Best Compact Binoculars for Hunting
Smaller binoculars have become increasingly popular in the outdoor world over the last few years. They’re lightweight and easy to stow and are of higher quality. Because of their smaller size, compact binoculars are going to have a smaller field of view than their larger counterparts. So, you don’t want to buy a pair that is high in magnification because the stronger lenses will diminish your field of view even more so; which means there is going to be a balancing act between how small and how strong you want your binoculars to be.
What do those numbers mean?
When looking at binoculars you will see two numbers printed on them. For example, 12X25. The first number indicates the magnification power and the second number shows the lens diameter. The larger the diameter, the more light gets in. This directly affects the brightness and potential clarity of the image you are trying to view and is important when using in low-light conditions.
What power should I get?
When selecting a pair, look for something in the 8-12X range. This will give you enough detail to see what you need while simultaneously giving you a nice field of view.
One of the biggest advantages compact binoculars have is their size. They can easily fit into a pocket or a bag without much fuss. Some are no bigger than a phone and weigh only a few ounces. Think about how compact you need them to be before purchasing, because a size too big could be uncomfortable when packing and too small could affect vision.
When hunting, you need your equipment to withstand any type of weather condition. You need waterproof and shock proof equipment to withstand the tough environment you’re hunting in. Many cheap binoculars will have the power to see what you need, but if dropped in the mud once, they could be done forever. Look for something that is sealed and has an interior with some form of rubberized armor. These will be water, fog, as well as shock proof. If treated properly those are the pair that you can pass down to your kids and grandkids.
The list below includes some of the best compact binoculars for hunting and meet that balance of field of vision and magnification.
1 – Steiner Safari UltraSharp 10×26 Binoculars
Steiner has been producing binoculars for over 75 years, so it’s safe to say they know a thing or two. They produce a quality product that is both dependable and durable. These are slightly on the larger size, coming in at around 5” in length, but you get a great field of view along with a strong magnification.
They are fully rubberized, so if you’re rough on gear these are the perfect pair for you. These are also nitrogen purged so you don’t have to worry about foggy lenses. They’re also built like a brick house, but because of that can be a bit on the heavy and bulky side for a set of compact binoculars.
2 – Carson RD Series 8X26 Open-Bridge Waterproof Compact Binoculars
Carson does a great job of providing durable and dependable optics without wrecking your bank account. This pair comes equipped with an open bridge which makes them more comfortable when held around the barrels.
Slightly smaller and less powerful than the Steiner, this is a solid pair of binoculars that will get the job done in a reliable manner.
3 – Zeiss Terra ED Compact Pocket Binocular
Zeiss is best known for its high-quality imagery in their optics and these are no different. The high-tech multi-coated lenses and prism that Zeiss comes equipped with is second only to companies that make lenses for NASA. It’s truly remarkable how clear of a picture you can see from something that only has 8X magnification. These are water and fog proof, however they are not as rugged as some of the others on this list. Also, they carry quite the price tag, so be prepared to unfold the wallet to get a pair of these.
4 – Vortex Optics Raptor Porro Prism Binoculars 8.5X32
These would be considered the largest of compact binoculars. They have a strong magnification and wide lenses that let in plenty of light for a nice bright image. These are completely weatherproof and have the widest field of view of any binoculars on this list.
5 – Nikon Pro Staff 7S Compact Binocular
Nikon is considered the powerhouse in the optics industry. And for good reason. They make solid products that come in a varying range of prices and quality. And the Pro Staff series includes some of the better optics they make. Nikon has a baked-on coating added to their lenses which improves the overall quality and brightness of the image. Once this is added to their already quality glass, it becomes even better. These are water, fog, and shock proof and are very durable, high-quality binoculars that are worth the high price tag.
6 – Leupold BX-1 Compact Binoculars
Like most Leupold, these come with a high standard. And they meet it. Clear and bright images are on display when using these. They are a little long but can still fit into a pocket or bag easily. With scratch proof lenses, on top of being fog and waterproof they can stand up to just about anything that you throw at them. They are also coated with an anti-shock rubber armor which protects from any tumble they might take. Leupolds are not cheap but these are worth the money.
7 – Celestron Nature DX
Offering a great field of view, the Celestron are perfect for the novice or advanced hunter. These are rugged and will stay with you to the end when you’re out in the field. Both water and fog proof, they come equipped with attached lens covers so they will not get lost; perfect for a young hunter’s first pair. They’re equipped to mount on a tripod for those long days of sitting in a tree stand or ground blind while also working well in low light conditions. Be wary as the eye dial relief turns easily and can mess with your settings. The neck strap that comes with it is also very narrow and is uncomfortable when worn.
This completes our list of compact binoculars for hunting. For your next purchase, decide which features are important to you and select from this list for a quality pair of compact binoculars.