Best Compact Binoculars – Need Small, Portable Binoculars for Birding, Hunting, or Other Hobbies? Read This Review

No matter what the occasion — taking a simple hike, backpacking and camping trips, going hunting or birdwatching, or sitting in the audience at your favorite sports game — a pair of compact binoculars is bound to make the trip more memorable. Why? Because you’ll be able to see things like never before. We’ve put together a list of 5 of the best compact binocular brands that are definitely worth considering, comparing them on criteria such as ease of use, their performance, image quality and durability.

Each brand was chosen because they have a reputation for excellence, as well as a variety of binoculars to choose from. So, if the one we featured isn't for you, check out the information and links within each review for more choices. Please note, this review is just for compact-sized binoculars, but we also have reviews for regular binoculars and night-vision binoculars so check them out for more options. Further down, you will also see our top 4 picks for kid’s binoculars too!

We’ve opted for almost entirely moderate and budget-friendly options, but there are also high-end compact binoculars for professionals.
  • Pentax is one brand with a lot of great options, one of which are the Pentax ZD 8x43 ED Binoculars. They’ve got a specialized protective coating, magnesium alloy construction and one of the highest-quality lenses and prisms around.
  • Swarovski Optik is another high-end brand with some great professional options. Their CL Companion 8x30 Binoculars are everything you need for a rugged, durable and highly functional pair of binoculars.
When you get to our featured products, you might be wondering...

Where are the Nikon compact binoculars, Bushnell compact binoculars, Wingspan Optics compact binoculars (who specializes in binoculars for bird watchers), and Vortex compact binoculars? After all, these are some of the best-known binocular brands. Well, believe it or not, that’s exactly why we didn’t include them. We wanted to expose you to some other quality binoculars from companies you may not have ever heard of. But don’t fear, we picked out some of our favorites from those top binocular brands and showcased them below.


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Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Type
Range
Lens
Magnification
Accessories
Our Top Choice
Gosky 10x42 HD Roof Prism Compact Binocular
Gosky is a US-based brand specializing in optic products. Their range includes monoculars, binoculars, microscope accessories, spotting scopes and telescope accessories.
Ideal for outdoor activities and viewing football etc. 10x power magnification. FMC green film lens and clear prism. Shock-absorbing rubber case.
Some customers had issues with focusing the lenses.
Adult, HD
307 feet
42mm FMC lens
10x power magnification
Carry bag, phone adapter, strap
Best Value
Ultra HD Folding Roof Prism Compact Binoculars
COSBITY manufactures high-quality binoculars, monoculars and also marshmallow roasting sticks! Their optics products are built with functionality and durability in mind.
Folding design. Great for outdoor activities and sports. 32mm object lens. BAK-4 prism. Shock-absorbing rubber. Water-resistant and fog-proof.
Some issues when connecting it to a phone with the adapter.
Adult, HD, folding
430 feet
32mm FMC lens
10x magnification
Carry bag, strap
Celestron Nature DX Waterproof Compact Binoculars
Celestron has decades experience in the optics industry, ever since Tom Johnson launched the C8. They’ve got products in the astronomy, sport optics and microscope categories.
Range of specifications to choose from. BAK-4 prism for clear images. FMC lens. 17.5mm eye relief. Focus as close as 6.5ft. Compact, lightweight.
Some suggest there’s not enough inter-occular distance adjustment.
Adult, waterproof
388 feet
32, 42 or 56 mm FMC lens
8x, 10x or 12x
Carry bag
AUCEE 10x42 HD Roof Prism Compact Binoculars
AUCEE is a Shenzhen City Yi Hong Technology Co. Ltd. Company, founded in 2009. They manufacture functional trail cams, binoculars and telescopes.
BAK-4 phase coated prisms. 42mm objective lens diameter. FMC lens. Waterproof and fogproof. Fiberglass reinforced polycarbonate body. Rubber coating. Adjustable eyecups.
Isolated complaint that it gets fogged up due to body temperature.
Adult, HD, waterproof
367 feet
42mm FMC lens
10x magnification
Carry bag, strap, cleaning cloth
SkyGenius 8x21 Small Roof Prism Binoculars
SkyGenius was founded in 2013 as a US-based e-business. They’ve expanded to have a global presence and now sell home products, electronics and car accessories worldwide.
Small and compact. Fits in a pocket. 8x magnification. Multiple lens sizes to choose from. BK-7 prism. 16mm eye relief. Suitable for kids.
Some had trouble adjusting the eyepieces effectively.
Adult or kids, mini
369 feet
21, 25 or 42mm FMC lens
8x magnification
Strap, cleaning cloth

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What Are the Best Compact Binoculars for Birding, Hunting, Hiking, Sporting Events, and Travel? Read Our Compact Binoculars Review!

