If you’re a binocular owner, then it’s important to know how to properly maintain and repair them. binoculars are delicate pieces of equipment, and if not taken care of, they can easily become damaged. In this blog post, we will discuss everything you need to know about binocular maintenance and repair. We’ll cover topics such as cleaning the lenses, repairing broken hinges, and more!
Binocular Maintenance Tips
Some of the below tips are pretty obvious, but are essential, so we have to state them. If you follow the below tips, your binoculars will last much longer.
Carry Binoculars In A Case
This is probably the most essential tip to keep your binoculars in shape. If you’re not going to carry your binoculars in a case or some bag, they will get banged up easily. You don’t want your binoculars to get all scratched up while holding them in a pocket or handbag.
You are keeping them protected by getting a protective case for your binoculars, but they won’t get banged up as quickly. There are plenty of cases to choose from, whether a simple slightly protective and lightweight bag or a more expensive case, they are all an upgrade over just tossing in your backpack.
Many binoculars will come with a protective, lightweight case, so make sure you utilize it, and if your pair doesn’t come with one, we highly recommend purchasing one.
Use A Strap At All Times
Using a strap will prevent you or others from dropping the binoculars. Even the most coordinated and careful people will inevitably make mistakes. Especially if you are hiking or walking around, the chances of dropping your paid rises substantially. You never know when a strap may come in handy, whether you’re hiking, biking, or doing some outdoor activity where you might drop your binoculars.
A strap can be a wrist strap or a neck strap, whatever is most convenient for you. In our opinion, a neck strap is the most comfortable and user friendly option. Especially for larger binoculars.
Don’t Leave In Direct Sunlight
Excessive heat will cause the rubber on the outside of the housing to expand and create pressure points that could break your binoculars. This will slowly start to damage the lenses on your binoculars. This is not the case for all binoculars, but simply keeping them in a case, or in a backpack will prevent any sun damage, heat damage, or any environmental damage opportunities.
Clean The Lenses When They Get Dirty
Just like your camera lenses, binocular lenses get dirty and dusty. It is best to utilize your lens covers and cases as much as possible to avoid getting your lenses dirty, but when they do get dirty, you need to clean them. If you wait too long after getting debris on your lenses, it is possible that the dirt and debris can work into the binoculars over time. Getting dust, dirt, or moisture inside of the binoculars is much harder with waterproofing, but it does still occur. The more you keep the lenses and exterior clean, the longer the internal parts of your binoculars will stay clean.
The best way to clean the lenses is to use a blower bulb or a can of compressed air. Blowing dirt and dust out of the lenses helps prevent them from building up in the first place. It would help if you also tried to clean the lenses when you’re finished using your binoculars.
If you have dirt, salt, or any debris on the lenses, it is important to use a blower first before trying to wipe the debris off. Trying to wipe harsh debris off could cause scratching of the lenses.
You can and should also have lens cleaning wipes when blowing air isn’t quite getting all of the debris off.
Here is an example of a blower bulb: See Example
Here is an example of a lense wipe: See Example
Important Note: Do not utilize home cleaners on your lenses. Glass cleaners and other home cleaners can potentially damage your lenses. Utilize cleaners that are specifically meant for binocular or camera lenses to avoid damage.
Clean The Body Regularly
This is very similar to lens cleaning. It is important to point out that while the lenses might be the most important part to keep clean, it is also important to utilize a blower bulb and lense wipes to keep the body clean of debris. Debris on the body will transfer to any case you are utilizing as well, which can further dirty your pair of binoculars over time. Simply put, try and keep all parts clean.
Rinse Saltwater Off
Even though your binoculars are waterproof, it’s essential to rinse off any saltwater or ocean sand before using them again. The salt will build up and cause the rubber to degrade faster than normal. When utilizing binoculars around the ocean, it is best practice to make sure all salt or sand debris is removed from the binoculars.
