Best Compact Binoculars

Best Compact Binoculars that’re Bang for the Bucks [2020]

When it comes to a good binocular, it isn’t necessarily about viewing power. If you are always on the go, we are sure you’d prefer compact binoculars that are both feather-light and durable.

But with countless available models and spec-related jargons, selecting the right set of binoculars can be challenging.

We have curated a list of Best compact binoculars that will fit your bill and don’t feel like dragging a ball and chain.

Every binocular mentioned in this list is efficient and affordable that delivers an exceptional viewing experience. For a hassle-free purchase, we have also decoded the specs of every binocular and have listed its benefits.

Any outdoor-oriented person is bound to know the true value of quality binoculars. If you are interested to buy one, read ahead:

Best Compact Binoculars Comparison Table

Product

Product

Magnification

Lens

Field of View

Price

8x

42mm

388ft/1000yards

24x

25mm

300ft/1000yards

10x

25mm

285ft /1000yards

7x

26mm

363ft/1000yards

8x

42mm

357ft/1000yards

Here Are The 5 Best Compact Binoculars Short Reviews

1. Celestron 71332 Nature DX 8x42 Binocular

celestron 71332 nature dx 8x42 binocular review: best travel binoculars

The Celestron 71332 Nature DX is designed by keeping in mind the nature of every outdoor enthusiast. As it is completely waterproof, you don’t have to worry about pouring from heaven or going underwater for your voyage. Moreover, fully rubber armored body makes it more resistant to water and dust.

The contrast of this binocular is remarkable. Thanks to the BaK-4 phase-coated prisms, the contrast level is amplified in turn fetching you a crystal clear view. The viewing resolution is also notably enhanced because of the prisms.

Celestron 71332 Nature DX 8x42 Binocular comes with fully multi-coated optics. This holds potential to increase the light transmission of the binoculars thus paving the way for providing brighter images even during low light scenarios.

This binocular is not only suitable for long-distance viewing, but also for close focus. It can clearly show subjects that are as near as 6.5 feet. Isn’t this too good to be true for a compact binocular?

The binocular is eyeglass friendly. You can use it with 0.175 cm of eye relief. The binoculars also have in-built, sturdy eyecups with multiple stops that can be closed/opened with the help of a twist-up mechanism.

2. Nikon Aculon T11 8-24x25mm Compact Zoom Binocular

Nikon Aculon T11

A new arrival in the Nikon collection, Nikon Aculon T11 8-24x25mm Compact Zoom Binocular is amongst the best compact binoculars in the market today. This blue compact zoom binocular delivers versatility and portability in a general set of glasses ready to fit in a daypack or suitcase.

This binocular has an 8-24x magnification range that is well-equipped for intermediate to long-range viewing, ideal for sightseeing and glassing around the campsite.

The innovative push-pull zoom lever located behind the center focus wheel makes the field of view adjustments both quick and convenient. Twist-up eyecups with multiple click-stop positions ensure a comfortable viewing distance for almost any viewer. With this custom eye fit feature, you can be assured of no irritation even after a long period of use in the field, with or without sunglasses.

With an objective lens diameter of 25mm, an apparent viewing angle of 35.6 degrees, a reverse porro prism design and bak4 prism glass, these binoculars provide unparalleled image clarity. The anti-reflective multilayer coating on the glass reduces glare and improves contrast.

A dimension of 6.4 x 5.5 x 3.3 inches (LxWxH), weighing 10.8 oz/306g and a lifetime manufacturer's warranty, The Nikon Aculon T11 8-24x25mm Compact Zoom Binocular is sure to meet your need irrespective of the outdoor circumstances.

3. Bushnell 190125 Legend Ultra HD Compact Binoculars

bushnell legend ultra hd compact review: best compact binoculars for birding

This high-performance compact roof prism binocular with a magnification 10 x and outstanding optics has garnered its way into our list of the best compact binoculars. The binoculars are configured with fully multi-coated, extra-low dispersion (ED) lenses for optimum optical performance. The lenses also come with amazing color rendition, enhanced resolution, and vivid contrast while virtually eliminating chromatic aberration and color-fringing.

