Compact monoculars – Buying guide & Comparison
Whether you’re an accomplished hunter or an avid hiker, getting the best compact monocular can enrich your outdoor experiences and ensure you don’t miss a rare bird’s flight or an amazing scene. Not only can such a device bring nature a bit closer to you, but it’s also easy to use, and usually sold for an affordable price. However, juggling dozens of reviews to find the best buy can be tough, especially if you don’t know a lot about these optical instruments. We’ve studied and compared lots of models so we can recommend the ones which provide the highest value and best features. We recommend the Vortex Solo 10×36 800900 – a small monocular that offers increased resistance against extreme weather, high-quality optics with 10x magnification, and ease of use. In case this model runs out of stock, the Vortex Optics Solo is a smart choice as well.
If you’re looking for the best pocket monocular but simply don’t have the time or knowledge to find it, then we’re here to help. We can explain the main features of these compact optical instruments and guide you through some of the most appreciated versions so that you get to purchase the right one for your needs.
Choose a small size for extra convenience
While there are many larger models that come with great optical quality, choosing a monocular that’s small and compact can give you many more opportunities than you might think. You don’t have to pack a large viewing device every time and then spend 5 minutes setting it up since a good compact monocular can be within your reach anytime.
These usually measure only a few inches and weigh a few ounces so you can carry them in your pocket or attach them to an outside pocket of your vest, ensuring that you can have them ready in a couple of seconds. If you value spontaneity and the opportunity to catch rare moments in a jiffy, then a small and light monocular is what you need.
With a compact device, you can expect to get a magnification of 7 to 10x, which is usually more than enough for most types of outdoor adventures. These make ideal choices for sports, trekking, boating and even hunting. You can usually get a field of view of 200 to 300 feet at 1000 yards with any of the most popular models.
In case you value quality, you can opt for one of the monoculars which have multiple-coated glass elements. These anti-reflective coatings improve light transmission which means that you get brighter views with higher resolution and better contrast.
With quality coatings, you also get reduced flare so you get to admire the view regardless of your orientation relative to the sun. The prism types are also important, with BaK-4 and BK-7 being the among the most reliable.
Rugged models for extreme environments
Especially if you plan on traveling outdoors a lot regardless of seasons or weather conditions, you want a monocular that can take a lot of abuse. A good choice is a device with an aluminum body and a solid rubber outer casing. The rubber will absorb shocks in case you accidentally drop your monocular as well as give you a firm grip that’s meant to prevent slips in the first place.
You also want your instrument to be sealed against water. Some of the best models for sale feature O-rings which prevent water droplets from rain or fog from seeping through and condensing on the inner lenses.
Affordability is also a factor
There are a multitude of models out there with all sorts of features and magnification ratios. The good thing is that, contrary to other types of optical devices, monoculars aren’t very pretentious, and this means that you don’t have to break the bank to get a decent model.
You can find a cheap compact monocular that offers both quality views and resilience so you can enjoy all outdoor ventures even under unfavorable conditions without going over your budget.
Top compact monoculars reviews in 2018
With so many monocular models on the market, finding one that’s fit for your style and budget can take quite a bit of time. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through countless compact monocular reviews, we’ve done that for you so you get to select from the very best while you save time and effort.
Vortex Solo 10×36 800900
The Vortex Solo is a small and versatile monocular that’s ideal for both hikers and hunters. Built from quality materials, this optical device is meant to offer outdoor enthusiasts with brighter and clearer images with 10x magnification.
All glass elements are multi-coated with anti-reflective coatings in order to improve light transmission and eliminate defects.
The body of this monocular is covered in heavy-duty rubber which protects this device from damage while the anti-slip design provides a firmer grip. O-ring seals prevent moisture from seeping in, making this model durable even in wet environments.
With the adjustable eyecup, you can make sure it fits perfectly and comfortably whether you wear glasses or not. You get to attach the Vortex Solo in a multitude of positions thanks to the utility clip, allowing you to quickly grab it from your pocket edges or vest so you don’t miss a sighting or hunting opportunity.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($109)
Vortex Optics Solo
This alternative has a magnification ratio of 8X and an objective lens of 36mm. As a result, because of its wide field of view, this device can be used for range estimation and wildlife observation. What is more, this choice is easy to carry around as it is light in weight and compact in size.