This is especially important if you’re going to use your binoculars at the beach or the pool. Because salt water is harmful to the optics and the rubber, don’t let your binoculars sit in saltwater or get soaked in ocean sand.
Clean them off and rinse thoroughly with fresh water before using them again.
Extend The Life Of Eyecups
One of the best tips to keep your binoculars in shape is to extend the eyecups’ life. Most binoculars come with plastic eyecups that get dirty and sticky pretty quickly.
If you have a chance, remove the eyecups and give them a good washing in warm soapy water as frequently as possible.
Magnifying glasses are great for looking at small items, but they are also great for using your binoculars. It may sound extreme, but it’s one of the best tips to keep your binoculars in shape.
We have included a helpful video on how to clean your binoculars:
Maintenance And Repair Considerations When Buying
Know Your Warranty
When you’re buying binoculars, it’s important to know the warranty that comes with the purchase. The warranty should cover any damage that is not caused by negligence on your part.
It’s also important to know what the company considers as negligence on your part. For example, if you drop your binoculars and they break, is it your cost to repair, or will they cover it? In this case, purchasing drop insurance might be a great buy depending upon your needs.
If your binoculars ever need repair, be sure to check your warranty, as more expensive binoculars often have some type of warranty that can cover repair or replacement.
Buy Waterproof Binoculars
One of the most important tips to take care of binoculars is to buy waterproof binoculars. Waterproof binoculars have a water-resistant housing and are designed to withstand exposure to water. Waterproof binoculars are the best choice if you’re using your binoculars near lakes, oceans, rain, snow, or in a humid environment.
By investing in waterproof binoculars, you won’t have to worry about rain, snow, or the ocean getting inside your binoculars and damaging the lenses. An excellent waterproof binocular will set you back a little bit more than regular binoculars, but it’s worth it in the long run.
Where Can You Get Your Binoculars Repaired?
Just about any type of binocular can be repaired. Some companies specialize in certain types of binoculars, and many of the major manufacturers have repair teams. Any binocular under warranty should be repaired by an authorized repairer of that warranty.
Some of the most common brands with repair teams include: Canon, Leica, Swarovski, Steiner, Minox, Zeiss, Leitz, Nikon, Opticron, Bausch and Lomb, Avimo, Optolyth, Miyauchi, Fujinon, and others.
It can often be hard to get asian manufactured binoculars repaired. You may also find that binoculars under $500 may not have great repair options as the repairs can potentially cost a lot compared to the total worth of the binoculars.
The Cost Of Binocular Repair
The cost of repair varies widely based on the issues. If you know the binocular type, and the specific issue, you likely can get a free estimate from the repair source pending your diagnosis is correct.
Usually any time binoculars have to be sent in, we are talking about a minimum cost of $40-$50 and then repairs on top of that can be as simple as $30, but can be upwards of $100 with major damage.
Nitrogen purging is often needed for water-proof or sealed binoculars which will cost $10-$30 as well.
Overall, it is very difficult to determine the exact costs until you speak to the repair shop or manufacturer about those costs.
Repairing Binoculars At Home
Need To Know Information
Before you begin trying to repair your binoculars, you need to make sure of several things:
Your binocular warranty. Don’t open your binoculars or begin any type or repair without knowing what voids the warranty, or what the warranty is covered.
Make sure you have tools. Don’t open your binoculars up if you don’t have a quality repair kit. Not having the right tools is likely just going to end with more damage, or an incomplete fix.
If you know you aren’t breaching your warranty, or that fixes are not covered in your warranty, then you can either take to a third party repair shop, or start working on your binoculars by yourself. We are not going to go in depth on identifying problems in this article. There are tons of different issues that arise that involve different repair tools and techniques. You need to identify first what is wrong and then do some online searching to identify how to fix. YouTube and Google will often point you to fantastic resources for your own repair. You can also contact the manufacturer of your binoculars.
Watch this video to help identify some common binocular problems:
Max DesMarais is the founder of Hiking & Fishing. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. You can read more about him here: hikingandfishing/about