Today’s 9 Best Compact Binoculars in the Market – 2017 Reviews & Guideline
Whether you’re looking for the best binoculars to carry around for a safari or the best compact binoculars for hunting , there are plenty of options available from all over the internet.
With that in mind, this guide has been designed to highlight some of the best compact binoculars (aka best small binoculars) available out there as well as brief reviews of each one of them.
Why Are Compact Binoculars Important?
Unlike traditional binoculars, compact binoculars or small binoculars tend to be considerably lighter and easier to carry with you everywhere you go. This means they’re a great tool for those who don’t want to pack a lot of items when they go out into the woods, or for those who want to sneak them into big events like concerts or stage plays.
As such, the best rated compact binoculars are those that match the kind of person that you are and those that are resistant to different types of environment.
Of course, some of the most important factors to consider in buying compact binoculars are quite difficult to figure out on your own that is why you have to go over reviews that will help you narrow down your options.
Below are my recommendations of the best compact binos that are currently available in the market.
A Quick Comparison Of 9 Best Compact Binoculars In The Market
Model with Size
FOV @ 1000 yards
Vanguard Orros 8x25
Steiner Safari UltraSharp 10x26
Celestron Nature DX 12x56
Bushnell Powerview 8x21
Best Compact Binoculars Reviews
For making an easy and wise decision I have tested 30 different compact binoculars and finally come up with 9 compact binoculars. I have given these 9 best compact binocular reviews under different ciretia. Which I have segmented below. Keep reading!
Best Compact Binoculars Under $100 Dollar Review
Vanguard Orros - Best Compact Waterproof Binoculars
Overview: The Vanguard Orros series compact binocular are made for those who are in dire need for an advanced optical performance which are packed in a way that you can carry in your pocket, lightweight and compact that you can use for hours.
This is one of the best compact waterproof binoculars among currently available in the market, thanks to their sturdy and lightweight design.
This compact has roof prism body design that’s covered with protective armor making sure that it’s as small as possible.
The body of this compact is O-ring sealed that makes this entirely waterproof with nitrogen air for internal air helping to protect the surfaces inside of the lenses so that it doesn’t misty up.
Features: It’s very tricky to find the right compact binocular especially the reasonably priced ones but Vanguard was able to pull off both the price and the great features that make this product really worth buying.
The Vanguard Orros Compact Waterproof Binocular comes with selected details and features that include BaK-4 roof prisms, multi-coated optics, waterproof and fog proof lens, and ergonomic focus wheel.
With an affordable range of products, this bino happens to be one of the best binoculars under 100 dollars. Furthermore, Vanguard Orros takes pride of providing crisp images through multi-coated lenses that doesn’t wear down from exposure to certain elements.
Why Is This a Great Choice ?
- Designed for long periods of watching at a time, Vanguard Orros binocular has large zoom wheels that allow this to quickly adapt to situations on the fly. As one of the best compact waterproof binocular in the market, this is a great choice for those who are interested in spending time around lakes, rivers, or wetlands.
The Bad Stuff:
- While great picks because of its affordable price, this is not quite as precise as the higher end models.
- Another weak point is that for those users who want to wear glasses when using their binoculars, the small eye-relief amount and the eye cups design that cannot be folded down may be a bit of a problem as they would not be able to see the whole image.
- Also, the extras that are very common in more expensive pairs like the neck strap and the carry bag are lacking in the package but to be fair with Vanguard Orros Compact Waterproof Binoculars, this bino is very light and small so the pouch that the company give as extras offer enough protection to the binocular. In this type of bino, using a heavily padded neck strap may be too much for the small device.
Bushnell Powerview 8x21 Compact Folding Roof Prism Binocular
Overview: The Bushnell Compact Roof Prism Binocular is a remarkably cheap option that is perfect for anyone that really does not have extra cash to spare on fancy gadgets.
If you want a small pair of binoculars that you can trust to get the job done without any of the frills, I'd recommend you start here.
Features: The strength of this bino is ironically lies in the lack of features. These are as straight forward of a model as you can get for the price point.
Biggest Benefits !
- Again, the biggest benefit to this product is that it's incredibly affordable and provides many of the most important features of its more expensive competitors at a fraction of the price.
- Specifically, this model still has the optic quality and frame durability that the Bushnell brand is known for. Of course, that doesn't mean much if you're looking for the view customizability and reliability that are found in other models.
