Best Compact Binoculars for Hunting

What are the Best Compact Binoculars for Hunting? Either of These in My Mind.

Some hunts we just want to leave all the heavy and bulky gear behind so we can move more quickly through the woods. We don’t however want to sacrifice the quality of the equipment we do bring though. Instances like these are where you’ll want the best compact binoculars for hunting.

You can pick up a cheap pair of Tasco if you want but I’d advise against it, honestly I’d advise against anything Tasco. I’ve never been a fan due to everything I’ve gotten that was Tasco would fog up or the scopes’ crosshairs would float. When the moment comes where you think that buck is just behind that brush and need to get a clearer view, the last thing you want is a blurry view of him.

In terms of compacts there are two I’ve found to be pretty good. The first of which is the Nikon 8-24X25 Aculon Zoom Binoculars.

Nikon Aculon Zoom Review

These have been the best compact binoculars for hunting with zoom capability I’ve used. There are a few spinoff brands out there that break pretty easily, as well as some very expensive binocs that hold up well. You don’t really need a pair too expensive though for your compacts, that’s why I think these are perfect.

Why are these good?

Nikon is another one of those brands I tend to have a lot of trust in, they make great camera lenses and that quality carries over into their compact binocular lenses as well.

The primary reason this pair of binoculars are different from most other compacts is that you have the ability to increase the magnification without needing to carry a stronger, larger pair of binocs with you in the woods. This feature was great for my western hunts where I could be in some thick brush in the morning and later in the afternoon be looking down a ravine with a couple miles of open prairie. Very versatile.

Best compact binoculars for hunting - Nikon Aculon

As with my other reviews here are the ups and downs of these.


  •  Zoom function. The ability to switch between 8x, 12x, 16x, and 24x has you covered for a wide range of scenarios. No swapping lenses out, just a simple flick of the switch and you’re zoomed in.
  • Anti-reflection. Nikon implemented this design with compounds that prevent reflection causing that sun blur when looking through them.
  • Light intake. When on the lower magnification levels the light intake on these is great. No shading in the lenses which provides you with clear bright images of your view.
  • Size. They’re pretty small ~5″ in length x 4.5 wide”
  • Price. You might be expecting me to tell you that you’re going to have to dish out $200+ for these, nope! The link I provided for you below will allow you to pick them up for around under $150. (Get the Nikon 8-24X25 Aculon Zoom Binoculars).


  • Durability. Due to the multi functionality of these compact zoom binoculars, there are a lot of moving parts. They’ve held up fine for me in normal use so far however I would be weary of letting them take multiple falls on the rocks. It just seems that something with this many internal loose components couldn’t stand being smashed around.
  • Dimmer with zoom. When the magnification is zoomed in all the way less sunlight is let into the prisms causing the image to become dimmer if there is already low light.
  • Dirt/sand/water. Since there are a lot of moving parts, if you drop these in mud or water it is possible for it to enter the body. I’ve had them out in a light drizzle and they’ve been fine but I wouldn’t push it in a downpour.

Overall if you want versatility in a lightweight/compact package, then these are the best compact binoculars for hunting that have zoom functionality.

Compact and Simple

My second suggestion in reference to the best compact binoculars for hunting would be the more simplistic single magnification Bushnell H2O Waterproof Compact Roof Prism Binoculars. They’re no Steiners and I wouldn’t use them as my primary pair for big hunts however they are fine for closer range hunts with good sun conditions.

Best compact binoculars for hunting - Bushnell H2O

The plus of these is that they are waterproof so take them out in downpours and they’ll still work fine. You can determine which magnification you want between 8x, 10x, and 12x. I have the 10x and they’re fine to throw in my pants pockets.

They seem sturdy so far, I’ve dropped them a few times and nothing has happened yet so I’d give them an A in that regards. If you want to check these out more here’s the link to buy them.


Whether you want the versatility of the Nikon Aculon or settle for the cheaper Bushnell H2Os, I hope my advice helps you narrow down your choice at least get you thinking about the other features available in compact binoculars.