Best binoculars for kids 2024: Small and lightweight binos for younger users

If your youngster is showing an interest in stargazing or wants to get closer to nature, purchasing them a pair of the best binoculars for kids is a great idea (and you'll probably be very popular for a while). If you're a sky watcher yourself and have your own pair of binoculars, there's a good chance your children might be keen to get their hands on your pair — but a pair designed specifically for smaller hands will undoubtedly be a better idea, and will have lower stakes if they are dropped. 

Not all the binoculars on this list have been necessarily designed for children. Some have, but we've carefully chosen models that are suitable for smaller hands, are lighter, and are user-friendly and easy to use. 

We've been careful to avoid including any toy binoculars on this list. Search for binoculars for kids' on any retail outlet, and you'll get plenty of cheap, plasticky suggestions. Rather, our suggestions here are real pieces of optical equipment that work just as well as any binoculars used by adults — just like the sets we included on our guide to the best compact binoculars. We've also made sure to choose products that can withstand some gentle mistreatment and shouldn't break if dropped a few times. 

We've made sure to test the binoculars on this list ourselves (with a little help from younger members of our families), and have noted the features we liked and the things that weren't so great, so you can pick your pair with confidence. You'll find pocket-money-friendly sets in this guide, going all the way up to high-end offerings if you want to splurge on a birthday gift. 

If you're looking for something a little different, we've also rated the best night vision binoculars, or, if you want binoculars that measure distances, try our comprehensive rangefinder binoculars. If you aren't sure what makes for a good pair of binoculars for youngsters scroll down to the bottom of this guide for the best binoculars for kids FAQ.

Jamie Carter
Jamie Carter

Jamie is an experienced science, technology and travel journalist and stargazer who writes about exploring the night sky, solar and lunar eclipses, moon-gazing, astro-travel, astronomy and space exploration. He is the editor of WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com and author of A Stargazing Program For Beginnersand is a senior contributor at Forbes. His special skill is turning tech-babble into plain English.

The quick list

Best binoculars for kids that we recommend 2024

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Best overall

Best overall: With in-built image stabilization, view the stars and birds without the wobble

Specifications

Magnification: 10x
Objective lens diameter: 42mm
Angular field of view: 6.5-degrees
Optical design: Porro II prism
Glass: BaK-4
Eye relief: 14.5mm
Weight: 39.2 oz (1.1 kg)
Guarantee: Limited warranty

Reasons to buy

+
Steady views
+
Excellent, high-quality optics
+
Generous eye relief

Reasons to avoid

-
Price is more suited for serious binos users
-
Quite heavy for smaller kids
-
IS requires a lot of batteries
Buy if:

Your child will benefit from built-in image stabilization: These are the only binoculars on this list with built-in image stabilization — view the stars, wildlife, sports events and concerts without any wobble!

You can afford to: Chances are if you're looking for 'kid-specific' binoculars, you won't want to spend a lot. But if you're lucky enough to have the budget to get the best of the best, you won't be disappointed. 

Don't buy if:

Your child wants to use binoculars unsupervised: We strongly recommend these binoculars are used under supervision and with the neck strap attached to prevent drops and breakages.

Your child won't use them often: They are a big investment, so if your child won't get much use from them, opt for a much cheaper pair.

The bottom line:

🔎 Canon 10x42L IS WP Binocular: Pricey but almost perfect for hand-held astronomy. In a market saturated with low-priced astronomy-centric binoculars, some clear, sharp and high-resolution optics and image stabilization wizardry make the waterproof Canon 10x42L IS WP binoculars expensive but worth it. ★★★★★

We're taking a bit of a risk by naming the Canon 10x42L IS WP binoculars as the best binoculars for kids. After all, their price tag far, far exceeds what you're probably expecting to spend on some binoculars that your youngster may or may not love. We agree: these are very expensive, and if your child isn't sure yet whether they're interested in stargazing or nature-spotting, it's probably not a wise purchase. But if your youngster is committed, and you want them to have the very best? You won't be disappointed.

There's a reason we gave these binos five stars in our Canon 10x42L IS WP review—lots of reasons, in fact. We'd go as far as to say that anyone who uses them, kids or adults, will be amazed by their capabilities. But since this is a specialist (and therefore expensive) piece of technology, we wouldn't recommend children use them without supervision. We'd also recommend using a neck strap at all times to prevent accidental drops.

