Best Compact Binoculars for Hunting (and VIDEO buyers guide)

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best compact binoculars for hunting is, then we recommend the Nikon 7576 Monarch 5 8×42 Binocular.

Other than your weapon, the single most important tool a hunter has in their arsenal are their eyes. This is where a good quality pair of binoculars can really come in handy! So what are the best compact binoculars for hunting? To find out the answer to that question, we reviewed 13 different binoculars from some of the top brands and came up with a list of 5 that we believe to be the best binos on the market today.

While a good pair of binoculars will not guarantee that you’ll bag your intended target, they will ensure that you will see it coming. After all, you have to actually see your prey before you can shoot it!  In some cases, you have to be able to spot it from far off. Either one of the binoculars on our list are a great choice!

best compact binoculars for hunting

In a Hurry? Here’s Our Top 3 Picks…

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Buying Guide: Best Compact Binoculars for Hunting

Other than your weapon, the single most important tool a hunter has in their arsenal is their eyes. That’s because you have to see your prey before you can actually shoot it.

In some cases, you have to be able to spot it from far distances. This is where a good quality pair of compact binoculars can really come in handy! Here, we’ll guide you in what to look for, in order to make a more informed buying decision.


When you first look to purchase a set of binoculars, you are going to want to consider the magnification. Magnification is important because it helps to enlarge whatever you are looking at. Usually, magnification is shown on a set of binoculars with an X. So if you have a 10X pair of binoculars, then that means that your image will be enlarged ten times.

For example, if you are looking at an animal that is 500 yards away, then it will appear as if it is only 50 yards away. Magnification is one of the most important things to consider when purchasing binoculars, as an avid hunter you will want a larger magnification to help see animals at a greater distance.

While a greater magnification is better for spotting at long distances, binoculars with a power over 10 can be more difficult to spot with because the movements of your hands may cause the binoculars to shift and lose focus.

If possible, it is better to set up on a stable surface that prevents movement or to purchase a bipod for your binocular to ensure there is little movement. Also, the higher the magnification, the smaller field of view inside the binocular. It is best to consider what you will be hunting and how far you plan on shooting to better gauge the proper magnification that is needed.

Binocular Objective Lens Diameter

While magnification may be considered the most important, it is also important to consider the binocular objective lens diameter as this will also play a major role in how effective your binoculars will work in low light conditions as well as having a clearer view through the binoculars.

When looking at a pair of binoculars, you may notice that the binocular says 10×42. This means that the binocular has a 10x magnification and the binocular objective lens diameter is 42 millimeters.

The Objective lens diameter is what determines the amount of light that is allowed into the binocular. The greater the amount of light the better vision the binocular will allow. So the higher the second number is, the better you will be able to see.

You will want to consider the natural conditions you will be hunting in, especially if the animals in your area are found to be more active during dawn and at dusk. When hunting in low light conditions, you will have a clearer view due to the increased light that is coming into the binoculars. This may be the difference between bagging that big elk right at shooting light or missing the opportunity.

Binocular Field of View

As every hunter is glassing an area, he is going to want to consider his field of view. Field of view is the area that is seen when the hunter is looking through a pair of binoculars. Generally, binoculars will have the field of view labeled in feet at 1000 yards. Also, some binoculars have a field of view labeled by angles as well.

As a hunter looks out over longer distances, the larger his field of view is the more likely he will be able to spot animals. This can be particularly useful for scouting antelope in the prairies.

The binoculars with the lower magnification will generally have the larger field of view. The pair of binoculars with the greater magnification is more concentrated on one spot, and this will limit the field of view.

As a hunter. you’re going to want to consider what you will be doing and try and find the perfect balance between a higher magnification and one that will allow for a larger field of view. If you limit yourself on the field of view, you may miss spotting the trophy of a lifetime.

Compact and Lightweight

Generally, most hunters are looking to lighten their load as much as possible. When you are headed out on a physically challenging hunt such as an elk or ram hunt you are going to want to carry something that takes up as little room as possible and also is effective enough to spot animals at long distances.

You should consider what you will be hunting, as well as the environment you will be hunting in before you purchase a pair of binoculars. Those who are backpacking and traveling long distances should consider a compact or lightweight binocular over the heavier and bulkier ones that may offer greater zoom but are much more cumbersome to lug around.

Durability and Ruggedness

Having a pair of binoculars is great, but if they are not built to withstand the environment that you are hunting in then, you will not have a successful hunt. When looking to buy a pair of binos, you want to make sure that they have been weatherproofed.

Most times this is done through a rubber coating that will prevent water from getting in between the lenses. If water gets in between the lens, your picture will be ruined, and it is very difficult to remove the water from the lens. However, many of the newer binoculars are equipped with fog proofing lenses, so fogging shouldn’t be a concern.

These lenses will help to prevent your lenses from fogging when you take them from a warm spot such as your truck to a cold spot like the outside. Either way, you are going to want to pick a pair of binoculars that will be able to handle the many different extremes of hunting.

