The 7 Best Compact Binoculars Available on the Market Today

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Compact binoculars are incredibly popular in today’s birding community.

After all, these small binoculars are some of the handiest and most widespread of all optical instruments.

Anybody who spends much time outdoors should own a pair of small binoculars, especially if you are interested in identifying more and more birds.

Product Name
Best High-Powered
Vortex Optics Diamondback HD Binoculars
Best Budget
POLDR 12X25 Small Pocket Binoculars
Best Overall
Hontry Binoculars for Adults and Kids
Image
Vortex Optics Diamondback HD Binoculars 10x42
POLDR 12X25 Small Pocket Binoculars Compact Adults,Mini Kids Binoculars Boys for Bird Watching,Concert Theater Opera
Hontry Binoculars for Adults and Kids, 10x25 Compact Binoculars for Bird Watching, Theater and Concerts, Hunting and Sport Games
Customer Rating
Material
Aluminum
Magnesium
Rubber
Magnification Maximum
Magnification Maximum: 10x
Magnification Maximum: 12X
Magnification Maximum: 10x
Objective Lens Diameter
Objective Lens Diameter: 42 Millimeters
Objective Lens Diameter: 25 Millimeters
Objective Lens Diameter: 25 Millimeters
Color
Green
Black
Black
Weight
Weight: ‎‎2.4 Pounds
Weight: ‎7 ounces
Weight: 9.6 ounces
Size
‎9.2 x 7.8 x 5.1 inches
Package Dimensions: 4.29 x 3.19 x 2.09 inches
4.33 x 1.97 x 3.94 inches
Best High-Powered
Product Name
Vortex Optics Diamondback HD Binoculars
Image
Vortex Optics Diamondback HD Binoculars 10x42
Customer Rating
Material
Aluminum
Magnification Maximum
Magnification Maximum: 10x
Objective Lens Diameter
Objective Lens Diameter: 42 Millimeters
Color
Green
Weight
Weight: ‎‎2.4 Pounds
Size
‎9.2 x 7.8 x 5.1 inches
Best Budget
Product Name
POLDR 12X25 Small Pocket Binoculars
Image
POLDR 12X25 Small Pocket Binoculars Compact Adults,Mini Kids Binoculars Boys for Bird Watching,Concert Theater Opera
Customer Rating
Material
Magnesium
Magnification Maximum
Magnification Maximum: 12X
Objective Lens Diameter
Objective Lens Diameter: 25 Millimeters
Color
Black
Weight
Weight: ‎7 ounces
Size
Package Dimensions: 4.29 x 3.19 x 2.09 inches
Best Overall
Product Name
Hontry Binoculars for Adults and Kids
Image
Hontry Binoculars for Adults and Kids, 10x25 Compact Binoculars for Bird Watching, Theater and Concerts, Hunting and Sport Games
Customer Rating
Material
Rubber
Magnification Maximum
Magnification Maximum: 10x
Objective Lens Diameter
Objective Lens Diameter: 25 Millimeters
Color
Black
Weight
Weight: 9.6 ounces
Size
4.33 x 1.97 x 3.94 inches

Last update on 2023-02-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Some people are hesitant to carry big, heavy binoculars around. That makes sense because it can be annoying to have to lug around a clunky pair of binoculars and their case.

Plus, some binoculars are so big that you really have to have a tripod to use them effectively! That adds something extra that you have to lug around.

A small pair of binoculars is a great alternative. They are portable, handy, lightweight, and easy to carry. They are ergonomically designed and are the best choice in terms of value for money.

Any pair of binoculars that can fit in your pocket is likely to be described as compact. They may fold up or they may be stationary, but the point is that they are small and lightweight. Portability is everything!

They are mostly used by travelers, sportsmen, hunters, bird watchers, and nature lovers. If you belong to a bird-watching club, don’t be surprised to learn that many of the members may use these small “binos.”

Learning the Basics: All About Binoculars

The first thing to know about binoculars is that they are comprised of two small telescopes mechanically linked together.

Each telescope has an objective lens, an eyepiece, and an exit pupil. You look through the eyepiece, and the objective lens magnifies the image in front of you. The larger the objective lens, the brighter the image will be, because a bigger objective lens lets in more light.

