Top Travel Monoculars Reviewed & Buying Guide
In the market for the best travel monocular? If that’s the case, then it’s a good thing you are reading this article. We’ve gone through dozens of surveys and forums and have looked at hundreds of consumer reports to bring you this detailed guide. After wrapping up our research, we came to the conclusion that the model you ought to consider is the Vortex Optics 8×25. This lightweight optical device will make it possible for you to visualize your targets conveniently and effectively since it comes with fully multi-coated lenses and it boasts a rubber armor. What’s more, it’s waterproof and fogproof, which means that you can use the instrument even in inclement weather. In case this particular alternative is no longer available, we would suggest checking out the next option, the Wingspan Optics Titan.
Finding a good travel monocular can be a daunting task since you have so many options available for sale these days. Luckily for you, we came up with a guide that should take you through all of the essential aspects that you need to have on your mind when you are in the market for a brand new optical instrument of this kind.
Since we’ve written extensively about other types of devices, we would like to suggest some of our other posts to you. Check out our insight on astronomy binoculars, high-end handheld telescopes, or budget monoculars.
Size and weight
These two features actually matter a lot when it comes to pricey or cheap travel monoculars. You don’t want the weight and design of the product to hinder your moves in any way, especially if you’re purchasing it for outdoor adventures. As such, you have to decide what you are comfortable with in terms of the weight you can carry.
On the other hand, you need to keep in mind that the lighter the optical instrument, the less likely it is for it to be well-made. Usually, those devices that are fitted with plastic optical parts instead of glass ones cannot offer you the best in terms of image quality.
The lighter the product, the less likely it is for it to withstand the test of time. Unless it is encased in a rugged housing, you almost have no way of making sure that it will last you next year, too.
Bigger isn’t necessarily better when it comes to compact monoculars. The specs of the product usually include two numbers, such as 12×42. The 12x is the magnification and the second number represents the size of the objective lens, the one that will allow the light to go into the monocular.
A larger level of magnification means that you can look at distant subjects of interest. However, the larger it is, the more unlikely it is for you to keep the image steady. Your hands will shake either way, whether they usually do more or less — so it’s practically impossible to get a super steady image.
Models that come with magnifications of 20x to 25x will force you to use a tripod. You have to keep this aspect in mind if you’re also looking for binoculars for Yellowstone, for example, or monoculars for hiking.
The second number in the specs stands for the size of the lens. The bigger it is, the bigger the amount of light that will go inside the monocular, so the device will perform decently even in low-light conditions.
However, as you might have guessed, a bigger lens means a bigger monocular on the whole. If you intend to use a monocular for the purpose of stargazing while you’re traveling, our advice to you would be to get the one with the largest objective lens that you can afford, even if it’s not exactly easy to carry.
Average lens diameters work well for looking at birds and landscapes, especially during the day.
Without really getting into the nitty-gritty of this factor, we’ll tell you that the more lens coatings, the better. There are several types of coatings currently available, but the best models come with fully multi-coated lenses. Usually, such devices are waterproof and can offer you the best when it comes to image brightness. Anti-reflective coatings are present in their design, too, so they’ll take the cake when it comes to image quality.
Multi-coated models are more than decent while fully coated monoculars are average since they are susceptible to glare and sunlight. Those units that are advertised as having coated lenses are the cheapest, so they might lack the quality of many of their counterparts.
Our 2018 List: Find the right travel monocular for your needs
After going through hundreds of travel monocular reviews, we have created a selection of those models that have impressed the people who have given them a try. Browse through our favorite devices below.
Vortex Optics 8×25
If you want to get a highly inexpensive unit and you want to make sure that it still meets your requirements in terms of image quality, then it’s high time you checked out the specs of this Vortex Optics alternative. It is convenient, versatile, and affordable, so you won’t have to break the bank to get a new travel monocular.
Also, its lenses are fully multi-coated, so it goes without saying that they will make sure that the light is transmitted effectively so that you can look at your subjects of interest without really making an effort.
When it comes to durability, this product is a net winner as it features a rubber armor equipped with a non-slip grip. Therefore, the chances of you dropping the monocular on the floor are slim, even if your hands are wet. Finally, it’s worth noting that this product comes with an adjustable eyecup, which means that it offers great results for individuals who wear glasses.
This device is both waterproof and fogproof, so it can even be utilized in inclement weather. As such, it makes a good choice for hiking and birdwatching.
The model comes with an 8x magnification and an objective lens of 25mm, which means that stabilizing the image with your hand will be a breeze and that a decent amount of light will go inside the monocular.
The rubber armor boasted by this product makes it difficult for you to drop it by accident.
It’s also worth adding that this device comes with fully multi-coated lenses, so image clarity and brightness are ensured.
It’s one of the most inexpensive options out there, so it definitely addresses individuals who don’t want to spend a fortune on a compact monocular.
Some reviewers say that the close focus is a little fuzzy.
The case that accompanies the main unit isn’t exactly high-quality.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($49)
Wingspan Optics Titan
If durability is what you are after and you want to make sure that you invest your hard-earned cash in something that’s definitely worth the while, then you ought to check out Wingspan’s alternative. It’s waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof, which means that it is entirely capable of withstanding the test of time even if you aren’t particularly careful with it in the long run.
