Compact binoculars are easy to carry and can even be kept in the pockets of your jacket or pants. With today’s advanced technology binoculars are more than just devices that bring faraway images closer.
If you pick the right product you will be amazed at how great the image quality is. And how much range you can get from something that fits within the palm of your hand.
If you are interested in getting one of these compact binoculars for yourself or for a friend then read our reviews of some of the best compact binoculars under $100 on the market today.
The good news is that all the products which we reviewed are priced under $100. So you will probably find something to fit your budget.
If you are still confused about what features to look for or what a good compact binocular should offer then read our buying guide for all the information.
Our Top Pick
- Brand: Nikon
- Color: Black
- Weight: 1.6625 Pounds
- Material: Glass
- Brand: Bushnell
- Color: Black
- Material: Rubber
- Prism: Porro Prism
- Brand: VANGUARD
- Color: Black
- Material: Aluminum
- Weight: 9.9 ounces
Best Compact Binoculars Under $100
- Nikon 8245 ACULON A211 8×42 Binocular
- Bushnell Powerview Wide Angle Binocular, Porro Prism Glass BK-7
- Bushnell Powerview Compact Folding Roof Prism Binocular
- Olympus Tracker 8×25 Porro Prism Compact & Lightweight Binocular
- Vanguard Orros Compact Waterproof Binoculars
Nikon 8245 ACULON A211 8×42 Binocular
Nikon is a well-known brand that manufactures any kind of electronic device and their compact binoculars are one of the most popular ones among buyers.
The Nikon 8245 Aculon A211 is a high-quality product that is made to satisfy the needs of customers who are seeking a well built compact binocular to fit within their budget.
Even though the Aculon A211 is affordable, the features are in no way less than many high-end binoculars from other popular brands.
With a magnifying power of 8X, you can easily view far away distances in crisp and clear images without applying much pressure on your eyes.
The objective lenses measure at 42mm which is quite big and powerful as compared to the compact size of the binocular frame.
The 8x42mm zoom specification is one of the best features of this product.
To ensure a high quality of image the lenses are multicoated and carefully created to provide you with clarity and viewing comfort.
With an ergonomic design, you can adjust both the focus knob and the zooming level fast and effectively without any hassle. This means that you can also teach your children to use this product very easily.
Included eyecups provide just the amount of eye relief required by different individuals using the device. The outer frame is built with a durable non-slip material so you can keep hold of your device without worrying about dropping them or struggling to hold on to them in wet conditions.
Weighing at about 2.3 pounds, this Porro prism compact binocular is light in weight and has all the right features to provide you with hours of pleasant far away distant viewing.
- Multicoated lenses
- Higher mid-range magnification
- Ergonomic design
- Includes eyecups for better eye relief
- May not be comfortable for people who wear glasses
- Magnification power is not high enough for serious far away distant viewing in situations like hunting
Bushnell Powerview Wide Angle Binocular, Porro Prism Glass BK-7
Another big name in binocular manufacturing, Bushnell uses high-quality materials to create devices that are comfortable to the eye and easy to use by the whole family.
The Powerview is a wide angle Porro prism compact binocular with multicoated optics that ensure bright and clear images visible from a distant.
You can enjoy a field of view of 170 feet at 1000 yards which provides you with great range and quality sightseeing.
The device has the ability to enlarge an image to 20x through its superior objectives lenses that measure that 50mm. With such a large set of lenses you would expect the device to have some weight but surprisingly the makers have managed to keep this item under 2 pounds in weight.
You can now enjoy sightseeing for hours from the balcony of your room or from a high rise ground without worrying about sore arms. Even your kids can use this device to learn about their surroundings or study more about nature.
For quick and sharp focusing, the device comes with a 1 touch focus system that ensures stability and clarity in whatever you see.
Not only is the Powerview designed for greater light transmission and crystal clear picture viewing, but it is also ergonomically built to ensure that it stays firmly in place when you hold on to it. This makes it the perfect compact binocular for use in wet conditions.
- Large multicoated objective lenses
- High magnification power
- A wide range of view
- Made with non-slip rubber
- Wide angled
- InstaFocus does not really focus automatically as some buyers expected it to. The focusing needs to be done manually.
- The eyepieces may be too narrow for some
Bushnell Powerview Compact Folding Roof Prism Binocular
Our next item is the foldable model also from the Powerview series by Bushnell.
Available in a number of sizes, buyers can pick whichever magnifying power they seek according to the level of seriousness in viewing activity.
Let us take a look at the different powers which you can choose from before we get to the other specifications of the product.