Compact binoculars have a very small objective lens. This limits how much light they let in, so they are best used in bright daylight. However, the benefit of this small objective lens is that the binoculars are smaller and lighter in weight.

Some compact binoculars can even be folded into an even smaller size.

What Do the Numbers Mean on a Pair of Binoculars?

A pair of binoculars comes labeled with two numbers that look like this: Number x Number.

The first number indicates the amount of magnification, and the second number indicates the size of the objective lens.

If you see a pair of binoculars that says 12×50, you know that it magnifies 12x, and you know that the objective lens is 50mm in diameter.

The higher the first number, the more magnification you get. The larger the second number, the brighter the image will be.

Why Do Compact Binoculars Need to Be Ergonomically Designed?

Compact binoculars come in various models and are suitable for various purposes. In addition to birding, people use compact binoculars to get a better view of concerts, sporting events, and other entertainment purposes.

They need to be ergonomically designed so that they are comfortable while you’re carrying them around – and while you’re using them.

For ease of carrying, you can keep compact binoculars in a small bag or even a pocket.

Some of the features of compact binoculars include:

  • Nitrogen-filled to keep all of their inner workings completely dry
  • Carry-straps
  • Anti-reflective lens coatings (reduces glare)
  • Ultraviolet protective lenses (protecting your eyes)
  • Built-in di-optic correction (adjusts to the eyesight of different users)
  • Roof prism construction
  • Typical magnification of about 8-10x your non-magnified view

The 7 Best Compact Binoculars You Can Order Today

If you’re shopping for compact binoculars, we’re here to help! We’ve poured over the specs and reviews for several pairs of popular compact binoculars available on Amazon in order to give you our thoughts and advice regarding which one may be best for you.

In each review, we’re going to give you the basic specs for the binoculars, as well as a brief overview of the pros and cons of each model.

What you choose is up to you, but we hope our input helps you make a great choice that you’re happy with!

Note: As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

POLDR 12X25 Small Pocket Binoculars

Sale
POLDR 12X25 Small Pocket Binoculars Compact Adults,Mini Kids Binoculars Boys for Bird Watching,Concert Theater Opera
  • Lightweight Small Binoculars: You can throw them into your backpack each day without hesitation. The mini pocket binoculars are...
  • Compact Binoculars Clear vision: 12x25 optics binoculars with a 12X magnification and objective lens diameter of 25 mm, What's...
  • Easy on Focus: Just adjust by Smooth "center-focus knob" and right eye lens. The folding binoculars suitable for both adults and...

Last update on 2023-02-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The POLDR binoculars have a 25mm objective lens and 12x magnification. To use these foldable binoculars, you simply unfold them and look through the eyepieces.

Spread the barrels apart (or push them back together) until you see only one, circular image. Then, use the center focus knob to focus.

Pros:

  • They’re small and lightweight, just as compact binoculars should be.
  • 12x magnification is pretty standard for a compact pair of binoculars, and the 25mm objective lens gives you decent brightness.
  • They also come with a few accessories: a neck strap, cleaning fiber, and a carrying bag.

Cons:

  • The viewfinder is quite small, and it’s not very comfortable. The eyecups are hard and inflexible.
  • It’s pretty tricky to get these appropriately focused. It definitely takes some practice!

Binoculars 15×25 for Adults and Kids

Sale
Binoculars 15x25 for Adults and Kids,Waterproof Binoculars with Low Light Night Vision, Durable & Clear Binoculars for Outdoor Sports,Concerts and Bird Watching
  • Binoculars,15 magnification with 25mm objective lens provides high definition without a color-changed or blurred image. The 15...
  • Compact binoculars,fully multi-coated optics provide for a brighter view and sharp images. All glass surfaces have multiple...
  • Small binoculars,IP67 Waterproof, Fog-proof and Anti-slip Grip,Prevents moisture, dust, and debris from getting inside the...

Last update on 2023-02-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

With 15x magnification and a 25mm objective lens, you can see up to 1100 yards away with these compact binoculars. The field of view is 374 feet across. They are lined with rubber for durability and comfort.