Just why are the Canon 10x42L IS WP binoculars so expensive? It's because they have built-in image stabilization (IS). It's a technology you'll find in expensive camera lenses which makes the view in the lens stable even if you're not using a tripod. Holding binoculars still is challenging, especially for a child, and with a 10x magnification, you'll almost always need a tripod. But these Canon binos do away with the need for additional stability, allowing for sharp, wobble-free views in even the smallest of hands.

As for the actual technology supporting the Canon 10x42L IS WP binoculars, you've got gyroscopic sensors on board to detect any wobbling or shaking. If there is any wobble detected, actuators around the lenses of the binoculars move the lens in such a way as to counteract the wobble. This stabilization (which requires two AAA batteries, just so you know) is just one of the reasons why these binoculars produce pin-sharp images. 

Whether you're looking at the moon, Jupiter or star clusters, you and your family are going to be treated to genuinely incredible views. It's not just the image stabilization you're paying for — inside are the ultra-low dispersion glass lens elements and 'Super Spectra' lens coatings.

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Canon 10x42L IS WP Binocular
AttributesNotes
DesignWaterproof design
PerformanceBright and colorful images
FunctionalityImage stabilization provides steady views

Best for detail

Best for seeing detail: Suited to older kids who are interested in detailed observations

Specifications

Magnification: 12x
Objective lens diameter: 60mm
Angular field of view: 5.3-degrees
Optical design: Porro prism
Glass: BaK-4
Eye relief: 17mm
Weight: 39.2 oz (1.1 kg)
Guarantee: Limited lifetime

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent light transmission
+
Deep sky astronomy is possible
+
Generous eye relief for glasses wearers

Reasons to avoid

-
Very heavy
-
Tripod is required for comfortable use
-
The supplied neckstrap is poor (thin)
Buy if:

Your child wears spectacles: The eye relief is a generous 17mm so these are comfortable for glasses wearers.

You want to stargaze with them: The huge aperture drinks in loads of light and can be used for deep sky astronomy.

Don't buy if:

You want something lightweight and portable: These binos weigh over 2.2 lb / 1kg.

You don't want to buy a tripod: The amount of wobble caused by the 12x magnification is too big to enjoy the views for any length of time without leaning them on something. In reality, this means purchasing a tripod.

The bottom line:

🔎 Celestron SkyMaster 12x60 Binocular: Great value for an excellent pair of low-light-friendly binoculars with fantastic specs and a quality design. The tripod adapter is especially welcome given the high magnification. ★★★★½

The Celestron SkyMaster 12x60 binoculars probably aren't a great choice for very young children. Weighing over a kilogram (39.02oz), they're going to be very heavy to lift for extended periods of time for smaller users. But for older kids and teens, particularly those who may have outgrown smaller, lower-powered binoculars, this is an absolutely wonderful choice. 

While you can use the Celestron SkyMaster 12x60 binoculars for other tasks, they've been designed with observing the night sky in mind. Coming from Celestron, one of the leading brands in astronomy equipment, what can you expect? They're perfect for viewing the deep sky, and we've been able to enjoy views of objects such as the Andromeda Galaxy with no problem. So for older children with a keen interest in the night sky, binoculars don't come much better than these — especially considering their $70-or-so price range.

In our Celestron SkyMaster 12x60 binoculars review, we talked about how much we appreciated having the extra stability of a tripod. It's something we'd call an absolute must for younger users — without a tripod, that 12x magnification can be endlessly frustrating, bordering on almost impossible if you're hoping to watch the night sky. The great thing about setting up a tripod, too, is that views can be shared between siblings or groups of children without having to adjust each time.

Built around a Porro Prism design featuring BaK-4 glass and boasting multi-coated optics for bright and detailed views, the objective lenses of 60mm let in heaps of light. Thanks to the 12x magnification, these binoculars are perfect for spotting moon craters and resolving individual stars in clusters like the Pleiades and Hyades — but we wouldn't recommend purchasing them unless you have (or purchase) a tripod

We're fans of the tough rubber coating found on the Celestron SkyMaster 12x60 binoculars: It's a must-have for children, essentially shielding these binos from any accidental bumps or knocks. Even better, they come with a carrying case and lens caps, so when they're not in use they're safely packed away.

