There are several advantages of using binoculars mounted on a tripod. As well as taking the weight off your neck and shoulders, viewing via a tripod also eliminates image shake.
Having your binoculars mounted on a tripod also makes it easier to share a particular view with other birders. You can simply leave the binoculars aimed at that specific area.
Before examining the top picks’ main features and their pros and cons, let’s introduce you to the line-up of tall tripods…
Quick comparison: best tripods for birding binoculars
SLIK Pro 700 DX Tripod Legs
So many good points to appreciate about this budget pick that provides extra height via its two-part center column.
Best tripod for birding binoculars – best value
Sirui W-2204 Waterproof Carbon Fiber Tripod
Durability is not an issue for this waterproof tripod that is protected against damp and dirt, meaning it’s easy to operate as well as being tall and strong.
Best tripod for birding binoculars if money is no object
Vanguard VS-82 Tabletop Tripod
Perfectly portable, this tripod has a smooth-moving pan head for steady, expansive views.
Best tripod for birding binoculars – best for seated viewing
Vortex Ridgeview Carbon Tripod Kit
Rugged, reliable, the Ridgeview is able to handle large spotting scopes and especially suits taller birders.
Best tripod for birding binoculars – lightweight compact for travel
Manfrotto 190X Aluminum 3-Section Tripod Kit with XPRO Fluid Head
Versatile and easy-to-deploy tripod kit with an impressively smooth pan/tilt from its fluid head.
Best tripod for birding binoculars – versatile to switch binoculars to scope
Reviews: Best tripods for birding binoculars
In this review section, we list all the most important specifications of each product along with a summary of its main features. For each model there is a quick summary of its pros and cons, before a fuller review of how it performs.
As price is always a key consideration, we have included the facility to check the current price so that you can also compare from that point of view.
Best tripod for binoculars – best value
Main Features of the SLIK Pro 700 DX Tripod Legs
The SLIK Pro 700 DX Tripod Legs offers impressive features. Here are a few of them, just to spark your interest!
- Independently adjustable three-position leg angle settings
- Three-section legs, all with foam cladding on upper section
- Two flip locks on each leg for easy set-up and disassembly
- Rubber feet for maximum traction
Materials Aluminum, magnesium, titanium alloy
Load Capacity 15 pounds
Weight 5.5 pounds
Maximum Working Height 70.1”
Max Height without Center Column 55.1”
Minimum Working Height 10.8”
Folded length 26.2”
- All of the components feel solid and well machined
- Padding on all three of the legs
- A reasonably priced product that delivers on results
- It even looks good!
- Not as light as a carbon fiber product might be
- The leg angle latches are not quite intuitive so need a little getting used to
- There’s no hook underneath the centre column, which would be useful for adding weight and increasing stability
SLIK Pro 700 DX Tripod Legs Overview
There is a two-part center column, so that can be shortened if necessary. The head mount is aluminium which should add durability.
To set up, the flip locks are stiff to start with, but aim to be operable with just one finger. The angular rubber feet are pretty grippy. They are not changeable, though, in case you prefer the spiked feet that some brands offer.
Three angle setting for the legs
There are a few different lockable angle settings on the legs. This angle can be set independently on each leg, in case you need to set up on extremely uneven ground.
With this facility, the tripod will also lower closer to the ground. The latches open outwards, which is not quite intuitive but there’s no complaint with their actual performance.
Foam cladding feature on all legs
The foam cladding is on all three of the legs – not just the two that some other companies limit it to (why?!). It just makes that extra difference if you prefer to carry the tripod against your shoulder, and when working with the legs when the weather is very cold or hot.
Living up to its name in respect of its matte finish, it looks pretty refined as well as feeling solid. So bonus points for the image-conscious! Even better considering the price…
Best tripod for binoculars if money is no object
Main Features of the Sirui W-2204 Waterproof Carbon Fiber Tripod
The Sirui W-2204 Waterproof Carbon Fiber Tripod offers impressive features. Here are a few of them, just to spark your interest!
