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 (literally) when hiking, sightseeing, golfing, fishing and attending festivals, concerts, sporting events. Many handheld telescopes are designed to work with smartphones, giving users the ability to zoom in and take pictures on 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 open to move.
For the best handheld telescopes available online, check out our top picks below.
1. Wingspan Optics Explorer
For one of the leaders in handheld telescopes, we recommend the Wingspan Optics Explorer. The Wingspan has an impressive 12×50 magnification that allows users to see items 12x closer with the clear and bright 50mm lens. Considered one of the most powerful handheld monocular units available, the Wingspan is designed to withstand the elements. It’s waterproof, fog-proof, and covered with a durable outer case that features a secure, non-slip grip. View up to 1,000 yards or 246 feet with the Wingspan, which comes with a nylon mesh carrying case.
Pros: The Wingspan features an ergonomic design that makes it possible for users to adjust and focus the telescope with the same hand they’re holding the unit with.
Cons: The Wingspan is the most expensive option on our list.
2. Roxant Grip Scope
View items in the distance with high definition using the Roxant Grip Scope. The Roxant uses optical glass with premium multi-coated BAK4 Prism lenses that guarantee superior light transmission and optimal brightness for a view that is crisp and clear. The Roxant is comfortable to hold for extended periods thanks to its molded grip, which is also slip-resistant. The Roxant comes with several bonus items, including a cleaning cloth, a carrying case with a belt loop, and a neck strap that keeps your Roxant safe and close when outdoors. We also like that it comes with a retractable eyecup that can be used with or without eyeglasses.
Pros: At only 5.5 inches long, the Roxant is one of the small units on our list, making it easy to carry in a pocket or backpack.
Cons: The Roxant offers 6×30 magnification, which is half the distance of other monocular telescopes on our list.
3. OuTera Monocular Telescope
For an option that is tough enough for the demands of the outdoors and can be used with a smartphone, we like the OuTera Monocular Telescope. The water-resistant OuTera features a single-hand focus and is covered in a durable rubber armor that provides a non-slip grip. Like the Vivreal, the OuTera also uses nitrogen to ensure a fog-free lens regardless of the temperature or surroundings. The OuTera delivers a clear and crisp image thanks to its BAK-4 prism HD vision lens.
Pros: The OuTera comes with a tripod that is designed to hold smartphones, instantly giving your camera phone a 12×50 zoom lens.
Cons: Unlike the CCX, the OuTera does not include a remote to use with the tripod.
4. 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, which enables users to see items in the distance in low lighting. Not only is this a great feature to use outdoors at dawn and dusk, but the Vivreal is also an excellent option for indoor events like plays and concerts.
Cons: Vivreal recommends using a wrist or neck strap with their monocular telescope to keep it safe, but the company doesn’t include one with purchase.
5. CCX Monocular Telescope
Turn your smartphone into a telescope using the CCX Monocular Telescope. The CCX comes with an adjustable tripod that offers a steady base for the monocular telescope alone or can be used with the smartphone attachment to give your phone camera an enhanced 12×50 zoom. The CCX includes an updated 20mm multi-layer eyepiece that provides a large intake for light, creating a brighter view. The eyecups can also be adjusted for viewing with or without glasses. The CCX includes large crystal BAK4 Prism glass that provides clarity when viewing through the multi-coated objective lens.
Pros: Unlike the OuTera, the CCX includes a remote for its tripod, which would allow users to take a picture without pressing a button on their smartphone. It’s also waterproof, unlike the OuTera, which is water-resistant.
Cons: The CCX is one of the most expensive models on our list. At 14.4 ounces, it’s also one of the heaviest.
6. 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 4 inches by 5 inches by 1.5 inches, making it the smallest and lightest option on our list.
Cons: The Roxant Mini Monocular has the lowest magnification level on our list at 7×18 zoom.
7. 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 removeable 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, dust-proof 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 the heaviest option on our list and has a 8×42 magnification, which is less than other models.