so you can choose the right lens for the right application.)

The brilliantly clear and high-resolution fluoride lens (this matters to birders because it will reduce chromatic aberration, also known as color fringing, which frequently happens when you turn up the power). The large 80 mm objective lens will let you see even in failing light. This, one of the best spotting scopes for birding, will make identifying and locating the next bird and, well, anything for that matter, rather easy.

Excellent light transmission, High-definition, Swarovski Optik
Swarovski Optiks Spotting Scope

The 80 mm scope and the eyepiece have a limited lifetime warranty. The spotting scope is rubber armored and waterproof (submersible to 13′ of water for those adventures in birding that sometimes get a little too adventuresome, perhaps.) There is no question about the quality of this scope: it’s a Swarovski, and it is one of the greatest spotting scopes for birding.

Runner-Up: Vortex Viper Model VPR80S High-density Spotting Scope


This Vortex Viper straight spotting scope has low dispersion due to its high-density lens, which improves your view and gives you clarity. The Model VPR80S comes with Vortex’s own patented XR reflective coating (this helps reduce lens flash) on its multicoated 20-60X80mm lens.

Dual focus, Eyecup twists, waterproof and fogproof, Vortex Viper
Vortex Viper Model VPR80S High-density Spotting Scope

This Vortex Viper Model is fully waterproof and fog proof for those days when the weather isn’t quite as cooperative as you may have liked or when you are just close to the surf and spray. Vortex has put an unconditional lifetime warranty on this model, and it comes with its custom-designed case. And at 4.8 pounds, this is a great birding spotting scope.

Also Great: Nikon Model 6975 Spotting Scope

Nikon Prostaff 5’s 20-60X82mm spotting scope for birding is built with Nikon’s legendary toughness standards. This is a very nice scope, it is waterproof and fog proof with O-ring seals to further keep out dust and moisture. The housing is nitrogen purged to protect the scope from fogging further.

The brilliant optics are multi-coated and maintain true color retention. The model 6975 has a built-in retractable sunshade which helps reduce glare in bright sunlight conditions and also helps keep the rain off the lens. One of the really nice things about the Nikon is that it comes digiscope ready to help you get that shot. There are a lot of benefits to this spotting scope for birding.

Honorable Mention: Alpen Model 786KIT Spotting Scope


The Alpen 20-60X80mm birding spotting scope is a good choice for several factors. Its large objective lens allows more light during those lower light conditions, and its fully multi-coated lenses also allow more light through and give some protection from dust. By having a BAK-4 prism and its large objective at the lower power, you will have big views that will narrow as you increase the power.

Shock-resistant, Waterproof, Alpen 786KIT
Alpen Model 786KIT Spotting Scope

The model 786KIT is fully waterproof, fog-proof, and has a nitrogen-filled housing that will help you when the weather is so pleasant or when the weather turns on you. The heavier design has inherent durability built in. This spotting scope for birding comes with an aluminum foam-filled case, a tabletop tripod, and a lifetime warranty.

What Is The Best Spotting Scope For Birding In 2024?

Deciding on the best spotting scope for birding for this round was really a tough choice for us. The quality level is rather high on all of these spotting scopes for birding, but the Swarovski Optiks Spotting Scope wins with its extreme dedication to quality, and their brilliant optics leave little to chance in this case. Their spotting scopes are more expensive; however, you will never need another one or a replacement, and probably your children or grandchildren will still be using it decades from now, as has happened in the past.

But, ultimately, choosing which spotting scope you choose is up to you. Birding can be very rewarding, and often times you will want to do some digiscoping, so it is important to look carefully at the spotting scope you are considering. That way, if you need a universal digital camera adapter or perhaps the exact adapter for your optics, you can acquire the pieces needed to fit your equipment simultaneously.

Sources and Official Brand Websites:

 Swarovski Optik  |  Vortex Optics  |  Nikon‚Äč |  Spotting Scopes

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