Best Compact Binoculars: Small but Powerful Gadgets

See further away with these small and easy-to-carry compact binoculars

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PUBLISHED ON October 13, 2019

Whether you’re watching birds, hiking through the mountains, or going to a concert or game, using a pair of compact binoculars will enhance the experience. They allow you to see further and more clearly if you’re way back in the cheap seats or want to see an animal up close without spooking it. Compact binoculars are small, lightweight, and can be stored in small spaces for convenience. Here are the best compact binoculars to consider if you need to expand your vision.

  • Best Overall
    Wingspan Optics FieldView 8x32 Compact Binoculars
    These binoculars come with powerful 32mm, 8x32 wide-view lenses to see up to 1,000 yards away. Plus, they are ultra-lightweight and store easily in a pocket or small bag.
    The outer casing is tough, rainproof, and extra grippy for a firm and steady grasp. They weigh just under 1 pound. They are fog proof for enhanced vision and the optics are easy to adjust. The eyecups are soft and large enough to use with glasses. The lens covers are attached to the lenses for added convenience.
    They don’t come with many instructions. They are a bit heavier when compared to other compact binoculars. The attached lens covers can get in the way.
  • Best Value
    Bushnell H2O Waterproof Compact Binoculars
    A sturdy pair of compact binoculars with a range of 8x25 and multi-coated optics to better transmit light. They are also waterproof.
    They are sleek-looking and come with non-slip rubber armor for better grip strength and shock absorption. The 8x magnification is strong and clear. They are under one pound and fit snugly and securely in a bag or pouch for easy travel.
    The diopter knobs can be difficult to adjust. The eyecups are small. They may take some getting used to, and they might be a hassle to use with glasses.
  • Honorable Mention
    Nikon Prostaff 75 10x30 Inches Compact Binoculars
    These 10x30 compact binoculars feature a fully multilayer-coated lens for improved clarity and strength.
    They include comfortable turn-and-slide rubber eyecups that are usable with glasses. They have a grippy rubberized body for a better grasp and a tough casing to protect it from drops.
    The image may not be the sharpest, but this also depends on your eyes. The lenses can fog up, and the lens covers can be a hassle to keep on the lenses.

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  • If you wear glasses, use binoculars with larger eyecups to fit over the lenses. You can still see through smaller lenses, but it may not be as comfortable.
  • Leave the lens covers on the lenses when not in use to prevent any damage while walking with the binoculars. The covers also act as a barrier to prevent dust and other debris from getting behind the glass.
  • To find the exit ratio, or how bright the image is in the lenses, divide the second number by the first. For instance, 32 divided by eight is four, so binoculars with an 8x32 magnification would have an exit ratio of 4.0.


Q: Can I use a tripod with compact binoculars?

A: This will vary by manufacturer. First check if the specific brand of compact binoculars you are looking at is compatible with a tripod. Many may not have the proper adapter built in.

Q: How can I tell how far the lenses can see?

A: The numbers—such as 8x32—dictate the magnification and the overall distance the binoculars are able to see. The first number is the power and magnification of the lens. The second number is the diameter of each lens. These numbers are used to calculate the binocular’s exit ratio to determine how bright the image will be.

Q: How do I take care of binocular lenses?

A: Use a microfiber cloth to wipe away any smudges. If the binoculars do not come with a cloth, you can use a soft towel or piece of clothing that won’t scratch the surface.

Final Thoughts

For one of the most powerful and durable compact binoculars, consider the Wingspan Optics FieldView 8x32 Compact Binoculars

Save some cash and check out the Bushnell H2O Waterproof Compact Binoculars for their strong magnification and clear view.