How to Choose a Monocular (UK) 58

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Owning a monocular is a great alternative to carrying a pair of binoculars. Being only half the size of binoculars it is significantly more compact, light and portable. The following guide talks about how to choose the best monocular for your budget and needs.


What is a Good Monocular Power?

The first thing to look at when choosing a monocular is its power or magnification. A monocular will typically have a magnification of 6x to 10x – higher magnification will allow you to see further and in more detail. 9x or 10x monoculars will usually cost a bit more than 6x or 8x ones. The good thing about a monocular is that you get the same power of binoculars with only half of their size.

What is the Right Lens Size?

If you look at a monocular’s specs, you will always see two numbers. For example, 8×25. The first number represents its power (8x) and the second number its lens size (25mm).

A monocular will normally have a lens of 20mm to 42mm. A bigger lens will allow you to see a wider view. A bigger lens will also result in a better, brighter image when looking through your monocular. The downside is that the bigger the lens is, the heavier and bulkier your monocular will be.

Monocular Size and Weight

In general, an 8×25 or 10×25 monocular is considered to be a compact/pocket monocular. It will easily fit in your pocket and be very portable. This type of monocular will usually come with a small carrying bag. The pocket monocular works as a cool gadget as it’s easy to carry around everywhere, keep in your car or in your pocket when hiking. Pocket monoculars are cheaper and can also serve as a nice gift to someone.

Remember not to expect too much performance from an 8×25 or 10×25 pocket monocular though! These little monoculars have good power but a very limited view because of their small lens. You will need to first identify your subject and then use the monocular in a “point and shoot” manner. They can also be difficult to use due to their very small eyecup. If you want to enjoy a wider, sharper and brighter image, then you should always opt for a 30mm to 42mm monocular.

Monocular vs. Spotting Scope

A monocular is designed to be very compact and portable. Larger monoculars with more power, bigger lenses and wider views are called spotting scopes. A spotting scope will be significantly bigger and heavier than a monocular. These are often used for hunting, bird watching or spotting subjects from a fixed location. So if you need better performance and don’t mind the size or weight, then you should consider getting a spotting scope.

Our Best All-Around Monocular for 2021

Avalon’s 10×42 WP Monocular has the perfect balance between performance, size and weight. This is not your usual pocket monocular. This is a relatively compact monocular but still allows you to enjoy the power and wide view of a full sized binocular.

At only 320 grams it is very lightweight and can fit in your jacket pocket. The Avalon 10×42 WP Monocular features fully multicoated lenses and provides a high quality image even in low light. It is also 100% waterproof and fog-proof. The rubber armoured body makes this monocular durable and easy to grip.

Another great feature of the Avalon 10×42 WP Monocular is its long eye relief. This means it can be used with or without glasses. You can also twist the eyecup to adjust it for your eye sight. £149 inc. free delivery

Show me all the other monoculars


  1. I visit old Churches. Which monocular would you recommend for viewing high up details on ceilings and walls

    Patrick Barrett
  2. Compact monocular / spotting scopes.
    The advertising suggests the monocular has a zoom magnification like a spotting scope?
    However the specification of a monocular is two numbers and not three?

    1. Hi David, the handheld monocular has a fixed magnification (10x) but can be used for both short and long distance viewing by adjusting its focus wheel.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  3. Hi I’m wanting to buy my father a monocular to look at the moon but I’m unsure about which one I would need, there are so many different size lenses ( I’m confused).

  4. Hi, What can you recommend for looking over the channel, from 200m up a cliff,how far will I see?
    The clock in Calais ?

    1. Hi Mary,

      To see clearly and in good detail from 200m you don’t need too much magnification. Especially looking up a cliff, it is advised not to use high powered optics as it will be difficult to hold and stabilise the image. You can use any 8×42 or 10×42 binoculars (see our buyer guide for choosing bird watching binoculars for specific models) or otherwise if you are viewing with only a single eye then the monocular recommended in the post above.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  5. A friend of mine has the Avalon 10×42 monocle which looks ideal for my purposes but I wish to use it in conjunction with my iPhone which I keep in a leather protective case. Do you have a attachment for this monocle that will allow quick and easy attachment without the need to remove the phone from it’s case as holding them together and trying to take a pic at the same time is virtually impossible?

