10 Best Compact Binoculars [2019 Complete Guide]
If you are a hiker, birdwatcher, traveler, hunter, and outdoor enthusiast, then you understand the value of carrying compact binoculars during your adventures.
They eliminate the agony of struggling to locate and spot the amazing things you encounter outdoors because they are too far away.
When shopping for compact binoculars, features such as magnification and field of view can seem too confusing and make it harder for you to choose the best fit for your outdoor activities.
Dive into our comprehensive top 10 compact binoculars review to get you started on choosing the best gadget for all your outdoor adventures.
- 10 Best Compact Binoculars – Reviews
- 1. Celestron 71330 – Best Compact Binoculars for Intermediate Users
- 2. Nikon 7548 – Best Compact Binoculars for Professionals
- 3. Bushnell Powerview – Best Budget Compact Binoculars
- 4. Wingspan Optics PS-83201 – Good Compact Binoculars for Birdwatching
- 5. Nikon Trailblazer 8217 – Best Compact Binoculars for Astronomy
- 6. Bushnell BN138005 – Easy-to-Use Compact Binoculars
- 7. G4Free 4331882450 – Great Compact Binoculars for Concerts
- 8. Occer 888635 – Good Compact Binoculars Low-Light Sightseeing
- 9. Leica Ultravid 40252 – Premium Compact Binoculars
- 10. Zeiss B018JRGUR2-P – Pocket Compact Binoculars
- How to Buy the Best Compact Binocular
10 Best Compact Binoculars – Reviews
1. Celestron 71330 (Best Compact Binoculars for Intermediate Users)
2. Nikon 7548 (Best Compact Binoculars for Professionals)
3. Bushnell Powerview (Best Budget Compact Binoculars)
4. Wingspan Optics PS-83201 (Good Compact Binoculars for Birdwatching)
5. Nikon Trailblazer 8217 (Best Compact Binoculars for Astronomy)
6. Bushnell BN138005 (Easy to Use Compact Binoculars)
7. G4Free 4331882450 (Great Compact Binoculars for Concerts)
8. Occer 888635 (Good Compact Binoculars Low-Light Sightseeing)
9. Leica Ultravid 40252 (Premium Compact Binoculars)
10. Zeiss B018JRGUR2-P (Pocket Compact Binoculars)
1. Celestron 71330
(Best Compact Binoculars for Intermediate Users)
2. Nikon 7548
(Best Compact Binoculars for Professionals)
3. Bushnell Powerview
(Best Budget Compact Binoculars)
4. Wingspan Optics PS-83201
(Good Compact Binoculars for Birdwatching)
5. Nikon Trailblazer 8217
(Best Compact Binoculars for Astronomy)
6. Bushnell BN138005
(Easy to Use Compact Binoculars)
7. G4Free 4331882450
(Great Compact Binoculars for Concerts)
8. Occer 888635
(Good Compact Binoculars Low-Light Sightseeing)
9. Leica Ultravid 40252
(Premium Compact Binoculars)
10. Zeiss B018JRGUR2-P
(Pocket Compact Binoculars)
1. Celestron 71330 – Best Compact Binoculars for Intermediate Users
- Magnification: 8x32mm
- Field of view: 388 feet at 1000 yards
- Weight: 1.25 pounds
Celestron 71330 are top-rated compact binoculars recommended for intermediate users because they are feature-packed and affordable.
The binoculars boast of a superior magnification of 8x with a 32-millimeter objective lens diameter. This magnification brings all the action closer to you with excellent clarity.
They have a wide field of view of 388 feet at 1000 yards, which rivals even more expensive models. They also feature the multi-coated BaK4 prism glass for bright and sharp images.
Speaking of cost, these binoculars is reasonably-priced so that bird enthusiasts and outdoor lovers can enjoy their benefits.
The binoculars have a rugged waterproof design, which can withstand harsh weather conditions that threaten to interrupt your outdoor adventures.
We noted that the Celestron 71330’s weight of 1.25 pounds is on the higher range compared to other rival models, many of which weigh less than 1 pound.