The fully multi-coated lenses that the option features include anti-reflective coatings so that sufficient light can enter the device. Consequently, the buyer will be provided with high-quality, bright images of his/her surroundings.
A small focus wheel and a smaller reticle focus are also featured in the construction of the device, and they enable the owner to focus the monocular in accordance with his/her needs. To make it easy to transport, the manufacturer also includes a utility clip that attaches to one’s vest or belt. The textured rubber armor that covers this device provides extra grip and durability.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($119)
Another option that should make it to your list is the Orion 10×42. This compact monocular is highly portable, and it is perfect for a wide array of activities, including the study of birds and the admiring of the scenery.
Because of its waterproof rubber-armored construction, the device allows one to use it no matter the weather, as the chances of dropping it are rather slim. Overall, this unit measures 6.1 inches in length, and it has a total weight of 11 ounces.
The fully multi-coated optics that it incorporates have an anti-reflective coating that ensures optimum light transmission. According to the seller, this Orion model has a close focus of just 20 inches.
Although this monocular is marketed as waterproof, the seller does not recommend that one uses it for scuba diving. In fact, it is best that you avoid submerging it in water altogether. Its current users speak highly of it.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($49.99)
Celestron UpClose G2 10×25 71213-CGL
The Celestron UpClose G2 is a quality monocular at a low price. Thanks to the anti-reflective multi-coatings this device offers highly-detailed views which are brighter and clearer. You get to make distant objects 10 times larger and enjoy bird watching, sporting events, and even hunting.
With the stylish rubber outer layer, this instrument looks good while also offering a solid grip and anti-shock resistance.
The thumb and finger indents are also meant to improve hold and prevent slips. The main body is made of aluminum so you can rest assured that this monocular can take even rough handling in extreme environments.
This model also comes with increased resistance against water so you don’t have to worry about moisture getting inside its body and affecting optical quality. You also get a soft carrying case and binocular straps for extra comfort and safety when traveling.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($13.95)
Vixen 21×21 11483
If you’re looking for an affordable small monocular that offers decent quality, then the Vixen 21×21 is an excellent pick. Its compact body is made to resist mechanical shocks as well as unfavorable weather.
This optical device is designed to keep moisture and water droplets outside and ensure that you get the same quality views even in wet environments.
This convenient monocular is very small and can fit into any backpack external pocket or even a vest pocket so that you can get it out in just a few seconds, making sure that you don’t lose that unique moment.
With a 7~21×21, you get enough magnification to bring distant objects into view and benefit from close-ups of wildlife and scenery that you would miss with the naked eye. This product comes with a soft case that will enable you to protect it during transport as well as a strap for extra comfort.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($39.95)
Steiner Miniscope 8×22 2311
Despite its small size, this device packs quite a punch.
You get brighter and sharper views thanks to the high-contrast optical coatings, bringing nature a bit closer to you while offering an impressive amount of detail. With the 8x magnifying power, you see objects in greater detail, while the Sports auto-focus feature can give you sharp focus from 65 feet to infinity with minimum fuss.
The body of the Steiner Miniscope is made of hard plastic combined with metal which makes it resilient in any kind of environment. Weighing only 2.82 ounces, this small and lightweight monocular can fit in any pocket without weighing you down, ready to use anytime.
Besides offering high-quality optics and performance, this device is also aesthetically appealing, with a futuristic and minimalistic design that will surely make a good impression wherever you go.
Alpen Optics 10×25 124
This Alpen Optics model is a nice addition to any nature lover and hiking adventurer. Built with style, this monocular provides 10x magnification so you can enjoy distant views and animals effortlessly. At 1000 yards you get a field of view of 279 feet with lots of detail and good contrast.
All BaK-4 glass elements are multi-coated so that they increase light transmission which results in brighter and clearer images with improved contrast and edge sharpness.
You get to enjoy the surroundings and study wildlife a lot easier while also benefiting from the long eye relief which will prevent fatigue even after prolonged use.
This optical instrument features a rubber coating and an ergonomic grip which ensures protection against damage and moisture infiltration and offers comfortable handling. The wrist strap is a nice addition that will prevent accidental and give you an extra carrying option.