When in the outdoors the best compact binoculars for hiking, canoeing or hunting might always be useful to have. Pocket binoculars might come handy when watching birds or animals or just scouting the terrain. The best small binoculars should fit into your pocket or backpack without adding much weight or bulk. All binocular manufacturers have different models of compact binoculars on offer, so depending on your outdoor activities and preferences you can find the best small binoculars that suit you best.
What are the best small binoculars?
Compact binoculars are distinguished by the fact that compared to regular binoculars they are small and light. At the same time, not all features that regular binoculars do provide, are lost. It is sort of a balance between reducing the size and still getting the best performance out of the compact binoculars. Of course, even the best small binoculars can not offer the same features. This must be clear before the purchase. The compact dimensions demand the lenses to be smaller and the tubes to be shorter. Reducing those dimensions will result in a reduced field of view, less magnification, and less twilight performance.
Bestseller Compact Binoculars
Bushnell Powerview 8×21 Compact Folding Roof Prism Binocular
One of the bestselling binoculars amongst the pocket compact binoculars. The Bushnell Powerview Compact Binoculars are affordable, lightweight, general purpose binoculars suitable for bright daylight conditions. Made of lightweight and durable materials, with a weight of only 7 ounces these binoculars are compact enough to be carried anywhere you go. They are a convenient model to have around when there is need to observe distant objects. For the price they come at, they are a great value binocular for the occasional user.
- Multi-coated lens optics providing a brighter view
- Features rubber exterior providing grip while preventing slippage shock absorption if dropped
- Fold-down eyecups
- Roof – Prism, BK-7 Glass
- Not water/fog proof
- Neck strap and a carrying case are included
Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Compact Folding Roof Prism Binoculars
The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD is another best selling binoculars from Bushnell. With its multi-coated Bushnell ED lenses, the Legend HD 10×25 features high-quality optics providing an outstanding level of viewing experience. The outside magnesium alloy housing is coated with Bushnell’s RainGuard HD coating. The interior is Nitrogen filled and O-ring sealed. This waterproof design holds up tight even when the whole binoculars are submerged in water. The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD is one of the best compact binoculars for hiking or all-around purpose in its price class.
- High-quality multi-coated optics for crisp, bright images
- ED Prime glass
- BaK-4 roof prisms
- 10x magnification, 25-millimeter lens
- Lightweight, magnesium chassis and soft touch grips
- RainGuard HD water-repellent lens coating
- Nitrogen filled, 100% waterproof/fog proof
- Twist-up eye cups
- Neck strap, carry case and microfiber lens cleaning cloth included
Merytes 10×25 Portable High Definition and Blue Film Binoculars
The Merytes 10×25 Portable High Definition and Blue Film Binoculars. Compact entry level binoculars for the occasional use in concerts, sports or outdoors. Suitable for children too. Made of lightweight durable aluminum alloy, these binoculars are compact enough to be taken anywhere you go.
- Optic glass lens with FMC blue film providing clear and sharp images
- Slip-proof center wheel for easy focusing and quick focusing
- Low weight of just under 7 ounces
- Carrying case and neck strap included
- These binoculars are not weatherproof.
- No exteriors coating such as rubber protect when dropped
Wingspan Optics Spectator 8X32 Compact Bird Watching Binoculars
Wingspan Optics specializes in binoculars for the bird watching enthusiast. Their binoculars have a reputation for quality and performance. The Wingspan Optics Spectator 8X32 Compact Bird Watching Binoculars is a low weight compact binocular that does not compromise and provides colorful glare-free high-resolution images anywhere in the outdoors. A nitrogen filled and sealed interior provides a fog and waterproof housing. They are a great value buy, indestructible and some of the best small binoculars you can get for outdoor activities.
- Compact outdoor binoculars
- Magnification 8x, lens diameter 32mm
- Multi-coated lenses
- BaK-4 Glass, Roof Prism
- Field of view 362ft/1000 yds
- Center focus wheels
- Twist-up eye cups
- Eye Relief: 14.8mm
- Nitrogen filling, 100% Fog and Waterproof
- Tripod adaptable
- Neck strap and carry case included
- Eyepiece and lens caps included
TERRA ED Pocket 10×25, the best small binoculars
The TERRA ED Pocket 8×25 compact binoculars are German ZEISS quality at a great value price. The Zeiss Terra are high-quality binoculars which convince the observer with brilliant color and contrast in any light conditions. Waterproof, robust and reliable the ZEISS Terra are the perfect companion for hunting adventures, bird watching excursions or any other outdoor activities.
- Best Schott Extra Low-Dispersion Glass
- Schmidt-Pechan Roof Prism Design
- Hydrophobic Multi-Coated Optics
- Wide 61° Viewing Angle
- 5.25 ft Close Focus Distance
- Large, easy-to-grip focusing wheel
- Low weight of only 24 ounces
- Glass fiber reinforced housing
- Non-slip rubber coating
- Nitrogen filled 100% waterproof
- carrying bag for keeping binoculars
Compact Binoculars Features
There are no perfect compact binoculars. You will have to compromise on performance, features and budget when trying to find the best small binoculars.
- Magnification – how much larger an object appears
- Lens Diameter – larger lenses allow greater magnification and better light sensitivity
- Eye Relief Size – distance between your eyes and the eyepiece, choose a higher eye relief if you wear glasses
- Water-resistant or waterproof – prevent inner optics from getting moist and fogged-over
- Multi-coated lenses – improve image qualities and contrast and clarity
- Weight – at less than 10 ounces most compact binoculars are pretty lightweight
Advantages of the best small binoculars
- Due to their small folded up size and low weight, they are excellent second binoculars for backup.
- When hiking, wear them around the neck so they are always ready to use
- Fit easily in any bag or in the glove compartment
- Compact binoculars generally allow a significantly smaller distance between the lenses than normal binoculars – a great advantage for small faces
- They are suitable as children’s binoculars as their compact size fits small faces well and the low weight makes them easier to handle for kids
- You can use them in concerts, opera or in the theater
- Compact binoculars can also be used at very short distances
- When you reverse them they can be used for magnification
- Fishermen may have them stored in the anglers vest and have them quick at hand to distinguish fish
- When hunting compact binoculars can be carried around the neck to be used when one must react quickly
- In the case of the long observation of animals, your hand will not tire so quick, holding with a single hand is usually sufficient
- Small compact binoculars are usually more cost-effective than regular binoculars
Disadvantages of compact binoculars
- Compact binoculars generally do not reach the image quality of normal binoculars. This is because individual parts are significantly smaller. The housing also has less space for the mechanism.
- The smaller lens diameter (usually between 20mm and 25mm compared to 35mm and more in normal binoculars) will limit the field of view.
- The twilight performance will be less, because of smaller lenses. This is may not be a problem in daylight, but may limit use at dusk or at night.
- The exit pupils are also reduced so that little light reaches the eye. At night or in poor light conditions, the pupils are dilated, so that the image in binoculars is suboptimal.
- Small binoculars are more difficult to keep quiet, so images can be more easily blurred.
Particularly small focus mechanisms cannot be used so well with large fingers.
- Usually, there are no additional functions, such as image stabilizers, which are common in binoculars.
- Another problem with small binoculars is the limited magnification. Thus, a small model can never enlarge as much as the large models create on average.