You have an option to choose from 5 different power ranges- 8x21mm, 10x25mm, 10x31mm, 12x25mm and 16x31mm. Naturally, the magnifying powers go up with the lenses sizes and so does the quality of the images.
However, all the styles are equipped with the same quality build and high performing mechanism to provide users with amazing views and comfort of use.
The optics are fully coated for better light transmission and increase in brightness of images in all lighting conditions so you can look forward to using this device at any time of the day.
With Roof Prism System, the quality and range are increased to a maximum which makes this an ideal device even for those seeking to do some serious sighting over a long range of distance.
Eyecups are included for eye relief while the frame is made for easy gripping.
Unfortunately, this device is not waterproof nor is it for proof so you will have to be careful in taking it out in the rain or in harsh weather conditions.
- Roof Prism System
- Fully coated optics
- Non-slip material
- Available in various sizes
- Not waterproof/fog proof
- Some customers reported a glare in the images when they used this device in early morning or just around dusk.
Olympus Tracker 8×25 Porro Prism Compact & Lightweight Binocular
If you want to take part in sightseeing activities in style then you should consider taking a look at the Tracker Compact Binocular by Olympus.
This device is so good to look at that you will want to show it off to your friends and family every time you take it out to use.
But the sleek silver and black design isn’t the only impressive thing about this compact binocular.
It can magnify far away objects up to 8 times the original size and bring you closer to magnificent view with the help of fully multicoated optic lenses. The lenses are 25 mm and are equipped with additional materials that also provide users with protection from UV rays.
The BaK-4 prisms are intended for clarity and bright images even in poor lighting. Furthermore, this device also has a built-in dioptric correction system that automatically adjusts to the user’s eyesight.
With a 315 feet field of view at a 100 yards, you can make great discoveries at camping sites, sporting events and while out taking a stroll in the park. It is also a great item to take to concerts if you want to take a better look at your favorite artists performing.
The eye relief is long and also comes with easy to fix twist up/down eyecups that ensure comfortable viewing at all times.
With the Olympus Tracker you can easily add some glamour and style to your outdoor activities while always staying alert of your surroundings.
- Sleek and stylish design
- UV protection
- Bright and clear images
- Built-in dioptric correction adjustments possible
- Decent field of view
- Not waterproof
- Needs careful handling
- The eye pieces are set quite close so anyone with wide set eyes may find this uncomfortable
Vanguard Orros Compact Waterproof Binoculars
Our last item on the list is the Orros compact binoculars. This product is by the brand Vanguard and is designed for those seeking an optical device with advanced technology and high durability.
If you love to go fishing, kayaking or grab every opportunity you can get to run outdoors, despite the weather or environmental challenges then this might be the perfect set of binoculars for you.
It is light, compact and absolutely waterproof. For adventurous users, this compact device can prove to just want they need to double the thrills and enjoyment of nature.
Created for clear and bright image viewing, the multi-coated 25mm objective lenses will not let you down when you wish to see something in the far distance.
The Vanguard Orros come with an offset focus wheel that requires just one hand to adjust so you can have your other hand free to grab on to your drink or fishing rod if you are out fishing.
It is 100% waterproof as we mentioned earlier and also comes with a lifetime warranty from the manufacturers. The outer case is made of non-slip rubber which makes it even easier to hold and handle.
With a magnification power of 8X, you can bring far away images close for better viewing.
The field of view is 340 feet at 1000 yards with a view angle of 6.5 degrees. For comfort, the eye relief is at 12.5 mm long.
With the included pouch you can keep your valuable binocular clean and safe when not in use.
- Compact in size
- High-resolution viewing
- Strong and sturdy built
- Non-slip outer case
- Some users had issues with the focus
- The 8x magnification power may seem less for some outdoor activities
Why You Need A Binocular?
There is a lot to explore out in nature and if you are one of those who enjoy spending time outdoors then there are some things which you should always keep with you to ensure that you don’t miss out on anything.
Whether you are camping with family, hiking with your friends or just playing detective, a binocular could always come in handy.
It is a great device which you can use for safety reasons when you have to keep an eye on the surrounding area or check out something in the far distance.
But often while trying to keep our baggage light we tend to leave out many essential items and if the binocular which we own is big or heavy it is the first one we toss out.
However, binocular does not always have to be bulky or take up much space in your backpack or luggage. These days there are many models available on the market that have all the features of a standard binocular but come in compact frames.