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Celestron SkyMaster 12x60 Binocular
AttributesNotes
DesignExcellent build quality
PerformanceExcellent light transmission
FunctionalityGenerous 17mm eye relief

Best for all-weather use

Best for all-weather use: These binoculars are also lightweight and won't break the bank

Specifications

Magnification: 8x
Objective lens diameter: 25mm
Angular field of view: 6.2-degrees
Optical design: Roof prism
Glass: BaK-4
Eye relief: 15mm
Weight: 9.2 oz (260g)
Guarantee: 3 years

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight and portable
+
Dual-hinge folding design
+
Water and fog proof

Reasons to avoid

-
Specs aren't perfect for stargazing
-
Neck strap needs an upgrade
-
Roof‑prism
Buy if:

You want something pocketable: They weigh just 260g and have a dual-hinge design to fold them neatly away and pop them in your pocket.

You're likely to use them in inclement weather: They are nitrogen purged with aids with waterproofing, fog proofing and dirt-proofing.

You're looking for a reasonably priced but good-quality all-round user pair: They sit at a price point of around $70 — that's a great price for top-quality optics and excellent build quality.

Don't buy if:

You want binoculars primarily for stargazing: The little aperture doesn't let enough light in for anything more than moon observations, though your little ones will be able to see more light through them than you will.

The bottom line:

🔎 Olympus 8x25 WP II Binocular: The Olympus 8x25 WP II's seamless housing and exquisite optical system offer small but clear, crisp views of bright targets with stunning contrast. ★★★★½

Generally speaking, the relatively low 8x magnification and the 25mm objective lenses of the Olympus 8x25 WP II binoculars mean they're not so good for stargazing. They just don't have the appropriate light-gathering power to produce bright, sharp images that are necessary when viewing the night sky. However, when you're shopping for a child, your binocular must-haves change somewhat: You'll also have to consider weight, size and image quality. In that case, we've found these to be a rather good choice for kids.

In our Olympus 8x25 WP II review we found these binoculars to be a durable and kid-friendly option for young people who love the night sky and the great outdoors. In many cases, buying binoculars for a child for the first time may just be a test to see whether or not they enjoy the hobby. If it's something they become passionate about, you'd likely upgrade to a better quality, more powerful (and likely more expensive) set later on. Costing around $70, the Olympus 8x25 WP II is a good first choice. 

The nitrogen sealing of the Olympus 8x25 WP II binoculars is a great feature, making them waterproof, dirt-resistant and fog-proof. Let's face it: With the best will in the world, children are more likely to get their binos dirty or splash them with water, and so that extra protection offers some great peace of mind. It also means they're usable in inclement weather.

They're easy to fold up and carry in a pocket, and the paltry 260g weight is just a fraction of the weight of many skywatching-specific binoculars and is ideally suited to smaller hands and weaker arms. You can purchase them in 'Forest Green' or 'Deep Purple,' which may add to the aesthetic appeal for young users. The only thing we'd recommend, as we mentioned in our Olympus 8x25 WP II binoculars review, is to upgrade the neckstrap so it's more comfortable.

The Olympus 8x25 WP II binos have a roof-prism design and BaK-4 optical glass. That makes for beautifully bright and clear images, which is particularly useful whether you're viewing the night sky, watching an event or observing nature. Their technical specs make them suitable for most users, but it's their small size which makes them most ideal for children. They can be easily adjusted for smaller faces thanks to a central hinge — and that means the same pair can be passed around between you and your child, or shared between siblings of different ages.

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Olympus 8x25 WP II Binocular
AttributesNotes
DesignExcellent, high quality build
PerformanceGood views of bright night-sky targets
FunctionalityLow light-gathering prowess

Best all-rounders

The Celestron Nature DX 8x42 and accessories on a white background

Even though the Nature DX 8x32 binoculars have a magnification that's suitable for children, they also include a tripod mount, ideal for users who can't keep still. (Image credit: Amazon)

Celestron Nature DX 8x32 Binocular

Best all-round binoculars: The Celestron Nature DX 8x32 are affordable, versatile and durable

Specifications

Magnification: 8x
Objective lens diameter: 32mm
Angular field of view: 7.4-degrees
Optical design: Roof prism
Glass: BAK4
Eye relief: 17.5mm
Weight: 17.98 oz (510g)
Guarantee: Limited lifetime

Reasons to buy

+
Versatile for day and night
+
Waterproof for use in all weathers

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricey pair for kids
-
Not designed specially for skywatching
Buy if:

You want to share the views with others: They are tripod mountable so once you've had a look at what's in the field of view, you can show someone else without them having to readjust.

You're looking for a good all-rounder: These are general-purpose binoculars that can be used day and night in any weather.

