Top mini monoculars reviewed – Buying guide & Comparison for 2018
Looking for the best mini monocular? We know it can be a challenge to find a quality monocular these days, so we decided to help you just a bit. Following our extensive research on the topic, we came to the conclusion that the model that you should first consider is the Vortex Optics Solo. Available in several magnification powers, the unit that we’ve found to be highly effective and compact is the 8×25 alternative. This small optical instrument boasts high-end components consisting of fully multi-coated lenses, which means that it can make the images you are looking at bright and clear. The rubber armor present on the exterior is a nice non-slip addition for every user who’s worried about damaging his or her investment. In case the Vortex Optics Solo is no longer available, we suggest checking out the Celestron Nature 10×25.
If you are searching for a good mini monocular, but it’s maybe your first one, then you surely want to make an informed decision. In case you don’t know what features make a great mini pocket monocular, you’ve come to the right place.
Check out the guide below and you’ll learn how to make the right call in a convenient and effective manner. We also suggest reading some of our other articles, such as those we’ve written on budget monoculars or the guide we put together about getting monocular scopes.
Magnification and objective lens diameter
Even cheap mini monoculars have to meet your expectations when it comes to their magnification power. Usually, the first spec you’ll notice when you’re in the market for such an optical device is that it is described using two numbers. If the product you’re eyeing is described as an 8×25 monocular, it has an 8x magnification power and an objective lens with a size of 25mm.
The more powerful the magnification, the harder it will be for you to focus the image. Everyone has shaky hands to one extent or the other, and if you can’t stabilize the image, you might have to use a tripod, and imagine carrying another tool with you for the purpose. It will occupy space in your luggage, especially if what you’re looking for is a travel monocular.
A bigger objective lens is capable of gathering more light, which means that the images you will visualize are going to be brighter. However, big lenses make the unit bulkier, so it won’t be a mini monocular at all, will it?
Quality of the optical components
People who want to use mini monocular telescopes should be a little more demanding when it comes to the quality of the lenses that the device is outfitted with. First of all, they have to be crafted from glass.
Any optical instrument that comes with plastic lenses is virtually worthless, as plastic is prone to a wide array of damage factors, including the weather. Another aspect that makes the difference between a good compact monocular and one you might not be satisfied with is the number of coatings on the lenses.
Fully multi-coated lenses are the best because they can transmit the light in a superior manner, allowing you to look at crystal clear images. Coated lenses are, on the other hand, the lowest quality and cheap alternative. Multi-coated choices have a reasonable performance, so if you’re looking for something not really expensive and not really cheap, they are the safe bet for you.
Ease of use and an ergonomic design
If the product comes with a non-slip grip, you will be able to hold it without worrying about dropping it and damaging it. Also, in terms of a user-friendly design, there are people who wear glasses, so it might be a good idea for you, if you are an eyeglass wearer, to choose a model that comes with an adjustable eye relief.
Our 2018 List: Find the right mini monocular for your needs
Whether you’re looking for a decent monocular for hunting or you want one to look at birds or other types of subjects, the fact is that choosing one from the many models available for sale these days can be a challenge.
To make your decision-making process a little easier to handle, we’ve showcased some of our favorite models below. Many mini monocular reviews recommend these devices as they seem to do what they are supposed to.
Vortex Optics Solo
If you need a lightweight monocular that’s more than capable of doing its job, you should look at the specs of this Vortex alternative. The 8×25 and 10×25 options are also rather affordable, so they speak to the needs of people who are on a budget, too.
The unit comes with an 8x magnification and a 25mm objective lens diameter. This means that it is compact and easy to hold in your hands. The rubber armor grip makes it almost impossible for you to drop it on the ground while you’re out and about, which means that its durability is considerably increased.
Since it has a waterproof and fogproof design, you won’t have a hard time using this particular optical device even in inclement weather. Also, the eyecup can be adjusted so that you can use the monocular with or without glasses.
It’s one of the smallest monoculars in the line, which means that it will hardly take up any space in your luggage or backpack and it won’t be heavy when you hold it in your hands.
The 8x magnification is more than decent for purposes like wildlife viewing or birding.
With the 25mm objective lens diameter, this unit is anything but heavy.
The fully multi-coated lenses boasted by this product should give you the reassurance that its optical components are high-quality.
The eyecup can be adjusted, so this device can be used both by people who wear glasses and those who do not.
The adjustment ring tension makes single-handed operation a little difficult as the focus ring is rather stiff.
Some buyers argue that this model might actually work better for people who do not wear glasses.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($49)
Celestron Nature 10×25
The Celestron Nature monocular is a great alternative for people who spend a lot of time outdoors and want to make sure that they’ll invest in a highly versatile unit that’s capable of excellent performance. The model comes with almost everything you might want from such a device.
It boasts multi-coated lenses, so that means that its optical transmission is on point. The waterproof and rugged design makes it possible for this model to be capable of withstanding the test of time. Also, you can use just one hand to focus the image thanks to the diopter focus dial that it comes with.
