Best Compact Binoculars Under $100 (see a GREAT Deal)

If you’re in a hurry and just want to find out what the best pair of compact binoculars for under $100 is, then we recommend the Bushnell H2O Compact Binoculars.

With the weather getting warmer out, many of us will be heading outdoors soon. It is wonderful to be involved in nature, but sometimes there’s a lot to see and not a lot of easy ways to see it. Plus, you don’t want to overspend in order to do it. This is why we looked into the best compact binoculars under $100.

While they may not be the best binoculars on the market, for the price, they really can’t be beat!

best compact binoculars under 100

However, before we dive into those, we decided to further inform you of a few major factors you’ll need to consider before you buy. Let’s dive into those right now!

In a Hurry? Here’s Our Top 3 Picks…

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Compact Binoculars: How to Make the Best Buying Decision

Different Types Of Binoculars

There are numerous types of binoculars, some of which are specially made for people in the world of science or the armed forces. Others, however, are meant for consumers like us. These are the types you’ll see most frequently:

  • Roof Prism Binoculars
  • Porro Prism Binoculars
  • Night Vision Binoculars
  • Astronomy Binoculars
  • Marine Binoculars
  • Galien Binoculars

Each type is made for a specific purpose, of course. The main use for each will be determined on the very needs the user will have for them. This is critical to remember, as each type will differ sometimes wildly from the other.

Roof Prism & Porro Prism, for instance, differ based on design. For example, the Roof Prism is a bit wider and the eyepieces are specifically made a bit rounder. Porro Prism binoculars are more compact in comparison and can only widen slightly, much less than Roof Prism.

The image quality for Porro can be lesser than compared to the Roof type too, but this all depends on how they are made. Roof Prism does often offer blur settings based on how far you are from something where Porro usually just adjusts to the image.

Astronomy binoculars are usually perfect for stargazing, but often need to be away from ambient light to work best. Marine Binoculars are often made with a Porro or Roof Prism concept but they are often made to be much tougher compared to others. Meanwhile, Galien binoculars are the type you’ll often see people use at plays or operas from skyboxes.

Night Vision binoculars are pretty self-explanatory.

How Strong Of Magnification Do I Need

This is often going to depend on the needs you have, yet again. Magnification needs are typically based around the distance you need to see off to, and the essential definition you want to view it. This is often referred to as an HD Optical System in some binoculars.

You’ll often see numbers pop up on the levels each can go to, which can come off as confusing. For example, you may see something like 8x or 10x. Both are good levels. They may also be followed by numbers too, perhaps something like 40 or 44mm.

MM stands for millimeters, of course. The “ending X” will stand for the total magnification, so something at 10x will be multiplied by itself to equal a total of 100x. This basically means the image viewed will appear to be 100x the size it actually is. This is our “ocular” number.

Now we add the mm portion into this, our “objective” number, at 40mm. With this, we do more slight math, 10 x 40, which equals 400x. With this, we get our TOTAL magnification of 400X. In a microscope, this would be enough magnification to spot a sperm cell. Seriously.

Remember, do the math regarding the two given numbers. This will always give you the total magnification number. Either the 8x or 10x are both pretty good numbers for all-around needs. Depending on the distance you’ll want to zoom out to, anything above 10x could be good too.

These same numbers are used in anything that requires one to view through something. It’ll be on cameras, microscopes, and anything similar.

Is The Lens Coating Important

A lot of people aren’t sure about lens coating when it comes to binoculars. The reasoning for this often has to do with the fact that, outside of experts, few know what it does. However, each type offers a lot and can completely change your experience. Let’s highlight the main types now:

  • Anti-Reflective Coating
  • Phase Correction Coating
  • Metallic Mirror Coating
  • Dielectric Mirror Coating

You’ll then see other types beyond those that may also be confusing, such as:

  • Coated Optics
  • Fully Coated
  • Multi-Coated
  • Fully Multi-Coated (often abbreviated as FMC)
  • Phase Coated
  • Aluminum Coated
  • Silver Coated
  • Dielectric Coated

Those are often known as optical coatings while the versions up top are referred to mostly as lens coatings. However, they work hand in hand ultimately.

Anti-Reflective coatings will reduce the amount of light lost at the optical surfaces. Phase Correction coatings will work differently compared to the Binocular type. In Roof Prisms, they will split the light path into two paths that will reflect on either side. This will also affect polarization somewhat.

Metallic coatings will also differ based on the Binocular type. In some Roof Prisms, the coating is added to some surfaces due to light being off by a critical angle. Without this coating, a solid amount of light would be lost. Thereby making this coating critical for viewing anything.

Meanwhile, Dielectric coatings will enhance the mirror concept to offer better reflectability. In fact, it can be improved as much as 99% in specific Binocular types.

The rest of the optical materials mentioned are portions of coating types within the main versions we just went over. To answer the question, is lens coating important? You better believe it!

