Eclipse 2023Eclipse 2024Eclipses

Best solar eclipse binoculars for 2024 reviewed

Looking at the sun can be dangerous, but if you want a close-up view with complete safety, then you’ll want to consider investing in some solar binoculars

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Putting eclipse glasses or handheld viewers in front of binoculars, telescopes, or cameras is not safe, so how do you safely get a closer view of the partial phases of a solar eclipse? Only a pair of solar binoculars will offer a safe close-up view of the sun during the partial phases of the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024.

What are solar binoculars?

With a built-in permanent solar filter, they remove the risk that a homemade cardboard filter may fall off your binoculars while viewing the partial phases of a solar eclipse, which could lead to eye damage.

Solar binoculars are not only a great way to get a closer look at the partial phases, but through many of them, it is possible to view sunspots. Sunspots are temporary darker spots on the sun’s surface. They occur when massive changes in the sun’s magnetic field cause regions of reduced surface temperature.

How to use solar binoculars

Just to be clear, they are only useful for viewing the sun; they are useless for anything else, including stargazing. But they can be used on any day, not just eclipse day.

To find the sun, face in its rough direction, aligning with a point on the horizon. Keep your feet steady on the ground in line with your direction. Place your solar binoculars in front of your eyes, then slowly raise your head, keeping the binoculars in front of your eyes at all times. Scan up and down, but avoid excessive left-to-right movements. If you can’t find it initially, realign with the ground and try again. Patience is crucial!

We recommend wearing a cap or hat with a peak to protect your eyes from accidental glances at the sun around the eye cups while attempting to locate the sun through solar binoculars. Making use of a chair can help with alignment and arm comfort. And be careful to pass on safety tips if you’re sharing these with others. We also recommend you practice before the upcoming total solar eclipse day.

Here’s a round-up of the best solar binoculars currently available—most designed for the upcoming total solar eclipse—with a comparison chart below:

Lunt SUNocular 8×32

A blend of portability, magnification, and rugged design, these mid-sized binoculars are solid and impressive for eclipses and sunspots.

Read our review.

Lunt SUNoculars 8x32

Lunt SUNocular 6×30 mini

The smallest, most affordable pocket-sized solar eclipse binoculars, but with no eye relief and small eye cups, they may not be the safest or the most comfortable.

Read our review.

Lunt-SUNoculars-Mini-solar-binoculars

Celestron EclipSmart 10x25mm roof solar binoculars

For those seeking an affordable and portable solution for observing the eclipse, these impress. Their image of the sun isn’t hugely bright, but it’s streets ahead of solar eclipse glasses. 

Read our review.

Celestron EclipSmart 10x25mm

Celestron EclipSmart 10×42 Porro solar binoculars

Perfectly balanced for both watching the eclipse progress and studying the sun’s surface, these solar eclipse binoculars combine manageable weight with effective magnification.

Read our review.

Celestron EclipSmart 10x42mm Porro solar binoculars

Celestron EclipSmart 12×50 Porro solar binoculars

Delivering a decent close-up of sunspots dotting the sun’s surface, these also offer a cool bluish-white tint. However, their weight means users may need a chair for comfort or a tripod to give a steady view.

Celestron EclipSmart 12x50 Porro solar binoculars

Celestron EclipSmart 20×50 Porro solar binoculars

The heaviest in our roundup gives the best close-up of the sun, but some folks may struggle to find the sun and hold them steady.

Read our review.

Celestron EclipSmart 20x50 Porro solar binoculars

Eclipse binocular comparison:

Lunt SUNocular miniLunt SUNocularCelestron 10×25Celestron 10×42Celestron 12×50Celestron 20×50
Magnificationx6x8x1010x12x20x
Objective Diameter30mm32mm25mm42mm50mm50mm
Eye reliefnone13.6mm0.4”/10mm0.5”/12.7mm0.3”/8mm0.31”/8mm
Weight5.6oz/157g18oz/570g11.15oz/316g24oz/680g31.1oz/883g31.5oz/892g
Dimensions3.7×4.2×1.5”5.5×4.3”3×2.2×4.5”6.8×2.9×5.4”7.8×2.6×7.37.8×2.6×7.3”
mm94x108x39140×11076x51x114173x74x137199x65x18199x65x186
Price$24.95$129$44$79$86$125