Celestron EclipSmart 10x42 solar binoculars review

The Celestron EclipSmart 10x42 solar binoculars are a pair of solar safe binoculars that make it easy to observe solar eclipses or simply view the sun.

Front view of binoculars standing on wooden platform in front of foliage
(Image: © Jason Parnell-Brookes)

Live Science Verdict

These binoculars do exactly what they set out to do: Allow observers to view the sun safely or protect the eyes during solar eclipse or partial eclipse events and they’re better quality than some regular binoculars we’ve tested.


  • +

    Great build quality for the price

  • +

    Affordable option for solar viewing

  • +

    ISO-certified solar-safe filter tech


  • -

    Some chromatic aberration

  • -

    Cannot be used as general binoculars

  • -

    Would benefit from use with a tripod

Why you can trust Live Science Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best ones for you. Find out more about how we test.

Viewing far off stars is all well and good, but what about when you need to get a good look at our own star? Step right up, the Celestron EclipSmart 10x42 porro solar binoculars.

The Celestron EclipSmart 10x42 porro solar binoculars are designed to be a safe and easy way to view the sun whilst remaining protected. Never use regular binoculars to view the sun as you can cause permanent damage to your eyesight. 

The reason these binoculars are safe to use is that they have Celestron’s proprietary (and trademarked) solar safe filter technology built-in. The filters work by darkening the entire frame within the binoculars, so much that you won’t be able to see anything else through them. View anything other than a bright light source like the sun and you’ll see it produces a black view.

Celestron EclipSmart 10x42 solar specs:

Design: Porro prism

Magnification: 10x

Objective lens aperture: 42mm

Angular field of view: 6 degrees

Eye relief: 12.7mm (0.5")

Weight: 680 g (24 oz)

Dimensions: 173mm x 74mm x 137mm (6.8" x 2.9" x 5.4")

For the price, we’re surprised to see such good build quality. Certainly, they’re better put together than many other generalist binoculars we’ve reviewed and we are particularly impressed with how smooth and accurate the focusing wheel is. We think they are a great and safe way to view the sun during cloudless days or during solar eclipses or partial solar eclipses.

For regular astronomy, check out our best binoculars for stargazing guide. If generalist observing is more your bag, we’d recommend taking a look at our guide to the best binoculars we’ve tested and reviewed for things such as bird-watching, astronomy, wildlife and sports observing. 

Celestron EclipSmart 10x42 solar binocular: Design

The EclipSmart binoculars ship with a carry pouch, neck strap, cleaning cloth and lens caps. (Image credit: Jason Parnell-Brookes)
  • External rubber provides a good grip
  • All adjustments are smooth to operate
  • Textured thumb grips are a nice touch to an otherwise smooth body

As far as binoculars go, there isn’t anything design-wise that makes the EclipSmart 10x42 binoculars stand out from the crowd. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t well constructed. Their porro prism design lends itself to inherently improved optical quality compared to a roof prism design of the same spec and price and while they are much wider and chunkier by comparison, this porro binocular is lightweight. At just 680g they’re easy to hold for long periods and we think younger and older observers, or even those with grip strength issues will find them manageable.

Smooth all over, the binoculars have dedicated textured areas for thumbs and fingers to aid grip. (Image credit: Jason Parnell-Brookes)

The external casing is made from a rubber that provides good grip all around, even though most of the binoculars are smooth and have no texture. The texture is there where it counts: Two notches sit at the top of the binoculars and the focusing wheel is studded with two rows of similarly-shaped texture lines. Flipping the binoculars upside down, we were also happy to see two thumb grips which are perfectly situated where the hands naturally fall on these binoculars.

The focusing wheel is smooth and is covered in a bumpy texture as is the top of the binoculars where the fingers naturally rest. (Image credit: Jason Parnell-Brookes)

Grip isn't super vital observing the sun because it requires cloudless skies so rain isn’t going to be a factor. Still, while many countries around the world will benefit from warmer climes when the sun is out, there are many locations where a bright, bare sun is also accompanied by polar vortices in the atmosphere and as such will need to wrap up warm with thick gloves. Thanks to the additional texture we found they are easy enough to operate even wearing our thickest gloves.

Celestron EclipSmart 10x42 solar binocular: Performance

The interpupillary distance can be adjusted for those with narrow or wide set eyes making it suitable for kids or adults. (Image credit: Jason Parnell-Brookes)
  • Very sharp, clear views once adjusted to eyes
  • Filtration intensity is absolutely spot-on and makes solar observations safe
  • There is a little chromatic aberration

The whole purpose behind the EclipSmart 10x42 porro solar binoculars is to allow safe observation of the sun. Not only that, but the binoculars aim to deliver sharp and clear views of the sun so that observers can see not just a bright disk but detail on its surface. Celestron has ticked every box in this regard and we were impressed with just how simple it was to observe the sun safely.

