Best Budget Binoculars Under $100
Nikon ACULON A211 10x42

The Nikon ACULON A211 10×42 are equipped with Nikon’s powerful trio of optical technology. Firstly, they have aspherical eyepiece lenses that provide a flat viewing field. Secondly, they have environmentally friendly Nikon-developed Eco-Glass™, which is not only lead- and arsenic-free but also lighter than typical glass construction. Lastly, the multi-coated lenses help render bright images.

Designed for any environment, these binoculars have a non-slip grip. You can handle them properly no matter the conditions. They are also comfortable to use, thanks to the turn-and-slide rubber eyecups that let you obtain the best positioning.

What these Nikon binoculars lack is nitrogen purging. They are not fog proof, so avoid using them when it’s raining or snowing.

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:


Things we like:

  • check-mark
    Lenses offer a flat field of view
  • check-mark
    Environmentally-friendly and lightweight glass
  • check-mark
    Bright images
  • check-mark
    Non-slip grip for reliable handling
  • check-mark
    Comfortable enough for prolonged glassing sessions

Things we don't like:

  • check-markNot fog proof

Where to buy:


Nikon ACULON A211 10×42

Looking for binoculars can be intimidating, especially given the high price points of high-quality models. If you are a casual adventurer who only needs the basics, getting a pair or $500 is not practical at all.

The Nikon ACULON A211 10×42 are general use binoculars that hit a nice compromise between affordability and quality. Priced at less than $100, it has all the qualities of a dependable, functional, and versatile pair of binoculars.

These optics are intended for casual birding, camping, hiking, and watching live sports. Let’s dive in to learn what they can offer!

Specs & Features

  • Magnification: 10x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42 mm
  • Weight: 26.8 oz
  • Dimensions: 5.7" L x 7.3" W
  • Field of View (Linear at 1,000 yds): 314'
  • Field of View (Angular): 6
  • Prism System: BaK4 Porro
  • Eye Relief: 11.6 mm
  • Exit Pupil: 4.2 mm
  • Close Focus Distance: 16.4'
  • Tripod Adaptability: Y
See the complete list of the best Nikon Binoculars here!

One of the Best Cheap Binos

The Nikon ACULON A211 10×42 is an affordable solution for casual enthusiasts looking for quality optics that don’t break the bank. They are one of the best cheap binoculars available today. The A211 Nikons are intended for those who need the functionality of dependable optics without high-end attributes.

As part of the ACULON line, these optics are pretty sporty and versatile with a classic look. They are great for casual birding, light camping and hiking, nature observation, and watching live sports events.

Made of Eco-Glass and BaK4 Porro prism, these optics perform pretty well in broad daylight. They deliver bright and clear images, with as little color fringing as possible.

Ergonomically designed for the casual adventurer, the Nikon ACULON A211 10×42 is compact and easy to handle. It is also durable, with a shock-absorbent rubber armor-coated housing and non-slip grip.

But these aren’t premium magnesium-housed binoculars that can tolerate much impact. They are sub-100 dollar optics after all.

These optics also have a smooth central focus wheel and comfortable eyecups. With these features, they are suitable for prolonged glassing.

Let’s dive in to find out more about these affordable optics a pretty good choice!


Related Reviews

Very Decent Images

The Nikon ACULON A211 10×42 comes with Nikon’s exclusive, lead- and arsenic-free Eco-Glass lenses. These lenses are aspherical and multicoated, delivering bright and clear images in broad daylight. Moreover, they offer a flat field of view.

The eyepieces are asymmetrical, preventing the edge distortion commonly experienced in cheaper optics. The eyepieces are designed to enhance the glassing experience without compromising affordability.

While these optics deliver almost the same image quality as the Nikon PROSTAFF 3S 10×42, they don’t come with the same roof prism as the latter.

The Nikon ACULON A211 10×42 is equipped with a BaK4 Porro prism. This prism system is more affordable than a roof prism. While it may not be as durable and as compact as a roof prism, it satisfies the needs of casual birdwatchers. This prism system has clear imaging, especially in bright conditions.