    Andy Nation
    1. Hi Andy,

      We have an adapter to connect an iPhone (or any other mobile) to the Avalon monocular. Unfortunately it uses an air tight mechanism so you can only attach to the iPhone if the leather case is removed. It will attach to a plastic or metal case though. Details of the adapter below:

      Adam Murray, Procular
  6. Hi, my dad is going on safari, and thought I would be nice for me to buy him a monocular. Which would you recommend?

    1. Hi Sarah,

      The Avalon 10×42 WP Monocular reviewed in the post above is a perfect choice for safari. It is compact, waterproof and lightweight to take along. It has good magnification and very sharp optics for its price. Details below:×42-wp-monocular/ — As far as handheld monoculars go this would be the ideal choice for safari and any type of outdoor viewing. Otherwise, he can use binoculars. Here’s a guide on choosing the best binoculars for safari:

      Adam Murray, Procular
  7. What would you recommend for surveying 2 and 3 storey pitched roofs and in particular church spires up to 200ft in height?

    1. Hi John,

      Thank you for your comment. Could you please let us know what distance you’ll be viewing from and if you have a preference for binoculars or a monocular so we can assist you better? Also will you be OK using a tripod for viewing or do you prefer a hand held monocular/binoculars?

      Adam Murray, Procular
  8. Hi Adam,

    This is Jan partner paralysed left side. Want a good light not to big, Long distance. Don’t know monocular Or binoculars . Any advise?

    Jan Harrison
    1. Hi Jan,

      It would be safer to get him the monocular (see details above) as it is designed for use single handed and with only one eye. The Avalon 10×42 WP works well for both short and long distance viewing, so all he has to do is adjust the central focus wheel according to the distance. It is very easy to use with only the right or the left hand and only the right/left eye. We often get positive feedback on this monocular and the ease of using it.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  9. Hey I need a monocular to look at small number digits in a 3rd level rack in a warehouse as I have bad eye vision for seeing long distance, is the lense clear enough to read when zoomed in ??

    Darryl Puiri
    1. Hi Darryl,

      Yes, the Avalon 10×42 WP Monocular reviewed above would work well for seeing small numbers on the 3rd level racks. You will need to be at least 4-5 meters away in order to achieve perfect focus.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  10. hi I need a monocular by which I can see and know the man from about 5/km distance.

    1. Hi Gulbar,

      As you are watching from such a long distance and need to identify the person, we recommend a very high magnification monocular. The Yukon 30×50 “pirate style” monocular will work well in your case. Being a handheld model it is not easy to stabilise but will allow you to see enough detail to spot and recognise your subject from 5Km. Details below:×50-straight-spotting-scope/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  11. Hi Adam

    I’d be grateful if you could give me some advice please. I am undertaking a 400 odd mile walk later this year and want to take something that will allow me to view the surrounding countryside and points of interest. I will be carrying everything so my need is for something that is lightweight and compact but still offers decent magnification and field of vision. What can you suggest ?

    Thanks, Nick

    1. Hi Nick,

      As size and weight are important in your case, there are two options which you can go with. Either a handheld monocular or compact binoculars. The Avalon 10×42 WP monocular reviewed in the post above would be our #1 choice as far as monoculars go. It is small enough to carry anywhere, can be used single handed and most importantly produce sharp, bright images. It is a lightweight product and also waterproof and fog-proof. So far our customers have highly regarded it as a travel companion. More details below :×42-wp-monocular/

      Note that the only downfall to this product, being a monocular, is that you don’t get as wide view as you would with binoculars. So you will need to locate your subject first and then point the monocular at it. If you are more interested in landscape viewing then compact binoculars will serve you better. They have a wider view for “scanning an area” rather than viewing a specific subject. Compact binoculars that will suit your requirements would be the Bushnell 10×25 H2O Compact Binoculars which are very small and even lighter than the Avalon monocular! You can read more about them, including video specs and customer reviews here:×25-h2o-compact-binocular/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  12. Hello, looking for a high performance monocular for bird and wildlife spotting and I wanted to ask your advice what is best. I have noticed your Avalon 10×42 and Bushnells 10X42 what would be your choice be and what would you recommend? How do the above models stack up against the Leica, Zeiss and Swarovski, besides ££££’s?