- Still, if cost is your biggest determining factor in which product is right for you, then there's no reason to avoid getting this remarkably cheap binoculars.
- While it is a very affordable model of binocular, the lack of features or "unnecessary" additions can be frustrating to veteran hobbyists that have plenty of disposable income to spend on improving the quality of their binoculars. If you want the absolute best of the best, you won't find it with these binoculars.
Best Compact Binoculars for Birding
Swarovski CL Pocket 8x25 Binoculars
Overview: Manufactured by The Swarovski Optics Company, the CL Pocket 8x25 comes forward with a generous eye relief that is matched with a surprisingly wide field of view. What a lot of people like about this product is that this offers the easy viewing experience with the bright and sharp images.
For the most part, this can be found as a constant companion of those who frequently go to birding activities.
Features: Some of the features included in the CL Pocket 8x25 binocular include roof prism design, dual-hinge bridge configuration, center focus wheel, aluminum housing, fully multicoated options, and waterproof housing.
Just like other compact binoculars, CL Pocket 8x25 also comes with hypoallergenic eyecups and the package has a field bag carrying case.
Why We Rate it Best Small Binoculars?
- There are a number of pros that can be pointed out for this bino. For one, this binocular is pretty easy on the hands because of its small body and light weight.
- The CL Pocket 8x25 binocular also comes with high quality coatings and high quality optical components.
- Last but not the least, the body of this binocular is made up of durable materials that give the user an assurance that they can be used for quite a long time.
Any cons? Really!
- The only con that buyers agree on when it comes to the CL Pocket 8x25 binoculars is that they don’t have lens covers which make them a little bit vulnerable.
Pentax 8.5x21 U-Series Papilio II Binoculars
Overview: The Pentax Papilio II Binocular is fairly affordable models that pack as much quality into its tiny frame as possible. Its minimum close focus is just around 0.5 meters which is simply amazing that other options are failing to provide to buyers.
If what you want is to get close to something with a pair of good binoculars, you should learn towards buying this bino as this is some of the best when it comes to close-focus capability that no other pair of binoculars in the market is able to match.
If you’re a bird watcher, you can probably watch a bluebird approaching its nest then swing the Pentax Papilio II down so you would be able to get a closer look at the butterfly that’s just on the bush right next to you.
Features: In terms of features, the Pentax Papilio II Binocular has fully multi-coated options, an eye relief of 15mm, 1.6 ft minimum close focus and a weight of 290 grams.
The delta swing shape of the body of this binocular is typical of any compact pair of binos that uses reverse porro prisms. What this means is that the objective lenses are put closer together resulting in a smaller package compared to what other standard porro prisms are able to achieve.
Pentax Papilio II has crisp frame of vision due to its multi-coated lens, and it can lock in objects for a better viewing experience. It’s for this reason, as well as many others, that the Pentax Papilio II Binocular is considered as some of the best compact binoculars for safari and bird watching.
What Are The Pros ?
- The images produced on this essentially affordable binocular is pretty good and compared to others of the same price range and size, the Pentax Papilio II compacts is excellent. Yes, the quality and brightness may not be that great compared to full-sized 8x42 binoculars but when you focus up close on beautiful flowers or butterflies, Papilio's compact will surely do them justice with incredible colors that allow you to see things that you would not usually notice using other compact binoculars.
Are They Have Any Downside?
- One major downside of the porro prism design of Pentax Papilio II Binoculars is that it’s a little bit more complicated to fully seal their body.
Polaris Optics NaturePro HD 8X42 Professional Binoculars for Bird Watching
Undoubtedly Polaris Optics NaturePro HD 8X42 binocular is one of the budget friendly binocular that I have used so far in my outdoor journey. So far I can tag this binocular as one of the best compact binocular for the money.
This Binocular is made for professional bird watcher and also for the beginner who wants to experience the real true, vibrant color of natures and birds. This unit is already admired by lots of professional bird enthusiasts.
You will get a fully multi-coated lens with phase correction function which enables you to watch the bird more clearly and full of in-depth color with remarkable contrast.
The objective diameter of this bino is 42; magnification is 8x times, the field of view 430 feet, Exit pupil diameter 5.25 and long Eye Relief of 17.2 mm. This binocular is a BAK4 roof prism type, waterproof.