- Reverse-folding legs allowing it to pack down smaller
- Rubber feet can be switched to spikes
- Hook under the center column to hang a counterweight
- Converts to a 69.7″ monopod
Materials Carbon Fiber
Load Capacity 38.7 pounds
Weight 4.6 pounds
Maximum Working Height 74.9”
Max Height without Center Column 61.9”
Minimum Working Height 10.4”
Folded length 20.5”
- Enormous maximum weight allowance in comparison to other models here
- Very high maximum height too – great for tall birders and straight spotting scopes
- Nice to have the opportunity to change the feet according to conditions
- Strong and stiff enough for larger scopes
- Despite the very welcome sealing system, we’d still advise to take care in dusty or sandy environments
- Also be mindful not to lose track of where the feet are when switching over from rubber to spikes – easily misplaced!
Sirui W-2204 Waterproof Carbon Fiber Tripod Overview
Sirui has developed a design that adds weatherproofing to their tripods. The Waterproof Sealing System aims to stop water or dirt, keeping them moving smoothly without any jams or hitches.
Twist locks secure the four-section legs. Given that they fold right down to a minimum length of 20.5”, the legs reach an impressive height of just over six feet.
A winner for tall birders!
Even without extending the center column, the height is probably sufficient for many birders. This is especially true for those birders using an angled spotting scope, which requires less height than a straight scope because you will be looking down into the eyepiece.
So the Sirui scores highly for taller birders who might otherwise have difficulty finding a tripod of sufficient height to view comfortably – particularly with a straight scope.
Each additional extension that one makes with a tripod might compromise the overall stability. So not needing to extend the center column is a good thing. Of course it also saves the extra effort.
Interchangeable feet and a hook to hang ballast
The rubber feet grip most surfaces well, but if you need more traction on wet or soft terrain you can switch them over to stainless steel spikes.
It’s a simple but welcome bonus to have the hook included underneath the centre column. While this tripod is already stable and secure, you still have the choice to add more ballast by hanging your bag under there to weigh down the whole rig, for example, in more windy conditions.
Converts to monopod
For extra versatility, one of the legs of the tripod is removable. By taking it off and attaching it to the center column, you can create a full-sized monopod (with wrist strap). The monopod reaches 73.7″ – also great for taller birders.
The included ball head includes a quick release plate, a knob to add friction via the main lock, and three bubble levels.
The tripod kit also comes with a padded case, a shoulder strap, the required tools to adjust it, and the additional stainless steel spikes for the feet.
Best tripod for binoculars – best for seated viewing
Main Features of the Vanguard VS-82 2-Section Table-Top Tripod with 2-Way Pan Head
The Vanguard VS-82 2-Section Table-Top Tripod with 2-Way Pan Head offers impressive features. Here are a few of them, just to spark your interest!
- 2-way pan head covers 360°
- Front-to-back tilt
- Angled, non-slip feet
- Solid aluminum build
Load Capacity 5.5 pounds
Weight 13.8 ounces – less than 1 pound
Maximum Working Height 9.8”
Minimum Working Height 7.5”
Folded length 9”
- Panning lever is long enough for good control
- Two-way pan/tilt movement suits some birders more than a ball head
- Extendable center pole
- Legs splay, so can get very low
- Rubber feet grip surfaces well
- Only a screw-on fitting, no quick release
- Limited to just under 10 inches of height
Vanguard VS-82 2-Section Table-Top Tripod with 2-Way Pan Head Overview
The Vanguard VX 82 tabletop tripod is compact enough to fit in a generous sized pocket (possibly not your skinny jeans though!). Weighing less than a pound, it is highly portable.
The sleek and lightweight design makes this tripod perfect for hiking trips. It might not hold much weight to cope with a large spotting scope. At its size though, it is sturdy enough to keep your scope stable. The fact that it is lightweight and compact makes it a great companion for that hiking trip.
Folds down to nine inches
Assuming you don’t need much extra height, this could suit your needs. The total extended height is around ten inches. Folded down, the tripod is not much smaller, at nine inches.
Angled, non-slip feet are helpful. If you were using the tripod indoors on a kitchen countertop or table, for instance, the rubber feet will grip well. This reduces the need to worry about accidentally shifting your precious scope sideways and sending vibrations through the image or worse, knocking the whole device over or off the tabletop.
Added to this, there is little play in the moving parts. The legs splay broadly, flattening as much as you need. Meanwhile, the center pole also extends.
Smooth panning with a long lever
The pan head moves across the horizontal and vertical axis. Despite it being a compact tripod, the panning lever is of a sufficient length to get a good hold and to allow you to pan smoothly.