Reviews: Best Compact Binoculars for Hunting

Nikon 7576 Monarch 5 8×42 Binocular

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Nikon is one of the most trusted names in the optics industry, and the Nikon 7576 Monarch is the best pair of compact binoculars on the market currently.

These binoculars are offered in 8×42 or 10×42, and they provide a hunter with a lightweight, yet a powerful pair of binoculars to match every hunter’s need.

The new Monarch 5 is almost an ounce lighter than previous models, and their compact and light nature makes them the perfect companion for physically challenging hunts. While the Monarch 7576 is one of the better binoculars on the market, it is rather expensive compared to other compact binoculars.

The Monarch 5 is meant to be used in the most austere conditions imaginable and provide you with quality results. They are waterproofed as well as fog proofed to ensure a clear picture in the worst climates imaginable.

The Monarch 5 is also coated in rubber to provide the long-lasting durability that comes to be expected from a Nikon product. The Monarch 5 also features flip-down cap covers to prevent scratching of the lens while transporting in a backpack or vehicle. It also offers some of the best pictures on the market with its HD clarity, that will allow a hunter to see in the low light conditions.

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Carson 3D High Definition Waterproof Binoculars

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Another pair of high-quality binoculars are the Carson 3D high definition waterproof binoculars. The price on these may be a little more expensive than some brands, but the outstanding quality makes them well worth the price.

These binoculars are offered in a wide range of magnification and objective lens diameter to match the needs of every hunter. They are also available in Mossy Oak camouflage as well.

The variety of options will allow you to pick the perfect pair of binoculars for your future hunting excursions. While these are an excellent pair of binoculars, the thumb rest divots were in an awkward spot and made holding them difficult.

These binoculars have HD lens that provides some of the best picture quality available, and they boast a 314 feet view at 1000 yards. These binoculars are weatherproof and fog proof and will hold up under any conditions. It also comes with a neck strap as well as a convenient carrying case.

These are a great investment, and they should last you many seasons. Also, Carson provides the best warranty on the market for any binocular brand.

If cost is not a concern, then you might want to think about the Carson 3D high definition waterproof binoculars.  Not only are they waterproof, but their high definition 3D lenses will ensure a crystal clear view of your prey.

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Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Roof Prism Binocular

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The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD roof prism binocular is another great pair of compact binoculars.

Bushnell is a trusted name in the industry, and the legend has been extensively tested and built to a high standard that ensures they are a superior pair of binoculars. The legend provides all of the necessary functions needed in a good pair of hunting binoculars in a compact and rugged package.

These binoculars boast a stunning HD clarity, as well as a 10x 42 magnification and objective lens diameter. These are perfect for glassing animals at a distance and will provide you with the necessary light when you are hunting in low light conditions.

The Bushnell Legend has a higher magnification which can greatly limit the field of view on the binoculars.

This pair of binoculars has a field of view of 340 yards at 1000 yards and is built to last. The fog proofing and weatherproofing provide the protection necessary to last in the toughest conditions.

Also, its compact size will allow a hunter to easily travel with the binoculars without worrying about weight or taking up to much room in your day pack. It also comes with a neck strap and a carrying case as well.

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Bushnell H20 Waterproof Roof Prism Binocular

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The Bushnell H20 waterproof/fog proof Roof Prism Binocular is another great product from Bushnell.

This product has been extensively tested to ensure that Bushnell keeps with the tradition of providing some of the best quality binoculars on the market. This is the perfect pair of binoculars for a hunter that is usually hunting in inclement conditions.

These binoculars are specially built to ensure that water and fog are kept out of the lens. These binoculars are 100% O ring sealed and then they are nitrogen purged to ensure that they will not fog up under any conditions. These are the perfect all weather binoculars.

Although they are great for all weather, they are slightly heavier than most compact binoculars

These binoculars are covered in a rubber armor that allows a hunter to maintain his control in wet conditions, as well as acting as a protective cover to protect from accidental drops.

The binoculars themselves are 10×42, or they also come in 8×42 as well and provide HD Quality picture. They are also backed by Bushnell’s limited lifetime warranty.

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Vortex Optics Diamondback Roof Prism Binoculars

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The Vortex optics also provides a hunter with a number of advancements that he can use to help increase his chances of having a successful hunt.

The Vortex is a 10×28 magnification and objective lens diameter. One of the best features of the vortex optic is that it boasts the largest field of view for any compact binocular design in its class that is currently available.

This allows a hunter to see more and pick out his target due to his increased field of view. With a lower objective lens, you lose the ability to see in low light conditions which may affect your hunts.

These binoculars also offer different ranges for the eyecups to be adjusted. This allows a hunter to adjust for his individual eye relief.

The Vortex is also rugged and durable, featuring an all rubber coating allowing a hunter to make adjustments to his binocular without losing his grip on wet or inclement conditions. Its compact design and quality design provides a great pair of binoculars at a lower price.

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It’s our final determination that the best compact binocular for hunting is the Nikon 7576 Monarch 5, with the Carson 3D High Definition binos coming in at a close second.

Now that you know what to look for in a pair of binoculars and have a few great options to choose from, selecting the pair that’s right for you shouldn’t be a problem.

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