The lenses of these binoculars are multicoated but not completely. This means that not all glass surfaces of the lenses are covered. While the multicoating applied on these lenses helps brighten the images, you would still have difficulties in low-light settings. This is not much of a worry, especially if you are using this pair for birding on a good, sunny day.

Not Robust, But Sturdy

These optics have a durable, rubber armor-coated housing. The rubber has shock absorption properties that can handle almost any environment. Essentially, it can absorb minor impacts.

The rubber armor coating also creates a non-slip grip, so handling the Nikon ACULON A211 10×42 feels pretty natural. Unlike most ACULON binoculars that have ultra-sleek, sporty profiles, it has a classic look.

At a budget-friendly price, it makes sense why these optics don’t have nitrogen fills. Purging optics with nitrogen helps create a fogproof glassing experience. However, since these optics are for budget, general use they are not nitrogen purged and therefore they aren’t weatherproof.

If you need a pair of 10×42 binoculars with reliable fogproofing and waterproofing capabilities, check out the Maven B.6 10×50 and the Nikon PROSTAFF 3S 10×42. These optics are more suitable for rugged applications while still being relatively affordable.


Doesn’t Feel Cheap, Easy to Focus

The Nikon ACULON A211 10×42 has a compact profile. Since it is designed to be as light as possible, you can carry it easily and steadily everywhere. It is an ideal companion for all-day glassing.

For your comfort, these optics have turn-and-slide rubber eyecups. These eyecups adjust easily, so you can have a comfortable viewing experience for hours. If you are wearing eyeglasses, these eyecups will serve you well.

Like the Nikon PROSTAFF 3S 10×42, these optics have a user-friendly central focus knob. This knob has a fast and smooth range of focus without any jerky movements. It is pretty easy to lock in your targets with such a dependable focus wheel.

The Nikon ACULON A211 10×42 comes with the basic accessories— objective lens caps, case, rain guard, and strap. Nikon has also included some soft cleaning cloths for cleaning the optics. For a pair of binoculars at this price, these basic inclusions are reasonable.


The Good

Of course, what we like the most about these optics is their price point. For no more than $100, you are getting a quality pair from a reputable brand. The company has made the right compromises to create durable, dependable, and versatile binoculars without hurting a casual enthusiast’s pocket.

These optics have multicoated lenses that improve the overall brightness of the rendered images. The clarity is quite impressive for optics this cheap, especially on a sunny day. While some color fringing is present around the edges, it is hardly noticeable.

Note, however, that the Nikon ACULON A211 10×42 is not recommended for use in low-light settings. Not all glass surfaces of the lenses are coated, which means that they are not designed to perform in low light. It is built for casual users, so what it lacks in low-light performance should not be a problem.

With Eco-Glass, these binoculars are also environment-friendly. This material contains no arsenic and lead, so it doesn’t have that much carbon footprint like other optics.

Instead of using roof prisms, the company used BaK4 Porro prisms in these optics to bring down the cost. Roof prisms are considered better than Porro prisms but for casual birding and watching sports events, the latter offers a pretty decent experience. You are unlikely to complain, especially in good lighting conditions.

We also like how easy the Nikon ACULON A211 10×42 is to handle. The rubber armor coating provides a sure, non-slip grip. So, you are unlikely to drop it even when the conditions are far from practical. In case you do drop it, fret not. The housing can withstand minor impacts, with its shock-absorbent rubber armor.

These binoculars are lightweight, weighing only 26.8 oz. They are easy to bring everywhere, even for prolonged periods. Undoubtedly, they are a great choice for light camping and hiking.

The smooth central focus knob adds to the appeal of these optics. It turns easily without any distortion, so you can view and follow your subjects smoothly.

Basic accessories are included when you purchase the Nikon ACULON A211 10×42. The good thing about that is you get all the basics for less than a hundred bucks. If you have the extra money, you can also go ahead and upgrade these accessories.