Things I like the most
It's really lightweight and builds like a tank, and the FOV is quite sharp. Easy to use in any situation and highly recommended for the bird lover who doesn't want to invest hefty amount behind binoculars.
Things didn't like
When observing the bird in the bright sky sometime, I get extreme chromatic aberration on the edge of what I focused on.
Best Compact Binoculars for Hunting & Birding
As like Polaris Optics wideviews there are some other best binoculars for hunting. You can Consider the review
Polaris Optics Wideviews
Overview: Despite its large size, the Polaris Optics Wideviews bino is fairly compact pair of binocular that offers the benefit of having a wider view and still being small enough to fit in the pockets. If you’re a frequent hiker or bird watcher on the go and you want a pair of compact binoculars for a number of different situations, this may be the right model for you.
This model is also perfect for those who wear glasses because of the twist eye-cups and wide-angled view that the eyeglass wearers will appreciate. According to some users they get a clear image since it offers automatic adjustment for the eyes.
Features: Aside from being waterproof and having a laser-like precision at far distances, the Polaris Optics Wideviews pride themselves of being incredibly durable bino that offer versatility at their best.
Why Is It Awesome ?
- As previously mentioned this binocular is exceptionally hard-wearing and has far-reaching zoom capabilities making its the best compact binocular for hunting and bird watching at far distances. If you’re looking for some of the best compact hunting binoculars on the market, you probably should start by paying attention to the specifications and features of this binocular.
The Bad Stuff:
- Polaris Optics Wideviews is widely-respected by a lot of enthusiasts and has received recommendations from virtually every bird-watching and hunting fanatic. I can safely say that this product's only downside is its price but if money is not an issue then you can go right ahead and make the purchase.
Well, incase if you are interested to some other binoculars or optics for special purpose and specific price range then you can consider below reviews too
Best Binoculars for Safari (Compact)
Safari UltraSharp Binoculars : Best Safari Binoculars
Overview: The Safari UltraSharp Binocular is among the most respected choices within the optics industry and when you hear the name, it’s almost always synonymous with high quality materials and workmanship plus great value for money.
As a general rule, any compacts buyer would normally think of Safari UltraSharp Binocular as high quality picks that make it very popular in the market.
Features: This binocular is the most compact pair out there today. All you need to do is fold them and it would fit in your jacket pocket perfectly and what's more, to like is that they have high performance optics plus amazing contrast.
While it is small, it’s highly capable of delivering some really colorful and sharp images that other brands almost always fail to match.
Other features of this compact binocular include rugged armoring and waterproof construction that protect them from abuse and bump.
Also, this comes with a padded travel case and a neck strap that make it comfortable to carry around everywhere.
It even offers fast close-focus and high-contrast UV coating on each lens to make sure it provides high performance.
What are The Advantages ?
- The biggest advantage that comes with Safari UltraSharp Binocular is the fact that the user will always be surprised with how well-designed and efficient it is. A lot of people think that this is not worth their while given that it has a low price tag but it couldn't be more wrong with their first impression. The features of this compact binocular are well above other options that are the same price on the shelves and one of those that buyers should look forward to this binocular is the professional feel that one would get when using it. Of course, let’s not forget to mention that its design allows the users to easily recognize any target so there’s no need to focus on a moving object but just enjoy the wildlife.
- Perhaps the biggest setback for this model is the price tag. While this bino is certainly great picks for those who are eager to find the best compact binocular for deer hunting or the best compact binoculars for safari, this bino doesn’t make sensible picks for those who are looking for a more affordable model for less extravagant outings. Another downside is that the user has to make do with poor focusing distance for close objects. Yes, the focusing wheel offers a little bit of help but you can’t expect it to do wonders because the images you’d get will not likely be as crisp as you want them to be.
Celestron Nature DX 12x56 : Best Safari Binoculars
Overview: Celestron Nature DX 12x56 is another top rated bino because of its excellent optical qualities, several support options to cover the user if ever it needs help for any particular reason, and its durable design.
In the tests done on this binocular, Binoculars Guru found that it produces sharp, bright images that allow users to discern a high level of clarity and detail.
This bino is pretty easy to change into focus which means that the users don’t have to end up wasting their time adjusting the binocular and just letting the action pass them by.