The views that this pair of binoculars can fetch reveal distinct details that viewers with standard binoculars would rarely see. Each lens is custom-coated with an ultra-wide band coating that ensures maximum light transmission across the entire visible spectrum. This anti-reflective coating process optimizes each lens' brightness and contrast levels, allowing colors to be rendered accurately.

Also, the exterior lens surfaces are treated with water repellent RainGuard HD coating to minimize light dispersion from haze, mist, fog and rain. We would term these binoculars as an optical tool that sports a rugged yet lightweight and compact water/fog proof housing with a magnesium chassis. With a nitrogen purged interior, O-ring sealing for a reliable all-weather service, there is no sight you can’t catch with these binoculars by your side.

This set of binoculars has a locking diopter that secures viewers fine-tuned focus. It also has twist-up eyecups for a comfortable fit with or without sunglasses. Available in the color black, Bushnell 190125 Legend Ultra HD Compact Binoculars is nothing less than a synonym for sheer beauty!

To sum up features in a sentence, Bushnell 190125 Legend Ultra HD Compact Binoculars is in-built with a magnification 10x, objective lens diameter 25mm, angle of view 5.4 degrees, minimum focus distance 6.0'/1.83m, exit pupil diameter 2.5mm; eye relief 15.5mm; weighing 8.1 oz, and box dimension of 5.8 x 4.2 x 2.8 inches.

4. Bushnell 620726 Elite E2 7x26 Custom Compact Binocular.

A fusion of ruggedness, clarity, and light transmission have stood the test of time for decades. These aspects still hold place while determining the best compact binoculars today. The Bushnell Elite E2 7 x 26 Custom Compact Binocular represents the pinnacle of optical performance for the modern outdoor fanatic.

Fully multi-coated, featuring XTR technology, this advanced hybrid lens system delivers 99.7% light transmission per lens. The outcome is an unmatched edge to edge clarity. Contrast and color true imagery are pushed to the highest levels with the use of premium ED prime glass in these binoculars.

The patented RainGuard HD coating in Bushnell 620726 Elite E2 7x26 Custom Compact Binocular eliminates fogging, boosts brightness and scatters moisture even faster than original RainGuard thus promising clarity even in the foulest conditions. Bushnell is a reputed brand that takes the lead in catering to high-performance sports optics. Buying gear from this house will give you a justified value in terms of both price and efficiency.

Bushnell 620726 Elite E2 7x26 Custom Compact Binocular features twist-up eyecups for a laid-back viewing. With fully multi-coated including ED prime glass and BAK-4 prisms, an unmatched clarity even on a 7-foot close focus distance, and a textured surface is a no-brainer. What makes this binocular ideal for out-of-doors purpose is that the product comes with a comfort neck strap, a custom-molded waterproof case and is tripod-adaptable.

With a dimension of 9.2 x 8.8 x 4 inches; the weight of 12 ounces, magnification 7x; objective lens 26mm, the field of view 363 ft at 1000 yards, eye relief of 16 inches and an exit pupil of 3.7mm, splurging on this binocular is money well spent!

5. ALPEN Wings EDHD Compact Waterproof Binocular

The binoculars that deliver an ergonomic lightweight design with super bright, sharp optical performance is how we define ALPEN Wings EDHD Compact Waterproof Binocular. Being Waterproof Fog Proof Binoculars has made it stand out in the arcade. With an open hinge design assuring comfortable viewing, ED "extra-low dispersion" optics for unrivaled color fidelity and contrast in all light conditions, this pair qualifies to be one of the best compact binoculars.