What We Didn’t Like

There are some setbacks when it comes to budget-friendly binoculars. To begin with, these Nikon ACULON optics are not sealed with nitrogen. Nitrogen filling is an anti-fog coating that creates a seamless glassing experience in any environment.

Without nitrogen filling, your optics will likely build moisture when the atmospheric temperature changes suddenly. The fogging interrupts the field of view.

However, the Nikon ACULON A211 10×42 not being fogproof should not be a major concern if you plan to use it casually. It is also not a problem if you will only use your optics for birding or watching live sports events. Often, fogging does not occur in these settings.


These optics are built for casual or general use. At less than $100, they won’t make you feel guilty for not using them every day.

With multicoated lenses and a Porro prism system, these optics deliver bright and clear images on a good day. They are compact and easy to carry, so you won’t mind taking them out for all-day glassing.

The eyecups of the Nikon ACULON A211 10×42 are comfortable enough for prolonged use. Moreover, the central focus wheel turns easily and smoothly. You won’t have difficulties following your subjects.

You can only expect so much from a budget-friendly pair of binoculars, and these optics do deliver on the company’s promise of affordable quality.

About the Company

When three optical manufacturers decided to merge in 1917, Nikon was born. Today, it is one of the most reputable integrated optical companies present across various product categories.

The company may be popular for manufacturing binoculars and cameras for most people. However, it is heavily committed to developing digital imaging technologies and sports optics, helping shape these industries.

In the sports optics industry, the company has a wide range of consumer products. These products not only include binoculars but also field scopes and rangefinders. Nikon constantly develops these products to meet the needs of modern-day consumers and provide them with the best experience using dependable equipment.

Moreover, the company has healthcare and industrial metrology businesses. It offers cell and ophthalmology solutions in the healthcare field and supports space exploration in industrial metrology.

Learn more about our favorite Nikon binoculars in this comprehensive guide.

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:


Things we like:

  • check-mark
    Lenses offer a flat field of view
  • check-mark
    Environmentally-friendly and lightweight glass
  • check-mark
    Bright images
  • check-mark
    Non-slip grip for reliable handling
  • check-mark
    Comfortable enough for prolonged glassing sessions

Things we don't like:

  • check-markNot fog proof

Frequently asked questions

What is the best pair of budget-friendly Nikon binoculars for casual use?

For casual use, the Nikon ACULON A211 10×42 is an excellent choice. It only costs less than a hundred bucks but offers reliable performance and quality, especially in broad daylight.

These binoculars are built with a Porro prism system instead of a roof prism system, cutting down most of the costs. This prism system is pretty good enough for casual use, such as birding and watching live sports.

Learn more about the things we like about these optics in this review. If you want to explore other Nikon binoculars, check out our latest guide here.

What is Nikon Eco-Glass?

Nikon Eco-Glass is an environment-friendly material that makes up Nikon’s binoculars. It doesn’t contain arsenic and lead, which can pose significant harm to the planet.

Some good examples of optics with Eco-Glass are the Nikon ACULON A211 10×42 and the Nikon Trailblazer 8×25 ATB.

Are 10x42 binoculars good for hunting?

Generally, 10×42 binoculars, such as the Leupold BX-2 Alpine HD 10×42 and the Nikon ACULON A211 10×42, are good for casual hunting. They have the right combination of magnification and objective lens diameter that can cover the needs of casual hunters, especially in broad daylight.

Moreover, 10×42 binoculars have the right size and weight. Most models are pretty light enough for all-day glassing.

Which binoculars are better for birding: 8x42 or 10x42?

8×42 binoculars have wider views, in general. They perform better at short- and mid-distance than 10×42 binoculars, especially if you are observing fast-moving subjects like birds.

Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean that 10×42 binoculars are not good for birding at all. In fact, many 10×42 binoculars are specifically built for birders. A good example is the Nikon ACULON A211 10×42. Find out what makes it good for birding in this in-depth review.


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