Best Compact Binoculars (UK) 20

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Binoculars get you closer to the action or the nature around you but not all of us want to carry around big heavy binoculars. For those of us who like to travel light, compact binoculars are a great choice. This guide covers the most important features to look for when choosing compact binoculars. We’ve also included our Top 3 Compact Binoculars for 2018.

Compact binoculars

 

Why Choose Compact Binoculars?

The advantages are quite obvious. You can permanently keep compact binoculars in your bag and take them out quickly when the opportunity arises. Compact binoculars will typically be much lighter and easier to hold and use for extended periods of time. Compact binoculars are perfect for hiking and are easy to carry single-handed while freeing up your other hand. They are also very suitable as spectator binoculars for watching sports, concerts and other events. Compact binoculars are an elegant choice for when you simply need a closer look.

What Do the Numbers Mean?

Two numbers always represent binoculars. These are magnification and lens size. So, for example, 8×21 binoculars mean 8x magnification and 21mm lenses.

What is a Good Magnification for Compact Binoculars?

High magnification binoculars allow you to see further and in more detail. The problem with high magnification though is that you will find it difficult to stabilise the image. When holding binoculars, every small shake of your hands is also magnified – this creates a shaky image. A magnification higher than 10x will usually require the use of a tripod.

Lower magnification binoculars actually have a very clear advantage. Besides having a more stable image, they also provide a wider field of view. This allows you to simply see more. Because you can see a wider area you are also able to spot and follow fast moving subjects. So when choosing compact binoculars always look for a wide field of view.

Compact binoculars will typically have a magnification of 6x to 10x. The lower magnification models will have a wider field of view.

What is the Best Lens Size?

Large lenses allow more light into the binoculars. This means that you will see brighter images, especially in poor light conditions. Large lenses also mean that your binoculars will be much bigger, bulkier and heavier. So if you don’t intend to use your binoculars at dusk or in poor light, then you don’t really need large lenses. Compact binoculars usually have small to medium sized lenses between 20mm to 36mm. These are big enough to provide a clear and bright view during daytime.

What is a Good Weight for Compact Binoculars?

One of the main considerations when choosing the best compact binoculars will be their lightweight. In general, anywhere between 200g and 500g is considered very light binoculars.

Should I Get Waterproof Compact Binoculars?

If you decide to go for waterproof binoculars, just know that there are various types of available waterproofing. A lot of vendors say that they have waterproof binoculars, but they are only protected against water. If you need good waterproofing make sure that you get compact binoculars that are nitrogen purged.

This signifies that the body has been charged with dry nitrogen gas that stops the fogging, which usually occurs when the temperatures change very quickly. This will make sure that your compact binoculars are protected from all types of water and moisture and will not fog up. This also means that the inside of your binoculars will have protection from corrosion, which will be an added benefit if you like to use them while around water.

Which Brand Should I Get?

When it comes to compact binoculars, European brands have the best optics. This is why they are also the most expensive ones. Zeiss binoculars are probably the best around if you can afford them. Prices for these average between £300 to £500. Some of our more affordable brands include Nikon, Avalon, Bushnell and others. These all offer excellent compact binoculars for every type of user. Prices range from £60 to £200 for a perfectly good pair of compact binoculars you can use for the long term.

How Much Should I Spend on Compact Binoculars?

You can buy very basic compact binoculars for as cheap as £20-£30. Russian binoculars as well as lower range models of Tasco, Barska and others. Unfortunately these will often have a distorted image – especially when using the higher magnifications. Cheap binoculars will also provide a darker, blurry image in lower light conditions. Here at Procular we believe in providing the right binoculars to the right users and at the right price. We only stock quality brand name binoculars you will love to use! You can purchase a quality pair of compact binoculars for as low as £50-£100. With optics you really do get what you pay for but we have a few outstanding choices for very affordable prices. Below is a list of our best selling compact binoculars that we believe are also the best bang for your money:

 

Our Top 3 Compact Binoculars for 2018

** Note: All 3 binoculars recommended below are suitable for eyeglasses users **

Discovery Pocket 8×21 – Just need a pair of compact binoculars? The Discovery 8×21 have a very compact folding design, lightweight (165g) and attractive price. Surprisingly these are actually very good quality binoculars! Image clarity on these is noticeably better than most compact binoculars on the market. £69 inc. free delivery