If you’re happy with a two-way head instead of the full three-way motion, then this could suit. You’re also limited to a screw-on fitting instead of a quick-release shoe.
Impressive load capacity
With the Vanguard VS82 as a stable base, you can be confident of a steady picture, even with a fairly weighty spotting scope. The maximum load weight is five and a half pounds.
One of the best things about this tripod, apart from its solid aluminum build, is that it will not break the bank. Plus it benefits from a two-year warranty.
Best tripod for binoculars – lightweight compact for travel
Main Features of the Vortex Ridgeview Carbon Tripod Kit
The Vortex Ridgeview Carbon Tripod Kit offers impressive features. Here are a few of them, just to spark your interest!
- Arca-Swiss compatible plate
- Two-way pan head with tension handle
- Lockable center column
- Central hook to add counterweight
Materials carbon fiber legs, aluminum center post
Load Capacity 22 pounds
Weight 3.2 pounds
Maximum Working Height 75”
Minimum Working Height 8.3”
Folded length 29”
- Lightweight carbon frame
- Smooth panning movements
- Easy to adjust legs with rubber twist locks
- Compact pan head that can be switched if necessary
- Three-section legs mean that the overall packable length is quite long
Vortex Ridgeview Carbon Tripod Kit Overview
Vortex products are rugged and reliable. The Ridgeview Carbon is no exception and can handle large spotting scopes and full size binoculars. The maximum load capacity is 22 pounds.
The Ridgeview’s construction is from a mix of carbon fiber and aluminum. While the legs are carbon fiber, the center post is aluminum and measures 10 inches. This keeps weight to a minimum – at 3 pounds and 2 ounces.
Alternatively, you can completely detach the center column if you prefer. If you wish to use a counterweight, there’s a hook at the bottom of the center column.
Three-section legs are more stable but less packable
Three leg sections mean that the Ridgeview doesn’t pack right down like some tripod legs divided into four or five sections. When retracted, the length is 28 inches, with each leg measuring about 22 inches.
So it is long and not all that packable. The benefit of this extra length is that the total height is great for tall birders, at 75 inches.
Set-up and adjustment is a cinch, even in slippery conditions. The chunky rubber twist controls on the legs are easy to grip even with gloves. It’s really quick to deploy the tripod because they only need a quarter turn to release or lock.
Highly versatile leg angles
Each leg pivots right out. The legs can be set individually at a different angle, either moved freely or locked simply into position with just a click.
The Vortex Carbon Ridgeview has a two-way pan head perfect for anyone looking for quality and ease of use. The pan head is controlled by a tension handle, which makes it easy to make smooth pans.
The twist locking mechanism on the handle is incredibly simple to use with the same hand.
Straightforward quick-release pan head
The whole head attachment is very compact. This top-end versatile and straightforward pan head is Arca-Swiss compatible in case you want to change to a different tripod head.
The included pan head comes with a standard tension quick-release plate that works with a variety of styles of plates and other brands, if you prefer to switch it over to a different set of tripod legs.
Best tripod for binoculars – versatile to switch binoculars to scope
Main Features of the Manfrotto 190X Aluminum 3-Section Tripod Kit with XPRO Fluid Head
The Manfrotto 190X Tripod Kit offers impressive features. Here are a few of them, just to spark your interest!
- Fluid head with pan and tilt motion and adjustable resistance
- Rotating bubble level to ensure alignment
- Extendable legs that also adjust outwards at different angles
- Panning handle attaches either side of the tripod head
- Kit includes quick release plate
Load Capacity 8.82 pounds
Weight 6.06 pounds
Maximum Working Height 66.9”
Minimum Working Height 3.5”
Folded length 10.7”
- Tough aluminum construction
- Fluid head’s pan and tilt ranges will fit most birders’ requirements
- Legs can be angled to suit the terrain and the height needed
- Flip-locks are convenient and easy to open and close
- Drag is pre-set on the fluid head so cannot be fine-tuned
- It would be great to have the option to add counterweight via a hook under the head
Manfrotto 190X Aluminum 3-Section Tripod Kit with XPRO Fluid Head Overview
The Manfrotto 190X Aluminum 3-Section Tripod Kit with XPRO Fluid Head is a great multi-functional tripod for birdwatchers and digiscoping enthusiasts alike.
It weighs just 5.9 pounds, making it easy to take with you on your next outdoor adventure.