We covered what you need to look for in a pair of compact binoculars in our buying guide below, so let’s see how our recommendations stack up. The ones we have chosen have different price points, to meet different budgets, but they all have one thing in common - their size and weight make them a great choice for birdwatchers, hunters, avid campers, hikers and people on the go.

And we didn’t forget those of you shopping for small binoculars for kids. In addition to ones we mention with our featured reviews, we wanted to highlight some more of our favorites.


Related: 7 Other Less Known Uses Of Binoculars You Need to Know About
Our Top Choice
The Gosky 10x42 Compact HD Binoculars feature an impressive 10x magnification and a 307-feet field of vision. Need a pair of folding compact binoculars? Check out the Gosky Roof Prism System 8 X 32 Waterproof Binocular. Designed especially for outdoor activities, they feature a FMC Green Film Objective Lens

Gosky BAK4 Prism FMC Lens 10x42 Compact Binocular - HD Professional Binoculars for Bird Watching, Travel, Stargazing, Hunting, Concerts & Sports


Features

Gosky is a growing optics brand in the USA. They manufacture quality binoculars, monoculars, microscope accessories, telescope accessories, spotting scope accessories and spotting scopes. No matter which product it is, they’re committed to providing a high level of customer service whilst providing you with functional, high-quality and affordable products.

The Gosky 10x42 Compact HD Binoculars have an impressive 307-feet (1000 yards) field of view, perfect for outdoor activities like wildlife watching, driving, climbing, hiking and looking at the beautiful scenery around you. It’s also ideal for watching football games, concerts or stage plays where the focus of attention is too far for the naked eye.

Here’s some more awesome features:

  • 10x power magnification
  • 42mm multi-layer coatings
  • Green film objective lens
  • 18mm blue film eyepiece
  • Constructed with durable, shock-absorbing rubber
  • Comes as a bundle with carry bag, strap and cleaning cloth
  • Gosky 2017 smartphone adapter for iPhone, Samsung, LG, HTV, Sony etc.
  • Compact and lightweight, measures 5.51 x 6.3 x 2.17-inches and weighs 23.88-ounces
Best Value
The COSBITY 10x32 Folding HD Binoculars have a 10x magnification and impressive 430-feet field of view. Need something even more affordable, that’s the perfect size for both kids and adults? Hontry Waterproof 10x25 Compact Binoculars provide a viewing field of 362ft at 1000 yds, in high definition without a color-changed or blurred image. And they cost less than 50 bucks!

Ultra HD Compact Folding Roof Prism Binoculars - Lightweight Waterproof Binoculars, BaK-4 prisms


Features

COSBITY is a manufacturer of binoculars, monoculars and, randomly, marshmallow roasting sticks! Then again, if you’re out camping or birdwatching, some roasted smores wouldn’t be the worst thing, right? Their optic products come very highly rated and having all their attention focused on making just a few products functional and durable isn’t a bad thing.

The COSBITY 10x32 Folding HD Binoculars are powerful with an impressive 430-feet field of view. They’re great for sightseeing, hunting, bird watching, watching sports, stargazing and other outdoor activities.

Some more features to enjoy:

  • 10x powerful magnification
  • 32mm object lens diameter for clear images
  • Large BAK-4 prism for minimal distortion
  • Fully multi-coated lens elements
  • Shock-absorbing rubber casing for protection
  • Easy to use and set up
  • Fog-proof and water-resistant
  • Comes with a carrying case, cleaning cloth and user manual

These aren’t the only binoculars offered by COSBITY. You can also opt for the new release 12x42 HD binoculars or their monoculars too.

The Celestron Nature DX Binoculars are available in a range of magnifications and lens types. They’re all lightweight, compact and feature a BAK-4 prism. You may also like the Outland X Waterproof and Fogproof Compact Binoculars. Available in black or green, they boast Celestron’s great performance, but at a lower price point.

Celestron Nature DX Compact, Lightweight Binoculars – Waterproof and Fogproof, Twist-up Eyecups, Available in Multiple Sizes


Features

Ever since Tom Johnson launched the game-changing C8, Celestron has been an optics industry leader. With decades of experience, they are continually striving for better, for innovation and for revolutionary technologies. They have three main categories of products; astronomy, sport optics and microscopes.

The Celestron Nature DX Binoculars have been designed for those outdoorsy types. They’ve not only got a durable, shockproof rubber casing, but they’re also waterproof which is great for those who like hunting, wildlife watching or sport watching, no matter the weather.

