Top handheld telescopes reviewed & buying guide
If you are in the market to find the best handheld telescope and you don’t have much time on your hands, this article will tell you everything you need to know, as well as which products you should consider. After carefully going through many reviews and consumer data, we concluded that Roxant’s High Definition Monocular is a perfect choice. Its compact design allows you to use it in a wide range of outdoor activities, while the 6x magnification is just right since it provides a clear image but avoids the negative shaking-image effect of a larger magnification. Plus, the retractable eyecup means it can be used with or without glasses, so this barrier is completely eliminated, giving you the freedom to choose. In case Roxant’s High Definition Monocular is not available, the second option to keep in mind is Emarth High Power Monocular Telescope model, since it offers similar benefits and features.
Our Top Choice
Roxant’s Wide View model features a premium optical glass technology that renders bright and clear images since the proper light transmission is ensured. The exterior construction includes a non-slip molded grip that allows you to securely handle the device during use and this way avoid any risk.
According to some reviews, the focus ring might be a little stiff during use, and this might mean that precious seconds could be lost.
Given the high portability and multiple benefits it brings, Roxant’s monocular is one model that you should give a try.
The powerful zoom feature is what makes this model stand out from the crowd. Magnification can be adjusted from 10x to 30x, while the 50mm lens is large enough to offer you an excellent field of view and bright image quality. For outdoor adventures, it is unbeatable.
Be aware that trying to adjust the focus will require effort and patience, due to how stiff the mechanism is when you try to turn it.
For a portable monocular, this unit goes beyond the call of duty. You will find it an excellent deal for the money and an ideal gift for hunters and hikers.
Also To Consider
Bushnell’s Legend Monocular includes all the features of the Ultra HD model but in a compact form that ensures a comfortable portability. This way, you don’t have to sacrifice either aspect. The premium component used includes an optics technology that ensures a bright and clear viewing, as well as waterproof and fog proof capabilities.
According to some users, the plastic lens caps is too hard for the external rubber armor and the latter might get damaged throughout time.
With a superb construction that includes premium materials and a superior technology, you should keep this model in mind.
There are several reasons why you might want a hand held telescope, even if you are not a private detective trying to get evidence for a case. These small models are great for getting a closer look at distant objects on the ground and in the sky. They are also incredibly easy to carry so you can take a handheld telescope with you almost anywhere. To help you find a small handheld telescope that meets your needs we have included some useful tips in the paragraphs below.
Even though some handheld telescopes are small enough to fit in your pocket, they can still vary significantly in price. Magnification, materials used in construction, along with included accessories will all affect the price of the mini telescope. Since you will probably be using the telescope outside and taking it with you on your travels it is usually worth it to pay a little extra for a model that comes with a rugged construction.
The telescope’s magnification or power will also affect its price, and some higher priced models are strong enough to use for everything from bird watching to tracking a shooting star across the night sky. If you are only planning on using the mini telescope for terrestrial viewing you will probably be okay paying less for a model with a lower magnification. If you are interested in astronomy and want to be able to clearly see the night sky you will probably want to spend a little more on a telescope that comes with a higher magnification.
Size and weight
According to the best handheld telescope reviews it is still important to check the size and weight before making your final decision. Simply because the telescope is classified as a “handheld” model doesn’t necessarily mean that it will fit your needs. For example, a brass nautical telescope is also designed to be used without a tripod, but you probably wouldn’t want to try and carry it on a hiking trip. If you do want a longer telescope that is also portable, you might want to consider one that collapses down to a more manageable size.
The materials used in construction will affect the weight of the telescope, along with where it can be used. Handheld brass telescopes might look authentic and are great to display when they are not being used, but it won’t be the best choice if you want to use it for birdwatching in the rain. Brass is also heavier and not as convenient to pack and carry. If you want a lightweight and durable mini telescope for use almost anywhere you might want to choose one constructed from lightweight metal that also comes with a protective rubber coating.