    1. Hi Ashley,

      There is not a great deal of difference between the Avalon 10×42 and the Bushnell Legend 10×42 monocular, besides price. So we definitely favour the Avalon monocular. It features good quality optics and a very comfortable design. Regarding Zeiss, Leica and Swarovski – we don’t have personal experience with their monoculars so can’t give an honest comparison here (do they even make a similar 10×42 monocular model?). Judging by their binoculars, we can only assume they have even sharper optics but are on a completely different price range. The Avalon 10×42 WP monocular reviewed above is an excellent monocular for a very good price, but overall if your main use is to spot birds and wildlife, you will be better off with binoculars. The wider view when using binoculars is significantly better for spotting your subjects. If size and weight are an issue you can opt for compact binoculars. Avalon has the 8×32 Mini HD for example:×32-mini-hd-binoculars/ which are fantastic. An even smaller model is the Zeiss Terra ED 8×25 which are excellent too but pricy:×25-compact-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  13. I am visually impaired and looking for a monocular to read the chalk board in class. I sit close to the front of the class but still can’t see what the teacher writes. Do you have any suggestions for a good power, it will be used mostly for inside use only.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Valerie,

      The Avalon 10×42 monocular reviewed in this post will be very suitable for reading the chalk board in class. You can test a-bit to see which eye will work best and adjust the twistable eyecup as well. This will make sure you are getting the best possible image on every use. The lightweight and single handed operation of this monocular is also very handy for prolong viewing. The only downside is that you’ll need to sit at least 3 to 4 meters away from the chalk board in order to achieve a focused image. Critical. But this is the same requirement with any other monocular or binoculars. The Avalon 10×42 actually outperforms other models in this sense as you can be only 3-4 meters close to your subject and still focus perfectly. Details of the monocular below:×42-wp-monocular/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  14. I am registered as partially sighted. I cannot read street signs if at elevated heights. Also wall mounted menus and small supermarket price labels cause me some problems. Usually I use a 4x magnifier, but was wondering if a small monocular device would overcome some of my difficulties.
    I was thinking of a device which would fit in the palm of my hand.
    is such a device available/practical?

    bryn colleypriest
    1. Hi Bryn,

      Thank you for your message. We understand completely. To view street signs and wall mounted menus you can definitely use the Avalon WP Monocular which is reviewed in our post above. It fits in your hand and is quite easy to carry around. One comment though, you will need to stand at least 10-12 feet away from the sign to be able to focus on it. This is because the monocular is also designed for longer distances and has a minimum focusing distance. But basically if you take a few step back and are pointing the monocular upwards this will be sufficient distance.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  15. Hi,

    What monocular would you recommend for looking very closely at art work to see brush strokes etc. in a gallery space where you may be between 1-3 metres away from the work? Could you also provide the size and weight of your recommendation and does wearing glasses affect the choice? I need glasses for reading. Thanks

    1. Hi Chris,

      All of our monoculars, and monoculars in general, have a minimum focus range of 4 to 5 meters. This is because of their high magnification and designed to be used from longer distances. If you can stand 4 meters away from the art we recommend the Avalon 10×42 monocular. It has a very good image quality and can be used to see small detail while viewing the art. You will need to stand 3.5-4 meters away from it though. The monocular can be used either with or without glasses but as you only use reading glasses you will find it better to use the monocular without your glasses. The monocular already magnifies and enhances the image, eliminating the need for eyeglasses. You can read more about the Avalon 10×42 WP monocular here:×42-wp-monocular/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  16. I am looking for a monocular for sailing – I have digital binoculars but want something more compact but with good magnification for distance

    1. Hi Miles,

      If you will be using the monocular while sailing you need to get no more than 7x or 8x magnification. Any stronger than that is simply impossible to hold stable over the waters. Remember that every shake of the boat is also magnified as much as the image is. You should also opt for a waterproof and fog-proof model to prevent moisture coming into the device. We like the Vortex Solo 8×36 monocular, it is compact, durable and features high quality optics. It should work well for sailing. Details below:×36-monocular/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  17. Can you attach a digital camera to a monocular as you could possibly with binoculars ?