Pros:

  • The ocular lens (eyepiece) is 16mm in diameter, which means they are a bit bigger than other compact binoculars. This provides more comfortable view finding.
  • They come with a neck strap, instruction book, cleaning cloth, and carrying case.
  • The rubber casing (which they call “armor”) is really helpful for getting a good grip on the binoculars. They shouldn’t slip out of your hands when you’re using them!

Cons:

  • The item is described as having “night vision” capabilities, but it seems they are actually just describing the 25mm objective lens. These are not going to provide real night vision, though they do operate in low light.
  • They frequently need to be re-adjusted during use.

Bushnell H2O Waterproof/Fogproof Compact Roof Prism Binocular

Sale
Bushnell 138005 H2O Waterproof/Fogproof Compact Roof Prism Binocular, 8 x 25-mm, Black
  • Magnification x Objective: 8 x 25 millimeter
  • BaK 4 prisms for bright, clear, crisp viewing
  • Multi coated optics for excellent light transmission

Last update on 2023-02-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Bushnell has a reputation for making high-quality binoculars. This pair is designed for use in wet conditions.

The O-ring is sealed, so it’s not a big deal if they are briefly submerged in water. They have been nitrogen purged and are sufficiently anti-fog. The magnification is 8x, and the objective lens is 25mm in diameter.

Pros:

  • The waterproofing on this pair of binoculars is better than pretty much any other binoculars on this list.
  • Bushnell’s reputation for sturdy, durable gear works in your favor here.
  • Like the previous pair, these have rubber armor lining to help you get a good grip.

Cons:

  • There isn’t as much magnification on these as there is on several other pairs. I wish the magnification were stronger.
  • The 12mm ocular lenses are pretty small and would be more comfortable with a few extra millimeters.

Bushnell Powerview Compact Folding Roof Prism Binocular

Sale
Bushnell Powerview 10x32 Compact Folding Binocular , Black
  • Fully coated Optics
  • Rubber-armored body
  • Center focus

Last update on 2023-02-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Here’s another pair of Bushnell binoculars. If you’re not going to be birding in the rain or on the water, you may not need the specialized waterproofing of the previous pair.

Instead, these compact folding binoculars with roof prism may be perfect. They have the same magnification (8x) and 21mm objective lens.

Pros:

  • These are so compact and lightweight without sacrificing quality – they only weigh 7 ounces!
  • The field of view is 378 feet at 1000 yards away. That’s quite sufficient for most birding, especially hobby birding.
  • They have waterproofing and fog-proofing features.

Cons:

  • The objective lens is only 21mm, which means they are less likely to work well in low light.
  • Some users have complained that these binoculars are difficult to focus.

Hontry Binoculars for Adults and Kids

Sale
Hontry Binoculars for Adults and Kids, 10x25 Compact Binoculars for Bird Watching, Theater and Concerts, Hunting and Sport Games
  • 10 magnification with 25mm objective lens provides high definition without a color-changed or blurred image. The 10 magnification...
  • Fully multi-coated optics provide for a brighter view and sharp images. All glass surfaces have multiple coatings, resulting in...
  • Lightweight, small, compact binoculars. The foldable design and only 0.6lb lightweight make them can be folded into palm-size, so...

Last update on 2023-02-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

These binoculars have 10x magnification and a 25mm objective lens. The field of view is 362 feet at 1000 yards, and they are only .6lb. Like several other pairs on this list, they have rubber armor, including comfortable rubber eyecups.

Pros:

  • They come with a 3-year limited warranty.
  • This is another pair of binoculars that comes equipped with the basics: strap, case, instructions set, and cleaning cloth.
  • They fold up for easy portability.

Cons:

  • These are porro prism lenses, which are an older technology that is less durable.
  • Porro prisms are also bulkier, which explains why these are a bit chunkier than other slim-lined versions.

