Best Compact Binoculars in 2020 | For Better Sightseeing!

- Compact Binoculars

When choosing the best compact binoculars for hiking, bird watching, or backpacking, you need to consider some essential features. One of the biggest challenges you face when hiking or backpacking is balancing the need for quality optics. The problem is using just any binoculars will not do as quality lenses are delicate.

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Best Compact Binoculars to Buy

10. Zeiss Terra

Zeiss Terra

For one of the best compact binoculars, the brand Zeiss stands out for all the right reasons. The bino has a fiberglass reinforced casing that is waterproof at the same time. The lens is hydrophobic and multi-colored, helping to repel fog and water providing clarity in any condition. Furthermore, the optic weighs 10.9 ounces making it lightweight and comfortable to use.

To adjust the focus, it has a smooth adjustment wheel making it easier to find objects. The objective lens of 25mm offers eight times zoom. Alternatively, you can buy it with a 10 x 25 aperture for added magnification as well.

Compact Binocular at a Glance:

  • Made with Schott ED glass
  • Has 8X magnification
  • The objective lens measures 32mm
  • Weighs 10.9 ounces
  • Has a 390 feet field of view at 1000 yards
  • Waterproof

9. Leica BCR Ultravid – Compact Binoculars

Leica BCR Ultravid

The Leica BCR Ultravid is a compact binocular with some excellent sporting features. You get 8X magnification with adjustable eyecups, right eye diopter, and quick focus wheel. The casing is sealed with inert gas to prevent damage from water, and it will not fog up. Furthermore, the Leica is one of the best compact binoculars engineered with high-quality imaging.

On the other hand, the lenses offer crispness and work with an asymmetrical pattern leaving no loss of detail when used. For birding, the bino is one of the best and smallest optics available.

Compact Binocular at a Glance:

  • Made with HDC Multicoated glass
  • Has 8X magnification
  • The objective lens measures 20mm
  • Weighs 8.5 ounces
  • Has a 341 feet field of view at 1000 yards
  • Waterproof and fog-proof

8. Diamondback Roof Prism Compact Binoculars

Diamondback Roof Prism Binoculars

For outdoor use in the wild, you need the Diamondback Roof Prism Bino from Vortex Optics. The equipment has a 32mm objective lens with 10x magnification. You get a lifetime warranty included as well. An important note when using high magnification is to have a steady hand. Why? With an unsteady hand, any small movement is impaired.

Furthermore, it has a padded neck strap with lens covers included. You get a rain guard as well, making it ideal to use in rough conditions. The lens is fog and water repellent with the inert gas. Therefore, it makes the bino perfect for use in any environment. Alternatively, you can buy it in 10×42, 10×50, and 12.×50.

Compact Binocular at a Glance:

  • Made with XR anti-reflective coating on the lens
  • Has 10X magnification
  • The objective lens measures 32mm
  • Weighs 15.4 ounces
  • Has a 340 feet field of view at 1000 yards
  • Waterproof and fog-proof

7. Celestron Nature DX

Celestron Nature DX

For a budget-priced compact binocular, the Celestron is an excellent option. The manufacturer is well known for making telescopes. You get a fully coated optic to use in bright light and are glare-free. For the birdwatcher, starting it makes for the best bino to use. However, you can use it for more than just bird watching. The device is lightweight and rubber-coated, as well.

Furthermore, it is nitrogen purged to prevent fog buildup and for the price just amazing. Moreover, twist-up eyecups are excellent to use when you wear glasses, as well. Alternatively, you can buy the 8×32 in 10×32 and 8×56 models. The Celestron Nature DX is one of the best pocket-friendly binoculars you can buy.

Compact Binocular at a Glance:

  • Fully waterproof construction
  • Has 8X magnification
  • The objective lens measures 32mm
  • Weighs 18 ounces
  • Has a 516 feet field of view at 1000 yards
  • Waterproof and fog-proof

6. Carson 3D

Carson 3D

For hiking and backpacking, the Carson 3D is an excellent choice. You can use it for bird watching as well. The binoculars compact and have some high-end features. You have the extra-low dispersion glass with a phase-corrected prism to get the best contrast and resolution. Furthermore, you can mount it on a tripod and works well if you wear glasses.

