Best Light Weight Binoculars For Long Ranges

You need a pair of binoculars, so you have been looking around a bit. But it is hard to pin down which brand offers the best compact long-range binoculars because there are so many options to choose from.

We have you covered – we have gone through the myriad of options and come up with the best lightweight binoculars currently available. We scored in terms of value for money as well as quality, so these options will not break the bank.

compact binoculars for long range

​Zeiss

​SkyGenius

​Celestron

​Wingspan

Zeiss 10x25 Terra ED
SkyGenius 8x21 Small Binoculars
Celestron 71402
Wingspan Optics

​Best For

​Power

​Concerts or Sight Seeing

​Wildlife Viewing or Safari

​Whale Watching

​Waterproof

Yes

​No

Yes

Yes

​Field of View

​Excellent

​Adequate

Excellent

Excellent

Magnification

10X

8X

8X

8X

Fog-proof

Yes

​No

Yes

Yes

Dirtproof

Yes

​No

Yes

​No

Shockproof

Yes

​No

Yes

Yes

​Warranty

Unclear

Unclear

Limited lifetime

Limited lifetime

Zeiss 10x25 Terra ED

Zeiss offers exceptional quality. These are the most expensive option reviewed, but they still fall in the mid-range when it comes to pricing in general.

They offer 10x magnification and a 54-degree apparent field of view. They stand up well to extremes of temperature ranging from -4 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pros

  • Excellent results. The picture is clear, and the contrast is excellent. Color fidelity is high.
  • Convenient focus wheel location makes it easy to change the focus when necessary. Great if the scene you want to see changes quickly.
  • Excellent to use out of doors.
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    Lightweight and compact. Can be folded and weighs next to nothing.
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    Rugged and durable.
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    Works in a range of climates – so stand up well to humidity and also the cold.

Cons

  • Not great if you are on a tight budget.

​Best Small Binoculars for Concerts or Sight Seeing

SkyGenius 8x21 Small Binoculars

These are positively tiny, but they pack quite a wallop. When folded they will easily fit in your pocket or a lady's purse. Don't let the size fool you, though. The field of view is slightly restricted but is not bad at 369 feet, and the objective diameter of the lenses is 21 mm.

The price is also extremely attractive making these ideal as a starter set or to take out and about to concerts. The multicoated optics offer and BK7 roof prism allow for highly clear images.

Adjustment is easily accomplished and simple enough for a child to manage. These are an excellent set to kit the family out with before the annual vacation – you can buy each person a pair of their own.

Pros

  • Price is low.
  • Nice and compact – when folded will fit in the palm of your hand.
  • Easy to adjust.

Cons

  • Not as durable as the more expensive sets so better suited to older children.

​Best Compact Binoculars for Wildlife Viewing or Safari

Celestron 71402

​If you are out on safari or viewing wildlife, you need to take road conditions into account. If the road conditions are especially bad, you will want something that will hold up to the bumps. These offer a rugged construction and excellent optics.

Pros

  • ​8x magnification.
  • ​The frame is lightweight and durable.
  • ​Coatings allow for better views and higher resolution even in poor lighting conditions.
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    ​Close focus feature allows you to zoom in on something up close as well.
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    ​Comes with a great range of accessories, including an innovative rain guard. Which, as the binoculars are weatherproof may seem a little redundant, until you realize that it helps keep the lens clear of raindrops. Got to say, it is a small, seemingly insignificant feature but it does create quite an impact.
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    ​Fully weatherproof and shock resistant.
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    ​High-quality lenses and top range coatings.
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    ​Not badly priced

Cons

​Best Compact Binoculars for Whale Watching

Wingspan Optics

Watching whales is an extremely relaxing experience, but you do need a set of binoculars that offer a good range and ones that allow you to quickly change your field of focus.

These glasses from Wingspan give an ultra-high definition pic, specially designed for outdoor pursuits like whale and bird watching. What I like about these is that they are fairly versatile – they will work equally well when camping or for a day at the beach.

Pros

  • ​Excellent field of view means that you catch all the action and can quickly and easily change your focus.
  • ​High-quality optics provide excellent image and reduce glare.
  • ​Excellent in all weather conditions – even when lighting is less than optimal.
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    ​8x magnification.
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    ​Close focus feature makes it possible to zone right in on the finest details. A great feature especially if you are whale watching from the shore. (They can be very difficult to spot otherwise.)
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    ​Completely weather-proof, dustproof and shockproof.
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    Limited lifetime warranty.
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    30-day money back guarantee. If for any reason you aren’t happy, return them for a full refund, no questions asked.

Cons

  • ​A little on the heavier side.
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    ​Getting the focus right takes some practice.

Of all the sets, the Zeiss came out tops in terms of all-round versatility. They are an excellent brand and, though priced a bit more than the others, are worth the extra cost.

Coming a very close second was the Celestron. It rates the best for outdoor use and comes with some really innovative features. The close focus feature is just one example of how innovative the company is.

Oh, and did I mention the rain guard accessory? (Okay, yes, that really made my day.) The only caveat I would give when it comes to the Celestron is to check your measurements to ensure that it will be a comfortable fit.

Is it worth shelling out the extra for either the Zeiss or the Celestron when you have the relatively inexpensive SkyGenius to consider? That depends on what you plan to use the glasses for. The SkyGenius is most definitely an indoor set and so not really as suited to outdoor use.

However, if you want something to get your kids into the spirit of things, it is a perfectly acceptable, affordable alternative.

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