Bushnell H2O Xtreme 10×42 Compact Waterproof Binoculars with Fully Multi-Coated Lens

Sale
Bushnell H2O Xtreme 10x42 Compact Waterproof Binoculars with Fully Multi Coated Lens for Hunting and Boating 181042C
  • [BUSHNELL BINOCULARS] is a leading Optics manufacturer based in the USA that has been serving the outdoor and wildlife enthusiast...
  • [HIGH QUALITY OPTICS SYSTEM] These high quality 10x42 compact binoculars are built for performance with BaK-4 prisms.
  • [UPGRADED] from the standard best selling H2O series with FULLY MULTI-COATED glass surfaces to maximize clarity and light...

Last update on 2023-02-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

One more pair of Bushnell binoculars for you! These are the largest binoculars on our list, even though they technically count as compact.

They weigh about 1.5 pounds, in part because of the significantly larger objective lens than most of our other pairs. A standard pair of binoculars has a 50mm lens; most compact pairs have a 25mm lens. These have a 42mm lens.

Pros:

  • You’ll have the waterproofing and anti-fog features that Bushnell is known for in this pair.
  • The design of the eyecups is comfortable and quickly adjustable. They’re great for people who wear glasses.

Cons:

  • The extra weight on this pair may be incompatible with some of the activities that require you to carry as little weight as possible. For example, these aren’t the ideal pair for hiking.
  • The price is a bit more expensive than many other compact pairs.

Vortex Optics Diamondback HD Binoculars

Sale
Vortex Optics Diamondback HD Binoculars 10x42
  • 10x magnification & 42mm objective lenses, these Diamondback HD binos are optimized with select glass elements to deliver...
  • Fully multi-coated lenses increase light transmission with anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces. Dielectric...
  • Adjustable eyecups twist up and down for comfortable viewing with or without eyeglasses. Center focus wheel adjusts the focus of...

Last update on 2023-02-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This last pair on the list is not officially marketed as a compact pair of binoculars, but they’re quite small and are frequently described as compact.

The Vortex brand is known for making some of the most durable and high-tech optical lenses in the world, and this pair doesn’t disappoint.

There are multiple magnifications available, but we’re linking to the 10×28. (You can also get 10×32, 10×42, 10×50, 12×50, 15×56, 8×28, 8×32, and 8×42.)

Pros:

  • These have all the bells and whistles: multi-coated lenses, adjustable diopter, non-slip rubber armor, Armortek coating for scratch protection, anti-reflective coatings, comfortable eyecups, and fog-proof construction.
  • Most small binoculars are not compatible with a tripod, but these are!
  • These are heavier than some pairs, but still a lighter weight than the Bushnell H2O Extreme. They clock in just under a pound.

Cons:

  • At the time of writing this, these are far more expensive than any other binoculars on this list. You’re definitely paying for the Vortex name and quality.
  • There really aren’t any other drawbacks to these binoculars!

Is Just One Pair of Binoculars Enough?

Some birders enjoy having a few pairs of binoculars, rather than just one pair.

A compact pair may be great for hiking, canoeing, and having on hand when you’re out and about, but there are likely going to be times when you need more magnification or precision.

You may even want to go with a spotting scope instead of binoculars if you want extreme magnification or the opportunity to take digital photographs of the wildlife you encounter.

It’s fine to own more than one pair of binoculars! One pair doesn’t have to be perfect for every situation.

How to Decide on a Pair of Compact Binoculars

When it comes to making a decision, we hope this list helps. There are other compact binoculars on the market, but these are some of the most popular and the easiest ones to find.

All of the pairs on this list will help you see faraway birds, but you’ll need to decide which features are most important to you before you make your choice.

Your decision will be dependent on the size and weight of the binoculars, the crispness of the image, the distance of magnification, your current budget, and the durability of the binoculars.

Good luck picking the best pair that meets your needs!

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Liz Ranfeld

Liz Boltz Ranfeld is an independent educator and writer from Indiana. She lives on the edge of the woods with her husband, 2 kids, dogs, chickens, and hedgehog. One of the best things of living in rural Indiana is spotting hawks, pileated woodpeckers, hummingbirds, and other wild creatures. She enjoys hiking, canoeing, and gardening, and one of her personal heroes is the conservationist and birdwatcher Rosalie Barrow Edge, who paved the way for the protection of birds around the globe.