Regardless of the size of the telescope you want it to be able to provide you with a clear view of distant objects on the ground and in the sky. The magnification can and does vary, but in most cases a handheld telescope with 10x magnification is strong enough for you to clearly view wildlife and some of the recognizable features on the moon.
You also want to pay attention to the focal length and included eyepieces. The eyepieces are responsible for giving you a wide view, and most handheld telescopes come with a 22mm one. If you don’t wear glasses or are only planning on using the mini telescope during the day the focal length might not matter. As a general rule the longer the focal length the easier it is to adjust, and it gathers more light into your field of vision so objects are bright and clear at night or in the rain. A longer focal length is also more comfortable for glasses wearers.
If you aren’t sure how to use a handheld telescope you will probably want to choose one designed for kids and beginners. This will also almost guarantee that it comes with a helpful manual that will walk you through all of the setup steps. Pocket size models that come with wrist cords are easy and convenient to carry, and this has the added advantage of helping you keep track of the small telescope.
Textured rubber coatings not only ensure complete waterproof protection, it can also prevent the telescope from slipping out of wet hands. Interchangeable eyepieces allow you to clearly see mid and long distance objects, though most models come with at least one. Display boxes are always nice depending on the style and carrying cases not only make travel easy, they can also help protect the telescope from damage.
When shopping for the best handheld telescopes on the market, the size, weight, and magnification rate of the product may seem like the most important features, and this is why we have mentioned them in detail, previously.
However, many people seem to forget about aperture which is the single most important feature of any type of telescopes, including the handheld telescopes.
The aperture is defined by the diameter of its light-gathering lens or mirror, often called an objective. In order to identify the aperture of your device, look at its specifications near its focuser or on the box.
The aperture’s diameter is mainly expressed in millimeters or, less commonly, in inches. Generally speaking, a competitive telescope should have at least 70 mm (2.8 inches) aperture, preferably more.
A larger aperture allows you to see fainter objects and finer details, increasing the overall image quality.
However, this doesn’t mean that you have to pay thousands of dollars on the biggest, heaviest telescopes on the market just to get a better image quality. Even handheld telescopes can help you easily spot many galaxies beyond our Milky Way from a dark location, with an aperture of just 80 millimeters.
As you already know, handheld telescopes are described by their lightweight design and the ability to handle them without using a mounting system.
However, the mount remains one of the most important accessories when picking a telescope, and you should consider one even when operating a lightweight device.
For a hands-free experience, a tripod represents an excellent accessory that allows you to enjoy the most of the night skies, without feeling hand fatigue or wrist pain after hours spent holding the telescope in your hands.
Other features to consider
Shopping for handheld telescopes could be a difficult task, especially if you don’t know many technical details and specifications about these devices. Therefore, in order to make the right choice, you first need to take into account the telescope “literacy” of the person who will be using it.
In other words, there are devices specifically designed for children which are mainly made of plastic and don’t provide a good focus and, therefore, can be mainly considered as toys.
There are also pocket-friendly telescopes specifically designed for children and teenagers who know a thing or two about the sky and its planets and require products that can be easily handled. Many of these devices come with decent specifications and even offer enhanced night vision for extra clarity when you’re looking at the stars.
Telescopes can also be delivered with different eyepieces that allow you to see objects at a higher or lower magnification rate, depending on your preferences.
The focal length is important when talking about eyepieces so, in order to get the best ratio and image quality, consider that a lower magnification rate is linked to a higher eyepiece size, and the other way around.
Most manufacturers include two or three eyepieces with their telescopes, usually of focal lengths between 5 millimeters and 35 millimeters.
If you’re passionate about stars, galaxies, and far-away planets, the easiest way to explore your hobby is to purchase a handheld telescope. This is the most affordable version of the item and, with the right set of accessories, you can get decent images of the far-away galaxies and stars, even on nights with not-so-clear skies.
