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Bushnell H20 10x42 Review

The uneven view in each barrel, known as poor collimation, provided for more headaches than enjoyable experiences
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Bushnell H20 10x42 Review (The Bushnell H20 10x42.)
The Bushnell H20 10x42.
Credit: Abriah Wofford
Price:  $100 List
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Manufacturer:   Bushnell
By Benjamin Hickok and Jessica Riconscente  ⋅  Dec 23, 2023
38
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#16 of 16
  • Clarity - 35% 2.5
  • Brightness - 20% 3.8
  • Comfort - 15% 6.0
  • Field of View - 10% 4.1
  • Ease of Adjustment - 15% 3.7
  • Close Focus Range - 5% 5.4

Our Verdict

For a business with experience making high-performance sports optics for so long, we expected a little more from the Bushnell H20 10x42. This model failed to impress our test team, exhibited less-than-stellar performances across the majority of our testing, and, most importantly, offered terrible clarity. Even acknowledging the ultra-affordable price point of these binoculars and reducing our expectations from a cheaper pair of optics, this model performed poorly in objective tests and underperformed other entry-level models. If you're looking for an affordable model with better clarity, we recommend other options amongst our top-ranked binoculars.
REASONS TO BUY
Affordable
Light for 42 mm binos
REASONS TO AVOID
Poor collimation/build quality
Poor field of view
Bad light transmission

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Bottom Line Don't expect too much from this pair of binocularsOne of the best overall values on the market, particularly for mid-range price shoppersA great choice for birders on a tight budgetDecent clarity and compactness make these a good budget option for traveling, backpacking and hikingA good choice for someone on a budget and who could use a pair of binoculars that lets in a lot of light
Rating Categories Bushnell H20 10x42 Vortex Diamondback... Celestron Nature DX... Nikon Trailblazer A... Nikon Aculon A211 8x42
Clarity (35%)
2.5
6.2
5.8
5.0
3.3
Brightness (20%)
3.8
8.1
7.4
3.5
8.3
Comfort (15%)
6.0
6.6
5.4
7.9
4.6
Field of View (10%)
4.1
8.4
6.8
5.2
8.3
Ease of Adjustment (15%)
3.7
7.1
6.6
4.4
2.6
Close Focus Range (5%)
5.4
8.9
7.5
8.3
5.4
Specs Bushnell H20 10x42 Vortex Diamondback... Celestron Nature DX... Nikon Trailblazer A... Nikon Aculon A211 8x42
Measured Weight 23.1 oz 23.1 oz 22.8 oz 10.5 oz 27.2 oz
Measured Interpupillary Distance Range 58mm - 74mm 56mm - 75mm 57mm -74mm 38mm -75mm 56mm - 73mm
Measured Size 6.0" x 5.2" 5.7" x 5.1" 5.4" x 4.5" 2.7" x 4.1" 6.8" x 5.9"
Measured Close Focus 11.8 ft 5.5 ft 8.0 ft 6.6 ft 11.9 ft
Measured Eye Relief 14.5 mm 18.0 mm 18.0 mm 10.5 mm 12.0 mm
Glass Type BAK-4 HD BAK-4 Eco-Glass Eco-Glass
Magnification 10 8 8 10 8
Objective Lens Size 42 42 42 25 42
Claimed Field of View 361 ft 393 ft 388 ft 342 ft 420 ft
Claimed Close Focus 12.0 ft 5.0 ft 6.5 ft 11.5 ft 13.0 ft
Claimed Eye Relief 15.6 mm 17 mm 17.5 mm 10 mm 12 mm
Waterproof/Fog Resistant Yes Yes Yes Yes Not mentioned
Tripod Adapter Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Measured Lux Reading from Brightness Testing 411 lux 1163 lux 823 lux 237 lux 1236 lux

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


bushnell h20 10x42 - even among entry-level models, the bushnell h20 failed to impress.
Even among entry-level models, the Bushnell H20 failed to impress.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Clarity


As you might expect with such an affordable pair of binos, you will not get anywhere near the clarity of a multi-thousand-dollar pair of binos. At this price tier of binoculars, there is often some serious compromise on the quality of materials and construction. Not only did we observe blurring and vignetting, but the lenses were not level with each other in the barrels. Collimation in our test model's right lens led to serious eye fatigue, headaches, and an unenjoyable experience.

Mediocre clarity and light transmission will leave you wanting more.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Brightness


We took a deep dive into observed and measured brightness as well as exit pupil size to properly evaluate this metric. The Bushnell H20 10x42's larger lenses, by design, should allow for greater light transmission than smaller ones. Still, the Bushnell's underperformed nearly all similarly priced models with identical lens sizes and didn't do much better than some much smaller lenses. Beyond the noticeably darker observed brightness, we measured brightness at 411 Lux.

bushnell h20 10x42 - these large lenses were unable to transmit as much light as similar...
These large lenses were unable to transmit as much light as similar sized lenses.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Comfort


The Bushnell H20 10x42 binos aren't too hefty, weighing in at 23.1 ounces, and are balanced relatively well, making them comfortable to hold for extended periods of time. Small dimples also provide some additional finger grip and comfort. When not in use, a fairly standard strap is neither uncomfortable nor anything to write home about.

An interesting take on ergonomics on a budget.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Field of View


The Bushnell H20 10x42 did not fare well in our field of view testing. Using a vertical wooden fence, at a set distance, we were able to clearly see 47 fence boards, whereas we were able to see more than 60 with a handful of top models.

bushnell h20 10x42 - a limited field of view creates a tunneling effect.
A limited field of view creates a tunneling effect.
Credit: Jessica Riconscente

Ease of Adjustment


No locking diopter and a short 14.5 mm eye relief are two reasons that the Bushnell H20 10x42 scored poorly in our ease of adjustment test metric. More specifically, this model was one of the few we tested that were nearly impossible to use with glasses. As such, we recommend that those who wear glasses consider other models.

The eyecups don't provide much help in achieving the perfect eye relief for those who wear spectacles.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Close Focus Range


The Bushnell H20 10x42 finished our close focus range testing with a somewhat disappointing close focus range of 11.8 feet. While 11.8 feet is slightly better than the manufacturer-stated specifications of 12 feet, these would not be the best choice for things like butterfly houses or aviaries.

bushnell h20 10x42 - the close focus of this model is too far for our liking.
The close focus of this model is too far for our liking.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Should You Buy the Bushnell H20 10x42?


We cannot in good conscience recommend the Bushnell H20 10x42 to the readers who rely on our testing and unbiased scoring to identify a great pair of binoculars; the Bushnell H20 10x42 simply is not up to par with the other binoculars we tested. While this model does have a modest price, we tested a few models with better performance at similar prices, which would all be better options.

What Other Binoculars Should You Consider?


At a similar price point to the Bushnell H20 10x42, the smaller Nikon Trailblazer ATB Waterproof 10x25 binoculars provide better performance. While these are also not the best pair of binoculars we tested, they manage far better clarity and close focus range at 6.6 feet. If you're willing to spend a bit more, we think the Vortex Diamondback HD 8x42 has one of the best price-to-performance ratios. It is one of the best overall value binoculars we tested, and you'll be happy you increased your budget for a vastly superior pair of binos that offer superior clarity, brightness, and field of view. Check out our best binoculars review for more comparisons.

Benjamin Hickok and Jessica Riconscente