Compact Binoculars - Reviews & Guides

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This section of the site contains reviews, articles and documents in two main sections, but all related to some of the best small binoculars:

  1. Guides: Take a look at this section for links to a whole range of documents and advice on choosing and using the best compact binoculars for a wide range of needs and uses.
  2. Reviews: Read my full in-depth and obviously completely independent compact binocular reviews in this section.

Buyer & User Guides

Compact Binoculars - What Configuration is Best?

Swarovski Compact Binoculars

6x21, 8x22, 10x25, 12x25, 10x26, 9x28…

With so many different configurations available, it can be confusing to know which one best suits your particular preferences and needs.

In this complete guide to compact configurations, I go through step-by-step how the different sizes of objective lenses and the different magnifications affect a compact binocular and its performance so that you can make an informed choice when choosing which combination to get.

Pocket Compacts: Leica 10x25 Trinovid BinocularsBest Design for Compact Pocket Binoculars

In a category where size really matters, not all compacts are created equal and this is especially true when you take into account their body and chassis design.

In this article I take you through the different designs and then look at the ones that fold up into as small a package as possible to easily fit into your pocket:

Best Compact Steiner Binoculars

Steiner Wildlife XP 10x26 Binoculars

Due to their build and optical quality as well as their excellent duel hinge design and relatively low cost, Steiner compacts are some of the most popular around.

Below are some related articles:
>> Best Compact Stainer's for Walking Safaris

Opera & Theatre Glasses

Eschenbach Opera Glasse
Binoculars are specifically designed for taking out to the theatre or opera.

Features like being small enough to easily tuck away into your bag or coat is important as is a wide field of view and so they usually have a fairly low magnification of around 3x:
>> Guide to Opera Binoculars & Theatre Glasses


Steiner BluHorizons 10x26 Binoculars - winner Best Compact Binoculars 2019 Award Winners - Travel Binoculars

For some of the very best compact and mid-sized binoculars that are ideal for travel adventures like safaris take a look at the ones that have won awards over the past few years.

Remember optical devices develop at a far slower rate than electronics, so many of the better quality instruments that were released over ten years ago are every bit as goods those you get today and are well worth considering if you are shopping for a bargain:

Mid-Level, Compacts for Canoeing or Rafting

Wide Angle Minox Binoculars
Even if you are not actually going canoeing or rafting, this article will still be of interest to those looking for some advice when choosing some small, easy to use, mid-level waterproof compacts:

>> Mid-Level, Compact White water Rafting Binoculars

Swarovski CL Companion 8x30 Binoculars

Swarovski CL Companion 8x30 Binoculars
Whilst the 30mm CL Companion is a little larger than most true compacts, they are also quite a bit smaller than most 32mm mid-sized bins. They also produce as image as good or better than many full sized binos, more::
>> Swarovski 8x30 CL Companion Review


Best Budget Compact Binoculars

Vortex Vanquish 10x26 BinocularsWhen it comes to bang for your buck, value for money or the performance to price ratio, then there are not many compact instruments that can match the Vortex Vanquish 10x26 binoculars currently on the market.

I purchased the 10x26 Vortex Vanquish as a test to see just how well a small 26mm binocular costing under $100 / £ / € could perform and I have to say that these reverse porro prism compacts were a real revelation to me.

Not quite as small as the double hinge roof prism design, but the build quality is great and optically they compare to most many mid-level compacts that cost more than three times as much as these which is seriously impressive.

So if you don't mid a slightly larger shape and if you are on a tight budget and are looking for a sub $100 compact then I highly suggest taking a close look at the Vortex Vanquish.

Pentax 9x28 DCF LV BinocularsCheap Compact Binoculars for Travel

In these articles, I answer a range of similar questions from people looking for some inexpensive, yet tough and compact binoculars that are ideal to go travelling with:

Vortex Vanquish 10x26 BinocularsBest Hiking Binoculars under 100? Why I bought the Vortex Vanquish 10x26 Binoculars.

Whilst planning for a forthcoming camping and hiking break with my family I decided to set myself a challenge and buy myself the best compact hiking binoculars for less than $100 (£)

This is the story of how and why I bought the Vortex Vanquish 10x26 Binoculars:

Maven C.2 Compact Binoculars

Maven C.2 BinocularsNew to the market and one of the highest specification compacts out there are the incredible series of Maven C.2 Compact binoculars.

Maven Optics supply the C.2 in two configurations, the 7x28 with it's super wide field of view and large exit pupil for great low light performance and the 10x28 for those who's main requirement is to get closer to the action.

Highlights include ED glass lenses, fully multi-coated optics, phase corrected prisms with the very best dielectric coatings on them for maximum reflectivity and thus improved performance.

As well as this, the Maven C.2 Compacts also have protective coatings added to the exterior lenses.

Great Value High End Compacts:
Considering their very high quality components and features, their relatively low RRP of only $200 looks to make these excellent value for money ED glass compact binoculars.

Steiner Safari UltraSharp 8x22 BinocularsBest Compact Binoculars for Sports & Concerts

This article is actually in response to a question I received from a reader here on BBR and in it I take a look at a selection of compact binoculars in a range of prices and discuss the main features and components to look for when choosing an ideal binocular for using at outdoor sporting events and concerts.