5 Best Handheld Telescopes (Reviews) in 2020
Even if you are not a detective trying to gather evidence for a case, there are still several reasons why a handheld telescope might be perfect for you. Their small size ensures convenient portability, and also makes them easy to use. While we can’t choose the right model for you we can help you make an informed decision, which is why we have the best handheld telescopes in 2020 showcased below.
1. Authentic Roxant Grip Scope High Definition Wide View
Roxant’s Grip Scope Wide View Monocular is the right choice if you are in the market for a device that is compact and works very well for a wide range of activities such as concerts, bird watching, climbing, hunting, hiking, camping, boating, and many more.
The optical glass included in its construction is premium quality and features multiple layers of coating that guarantee a superior light transmission and brightness for an optimal crisp 6×30 viewing. Moreover, a superior BAK4 green film prism is also included and enables you to get a clear image of your subject.
The accessories it comes with (cloth, case, and neck strap) are also very helpful, since they allow you to protect, transport and maintain your device. This way, you can always take it with you and safely use it in any situation you might need to. Given its many features, this is definitely a scope you should consider for your next purchase.
The Retractable Eye Cup is one of the special features included since it allows you to use it with or without glasses. This way, you won’t need to worry about whether you can wear your glasses or not.
The device is also equipped with a non-slip comfortable molded grip that enables you to hold the scope steady while observing your subject. Since the level of shaking is reduced, you’ll get a much better viewing experience.
Although you might think that a larger magnification power is better, actually this is not so true, since it also means that without a tripod or telescope you’ll have to deal with more shake and jitter.
Therefore, a smaller, handheld scope with a 6x magnification might actually work better for you.
Some users might find the focus plastic ring to be a little stiff during use, although this can also mean that, once set, the focus is kept more secure.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($39.95)
2. Emarth High Power Monocular Telescope
Since it allows you to adjust the magnification from 10x to 30x, it is safe to say that this model offers capabilities not many other units can. This feature makes this monocular from Emarth an excellent choice when you go hunting, hiking, bird watching, or you want to watch sports.
Another thing that makes it such a great deal is the dynamic lens focus feature that grants you the ability to zoom in fast so that you can track a target with ease. The objective lens is excellent in every way, as the optics come with BAK-4 prism design. It is fully multi-coated to ensure superior light transmission.
You can take this monocular with you anywhere, as it is waterproof and fog proof. On the outside, you will notice the tough armor that makes sure that the delicate mechanisms inside are well protected. Various accessories such as a carrying bag, a cleaning cloth, and an eyepiece cover are readily provided.
This model is a high power monocular that allows you to adjust the magnification from 10x to 30x, in order to adapt the unit to various conditions.
Fully multi-coated optics make this monocular ideal for bird watching, hiking, and watching games from the stands, as they contribute significantly to image quality.
You can rest assured that this model is designed to withstand the most challenging conditions since it’s waterproof and fog proof.
A robust external armor makes sure that the monocular will withstand a lot of wear and tear without showing any sign of damage.
You will receive a plethora of accessories, such as a carrying bag for easy transportation.
Making fine adjustments is a pain as the mechanism is quite stiff, and you’ll have to put in the effort to turn it.
While a tripod thread is in place for easy mounting, it doesn’t appear very sturdy, and it might break easily.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($39.99)
3. Bushnell 191142 Legend Ultra HD Monocular
With Bushnell’s Legend monocular you can travel lightly and not have to sacrifice image quality. The model features the functionalities of the Legend Ultra HD version but in a streamlined platform that you can easily place in your pocket and take with you anywhere you go.
This makes the Legend Monocular a great device you can use for a wide range of outdoor activities, such as bird watching, hunting, boating, concerts, and many others. Since it features a high-quality and sturdy construction, you will be able to enjoy it for a long time.