On the other hand, the optic is waterproof and comes with textured thumb grooves making them comfortable to hold in your hand. You get a neck strap with shoulder harness, and padded carry case included. Alternatively, you can buy it in different sizes ranging from 10×42, 10×50 to 8×42.

Compact Binocular at a Glance:

  • Fully waterproof with ED glass
  • Has 8X magnification
  • The objective lens measures 32mm
  • Weighs 17 ounces
  • Has a 392 feet field of view at 1000 yards

5. Trailblazer ATB

Trailblazer ATB

For day hiking, the Trailblazer ATB from Nikon is the ideal companion to have. The magnification is 8X and it has a 25mm objective lens. The glass is nitrogen-filled to deliver clear images in low to bright light conditions. Furthermore, it has a phase correcting prism with multi-layer coating on the lens. The casing is rubberized to protect the bino making it ideal to use in rough conditions outside.

Compact Binocular at a Glance:

  • Fully waterproof
  • Has 8X magnification
  • The objective lens measures 25mm
  • Weighs 19 ounces
  • Has a 429 feet field of view at 1000 yards
  • Comprise rubber armor coating

4. Hummingbird Travel Binoculars

Hummingbird Travel Binoculars

For a budget-priced compact binocular you will find the Hummingbird Travel from Wingspan perfect to use. For the price, you get BaK-4 roof prism optic with coating making it glare-free. A fact is that the feature you find in more expensive binoculars, so you are getting a bargain. The optic is lightweight and perfect for backpacking, hiking, and bird watching.

The lens is nitrogen purged, and it is waterproof with a rubber-coated housing to give you the best possible grip in your hand. You have a fast focus wheel to lock onto targets and it can withstand a five feet drop as well. You get a case with lens cover, and we found it to be one of the best budget binoculars you can buy.

Compact Binocular at a Glance:

  • Fully waterproof
  • Has 8X magnification
  • The objective lens measures 25mm
  • Weighs 12 ounces
  • Has a 432 feet field of view at 1000 yards
  • Made with BaK-4 roof prism optic

3. G4Free Compact Binoculars

G4Free Binoculars

When it comes to quality, nothing beats the compact binoculars from G4Free. The optic has an FMC coating with BaK-4 glass and a central focus system. With the BaK-4 glass, you get a clear picture no matter in what lighting condition you find yourself. The magnification is 10X and equipped with a 25mm objective lens.

With the magnification, you can see objects out to 374 feet. The bino is water repellent, so you can use it in the rain but cannot submerge it. For a brighter picture in poor lighting conditions, the multilayer composite green film aids in making images more transparent.

Compact Binocular at a Glance:

  • Made with BaK-4 glass
  • Has 10X magnification
  • The objective lens measures 25mm
  • Weighs 5.11 ounces
  • Has a 374 feet field of view at 1000 yards
  • Comprise of a focus adjustment with 5° field angle
  • Comes with neck strap hooks but cannot mount to a tripod

2. Bushnell H2O Binocular

Bushnell H2O Binocular

Who does not know the Bushnell brand! The name is familiar in the hunting section, but they make some of the best binoculars as well. Here we have the H2O compact binoculars with BaK-4 glass making it able to see images clearly in any condition. The construction is waterproof and purged with nitrogen.

The casing is non-slip armored for shock absorption and has eight times magnification with a 25mm objective glass. To make the price even better, it comes with a lifetime warranty included.

Compact Binocular at a Glance:

  • Made with BaK-4 glass
  • Has 8X magnification
  • The objective lens measures 25mm
  • Weighs 0.75lb
  • Has a 374 feet field of view at 1000 yards

1. Canon Compact Binoculars

Canon Binoculars

For shake-free viewing, it helps to have the Canon compact binoculars. The optic has ultra-low dispersion lenses to show a brighter image. Furthermore, it has a waterproof design, and many marine soldiers use it as well. On the other hand, you get a solid optic with metallic coating giving you a rigid feel.