This binocular is feature-filled; a fully multi-coated, PXA phase correction coating, and a silver metallic prism coating. This combination lets the binocular deliver superior functioning and crisp viewing to satisfy even the most serious binocular critic. What’s more?

Concocted with nitrogen purged interior for all-weather service, rubbered armoring for comfort holding and shock protection, ALPEN Wings EDHD Compact Waterproof Binocular inevitably becomes the apex of toughness and reliability. It is fully waterproof, fog-proof and caters to long eye relief. Being home to sturdy yet soft twist-up eyecups, these binoculars are usable with or without eyeglasses.

Packed in a deluxe travel case with a wide comfortable neck strap and backed by a lifetime manufacturer warranty, this binocular from ALPEN will be the best travel buddy you’ve ever had! Highlighted specs of ALPEN Wings EDHD Compact Waterproof Binocular- ED 8x20; magnification 8x; Objective lens diameter 20mm; field of view 357ft @ 1000 yards; exit pupil 2.5mm; eye relief 16mm; close focus 6.5 feet; Net Weight 8oz; length 5.4 inches.

As much as you are willing and ready to buy your new or next compact binoculars, there are a few things that you need to put into consideration while making the purchase. These include:

What Makes Best Compact Binoculars

  • Glass Quality
    The best compact binoculars are the ones built with a high glass quality. High quality also means bigger glasses which defeats the entire purpose of being a compact binocular. But to strike a balance of both, manufacturers now fabricate compact binoculars using BAK-4 Glass, ED Glass and Schott ED Glass.  Do not opt for BK7 glass. Though binoculars with BK7 might be cheaper, it will never fetch you a stunning clarity that an extravagant glass quality can. The first facet to choosing the best compact binoculars is locking on one that is designed with supreme glass quality.
  • Reliability
    Irrespective of the size, the basic role of a compact binocular is to hang in with your adventures. If your current gear gets easily compromised along the way, then it cannot be entitled as the best compact binoculars. Using binoculars in the woods or for any other outdoor activity exposes it to some bumps and bruises which is a test to the dependability on a compact binocular. Imagine you are on an exploration hunt and your binoculars break down as you brush against a rock. Already sounds gut-wrenching, isn't it? When it is time to make the purchase, remember to pick rough and tough binoculars, even though they might cost a few bucks extra.
  • Compact And Lightweight
    To honor these two features is actually the reason behind the birth of a compact binocular. An ideal compact binocular must be compact enough to fit into a pocket as well as light enough not to be a burden while you sail through myriad trails.

Things To Consider Before Buying A Compact Binocular

  • Compact
    If you are on a quest to purchase compact binocular, ensure that you get your hands on one that is modern, foldable, with an objective lens of less than 32mm, and that can effortlessly fit in the palm of your hands.
  • Performance
    The performance of a binocular is determined by the magnification power (i.e. the degree to which the object being viewed is enlarged). It is usually indicated by numbers like 7 x 50. 7 or the first number being the power or number of times an object can be brought closer compared to a normal eye. Lower the magnification, brighter will be the final image. Ideal magnification in compact binoculars during daylight is 6x-8x, for dusk to dawn is 7x-10x. Likewise, for hunting, the pertinent magnification range is 8x-12x, while for astronomy it is 15x-70x.
  • Type Of Coating
    The type and quality of coating on a binocular will ascertain the brightness and the light gathering of a binocular. A binocular can be partially coated, fully coated, multi-coated, or fully multi-coated. Higher the quality of coating, brighter will be the image.
  • Lens Diameter
    The second number in the example stated above is the front lens diameter in mm. 50mm in this case. The larger the objective lens, more light enters the binocular leading to a clearer, brighter and crisper image. If the magnification is between 6-8x, 20-32mm of the front lens will be normal; for 7-9x magnification, 35-50mm front lens is normal; for magnification of 10-36x, 50-70mm front lens is apt.
  • Eyecups
    This feature allows you to view through the binocular with or without eyeglasses. The three most common eyecups are twist-up, pop-up, and rubber fold down. The most suitable for a compact binocular is the twist-up eyecup.
  • Prism Quality
    Of the main two types of prism quality; the BAK-4 is the most suitable and standard for a compact binocular. BAK-4 prism is made of barium crown glass (Higher Density). The BAK-4 prisms have a higher glass density that eliminates more light scattering and offers sharper images.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Question: If I wear eyeglasses, do I need to buy special binoculars?