The premium components used for its construction include ED prime glass, PC-3 Phase-Coated prisms and a multi-coating optics technology that ensures a bright and crisp viewing from edge to edge.
The monocular can be handheld or mounted on a tripod in case you need more stability. Plus, the built-in Picatinny rail can accommodate a wide range of accessories, so you can confidently shop around to improve your overall experience.
Besides being made of high-quality materials, the device is also extensively tested, which means that the chance of you dealing with any kind of issues is significantly reduced.
Bushnell also took looks into consideration and created a device that is both effective and beautifully designed, for you to enjoy every one of its aspects in your adventures.
You will surely appreciate the twist-up eyecups that allow you to be fully comfortable while using it.
Definitely built to last, the monocular features a 100% waterproof and fog proof construction, so you don’t need to worry about a thing in case you face harsh weather conditions.
With the 10x magnification and 42mm objective, you will be able to see all the necessary details.
Some users consider the plastic lens caps to be too hard for the rubber armor, as this might damage the latter if not correctly used.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($173.59)
4. Gosky Titan 12X50 High Power Prism Monocular
With Gosky’s Titan 12X50 High Power Prism Monocular you can be sure that you will enjoy every second of your outdoor adventures. The powerful 12×50 magnification provides an excellent view that makes it suitable for a wide range of activities including hiking, hunting, climbing, bird watching, as well as many others.
The device features a large BAK-4 Prism inside and a multi-coated lens technology that ensures superior results when it comes to light transmission and brightness. This way, you will be able to enjoy crisp images in a wide view field.
The manufacturer also took durability into consideration when designing this product, and included a solid framework and a shock-absorbing rubber armor. The exterior construction ensures comfort during use as it keeps the monocular from slipping out of your hand.
This type of protection means it can withstand the toughest conditions, so you don’t need to worry about it breaking anytime soon.
The smartphone technology reached this category of devices as well and Gosky’s Titan Monocular includes the Gosky 2017, a quick alignment smartphone holder that is compatible with iPhone and Samsung models, as well as with almost all other alternatives available on the market.
When we said that this monocular is ready to face any harsh conditions, we were not kidding. It features a waterproof, dust-proof, and shockproof construction enabled by the 100% nitrogen-filled and O-ring sealed optics technology used.
For this reason, you can rest assured that your device is fully protected and durable.
In terms of comfort, you can use it with or without glasses since it features an adjustable eyecup that twists up and down according to your needs.
If you decide to use the smartphone adaptor to take close-up pictures, you might need to use a tripod in order to prevent shaking and keep the image steady.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($59.99)
5. Proche Retro Pirate Telescope Zoomable 25×30 Pocket
Were you dreaming about being a pirate when you were a kid? If so, then here’s your chance. Proche’s Retro Pirate model is just the right choice, with its cool design that will make you feel like you own a ship and are ready to conquer the seas.
However, the stylish retro design is not the only thing that makes this model a great one. Its construction includes premium materials, as the main components are of high-quality aluminum alloy gold plating and the hand-held area features a superior leather-made exterior.
This choice of materials not only gives it style, it also makes the monocular durable, since the metal construction and shiny brass finish can withstand harsher conditions if needed. Perfect for outdoor adventures, the Retro Pirate model is also collapsible which means that you can take it with you anywhere.
The lenses included in this monocular provide a clear and bright viewing, while the 25x magnification power and 30mm object diameter ensure that you will be able to see your subject in high-definition. As we said, this monocular is more than just a beautiful item to carry around.
The field of view covered goes up to 1000 yards and the model is waterproof, which means that you will be able to use it in all types of weather, without worrying that it might break.
One thing to keep in mind about it is that the motion for micro-adjusting the focus must be gently made bit by bit.
In order to achieve this, you must pull the telescope to its longest state and slightly adjust the smallest barrel until you are able to see a clear view.