 

Avalon 8×32 Mini HD – Compact to mid-sized, lightweight binoculars (416 grams). 8x magnification, very easy to hold and stabilise single-handed. Wide 6.9 degrees view which is superb for a compact model. 100% Waterproof and fog-proof. High quality optics at an affordable price. £119 inc. free delivery

 

Zeiss Terra ED 8X25 – Looking for that extra quality and style? Designed by German manufacturer Carl Zeiss and built to perfection. Compact and ultra light (309g). Crystal clear views and detail rich high-contrast images. Our top pick for compact binoculars, for those who can afford them. £389 inc. free delivery

 

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20 Comments

  1. Hi looking for binoculars for hills to find sheep was thinking of 10×50 to save walking lot of ground to cover what you think would be best tks pj

    1. Hi PJ,

      In order to spot the sheep across the hills you will benefit from both good magnification (to see further) as well as a wide enough field of view to cover more grounds. You can either opt for 10×50 or 10×42 binoculars. They have sufficient power combined with a good FOV. We personally prefer 10×42 models as they are roof-prism binoculars vs. the 10×50’s which are normally the older style porro-prism models. They have the same power (10x) but normally have better optics. Specific binoculars which will work in your case are the Avalon 10×42 PRO HD below: https://procular.co.uk/avalon-10×42-pro-hd-binoculars-black/ or otherwise the Olympus 10×50 below: https://procular.co.uk/olympus-10×50-zoom-dps-i-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  2. Hi,

    I am looking for a compact pair of binoculars for my mums 60th birthday present. She will use them for bird watching (mostly in the garden) and to take on cruise holiday for seeing the sights. Can you recommend any please?

    1. Hi Stacey,

      We can suggest the Avalon 8×32 Mini HD Binoculars. They are compact and lightweight. They are suitable for garden birdwatching and for using on the cruise. Details below: https://procular.co.uk/avalon-8×32-mini-hd-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  3. Hi, wife & I going to British Columbia wildlife viewing & then off to Newfoundland iceberg & whale watching etc. Also at home UK we walk & like birdwatching, what would you recommend

    1. Hi Tim,

      Both the Avalon 8×32 Mini HD and the Zeiss Terra ED 8×25 binoculars reviewed above would work well for your travels, whale watching, hiking and bird watching. The Avalon 8×32 Mini HD are outstanding value, offer an excellent image quality and are perfect for these uses. You can read more about them, including a demo video, specs and customer reviews below: https://procular.co.uk/avalon-8×32-mini-hd-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  4. Dear Adam,
    I wondered if I could ask your advice on looking to purchase some binoculars. I have to inspect roofs of properties, being a building surveyor, and need a pair of lightweight binoculars to hang around my neck to carry out these inspections. I use a pair of Bausch & Lomb 10 X 50 4 shooting which are a little bit on the large and heavy side but have used a 8X 42 monocular for the inspections. However this gives me a restricted view of any roof but does allow me to zoom into the chimneys or ridge tiles. The maximum height of building we inspect is probably about 4 stories. I always believe you get what you pay for but obviously do not wish to go over the top. Could you please advise which of your binoculars you feel would be the most suitable?

    Mark Stewart-Lee
    1. Hi Mark,

      We understand that you need a good pair of binoculars which have sufficient power, a sharp image but are also relatively compact and lightweight. You will also benefit from a wider field of view in order to inspect the roofs better. A monocular, although very light and compact, does not allow a wide enough view. As you will be likely viewing during daytime, you will not need such large lenses such as your 10×50 binoculars (their full sized 50mm lenses are what make the binoculars so bulky and heavy). We believe the best choice would be the Avalon 8×32 Mini HD binoculars. These have a perfect balance between compact to mid-sized design yet still offer sharp images and a wide view. They weigh 416 grams and can easily be worn and used for long periods of time. Details below: https://procular.co.uk/avalon-8×32-mini-hd-binoculars/

      Within our higher range of optics we recommend the Zeiss Terra ED 8×25 binoculars. They are even more compact than the Avalon’s but offer an exceptionally sharp image and very comfortable design. Details below:

      https://procular.co.uk/zeiss-terra-ed-8×25-compact-binoculars/

      Both models should work well for your environment and provide clear views of the buildings up to 4-5 stories high. We hope this helps!