    1. Hi Chris,

      You can attach a digital camera or even a mobile phone to a monocular. These adapters are designed to be attached to a single eye-piece anyways so no problem. You can though attach these adapters to a spotting scope which is a larger monocular mounted on a tripod. We hope this makes sense.

      The adapters to use with any monocular, binoculars or spotting scope are listed here:

      Adam Murray, Procular
  18. I am trying to find a suitable monocular for watching wildlife in our garden at night, in low light, could you suggest something suitable please.

    Bill Sturch
    1. Hi Bill,

      The Avalon 10×42 WP monocular reviewed above has good brightness for use in low light. It is suitable for bird watching in the garden although binoculars will always do a better job for this than a monocular.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  19. Hi
    I’d be grateful for your advice, please. I want to buy my husband something stronger than the binoculars we use to see the view from our window. It overlooks the sea and we are often trying to work out what kind of ships are on the horizon. I think, from the research I’ve done so far, that we’d be best off with a spotting scope. I think I would prefer a straight scope – assuming this is ok for hand held use. I only have £100 – £150 to spend. If you have one you recommend, that would be brilliant. Thanks very much 🙂

    1. Hi Ali,

      Yes, a spotting scope would be the ideal tool in your case. Spotting scopes have plenty of power (magnification) so you can spot more details from greater distances. This will allow you to identify the type of ships you are viewing and even see the people onboard! A good affordable spotting scope is the National Geographic 20-60×60 below:×60-spotting-scope/ It comes with a small table-top tripod. It uses an angled eyepiece but since it is mounted quite low (with the included tripod) it works great from either an elevated platform looking down as well as for looking straight ahead at the horizon.

      Adam Murray, Procular
      1. Hi Adam
        Thanks very much for the advice. I have ordered one and looking forward to ‘sharing’ it with hubby!

  20. Hi there,
    I shoot in a wheelchair with elevating leg rests. I shoot up to 80y and can’t use a normal spotting scope with tripod because of my legs getting in the way. I currently have a Barr & Stroud 10×50 monocular, which struggles to see my arrows as opposed to other people’s. Can you suggest something which might be good? I like the look of the Yukon Scout 30×50 but would it cope with what I want to look at?
    Thanks for your help,

    1. Hi Jane,

      Yes, the Yukon 30×50 spotting scope would be ideal for spotting the arrows while sitting in the wheel chair (no tripod). We cannot think of a better option as the rest of the spotting scopes use a tripod. But the Yukon 30×50 is very powerful (30x magnification) and should definitely do the job! Details below:×50-straight-spotting-scope/

  21. Hi, I love to watch birds and wildlife, but due to focusing issues cannot use binoculars. I’ve been looking at monoculars and spotting scopes instead. I wear glasses and this puts another barrier in the way. Without my glasses my vision is quite poor and I assume I’d need a higher magnification? Is it possible to get a scope that is suitable for use with glasses? Due to disabilities I can’t hold much weight in my hands, so would be looking at using tripods: a small one for sitting on windowsills etc and a tall one I can use outdoors while sat in my wheelchair. Can you give me some pointers in the right direction please? Thanks

    1. Hi Sheryl,

      It is likely that you are experiencing focusing issues with binoculars if one eye has a very different ability / impairment than the other. This is a common case. You will probably be better off with a monocular or spotting scope as you will be able to view birds and wildlife with only your better eye, right or left. The optics of the monocular or scope already enhances and magnifies the image and therefore makes up for any far-to-near or near-to-far vision impairments. So you will be able to achieve a magnified image without the need for glasses. You can also try using the scope with glasses by twisting down its eye-cup to enable a better eye-relief.

