Pocket Binoculars: Quick & Simple Buying Guide

Let me say this outright: even the best pocket binoculars cannot compete with full-sized models in terms of optical quality.

A pocket-sized binocular is inevitably a compromise.

So if you want a pair of binos that fit into your pocket, but gives you the best possible viewing experience for the size, you need to look for certain features won’t let you down when it comes to actually viewing things with them.

It must have:

  • adequate size: do measure your pocket or wherever you want to carry them.
  • a magnification of 8 or 10 (not more!) and objective lens diameter 28 or less.
  • a wide field of view for comfortable viewing.
  • adjustable focus and interpupillary distance settings so that you can change them with ease.
  • high index prism for bright images.
  • an eye-relief of 15mm and more for people with glasses.

Also, it must be lightweight in order to carry it around with ease and being waterproof, fogproof and shock resistant would make them ideal for the outdoors.

Let us take a look at some of the best compact pocket binoculars available in 2020:

The Trusted Brand:

Everyone knows that Nikon has established itself as a benchmark in the domain of precision optics and produced by the same brand, this waterproof and fogproof binocular comes with an armor of black rubber which provides a sturdy grip, making it durable and great for outdoor use.

Being compact and lightweight, it can be tucked in the jacket pocket without feeling any sort of discomfort.

Instant focus makes it an excellent birding binocular while watching the frequently moving birds and also while hunting small game.

The high index BAK4 roof prism offers sharp and high-resolution images. With an eye relief is 18mm, it comes handy for people who wear glasses (16mm or more is recommended).

However, a major disadvantage of these is that they do not function very well when the light is low or during night time. Also, at the magnification of 10x the field of view is too small, dim and the alignment is shaky.

Another drawback is that these do not come with a tripod attachment.

The storage case is useful during travel but not suitable during frequent use because the bino must be folded. Also, the individual cover caps cause a tad inconvenience and are likely to be lost.

This is the best compact travel binocular if you wish to use it for birding, hunting or enjoying sights of nature on a vacation during daytime. Amazon.com offers this lightweight mini binocular at a fairly decent price.

The MVP in the Binocular Game:

An amazing choice among the list of small binoculars, this one leads the others on account of the sheer advantages that it offers at an extremely affordable price.

The lightweight binocular is not only easy to carry around but its multi-coated optics and a high index BAK4 prism generate images that are sharp and bright, thus enhancing the visual experience.

With a rubber coated body, these provide a steady grip, although the rubber does catch dirt.

An eye-relief of 15mm may cause a little trouble for people wearing glasses.

These mini binoculars come with an easy focus control with 50cm close-up focusing, making them a great choice for observing flowers, insects, etc.

With adjustable lenses, it allows you to make interpupillary and diopter adjustments.

There is a tripod attachment which comes handy when observing flowers, butterflies, bugs and bees.

A noted disadvantage of this pair is that it is not waterproof. It is not suitable for hunting trips or safaris which may cause exposure to water and dust.

Being budget friendly and with raving positive customer reviews on Amazon.com, this is the model to go for.

The Lightweight Nikon:

This is a lightweight binocular, the lightest among the lot, weighing less than 10oz. This Nikon product makes for a good choice at a pretty good price range at Amazon.com. It comes in its own case and the body is rubber coated which provides a steady grip.

The multi coated optics and roof-prism which is central focusing ensure sharp images and make it great pair of binoculars for outdoor use. Though the field of view is narrow yet it provides a magnification of 10x and optics are good.

The biggest drawback of this pair is that there is no method to seal the correct interpupillary distance adjustment. The width adjustment needs to fixed continuously hence causing problem while focusing.

With a low eye relief of 10.6mm, these mini binoculars are not suitable for people who wear glasses. They would have to take their glasses off.

Though these compact binoculars are folding yet there may arise situations of inconvenience because they are neither waterproof nor fogproof.

These are your binoculars for outdoor activities like camping, hiking, birding, etc. where the light is bright, preferably during daytime.

Definitely not recommended for star-gazing!

The High-End Stylish One:

When one thinks about Swarovski, style and sparkle are the two terms that instantly come in mind. Made by a top rated brand, the CL Pocket binocular comes in a pleasing green colour.

This mini folding binocular comes in a size that would fit in a cargo pocket or the side pocket of a backpack and the interpupillary distance can be adjusted to suit both adults and kids alike.

The field of view is wide and the images are sharp and bright thereby making them ideal for hiking, birding and stadium viewing. With 17mm eye relief, they are suitable for people who wear glasses.

These come in a customized bag of their own and being lightweight, they are easy to be carried around. Also, they are waterproof and can resist shocks which makes them perfect for trips and excursions.

If you choose this pair, you may find yourself going overboard with your budget but it is worth all the money that you would spend on it.

Afterall, nature enthusiasts need a dash of style too!

The Simple and Affordable:

Bushnell brings you compact sized, folding binoculars that come in their own case and are waterproof and fogproof. The rubber armored body offers a steady grip but does not change the fact that these are lightweight.

The multi coated optics and BAK4 prisms ensure bright and sharp images. The eye cups are adjustable; however, the images may get a bit blurry while adjusting the same. These mini binoculars are not a good choice for people with glasses because the eye relief is low (12 mm).

These are not recommended for kids under the age of 3 years because of small parts which may be a choking hazard.

It does offer a good field of view and are suitable for activities such as birding, hiking, hunting, game stadiums.

This pair of binoculars is available at a fairly decent price. The fact that they are inexpensive makes up for the few shortcomings, proving them to be a good bet overall.


Choose the product pair that suits your requirements. Afterall, your binoculars would play a vital role regarding the quality of your viewing experience.