10x25 Vanguard Orros BinocularsCompact Vanguard Orros Binoculars

Vanguard are well known for producing very good value for money binoculars and so with this in mind I took a look at the main features and specifications of the two compact models that they currently offer:

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10x25 Compact BinocularsBest ED Glass Compact Binoculars

Ever wondered why there aren't many compact binoculars that use ED Glass elements in their lenses? In this article I discuss what is the main reason for this, as well as highlight some of the best ones that do:

Binoculars.com's Best Compact Binoculars 2013

Binoculars.com's Best Compact Binocular 2013 - Steiner Safari 8x22 BinocularsSteiner Safari 8x22 Ultrasharp Binoculars

What Binoculars.com say: "This year's best compact binocular, the Steiner Safari Ultrasharp 8x22, is crazy small, but don't you dare call it cute. The Safaris fold up and fit easily into a jacket or cargo pocket, but offer super-crisp 8X magnification in action. They're waterproof and fogproof, and offer super-fast focus and comfortable eyecups, making them great for watching sports, spotting birds, or scanning the coastline. All of this is housed in the super-rugged, extra-grippy famous Safari body style."

Price Range
The Steiner Safari Ultrasharp Binos cost around $170 in the US and £100 in the UK:


 
 

Reviews: Compact Binoculars

Below are a selection of my most recent reviews that I have written on compact and small binoculars, you can view all compact bins that I have reviewed on BBR.

 

Vortex Vanquish 10x26 Binoculars Review

These reverse Porro prism compact Vortex binoculars perform at a level that way exceeds their budget level price tag.

Highlights include an image quality and brightness that really surprised me and a build quality with a level of components that matches and even surpasses many mid level instruments.

Price: (2/6) Low Cost Binoculars
BBR Ratings:
Body Quality: 7/10 70%
Excellent
Body Stats: 6/10
Optical Quality: 7/10
Optical Stats: 7/10
Image Quality 8/10
Extras & Details: 7/10

 

Steiner BluHorizons 10x26 Binoculars Review

Compact Steiner roof prism binoculars with the double hinge design makes them a true pocket binocular ideal for lightweight travel and uses like skiing and hiking.

The sunlight adaptive optical system reduces glare and makes for a less washed out and more vibrant image in very bright light conditions.

Price: (3/6) Mid Priced Binoculars
BBR Ratings:
Body Quality: 8/10 78%
Excellent
Body Stats: 9/10
Optical Quality: 8/10
Optical Stats: 8/10
Image Quality 7/10
Extras & Details: 7/10

 

National Geographic 6x21 Children's Binoculars by Bresser Review

Bright and colourful, these National Geographic binoculars are made by the German optics company Bresser and are specifically designed for younger children.

The lightweight and very compact body is perfect for small hands and faces and the low 6x magnification ensures a wide field of view and an image that kids with shaky hands can keep still to ensure a good view...

Price: (1/6) Cheap Binoculars
BBR Ratings:
Body Quality: 6/10 65%
Very Good
Body Stats: 10/10
Optical Quality: 5/10
Optical Stats: 7/10
Image Quality 6/10
Extras & Details: 5/10

 

Vixen SG 2.1x42 Widefield Constellation Binoculars Review

With an extremely wide field of view and low power, these small, easy to carry Vixen binoculars offer a unique view of the stars and complete constellations.

This along with their exceptional low light capability also make them and excellent choice as a high quality pair of opera or theatre glasses and a host of other uses.

Price: (3/6) Mid Priced Binoculars
BBR Ratings:
Body Quality: 8/10 77%
Excellent
Body Stats: 9/10
Optical Quality: 7/10
Optical Stats: 9/10
Image Quality 7/10
Extras & Details: 6/10

 

Kabuki Glasses Review

Originally designed for the theater, the high quality Japanese made Kabuki Glasses are also ideal for many other hands free uses like the opera, ballet, concerts and both outdoor and indoor sporting events.

Price: (3/6) Mid Priced Binoculars
 

Bijia HT 12x25 binoculars Review

These cheap, high powered, compact porro prism binoculars from Chinese manufacturer Bijia Optics perform to a surprisingly good level when you consider their very low price point and relatively basic level of components:

Main features include a lightweight and waterproof body with a non slip rubberized exterior armor, BK-7 glass prisms and coated objective lenses.

These Bijia binoculars deliver a high 12x magnification, 273ft wide view at 1000 yards and have fold down rubber eye-cups with 10.3mm of eye-relief.

Price: (1/6) Cheap Binoculars
BBR Ratings:
Body Quality: 6/10 58%
Above Average
Body Stats: 6/10
Optical Quality: 5/10
Optical Stats: 7/10
Image Quality 6/10
Extras & Details: 5/10

 

Levenhuk Atom 10x25 Binoculars Review

Very cheap binoculars featuring an all metal lightweight and very compact twin hinge body design, perfect for taking wherever you go.

Other features include fully coated optics, BK-7 roof prisms and a field of view that is 288 feet wide at a distance of 1000 yards.

Price: (1/6) Cheap Binoculars
BBR Ratings:
Body Quality: 6/10 58%
Above Average
Body Stats: 9/10
Optical Quality: 5/10
Optical Stats: 5/10
Image Quality 5/10
Extras & Details: 5/10

 

Levenhuk Rainbow 8x25 Binoculars Review

Available in 7 different bright colors, these low cost Levenhuk Rainbow binoculars also feature a very compact double hinge design, fully water and fog proof shell, BaK-4 roof prisms, twist-up eye-cups and multi-coated optics.

Add to this a very wide field of view, then these and their other features combine to make a compact ideal for general use, travel, hiking and especially for viewing outdoor sports like horse racing, tennis or cricket, where I can see their colors really making them stand out from the crowd. They also make great kids binoculars.

Price: (2/6) Low Cost Binoculars
BBR Ratings:
Body Quality: 6/10 63%
Very Good
Body Stats: 9/10
Optical Quality: 5/10
Optical Stats: 7/10
Image Quality 6/10
Extras & Details: 5/10

 

View >> All compact binoculars that I have reviewed