After taking them out of the box and carry pouch, we literally lifted them up to the sun, adjusted the focus and the diopter ring and the view was instantly there. For the first time without the use of a complicated telescope or camera and lens technology, we were able to view the sun and its surface safely. They are comfortable to use because the filtration cuts out just enough light to keep things safe while keeping the details. We found ourselves spying on the sunspots as they came and went over several days and could even track their movements when there are consecutive days without cloud.

The solar safe filters can be seen as dark, almost completely black lenses in the binoculars. (Image credit: Jason Parnell-Brookes)

Performance-wise there really isn’t anything bad to say about these binoculars. There are little improvements that could be made to perfect things further but they are by no means within scope for a binocular of this price and we’d expect them to cost much more if they were implemented. However, the room for improvement is still there. We noticed that during solar observations there is chromatic aberration above and below the sun that included blue and red fringes. This did not bleed into the sun though so details like sunspots remained clear.

Another issue we found is that, because we were observing the sun during the summer, sweat on our brows and around our eyes kept misting up the eyepiece lenses. This did not occur inside the binoculars though, so we were able to wipe them clean with a cloth. But due to the heat, this happened more than once in a single observation. We don’t think this is something Celestron could do anything about but it’s worth noting for those in hotter climates or who sweat easily.

Celestron EclipSmart 10x42 solar binocular: Functionality

The tripod adapter mount exposed under the Celestron-badged cap is useful for attaching the binoculars to a tripod, which we'd recommend. (Image credit: Jason Parnell-Brookes)
  • Flexible interpupillary distance is ideal for kids and adults
  • Improved or interchangeable eyepieces could reduce flare
  • A binocular tripod mount shipping with these would make observations easier

Setting up and using these solar binoculars is simple. Adjust the interpupillary distance using the hinge to account for your eye set width, adjust the focusing wheel, then customize the diopter ring and voila: You’re ready to go. 

Everything is smooth, solid and feels secure in the hand. The ISO-certified solar safe filter technology Celestron has put in these binoculars also means you can trust them for solar observations. However, in real-world use, we noticed there are a few other things that users may benefit from.

The binoculars would benefit from changeable eyecups that wrap around the face to reduce glare from reflected light. (Image credit: Jason Parnell-Brookes)

To start, because we were observing straight at the sun, the sunlight was bouncing off the skin surrounding our eyes and causing flare onto the eyepiece lenses. We’d like to see an addition to use wrap-around eyecups that could be interchangeable on the binoculars to counteract this. For now, but it can be done by positioning your hands on the binoculars so that part of them sit over your eyes. It isn’t that practical, but it is possible.

We think that these binoculars should probably ship with a tripod adapter straight out of the box. Trying to keep the 10x magnification steady when observing the sunspots is really tricky handheld. However, this would incur additional costs, both for the adapter itself and in shipping and handling. Plus, not everyone will have a tripod to mount them on, so we can see why Celestron has decided not to do this as standard. But we would recommend a tripod and a tripod adapter for clearer viewing.

Should I buy the Celestron EclipSmart 10x42 porro solar binoculars?

Overall, the Celestron EclipSmart 10x42 porro solar binoculars are fantastic at their job. Relatively inexpensive, but built to a good standard. They're easily one of our new favorite ways to observe the sun. They are quick to set up and portable enough to take anywhere. Light and small enough to be used by all the family, but also perform well optically - what more could you want?

They aren’t much good for anything other than solar observations (or staring at other bright light sources) though, so this is something to bear in mind when purchasing as the filtration cannot be taken out. If you want to observe more than just the sun and don’t have the budget to buy two pairs of binoculars, we’d advise you to look on our best binoculars buying guide.

If this product isn't for you

If you want to save some money then Celestron also makes a roof prism variation of the solar safe binoculars and are around half the cost. But roof prism binoculars are known for inferior optical prowess, though we can’t attest to this as we haven’t tested them at time of writing.

The EclipSmart porro solar binoculars also come in 12x50 and 20x50 versions providing larger objective lenses and greater magnification. So if you want even better optics and a closer look at the sun we’d recommend buying those instead, though they are more expensive.

For the really dedicated astronomers out there, Celestron also sells the EclipSmart travel solar scope 50 refractor telescope which is also ISO-certified and comes with fully coated glass optics.

Jase Parnell-Brookes
Managing Editor, e-commerce

Jase Parnell-Brookes is the Managing Editor for e-commerce for Live Science and Space. Previously the Channel Editor for Cameras and Skywatching at Space, Jase has been an editor and contributing expert across a wide range of publications since 2010. Based in the UK, they are also an award-winning photographer and educator winning the Gold Prize award in the Nikon Photo Contest 2018/19 and named Digital Photographer of the Year in 2014. After completing their Masters degree in 2011 and qualifying as a teacher in 2012, Jase has spent the last two decades studying and working in photography and publishing in multiple areas, and specializes in low light optics and camera systems.