The focus adjustment can be a bit tricky at first so you might need to take some time to get used to it.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($20.99)
While keeping an eye on your neighbors is probably not a good idea, this handheld telescope can be used for a variety of applications. Weighing less than an ounce and small enough to fit in your pocket, you can easily take it with you wherever you go.
The telescope is coated in a non slip rubber coating that is also waterproof. This allows you to use it outdoors in almost any type of weather so you can use it for hunting, fishing and even golfing. With 10x magnification you will be able to clearly see the next hole, even when it is all the down the green.
Along with the powerful magnification, this mini telescope also comes with a 22mm eyepiece. This allows you to enjoy a wider view, which is perfect when you are scanning your surroundings. Beginners will also appreciate how easy this handheld telescope is to focus, simply turn the knob until objects appear crisp and clear.
Designed for function and to be easy to use, this affordable handheld telescope from BTOOP might be exactly what you need.
Wingspan Optics Titan 12X50 High Powered Monocular Scope
If you are a fan of outdoor activities that involve closely observing particular details (bird watching is definitely an example), then you surely know that you need a reliable monocular that can render a clear view with colors as accurate as possible.
If this is what you are looking for, then you are in for a treat with Wingspan Optics’ Titan 12×50 model. Its revolutionary structural optics technology guarantees high precision and accuracy in identifying and observing even the smallest details from a distance that goes up to 1000 yards.
Even from that far, you can easily spot your target in wide view and single-handedly zoom in. The Titan monocular also features a lightweight construction that ensures excellent portability, allowing you to always be prepared for whatever appears in your field of view.
Moreover, the built-in loop for wrist straps means the monocular is accessible right away in those moments when speed is very important.
This device is built to last. Its waterproof, fog proof, climate-proof, and drop-proof construction means that you don’t need to worry about breaking it anytime soon and that you will be able to use it for a long time.
The external body features the DuraArmor technology, so this pretty much says it all.
The lens is another element worth mentioning. With its 12x magnification power and 50mm diameter objective, you will surely not miss one thing in the 1000 yards field of view it covers.
Plus, you can use the close-focus functionality that goes up to 8 feet.
The monocular is built for day vision only, so if you are looking for a nighttime solution, this might not be the right choice.
You can use this item with a tripod as well. However, this accessory is not included in the package, which means that you might need to purchase one separately.
Vivreal 12X50 Monocular Telescope FMC BAK4
This portable telescope features a body made of aluminum which is sturdy and lightweight at the same time, making it a convenient item to take with you outdoors. The magnification rate of 12x and 50mm objective lens offer a wide field of view, perfect for birdwatching, hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities.
The multi-coated lens guarantees superior light transmission and brightness, with a total light transmission reaching up to 99.5%. Also, the monocular is adjusted for low-light conditions, which makes it an awesome tool you can use all day long.
Thanks to the ergonomic design and the sleek shape, the product can be easily held with just one hand, without causing fatigue and wrist pain. Unlike other similar items, the rubber coating provides an excellent grip and prevents your hand from slipping even when it’s hot and humid outside.
Moreover, the telescope is 100% waterproof and can be successfully used in all weather conditions, without altering the clarity and the quality of the image.
The item is made of quality aluminum that makes it lightweight and reliable at the same time, resistant to shocks, wear, and tear.
Compact and robust, it can be easily held using just one hand, without causing fatigue or wrist pain, even after long hours.
The 12x magnification rate combined with the 50mm object lens diameter provides a large field of view, suitable for outdoor activities like hiking, wildlife, hunting, and birdwatching.
The multi-coated lenses are designed to provide clear and bright images in all lighting conditions and are also waterproof and fog-resistant.
We would also want to mention the rubber coating exterior that ensures a convenient and comfortable grip, preventing you from dropping and damaging the telescope due to sweat or extra moisture.
Although the advertised diameter is 50mm, in reality, it doesn’t exceed 35mm, while the actual magnification power is around 5x.
The lens is made of inferior quality glass so you might experience distortion.