To add to the features, you get a three-year warranty included as well.

Compact Binocular at a Glance:

  • Works with two AA batteries
  • Has 10X magnification
  • The objective lens measures 42mm
  • Weighs 2.45lbs
  • Has a 374 feet field of view at 1000 yards

Compact Binoculars Comparison Table

G4FREE 10X25 374 FEET 5.11 OUNCES
CANON 10X42 374 FEET 2.45LBS


If you want to buy the best compact binoculars, there are different definitions you need to know when choosing one. So which magnification and structure should you choose when hiking or backpacking?

Here you can find all the information you need to find the best one suited for your needs.

Everything About Binocular Sizes!

You can get three types of magnification sizes available ranging from full size (8×42), mid-size (7×35), and compact (8×25) size.

If you plan to use the bino for hiking situations, you want to avoid the full or mid-size models. This optics is heavy and will tire you out after hours of use.

Here the compact binoculars excel as it gives you a lightweight package with moderate viewing power.

So What Is The right Magnification Power Rating You Need?

When viewing the model, there are two numbers available such as 8×25 and easy to decipher. The 1st number presents the overall magnification and features eight times magnification.

The 2nd number indicates the diameter of the outer (objective) lens in mm. Therefore, you get an objective lens measuring 25mm in diameter.

The lens diameter is more critical as the more extensive the aperture the more light it gathers. So you get a brighter and clearer image in low lighting conditions.

The Importance of The Field of View!

In most cases, you will find the field of view rated at 1000 yards. However, there are times it is estimated differently, as well. If you want to do bird watching, you need a full field of view. For watching stationary objects, a narrow FOV is perfect.

While a narrow FOV is crisp, it makes it harder to find your target. On the other hand, a wider FOV is less focused but helps for viewing far-reaching landscapes.

The lens coating!

The majority of lenses on binoculars are fully multi-coated. Therefore, it has a special coating applied to maximize the amount of light passing through the lens.

As a result, you get a brighter and clear image.

What About Waterproofing!

For backpacking and hiking, you need a pair of compact waterproof binoculars. You can find different optics with a wide selection of ratings ranging from IPX0 without waterproof to IPX8 that you can fully submerge up to three feet of water.

However, for watching birds, hiking, or backpacking, you can look at a rating of IPX4+ and should suffice for your needs.

Different Types of Lens Glass to Look At

  • BAK-4 – the glass is commonly used and has a low refractive index with resistance to prevent environmental and chemical damage.
  • BK7 – the glass is as the low end and used to make prisms found on cheap binoculars. The glass suffers from chromatic aberration and can cause blurry images even when focused.
  • Schott ED Glass – the propriety glass has the lowest chromatic aberration and is found in the Zeiss ED model.
  • ED Glass – the extra-low dispersion glass is used in most optics to provide you with a crisp and clear view.

Another crucial feature to look at is the fog-proof insert available in the optic. There are two methods used by manufacturers:

  1. The first method is to apply fog-resistant coatings on the lens exterior or the interior. The process is not expensive compared to the 2nd method.
  2. The second method is a bit pricier as many of the brands have inert gas in it. You can find many of the binoculars filled with nitrogen making it fog-proof.

Which Prism Should You Choose

There are two types of prisms available in binoculars:

  • The standard lens is the Porro and noticed with the bulky and vast size. You find the lens in cheaper models where size is not an issue.
  • The other prism is the Roof, one developed by Zeiss. When selecting a compact pair of binoculars, the Roof prism is your best option but found in higher-end optics.

While a large optic can provide you with high-quality images and zoom power, the device is bulky and heavy. It would help if you had a small bino with lightweight design. Not only should it be light in weight but have a durable construction with waterproof design as well. For a high-quality design offering you everything, you need the Zeiss Terra ED comes highly recommended.

However, for the best compact bino with fantastic design and features, you can splurge your money Leica Ultravid model. But if you prefer something different, you can opt-in buying any of the other compact binoculars reviewed on the list.

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