Cool and Compact: Finding the Best Small Binoculars

Binoculars come in different types and grades, but they all serve one purpose: viewing distant objects. The strength of the binoculars depends on your needs, but ultimately, any binoculars should be able to provide decent zooming in on distant objects. Although larger pairs are generally better in terms of magnification, you can still find smaller, more portable pairs that don’t sacrifice when it comes to quality.

First Choice    Nikon 8218 Trailblazer 10X25 Hunting Binoculars $ 4.6/5
Second Choice      Bushnell Powerview 7-15×25 Compact Zoom Binocular $ 4.2/5
Third Choice      Nikon 8-24×25 Compact Zoom Binocular – Black $ 4.1/5
Fourth Choice     Bushnell Powerview 10x25mm Compact Folding Roof Prism Binocular (Black) $ 4.1/5

Small binoculars are the perfect choice for hobby activities when you’re on the move and are generally easy to operate and handle. Despite the size, you should not compromise on the quality of view that your small binoculars deliver. The main considerations for small binoculars should be the ease in carrying them around without causing much inconvenience to you. Most effective models fall within the $30-$100 price range. Take a look at this list of the best small binoculars below to find some of the high achievers in this category.

Nikon Trailblazer 8218 10×25 Binoculars

 

 

Coming in at a price around $80 dollars, the Nikon Trailblazer 10×25 binoculars combine economy and performance. You will enjoy the waterproof/fog-proof light set of binoculars with anti-reflective material offering crisp viewing. They weigh about 0.9 pounds and are around 4 inches in both length and width.

Pros

  • Rubber armored body guaranteeing you good grip and handling under multiple outdoor conditions
  • Wide field of view
  • Very good performance in low light
  • Adjustable eye caps, which are friendly even to users wearing glasses
  • They fit in a normal pants pocket

Cons

  • Quite light for users with a preference for more substantial instruments
  • Lens caps attach very tightly and can sometimes pull out the adjustable eye relief caps

The quality offered by this set for its price makes the binoculars a definite buy. Also to consider is the lifetime warranty offered for this product; Nikon will repair these binoculars no matter what, even if you purchase them used. The only issue some customers have is that these feel slightly cheap because they’re so light, but that does not actually compromise the quality.

To be more interactive and to possibly add some information that is not included in our review about the Nikon Trailblazer Binoculars, here is a video slideshow review.

The video also shows addition angles of the actual appearance of the binoculars. You would see how elegant and professional looking the product is.

Olympus Tracker 10×25 Porro Prism

 

 

With prices starting at around $90, this relatively low cost is not an indication of the excellent performance you will get from the Olympus Tracker 10×25 Porro Prism. This set of binoculars meets the standard threshold for small binoculars with its lightweight compact design. Quality is evident with its built-in dioptric correction that adjusts to individual eyesight. The binoculars measure about 5 inches in both length and width and weigh a little more than half a pound.

Pros

  • Built with special optical materials to provide protection from harmful UV rays (this is very essential if you use the binoculars frequently)
  • Long eye relief and twist up/down eyecups makes these quite comfortable to use, even for a set that is used by different people during one outing
  • Possesses fully multi-coated lens, providing good image brightness and contrast along with protection from dust
  • Great for bird watching

Cons

  • Poor power-to-weight ratio
  • Included neck strap is cheap and breaks easily

The clear and crisp view achieved with these binoculars makes this set a good choice considering the price tag. These are a little larger than many other compact models, not so much that you can’t carry them in a small waist pouch or purse, but enough that they may not fit in your pockets easily.

Bushnell Powerview Compact Folding Roof Prism Binoculars

 

 

The Bushnell Powerview Binoculars do a good job of delivering the compact aspect expected of small binoculars and attract a good price tag starting at a low $30. If you happen to frequent sporting events or live concerts, you will find a true companion in these binoculars. They fold up for easy transport and are coated with rubber for easier gripping. You can get these binoculars in black or a camouflage pattern and select the lens function ranging from 8×21 magnification to 16×32 magnification.