2. Nikon 7548 – Best Compact Binoculars for Professionals
- Magnification: 8x42mm
- Field of view: 330 feet at 1000 yards
- Weight: 1.3 pounds
If you’re a professional hunter, birder, plane spotter, or outdoor adventurer, Nikon 7548 are the best binoculars for you because of their heavy-duty build quality and excellent features.
The binoculars are fog-proof, waterproof, and suitable for all types of terrain. You also get a superior magnification of 8x42mm and a significantly wide field of view of 330 feet at 1000 yards for easy subject spotting.
All the lenses have dielectric high-reflective multi-layer prism coatings, which enhance the accuracy of color reproduction while producing high-quality images.
They come with extra-low dispersion (ED) glass elements, which work to enhance the color and brightness of all the things you’re viewing.
The Nikon 7548 binoculars do, however, come at a very steep price that may lock out many potential buyers on a budget.
The binoculars may also feel heavy around the neck especially during day-long use given they weigh 1.3 pounds.
3. Bushnell Powerview – Best Budget Compact Binoculars
- Magnification: 8x21mm
- Field of view: 378 feet at 1000 yards
- Weight: 0.44 pounds
Bushnell Powerview are the best binoculars for people on a budget. They are especially ideal for beginners just getting started with outdoor activities such as hunting and their related gear.
The binoculars may have a low price, but they are rich in features such as the very wide angle of view of 378 feet at 1000 yards. This feature combines well with an 8x21mm magnification for easy subject spotting.
You also get fully-coated lenses with this model for brighter and vivid images.
In addition to the low cost, these binoculars weigh only 0.44 pounds. You can move around all day when they are around your neck, or hands, without even noticing them.
On the downside, the While Bushnell are neither waterproof nor fog-proof. They also use the BK-7 prism glass, which is considered inferior to the BaK4 one.
4. Wingspan Optics PS-83201 – Good Compact Binoculars for Birdwatching
- Magnification: 8x32mm
- Field of view: 362 feet at 1000 yards
- Weight: 0.95 pounds
Wingspan Optics PS-83201 are good compact binoculars for bird watching because they have superior magnification, a wide angle of view, and are lightweight.
These binoculars have a greater magnification than many other models in the market. Their 8x32mm magnification allows the binoculars to capture more light for bright, crisp, and clear images.
They also have an excellent angle of view of 362 feet at 100 yards for wide coverage and easy spotting of birds. At only 0.95 pounds, they are lightweight and easy to carry around.
The type of prism glass used in these binoculars is BaK4, which is superior to other types and allows your binoculars to capture vivid images, and to reproduce colors more accurately.
You also get some handy accessories including a neck strap, eyepiece and lens protection covers, nylon mesh carrying case, and a non-abrasive microfiber lens cleaning cloth.
A possible downside with the Wingspan Optics PS-83201 is that it takes a bit of effort to get a handle on the focus, but once it is locked, the binoculars do an excellent job.
5. Nikon Trailblazer 8217 – Best Compact Binoculars for Astronomy
- Magnification: 8x25mm
- Field of view: 429 feet at 1000 yards
- Weight: 0.97 pounds
Nikon Trailblazer 8217 are the best compact binoculars for astronomy because of their superior angle of view.
The binoculars have an angle of view of 429 feet at 100 yards, which is the widest of all the models on our list. It makes them ideal for activities such as stargazing because you can view a very wide area through it.
They also create extra-high-resolution images using its premium high-index BaK4 roof prisms. Their optics are also fully multi-coated for maximum light transmission, brighter view, and improved contrast.
You can use these binoculars in a variety of harsh conditions because they are waterproof, fog-proof, and has a rubber-armored body for their protection.
At 0.97 pounds, they are considerably lightweight and won’t cause any strain of fatigue on your neck as you pursue your outdoor adventures.
We did note, however, that the Nikon Trailblazer 8217’s eye relief is not the most convenient, especially for glass wearers.
6. Bushnell BN138005 – Easy-to-Use Compact Binoculars
- Magnification: 8x25mm
- Field of view: 374 feet at 1000 yards
- Weight: 0.75 pounds
Bushnell BN138005 are easy-to-use compact binoculars, which have simple and straightforward features that all levels of users, including kids, can operate.