Here’s some more features you might find interesting:

  • BAK-4 prism for better clarity and increased contrast
  • Fully multi-coated lens for brighter images
  • Focus on objects as close as 6.5-feet away
  • Twist-up eyecups with multiple stops
  • 17.5mm eye relief
  • 8x magnification
  • 388-feet field of vision
  • Compact and lightweight, 5.3 x 4.9 x 2-inches and 22.2-ounces

Now these are just the features of the 8x42 Nature DX binoculars, but you can also purchase these in a range of specifications from 8x25 all the way up to 12x56.

The AUCEE 10x42 HD Compact Binoculars feature impressive BAK-4 phase coated prisms and ED glass to minimize chromatic aberrations. Need a pair of compact binoculars for kids? Available in 6 vibrant colors, ThinkPeak Kids Compact Binoculars feature anti-friction, shock-proof rubber coating technology. Unlike other cheap kid’s binoculars, they offer excellent images and are easy to use.

AUCEE 10x42 Professional HD Waterproof Compact Binoculars for Adults - Roof BAK4 Prism Lens Binoculars, Center Focus, Wide Field of View, Adjustable Eyecups


Features

AUCEE is a brand under the Shenzhen City Yi Hong Technology Co. Ltd. Company, founded in 2009. They’re a growing electronic commerce company with ambitions to develop, grow stronger and provide more revolutionary products. AUCEE’s current product range includes trail cameras, binoculars and telescopes.

The AUCEE 10x42 HD Compact Binoculars feature a decent 367-feet viewing range, long enough to spot a bird in flight high above, a deer playing in amongst the trees or an artist singing in a huge stadium. With a powerful 10x magnification, you won’t miss a thing.

Let’s see what other features you can expect:

  • BAK-4 phase coated prisms
  • 42mm objective lens diameter
  • Fully multi-coated lens
  • ED glass to minimize chromatic aberrations
  • Adjustable eyecups that twist up or down
  • Right eye diopter allows you to adjust for differences in each eye
  • Waterproof up to 1m for 10 minutes and fog-proof so perfect for outdoor use
  • Fibreglass-reinforced polycarbonate body with rubber exterior
  • Non-slip grip and flip-down lens caps

If you like the look of these binoculars, you’ll also get a carrying bag, strap and cleaning cloth too.

The SkyGenius 8x Small Compact Binoculars are compact, just 4.14 x 3.62 x 2.35” and they weigh just 22.2-ounces, so they’re perfect for popping in your pocket on the way to the theater or opera. Need a bit more magnification but still have a low budget? The SkyGenius 10x25 Compact Binoculars might be exactly what you are looking for. At under $25 you get a pair of manual focus binoculars with BK4 Roof Prism FMC Lens.

Skygenius 8x21 Folding Compact Binoculars – Lightweight Small Binoculars, Roof Prism Fully Multi-Coated Lens, Center-Focus Knob


Features

SkyGenius, founded in 2013, is a US-based e-business company. They’ve expanded globally and are now in many countries including Britain, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan and Russia. Their range of high-quality products includes home supplies, outdoor and sports products, digital electronics and car accessories.

The SkyGenius 8x Small Compact Binoculars are manufactured specifically to be super portable, so they measure just 4.14 x 3.62 x 2.35-inches and weigh just 6.35-ounces. They’ll fit right in your pocket for any trip to the theater, opera, concert, birdwatching, walking or climbing.

There’s more to these binoculars:

  • 8x magnification
  • BK-7 prism
  • Multi FCM green optical coated
  • View field of 369-feet
  • 16mm eye relief
  • Suitable for kids too
  • Includes a strap and cleaning cloth

These compact binoculars are available in 8x21, 8x25 or 8x42 specifications, depending on your need.

Best Compact Binocular Buying Guide – What to Look for in Compact Binoculars and Pocket Binoculars for Bird Watching, Hunting, and More!

With binoculars, appreciating that bird from afar without missing any details won’t be a problem anymore. You’ll also be able to see the people and wildlife below when you’re on the peak of a mountain or hill. Hunters can make great use of binoculars to help them determine the best shot to take. If you want, you can even use it to mess around with things right in front of you. Either way, a quality pair of binoculars will make the difference.

The question you will have to ask yourself though is whether you need a pair of full sized binoculars, or whether you would be better off with a compact pair that is easy to carry – and whether you need binoculars that can be used after dark.

  • Full Size Binoculars: These binoculars are larger than their compact counterparts but they also more powerful. Full size binoculars are often used by scientists studying wild life and as well as various people who work at sea. They are better at capturing low light and are also great for serious bird watchers.
  • Night Vision Binoculars: As the name suggests, these binoculars are best suited for night time activity. They allow you to see clearly in the night time and are quite useful if you’ll be doing most of your watching after the sun has set.

But back to the type at hand: compact binoculars.