Should I Opt For Waterproof/Fogproof

Honestly, this truly has to do with the needs again. We know we keep bringing that up, but it is very true. Sometimes, the needs we have are going to make all the difference when searching for a solid pair of binoculars.

For people who hunt, you’ll often be up and ready to go in the early hours of the morning. In fact, hunting may end before noon for you. If this is the case, fog is going to play a major role during the colder times of the year. This is especially true after rain happens.

Meanwhile, the humidity you’re in will also play a role in your binoculars fogging up too. While fog is the main cause of foggy issues, humidity is just as much to blame for this when any glass is involved.

However, water is likely something most hunters won’t be around as much as a random camper. Of course, anyone in the armed forces may also end up around various bodies of water while doing this job. In these cases, waterproof binoculars can be very helpful.

Thus, Fogproof or Waterproof? It really matters what weather you’re in, the time of year and day you’ll be using them, and so much more. Thus, getting both could remove the problem before it begins. Now you’re covered regardless of the situation.

How Heavy Are Compact Binoculars

Compact binoculars are often not as heavy as you might assume. Most of them are going to be smaller. The most common type to see compact versions made from are the Porro Prism type because they do not extend out as far.

While the Roof Prism type does have smaller, compact types, they are not as common or as inexpensive as the Porro Prism types.

Weight-wise, the compact types average roughly anywhere between 25 oz. and 3lbs. This is incredibly light compared to the normal larger types. Those can get anywhere between 5 to 15lbs depending on the size you’re lugging around.

Can People Who Wear Glasses Use Binoculars

This is a very common question people ask about binoculars before buying. While ideally, it would be best to wear your contacts on days you plan to use binoculars, there are several types made for people to use who wear glasses too.

Some are made to handle vision. Remember some of those coatings we brought up earlier? These coatings and prism types, even the magnification we referred to can aide you in seeing without your contacts or eyeglasses.

Essentially, something like magnification is literally made to get as close to a target as possible and have the best image. You can then adjust to take something from blurry to clear using the equipped settings.

However, if you want to wear your glasses with your binoculars, you’ll likely want to stick with the Roof Prism types. They open wider and you can easily adjust them to fit your eye distance. They often have wider areas for the eyes too.

Of course, as you can see, there are several options for people to use binoculars. Even if they do not have an impressive 20/20 vision type.

Review: Best Compact Binoculars Under $100

Bushnell H2O Compact Binoculars

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The team at Bushnell truly knows how to make an impressive pair of binoculars. They even managed to do this at a terrific price! They managed to fit well into our list of the best compact binoculars under $100, as they come out at terrific $83!

Some may assume that at such a price, they could not have possibly made a great pair of binoculars. Clearly, no features will be present and they’ll just be okay at best, right? Wrong!

Bushnell manages to make these Roof Prism Binoculars both waterproof & fogproof all while offering a multi-coated lens. They manage to accomplish the waterproof & fogproof ability due to an O-Ring that is sealed and nitrogen purged. This prevents any water from getting in while also preventing the glass from fogging up.

This comes out to a terrific HD quality image every time you look into them. That is actually accomplished due to the BaK 4 prisms and multi-coated optics. This offers an improved light transmission, making it easy to look into them.

They added in an 8x magnification and 42-millimeter objective diameter. This provides a 12-foot close focus distance with 17-millimeter eye relief. You can always adjust the settings and zoom needs via its large center-focus knob, which is easy to adjust. Plus, it comes with twist-up eye-cups to get the right comfort for your eyes and orbital bone.

The durability is top-notch too, as they have added non-slip rubber armor with a soft texture grip that absorbs shock while also providing a firm grip. Due to being waterproof, the gripping will never fade in quality, wet or dry.

This all comes with an impressive limited lifetime warranty as well!

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Gosky Roof Prism Binoculars

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Gosky has managed to make a great roof prism model that is incredibly well-done. They were able to land roughly between the $72 to $80 price point. Thus, they had to make our list of the best binoculars for under $100.

These binoculars have 10x power magnification, which is specifically designed to be perfect for any outdoor activity. The HD optics only continue with a 42mm objective diameter. On top of this, the lens coatings are spectacular!

It uses a large smart phase BAK4 prism along with an 18mm blue film eyepiece. This is on top of the multi-guard FMC & Dielectric coating.

If you cannot see in the binoculars, they actually have a smartphone connection. A mount for your smartphone comes with the purchase. However, while it fits most phones, it may not work for all of them.

Sony, Samsung, LG, & HTC phones up to the last generation are supported. However, it does not seem to be compatible with the Apple iPhone.

The binoculars are incredibly tough & durable too. The tight-fitting protection makes it possible to use these binoculars in pretty much any weather conditions. They are waterproof & fogproof, making them perfect for pretty much any weather situation you’re in.

The shock-absorbing rubber armor only adds more protection to the pair overall. However, it also comes with a carrying case, rubber lens covers, cleaning cloth, and even a neck strap. You’re getting quite a lot to protect them.

