A Smart Buyer’s Guide: Top 4 Compact Binoculars

At some point in your life, you’re probably going to encounter a situation where having the perfect compact binoculars on hand could become the greatest asset you have. As a result, you’ll first need to consider your needs, goals and budget when shopping for one. By comparing some of the top compact binoculars available on the market, you’ll soon be able to determine which will make the best choice for you.

compact binoculars

With all four of the top selections below being waterproof, fog proof and providing a Roof Prism, the considerations now is to look at the different sizes, eyecups, Field of Views (FOV) at 1000m, hinge designs, phase corrections and prices. However, with all that said, the most important thing to consider before making a purchase is still the purpose in which your compact binoculars will serve. Let’s take a closer look!

Steiner Safari Ultrasharp 8 x 22


The Steiner Safari Ultrasharp 8 x 22 is a starting point for anyone researching to buy a compact binoculars. It’s been named the 2014 Best Compact Binocular of the Year and has captured the attention and hearts of sporting enthusiast in a variety of arenas.

This beautiful and highly effective binoculars is perfect for the outdoorsman watching a sporting event from the upper decks, bird watching in the back yard or the rainforest, or scanning Mother Nature.

It weighs 228 grams and measures 11 x 10 cm. The Steiner also provides a thick multi-coated lens coating with a dual hinge design and a 125m FOV with rubber folding eyecups.

Although only offering a 22mm lens, which means it has a slightly smaller objective lens than some of the other brands which we’ll talk about in a while, the Steiner Safari Ultrasharp makes up for the couple of mm difference by providing you with a 10x magnification with an exit pupil of 2.75mm.

This binoculars is the only one of the top four which provides a rubber folding eyecup as opposed to the twist-up eyecups. In addition to the view and lens features, the Steiner comes in the world-renowned Safari body which has proven to be one of the most durable and super-rugged binocular bodies in the world.

With its price ranging between $150 and $200, the Steiner Safari is potentially the best bargain for your budget when looking for quality. The Steiner also consistently gains 4.5 to 5 star ratings from customers who have fallen in love with the clarity, low-light capability, and superior performance of this high quality pair of binoculars.

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10 x 25


Next to the Steiner Safari Ultrasharp 8 x 22, the second best choice for the outdoorsman is the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10 x 25. With a 25mm objective lens, this beauty has a larger objective lens than the Steiner Safari’s 22mm. The larger shaft, although a small difference, offers you an advantage in poor lighting.

For an indoor concert, this is a solid choice since the larger objective lens will create a brighter image. The Bushnell is also an ideal choice for bird watching in heavy covered woodlands or forests.

Additionally, the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD provides you with a lightweight and rugged magnesium chassis weighing 230g, just two grams more than the Steiner Safari UltraSharp.

The Bushnell, with the eyecups fully extended, measures 5.75”/146mm with a dual hinge design and comes with fully multi-coated lens coatings. However, unlike the Steiner Safari, the Bushnell offers twist-up eyecups and phase correction.

Bushnell does have some disadvantages, though, such as a smaller exit pupil of 2.5mm and a slightly higher price tag over the Steiner. But that said, Bushnell (in spite of its few cons) still provides a solid and reliable choice for the discerning shopper.

Hawke Sapphire ED 8 x 25


The Hawke Sapphire ED 8 x 25, at 231g, not only comes with a slightly heavier weight than the top two choices, it also carries a higher price tag. With prices ranging from $220 to $240, the Hawke may not be the top choice for budget savvy individuals. But for those willing to pay the price, the value matches the tag.

The Hawke brings a 3.1mm exit pupil with twist-up eyecups and a 119m FOV at 1000m. Similar to the Bushnell, the Hawke contains a dual hinge design with a roof prism, phase correction and ED glass.

With a 3.1mm exit pupil and a wider FOV, the Hawke is a better choice over the Steiner Safari UltraSharp for situations such as indoor concerts because of low lighting. The Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) glass offers a maximum clarity for the user with a BAK4 Prism, fully multi-coated lenses, and a quick ratio focus wheel.

An additional benefit is it comes with the Hawke Worldwide warranty.

Levenhuk Energy PLUS 8 x 25


For the budget conscious consumer who is looking for low-cost yet high quality compact binoculars, the Levenhuk Energy PLUS 8 x 25 is the ideal solution. Carrying a lower price tag that ranges from $65 to $80, the Levenhuk has the same 3.1 mm exit pupil as the Hawke. The difference is that it offers a longer 126m FOV at 1000m but commands a lower price tag than the Hawke.

The Levenhuk Energy offers a dual hinge design with twist-up eyecups and it makes the perfect choice for anyone who enjoys outdoor events such as bird or nature watching.

Although waterproof and fog proof, which is identical to the other three, the Levenhuk does not have phase correction or ED Glass. Additionally, it’s a little heavier than the other compact binoculars since it weighs 369g.

When choosing the best potential compact binoculars, the decision comes down to the purpose in which you’ll be using the binoculars, combined with a budget and your specific needs. By considering the top four choices in today’s compact binocular market, it’s a guarantee that you’ll find one that meets your needs and your budget.

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