Smaller sized binoculars are suited for any outdoor activity like hiking, hunting or back packing, as well as traveling since they are easy to pack and carry – some are even small enough to fit in your pocket. The beauty of compact binoculars is that they’re COMPACT. They are really light compared to full size binoculars. This makes them great for hiking or camping where you have to make smart use of space and weight.

But even just looking within the category of compact binoculars, with so many different options out there, can make it hard to decide which pair of binoculars to get. Although all the binoculars on our list are for adults, there are a lot of brands out there who make binoculars specifically for kids so they can enjoy your favorite past time too. Obuby, ThinkPeak, and LET'S GO! all manufacture great kids binoculars with specific designs to suit them.

Let’s take a look at the factors you need to consider in determining which is the best pair of compact binoculars for your needs.

Video: Everything You Need To Know About Binoculars

All You Need to Know About Binoculars. | Courtesy of goHUNT
Price

People often say you get what you pay for. And this is no exception when it comes to compact binoculars. The price range is very wide – with cheap binoculars available for as low as $10 and high end ones costing thousands of dollars. What you pay will depend upon your personal needs but one thing we know from our research is that if you are serious about actually being able to SEE with you binoculars, you will want to invest in a good quality pair. The ones that we have chosen to feature range from $200 to little over $1000 for the very best.

Features

The feature that’s most notable about compact binoculars is their size and quality. With the advancements in technology, compact binoculars continue to get better and lighter. This is why you need to choose the one that not only fits your budget but that’s also easy to carry without compromising quality.

Construction and Design

A pair of compact binoculars are made more so for traveling and being on the move than anything else. Therefore, when it comes to the actual construction, there are a few key things to consider when buying a pair of compact binoculars as opposed to buying any other type.

  • The weight is a main point, just how large and how heavy are the binoculars. Can you manage and handle them well and with ease?
  • You also want to consider the accessories which come with it or are available as additional options. Binoculars often come with neck straps and the quality of the neck strap is important. These are on the higher end and will more likely be more comfortable than a poorly made one.
  • Image quality is a big factor to consider also. What is size of the lens? What’s the clarity and image quality like? You also need to consider magnification and field of view as well.
  • Another thing to look at is a durability and functionality. When you’re outdoors, you’re bound to come into contact with Mother Nature and her never-ending surprises. Therefore when you’re buying a pair of binoculars; you need to consider its resistance to and ability to function in rain or when you’re in a fog. You don’t want anything to mess up the view, do you?

Video: How to Get Crystal Clear Focus with Your Binoculars

How to Focus Your Binoculars. | Courtesy of Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Performance and Ease of Use

When thinking about the performance and the ease of use of your binoculars, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:

  • Are they easy to carry and handle?
  • Do they truly enhance the view or simply make things bigger but not much clearer?
  • Do they work well even in less than ideal conditions?
  • Are they more of a nuisance than an asset on a trip?

These things are important to note because when you’re outdoors, you need to ensure your equipment is working with you. Not against you. That way you enjoy your trip and make cherished memories rather than be annoyed because your binoculars won’t work the way you want them to.


Get the Best Compact Binocular of 2020!

If you enjoy backpacking, hiking or going camping then compact binoculars are exactly what you need. Not only are they light and easy to carry but they’ll give you vision you wouldn’t believe and will make your trip all the more memorable. With any of the ones on our short list, you will definitely get your money’s worth

Our Top Choice
Gosky 10x42 HD Roof Prism Compact Binocular
Best Value
Ultra HD Folding Roof Prism Compact Binoculars
Celestron Nature DX Waterproof Compact Binoculars
AUCEE 10x42 HD Roof Prism Compact Binoculars
SkyGenius 8x21 Small Roof Prism Binoculars

Compact Binocular FAQs

What are the most powerful compact binoculars?
The most powerful compact binoculars have 8x magnification, 42mm objective lens, BAK-4 prism, 17.5mm eye relief, and a wide field of view. If you look on the market, you will likely find compact binoculars that meet most, if not all, of the features above. You only need to check the specifications for each item before purchasing it.
What are the best compact binoculars to buy?
The best compact binoculars to buy are those that you can easily carry on a camping or backpacking trip without worrying about getting weighed down with the weight. It should have a broader objective lens and a wide field of view, enabling you to see detailed images while out there in the field. Check out our review to find a nice selection for your needs.
How to fix the focus knob on compact binoculars?
To fix the focus knob on compact binoculars, you need grease, cotton buds, and a magnifying glass. Open up the focus knob by removing the large-sized screw at the top. Use the earbud to wipe inside the knob, removing dust and other forms of dirt. Use the earbud to apply grease to the focus knob and fasten back the screw once you have applied enough grease.