      Regarding specific models that will work, we can recommend the Avalon 10×42 WP monocular as a small handheld one. It only weighs 320 grams and features a twist-down eye-cup and long eye-relief. You can use it with your glasses on or without them if you wish. Details of the monocular below:×42-wp-monocular/

      Regarding a larger one (spotting scope) to be used with a tripod, we have several options. A good all-around model that can be taken out to the field and used for watching wildlife would be the Avalon 80mm spotting scope below:

      You will need to mount it on a tripod. It has an angled eye-piece so will work best for viewing while sat on a wheelchair. This is because you can adjust the tripod height to your wheelchair and then stair down at the eye-piece rather than looking straight ahead. Many bird watchers prefer this method as they can also point the spotting scope upwards more easily in order to spot birds on trees or in flight. You can mount this spotting scope on any photographic tripod. We also have the Avalon Universal PRO tripod for sale which works with the Avalon 80mm spotting scope. Details of the tripod below:

      Adam Murray, Procular
  22. I am visually impaired & have used a monocular to watch TV for years now. I need a new one, I’m not sure what to choose as we have a 40″ screen & sit approx 3m away on the sofa but I can only see part of the screen with my old one.

    1. Hi Ann,

      We have a few monoculars but the only one that would work in your case is the Vortex Solo 8×36 monocular. It has 8x power and wide angle (7.5 degrees). It has a field of view of 131m @ 1000m which is nice and wide for a monocular. The only downside is that it needs to be 4.9 meters away from the TV in order to focus. So you will need to sit 5 meters away from the TV if this is possible. Details of the Vortex Solo 8×36 monocular below:×36-monocular/

      Unfortunately all our other 8x monoculars are the same – minimum focus range 4.9m or over. If you can sit 5 meters away then we suggest you order and try out this monocular. If you find it unsuitable we’ll be happy to accept the return. Just make sure you keep the box and all accessories in new condition.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  23. Hi, I was looking on your website to buy a monocular. I have one already and I’m new to use these the one i have says on it 30×52 . 100m/8000m. Can you tell me is this a starter one and is there more powerful ones on your site ? Many thanks

    1. Hi Kevin,

      Yes, this sounds like a very basic monocular. If you are after an advanced one we suggest looking into a spotting scope. A spotting scope is a compact version of a telescope but is designed for daytime viewing. It is basically a monocular mounted on either a small or a full size tripod. You can read our buyer guide below which explains everything about choosing a good spotting scope:

      Alternatively if you are only after a compact handheld monocular then 10x power is the most recommended one (more than that is too difficult to stabilise). We can recommend the Avalon 10×42 compact monocular reviewed in the post above. Details below:×42-wp-monocular/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  24. i am looking at the Avalon 10 x 42 monucular and was wondering how far you can see with this. Thanks

    1. Hi Adrienne,

      In general, with the Avalon 10×42 monocular you can spot good detail from up to 1 mile. With optics, same as with our human eye, you can use the device to view from any distance. So its more of how wide your view is, i.e. how much area you can see from a distance. With this monocular for example, from 1000 yards you can see an area that is 293 fee wide.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  25. Hello there. I am wanting to get a great quality monocular, for my husband. He is a mountaineer/climber and needs one that is good for this kind of thing. I am a total newbie and I can’t ask him, as it is a birthday present and a surprise. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so very much

    1. Hi Katie,

      For professionals and for use in extreme conditions we can recommend the Bushnell 10×42 Legend HD Monocular. This is also the best model we stock. It offers good power, high durability, waterproof, fog-proof and an outstanding image quality. Details below:×42-legend-hd-monocular/

      Alternatively if you are after a more compact monocular we can recommend the Avalon 10×42 reviewed above. This is a smaller size monocular but is also waterproof and fogproof and of excellent quality. A very popular choice for general use. Details below:×42-wp-monocular/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  26. Hi, I was hoping for some advice on a monocular as a gift for two girls aged, 8 and 4. I want something robust, easy to use and appropriate for basic viewing, bush walking, camping etc. I’ve been looking at the bushnell 8×32 wide angle. which seems to appropriate and in the right right price range but this is all very new to me. I’s appreciate your opinion. Thanks

    1. Hi Jo,

      We find that the very small monoculars such as the Bushnell 8×32 are too difficult to use. Although their small size and attractive price they can often be nearly useless.. Especially for children. The reason is that the eye-piece and lens are too small to look through and to achieve a focused image. The view is also too narrow so the viewer finds it impossible to actually see anything. This gets even worst if you are trying to follow a moving subject.