      Adam Murray, Procular
  5. with ordinary compact , i.e. non waterproof, are they okay in the rain and/or humiid conditions such as the amazon jungle? thanks

    1. Hi Miss Leven,

      90% of the time you will be fine with a non waterproof pair of compact binoculars. But there is a risk that water will penetrate inside the body and fog the optics from the inside. If this happens there is no way to fix the binoculars. But it is quite rare and will happen only if the binoculars get wet from heavy rain for example. To be on the safe side we would recommend something like the Avalon 8×32 Mini HD binoculars which also have a nicer image. Details below:

      https://procular.co.uk/avalon-8×32-mini-hd-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  6. Hi I’m going on safari
    Need light weight as have to carry in my pack
    But need to be able to see the lions!
    Can you help
    Thank you
    Liz x

    1. Hi Liz,

      The Avalon 8×32 binoculars recommended in the post above are lightweight and good for safari. You can carry them without their case to save on space (they are very durable and will be safe only with their attached lens covers). Details below:

      https://procular.co.uk/avalon-8×32-mini-hd-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  7. My wife works at a Marine Mammal Center and is looking for compact binoculars. She often uses these to assess seals at a distance of maybe 100-200 meters, looking for injuries. She has arthritis symptoms however, and finds that even her current ones (Minolta) are too heavy – although their 8×24 mag seems to work for her. (they weigh about 310 grams). Thanks for any advice for a lighter-weight with equivalent or better magnification (and high quality!)

    1. Hi Scott,

      We can recommend the Discovery 8×21 binoculars which are pocket size, very compact and weigh only 165 grams. They are of good optical quality and same magnification as she now has (8x). Details below:

      https://procular.co.uk/discovery-8×21-pocket-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  8. Hi
    I’m looking for a good all round use compact;
    Concert
    Sports event (baseball)
    Use on a Sailboat
    Outdoors hike/views
    Starry night?
    I know I’m asking for the lot… what’s would be your suggested best option
    Many thanks
    John

    1. Hi John,

      Both the Avalon 8×32 binoculars and the high end Zeiss 8×25 binoculars reviewed in the post above will be great for all the uses you are describing. Excluding stargazing. These two models offer a sharp image and wide enough view to follow sports, concerts or just enjoy nature views. The only downfall would be stargazing. Unfortunately compact binoculars, even the best ones on the market, are not suitable for night viewing. This is because their small lenses do not take in enough light. This results in not having enough brightness to enhance starlight at night. Stargazing/astronomy binoculars are exactly the opposite of compact ones. They are normally very large, bulky and heavy due to their large objective lenses. You can use compact binoculars to look at the moon but that’s pretty much it when it comes to nigh viewing. We hope this helps.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  9. Hi I am looking to purchase a pair of binoculars which are good for watching concerts and also for sightseeing please help tganks

    1. Hi Debora,

      We can personally recommend the Avalon 8×32 Mini HD binoculars. These are compact to medium sized binoculars. They have an excellent image quality thanks to their fully multicoated BAK-4 lenses. Their relatively lower magnification (8x) is ideal for concerts as it allows for a wider field of view which enables you to see the whole stage. They are also an excellent choice for sight seeing with enough power to enjoy your view without worrying about image stabilisation issues. They are also a good pick for watching sporting events or horse racing for the same reasons. Details of the Avalon 8×32 binoculars below: https://procular.co.uk/avalon-8×32-mini-hd-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  10. Comments: hi Last week I was at the F1 and was trying to follow the car positions on the TV scoreboard. The TV board was approx 50 meters away so could not see the car positions. So now looking to purchase a small compact pair of binoculars. What lense range should I buy 8 x 32 or smaller or larger

    1. Hi Steve,

      As the TV board is only 50 meters or so away, you will be better off with lower magnification binoculars. 8x preferably. This will allow you to see the whole screen rather than just a part of it. You can use the Discovery 8×21 which are VERY compact and lightweight. Details below:

      https://procular.co.uk/discovery-8×21-pocket-binoculars/

      Or if you need the binoculars for other uses such as travel, outdoors etc. then we can recommend the Avalon 8×32 which are also waterproof and fog-proof. They have slightly larger lenses so a better, wider view. Details below:

      https://procular.co.uk/avalon-8×32-mini-hd-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular

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