Features: This binocular is a great companion for any all-day outdoor adventure in any type of weather condition. With top quality BaK-4 prisms that are phase coated, users get to enjoy increased resolution and contrast.
Celestron's DX 12x56 has 56mm objective lenses that are large enough for anyone to notice that this model has increased light-gathering abilities.
This means that an outdoor adventurer can have fun observing wildlife at any time of the day because when it’s a bit dim, he/she can just use the smaller binoculars and also this model is tripod adaptable making sure to provide stability during longer nature viewing sessions.
- What’s great about this bino is that it provides the users with excellent optical quality that make images seem crisp, bright, and fully detailed.
- Compared to other binoculars, this is a bit heavier which when used for an extended period of time, can result in arm fatigue.
Nikon 8-24X25 Aculon Zoom Binoculars
Overview: The Nikon Aculon Zoom Binocular is a relatively new product that stands out for being particularly compact. While this bino is not known to be the best in optics, you’ll surely be drawn to it at first look because of its unique design with a pair looking like a spacecraft that you would normally see in famous Sci-Fi movies.
Equipped with a variable zoom wheel in the middle that can be changed from 8x to 24x, Nikon Aculon Zoom Binocular is a great pair for sightseeing, bird watching and traveling to places without requiring the rigors on the optic.
Features: The regular pairs of binocular found in the market only has 1 magnification which could be 8x or 12x but this one has up to 24x that can be changed by the user. With other normal pairs, users need to buy a new one if in case they need a lower or higher magnification.
With the very versatile zoom lens, one can easily see objects in the field of vision and in case they are not clear, the users can just zoom in close enough to know what the objects really are although the quality of the image may not be as clear. Anyway, this is way better than trying to focus the lens closer using another pair of compacts and still ending up guessing what the objects are.
- To summarize the good side of this binocular, you can focus on the user’s capability of easily changing the magnification from 8x to 24. Other pros include its unique design, waterproof and fog proof lens, compact size, many choices of colors, 25-year warranty and of course, let’s not forget that it’s sold at an excellent price, mostly lower compared to the other famous choices in the market.
- While the Nikon Aculon Zoom prides itself on being a smaller and more compact pair of binoculars, there are some people who feel like it’s actually too small to be very effective. Many of the other models on this list thrive in more situations than just a few niche markets but it’s difficult to say the same for the Nikon Aculon Zoom. Still, if you are someone who happens to be in one of these niche situations and needs a small pair of the best compact birding binocular or best safari binoculars, it’s perfectly alright to opt for the Nikon Aculon Zoom.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Compact Binocular!
Compact binoculars are basically needed for hunter, sportsman, birder and other users. But how would you choose a binoculars could be a daunting task. That's why this how to choose binoculars guide will help you most.
• Is The Manufacturer a Name That You Can Trust?
When you're looking at various manufacturers and brands, one of the most important things to consider is whether or not the manufacturer is someone you can trust. Sure, anyone can claim that their features make them the best compact binoculars, but that doesn't mean much if it isn't backed up by a strong consumer consensus.
• Understand You Get What You Pay For
As with most other products available on the Internet, you get what you pay for. If you want to find the pair of absolute best compact binoculars available, then you're going to have to invest a substantial amount of money into them. While I have a few pairs for different events, I also know that my most expensive pair is going to give me exactly what I need every time. If I'm looking for something that can weather a storm and I'm not too concerned about dropping on a boat, then I know to instead look for something like the best compact binoculars under 100 dollars.
• Are Compact Binoculars Right for the Job?
Even the best compact binoculars aren't necessary for every occasion. Sometimes, depending on your viewing angle or external circumstances, compact binoculars won't be nearly as effective as the larger, full-frame models. In these cases, you'll want to properly assess your situation ahead of time and make a smart purchase based on your needs.
The advantages of buying compact binoculars are pretty obvious. You can just keep them permanently in your bag wherever you go and take them out right away when the opportunity arises. If you’re looking to buy a new pair of compact binoculars in place of an outdated one or as a replacement of your full frame binoculars, play close attention to the seven great options reviewed above. Whatever you choose, you’ll surely be able to pick a good piece of equipment for your specific needs given that a lot of people have already had their share of fun experiences with the above-mentioned easy to carry, compact and lightweight binoculars. We wish you best of luck and happy glassing.