Compact Binocular Buying Guide
If you want to be able to choose the best model of compact binocular wisely and without leaving doubt in your mind then we recommend reading about the factors which should be considered before purchase. It is best you spend some time collecting these details now. So that you don’t end up with a piece of an item which does not provide you with satisfying results.
There are two types of binoculars- Porro Prism and Roof Prism Binoculars.
Porro Prism Binoculars are the most common types of compact binoculars and are usually much more affordable than Roof Prism Binoculars.
The main difference is in the way light passes from the objective lenses to the eyepiece.
With Porro prism binoculars you will notice a wide center and narrow eyepieces. They fit more snugly around your eyes and can be adjusted to fit around your face for better viewing.
However, the light path is not straight as it takes a sidewise angle as it passes through the zigzag prism, whereas with the Roof Prism the light path is straight. This factor makes the Roof Prism Binocular have a more powerful and clearer viewing.
In terms of price, porro prisms are usually cheaper. But if you want something more powerful for some serious far away image viewing then you should go for Roof binoculars.
Why do we use binoculars in the first place? We use binoculars because we want to see far away images clearer and better. An optical instrument, binoculars help us view distant objects with the help of an optical lens. But these lenses are not just any lens. They come with magnification power that enlarges objects and makes them easier for us to see.
When buying a compact binocular you will most likely come across certain numbers that explain the specifications of the product. If the binocular you are interested in comes with a set of a number like 10X42 then know that the first number tells you about the maximum amount of magnification you can expect from the device and the second number states the size of the objective lens which is measured in mm.
Bigger binoculars may have higher magnification power. But the lenses on them will be much bigger and heavier too which will result in increased weight all over. Compact binoculars usually come with 8x-10x magnification which is pretty decent considering their small built.
3. Objective Lens
These are probably the most important components on your binoculars because all the magic happens through them. The better quality lenses are, the better images you will be able to see.
The size also matters here because light travels better through bigger lenses, resulting in brighter object viewing. But bigger lenses equal to more weight which really isn’t what you want when traveling light.
While bigger binoculars may perform better in low light due to the large lenses. These days manufacturing companies are doing great jobs in making compact binoculars with smaller but high-quality lenses to bring up image and usage quality.
4. Field of View
After magnification, the second most important feature on a compact binocular in our opinion is the Field of View. This describes the total area which you will be able to view when you look through your binoculars at a certain distance.
Usually measured over 1000 yards, binoculars have a greater Field of View than rifle scopes. This is particularly crucial when sighting an area for study purpose, following a target you would want to aim during hunting or just for nature exploring.
Once again the objective lenses play a role in the Field of View but the design, size and shape of the binoculars also determine this factor.
Compact binoculars, although smaller in size, can offer decent Field of View if you can find the right model.
5. Eye Relief
This refers to how much distance you can maintain between your eyes and the eyepiece of the binocular.
A well made compact binocular with accurate eye relief will enable you to view a wider area without having to place the device too close your eyes.
People wearing glasses should check this out particularly because the glasses will increase the distance and if your compact binocular hasn’t had an eye relief of at least 15-16mm then the Field of View may be affected. A long eye relief means comfortable viewing without compromising on image quality.
Moreover, if your compact binoculars come with adjustable eyecups then you can enjoy using them however you want.
Binoculars, in general, are made for the outdoors and a well-constructed one should be able to withstand harsh weather conditions.
If you are worried about your binocular getting wet or all fogged up then you are probably looking at the wrong product and need to get yourself something that is more durable.
A binocular should be both waterproof and fog proof. Manufacturers can make a binocular resistant to bad weather and environmental changes by sealing it completely. This stops any outside substances from entering the device and causing harm to the mechanism inside.
Our post today is about compact binoculars. So it all comes down to products that are smaller in size and lighter in weight- hence portable.
But while we were doing our research on compact binoculars, we came across quite a few models that were categorized under ‘compact binoculars’ but not exactly lightweight. Many buyers tend to see the size but forget to check the weight because a heavy object is in no way portable.
If you plan to use your binoculars for a long time or even hand it over to your child to do some exploring then you must consider the size and weight of your device to eliminate or at least reduce user fatigue.
Brands are important when picking the right product for your needs because they tend to be long lasting and come in a lot of variety. Good brands such as Bushnell, Nikon, and Vanguard all offer their customers with products that are not only well made but also available in a wide range of prices.
When you can now afford to get a good branded compact binocular within your budget then we see no reason why you should go for no name or cheaply made items.
Benefits of a Compact Binocular
The title says it all. Its compact, hence it practically fits anywhere!