Don't buy if:

You want something stargazing specific: These are a generalist pair for casual observations. Though you'll be able to get good views of the moon and other bright celestial subjects, you'll want something with a bigger aperture for stargazing.

The bottom line:

🔎 Celestron Nature DX 8x32 Binocular: A great all-round pair that will see you through many years of stargazing as well as wildlife watching and getting closer to sporting action. ★★★★

We've chosen the Celestron Nature DX 8x32 as one of the best pairs of binoculars for kids for multiple reasons. First, they're lightweight, making them suitable for smaller hands. They're coated with a tough, grippable material, too, meaning they'll sit comfortably in a child's hands without slipping out. Their waterproof coating helps give them some additional resistance, too, meaning they won't be affected by rain or a bit of a splash.

We particularly like how comfortable these binoculars are to use. The Celestron Nature DX 8x32 have a larger eye relief (17.5mm), which makes them great for glasses-users. The BaK-4 prisms ensure great contrast and sharp images, too. Couple that with the multi-coated lenses and you're going to get excellent light transmission.

We're also pleased that these binoculars have a built-in tripod mount, something that's not all that usual in a pair this size. Their 8x magnification means that extra stability is often needed to get the best views. Mounting binos is also a good idea if views are going to be shared between the family or a group of kids: everyone can take a look without needing to refocus.

However, it's probably the fact that the Celestron Nature DX 8x32 binoculars can be used so easily for a variety of purposes that makes them so easy to recommend. Despite coming from Celestron, they aren't necessarily made for stargazing — they're part of Celestron's 'Nature' range, meaning they're designed for watching wildlife. But we've found them suitable for both tasks, just as long as you're not hoping to achieve deep sky views. 

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Celestron Nature DX 8x32 Binocular
AttributesNotes
DesignWaterproof design
PerformanceVersatile for day and night
FunctionalityNot designed specifically for skywatching

Best for the whole family

Best for the whole family: With handy shock resistance and waterproofing

Specifications

Magnification: 8x
Objective lens diameter: 42mm
Angular field of view: 7.2-degrees
Optical design: Roof prism
Glass: BaK-4
Eye relief: 42mm
Weight: 20.2 oz (572g)
Guarantee: 7 year warranty

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight and waterproof 
+
Long eye relief design
+
Premium feel in the hand

Reasons to avoid

-
One of the more expensive options
-
Average-quality lens caps
-
Neckstrap isn't the best
Buy if:

Durability is a must: Not only are they guaranteed to be fog and waterproof, but they also feature a shockproof rubber coating.

You are looking for a pair of 'go anywhere' binoculars: These binos are kid-friendly but also a great quality pair for adults.

Don't buy if:

You don't want to spend too much: Though they are good value for money, they are still usually between $110 and $150 which is one of the more expensive models on this list.

The bottom line:

🔎 Nikon Prostaff P3 8x42: Reasonably priced and easy to use, the Nikon Prostaff P3 8x42 binocular is suitable for beginners and hobbyists alike who want bright, sharp optics in a compact device. ★★★★

Are you looking for a pair of binoculars that not only your kids can use, but you can use too? The Nikon Prostaff P3 8x42 might be a good choice: these are binoculars that are small and lightweight enough for children to use with ease, but offer excellent optics that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

In our Nikon Prostaff P3 8x42 review, we praised the mirror-coated prisms and multi-coated lenses used here, which resulted in clear and sharp views. As mentioned before, 8x magnification with a 42mm objective lens is perfect for kids' binoculars, and this pair from Nikon is just that — perfect for light-gathering and stargazing. Nikon Prostaff P3 binoculars are also available in 10x30, 10x42 and 8x30.

Like some of the others on this list, the Nikon Prostaff P3 8x42 binoculars come with fog and water resistance, making them ideal for use in just about any condition without worry of breaking them. They're guaranteed waterproof up to 1 meter/3.3 feet for up to 10 minutes, too, so if they fall in a body of water, it's not the end of the world. Their non-slip rubber coating should minimize the risk of drops at least, as little hands will be able to grip them firmly.

They're not the cheapest binoculars, however — prices typically fluctuate anywhere between $100 and $150 — but they are great for beginners thanks to how easy they are to use. We'd highly recommend them for glasses wearers, too, thanks to their larger-than-usual eye relief.

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Nikon Prostaff P3 8x42
AttributesNotes
DesignWaterproof and fogproof
PerformanceSharp and bright views
FunctionalityPremium feel in the hand

Best value for money