Answer: No, you don’t need to buy special binoculars if you wear eyeglasses. Peoples wear glasses for near and farsightedness. If your problem is sightedness, then you don’t need glasses to wear as the binoculars allow to adjust magnification. For best comfort and right angle of viewing choose a binocular that offers eye relief for at least 16mm.

Question: What is the exit pupil?

Answer: Exit Pupil is a bright circle that lies on each eyepiece. It can be seen when you hold the binocular 30cm away from eyes and while pointing the objective lens towards a bright light. The circle becomes larger in bright light and decreases in low light.

Question: How do I take my binoculars apart to clean them?

Answer: Most of the binoculars have gas-filled interiors. So if you intend to clean the interior, it is advisable to take help from the manufacturer.

Question: How do I use the diopter adjustment?

Answer: Using a diopter adjustment is very simple. First of all, close your right eye and look through the left eyepiece. Then rotate the magnification wheel and stop rotating when the image becomes clear. Now, open the right eye and close the left eye. Look into the right eyepiece with left eye closed and rotate the diopter from the opposite direction.

Stop rotating when the image becomes clear.

Question: Do I need to use a tripod or monopod?

Answer: Depending on the activity for which you need a binocular, you should/shouldn’t use a tripod or monopod. Also, if you use a heavyweight or larger binocular then installing it on a tripod makes sense. Additionally, when you are viewing from a fixed place, for a long time, it is better to use a tripod.

But when you on the go, a monopod is a more feasible alternative.

Question: What are good binoculars for hunting?

Answer: A binocular plays an important role while you are hunting. As quality is a factor that you cannot let go, you can play safe and choose any good night-vision model from renowned binoculars manufacturers like Nikon, Bushnell.

Question: How to use compact binoculars?

Answer: To make the most of compact binoculars, you should have a clear idea of all the features. You also should know some tricks like how to hold it, eyepiece adjustment along with focus and diopter correction. That is it!

Question: Isn't Higher Power better in a binocular?

Answer: High power magnification is not always good. Many users are unable to handle high power binoculars. It also creates a less bright picture, has a narrow field of view and produces a low-quality image.

Question: What is 'Eyepieces' of Binoculars?

Answer: The part of a binocular where you set eyes on is the eyepiece. The magnification power and field of view depends on it. The aperture is proportional to the magnification.

Question: What are Compact Binoculars and what can they do?

Answer: The binoculars which have up to 25mm objective lens are compact binoculars. Usually, such binoculars are foldable and easy to transport. They are tinier in size when compared with the conventional binoculars.

As they have a small objective lens, they are not suitable for the high-resolution application.

Conclusion

Although it is usually argued that an ideal binocular ceases to exist, we definitely don’t feel likewise. This is mainly because we believe that individuals don’t select the right pair for the purpose.

For instance, birding binoculars should be used for bird spotting and not hunting.

Similarly, if you are someone who likes small sizes and low weights, compact binoculars will be your right bet.

Remember that compact binoculars are usually reasonably priced. But, if you find a piece from Nikon, Bushnell or a binocular with high-grade glasses, do not give a second thought on the purchase.

Buying a binocular is a one-time investment; make sure it is worthy, durable and competent! No matter what your preference is, assess each binocular thoroughly based on features, size, magnification, weight and any other additional features.

You can take a pick from our above-stated list of best compact binoculars. We assure you that you won’t regret your decision!

Best Compact Binoculars Buying Guide

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