Compact binoculars are easy to carry and travel with due to their small size and lightweight. Most compact binoculars also come with their own branded pouch or carrying-bag. Therefore the user does not necessarily require purchasing an extra pouch for the binocular itself.
View far away images without moving from your location as you can quite easily zoom in and out with your compact binocular. And if you are concerned that magnifying the view may distort the quality of the image being produced, read on to get reassurance about that too!
Clearer and brighter images
With advanced technology now infused into budget-friendly compact binoculars, you can now get clearer and brighter images, with or without extra magnification. This gives you the ability to use your binocular in any setting, regardless of low light or bright and with any distance set.
Be it during hunting season or simple camping trips, it is never a bad idea to be safe than sorry. Especially if you know you are going to be in situations where you cannot control the outcome.
But that does not mean you need to take military standard binoculars and cameras along with you to spot the dangers lurking nearby.
A simple compact binocular can easily provide you the same assistance, minus the additional carrying space and weight as well.
All our products listed in this article for you are very budget friendly but of great quality. Sometimes, we assume low/medium priced products to be of the quality that is not necessarily the best of its kind. But all the products we have summed up for you here are genuinely great quality ones. That could easily manage to give their high budgeted counterparts a good run for their money.
Easy to use
Most binoculars or products meant for safety and hunting you will come across tend to have really hard and confusing functions which can take up a lot of unnecessary time to learn and master. But that is not the case with compact binoculars.
Compact binoculars are made with the thought that a child could also manage to use it. Hence, it is naturally a piece of cake for adults. All functions and assistance modes are easy to interpret and handle without too much hassle, for both adults and children.
Even though the word “compact” may drive away some parents from purchasing this product due to having small children around the house, rest assured that you will not have to worry about child hazard if you buy a compact binocular.
Yes, it is comparatively smaller than most general binoculars, but it is not necessarily a miniature version of it. And neither does a compact binocular have additional parts and pieces that could be hazardous to infants.
Keeping the price range in mind, some may assume a budget-friendly product to have parts that aren’t necessarily of great quality. But that isn’t the case here either, for our compact binoculars do not have flimsy parts so rest assured they won’t fall off suddenly.
Most of our compact binoculars are highly fog and waterproof. Hence also keeping the exterior and interior of the compact binocular safe and durable.
The fog proofing is a great feature for those who are into hunting during foggy winter mornings. Or under the scorching heat where the lenses can easily fog up due to high humidity. And the waterproofing is pretty self-explanatory.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is a binocular made to be fog proof?
Fog proofing means to ensure that the lens or screen of a product doesn’t collect moisture so as to keep the surface smooth and dry. Similar to fog proofing a rifle scope, all the internal air inside a binocular is replaced with nitrogen gas that easily prevents the internal glass from fogging up.
How can I clean my binocular?
The most common mistake people make while cleaning their binocular is rubbing the lens too hard, which is the wrong method since it destroys the quality of the lens.
Instead of using force, lightly blow off remaining debris from the binocular first, using a soft lent free or preferably a camera lens cloth to clean the exterior glass and exterior body with mild lens cleaner or alcohol afterward. If you are a first timer, it is recommended you read the user guide or manufacturer provided glossary first.
Why should I choose a binocular over a riflescope?
In simple terms, a binocular and a riflescope, both are products you can use to spot objects in the distant, things which you cannot easily spot with the naked eye.
Since they give the same service, why should I opt for one over the other, right? Well, a riflescope for starters is something that is a supplementary product for rifles. If you aren’t hunting or don’t have a rifle, then it is of no use to you.
A binocular though, you can use it without any supplementary good, as it is the main product on its own. Not to mention, a binocular is also much cheaper and versatile than a riflescope, which in turn always requires a rifle to go with, hence double the price.
What are good brand names for binoculars?
Diving into the binocular market, you are sure to discover a whole lot of brands that claim the best quality and service.
However, we have also put together a list of the producers we highly recommend to everyone interested in binoculars, compact or not. From the top of the list, the best of the best are binoculars by Bushnell, Olympus, Vanguard, and Nikon.
These four brands have earned good customer reputation over the years consistently. Their products are not only visually pleasing and of high quality, but also very budget friendly and child safe products. Anyone of any age range can easily find comfort in their products.
We hope by now you can easily differentiate between several models of compact binoculars. Also understand the importance of each feature that makes this product.
If you want to travel light then this is the perfect item for you where you get great quality visuals and convenience from one device.
By considering our reviews and following our buying guide you should be able to pick the best compact binocular for your needs.