This lightweight tripod kit is perfect for birders looking for a lightweight and compact option that can easily handle a quality spotting scope. The Manfrotto 190X can hold up to 11 pounds, making it likely to be stable for optics with objective lenses of up to 80mm.
Made from aluminum – light and tough
The tripod’s aluminum construction, while easy to carry around, is also tough in different conditions. It has the durability, stability, and height that you can confidently expect to enjoy at this price point.
The tripod extends to a height of 66.9 inches. Its quick-release legs make it easy to set up within seconds.
Each leg of the tripod can be easily adjusted to fit on any type of ground, using individual flip locks. Additionally, there’s a choice of four different angles at which you can set the legs to sit.
Handy bubble level and a light head
To make sure the spotting scope is level on any surface, there is a rotating bubble-level for clear readings.
Keeping the overall weight of the tripod down, the XPRO Fluid Head is only 1.7 pounds. Its construction (aluminum and plastic) is compact, too.
There is a quick-release plate with the standard ¼-20 head, including a lock that stops the spotting scope being accidentally ejected.
Fluid head ideal for birding or digiscoping
This fluid head is not only suitable for watching birds through a spotting scope, but also be used for shooting stills and capturing videos if you have a digiscoping set-up.
With the two fluid cartridges, the scope will enjoy the trademark Manfrotto smooth, wobble-free movements across the two different axes of movements: panoramic rotation, and tilting.
Pre-set drag resistance on the head movement
The 11-inch-long panning handle will connect to either side of the unit, depending on which hand you prefer to use. Tension settings are limited. If you want to really ultra fine tune the resistance, then it might feel too minimal.
What you’re getting as an extra for the upgrade in budget is the dual tension balancing system. This takes into account the size of the optic instrument that is attached, depending on whether the tripod holds a large spotting scope, or a pair of binoculars, for instance.
The tripod also comes with a sleek carrying case for easy transport.
One small feature that we would have liked is very simple – a hook under the tripod head on which you can hang a bag as a counterweight to boost stability.
How to choose the best tripod to use with binoculars
We discuss guidelines on the circumstances when it is best to use a tripod for binoculars, including the advantages and disadvantages of doing so, in this article.
What you need to know about attaching binoculars to a tripod is even that if they are tripod compatible you still need a tripod adapter.
If the binoculars are not described as tripod compatible it is still possible to use them with a tripod. But in this case, you’d need to buy a device that can secure them.
Click here for full details on how to attach binoculars to a tripod.
Get the right height
For viewing through binoculars, the tripod needs to be able to extend high enough for the eyepieces to be level with your eyes. This is different to a set-up for an angled spotting scope, which you look down into to view.
So for viewing landscapes level with the horizon the tripod plus mounted binoculars will be just under your actual height.
The tripod will need to be even taller if you are looking up into the sky. This is because as the binoculars tilt upwards, towards the sky, the ocular lenses are lower.
When choosing a tripod for binoculars, the key thing is to check that it has the extra height required for looking skywards. Remember that extending the center column can compromise the stability of the tripod.
So one of the primary concerns when choosing a tripod for binoculars is to check that it is really sturdy enough when it is at the height you require to have the binoculars at your eye level.
Best tripods for birding binoculars – next steps
With this round-up of the most suitable tripods to use with binoculars for bird watching, we hope you feel more informed about the topic.
We have covered why it’s important to find a tripod that extends to a sufficient height. The exact height you require will depend on how tall you are.
The eyepieces that you look through will need to be at the same level as your eyes. But it’s good to have a tripod that is sufficiently tall without needing to extend the center column because this can add some vibration.
For more discussion about tripods and how best to use them with binoculars, we have other articles that might interest you, including The best tripod legs for birding spotting scopes.
If you are specifically interested in using your binoculars while seated, here are some further choices of tabletop tripods.
- 1 Quick comparison: best tripods for birding binoculars
- 2 Reviews: Best tripods for birding binoculars
- 3 Best tripod for binoculars – best value
- 4 Best tripod for binoculars if money is no object
- 5 Best tripod for binoculars – best for seated viewing
- 6 Best tripod for binoculars – lightweight compact for travel
- 7 Best tripod for binoculars – versatile to switch binoculars to scope
- 8 How to choose the best tripod to use with binoculars
- 9 Best tripods for birding binoculars – next steps