      We recommend getting a slightly larger monocular with a wider field of view. It will make it MUCH easier for the girls to point it in the right direction and achieve a clear image. If you need a compact one to carry to tripos etc. we recommend the Avalon 10×42 WP monocular below:×42-wp-monocular/

      Otherwise, if you want one with more magnification, to look at the moon & stars for example, we have a good pirate style scope. It is popular with children 5 to 12. Details below:×50-straight-spotting-scope/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  27. Comments: Can you please tell me would your Avalon WP 10×42 be suitable for boys aged 12 -15 and would they be able to look at the sky as well as animals. Thank you

    1. Hi Vivienne,

      Yes, the Avalon 10×42 WP monocular is suitable for boys aged 12-15. They can use it to look at animals but for sky-watching they might be better off with a larger monocular. We have the Yukon 30×50 spotting scope which is a foldable “pirate style” scope that is very poplar with boys that age!

      It has better power (30x) and a larger lens for better viewing of the moon and stars. It can also be used to see animals and for general viewing. Details below:×50-straight-spotting-scope/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  28. I have enjoyed the convenience of a very basic Visionary monocular but thought I might upgrade to one with greater viewing power. I’ve come across zoom monoculars in their current range & wonder if this facility would be useful or does it detract from the distance magnification? I look forward to hearing from you.

    1. Hi Rita,

      We don’t have experience with the “Visionary” brand so unfortunately so we are not in a position to give a review on their monoculars. What we can suggest though is to always pick one that’s 30mm to 42mm in diameter because the smaller models (8×21, 8×25, 10×25 etc.) are both hard to use and don’t provide a wide enough field of view. If you do pick a very compact one then make sure it is from a reputable optics brand. We personally like the Avalon 10×42 reviewed above and the Vortex monoculars also available here on Procular. We used to stock a-lot more monoculars by other brands. They were all compact but most of them didn’t have the proper performance and ease of use. So now we focus on the higher range ones and recommend slightly larger lenses (30mm, 32mm or 42mm are all good sizes).

      Adam Murray, Procular
  29. I am not able to use binoculars as my eyes do not focus – so use a monocular. I am now of an age that I cannot read the surtitles at various venues and even although I have several monoculars, none of them are now really providing me with this important service I need to make performances in the opera house/concert hall/and captioning in the theatre more rewarding – I cannot afford to sit in seats at the front of a venue! I have a Minox Macroscope MS 8×25/a Minox MD 6×16/a Bresser Sprint 10×25/and an unknown make 7×18 bought over time. Reading your advice about power/lense size – and my need to use to monocular discretely, would the size of the Bushnell’s 9×32 Bear Grylls monocular offer me an advantage. It is only by actually using in situ the one’s I already have, that I find out if they serve the purpose and some have not! I should really welcome advice please. Thank you. Janet

    1. Hi Janet,

      From the models you mentioned above we only have experience with the Bresser Sprint 10×25. But we know for sure that 8×25 or 10×25 can be quite useless for many viewers. The #1 reason is the lens size. 25mm works with compact binoculars because there are 2 barrels. But with a single barrel (monocular) we find that you need a larger lens to achieve a wide enough view. You will notice a significantly better view with the Bushnell Bear Grylls 9×32 simply because it has a larger lens and therefore wider field of view. Our other option would be an even larger monocular such as the Vortex 10×36 (×36-monocular/), but this model will not be as discrete for use at the Opera. If you like you are welcome to order the Bushnell 9×32 to test it out quickly. Simply keep it in its original packaging in case you wish to return it. But it will defiantly be an improvement over any 8×25 or 10×25 monocular.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  30. Hi Rani,

    Binoculars usually have a fixed magnification, for example 10x or 20x. Spotting scopes (monoculars) normally have variable magnification. So 20-60x for example means 20x to 60x magnification. This means you can adjust the magnification when viewing. Just like you would do with a photographic camera or video camera.

    Adam Murray, Procular

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