If something does happen, Gosky has offered a lifetime warranty as well as lifetime technical support. In our opinion, this is truly putting your money where your mouth is.

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Occer Compact Binoculars

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Occer has gone all out to make sure you are going to be getting the best possible pair of binoculars for the best price available. At just $34, they added tons of features. Thus, we had to add them to our best compact binoculars under $100 list.

These are certainly high-powered. Some will see the 25mm and assume that is not the case, but the 12x magnification allows for a great, wide field of view. You can see well from 273 to 10000-feet.

The blue fully multi-coated (FMC) broadband coating offers an even better image. This is coupled with a BAK4 prism, which only gives it a better, clearer image.

The best part about these binoculars, to us at least, is that they are perfect for eyeglass wearers. You can pull down the rubber eyepieces, allowing you to view through the binoculars with ease. This even works with most sunglasses!

They are extremely lightweight. This makes them perfect for pretty much any need you might have. However, due to their durability and field of view capability, they might be the perfect binoculars for hunters. In fact, they are one of the best-rated binoculars for this.

The portable nature of the binoculars is great, but their toughness is top-notch. The ABS plastic they are made from makes them almost indestructible. ABS plastic is said to have practically no melting point. This means they can be in the sun at over 100 degrees and still work just fine.

They are completely waterproof and made from non-slip rubber armor. This allows the binos to have a secure gripping while also being shockproof.

Due to their price and size, they are honestly perfect for anyone. This includes both men and women, as well as kids. They are certainly one of the best compact binoculars for the money.

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Nikon Trailblazer Compact Binoculars 

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Most know the Nikon brand for their impressive cameras. However, binoculars and cameras often having a similar concept behind them, especially when it comes to their glass use. Thus, it makes sense that Nikon would be in the binoculars business.

There are actually two different versions of these binoculars as well. One of them comes in for the lower price but is an 8x 25mm type, the other is at the higher end due to being 10x 25mm. However, both are perfect for this list of the best compact binoculars under $100 because, well, both are under $100!!

We should point out that they are made environmentally friendly. No lead or arsenic was used in the making of these binoculars. In fact, they use Eco-Glass!

They are also made as a high-index BAK4 model, which offers an ultra-high-resolution overall. Yet at the same time, this is only aided by the fully multi-coated optics, which offers a top light transmission for a brighter, more improved color.

If that was not enough, these binoculars also are nitrogen filled, allowing them to be both waterproof & fogproof. The binos are the perfect binoculars for hiking, yet they can also be used for hunting, while camping, and much more!

They are also quite durable, as they have a rubber-armored body. This also makes them perfect for wet environments and even, technically, shockproof.

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SkyGenius Compact Binoculars

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The team at SkyGenius has given us a tremendous Roof Prism Binocular type that is offered at a terrific value. This is why we felt they needed to be on our list of the best compact binoculars under $100.

They have a 10x magnification with a 42-millimeter objective. While they are technically made for birdwatching, they are also the perfect binoculars for hiking as well as camping and hunting. Heck, they are just great all-around.

They are perfect in low light due to their high resolution. This is mostly due to the 10x 42mm make but also due to the FMC coating.

These binos are also tough and made to be durable all-around. They are IPX7 waterproof, yet they’re nitrogen filled and thus, fogproof too. The binoculars are also made wit anti-slip rubber, making it much harder to see them slip out of your hand.

These might also be the best small binoculars you’ll see, as they only weigh 1.3lbs. The lightweight design makes them perfect for pretty much anything you need. At just $53, they are among the best compact binoculars for the money.

In the end, you cannot go wrong with this option from SkyGenius.

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When we were considering the options for our list of the best compact binoculars under $100, we wanted to make sure we found the actual best. We did not want to just look some up and add the ones under $100 to the list. There are plenty that could have been picked.

What pair of binoculars are the best compact type for the money? In our opinion, all are worth more than is asked of them. This only makes them great to purchase right now.

The question you may have now is, which ones should you buy, right? In all honesty, this is up to you due to the needs you have. Perhaps, you want the best binoculars for hiking purposes. If that is the case, the lightweight SkyGenius option is great for this.

Perhaps you want a proper pair for hunting purposes. In that case, the option from Occer might be the best due to how much it magnifies as well as the millimeter it is set at.

Maybe you’re someone who needs one just for camping, in that case, you’ll benefit most from the Gosky option. They are great all-around binoculars and thus perfect for anything that comes up while you’re camping.

Meanwhile, the Nikon option might be the most expensive yet it has a brand behind it that has been trustworthy for years. Plus, the pair is filled with great features. However, so is the option from Bushnell.

In fact, the Bushnell option might very well be the best viewing wise. It can be adjusted for pretty much any need and you’ll always get a great picture. Thereby making them perfect for mere birdwatching and much more.

At the end of the day, your needs will play the biggest part in this. However, you cannot go wrong with any of these amazing compact binoculars.

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