Top Compact Binoculars Reviewed – Buying guide & Comparison for 2019
Finding the best compact binoculars might prove to be a bit harder than you’ve imagined, especially since this topic comes with many technical details and you might not have the time to research the subject yourself. For this reason, we’ve decided to give you a hand and bring you the answers you need. After carefully going through numerous expert reviews, we’ve concluded that the pair of compact binoculars you should take into consideration as a first option is Nikon’s ProStaff 3S. With a lightweight construction, this model is easy to handle and carry around, while the high-quality multi-coated optics ensure the clear and bright images you need when you are outdoors. Plus, given the waterproof and fog proof capabilities, these binoculars can be safely used in various weather conditions. If unfortunately, this model is not within your reach, the most suitable alternative with similar performances is Bushnell’s Powerview Folding.
There are many different reasons for which compact binoculars might be a better alternative than a standard pair. The most obvious reason for which to choose this type is the lightweight construction that allows you to carry it around for extended periods.
Plus, compact models also offer a faster reaction time on the user’s part when the situation requires it, given that they are very easy to handle. For those long walks during which you have to carry weight anyways, going for a smaller model is always the preferred alternative.
However, there are also some aspects that you should keep in mind in order to make sure that the pair of compact binoculars you finally choose is the right one for your needs, and in the following lines, we’ll take a closer look at what the main ones are.
Some might think that compact binoculars should be priced significantly lower than regular models, which in turn forces some manufacturers to use less than qualitative materials in their construction. Of course, this means that the quality of the images rendered is not as high since these cannot produce the same type of stunning image effect full frame units have to offer.
As you are browsing through the alternatives, do make sure that the pair you set your eyes on can sustain extensive use for your outdoor experiences, without having its quality compromised in the process. Many times, this means taking a look at the binoculars offered by brands well-known for the quality of their products.
Since any type of outdoor activity also entails a certain risk in terms of bumps and bruises, the device you decide to purchase should be able to successfully face these. And here we are thinking about a sturdy exterior construction with rubber armoring so that you can handle the binoculars with confidence and safety, while you are paying attention to your subject’s whereabouts.
Relying on the device’s durability in multiple conditions is reassuring, especially since elements such as the weather can sometimes change without prior notice. You might also want to take a look at what waterproof and fog proof models have to offer, in order to be prepared for anything that might come your way.
Compact binoculars can come in two different prism types, these being either compact Porro or roof prisms. For each of these alternatives, there are both pros and cons that you need to keep in mind.
The roof prism means that the eyepieces and front lenses are in a straight line, which in turn means that the binoculars can have a very slim profile, which is a good thing for compact models. However, what you should also check is that the device you think about purchasing features phase corrected roof prisms, as this ensures better performance.
Any pair of binoculars that doesn’t have the front lenses and the eyepieces in a straight line is known as a Porro prism model. Compact models normally use a reverse Porro prism, which means that the eyepieces sit out wider compared to the front lenses. This type of binoculars is usually chunkier but can be optically more efficient and cheaper to build.
The eye relief is actually the distance between your eyes and the binocular eyepieces that still allows the user to see a full field of view. It’s also one of the aspects that users who wear glasses should particularly take into account, as these don’t allow the user to get his or her eyes as close to the eyepieces.
Generally, you need a minimum of 14mm or 15mm of eye relief to be able to see enough of the field of view if you are wearing glasses, although this varies according to each user’s condition.
Our 2019 list: Find the right compact binoculars for your needs
Going through various compact binocular reviews is not always such an easy task, especially if you are new to what these devices entail and you feel a bit lost among all of the alternatives available for sale. In the selection below, you’ll find the most sought-after models in this category out of which you can safely pick the right one for you.
Nikon ProStaff 3S
If you are in the market for some good Nikon compact binoculars, then we might have found just what you need.
This ultra lightweight model is ideal for various outdoor activities. With a slim body and a comfortable grip, these can be easily handled which makes them ideal for other family members as well.
The 10x magnification and 42mm objective lenses, as well as the high-quality optics that include multilayer-coated lenses ensure sharp and bright images.
The high-reflectivity prism coating also contributes to the device’s great performance, while the field of view is a generous one which enables the user to easily spot any subject.
Moreover, given that this model is waterproof and fog proof as well, it works very well for all types of weather conditions, so you don’t need to worry about anything if rain catches you while you are outside or on the field.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($126.95)
Bushnell Powerview Folding
This Bushnell powerview compact folding roof prism binocular is one of those models that offer superior performances while remaining in the affordable price category.
The PowerView series offers a variety of magnifications, sizes, and styles, but more importantly, fully-coated optics for clear and bright images, and this model is no exception.
Combining an elegant and contemporary style and design with the traditional quality and durability the brand is well-known for, this pair of binoculars is both easy to use and carry around given the lightweight design.
Moreover, the item is delivered with a convenient carrying case and a neck strap for comfort on the go.
In terms of durability, the black rubber armoring does a great job protecting the device, so you don’t need to constantly handle it with care. The thing to keep in mind is that this model is not waterproof nor fog proof.
Buy from Amazon.com
Another example pertaining to the very good compact binoculars category, Nikon’s Trailblazer features a rubber armored body which ensures its durability and resistance to potential shocks, as well as BaK4 high index prisms for extra-high image resolution that makes the user’s experience an excellent one.
Moreover, made with lead and arsenic-free eco-glass, this model is also safe since no potentially toxic elements are used in its construction and therefore you cannot be exposed to them.
Plus, thanks to the fully-coated optics that maximize light transmission, you’ll be able to enjoy brighter views and enhanced color contrast and fidelity.
Given that the Trailblazer is also fully waterproof and fog proof, you are able to safely use it in any kind of weather, while the smooth central focus knob allows you to quickly alternate between ranges of focus when the situation requires it.
This is certainly a useful addition for hunters who need to react right away.
Buy from Amazon.com
Bushnell H2O Waterproof
This pair of Bushnell compact binoculars is an excellent example of the manufacturer’s commitment to providing high quality, reliable, and affordable products on the market.
Given that it’s made of materials that have been extensively used and tested, you can rest assured that this model will prove to be a trustworthy partner for your outdoor adventures.
Besides its beautiful design, the device also features BaK-4 prisms and quality multi-coated optics that ensure an enhanced light transmission, as well as clear images.
Moreover, the 8x magnification allows you to observe details, while the 42mm objective diameter ensures the gathering of optimal light levels.
In terms of durability, there’s little to worry about, given the non-slip rubber armor and Soft Texture Grip technology that the device’s body includes.
Plus, the waterproof and fog proof capabilities ensure that it can face various weather conditions, while the twist-up eyecups and large center-focus knob offer comfort during use.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($73.66)
Wingspan Optics Spectator
The Spectator model offered by Wingspan Optics is part of the rather cheap compact binoculars that offer very good performances, which makes them an alternative you might want to take a closer look at. Ideal for multiple outdoor activities ranging from bird watching to hunting, this device is lightweight and easy to carry around.
The wide field of view this model offers allows you to browse your surroundings and spot the subject right away, while the 8x magnification means that you can zoom in and notice it in great detail.
According to the manufacturer, you can see these details up to 1000 yards out.
Since this model is easy to use, it can also be a good solution if you want to enjoy beautiful moments with your kids or other family members, since they will be able to learn how to handle it on the go.
Plus, the non-slip exterior ensures a powerful and safe grip.
Buy from Amazon.com