The durable armor that the Celestron Nature is equipped with makes for a secure gripping surface. This pocket-sized monocular is accompanied by several accessories, too, so you’ll be getting the best bang for the buck. The set includes a belt case, a cleaning cloth, as well as a lanyard.
With this model from Celestron, you get a more powerful magnification than with similar models – 10x.
The 304 FoV makes it possible for you to visualize birds as they fly.
The twist eyecup boasted by this model makes it possible for it to be enjoyed both by people who wear glasses and those who don’t.
This is a waterproof monocular, so it won’t be affected by nasty weather.
The product is delivered with three accessories – a lanyard, a belt case, as well as a cleaning cloth.
Since it weighs in at just 6 ounces, it is one of the lightest models out there.
Since the focus ring is a little stiff, the one-handed operation promised by the manufacturer might be a bit of a challenge.
It doesn’t come with a lens cap, and you might need one if you’re looking to extend the life of the product.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($29.99)
Vortex Solo R/T
Even though it comes in a compact and lightweight package, the Solo R/T by Vortex is one of the top recommended tactical monoculars out there. It comes with an 8x magnification power and an objective lens that measures 36mm. Right off the bat, it’s easy to see that this model is capable of gathering a lot more light compared to alternatives that come with a similar magnification.
Also, this one, too, is equipped with fully multi-coated lenses that feature anti-reflective coatings, so the images you will be able to look at are going to be crystal clear. On top of everything, this unit boasts a flared eyecup, and if you’ve ever wondered why it can be useful, we’ll tell you. It can block external light, allowing you to focus on what you’re looking at.
The eyecup can be adjusted depending on whether you wear glasses or not or just your sight. It’s also worth noting that this model is fitted with a utility clip that can be used for you to attach it to a belt or a vest.
Like many other monoculars that can be used for outdoor activities, this one comes with a textured rubber armor that will allow you to get a good hold onto it.
This model is both waterproof and fogproof, so even if the weather is particularly bad, that doesn’t mean that you can’t use this optical instrument.
Furthermore, the fully multi-coated lenses boasted by this choice will make it possible for you to look at bright pictures of your targets or favorite subjects.
Focusing the image can be done effortlessly since this model comes with a large focus wheel, as well as a smaller reticle focus.
The carry case quality isn’t exactly something to write home about.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($107.5)
Carson CloseUp CF-718
With its lightweight and user-friendly design, this Carson model is definitely worthy of your consideration if you aren’t looking for the most powerful magnification. This 6x model comes with an 18mm objective lens, so it is a good idea to you use it during the day, when there’s plenty of light that can penetrate the interior of the optical device.
Probably the neatest thing about this product is its field of view as you’ll be able to take advantage of the 427 feet at 1,000 yards especially if you’re passionate about birdwatching. For hunting, travel, surveillance, sightseeing, as well as low-vision reading, this model can be an asset.
But wait, that’s not all. You can also use the extreme close focus of just 10 inches that this unit comes with. Therefore, this product is significantly versatile as it allows you to look at both distant subjects and those that are closer to you.
If you truly are in the market for a model that’s as compact as possible, then this one will definitely meet your expectations in terms of a ‘mini’ design.
The 6x magnification is adequate for activities such as birdwatching and sightseeing, and even hunting, in some cases.
Since it comes with an 18mm objective lens, this model is both small enough and anything but heavy, so you can use it as an effective device for traveling.
The 10-in close focus is great for people who want to use the monocular for activities such as reading, for example.
It’s also worth noting that the product comes accompanied with several accessories ranging from a lens cloth to a wrist strap.
There’s only a small margin where the device is actually in focus, so that might make operating it a little challenging.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($14.09)
Carson BlackWave WM-025
Even though it doesn’t cost a fortune, unlike some of the other products in this particular line, the BlackWave is a highly effective waterproof monocular that comes with a 10x magnification power and a 25mm objective lens. These two specs come in handy if you’re into outdoor activities like hunting and wildlife viewing.
Something that’s less impressive about this product, though, is the fact that its field of view is just 273 feet at 1,000 yards, so it is less suitable for people who want to look at birds in flight.
Weighing in at only 4.4 ounces, it’s pretty easy to tell that this optical instrument is among the lightest of its kind. Its nitrogen-filled glass lenses render it durable and capable of withstanding a wide array of meteorological conditions. Additionally, this device ships with several accessories. You also get a strap, a lens cloth, and a pouch.
The close focus feature of this alternative allows you to look at subjects located at just four feet from you.
The 10x magnification means that this device is powerful enough to be used to track your targets or the animals you want to look at.
Moreover, the 25mm objective lens is more than capable of gathering plenty of light so that the images you look at are clear and bright.
The item is shipped with a strap, a pouch that will allow you to carry it conveniently and safely, and a lens cloth that will assist you in cleaning it.
The waterproof design boasted by this choice makes it the perfect option for outdoor applications.
The field of view isn’t necessarily something to write home about since it’s not the best when it comes to looking at birds that are flying.
The 10x magnification can be a disadvantage if you have shaky hands.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($24.99)