The binoculars feature a large center-focus knob for easy adjustments, twist-up eyecups, and a longer eye relief for comfort and ease of use.
You also get BaK4 prisms and multi-coated optics offer crisp clear images with these binoculars. Don’t be afraid to use them in harsh conditions because they are 100% waterproof. The gear is O-ring sealed and nitrogen-purged and fog resistance.
They are also lightweight at 0.75 pounds and can be used for the entire day around the neck or in your hands without causing fatigue or strain.
We noted that Bushnell BN138005’s brightness is noticeably lower than that of premium-lens binoculars such as the Nikon Trailblazer.
7. G4Free 4331882450 – Great Compact Binoculars for Concerts
- Magnification: 12x25mm
- Field of view: 273 feet at 1000 yards
- Weight: 0.75 pounds
If you’re looking for lightweight, compact and high-resolution binoculars to carry to the concerts you attend, then G4Free 4331882450 is the ideal pick for you.
With a magnification of 12x25mm, these binoculars achieve superior magnification for distant objects. Its angle of view is not so wide to prevent image distortion. They are enough to cover the full width of a concert stage so that you can capture all the action.
They feature a premium BaK4 glass prism, which reflects 100% of the light to maintain great image quality.
These binoculars’ body is made of magnesium and has a hand-figured polishing for elegance and durability. Therefore, when not attending concerts, you can also use them for hunting, sailing, birdwatching, hiking, and many more activities.
The G4Free 4331882450 are not fog-resistant so you should take caution to avoid using them in such conditions.
8. Occer 888635 – Good Compact Binoculars Low-Light Sightseeing
- Magnification: 12x25mm
- Field of view: 273 feet at 1000 yards
- Weight: 0.86 pounds
Occer 888635 are good compact binoculars for low-light sightseeing because they have a low-light night vision feature.
To further enhance their ability to view clear images at night, the binoculars has BaK4 prism with its objective lens having an FMC multilayer broadband green film, which improves real color reproduction.
You also get superior 12x magnification with a 25mm objective lens. Their field of view of 273 feet at 1000 yards is not so wide and thus prevents image distortion while enhancing quality.
They are life waterproof, which means they can resist small water droplets, but are not suitable for use in heavy rain.
Occer 888635 are great for use in low-light conditions, but are not frog-proof, and their waterproofing is limited.
9. Leica Ultravid 40252 – Premium Compact Binoculars
- Magnification: 8x20mm
- Field of view: 341 feet at 1000 yards
- Weight: 0.53 pounds
For outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, travelers, sailors, hunters, and birdwatchers who desire high-end compact binoculars made of premium features, Leica Ultravid 40252 are the right pick for you.
Their roof prism boasts of a P40 phase-correcting coating and the proprietary HighLux-System HLS, making these binoculars’ optics some of the most premium and superior in the market.
You get a wide and comfortable angle of view of 341 feet at 100 yards for easy spotting of distant objects.
These binoculars promise a higher level of mechanical and optical performance compared to their peers. Their outer lenses have HDC multi-coating and AquaDura for sharp, clear and high-resolution images.
At 0.53 pounds, these binoculars are some of the lightest in the market and will not strain your neck or hand even with day-long use.
The high-quality features of Leica Ultravid 40252 compact binoculars do come at a steep price, which may lock out many potential buyers on a budget.
10. Zeiss B018JRGUR2-P – Pocket Compact Binoculars
- Magnification: 10x25mm
- Field of view: 318 feet at 1000 yards
- Weight: 0.68 pounds
The Zeiss B018JRGUR2-P are a great choice for those looking for compact binoculars to carry in the pocket.
At 0.68 pounds, these binoculars are small, lightweight and comfortable to carry around even in your pocket.
The binoculars have a great magnification of 10x25mm, for spotting distant objects during sightseeing, hunting, hiking, birdwatching, and many other outdoor activities. They also come with ZEISS Terra ED lenses, which have Hydrophobic ZEISS MC for image precision.