Pros

  • Folding capabilities make them easy to carry around
  • Good power-to-weight ratio
  • Quality compact build
  • Fully coated optics for good light transmission and brightness
  • Effective in low light conditions

Cons

  • Not water- and fog-proof
  • Holes for the ocular lenses are a little small and can snag your eyelashes

The fact that you can easily carry these binoculars with you means you can use them almost anytime in your normal routine, and that is great value considering the low price you pay for them. This would be a good buy, but you might want to manage your expectations on performance because they’re a little bit cheaper.

Bushnell Powerview 7-15X25 Compact Zoom Binocular

 

 

Prices for this pair of binoculars sit at around $35, which is a decent offering for an instrument in the compact zoom category. The mid-level binoculars’ reverse-Porro design has an adjustable magnification range of 7x power to 15x power, providing a wide variety of viewing. They are suitable for animal viewing and scenic terrestrial views in particular. They weigh about 0.8 pounds.

Pros

  • Fully coated optics and Porro prisms provide bright images even for objects at a distance
  • Quality, strong build giving you the feeling of a superior instrument adding non-slip rubber armor for shock absorption
  • Insta-focus lever makes it easy for you to track movement

Cons

  • Not waterproof
  • Lack of precision engineering; the binoculars feel stiff and they can be difficult to adjust

This a fine set of binoculars with good optical quality at a competitive price and a compact size. They work best for golfing and hiking. This is a choice worth considering if you’re looking for a budget-friendly small set of binoculars, though a good improvement would be to make the zoom control a bit smoother.

Nikon ACULON 8-24×25 Compact Zoom Binoculars

 

 

This rugged-bodied pair of binoculars is built with survival outdoors in mind. The Nikon ACULON 8-24×25 Compact Zoom is a portable, pocket-sized binocular that combines good optics to offer a versatile instrument for a wide range of activities. These binoculars are priced slightly higher than the other models reviewed here at around $140. However, you may appreciate the slight difference in price after looking at the features offered by these binoculars. They have regular 8x magnification that can zoom three times for 24x magnification for razor-sharp views. The lenses have a multi-coating for added protection and the binoculars weigh about 12 ounces. They measure around 4 inches in both length and width.

Pros

  • Multiple anti-reflective compound layer that offers excellent resolution and brightness
  • Bak-4 High Index prisms offer high resolution and crisp viewing
  • Centrally located zoom control lever that makes it easy for you to change magnification power
  • Great for almost any activity except those in very low light conditions

Cons

  • Not waterproof, only water-resistant
  • Expensive

The performance of this pair of binoculars is above the normal offerings of other compact binoculars and thus should be able to make a case for its slightly higher price. It is a bit disappointing that this device is not waterproof, thus limiting usage outdoors. You would expect that a device in this price range would be fully protected against the elements. Performance otherwise is exceptional.

Summary

The binoculars reviewed here all offer value to the user, and depending on the need that you intend to meet, any of these instruments will be able to serve you well. Before making your purchase decision, be clear about what you are likely to use your binoculars for to avoid disappointment in performance or spending more for functionality that is really not necessary to you. Overall, the Nikon Trailblazer 8218 10×25 Binoculars are the best pick among the reviewed binoculars, offering a combination of performance and value for the money.

Coming in second are the Olympus Tracker 10×25 Porro Prism Compact & Lightweight Binoculars with their innovative dioptric correction that adjusts to your eyesight, coupled with UV protection. These work well in most situations, but you may find them difficult to use in low light conditions, and they’re also a bit large.

The Bushnell Powerview Compact Folding Roof Prism Binoculars come in third with their very friendly pricing and good performance proving that quality can still be achieved without overpaying. They fold up to a very compact size but are almost so small that they can be hard to see through if you’re a larger person.

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