The model comes with a 12x magnification and a 50mm objective lens. Needless to say, with the help of the magnification, you’ll be able to watch subjects that are far more distant compared to those that you could with the help of the Vortex unit we’ve also mentioned in this selection.
The 50mm objective lens makes this product a bit heavier than many of its competitors, but if what you’re looking for is superior light transmission, we would recommend considering this model. The hand focus that the unit is fitted with can be used effectively and comfortably.
The 12x magnification of this unit will ensure that you can look at targets that are located even as far as 1000 yards away from you.
The 50mm objective lens is more than decent when it comes to its light gathering capabilities, so you might even want to try to use this device for stargazing.
The product is reasonably lightweight and easily transportable.
It takes less room in your pack or bag than other optical devices that boast the same magnification and objective lens size.
You will get a lot of accessories if you decide to go for this option because it comes with a microfiber lens cleaning cloth, an eyepiece, a mesh carrying case, as well as a lens cover.
If you are a professional photographer or have a lot of experience when it comes to using optical instruments, in general, then you might fail to be impressed with the quality of the image ensured by this product.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($58.18)
ROXANT Wide View
Searching for a really compact and durable monocular that you can take with you absolutely everywhere? If this is what you have been looking for, then you ought to consider the ROXANT alternative. It’s effective, sturdy, and it can last for a more than decent amount of time.
There are several things that we must note in relation to this product, however. Probably the most important mention we must make is that this one comes with a 6x magnification and a 30mm objective lens. So, on the one hand, you can strictly use this monocular only during the day as its light-gathering abilities aren’t excellent due to the size of the objective lens.
On the other hand, the 6x magnification won’t allow you to take a peek at very distant subjects, so using it for some types of outdoor activities (including stargazing) might be out of the question. The unit is accompanied by a retractable eyecup so that it can be used both by eyeglass wearers and those who don’t need them.
If you decide to give a shot to this alternative, you’ll get not just the monocular itself, but also a series of accessories ranging from a carry pouch to a neck strap and a cleaning cloth.
The 6x magnification and 30mm objective lens are decent if you do not want to look at particularly distant subjects.
The rugged design boasted by this option makes it worthy of your consideration as it can be held in one’s hand comfortably and effectively.
Besides, this model is outfitted with glass optics, so it isn’t one of those cheap monoculars you can do without.
Some users note that the magnification is underpowered for the amount of money you have to spend to get this product.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($49.95)
Aurosports 8-24×30 Zoom
This device is more or less unique, especially if you were to compare it to some of the others that we have added to the list. It is a zoom monocular, so it doesn’t come with a fixed magnification. The magnification range that you will benefit from, should you choose to try this alternative, is 8 to 24x, so that makes this product suitable for a wide array of applications from watching concerts to birding.
Despite its magnification, the Aurosports unit comes with a 30mm objective lens, so again, you have to use it only during the day. Even though the manufacturing brand claims that you will be able to utilize this item even at night and in low-light conditions, that’s not exactly true.
One thing that this product comes with and that you will find helpful is it being equipped with an adjustable focus length. Besides, the dual focus design will allow you to set the image as per your needs and the subject you are trying to look at. The waterproof and high-quality design boasted by the product is another aspect that recommends it.
This zoom monocular can prove its worth under a variety of circumstances such as wildlife watching or concert viewing.
The durable design makes the product withstand the test of time, which is something you definitely want from your travel monocular.
It’s easy to use and versatile and it can be utilized to look at many types of subjects, both indoors and outdoors.
The quality optics that the unit is fitted with makes it possible for the user to enjoy a superior image.
The unit is accompanied by a tripod and a phone clip.
Getting the lens in focus can be a tad difficult, based on what some consumers have reported.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($39.99)
Barska Style 10×25
If you’re on a tight budget and you can’t afford to spend more than twenty dollars on a monocular, then your best bet would be to take this Barska alternative into account. It’s highly user-friendly and it fits in one’s pocket, so one way of describing it is versatile and portable.
It comes with fully coated optics, so that’s one thing you need to keep in mind. Remember, fully multi-coated lenses are the best, so these will meet your requirements in a more or less average manner.
The product comes with a neoprene pouch, as well as a neck strap so that you can make the most of it. The ergonomic design boasted by this alternative, as well as the fact that it is fitted with a rubber armor will ensure part of its durability over time. This is a convenient, lightweight and compact choice that you should mull over if you’re after a cheap device.
The 10x magnification of this product is more than decent given its overall size.
The product boasts a lightweight and compact design which will allows you to transport it effectively and conveniently. It even fits into one of your pockets.
Both the magnification and its light-gathering capabilities render it the perfect choice for outdoor events that happen during the day.
Should you decide to go for the Barska model, you’ll get not just the monocular, but also two types of accessories – a neck strap and a neoprene pouch.
Even though it’s very budget-friendly, it comes with fully coated optics that will ensure that the image you’ll be looking at is high-quality.
The image is crisp, but you need to understand that the product has certain limitations and they’re mostly related to the fact that it comes with a 25mm objective lens. Therefore, its light-gathering capabilities might not be satisfactory for some people.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($12.73)