These binoculars are also waterproof and weatherproof. They can operate in a temperature range of -4°F to 145°F. You can use them for almost all seasons.
It’s worth noting that the Zeiss B018JRGUR2-P compact binoculars are very expensive and may not appeal to buyers on a budget.
How to Buy the Best Compact Binocular
The magnification of all binoculars is represented using a pair of numbers, such as 8x22mm. The first number, including the ‘x’, stands for magnification power. This number represents the degree of object magnification.
For example, an 8x binoculars makes an object appear about 8 times larger than then its size when viewed with the naked eye. Most binoculars will have magnification in the range of 7x to 12x, which is ideal for all your outdoor activities.
The second number, which is one of the most important binoculars specifications, represents the objective lens’ diameter in millimeters. In our earlier number, the objective lens would have a diameter of 22mm.
Binoculars with larger objective lenses gather light more easily than those with smaller lenses. With more light coming into the binoculars, you get brighter and high-contrast images, with good color reproduction.
2. Field of view
The standard adopted by many manufacturers to represent a binoculars field of view if width in feet per 1000 yards.
For example, your binoculars may have a 300 ft/1000 yds, which means, they can view an area with a width of 300 feet along the length of 1000 yards. The area can be land or sky.
Binoculars with wide fields of view are ideal for activities such as astronomy because you can view more sky compared to those with narrower fields.
It’s worth noting that very wide fields of view are not always the best because, beyond a certain point, images may show signs of distortion.
When it comes to binoculars’ lenses, we consider the type of glass used to make them. You may have come across terms such as BK-7, BaK4, and ED glass, which are the most common with binoculars.
BK-7 is a low-end glass that makes prisms common in budget binoculars. It tends to suffer from chromatic aberration, which can cause images to be blurry even when in focus. You can avoid this glass if you want binoculars for professional use.
BaK4 glass is more superior to BK-7. It is used to make high-quality binocular optics because of its low refractive index and resistance to a variety of environmental and chemical conditions.
You will find high-end and pricey binoculars having extra-low dispersion (ED) glass for clear and bright images. This type of binoculars is ideal for professionals.
The weight of your binoculars is an important consideration because the gadget is likely going to be hanging around your neck throughout your outdoor adventure.
You want binoculars that are light enough that you barely notice its weight. Luckily, many of the models we reviewed weigh less than 1 pound. Some weigh as little as 0.4 pounds.
Such binoculars will be easy to carry around both in the hand and around your neck.
But don’t be quick to disregard some of the heavy ones because it's possible their extra weight is from high-quality glass and waterproofing materials, which make the binoculars ideal for extreme weather and terrain.
Binoculars with waterproofing should be a top priority because it is common for many outdoor activities such as hunting, hiking, and birding to be characterized by wet conditions.
You could be navigating wet conditions, be near a waterfall, or encounter rain during your outdoor adventures, and can’t risk water getting into your precision binoculars.
Fog is also another weather condition that can interfere with the functioning of your binoculars. Fog-proof binoculars are great especially if you begin your activities early in the morning when it is foggy.
6. Comfortable to Wear
Binoculars should be comfortable when worn around the neck so that they don’t strain it or make your entire outdoors experience an uncomfortable one.
A cushioned neck strap will make your binoculars more comfortable, especially if it is one of the heavy ones, or if you’ll be working with it the entire day.
Comfort also extends to the hands, which will be holding the binoculars while in use. Grip features on your binoculars make it easy to hold.
To some extent, comfort will also be influenced by the binoculars’ weight. If the binoculars are heavy, they may be uncomfortable and may require switching between carrying them around your neck, and on your hand.
Having extensively covered the top binoculars in the market and their features, you’re all set to proceed with your purchase.
Remember to check for factors such as weatherproofing and fog-proofing, which are important if you will be working with your binoculars in wet weather conditions.
The quality of glass used to make the prism lenses is equally important. For professional and superior quality images, get binoculars with BaK4 or ED glass.
Also, magnification and field of view are priority factors you should confirm while shopping for binoculars.
Our detailed top 10 compact binoculars reviews and buying guide are a handy companion to help you pick the gadget that best supports your outdoor activities.