If you’re looking for a telescope that will give you the distance you need without the weight and bulk, let us introduce you to your next purchase –– the handheld telescope. The monocular telescope is compact and lightweight, giving users the benefit of being able to clearly spot items in the distance without having to lug around a cumbersome and heavy set of traditional binoculars.
Handheld telescopes are often used for bird watching but are also great to have on hand when hiking, sightseeing, golfing, fishing and attending festivals, concerts and sporting events. Many handheld telescopes are designed to work with smartphones, giving users the ability to zoom in and take pictures of objects they otherwise wouldn’t be able to see with their phones. Handheld telescopes are also a great alternative to traditional binoculars because they allow users to keep one hand free, which is great if you’re holding a hiking stick, a handrail or simply want to be more mobile.
For the best handheld telescopes available online, check out our top picks below.
1. Vivreal Monocular Telescope
See up to 1,000 yards away during daytime or dusk with the Vivreal Monocular Telescope. The 12×50 monocular telescope uses the latest optics technology to create an HD-quality resolution that includes BAK-4 prism and a multi-coated lens with a 99.5% light transmittance. The Vivreal is easy to use with one hand thanks to its single hand focus. Ideal for outdoor use, the Vivreal is not only waterproof, but it’s filled with Nitrogen to protect against fog obstruction. The Vivreal is also a great partner for smartphones, with the telescope packaged with a smartphone tripod that works with most phones.
Pros: The Vivreal includes low-light-level night vision and has a waterproof body and a comfortable grip.
Cons: Neck and wrist strap not included.
2. Roxant Mini Monocular Pocket Scope
When space is at a premium and you need a monocular telescope that is lightweight and compact, we recommend the Roxant Mini Monocular Pocket Scope. Made with high-definition optical glass, the Roxant Mini Monocular uses multi-coated optics to deliver a high level of light transmission and brightness. The Roxant Mini Monocular’s small size still packs a big punch, with the compact telescope making it easier for users to not shake or shift when holding the unit, providing a better visual experience. We also like that the Roxant Mini Monocular comes with a carrying case, cleaning cloth and neck strap.
Pros: The Roxant Mini Monocular weighs only 2.7 ounces and measures four inches by five inches by 1.5 inches, making it one of the smallest and lightest options on our list.
Cons: Not ideal for greater distances.
3. Gosky High Definition Monocular Telescope
This option from Gosky has a 12x zoom and 55mm wide lens, allowing you to survey wide areas and distant objects. It’s also designed to be waterproof, fog-proof and dustproof, and the rubberized exterior makes it shock-resistant. Plus, the rubber exterior is more comfortable to hold for extended periods. The threaded slot allows it to be mounted to a tripod. They even throw in a smartphone mount that allows you to enhance the photos you take with your phone.
Pros: Includes a smartphone mount. Rubberized body makes it durable.
Cons: Can be hard to focus using the smartphone mount unless you’re using a tripod.
4. Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Monocular
From golf rangefinders to GPS devices, Bushnell makes plenty of great outdoor gear, including this monocular telescope. It’s a convenient option, thanks to its relatively light construction and included carry clip. This monocular has 10x magnification, and various features help ensure clarity of vision. It’s waterproof, and the lenses are coated to prevent fogging. Plus, the eyecups are adjustable to block out extraneous light.
Pros: Reliable option from a top brand. Suitable for hunters because of Picatinny rail. Also works for birdwatchers or other outdoor enthusiasts. Fog-resistant and waterproof.
Cons: More expensive than some other options.
5. FEEMIC Monocular Telescope
Keep a handle on things with the FEEMIC Monocular Telescope, which comes with a hand strap that makes it ideal for people who need a monocular telescope on the go. Run, walk or hike with the FEEMIC, with the removable hand strap providing a secure way to keep the unit close by even when moving at a fast pace. Designed for use in rugged terrain, the FEEMIC is waterproof, fog-proof, dustproof and shockproof. It also provides a clear and crisp view thanks to its FMC Superior BAK-4 Green Film Prism lens. Low-light-level night vision is also built into the FEEMIC, making it a great option for use at dawn or dusk.
Pros: The FEEMIC has a built-in lens cover that keeps out dust, moisture and debris from getting inside the lens and obscuring the view.
Cons: The FEEMIC is somewhat heavy considering its zoom capabilities.
6. Emarth Monocular Telescope
This affordable option has a variety of features that make it easy to use. The lens magnification is long and easy to adjust, and there are two knobs for magnification and focus to ensure a clearer picture when you zoom in. It’s also designed to be easy to use whether or not you wear glasses thanks to the adjustable eyepiece. It also comes with a carrying bag.
Pros: Affordable option, includes carrying bag. Wide 50mm lens.
Cons: Zoom range is overstated on the product listing.
7. Carson Closeup 6x18mm Close-Focus Monocular
If you’re looking for something very compact and affordable, then this close-focus monocular from Carson is a good option. It comes with a carrying pouch, and the entire unit is three inches long and weighs less than four ounces. It has 6x zoom and an 18mm lens, so while you won’t be able to see distant objects, you can see close and mid-range objects with increased clarity.
Pros: Very compact, easy to take on the go. Comes with a lens cloth, carrying pouch and wrist strap.
Cons: Not ideal for long distances.